Reform Scotland News: 1 September 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.



Michael Moore: In a speech last night Scottish Secretary Michael Moore set out a number of questions he believes that the SNP needs to answer regarding how Scotland would succeed from the union, including currency arrangements and pension liabilities. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 8, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail, page 2, The Courier page 10, The Times page 1)


Alistair Darling: Extracts from the former Chancellor’s book, due out next week, have been leaked.  Alistair Darling reportedly refers to Gordon Brown’s mood during the financial crisis as “brutal and volcanic” and talks about the attempt to replace him with Ed Balls. (Scotsman page 4, John McTernan in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Sun page 11, Express page 4, Telegraph page 1)


Sectarianism: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman disputes Paul McBride QC’s suggestion that an independent Scotland would allow sectarianism to “blossom”.


MOD cuts: The army and the RAF are expected to set out the first round of redundancies today.  930 members of the RAF are reported to go, including 490 forced redundancies and the army is expected to notify 920 people that they are to be made redundant, 260 of which are compulsory. (Guardian page 1, Andy Beckett in the Guardian, Telegraph page 10, Record page 8, The Times 15)



Entrepreneurialism: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman argues that comments suggesting that Scotland is not entrepreneurial enough are exaggerated.


Banking reform: There have been allegations of splits within the UK coalition over banking reform.  The Lib Dems reportedly want legislative reform to separate out retail banking from the investment side, while the Conservatives are reportedly in favour of delaying the reforms to give the sector a chance to grow. (Herald page 6, Mail page 2, Daily Record page 2, The Times page 10)


Interest rates: The UK’s interest rates are expected to stay at their record low level of 0.5 per cent for at least another year according to a survey of experts carried out by Reuters. (Express page 1)


Pensions: A report by the Association of Consulting Actuaries published today suggests that one in three larger companies will reduce their pension contributions to workers in response to new rules pushing them to offer pensions for all staff. (Telegraph page 1, Mail page 4, The Courier page 11)



Alcohol abuse: A zero tolerance crackdown on alcohol abuse has been launched in Glasgow which will see nightclubs running sobering chill-out hours before closing and a special bus where drunks can sleep of a binge.  Strathclyde Police and Glasgow City Council are also cracking down on shops and pubs who serve drunks and people underage.  The move comes as it is reported that alcohol consumption is 23% higher in Scotland amongst over 16s than in England and Wales. This is the widest gap since 1994. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Mail page 19, The Courier page 6, Daily Record page 6, The Times page 2)


Life Expectancy: According to a report by the Office of National Statistics Scots can expect to live for two years less than those from the rest of the UK.  Scots also fared worse for the amount of time people could expect to live healthy lives. (Scotsman page 11)



Student drop outs: According to the Scottish Funding Council more than a quarter of students dropped out of their college course last year. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 5)


Local government

Shared services: West Dunbartonshire has rejected plans to share back office services with other local authorities. (Herald page 3)



Trams: The SNP group on Edinburgh council is expected to back the Lib Dems in supporting the tram line to St Andrew Square at Friday’s council meeting.  Councillors have denied that the change in line is due to pressure from the SNP Scottish Government. (Scotsman page 12, Iain Gray in the Scotsman, Herald page 4, Sun page 2, Express page 4, Telegraph page 6, Mail page 13, The Courier page 8, Daily record page 2, the Times page 13)


Iain Macwhiter in the Herald suggests the fiasco is an example of why we should introduce mayors in Scotland.


Infrastructure: Neil Craig in the Scotsman comments on the need for new transport links and the potential of tunnels.


Petrol prices: Higher oil prices are reportedly driving motorists off the streets, with rural communities hardest hit. Experts fear that the prices may hinder Scottish recovery from the recession as fuel prices have a knock-on effect on food bills, and a disproportionate effect on lower-income drivers. ( Mail page 1)


Rural fuel discount: The Treasury has admitted that it is reviewing how to deliver a pilot scheme which would see a 5-pence discount per litre on petrol on Scottish and Scilly isles after complaints that it could force some petrol stations out of business. (Herald page 11)



Football assault: There has been criticism that John Wilson, who was caught on camera appearing to attack Celtic boss Neil Lennon at Tynecastle in May and later admitted striking him on the head, has been found not proven of the assault and cleared of sectarianism. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 3, Sun page 1, Bill Leckie in the Sun, Express page 5, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 5, The Courier page 1, Daily Record page 1)