Reform Scotland News: 17th August 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.



Corporation Tax: The Scottish Government yesterday set out its aim to take control of corporation tax from Westminster.  Finance secretary John Swinney argued that lower taxes for businesses in Scotland would boost investment and jobs.  Sir Tom Hunter welcomed the proposal whilst the CBI rejected it.  (Scotsman page 7, John Mclaren in the Scotsman, Times page 1, Sir Tom Hunter in the Times, Mail page 12, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Express page 2, P&J page 9, Courier page 9)


Oil Spill: Shell has made a full apology for its handling of the recent oil spill in the North Sea.  The energy firm also said the remaining leak is 800ft below sea level, and may take ‘weeks’ to stop. The spill now covers 16sq miles.  (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 5, Ian Bell in the Herald, Times page 15, Sun page 8, Mirror page 11, P&J page 1)


News International: A letter from Clive Goodman, the former royal correspondent at the News of the World to his former employers has been published by the Commons Culture, Media and Sort Committee.  The letters suggests that phone hacking was widely discussed at daily news conferences when Andy Coulson was editor. The revelation has reportedly sparked fresh questions over David Cameron’s decision to employ Mr Coulson.  Fiona McGuire, who was a witness for the News of the World in its defamation case against Tommy Sheridan has been told by police that her phone was also hacked.(Scotsman page 3,Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 6, Record page 1)


Broadband: The SNP have said £70m is not enough to bring next-generation broadband to remote and rural areas of Scotland.  UK culture secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday announced a £362m UK plan, with £68.8m allocated to Scotland.  Alex Neil, the Scottish secretary for infrastructure, said the amount was ‘unrealistic’ and pledged to seek a better deal. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 10, Telegraph page 10)


100 days of SNP: Hamish Macdonell in the Mail has comments on the SNP administration’s performance since its election 100 days ago, arguing that it has been preoccupied with acquiring powers from Westminster.



Energy Prices: Five of the ‘big six’ energy firms have now increased prices in recent months.  Npower yesterday announced price hikes of 15.7 per cent for gas and 7.2 per cent for electricity, increasing the average bill by £133. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 5, Times page 18, Record page 2)


Food prices: The Centre for Economics and Business Research has predicted a reversal of food price rises by the end of next year.  Food price inflation was running at 5.7 per cent in April-June this year, but the forecaster expects a fall to minus 1.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2012. (Scotsman page 1)



Rail Fares: Ticket prices for cross-border rail journeys are to rise by 8 per cent from January.  The increase follows the publication of July’s inflation figures.  Fares for trips within Scotland are also set to rise by 6 per cent. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 5, Times page 20, Christian Wolmar in the Times, Guardian page 11, Telegraph page 6, Mail page 4, Sun page 2, Courier page 10)



School Leavers: Higher numbers of pupils are returning to school for fifth and sixth year because they cannot find a job or a place at college.  Larry Flanagan, education convener of the Education Institute of Scotland, said it was vital councils were able to provide additional staff to cope with the higher demand.  (Herald page 1)


Student Satisfaction: The National Student Survey has revealed students in Scotland are more satisfied with their university experience than those in the rest of the UK.  A total of 86 per cent of students in Scotland said they were happy with the quality of their chosen course.  (Scotsman page 23, Times page 18)