Reform Scotland News: 22 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.



Murdoch’s evidence: James Murdoch’s evidence to MPs oh the phone hacking scandal has been called into question by two former News International executives.  The chairman of the News International told a committee of MPs this week that he was not “aware” of an email suggesting that phone hacking went beyond the actions of one “rogue” reporter at the News of the World.  Yesterday, Colin Myler, editor of the tabloid until it closed recently and the company’s former legal manager Tom Crone, issued a statement disputing Mr Murdoch’s evidence.  They said they told him about an email sent at the time News International was authorising an out-of-court settlement to Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association over the hacking of his phone, which made that the practice was more widespread than had been admitted.


In addition David Cameron was dragged further into the scandal amid new claims that the police have concrete evidence that his former communications chief Andy Coulson knew about illegal payments to police officers when he was the editor of News of the World (The Scotsman page 1,12&13, The Herald page 2, The Guardian page 1,The Times page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Courier page 11, FT page 1, Daily Express page 15, Daily Mail page 8, Daily Record page 1)


Crown Estates:  Alex Salmond’s hopes for a power grab over Crown Estates assets in Scotland have been thwarted by the Treasury which will today announce two new coastal towns’ funds for Scotland.  Charities and community groups are expected to benefit from the specially created fund that will receive half the organisation’s marine revenues in Scotland, currently £4 million a year but likely to rise to around £40 million by 2021.  (The Scotsman page 16, The Herald page 1, P&J page 1)


MP expenses: Two of Scotland’s Labour MPs racked up some of the highest expenses claims at the House of Commons during the last year, after charging for huge travel and staffing bills.  Labour MP Eric Joyce and Brian Donohoe were both included in the top five highest claimers at Westminster during 2010-11.  (The Scotsman page 2, The Herald page 4, The Guardian page 8, P&J page 8, Daily Express page 15, Daily Mirror page 4, Sun page 2)


Army barracks: Plans to sell off historic bases in Edinburgh and build new super barracks in West Lothian have been branded as “ludicrous” by a retired senior officer who had the job of running large parts of the army in Scotland.  Colonel Clive Fairweather has accused the Ministry of Defence of only being interested in “trying to make a quick buck” and not in providing proper army accommodation.  The criticism comes after protests have already started in Edinburgh over plans to close Redford and Dreghorn barracks as well as the command head quarters in Craigiehall. (The Scotsman page 8&9)



Energy price increase: Scottish households are to be hit by fuel bill rises of nearly 20% after one of the country’s main energy suppliers announced plans to dramatically increase prices.  The decision by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) to increase electricity bills by an average of 11% and domestic gas bills by about 18% from 14th September comes after two other major suppliers in Scotland announced similar rises. (The Scotsman page 11,The Herald page 1, The Guardian page 18, P&J page 9, Courier page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Express page 2, Daily Mail page 2, Sun page 2, Daily Record page 2)


Local Government

Building work probe: A council official is being investigated after he allegedly offered to take on building repair work through a private firm.  It is claimed that the Edinburgh City Council property conservation department employee was running his own business and was offering to take on building repairs work.  He is the second worker connected to housing repair work at the council to be identified after their connections to independent building firms were revealed. (The Herald page 4)



Knife crime: A new crackdown on knife crime will see the maximum four year prison sentence for carrying a blade extended to cover additional offences.  Anyone found with a knife on licensed premises, when gang involvement is suspected, at a ‘hot spot’ for violence, on public transport or at a bus or train station will face jury trial.  Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland said it will allow for greater sentencing power for sheriffs and increase maximum prison sentences from one to four years. (The Scotsman page 6, The Herald page 2, P&J page 8, Courier page 10, Daily Express page 15, Daily Mail page 13, Daily Record page 1)



Highland flights: The number of passengers flying in and out of airports in the north and Scottish islands has increased according to new figures.  Highland and Island Airports Limited (HIAL) say a 15% rise in traffic in January to February this year, compared to the same months in 2010. (The Scotsman page 17, P&J page 1)



Level of qualifications: An area in Glasgow has placed bottom in the league for having the worst level of qualifications in the UK.  More than one-third of working age people in Glasgow North East have no school qualifications, according to the University and College Union (UCU), which published the table of UK parliamentary constituencies. Parts of Glasgow and the surrounding area were named as four of the worst ten areas in Britain.  (The Scotsman page 21, The Herald page 1, P&J page 7, Courier page 12, Daily Telegraph page 6, Sun page 6)



Dementia risk:  A single head injury may be enough to trigger dementia in later life, according to a ground-breaking study by Scots researchers.  Scientists in Scotland and America found large number of proteins in the brains of those hurt, which are typical of those seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease.  The research was carried out by a team at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow and the University of Pennsylvania and supports a growing view among doctors that just one injury could potentially develop into a chronic disease such as dementia. (The Scotsman page 11, The Times page 6, P&J page 8, Courier page 11, Daily Mail page 12)