Reform Scotland News: 11 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.



Scottish Powers: The Scottish Parliament should be handed wide-ranging powers on a bid to curb enthusiasm for full independence, Sir John Major has said. Devolving everything but foreign, defence and economic policy Holyrood would quell the arguments raised by separatists, the former Conservative prime minister said yesterday. The SNP Government has pledged to hold a referendum on the issue within the next five years, and it welcomed Sir John’s remarks as a ‘serious contribution’ to the debate. (Telegraph page 8, Times page 13, Kenny Farqurharson comments in Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Times page 4, P&J page 11)


Community councils: In today’s Scotsman, Brian Monteith mentions Reform Scotland’s localism proposals when he argues that community councils should take on local planning decisions and maintaining the environment. With Scottish public services facing serious budget cuts and inflation is being tipped to reach 5 per cent next year, ‘now is the ideal time to breathe a new spirit of local responsibility and civic pride into our communities’, he comments.


News of the World: Rupert Murdock has flown into the UK to take charge of the phone hacking scandal gripping his media empire. He announced that Ms Brooks was his number one priority and that they were standing together. Meanwhile it has emerged that Metropolitan Police are to apologise for ‘institutional’ failures in the handling of the case. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 1, Daily Express page 5, Times page 1, Guardian page 1)


Independence: David Cameron has warned for the first time that he might hold a referendum in England on Scottish Independence to pre-empt the one in Scotland. Alex Salmond dismissed the statement as ‘Sabre rattling’. (Herald page 6, P&J)


Israel Protest: Twelve Britons including 4 Scots have been detained by Israeli forces and told they will be deported after they attempted to fly into Tel Aviv to join a pro-Palestinian protest. (The Herald page 5, The Scotsman page 13)


RAF bases: Two RAF bases that were threatened with closure in the Ministry of Defence are now expected to be spared, with one being converted to house an army brigade. RAF Lossiemouth, on the Moray Firth, will be kept as an RAF base while a MoD review has recommended that RAF Leuchars in Fife, be converted into a base for up to 5,000 troops. (Times page 3, Telegraph page 7, Scotland on Sunday page 6, Sunday Times page 5, The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 8)


Unofficial census: A new poll by energy management company AlertMe has revealed intricate data about the life of the average Scot. Some of the data included that the average Scot wakes up at 6:53am and spends £82.50 a week on food and drink. (The Scotsman page 9)


Fire-fighters: Research by the FBU, the fire industries main union, has revealed that 1,000 jobs have been lost across the UK with more cuts in the pipeline. The hardest hit areas have been Scotland and the South West. (The Scotsman page 9, P&J page 8, The Herald page 7)



Al Gore: Former US vice president Al Gore is to address a conference in Scotland on the future of low carbon investment; held in Edinburgh from the 27th to 28th of September. (The Scotsman page 12, BBC, P&J page 15)


Scottish Labour: Duncan Hamilton comments in Scotland on Sunday on the need for Scottish Labour to rethink it’s managerial approach to Scottish devolution.



Energy Price Rise: The Consumers Association has warned that Britain may end up with the highest energy prices in Europe following energy market reforms set to be announced tomorrow. Price rises could be as high as 30%. Energy secretary Chris Huhne, who will launch a white paper tomorrow on changes to the energy sector, has reportedly insisted the UK had the lowest prices in Europe and rejected suggestions of massive rises ahead. (The Scotsman page 2)


Motorists: 1.3 million UK motorists have given up driving over the last 12 months as a result of the 21% price rise in running a vehicle from last year research by Sainsbury’s Car Insurance. (P&J page 6)


Women unemployed: Women in Scotland who are claiming jobseekers allowance have jumped by almost 20% over the last year while the male number fell by 4%. An equality campaign group have warned that the recession may have a detrimental effect on women’s economic equality. (The Herald page 5)


Leith Docks: Erika Askeland writes in Scotland on Sunday about the transformations due to take place in the historic Leith docks.


Local Government

Taxi bill: Glasgow City Council is under attack over plans to spend millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on taxis and private transport for elected officials, staff and their guests. Senior officials at Glasgow city council have earmarked more than £22m to fund car journeys over the next three years. The disclosure has raised concern among some councillors against the backdrop of a three year programme of job cuts at the council, which affects 2,800 staff, mainly through early retirement. (Sunday Times page 16)


Gang Culture: An initiative to reduce gang related violence in Glasgow has borne fruit. (Gavin Knight writes about the personal side of a city’s battle against violent crime, The Scotsman page 18)


Housing Stock: A £1 billion investment by the Glasgow Housing Association has had surprising effects according to a study by Heriot Watt and Napier Universities, which estimate the multiplier at around £923, £682 of which crucially stayed within the Glasgow area. Much of the effect was put down to strict codes on hiring locally. (The Herald page 10)


Flood Damage: Highland Council have been criticised over their reported inaction regarding mitigation of flooding in a busy retail district of Inverness over the weekend. This is the fourth flood in three years in the area with poor drainage to blame. (The P&J page 3)


Shetland Job cuts: Shetland Island Council is to cut 420 jobs; around 1 in 7 of the workforce on the island it has been claimed. (P&J page 6)



Supreme Court: Maggie Scott QC has accused Alex Salmond of misrepresenting the role of the Supreme Court in Scottish Justice and has called for reforms on how civil liberties are dealt with by Scottish Criminal Courts. She expressed concerns of a growing culture of resistance to the European Convention of Human Rights. (The Herald page 1, Feature page 12)


Chinook crash: Two pilots blamed for the deaths of 29 people on board an RAF Chinook which crashed on the Mull of Kintyre should not been held responsible, a report is expected to say next week. The report from Lord Phillip, a retired judge, is understood to say that the two men in charge of the helicopter should not have been accused of gross misconduct over the crash. The helicopter, which was carrying 25 of Britain’s most senior intelligence experts, came down on a journey from Belfast to Inverness in thick fog in June 1994. (Scotland on Sunday page 1)



Tuition Fees: A recent poll by YouGov has revealed that 80% of UK citizens believe it unfair that English but not Scottish students are charged tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year in Scotland. Alex Salmond has reportedly said that the “the rocks will melt with the Sun” before he charges Scottish students for further education. (Scotsman page 11, P&J page 8, Herald page 8


Application slump: Scottish universities have received 5,000 fewer applications from students south of the Border wanting to take their degrees in Scotland amid claims that the recession and uncertainty over fees are causing undergraduates to stay closer to home. Official figures published last week on the total number of applications made for entry in the new academic year in September confirm a 15 per cent fall in the numbers of English students seeking to come north. The number of Welsh students thinking of studying in Scotland has also dropped by 10 per cent. (Scotland on Sunday page 5, Sunday Times page 9)



Dieting: Doctors warned last night that low calorie diets used by as many as 12 million Britons in an attempt to lose weight are increasing risk of heart disease and cancer and are a ticking time bomb for the NHS on whom it will place massive burdens. (The Daily Express page 1)


Dieting: At the same time it emerged that the cost to the taxpayer of Scots going under the knife to avoid dieting has increased to around £4.2 million with gastric bands being the most popular option. (The Scottish Daily Mail page 1)


Care Home Drug Abuse: Community Pharmacy Scotland has written to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon to open the conversation on pharmacists being more involved in the monitoring of drug usage on elderly patients in care homes, following criticism of an elderly dementia patient given almost 100 sedatives in the final days of her life. (The Scotsman page 12)


Prescription Charges: Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has argued that ending charges on prescriptions was the right decision on the back of new data which suggests that rises in prescription usage when it became free were much smaller than expected at only 2%, keeping the costs of the project under budget. (The Herald page 9, Opinions page 14)