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Reform Scotland News: 9th 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.

 

Politics

Riots: Riots continued for a third night in London yesterday following violence that broke out in Tottenham on Saturday.  The riots have continued to spread through London and shops were also smashed and raided in Birmingham yesterday.  The Metropolitan Police last night appealed to people in London to get indoors and urged parents to call “call your children” in an attempt to clear the streets so the police could deal with the rioters. David Cameron and Boris Johnston, Mayor of London, cut short their holidays to return to the capital last night. (Scotsman page 1, The Sun Page 1, The Times Page 1, The Herald Page 2, The Guardian Page 1, Daily Record Page 6-7, Daily Mirror Page 1, Daily Express, Press and Journal Page 1, Daily Telegraph Page 1 , Financial Times Page 1)  

 

Knighthood: Alex Salmond has been accused of deceit over his denial that the Scottish Government ministers were involved in the process of nominating Sir Brian Souter for a knighthood.  (Scotsman page 12, The Herald Page 6, Daily Record Page 2, Press and Journal Page 9, Courier Page 7)       

 

Al-Megrahi: A Scottish legal expert, Robert Black, Professor Emeritus of Scots law at the University of Edinburgh, alleged last night that the three judges at the trial of the Lockerbie bomber reached a guilty verdict “contrary to the evidence” because they were “consciously or subconsciously” under pressure to convict from the then Lord Advocate. (Times page 16)

 

Fiscal powers: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments on Spain’s financial crisis and suggests that more fiscal autonomy doesn’t always result in better governance.

 

Welfare: David Mundell, the Scotland Office Minister, has claimed that an independent Scotland would have to find £13bn a year to pay the welfare benefits bill north of the Border. Mr Mundell is calling on the SNP government to say exactly how it would fund welfare costs in Scotland and whether it would do so by cutting spending or raising taxes. (Times page 9)  

 

Joan McAlpine MSP in the Scotsman argues that the experiences of those on welfare benefits suggests that services are not more secure under the coalition government.

 

Leuchars RAF closure: Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has been pressured by Rod Campbell MSP to outline his involvement in the closure of RAF Leuchars amid allegations he may have broken the ministerial code. The MoD has been asked to investigate accusations Mr Alexander used his political influence within government to close Leuchars to save RAF Lossiemouth, which falls within his constituency. (Courier Page 1, Press and Journal Page 9)  

 

Economy

Stock market: Stock markets around the world fell yesterday after opening for the first time since the USA’s credit downgrading.  The FTSE 100 closed down 178 points with £46billion wipe off the value of shares. (Scotsman page 10, The Sun Page 11, The Times p10-11, The Herald Page 1, The Guardian  Page 1, Daily Mirror Page 8, Daily Express Page 18, P & J Page 8)        

 

Temporary employment: The number of Scots in temporary jobs has nearly doubled in the past three years, increasing from 64,000 in 2007 to 127,000 last year. Workers in part-time jobs now account for more than a quarter of Scotland’s workforce, with 99,000 Scots accepting roles with reduced hours because they cannot find a full time position. (Daily Mail Page 1)   

 

Corporation tax: First Minister Alex Salmond has been implored by accountancy firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers to produce more “robust research” in order to show that the benefits of his plans to devolve corporation tax outweigh the £2.6bn annual cost to Scottish public spending. (Daily Telegraph Page 12, Courier Page 3)

 

Local Government

Staff merger plan: Multi-million pound plans to merge thousands of staff across councils in the west of Scotland have been published. Up to 3,400 employees from seven local authorities (North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde and West and East Dunbartonshire) are to be pooled in a new stand-alone body that its supporters hope will save £30 million a year. Trade union Unison, however, has expressed concern, citing risks of “significant and unfairly distributed job losses.” (The Herald, Page 6, Daily Express Page 6)  

 

Transport

Pollution: The Scottish Government has been warned that failure to meet targets to reduce air pollution could result in the government being taken to court by the European Commission.  WWF Scotland have criticised the Scottish Government over its intention to ask for a ten year extension to meet nitrogen dioxide air quality targets in Glasgow city centre and a five year extension for Edinburgh, Central Scotland and the North-East. (Scotsman page 2)

 

Free bus travel: A four-year delay in introducing fraud management systems to combat abuse of Scotland’s free bus travel scheme for elderly and disabled people has cost up to £100million. Transport Scotland’s implementation of smartcard ticket readers went live in April 2010, four years later than intended and cost £33million more than the original budget of £9million. (The Herald Page 1)

 

Dalmarnock railway station: Work is underway on a £9million upgrade of Dalmarnock railway station, seen as a key transport hub for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Work on the dilapidated station is expected to finish by November 2013. (The Herald Page 11)  

 

Health

Cigarettes: According to a new survey, more than 1 in 10 cigarettes smoked in some parts of the country were sold illegally. Research carried out on behalf of Philip Morris international – manufacturer or Marlborough – found that 10% of smokers in Glasgow and 14% of those in Paisley bought their cigarettes from illegal tobacco tradersr. (The Herald Page 3) 

 

Education

SQA: The SQA has announced plans to reform the appeals system. The number of appeals has escalated in recent years; in 2010 there were 63, 020 successful appeals, 5.9 per cent to the total entries, with a total cost of £770,578. In an interview with the Times Educational Supplement Scotland, SQA chief executive and chief examiner Janet Brown said that rising number of appeals in recent years created “an awful lot of and an awful lot of expense”. (TESS, Page 14)