Reform Scotland News: 12 July 2012


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.



Football violence: First Minister Alex Salmond has welcomed an announcement by the Joint Action Group (JAG) made up of representatives from the Scottish Government, Strathclyde police and Celtic and Rangers setting out ways to tackle sectarian violence in football. A code of conduct will be introduced for supporters and players alike as well as a national police unit formed to deal with the issue and wide ranging powers to limit the sale of alcohol in areas where police find trouble may be caused. (The Scotsman page 8, The Herald page 6, The Courier page 11)


Phone Hacking: Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was ‘shocked’ after learning his baby son’s medical records were allegedly targeted by the Sun as the News of the World phone-hacking scandal spread to other News International newspapers.  Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced in UK parliament that he will refer the BSkyB takeover bid to the Competition Commission. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Daily Mail page 1, Daily Express page 1, Daily Record page 1)


Public Sector Absenteeism: A freedom of information request by the Scotsman has revealed that 17 million days were lost over the last 5 years in the public sector to absenteeism with an estimated cost of £750 million to the taxpayer. Opposition parties in Holyrood are demanding tough action to curb the recent rise. (The Scotsman page 12)


Independence Referendum: Labour backbencher Anas Sarwar MP for Glasgow Central has asked in an open letter to Alex Salmond that the referendum should be placed in the hands of an independent commission established to examine the precise working and timing of the referendum. The commission, made up of representatives from all political parties and civic society, would make recommendations to ministers.  (The Herald page 6)


State Monopoly: David Cameron’s plans to open public services to competition from private companies to end state monopoly in “pretty much” every part of the public sector. Devolved powers such as health and education will be protected though UK wide services such as welfare will be affected. Mr Cameron defended the white paper saying it will usher in “more freedom, more choice and more local control”. (The Scotsman page 2)


Coastguard stations: Ministers are expected to announce a U-turn on proposed plans to modernise Scotland’s coastguard. The plans involved reducing the number of 24 hour stations from 5 to just one based in Aberdeen with a further Shetland station to be open only during daylight hours. (The Herald page 6)



House Prices: A study by the Institute of Chartered Surveyors has revealed that the ‘summer lull’ has started early with the lowest number of inquiries from buyers of any month this year occurring in June. (The Scotsman page 21, The Herald page 5)


Local Government

Urban Deer: New legislation is to be launched regarding the increase in population of Roe Deer in Scottish towns and cities. (The Scotsman page 23, The Herald page 4)


Senior Council Job Cuts: Fife Council is to cut around 80 management posts in a move which will save £3.2 million a year following a redesign of the management structure. Council leader Peter Grant said the jobs would go through natural wastage and there would be no compulsory redundancies. (The Courier page 4)



Airport Numbers: Edinburgh was Scotland’s busiest airport with a rise of 7.6% to 918,900, making June the fourth consecutive month of record traffic, with Aberdeen showing the highest growth rate at 10.1%. (The Courier page 3)



Unemployment: A new study by The Future of You an online mentoring service has revealed that as many as one in four unemployed young Scots have considered suicide. (The Scotsman page 16)


Southern Cross: Ex Southern Cross care homes which house 3,500 Scots may be forced to raise their fees in order for residents to remain in their current homes by as much as £100 a week. A spokesperson for the Scottish Government assured friends and family that elderly residents would not be moved out. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 6, The Courier page 13)


Cancer Drugs: The NHS in Scotland will not make available a new drug already recommended for adoption in England by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice). Trabectedin, designed to treat soft tissue sarcomas, is administered in the last two years of a patient’s life at a cost of around £25,000. The Scottish Medicines Consortium stated “this does not represent value for money”. (The Herald page 9)