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Reform Scotland News: 17 January 2012

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 17 January 2012

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

Reform Scotland

Ben Thomson: Reform Scotland’s Ben Thomson comments that devolution plus is a viable third option between independence and the status quo. This would give the Scottish Parliament the ability to raise what it spends increasing the financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament. (Ben Thomson in the Scotsman, Letters in the Herald)

Politics

Independence referendum: Advocate General Lord Wallace said that any referendum organised without a temporary transfer of powers to Holyrood would be undemocratic and illegal, a statement that indicates that he would go to the Supreme Court to try and stop the poll should they do so without authorisation. Alex Salmond has asserted that he does not need authorisation from Westminster to hold the poll and has asked for a summit with Prime Minister David Cameron. In a recent poll conducted by YouGov, researchers found that 58 per cent of those interviewed support devo-max but only 39 per cent back a split with the UK. The poll also showed increased support for the SNP, while Labour and Lib Dems suffered losses in the poll. (The Scotsman page 1, Joan McApline in the Scotsman page 25, Gavin McCrone in the Scotsman page 28, Tom Nairn in the Scotsman page 29, The Herald page 1, the Herald page 6, Alan Cochrane in The Daily Telegraph page 2, Financial Times page 4, Michael Moore in the The Press and Journal page 6, Alex Salmond in the The Press and Journal page 7, The Courier and Advertiser page 11, The Times page 6)

Business leaders: Business leaders indicated that the referendum should be held early next year to minimize the negative impact on business and investment that a continued constitutional crisis would have. Barclays Wealth joined the call for a quick referendum to avoid financial uncertainty. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 6, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Press and Journal page 6, The Courier and Advertiser page 11, Daily Mail page 4, The Times page 6)

Public sector reforms: Local Government minister Derek Mackay has said that reforms of the public sector will accelerate after May’s elections. (The Herald page 6)

Economy

RBS aviation: RBS sold its aircraft-leasing business to one of Japan’s biggest banks for £4.8 billion as part of an effort to sell off non-core assets. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 24, Financial Times page 1)

Public sector jobs: The TUC has said that more than 70,000 Scottish public sector jobs are under threat from proposed UK government budget cuts to be implemented over the next five years. Scotland is amongst the hardest hit regions with 2.8% of jobs expected to be lost by 2017. (The Scotsman page 13, Daily Record page 2,)

Scottish dairy sold: German yoghurt maker Muller will purchase the Scottish Robert Wiseman Dairies for nearly £100 million. The dairy currently provides about a third of the UK’s fresh milk and employs more than 4,750 staff. (The Scotsman page 8, the Herald page 1, The Guardian page 24)

Scottish film: Mackendrick Fund, supported by Aegis and Creative Scotland has been established to offer £35m to Scottish filmmakers. The first film backed is expected to be a comedy starring Kate Hudson and Ewan McGregor. (The Herald page 1)

Power price cuts: ScottishPower has become the last of the big six energy firms to cut prices for customers. The 1.4 million households served by the company should see prices fall an average of 5%. (The Herald page 5)

Education

Exam reform: Moves by the Scottish Qualification Authority to reform the appeals system for exams has led to concerns by the Education Institute of Scotland that students deserving a results upgrade will miss out. (The Herald page 9)

Budget Cuts: Former First Minister Henry McLeish has criticised Scottish government plans to slash budgets for colleges. Mr McLeish, who serves as Chairman of the Board at City of Glasgow College, has warned that the cuts come at a time when investment in education is especially important. (The Herald page 10)

Health

Ageism: An investigation by Age Scotland found that half of over-50s in Scotland have encountered ageism while trying to buy goods and services. The problem of ageism is most persistent in insurance products, due to restrictions on age and health. (The Scotsman page 13)

Radioactive gas: Hundreds of homes across Orkney have been found to have high levels of radon, a deadly gas believed to be responsible for more than 1000 lung cancer deaths in the UK. (The Herald page 8)

Local Government

Holyrood construction: A controversial pavilion will be erected outside the Scottish Parliament to improve security. The £5 million project has attracted criticism for detracting from the appearance of the Parliament and restricting public access. (Scotsman page 19)