Reform Scotland News: 27 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. 

 

Politics

Scottish Labour leadership: The reported front-runner to become the new Scottish Labour leader, Ken Macintosh, has outlined a policy platform which includes a cut in income tax, doubling minimum alcohol prices and prioritising spending on higher education. Mr Macintosh also said he believed Labour had “failed to have a proper strategy for 12 years” and had been “too oppositional” after the SNP won in 2007. (Scotsman page 1)

 

Delegates at the party’s conference have also voted 93% in favour of a plan to create a newly beefed up role for the Scottish Labour leader which will see Ed Miliband no longer in charge of the party in Scotland. (Herald page 6, Mail page 9)

 

Labour Party conference:  Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, yesterday set out Labour’s five-point plan to help the economy.  Measures included a temporary 5 per cent cut in VAT on home improvements, a one-year national insurance tax break for small firms which take on new workers and a bank bonus tax.  He also warned that Labour would not reverse all the coalition’s controversial cuts.   Ed Balls admitted that Labour had made mistakes in government, including the 75p pension rise and abolishing the 10p tax rate. (Scotsman page 5, Mail page 8, Record page 1, Guardian page 6, Michael White in the Guardian, FT page 4, P&J page 10, Courier page 10, Telegraph page 8)

 

Ed Miliband is expected to give his keynote speech to the Labour party conference today.  It is reported he will hint at higher rates of tax for executives that earn very large salaries and a shake-up in the way council housing is allocated to take account of whether the applicant is looking for work. He is also expected to say that asset-stripping companies would not be tolerated under a future labour government. (Scotsman page 4, Peter Jones in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Rachel Sylvester in the Times, Mail page 2, Sun page 2, Express page 4, Patrick O’Flynn in Express, Mirror page 1, Guardian page 1, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, FT page 4, P&J page 10, Telegraph page 1, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph)

 

Scotland Bill: The UK Treasury has reportedly raised concerns about the Scottish Government’s ability to implement proposed new powers set out in the Scotland Bill.  Treasury Minister David Gauke is expected to tell Holyrood’s Scotland Bill Committee today that the SNP should be focusing on preparation for the new powers rather than calling for additional powers, such as Corporation Tax, to be devolved. Professors Andrew Hughes Hallet, Drew Scott as well as Reform Scotland’s chairman Ben Thomson are also due to give evidence today arguing in favour of devolving greater financial powers to the Scottish Parliament. (Scotsman page 2, Joan McAlpine in the Scotsman, Herald page 2, Mail page 12, P&J page 9)

 

Scottish Conservative leadership: Sir Malcolm Rifkind has given his backing to Murdo Fraser’s bid to become the new Scottish Conservative leader and has warned that the Union is at risk unless Murdo is successful. (Times page 5)

 

Economy

Fuel poverty: The Scottish Government has launched the Universal Home Insulation Scheme.  The £12.5m scheme is aimed at providing free home insulation and tackling fuel poverty and will be administered by local authorities. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 6)

 

Renewables: Scottish Enterprise has calculated that £330m of savings could be made over the life of an average offshore wind farm by utilising expertise from the oil and gas industry. (Scotsman page 17, David Lee in the Scotsman, Courier page 6)

 

Edinburgh: Edinburgh has reportedly dropped out of the top 30 financial and banking cities in the world for the first time, now sitting at number 32.  However, Glasgow has improved its position and now sits at number 33 according to the Global Financial Centres Index. (Scotsman Business page 1)

 

Minimum wage: According to research by Citizens Advice Scotland, workers in Scotland are routinely being exploited by employers refusing to pay minimum wage. (Herald page 9, Record page 2)

 

Property prices: House prices in Scotland have grown by an average of 91% in 10 years according to figures released by the Halifax. This compares with a UK average of just 52.8%. (Express page 1)

 

Transport

Queen street station: Queen Street train station in Glasgow is to undergo a multi-million-pound redevelopment. (Scotsman page 1)

 

East Lothian trains: A report carried out for the Scottish Government has recommended that two new train stations should be opened at East Linton and Reston to improve services between Edinburgh and Newcastle. (Herald page 8)

 

Education

Dundee universities: Students and staff at the Universities of Abertay and Dundee are urging business leaders, councillors and the public to back their campaign to stop any proposed merger of the two institutions. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 5, Times page 9, Courier page 9)

 

Exam cheats: In the 437 cases of ‘malpractice’ investigated by the SQA last year, 242 cases found that pupils had been caught cheating in exams.  Of those 83 were given only a warning. (Scotsman page 21, Jim Docherty in the Scotsman, Herald page 7)

 

Justice

Police savings: Scotland’s police forces have saved almost £100million in the past year and diverted resources to frontline services according to Andrew Laing, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 5, Record page 4, P&J page 5, Telegraph page 10)