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Reform Scotland News: 19 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.

 

Politics

Defence strategy: Defence Secretary Liam Fox has made a bold attempt to try to convince Scotland of the benefits of the United Kingdom by doubling the size of the army north of the Border and increasing the overall number of personnel by 2,500. In his long-awaited bases review yesterday, Dr Fox emphasised that the threat of an independence referendum from the SNP-run Scottish Government had played a significant part in the way he has decided to reconfigure the armed forces across the UK. While the regular strength of the British Army is to be chopped by 17,000 in the next few years, the numbers of troops in Scotland will increase from 3,000 to 6,500. (Scotsman page 1, page 5, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, Daily Record page 1, Daily Express page 1, Sun page 7)

 

Three historic military bases in Edinburgh will shut down and a major new one will be created at an airfield on the outskirts of the city under the UK’s controversial defence shake-up. Ministry of Defence chiefs have decided to end the army’s long association with Craigiehall, Redford and Dreghorn in favour of a new super-barracks close to the village of Kirknewton in West Lothian. (Scotsman page 8)

 

Murdoch scandal: Britain’s biggest police force was in turmoil last night after another senior officer resigned over the phone hacking scandal. The Prime Minister was forced to extend parliament to tackle the crisis as Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner John Yates resigned. In his resignation statement, Mr Yates brushed aside new claims that he secured a job for the daughter of hacking suspect Neil Wallis by insisting that his “conscience is clear”. Britain’s top counter-terror officer said he had acted with complete integrity, after announcing his resignation less than 24 hours after boss Sir Paul Stephenson announced his intention to quit. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1, Times page 6, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, Press and Journal page 6, FT page 2, Sun page 1)

 

Reporter found dead: Sean Hoare, a former News of the World reporter, turned whistleblower after he was dismissed from the tabloid, has been found dead. He was the first journalist to publicly claim that Andy Coulson, then editor of the newspaper, “encouraged” staff to hack into phones and was fully aware of the practice, which he said was “endemic”.
Mr Hoare, who was found his home in Watford yesterday in circumstances that the police described as unexplained but not suspicious, told the New York Times that Mr Coulson encouraged staff at the NoW to hack into the phones of celebrities to get stories. Later, he told the BBC that he was personally asked by Andy Coulson to intercept phone calls. (Scotsman
page 12, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 8, Daily Mirror page 1, Daily Mail page 1)

 

Voluntary sector: Finance Secretary John Swinney has unveiled a £7 million support package for Scotland’s voluntary sector. The measure will boost charities and social companies in Scotland who play an “important role” in creating jobs for vulnerable groups, he said yesterday. The money will be split between two programmes aimed at helping enterprising organisations grow. “Social enterprises, voluntary organisations and community organisations play an important part in Scottish society,” the finance secretary said. (Scotsman page 6)

 

Greenpeace: Dozens of environmental activists dressed as polar bears occupied the Edinburgh offices of oil exploration company Cairn Energy yesterday to protest about Arctic oil exploration. Greenpeace says Cairn, a Scottish company, is risking environmental disaster by drilling 100 miles off Greenland, and has challenged the business to reveal its plans for dealing with any potential spill. However, Cairn says its operations are approved and regulated by the Greenland government, which has strict environmental safeguards in place. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 2, Times page 15, Press and Journal page 12, Daily Express page 15)

 

Economy

Unemployment benefit: Some of the biggest increases in the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in the UK have been in Scotland, according to a report by Bank of Scotland. It analysed 129 areas of the UK to measure the rate of people claiming jobseeker’s allowances. Of the 20 areas which had the highest rise in claimants, seven were in Scotland – all seeing rises of at least 2.3 per cent since 2008. The highest rise in Scotland – of 3 per cent – was in North Lanarkshire. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 6)

 

Justice

Chief Constable Steve House: Scotland’s highest-profile police officer, Strathclyde Chief Constable Steve House, has emerged as a leading contender to become the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police following Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation over the phone hacking scandal. Mr House, a former Assistant Commissioner with the Metropolitan force, who is understood to be interested in the post, said yesterday that Sir Paul’s resignation would be a ‘loss to our service’. (Herald page 3)

Online safety: Only one in four parents in Scotland has controls on their internet access to stop children viewing harmful content, a new report has found. Scottish parents appear less concerned about online risks than the rest of the UK, where more than a third of parents limit their children’s access to the internet, according to the Ofcom watchdog. The danger of unrestricted internet access for children has been highlighted in recent years, with the UK’s online child protection agency, CEOP, logging more than 6000 reports from concerned users last year. (Herald page 11)