Reform Scotland News: 29 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.

 

Politics

Strike action: Public services in Scotland are facing disruption tomorrow because of a strike by 30,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union over pension reforms. Pickets will be out at jobcentres, courts, passport and immigration offices, driving test centres, the Scottish Parliament and Government buildings, the Faslane naval base and museums and galleries, including popular tourist destinations such as Edinburgh Castle.  (Herald page 6, Daily Telegraph page 1, Scotsman page 12, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Guardian page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 1)

 

SNP Tram referendum: The people of Edinburgh could be asked to decide on scrapping the city’s troubled trams scheme.  Steve Cardownie, deputy leader at the council and head of the SNP group, will call for the referendum at a meeting tomorrow. The last time the council sought the people’s opinion was in 2005 when controversial congestion charges for the city were rejected.  Now, as the costs stand at £773 million to complete the tram route from the airport to St Andrew Square and £740m to scrap the project, voters could be asked what to do.  (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 14)

 

Games Chief: Pressure is growing on ministers and officials to provide more details on the sudden resignation of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games chief. The Scottish Government is facing claims of collusion in a cover-up after it rejected demands for full disclosure of the secret advice that forced the resignation of John Scott. Alex Salmond’s administration was accused of exacerbating the situation after Mr Scott’s resignation from his £180,000 a year job on Monday by being “secretive”. (Herald page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Scotsman page 1, Times page 1)

 

Labour: Shadow chancellor Ed Balls joined Labour’s Inverclyde by-election candidate on the campaign trail yesterday.  Mr Balls visited Port Glasgow with Iain McKenzie ahead of polls opening tomorrow. He said: “The Tory-led government’s cuts go too far, too fast. They are creating a vicious circle in our economy which is hitting people in Inverclyde hard.”  (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 6)

 

Youngest SNP Councillor: A 26-year-old councillor will today become the youngest leader of a local authority in Scotland. Callum McCaig, who first entered local politics four years ago, will take over as head of Aberdeen City Council after marathon talks between the SNP and Liberal Democrat groups on the city authority agreed to continue their coalition administration. The SNP became the largest single party on the council with 15 seats – two more than the Lib Dems – following two recent by election victories (Scotsman page 22, Scottish Daily Mail page 8)

 

Economy

Shopping: Yesterday two more well-known firms, upmarket confectioner Thorntons and department store chain TJ Hughes, became the latest victims of the squeeze on consumer spending.  High street retailers are reportedly suffering as households tighten their purse strings because of high inflation and the threat of rising interest rates, as well as competition from online shopping. (Herald page 10, Courier page 15, Guardian page 1)

 

Transport

M74 Extension Opens: One of the most expensive road-building projects in the UK has been officially opened by the Duke of Gloucester.  With an estimated cost of £692 million, the M74 extension was the largest infrastructure project to be completed in Scotland in recent years and was finished eight months ahead of schedule.  It has linked the end of the M74 at Fullarton Road junction and the M8 west of the Kingston Bridge on the south side of Glasgow.  (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 5, Press and Journal page 7)

 

Airline card charges: Airlines and travel companies have been threatened with legal action if they continue to impose last-minute fees on customers for paying by card. Air, rail and ferry customers often have to click through several pages online before a payment charge is added, the Office for Fair Trading (OFT) said yesterday. The OFT will press the government to ban surcharges for all debit cards and wants credit card charges to be factored into the headline price.  (Scotsman page 20, Press and Journal page 5)

 

Health

Obesity: Obesity is a killer of Scottish women that has been overlooked for decades because of an emphasis on the dangers of smoking, doctors have warned.  The true scale of the epidemic, which has seen obesity-related early deaths rise by more than 40% since 2004, has been laid bare in a study that reveals the risk of excessive weight to women who have never smoked. Women are much more likely to be overweight or obese than non-smokers, particularly if they are poor, and this puts them at a higher risk of dying of heart disease, according to the research published in the British Medical Journal today. (Herald page 1)