Reform Scotland News: 21 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

SNP Poll Boost: The Ipsos Mori survey has given the SNP an 11-point lead over Labour in the constituency vote and a ten-point lead in the list vote. This would give the party 20 more seats than Labour. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 6, Times page 1, Comment by John Curtice in the Times page 17, Sun page 1)


Lanarkshire: Brian Currie has commented in the Herald that the thought of having an SNP MSP representing Airdrie and Shotts is not unrealistic after the damage done by Labour’s proposal-at the time of the last election-to close the accident and emergency unit at Monklands Hospital. (Herald page 6)


CPPR: Scottish think-tank Centre for Public Policy and the Regions (CPPR) have claimed that Scotland’s political parties “are not being straight” with voters about the austerity required once polling day is over. In a study of all leading party manifestos CPPR said the cash crisis heading the way of Scotland’s public sector was being “wished away” by politicians in the rush for votes. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 7, Times page 17, Daily Telegraph page 15, Courier page 11, Financial Times page 2)


SNP/Conservative Coalition: A decision on whether the Scottish Conservatives should form a coalition with the SNP after the Holyrood elections will be left to Annabel Goldie, David Cameron said on a visit to Inverness yesterday. Cameron has also dismissed claims by Labour the he was hoping for a SNP victory at Holyrood. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 7, Times page 16, Daily Telegraph page 1 , Daily Record page 2, Daily Mail page 9)


Twitter: SNP have been accused of waging a “dirty tricks” campaign online after a fake Twitter account appeared in the name of a Perthshire Labour candidate. (Courier page 1)


Asbestos Sufferers: Alex Salmond told the STUC in Ayr that the Scottish Government would fight for asbestos sufferers all the way to the UK Supreme Court to defend Holyrood legislation. (Herald page 6)



Homelessness: Citizens Advice Scotland has backed a report from Homeless charity Crisis which shows that government changes to housing benefit could lead to an increase in homelessness. (Scotsman page 21)


AV Vote: Campaigners are hopeful that Scottish support for a change in the voting system at Westminster could prove decisive in next month’s UK-wide referendum. (Times page 29, Comment by Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman page 29)



Slump in GDP: Scotland’s economy shrank in the last three months of 2010 mirroring the trend in the rest of the UK and raising fears that the country could fall into a second recession. If GDP falls again in the first quarter of 2011, creating two consecutive months of shrinkage, Scotland will return to recession. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 32, Times page 15, P&J page 19, Courier page 7, Daily Express page 10)


Oil Industry: In a report published today, the professor of petroleum economics at Aberdeen University has warned that Chancellor George Osboure’s North Sea tax raid could cost the offshore industry more than £50 billion. (P&J page 1)


University Spin-Outs: Edinburgh University has spun out more companies in the past two years than any other UK higher education institution. Sixteen businesses were launched by Edinburgh between 2008 and 2010. (Scotsman Business Supplement page 3)


Victoria and Albert Museum: Philip Long, senior curator of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art set to run the new £45 million outpost of the Victoria and Albert museum in Dundee has said he thinks the design museum project will be “transformative” for the city.  (Herald page 5, P&J page 3, Courier page 7)


Local Government

School Cuts: Families across Argyll and Bute have spoken out against proposals by councillors to cut some £400, 000 from its education budget. Councillors have said they need to find total savings of £12 million this year. (Herald page 9)



Celtic Bomb Threat: Police have warned high-profile Celtic fans, including former MP and Holyrood hopeful George Galloway, to be on their guard following the discovery of bombs sent to Celtic manager Neil Lennon, his lawyer Paul McBride QC and former MSP Trish Godman. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 3, Daily Telegraph page 10, P&J page 1, Courier page 1, Guardian page 3, Daily Record page 1, Daily Mail page 5, Daily Express page 1, Sun page 1)


Single Police Force: Rank and file police officers have voted overwhelmingly against a national police force warning it will end Scotland’s falling crime rate and “destroy” the service. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 7, P&J page 7, Courier page 6, Daily Express page 2, Sun page 2)


New Police Laws: Police officers have unanimously voted to call for new breach of the peace laws protecting them from verbal abuse. The Scottish Police Federation heard that the introduction of the European Convention of Scots Law has created a loop-hole where police officers do not have the same protection as other members of the public. (Scotsman page 22)



Fuel Prices: The average diesel price in Scotland on Monday was a record 142.8p a litre, 3.4p more than a month ago and nearly 1p more than the UK average, according to the Automobile Association, who stated that soaring prices may affect tourism. Petrol in Scotland also hit a record average of 135.8p, up 3.4p on last month and marginally more than the UK average. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 4)



Student Tuition Fees: An exclusive poll in the Scotsman has revealed that almost two-thirds of Scots believe that students studying in Scotland should have to pay for their university education. (Scotsman page 1)


Funding Gap: Scottish university leaders have warned that the high proportion of English universities lifting tuition fees to the maximum limit of £9,000 will increase the funding gap in Scotland. Principals have warned the funding shortfall could rise above the £200 million previously estimated to more than £300 million. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 4)


Visa Suspension: Glasgow Caledonian University has become the first in the UK to have its overseas student licence suspended after claims that a number of nursing students were found to be working “almost full-time”. (Herald page 5, Daily Telegraph page 2, Daily Mail page 29)


Strikes: Around 64 per cent of the 500 University and College Union members of the University of Stirling have voted to walk out in a dispute over plans to sack 17 staff at the Institute of Aquaculture. (Times page 15, P&J page 3)



Beaches: Research has revealed Scotland’s beaches are being polluted by more sewage-related debris than any other part of the UK. General litter has increased by 24 per cent to more than 2, 000 items for every kilometre of beach. (Scotsman page 15, P&J page 11, Daily Mail page 26)


Heart Disease Drugs: In a major trial funded by the Medical Research Council, scientists from Edinburgh University will investigate if cholesterol-lowering drugs used to prevent heart disease could help pregnant women and prevent the condition pre-eclampsia. (Scotsman page 21, Herald page 5, Daily Telegraph page 2 , Daily Express page 15)