Reform Scotland News: 17 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.



Independence plans: The SNP’s controversial policy to share military bases with the UK government should Scotland become independent has been described as “extremely worrying” by Britain’s Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, because it would ‘threaten the sound defence of the UK’. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 2, Telegraph page 8, Daily Mail page 8, Express page 4)


Labour problems: Former Scottish secretary Jim Murphy has appealed for unity within the party as they attempt to rebuild in the aftermath the elections. (Scotsman page 11)


Holyrood Internships: A labour MSP has lodged a motion calling for MSPs to pay their interns for their services, saying that unpaid work means the positions are only available for those who can afford to work for free, restricting opportunity to the wealthy. (Scotsman page 19, Courier page 9)


Labour Leadership: A senior Scottish Labour MP, Tom Harris, has called for a change to leadership elections in the Scottish party to limit the influence of unions and for the party’s Electoral College to be replaced by a one-member, one-vote system. (Times page 5, Herald page 6, Record page 2)



Housing expenditure: Research by the Bank of Scotland released today shows the cost of owning and running a home in Scotland has risen to its highest level since 2009, despite lower interest rates and mortgage payments. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 3, Courier page 7, Express page 24, Sun page 22, Record page 42)


Public Sector: Redundancy payouts in the public sector in Scotland have increased three-fold in the past three years, to deal with the impact of cutbacks. The cost of managing staff cuts shows almost £100 million has been paid out in redundancy and severance payments over the three years by police forces, health boards and local authorities. (Scotsman page 17)


Highland wildfires: The fires that devastated parts of the Highlands recently could have caused up to £26.5 million worth of damage, the area’s fire chief has estimated. (Scotsman page 22, Herald page 3, Courier page 11)


Local Government

Edinburgh Trams: Council leaders have admitted that the Capital’s tram project may become a private finance initiative to get the scheme up and running. The Scottish Government has already been approached to help rescue the scheme. It has also been revealed that scrapping the project could be more costly than finishing even a shortened route. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 4, Courier page 6, P&J page 9, Daily Mail page 10, Express page 10, Record page 6)



Knife threat: Donald Findlay, the leading QC and former vice-chairman of Rangers, has been sent a knife in the post. This is the latest threat to a high-profile figure in Scottish football. (Scotsman page 4, Times page 5, Herald page 5, Courier page 8, P&J page 7, Daily Mail page 5, Express page 5, Sun page 5)



Industrial action: Council bosses have hit back at moves by teaching unions to take industrial action in protest to changes in their pay and working conditions. Cosla has said the action by the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association threatens to “disrupt children’s education”. (Scotsman page 18)


Glasgow University: Evening and weekend classes at Glasgow University appear to have been saved after a public outcry over plans to close them. The university has now recommended keeping open the Department of Adult and Continuing Education. However, the unit will have to pay its way and a grant it previously received will be phased out over the next few years. (Herald page 9)



Superbug warning: According to a senior health chief, Dr Bob Masterson, relatives of hospital patients could face being turned away or forced to wear protective clothing in a bid to reduce infection rates. (Herald page 4)