Reform Scotland News: 20 April 2011

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.

 

Scottish election

Green manifesto: Yesterday the Scottish Greens published their manifesto.  Key pledges include using Holyrood’s existing powers to increase income tax by 0.5p, which would raise about £200million a year, and replacing council tax with a land value tax. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Times page 8, Sun page 9, Express page 2, Record page 6, P&J page 11, Telegraph page 17)

 

George Galloway: George Galloway launched the Respect manifesto yesterday.  Key policies include re-introducing student grants, opposing all government cuts and replacing the council tax with a tax based on income.  George Galloway also predicted that the SNP would win the election “quite comfortably”.(Scotsman page 7, Herald page 6, Times page 8, Record page 6, P&J page 11)

 

Cost of knife crime: The Labour party has been criticised by opposition parties for claiming that knife crime costs the NHS £500million.  Labour claimed the figure came from Medics Against Violence, but the organisation denied this.  It then emerged that the figure was based on an estimate by Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit of the cost of all violent crime on the NHS at between £258million and £517million a year. (Scotsman page 8, Times page 15, Express page 2)

 

Labour u-turns: Iain Gray has been criticised for a series of u-turns by the SNP who accuse Labour of being opposed to the council tax freeze and voting against additional apprenticeships in the last parliament despite calling for similar policies at this election. (Sun page 8)

 

SNP-Tory coalition: John McTernan in the Scotsman comments on the likelihood of an SNP-Conservative coalition at Holyrood.  While the Daily Record comments on the Sun’s backing for the SNP suggesting that Alex Salmond is David Cameron’s stooge.

 

Scottish election manifestos: Iain McLean in the Scotsman compares the Scottish manifestos with the Scottish independent budget review that was published last year. (Scotsman page 32)

 

Politics

IMF: David Cameron has reportedly made it clear he would veto the possible appointment of Gordon Brown as head of the International Monetary Fund. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 13, Times page 4, Sun page 2, Express page 7, Mirror page 14, Guardian page 4, P&J page 13, Courier page 10, FT page 1, Telegraph page 13)

 

AV vote: The latest poll for the AV referendum puts the no campaign 16 points ahead. (Scotsman page 10, Sun page 2)

 

Nuclear power: The Scottish Chambers of Commerce has called for Scotland to have a new generation of nuclear reactors as a reliable back-up for renewable energy. (Scotsman page 14)

 

Press abuse inquiry: Ed Miliband has called for an independent review of newspaper practices and regulation following the admission by News International that it hacked celebrities’ phones. (Guardian page 1)

 

Economy

Banks lack of transparency:  The Westminster Public Accounts Committee has criticised RBS and Lloyds Banking Group for a lack of transparency despite receiving billions in government support. (Scotsman business page 1)

 

Scottish retail: Total retail sales fell last month by 0.3% compared with March 2010, the first decline since the Scottish Retail Consortium began recording figures in 1999. (Mail page 1, Express page 10, Telegraph page 14)

 

UK growth: Ed Balls in the Guardian argues that George Osborne’s plan to increase economic growth isn’t working.

 

Justice

Celtic bomb threats: Celtic manager Neil Lennon, his QC Paul McBride and Labour MSP Trish Godman, a Celtic supporter, were all sent packages containing improvised explosives.  All of the bombs were intercepted by the Royal Mail.  (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Sun page 1, Express page 7, Record page 1, Telegraph page 1)

 

Single Scottish police force: Strathclyde police board last night issued a formal response to the consultation on merging Scotland’s eight police forces into one.  The board said the case for reduction had yet to be made, putting the board in opposition to its own Chief Constable who is in favour of the merger. (Herald page 2)

 

At the Scottish Police Federation conference yesterday, Labour, the SNP and the Conservatives all indicated their support for a reduction in the number of forces despite opposition from the rank and file. (Express page 2, Record page 2, P&J page 11, Courier page 7

 

Transport

Traffic in Aberdeen: Figures published by Nestrans show drivers lose almost 900,000 hours a year due to congestion on Aberdeen’s key roads, an increase of 42% since 2005. (P&J page 1)

 

Education

University funding gap: Scottish universities are likely to be placed under further financial pressure as two-thirds of English universities are reportedly looking to charge the maximum £9,000 tuition fee. (Telegraph page 1)