Reform Scotland News: 11 May 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.



Fiscal Powers: Ben Thomson, Chairman of Reform Scotland, argues in the Scotsman that both Holyrood and Westminster should be responsible for raising the money they spend and that reforming the Scotland Bill offers an opportunity to give Holyrood the additional tax raising powers necessary to achieve this goal.


Council tax freeze: A detailed cost analysis carried out by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has suggested that the total cost of the SNP’s council tax freeze for the full parliamentary term would be £3.15billion.  The paper also outlined other financial pitfalls facing the new Scottish Government as a result of the SNP’s policies on free higher education, free care for the elderly and free prescriptions. (Scotsman page 1, Times page 3, Mail page 6, Record page 2, Courier page 3)


David Cairns: David Cairns, Labour MP for Inverclyde and former Scottish Office Minister, has died aged 44. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 7, Times page 3, Sun page 22, Mirror page 12, Express page 9, Mail page 8, Record page 2, Telegraph page 10, P&J page 9, Courier page 11)


Independence referendum: The coalition government has confirmed that it will not stand in the way of an independence referendum and it will not bring forward one itself. (Scotsman page 5, Sun page 2, P&J page 9)


Alice Thomson in the Times warns that Alex Salmond could suffer as Nick Clegg has if an independence referendum, which she believes should be a straight yes or no question, is lost.


Simon Jenkins in the Guardian questions why David Cameron wants to fight against independence and argues for English independence.


Labour party: Ed Miliband has reportedly vowed “never again” to allow the Westminster party to be cut out of a Holyrood election campaign.  The Labour leader has ordered a review of the campaign to be carried out by Jim Murphy MP and Sarah Boyack MSP. (Scotsman page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 2)


Scottish Tory leadership: Murdo Fraser MSP has reportedly received offers from party supporters to help bankroll his leadership bid to replace Annabel Goldie.  Alex Johnstone has publicly backed Murdo Fraser, though he is to announce whether he is standing or not while, Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont has suggested he will stand for the post. The party dismissed claims yesterday that Annabel was forced to quit by David Cameron. (Scotsman page 8, Allan Massie in the Scotsman, Emma Cowing in the Scotsman, Ruth Wishart in the Herald, Sun page 8, Express page 2, Kerry Gill in the Express, P&J page 9)


David Laws: Former chief secretary to the Treasury, Lib Dem MP David Laws, has been found guilty of breaching a number of House of Commons rules over his expenses. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 9, Times page 14, Mirror page 4, Mail page 12, Record page 2, Guardian page 15, Telegraph page 8)


Coalition relationship: Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has warned that the coalition relationship will become harder and the political differences between the Tories and Lib Dems will become more obvious. Nick Clegg is expected to outline today some Conservative policies which the Lib Dems have blocked. (Herald page 1, Mail page 12, Guardian page 6, Simon Heffer in the Telegraph, Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph, FT page 2, P&J page 11)


Presiding officer: The Scottish Parliament will today hold a secret ballot to select the new presiding officer.  There is speculation that the SNP will use their majority to secure a SNP MSP for the position. (Herald page 6, Express page 2, Mail page 6, Telegraph page 1, P&J page 9, Courier page 10)



Oil & gas industry: According to the 14th Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce Oil and Gas Survey, trust between the industry and the UK government has hit an all time low following the recent tax changes announced by the Chancellor. (Scotsman page 2 )


Household finances: A survey carried out by suggests almost a quarter of the UK population believes they are on the brink of their financial “tipping point”. (Scotsman page 14)


RAF bases: Chambers of Commerce throughout Scotland have joined together to warn that the Scottish economy would be badly affected if either RAF Leuchars or RAF Lossiemouth were to close. (Courier page 1)



School reform: John McTernan in the Scotsman argues that reform in Scotland’s schools is necessary to improve standards.


Strathclyde University:  Strathclyde University has drawn up plans to withdraw degrees in music, community education, geography and sociology. (Herald page 1)


Local Government

Coucillor MSPs: 22 MSPs elected last week are also councillors and are facing criticism for collecting two salaries.  Two Renfrewshire councillors, who were elected as MSPs, have already given up their official position on the council, indicated they will stand down as a councillor at next year’s council elections and have said they will give away their councillor salary. (Herald page 6)



Speed limits: Coalition ministers are considering plans to raise motorway speed limits to 80mph. (Telegraph page 1)