Reform Scotland News: 3 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.



Parliamentary Seat: Sir Menzies Campbell has suggested Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, interfered in a review of Scottish Military bases to save his parliamentary seat.  Sir Campbell said that Mr Alexander had looked to retain the RAF base at Lossiemouth, near his Highland constituency, in order to “assist [his]political credibility”. (Times page 1)


Local Government

Bin Collections: Glasgow City Council has scraped weekly bin collections.  The largest local authority in Scotland has also introduced fines for home owners who refuse to recycle.  (Daily Express page 4)



Scottish Homes:  Scotland’s property market slumped between April and June this year as the sale of homes dropped by more than ten per cent on the same period for 2010, new figures have revealed.  A survey by Registers of Scotland also showed an increase in average house prices of 0.4 per cent to £153,820 between April and June, compared with the equivalent three-month period last year. Scotland’s 16,947 property sales during the three months to the end of June was a fall of 10.8 per cent on the same quarter the previous year.  (Herald page  7, Scotsman page 8-9, Press and Journal page 1, Daily Express page 10)


Economic Forecast: The National Institute for Economic and Social Research has said George Osborne is not on course to meet his central economic target of reducing the structural deficit within five years.  The think-tank downgraded Britain’s growth forecast and said the Treasury is set to miss the goal by around 1% of GDP.  The institute suggests a loosening of fiscal policy in the short term to boost demand.  (Times page 5, Scotsman page 6)



Computer Hacker: Supporters of alleged Shetland computer hacker Jake Davis have launched an online campaign for donations to pay for the teenager’s legal fees, with protests due to be staged on the day of his next court appearance.  Members of digital hacking group Anonymous have pledged financial support for the 18-year-old, who was arrested at his home in Lerwick, Shetland, last week and appeared in a London court accused of several misuse of computer offences on Monday. (Herald page 1)


Jim Devine: The Labour MP jailed for submitting false invoices, has been released after serving a quarter of his 16 month sentence.  Daily Express page 4, Scotsman page 10, Scottish Daily Mail page 5, Herald page 9)



Stagecoach:  Stagecoach is seeking to lure people away from the railways and onto the road with the UK’s first budget coach sleeper service.  Its specially adapted vehicles, fitted out with 24 bunk beds, will initially operate between Glasgow and London from next month on a trial basis, although the Perth-based transport company hopes to expand the service if it proves successful. (Herald page 3, Scotsman page 13, Courier page 7)



Food Waste:  It costs UK families around £11 billion a year in waste – but now a Scottish inventor has solved the problem of jars of food festering unnoticed by creating a “smart” label that tells you when it is time they went in the bin. Edinburgh-based Pete Higgins has scooped a £50,000 prize to develop his Use Within label (UWI), which counts down the days a jar stays fresh and turns red when its contents are no longer palatable.  He won the Barclays 2011 Take One Small Step competition with his idea and will now be given cash to develop his invention and put it into the shops.  (Daily Telegraph page 5, Herald page 9)


Kidney Sales: People should be allowed to sell their kidneys for £28,000 to tackle a shortage of donors, a researcher has suggested.  Sue Rabbitt Roff, a senior research fellow at the University of Dundee, said it is time to pilot “paid provision” of live kidneys in the UK, under “strict rules of access and equity”. She said that letting people sell the organ could help them make money to pay off university loans or simply give them the chance to do a kind deed. (Daily Telegraph page 4, Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Courier page 1)


GP Surgery: A GP surgery has been closed by a health authority after a series of investigations into the actions of the only doctor at the practice.  NHS Tayside has made emergency measures for the 1,700 patients at the Dundee surgery following the unprecedented announcement that the practice’s contract has been terminated.  The only GP at the Ardler Surgery, Dr Charles Miller, was given an official warning two years ago by the medical profession’s watchdog the General Medical Council after he failed to adequately record the details of a patient’s prescription for the heroin substitute methadone.  (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 2)


Smoking: Nearly two-thirds of teenage mothers north of the Border smoked during pregnancy, a major study has found.  The findings have raised fears that a generation of Scots babies could grow up with health and behaviour problems.  Smokers are three time more likely to have smaller babies, who run a higher risk of death and disease in infancy and early childhood. (Scottish Daily Mail page 1)


Living to 100: Taking regular exercise, drinking only in moderation and watching what you eat makes no difference to one’s chances of reaching 100, research has found.  Academics studied almost 500 people between 95 and 109 and compared them with over 3,000 others born during the same period. They found those who lived extremely long lives ate just as badly, drank and smoked just as much, took just as little exercise and were just as likely to be overweight as their long-gone friends.  (Scottish Daily Mail page 11, Daily Telegraph page 4)