Reform Scotland News: 28 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.



Lockerbie bomber: William Hague has said that the medical advice used to justify the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, has been shown to be “pretty much worthless”.  al-Megrahi, who is terminally ill, was released on compassionate grounds on 20 August 2009 following medical advice suggesting he had about three months to live. However, he is still alive almost two years later and most recently been pictured at a rally in support of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya.(Scotsman page 6 , Times page 1, Magnus Linklater in the Times, Herald page 2, Iain Macwhirter in the Herald, Sun page 2, Mirror page 11, Express page 2, Mail page 1, P&J page 1, Courier page 13, Telegraph page 1)


Pension: Over three-quarters of organisations have backed proposals to create a single-tier state pension as part of the UK government’s consultation. (Scotsman page 2, Express page 1)


Labour: Andrew McFadyen in the Scotsman suggests that the independence referendum could be used by the Scottish Labour Party to reassert its own identity as the party of progressive home rule.


Chris Hune: Police have passed a file on Energy Secretary Chris Hune to the Crown Prosecution Service relating to the allegations he asked his former wife to take penalty points for a speeding conviction he incurred. (Herald page 6, Record page 5, Mirror page 4, Mail page 32, P&J page 11, Courier page 15, Scotsman page 5, Telegraph page 4)


Lib Dem constituencies: Plans to reduce the number of MPs in Scotland by seven could see Danny Alexander and Charles Kennedy in a head to head battle for a constituency.  Across the UK the proposals would see the number of constituencies for Westminster fall from 650 to 600. (Herald page 6, Guardian page 13, Mail page 32)



Economic recovery: John Swinney has accused the Chancellor of risking the prospects of the UK’s economy unless he changed his economic strategy, saying that the public spending cuts were “far too fast”. (Herald page 6)


A ‘round table’ of public figures including Ed Balls and Ruth Lea offer their Plan B for the economy in the Guardian.


Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s strategy director, has reportedly suggested scrapping maternity leave and all consumer rights legislation as part of an initiative to restart the economy. (FT page 1)


Public debt: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman comments on whether the UK is caught in a high-debt, low-growth trap. 


British Gas: British Gas has been fined £2.5m for failing to deal with customers’ complaints properly.  Centrica, British Gas’ parent company, is expected to announce profits of £1.3bn today. (Scotsman page 1 , Times page 18, Herald page 7, Record page 14, Guardian page 11, Mirror page 8, Mail page 1, P&J page 5, Courier page 12)


Red tape: The UK government is promising to scrap 130 outdated business regulations covering retail firms, such as reducing the age limit on buying Christmas crackers from 16 to 12 and retailers no longer having to notify TV licensing about sales of TVs. (Scotsman page 19, Sun page 2)


Manufacturing: A survey from the CBI in Scotland has indicated that Scottish manufacturers suffered a reduction in output and new orders in the latest three months and are becoming less optimistic about the future. (Herald page 28)



Hacking: A teenager in Shetland has been arrested by Scotland Yard’s e-crime unit and is suspected of being the spokesman for two international hacking groups which have been linked to “cyber terrorist” activity including targeting the CIA. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Record page 1, Sun page 1, Express page 2, Mail page 4, P&J page 1)


Local government

Glasgow Labour: A number of Labour councillors in Glasgow have criticised party bosses after being told to sign a contract which forces then to hand over 5% of their £16,500 salary to the party. (Herald page 4)



Derailment: Rail commuters faced major delays yesterday after a passenger train derailed in Princes Street Gardens during rush hour.  There are no reported injuries and only two rail workers were on the train at the time. (Scotsman page 1, Record page 2)