Reform Scotland News: 7 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

Labour Manifesto: Iain Gray unveiled the party’s manifesto yesterday with a pledge to eradicate youth unemployment in Scotland. The Scottish Labour leader said he would save hundreds of millions of pounds over the coming years by shaking up police, fire and NHS services. He claimed the moves would allow them to fund as many as 250,000 jobs and apprenticeships. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, The Times page 10, Daily Telegraph page 1, P & J page 9, The Courier page 7, Daily Express page 4, The Sun page 3)


Comment and Analysis: Eddie Barnes in The Scotsman comments that Iain Gray’s manifesto launch amounted to a pre-Blairite appeal to Scotland’s Labour heartlands. Iain MacWhirter in the Herald comments that for the first time the manifesto for Scottish Labour is not looking over its shoulder at what the London leadership will think of it. Angus Macleod in The Times page 11 comments that the manifesto is very much Old Labour.


Coalition Against Cuts: Former MP George Galloway launched his election campaign last night on a pledge to fight cuts and a promise that “nothing will ever be the same” at Holyrood if he wins his seat. (Herald page 6, P & J page 9, Daily Express page 4)



Charity Contract Row: Employment Minister Chris Grayling is under fire after a multi-million-pound Government contract went to a firm led by one of his department’s former top officials while a Scottish Charity was awarded nothing. (Herald page 1)


Law Society of Scotland: The President of the Law Society of Scotland is reportedly facing calls to resign after he was forced to apologise to the society’s 10,500 members for misleading them ahead of the organisation’s AGM. The dispute centres on a statement sent to society members before the AGM, which was held on 25 March, about proposals to change its constitution. (Scotsman page 8)


Rural Issues: A new approach to dealing with rural issues will be launched in May, with the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association proposing to set up the Centre for Land Policy. The new body will help to formulate policies that can then be converted into legislation according to Andrew Howard, a director of the SRPBA. (Scotsman Business Supplement page 4)


Edinburgh Makeover: More than 150 brightly coloured creatures, designed by artists and celebrities from around Britain, will be exhibited in Edinburgh this summer as part of a £1 million drive to protect some of the world’s most endangered species. (Scotsman page 21)



Scottish Exports Dip: Scottish manufactured exports fell in the final three months of last year, adding to concerns that the sector may have peaked. (Scotsman Business Supplement page 1, Herald page 1, The Courier page 11)


Gleneagles Hotel: Gleneagles Hotel has slumped to its first pre-tax loss in at least five years as corporate clients continued to cut back on their spending at the exclusive hotel. (Scotsman Business Supplement page 2)


Wind Turbines: Wind farms are much less efficient than the industry claims, according to new research by the John Muir Trust. It claims that for extended periods, all the wind turbines in Scotland linked to the National Grid produce less than 20MW of energy- just enough for 6,667 households to boil a kettle. However, Scottish Renewables have said that they do not trust these figures.(Scotsman page 8, Herald page 10, P & J page 1, The Courier page 10, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Express page 7)


Architecture Firm: Troubled Edinburgh-based architecture firm RMJM has admitted to further problems with the late payment of salaries to staff at its flagship Hong Kong office. The company was unable to pay wages to any workers in March even though an £8 million bail-out of the firm was unveiled last month. (Scotsman page 9)


Borders Book Festival: More than 10,000 book lovers are expected to attend the Borders Book Festival in Melrose in June. This will pump an estimated £2.7 million into the local economy. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 10, The Courier page 15)


Scottish Fashion: The Dressed to Kilt fashion show, founded in 2003, took place in New York on Tuesday attracting a variety of celebrities. The show has fast become the premier Scottish fashion event outside the UK. The showcase was organised with the Scottish textile industry, including such firms as Calzeat and Harris Tweed Hebrides. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 3, Daily Telegraph page 12, P & J page 14, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Express page 3, The Sun page 3)


Car Sales: Scottish car showrooms have welcomed encouraging signs that they have turned the corner of a downturn in sales after new registrations went up by 4% compared with 2009. (Herald page 4)


Local Government

Aberdeen City Council: Councillor Martin Greig, the Liberal Democrat convener of the Grampian Police Board at Aberdeen City Council, is calling on oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood to divert his £50 million donation, earmarked for the controversial City Garden project, to help fund vital education arts projects in the city. (Scotsman page 21, P & J page 6)


School to Share with Fire Station: A primary school in the Highlands is to be built on the same campus as a fire station as part of an efficiency drive by the council. Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service will contribute £300,000 towards the £3.2 million cost of the project at Lochaline in Morvern. (Herald page 2)



Ferries: Professor Neil Kay, a persistent critic of successive Scottish administrations’ stewardship of Caledonian and Northlink’s publicly subsidised lifeline ferry service, has supported a petition submitted to Holyrood’s public petitions committee calling for an independent group of experts to advise ministers on ferries to be established by the next Scottish Parliament because of “sustained incompetence” in the advice given by civil servants. (Herald page 3)



High Achieving Pupils: Part of the SNP Government’s plan to tackle the higher education funding crisis is to enable more pupils with Advanced Higher Qualification to skip the first year of university. However, it has been claimed that this could increase pressure on schools already struggling with finding cuts. (The Times page 13)



Smear Tests: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is facing calls for an inquiry into its smear-testing regime, after a woman given the all-clear was later diagnosed with cancer. (Scotsman page 1, Daily Telegraph page 7, Daily Mail page 5)


Hospital Staff: A study at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary found nurses were conducting required observation correctly on just one-fifth of vulnerable patients. In 64% of cases, one or more of the checks had been skipped. (Herald page 1)