Reform Scotladn News: 13 July 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.



Phone hacking: New developments in the case concerning the Murdoch Empire with MPs from all parties having agreed to suspend the takeover of BSkyB at least until all inquiries and criminal investigations are completed. Criticism also fell on senior Met officials who were described as “unconvincing” by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee. (The Times page 1, The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 1, The Guardian page 1, The FT page 1, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Telegraph page 1, Daily Mail page 4, Daily Express page 5, Daily Mail page 6, Daily Record page 1, Sun page 1)


BBC: A study by the Audience Council Scotland, a body which examines how the corporation is serving licence payers, has concluded that news is biased towards England with Scottish issues not gaining enough coverage. BBC Radio 4 was one of the worst offenders for a non pan-UK perspective, and stands accused of largely representing only the south east. Scottish comedy shows did much better in gaining exposure. (Scotsman page 3, The Herald page 4)


In another story, the number of people earning more than £100,000 a year at the BBC has gone up, according to its accounts which were released yesterday. The corporation paid 274 people six-figure salaries in 2010/11.  The figures were released a week after BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said “licence fee payers did not expect the BBC to pay sky-high commercial rewards to people that work for a public service.”(The Scotsman page 3, Courier page 6, Press and Journal page 8, Telegraph page 8, Daily Mail page 7)



RBS ‘ring fence’: The taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland has submitted plans to separate its customer-focused operations from its investment banking business; though CEO Stephen Hester warned that such internal separation could make banks more risky. (The Herald page 1&2)


Electricity market reform: It has been warned that the white paper unveiled yesterday in the House of Commons by Energy Secretary Chris Huhne could cause energy bills to rise by around £160 by 2030, particularly affecting elderly people already struggling with heating costs. The rise is in part to pay for a £110 billion investment needed to replace ageing infrastructure. Mr Huhne also said that keeping the status quo would cost even more. The news was welcomed by First Minister Alex Salmond. (The Scotsman page 14, The Herald page 2, Telegraph page 10)


Food exports: Scottish food exports reached £1bn for the first time last year according to figures compiled by Scottish Development International (SDI). Fish and seafood made up the lion’s share with fastest growing importers including Poland and the UAE. Spain, France and Ireland are still the largest importers of Scottish produce. (Scotsman page 1&8,)


Cost of living: Inflation fell from 4.5% to 4.2% in May but food prices bucked the trend with a 0.9% rise adding to the 6.9% total rise over the course of this year based on figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) (Scotsman page 2)


U-turn on Cheques: The Payments Council; a body representing banks and payment schemes; yesterday announced a scrapping of plans to abandon cheques by October 2018. The move has been described by critics as a “victory for common sense” (The Scotsman page 19, The FT page 1, The Guardian page 16)


Local Government

Edinburgh Festival: Locals are being encouraged to engage in the Fringe this year through the ‘Cheaper Fringe for Locals’ scheme being run by Sally Slingback a performer who says that locals perceive the festival as “expensive and tourist orientated”. It will offer 2-for-1 on a number of tickets to households with an EH postcode. (The Scotsman page 11)


RAF Leuchars/Lossiemouth: A decision on the future of the military bases at both Leuchars and Lossiemouth in Moray will now be made public early next week. It is understood ministers had hoped to make an announcement before the weekend, but a row over where army troops should be based on their return from Germany is complicating the issue. (Courier page 1)



Border control: MSP Humza Yousaf has warned that stringent security at Glasgow Airport is driving away customers and encouraging resentment from ethnic minorities. In a statement yesterday, he claimed it was “not counter terrorism but counter productive” and could tip some people over the edge towards terrorism. Glasgow police have reportedly received no complaints from ethnic minorities concerned about the way they have been treated so far. (The Scotsman page 16, The Herald page 5)


Waste management and crime: The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is to be given previously secret police files in an attempt to stamp out criminal links to the waste management industry in Scotland. (The Herald page 11)



Glasgow Airport: Michael O’Leary has said that Ryan Air may start to fly from Glasgow Airport after BAA is forced to sell it by the Competition Commission to maintain control of the more profitable Edinburgh Airport. There is a possibility of 40 new routes being opened from the Airport. (The Scotsman page 18, The Herald page 8)


Edinburgh trams: Details acquired using the Freedom of Information Act have revealed that Transport Initiative Edinburgh (TIE); the organisation in charge of running the trams project for the City of Edinburgh Council; spent more than £5 million on public relations consultants and solicitors while embroiled in its calamitous dispute with German engineering contractors BBS. (The Times page 16)



University funding gap: Scottish universities are predicted to face a £263 million shortfall by 2014-15 compared to their English rivals who can charge fees of up to £9,000 to all students. This is far higher than the £93m funding gap predicted by the SNP who insist that free education will remain competitive. (Scotsman page 1, 12&13, The Herald page 2, The Times page 6, Telegraph page 1)



Drug availability: Calls have been made by patient groups to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon to end the ‘post code lottery’ that means patients in much of the UK can receive certain drugs while these are refused in Scotland following the case of Joyce Juszcak who was recommended a course of eculizumab by Dr Henry Hambley only to be refused by the NHS Greater Glasgow and and Clyde Panel. In a statement she called herself a “walking timebomb”. (The Herald page 1)


Sexual health: Sexually transmitted disease rates have trebled in a decade according to Scottish Government figures. There has been a call for the NHS to redouble efforts to deal with the problem following criticism that the message of safe sex has failed. (The Scotsman page 22)