Reform Scotland News: 20 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.

 

Politics

Scottish Cabinet: First Minister Alex Salmond unveiled the line up of the Scottish Cabinet yesterday which will stay the same as before, aside from an additional three seats.

Fiona Hyslop the former Education Secretary returns to the Cabinet as Secretary for Cultural and External Affairs.  Bruce Crawford, minister for parliamentary business in the SNP’s first term is now the Cabinet Secretary for parliamentary business and government strategy.  Alex Neil has been handed a frontbench role, with his housing portfolio extended to infrastructure and capital investment.  After it was revealed that taxpayers are having to foot the bill for the extended administration, Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie called the new administration “bloated” as it is “not a good example of belt tightening when many families face uncertainty over jobs, paying their bills and making ends meet” (The Scotsman page 14&15, Herald page 8, P&J page 8, The Times page 5, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Express page 4, Sun page 2)

 

George Kerevan comments in the Scotsman (page 31) that the cabinet is still to be validated.

 

Independence: James Mitchell writes in The Scotsman (page 32&33) about how the SNP’s attitude towards independence has changed.

 

Energy watchdog: Alex Salmond believes that Holyrood should have influence over energy regulator Ofgem to drive forward the green energy revolution.  The First Minister said that the organisation should be more accountable to the Scottish Parliament so MSPs can help shape its policy direction. (P&J page 11)

 

Coastguard station: A campaign against the planned closure of Coastguard stations has forced ministers to reconsider the move.  It was revealed yesterday that the UK Government is to scale back the controversial proposals which would have seen the number of stations across the UK reduced from 19 to 9. Under the plans the only full-time Scottish station that would have been left would be Aberdeen, with a second – either Shetland or Orkney –  only operating during the day.  (The Scotsman page 17, P&J page 1&9, Herald page 12, Courier page 1, Daily Express page 10)

 

Government statistics: A report by Round the Table, chaired by Professor Jan Bebbington of St Andrews University have claimed that the Scottish Government should measure its success by people’s happiness rather than economic production.  The report has provided recommendations aimed at improving the way in which the Scottish Government gathers statistics and measures progress as part of its National Performance Framework.  It comes in the light of the growing recognition that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fails to reflect factors that are just as important as economic output such as life expectancy, well-being, inequality and environmental damage. (Daily Express page 10)

 

Economy

IMF: Gordon Brown’s hopes of becoming the next head of the International Monetary Fund appeared to be ebbing last night as European leaders pushed for the French finance minister Christine Lagarde to take the job. (Scotsman page 3, Courier page 10)

 

Leuchars: Fife MSPs have joined in the last ditch attempt to save RAF Leuchars which is threatened with closure.  The region’s 12 constituency and regional MSPs put aside their political differences to issue a joint statement urging the UK Government not to close the economically vital air base. (Courier page 9)

 

Wave energy: A number of new wave and tidal energy projects have been approved around the Scottish coast.  The Crown Estate which owns most of the seabed out to 12 nautical miles has granted leases which brings the total number of projects under development or in operation in UK waters to 22.  This figure puts Britain ahead of anywhere else in the world.  (P&J page 11)

 

Sir Fred Goodwin: The former head of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir Fred Goodwin, has abandoned efforts to keep details of an alleged extra-marital affair with a former colleague secret.  Sir Fred Goodwin had tried to gag newspaper reports by taking out a super-injunction at the high court. However, yesterday in a dramatic turnaround, Mr Justice Tugendhat said that the media could name Sir Fred after the banker’s identity was revealed in parliament earlier in the day by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Stoneham. (The Scotsman page  1, Herald page 1,P&J page 8, The Times page 1, The Guardian page 4, Daily Telegraph page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 1, Sun page 1, Daily Record page 1, Daily Mirror page 1)

 

Local Government

By-election: Voters went to the polls yesterday in a crucial by-election that could lead to a shift in the leadership of the coalition which runs Aberdeen City Council.  The vote for a new councillor to represent Dyce, Bucksburn and Danestone ward follows the death of Liberal Democrat member Ron Clarke. (The Scotsman page 9)

 

Councillor jailed: Former Aberdeen Councillor Scott Cassie was yesterday jailed for a year after embezzling more than £13,000 from a community group to pay his bills. (The Scotsman page 20, P&J page 1, Herald page 10)

 

Language unit: Glasgow City Council is considering closing its bilingual support unit, which is for the children of refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants who speak little or no English.  They are blaming the move on the loss of £186,000 in funding from the UK Border Agency.  (Herald page 10)

 

Justice

Exclusion orders: For the first time in Scotland, every drunken violent offender arrested in Aberdeen will automatically face an exclusion order, banning them from licensed premises for up to two years.  This pioneering crackdown against alcohol-fuelled crime was welcomed by the body which speaks for Scotland’s chief police officers, and said that they aim to study the scheme’s success with a view to applying it elsewhere. (The Scotsman page 13)

 

Border Agency: UK Border Agency staff in Scotland and Northern Ireland carried out inspections at only 10% of small air and seaports a report has found.  The independent chief inspector of the agency said that just 63 out of 683 threat assessments had been undertaken.  The former chief constable of Tayside John Vine said it “needs to improve the way it identifies and addresses the threats” (Herald page 2, Courier page 11, Daily Mail page 25)

 

Transport

Edinburgh Trams: Edinburgh’s tram firm chief executive Richard Jeffrey is expected to receive a six-figure pay-off after confirming that he is to quit the controversial project.  Mr Jeffrey will also step down as chief executive of the tram-bus co-ordinating company, Transport Edinburgh.  (The Scotsman page 10&11, Herald page 11, The Times page 11, Daily Express page 11, Daily Record page 15)

 

Alastair Dalton in the Scotsman (page 11) provides analysis on Mr Jeffrey’s departure and the consequences it will have for the Edinburgh tram project.

 

Bus driver strike: Hundreds of rush hour commuters were left stranded last night in Dundee after National Express bus drivers staged two strikes in one day and brought chaos to the city. (Courier page 12)

 

Education

Closure questionnaires: Some primary school pupils in rural areas in Scotland have been asked to share their opinion on the rationalisation of educational provision.  As a result Argyll and Bute Council has been reported to the Children’s Commissioner by parents and an MSP who are alarmed at the questioning of pupils in schools threatened with closure. (Herald page 3)

 

Health

NHS: Almost 300 health service workers are facing the sack after bosses at NHS Lothian have threatened to dismiss anyone caught not coming into work without good reason, after identifying 288 employees with the worst attendance records.  They have warned that a “vast proportion” of these workers are likely to be sacked as part of a drive to save the health board some £3.5 million a year. (The Scotsman page 9)

 

Pre-eclampsia: New research has revealed that taking dietary supplements could prevent dangerous complications of pregnancy.  Up to one in ten women in Scotland develop pre-eclampsia, which can be fatal for both mothers and their unborn babies. (Herald page 9, Daily Mail page 3)