Reform Scotland News: 14 June 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 borrowing powers: The Treasury has agreed to allow the Scottish Government to borrow up to £2.2billion in the form of loans and has now also sanctioned the additional mechanism of issuing bonds. (Herald page 6, Times page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Kerry Gill in the Express, Courier page 9, Telegraph page 2, P&J page 11)


However, John Maciver, a banking and finance expert from law from McGrigors, has warned that the Scottish Government’s ability to make the most of its new borrowing powers may be limited if the uncertainty over Scotland’s constitutional future affects its credit rating when trying to attract overseas investors. (Scotsman page 4)


Two years for Ed to improve: Labour MP Liam Byrne has appeared to give Ed Miliband two years to prove himself as leader of the Labour Party.   The comments came ahead of a speech by the Labour leader where he admitted the party had been associated with benefit scroungers and bankers in the past and should now become the party for the “grafters”.  (Herald page 6, Times page 12, Rachel Sylvester in the Times, Sun page 4, Mirror page 4, Mail page 8, Record page 2, Guardian page 14, FT page 2, Philip Stephens in the FT, Courier page 11, Telegraph page 8, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, P&J page 5)


Strike action: Unison, the UK’s largest public sector union, has warned that the country could be facing the biggest strikes in a generation affecting schools, hospitals and councils. (Times page 1, Mirror page 4, Mail page 26, Guardian page 2, Courier page 11, Telegraph page 4)


Scottish debt: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments that although Winston Churchill wrote of Ireland’s debt on independence, it is unlikely to happen for Scotland.


Welfare: Joan McAlpine MSP in the Scotsman argues that the Scottish Government should be given control over welfare.


Scottish Labour: David Maddox in the Scotsman comments that the Scottish Labour Party must stop treating the London wing of the party as the enemy if it is to rebuild.



Pensions: A study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggested that pensioners are being hit with a higher rate of inflation at 4.6%, 0.1 per cent above the Consumer Price Index. (Mail page 1, Telegraph page 1)



Lockerbie bombing: The Crown Office is examining new evidence regarding the Lockerbie bombing and may invoke new double jeopardy legislation to allow prosecutors to re-try Al-Amin Khakifa Fhimah, who was originally acquitted in 2001. (Scotsman page 6)


Rape law: Lord Advocate Frank Mullholland QC has called for a change in Scottish law to increase the successful prosecution of rape cases in Scotland. (Times page 1)



School closures: Cosla president Pat Watters has branded the Scottish Government’s demand that there should be no rural school closures for a year “perverse” arguing “Of 35 schools proposed for closure, few have been called in and the minister has only felt able to refuse the closure of four of these under the current legislation”.  There is an emergency meeting in Argyll and Bute today to discuss the future of 11 schools the council wants to close to save money. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Mail page 10, Telegraph page 1, P&J page 11)


Higher education funding: Former Labour MSP Des McNulty, who lost his seat in May’s election, has called for a 1p increase on higher rate taxpayers in Scotland to raise £68million to pay for higher education. (Scotsman page 18)



Ninewells: Ninewells hospital in Dundee has been warned it must prioritise improving hygiene procedures.  (Scotsman page 21, Herald page 10, Times page 7, Record page 4, Courier page 1, P&J page 1)


Right-to-die: Margo MacDonald MSP believes last night’s TV documentary showing the death of a motor neurone disease sufferer who took his own life adds weight to her campaign to legalise assisted suicide. (Herald page 1)


NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde: Scotland’s largest health board is considering scraping hundreds of minor operations, including operations to remove tonsils and varicose veins, in an attempt to save money. (Express page 10, Record page 6, P&J page 4)



Congestion: Edinburgh is reportedly the second most congested city in the UK, behind London.  Edinburgh was ranked 7th in a list of the 50 most congested areas in Europe by TomTom. (Scotsman page 1, Neil Greig in the Scotsman, Express page 9, Mail page 21)


Glasgow traffic ban: Glasgow may be forced to ban heavy polluting traffic in the run up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in order to bring down emissions levels if the European Commission launches enforcement action. (Scotsman page 5)