REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 11 November 2010


Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 11 November 2010

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is blue and underlined.

In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News.


Student Fee Protest: 50,000 students from across the UK gathered in London yesterday in protest against the coalition’s tuition fee plans that could see students in England pay up to £9,000 a year. The generally peaceful march was quickly overshadowed by a ‘violent minority’ as outbreaks of violence and disorder centred on the Conservative Party headquarters, with groups of protesters breaking into and occupying Millbank Tower. Police have admitted they were unprepared for the violence. Michael Russell, the Scottish Education Secretary, has said that while he doesn’t agree with the fees, he can’t rule them out. (Scotsman page 1,6&7, Herald page 3, Times pages 1,2,6&7, Guardian page 1,6-8, Telegraph page 1,4&5, FT page 4, Courier page 1&7, Press and Journal page 1&10, Sun page 1,4&5, Mirror page 1,4&5, Express page 8&9, Mail page 1,2,6&7, Record page 1,4&5)

Alcohol legislation: The Government’s minimum unit pricing bid was rejected, but rules to ban discount drink offers, toughen up rules on proof of age and introduce a levy on retailers selling alcohol (to contribute to the cost of cleanup) were passed by MSP’s. (Scotsman page 4&5, Herald page 1&2, Times page 3, Telegraph page `13, Courier page 1&11, Express page 2)

Benefit Reform: Ian Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, is to announce today the new plans to put claimants on a contract whereby if they fail to try to get work or turn down job offers they will lose their unemployment benefits for 3 months, up to a total of 3 years. The new plan also guarantees benefits for those who do try and attempt work. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 6, Times page 5, Guardian pages 1&2, Telegraph page 1&2, Courier page 15, Mail page 10)

Ex-MPs to face criminal charges: Jim Devine, a former Scottish Labour MP, will now face a criminal trial over his expenses after a ruling by the Supreme Court that MP’s were not protected by parliamentary privilege. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 12, Times page 10, Telegraph page 16, Press and Journal page 13, Sun page 1&6, express page 4)

MSP in discrimination row: Conservative MSP,  Margaret Mitchell, who heads the Holyrood equal opportunities body, has herself been involved in a disability discrimination row with an employee. She told The Scotsman she had followed “parliament’s stated rules” (Scotsman page 20)

MSP’s freeze salaries: MSPs agreed to freeze pay and allowances for the next two years which should save £1.5 million. (Herald page 6, Times page 9, Press and Journal page 14, Sun page 2)

Danny Alexander: The Chief Secretary to the Treasury is accused of hypocrisy as he campaigns for the protection of Scotland’s forests whilst supporting Coalition plans to privatise the forests in England. (Herald page 6)

Former MSP plays the system: Former Lib Dem MSP, Keith Raffan, who stepped down in 2005 after his expenses scandal citing ill health, has since been receiving an annual ill health pension from the Scottish Government of £15,000.  However it has emerged that he has in fact been working as a freelance journalist and at one point was also a presenter on ITV Wales. (Telegraph page 14, Courier page 6)

RAF Lossiemouth: Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, has hinted at a possible life-line for the airbase as he talks of stronger ties with Norway. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 6, Press and Journal page 9)

Asylum seekers face relocation: 600 households in Glasgow have received letters from the UK Border Agency explaining that they will be moved elsewhere in Scotland ‘whenever possible’ with 3-5 days notice. This has raised concerns that the 1300 or so asylum seekers will not have adequate time to prepare for the move to the unknown destinations. (Herald page 7)


Scottish jobs at risk: Strathclyde University’s Fraser of Allander Institute has predicted that 49,000 to 113,000 Scottish jobs could be lost from cuts to the Scottish budget in the wake of the Comprehensive Spending Review. (Scotsman page 1&2)

Emissions reduction scheme: The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has shelved a £35 million plan to reduce emissions by replacing its ageing glasshouses, amid pressure from feared funding cuts. (Scotsman page 17)

West Coast energy link shelved: Scottish & Southern Energy have sparked outrage as they drop their plans to provide a link between wind farms from the Western Isles with the mainland grid. (Herald page 5) 

500,000 Scottish families fear losing their homes: A poll conducted by YouGov shows that thousands of families are concerned about staying afloat as we enter the winter period. (Herald page 11, Mail page 4)


Legal Aid: The bill for people suing the NHS has reached at record high, reaching £1.27 million in the first six months of 2010-11, already exceeding the cost of the previous year. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 3, Press and Journal page 7, Express page 10)

Police offered cash for career break: Lothian & Border Police Force is offering officers £12,000 or £15,000 to take a three or four year career break respectively. The move is hoped to help cut costs amid funding reductions. (Herald page 4, Express page 7)


Airport Security: A new ‘electronic sniffer dog’ has been tested in Scotland. The machine, which looks a lot like conventional airport metal detectors, analysing air samples for traces of home-made explosive and could decrease airport security queues by removing the need for passengers to take off their shoe. (Scotsman page 15)

Local Government

Granton gas holder: Edinburgh councillors have rejected plans from the National Grid to scrap the B-listed structure, urging them to find alternative uses for it. Repairing the gas holder will cost the National Grid £5.2 million. (Scotsman page 23)