Reform Scotland News: 20 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. 

 

Reform Scotland

Advisory Board: Former Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander, former SNP government minister Jim Mather, former Lib Dem MSP Jeremy Purvis, former Tory MSP Derek Brownlee and SCVO chief executive Martin Sime have joined Reform Scotland’s Advisory Board. (Monday’s Scotsman page 2, Monday’s Mail page 12, Monday’s Courier page 8, Monday’s Herald page 11, Monday’s P&J page 13)

 

Politics

Lib Dem conference: Coverage and comment on the Liberal Democrats conference in Birmingham.  Yesterday Nick Clegg said that the party had “nothing to apologise for” and the party’s main failing was not communicating properly the party’s achievements in office. (Scotsman page 4, Mail page 10, Express page 2, Times page 6, Rachel Sylvester in the Times, Guardian page 10, Norman Lamb in the Guardian, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, P&J page 8, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, Philip Stephens in the FT, Jackie Ashley in Monday’s Guardian)

 

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore is expected to use his conference speech today to call on the SNP to produce details on their plans for independence. (Scotsman page 4, David Maddox in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Courier page 11, Telegraph page 11, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph)

 

“War footing”: Speaking at the Lib Dem conference yesterday Vince Cable said the British economy was on a war footing due to falling markets, the FTSE was down 108 points yesterday, and new concerns for Greece.  He likened the need for a coalition to address the economy to the need for a coalition in the Second World War. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Record page 8, Mail page 2, Courier page 11)

 

Home rule: Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie has announced plans to establish a ‘Home and community rule commission’ to develop more powers for the Scottish Parliament. (P&J page 8, Courier page 11)

 

In Monday’s Telegraph Malcolm Bruce MP accuses Alex Salmond of running Scotland as if it is a one-party state.

 

Independence: Torchwood star John Barrowman has spoken out against independence saying a ‘yes’ vote in a referendum would be damaging.  However, he said that the outcome of any referendum, even if it was in favour of independence, would have to be respected.  He is the latest of a number of celebrities to declare their stance on independence. (Sunday Times page 9)

 

Olympic legacy: The SNP has been accused by Labour of trying to kill off a 2012 Olympic legacy in Scotland. Tom Greatex MP has claimed that negativity from the Scottish Government about the games in London has put Scottish businesses off bidding for contracts. (Scotsman page 2)

 

Margaret Moran: The former Labour MP appeared in court yesterday charged with defrauding the taxpayer of £80,000 through her expenses. (Herald page 6, Record page 18, Mail page 25, Express page 7, Guardian page 6, P&J page 11, Courier page 8, Telegraph page 8)

 

Civil servants: Former Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott has suggested that Scotland’s neutral civil servants have “crossed the line” and become part of the SNP’s independence propaganda. He pointed to official Scottish Government press releases which he claims have crossed into party politics. (Telegraph page 1)

 

Tory leadership: Brian Monteith in Monday’s Scotsman comments on the Scottish Tory leadership contest.

 

Europe referendum: Mark Pritchard, the secretary of the 1922 committee of Conservative MPs, is the latest Tory MP to demand a referendum be held on the UK’s membership of the EU following the recent Eurozone crisis. (Monday’s Telegraph page 1)

 

Labour: A Sunday Herald investigation looks at the state of the Scottish Labour Party, including allegations of misuse of expenses by former MSP Frank McAveety and councillors threatening to form a breakaway party after being de-selected.

 

Economy

Scottish Government spending: Savings of us to £500m over the next five years could be made by improving the management of public sector assets according to the Scottish Futures Trust.  The Trust found that on average each civil servant in Scottish Government offices had 15sq m of space to work in while the private sector standards are between 8 and 10 sq m.  The comments come the day before John Swinney is expected to announce his strategic spending review to Parliament. (Herald page 2, David Bell in the Scotsman, Sun page 4, Times page 11, P&J page 11, Tavish Scott in Monday’s Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday page 1

 

Borrowing powers: The Scottish Government is to be given new borrowing powers to access loans worth up to £2.2billion.  According to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, (CIPFA) the potential debt could lead to annual repayments of £266million a year. (Mail page 1)

 

Energy suppliers: Householders are to be able to switch energy suppliers more quickly, bulk-buy power at cheaper rates and claim refunds if firms have been found to exploit them for profit according to proposals that the energy secretary, Chris Hune, is expected to make today. (Telegraph page 1, FT page 2)

 

Transport

Rail tickets: According to a survey conducted by consumer group Which? only 1% of rail customers fully understand the restrictions which apply to Off-Peak, Advance and Anytime train tickets.  As a result Which? is calling for train companies to simplify the way they sell tickets. (Scotsman page 15)

 

Borders Rail: The Borders Railway project has run into trouble following reports that the sole remaining bidder for the project, BAM, has said it was seeking more than the expected £230m for the construction contract which would push the cost of the project over the £295m maximum.  As a result work is not expected to begin on the construction until next summer. (Monday’s Scotsman page 1)

 

Health

Pregnancy risk: According to baby charity Tommy’s about 9,500 babies born in Scotland every year are at risk of long-term health problems because their mothers are obese. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 5, Courier page 6, Telegraph page 1)

 

Education

Faith schools: The Rev Ewan Aitken, Secretary of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, has warned that more faith schools in Scotland would undermine efforts to educate children of all faiths.  His comments come as Ruth Davidson, a Scottish Tory leadership contender, called for more faith schools in Scotland. (Scotsman page 16, Hugh Reilly in the Scotsman, Jacqueline Sexton in the Scotsman, Harry Reid in the Herald, Express page 4, Courier page 6)

 

University mergers: The University and College Union has voiced concerns that the universities of Abertay and Dundee could be forced into a “shotgun wedding” after the Scottish Funding Council called for the recruitment of a new principle for Abertay to be delayed. (Scotsman page 27)

 

College staff: More than 1,000 college posts have been cut in the past year according to official figures. (Monday’s Herald page 1)

 

Justice

Domestic abuse: The number of reported incidents of domestic abuse more than doubled to 142 in Strathclyde over the weekend after the Old Firm football match.  The number of incidents normally recorded over a weekend by Strathclyde police force is 67. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Sun page 1, Record page 15, Telegraph page 4)

 

Young offenders: Children as young as eight are reportedly committing crimes such as rape and prostitution according to figures produced by Scotland’s police forces.  1,098 sexual offences were committed by under-16s in Scotland over the past four years. (Express page 1)