Reform Scotland News: 30 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.



Lockerbie bomber: The family of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi has apparently appealed to the Scottish Government for medical aid.  Pictures have emerged of the convicted Lockerbie bomber breathing through an oxygen tube and reportedly close to death. First Minister Alex Salmond has ruled out recalling al-Megrahi to prison in Scotland, saying he should be allowed “to die in peace”. (Scotsman page 1, Clare Connelly in the Scotsman, Peter Jones in the Scotsman, Times page 1, Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Guardian page 4, Mail page 1, Gerald Warner in the Mail, Express page 1, Kerry Gill in the Express, Telegraph page 5, P&J page 1, Courier page 1)


Scottish Secretary: Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has reportedly told Alex Salmond to stop picking fights with Westminster and focus on using the powers Holyrood already has. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 1, P&J page 9, Courier page 11)


Energy line: Scottish Power has ruled out burying its section of the Beauly to Denny power line arguing it would cost £278m. (Scotsman page 8, Peter Pearson in the Scotsman)


Independence debate: Joan McAlpine in the Scotsman comments on how the debate over independence has progressed.


Funding gap: The funding gap between Scotland and England has reached a record £1,624, with government spending an average of £10,212 per person in Scotland compared with £8,588 in England. (Mail page 4)


Tory Leadership:  Murdo Fraser is expected to officially announce he is standing for the Scottish Tory leadership next week.  He has been endorsed by MSPs Liz Smith and Alex Johnstone as well as Struan Stevenson MEP. (P&J page 9, Scott Macnab in the Scotsman, Courier page 7, Elizabeth Smith in Monday’s Scotsman)


Labour leadership: Sources close to Ken Macintosh, the Labour MSP for East Renfrewshire, have said it is likely he will put himself forward for the Scottish Labour leadership. Former Labour First Minister Jack McConnell has called for a new leader who can inspire the whole country as well as shake-up the party’s headquarters.  MP Tom Harris has reportedly been offered cash from a Labour supporting businessman to help his campaign to become party leader. (Times page 5, Monday’s Herald page 6, Scotland on Sunday page 3, Gillian Bowditch in the Sunday Times)


Political donations: Plans to place an annual cap on the biggest donations to political parties, possibly around £50,000, could badly affect the Labour party.  If the limit was in place over the past five and a half years, Labour’s donations would have been down by 72%, the Conservatives by 37% and the Lib Dems by 25%. (Guardian page 8)


Internet upgrade: BT has admitted that it cannot justify the investment needed to upgrade broadband connections for small rural communities in Scotland. (Times page 1)



Public spending: According to a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, Scotland could be classed as a third-world country in less than 20 years due to wasteful public spending and a lack of entrepreneurial spirit. (Monday’s Scotsman page 2, Sunday Times page 1)



Trams: The fate of Edinburgh’s trams project was up in the air again yesterday after it emerged that the cost of the line from the airport to Haymarket could increase by £30m.  Councillors are to be recalled to an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the project. Alex Salmond has ordered a public inquiry into the chaos. (Scotsman page 1, Times page 5, Herald page 1, Record page 2, Lesley Riddoch on Monday’s Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday page 1, Ian Bell in the Sunday Herald)



Industrial action: Teachers in Scotland are considering industrial action over changes to their pension arrangements which require them to contribute more and work longer before they retire. (Scotsman page 7, Times page 5, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Mail page 8, Express page 2, P&J page 7, Courier page 11)



Single police force: At a conference organised by the Scottish Government yesterday, which outlined the experience of single police forces in other European countries, Kenny MacAskill said that the alternative to radical reform in Scotland was to “jettison” officers and cut their pay and conditions. (Scotsman page 16, Times page 11, Herald page 8, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Mail page 22, Telegraph page 2, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, P&J page 9, Courier page 8)


Local government

Recycling:  The amount of waste being recycled by local authorities in Scotland increased to 38.2% in 2009/10.  The Scottish Government’s target is to reach 70% by 2025. (Herald page 7, P&J page 11)



Diabetes: Diabetes is costing Scotland nearly £3m every day, accounting for a tenth of the annual NHS budget.  The proportionate cost has reportedly doubled in the past ten years. (Mail page 1)


Access to drugs: According to a report by the Rarer Caners Foundation, patients in Scotland are three times less likely to get access to newer cancer drugs on the NHS than those in England. (Monday’s Scotsman page 11)


Abortion: The UK Government is reportedly considering changing abortion laws to ensure  women are offered counselling independently of clinics which carry out abortions.  Tory MP Nadine Norris claims that abortion services have a financial conflict of interest and independent counselling should be offered. (Monday’s Guardian page 1)