Reform Scotland News: 7 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.



Hacking: Coverage of yesterday’s emergency debate in the House of Commons on the allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World.  Recent revelations suggest that George Osborne and families of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan may have been targeted. David Cameron said yesterday that he would order an independent public inquiry into the scandal once the police investigation was completed and the original police handling of the case would be the subject of a separate inquiry. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Peter Oborne in the Telegraph, Mail page 1, Mirror page 1, Guardian page 1, Brian Cathcart in the Guardian, Record page 1, Times page 1, David Aaronovitch in the Times, Sun page 6, P&J page 5)


Tommy Sheridan: The former Socialist Party leader is to be released on July 20th as part of a series of ’breaks’ from prison. Tom Watson, senior Labour MP announced yesterday in the commons that the verdict of guilty was ‘unsound’ amid claims that Sheridan may have been caught up in the News of the World phone hacking scandal. (The Scotsman page 1, Record page 1)


Labour party and more powers for Holyrood: Michael McCann, a Scottish Labour MP, has criticised the party’s apparent attitude that the only way the party can move forward was to concede the Scottish Parliament needed more powers. (Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph)


Coalition government transparency: David Cameron in the Telegraph comments on the new levels of transparency being undertaken by the UK government.


Holyrood bills: Staff and MSPs at the Scottish Parliament have reportedly built up credit card bills worth £1.6m over the past three years. (Mail page 8, Sun page 2)


Glasgow Tories: Two office bearers within the Rutherglen and Hamilton West Conservative party have written to the Herald accusing the Scottish Conservative Party hierarchy of mistreatment and contempt in the way in which they removed Malcolm Macaskill from the Glasgow list just before the Scottish elections.  Mr Macaskill had been number one on the list. Ruth Davidson, who had been number two, was elected as an MSP in May. (Herald page 6)


Defence: Doubts have been raised over the future of two aircraft carriers being constructed on the Clyde after it was revealed by the National Audit Office that real term spending increases would have to be achieved to continue. (Scotsman page 1&6, Herald page 5)


Single Police Force: T-in the Park has provided a focus for the debate over a nationalised police force in Scotland as Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill toured the site of the event to discuss how a single police force would cope with such an event. (P&J page 7)


Broadband: A broadband league published by Ofcom has shown that Edinburgh has the fastest average speed at 10.1megabites per second – compared with the national average of 7.5Mbit/s – but customers in some other parts of Scotland are below 2Mbit/s. (Scotsman page 14)

Dounreay Nuclear Power Station: More than 38 radioactive particles said to pose a ‘significant threat’ have been found around the Caithness power station which is currently been decommissioned; bringing the total to 2,300. (Scotsman page 15)



Property Prices: House prices in the Edinburgh and Glasgow have fallen by as much as 3.6% against a backdrop of UK housing prices that have risen by 1.2% (The Scotsman page 7)


Whisky Industry: A report by the Scottish Whisky Association has estimated the Whisky business in Scotland generates around £1 billion a year in tourist revenue. Scotland export business is already estimated at around £3.1 billion. (Scotsman page 23, Daily Express page 10)


Barclays Scottish open: Scottish Tourism boss Mike Cantlay has hailed the prestigious event taking place at Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness as the start of “winning years” for Scottish tourism. Local businesses have already reported a ‘boom’. (P&J page 1&9)


Tax Breaks for Gaming Firms: A report by Gartner Inc has warned that Scotland will lose its place at the centre of the global games market worth around $70 billion a year if it does not rethink its decision to scrap tax relief for games firms. The sector is expected to grow by around 10.4% this year. (The Courier page 10)


Local Government

Association of Community Councils: Finance Minister John Swinney came under fire yesterday following accusations that a decision to cut funding for the Association of Scottish Community Councils by 40% has caused the organisation to close. (P&J page 13, Herald page 6)


Highland Council chiefs reject radical shake up of services: SNP plans to break up the Highland Council into three or four district organisations have been rejected by local councillors. (P&J page 6)



Drink related crime: New statistics show that Strathclyde police have dealt with 40,000 crimes of drinking to excess in the last 10 years, more than the rest of the country combined which totalled around 24,000. Currently the constabulary receive around 10 call outs a day. (Scotsman page 20)


Supreme court: Amnesty International has warned that any reform of the court system in Scotland following the review of the role of the Supreme Court, must ensure that Scots don’t end up with one less right of appeal than the rest of the UK.  The organisation also warns that human rights must not become the “whipping boy” in the debate. (Times page 17)



University fees:  The National Union of Students has warned that Scottish students, who do not pay tuition fees, may be squeezed out of Scottish Universities by English students, who could be paying up to £9,000 a year under the Scottish Government’s plans. (Telegraph page 6)


Education Secretary Michael Russell acknowledged yesterday that under European law if Scotland was to become independent they would not be able to charge English students tuition fees. (Times page 22)



Superbug: Infection rates in Scottish hospitals have dropped to an all time low. The success has been attributed to a sustained effort by the health board. (Scotsman page 23)


Alzheimer’s test: GPs could be able to screen over 65s for Alzheimer’s within two years thanks to scientific advances. (Mail page 4)