Reform Scotland News: 28/9/11


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. 



Labour party conference: Ed Miliband gave his keynote address to the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool yesterday. The Labour leader set out a “new bargain” for Britain and focussed upon changing the way big businesses are regulated by the government, while also offering outlines of policies that would give more to the ‘hard working majority.  He noted that a Labour government would perhaps not be able to reverse cuts the coalition has made and also criticised the way the last Labour government had managed the economy while saying it was wrong that Sir Fred Goodwin, the former boss at Royal Bank of Scotland, had been given a knighthood.  One of the loudest cheers he received was when he told delegates “I am not Toney Blair”.  (Herald page 1, Ian Bell in the Herald  Scotsman page 12, John McTernan in the Scotsman, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Guardian page 1, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, Times page 1, Daniel Finkelstein in the Times, Sun page 2, Record page 1, Express page 10, Mail page 10, Simon Heffer in the Mail, Mirror page 1, Kevin Maguire in the Mirror, FT page 1, Matthew Engel in the FT, Telegraph page 1, Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph, P&J page 5, Courier page 11)


Independence tsar: The Scottish Government has announced plans to create a £200,000 a-year post at a top level within the civil services responsible for pressing the SNP’s case for additional economic and tax powers for Holyrood.  However, the plans have been attacked by opposition parties who argue that the job should not be paid for out of the public purse. (Herald page 6, Times page 13, Sun page 12, Mail page 8, Express page 4, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, P&J page 10, Courier page 10)


Press control: Shadow Culture Secretary Ivan Lewis yesterday suggested that journalists should be licensed and could be ‘struck off’ from working.  Ed Miliband has reportedly distanced himself from the proposal. (Mail page 12, Telegraph page 5)



Renewables: The First Minister has announced a new £35m fund for the off-shore wind sector.  The money is expected to be split between seven companies to help them get off-shore designs into development. (Scotsman page 1)


Donald Trump has written to Alex Salmond for the second time to object to plans for an off-shore wind farm off Aberdeen Bay, near his luxury golf resort. (Herald page 4, Times page 14)


BAE Systems: BAE Systems has announced 3,000 job losses in the UK, blaming a global slowdown.  The majority of the cuts are expected to be South of the Border though it is reported that 35 jobs will be lost in radar research at Hillend in Fife. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 2, Record page 5, Courier page 7)


Businesses taxes: The Centre for Public Policy for the Regions has said that official figures suggest that the Scottish Government is expecting to raise an extra £199m in business rates revenue in 2014-15 due to new firms opening.  However, business leaders including the CBI have suggested the figures are too optimistic and are reportedly concerned that this will mean business rates will have to increase to balance the books.  (Scotsman page 16, John Swinney in the Scotsman)


Corporation tax:  At Holyrood’s Scotland Bill committee yesterday there was mixed reviews from business leaders with regard to new taxing powers for the Scottish Parliament. There was support for Scottish control of corporation tax, with business leaders claiming it would fuel economic growth. However, similar plans to allow Scottish government to control excise duty was condemned by some as either unrealistic or illegal under EU law. (Times page 13


Scottish Water: Sheriff Lindsay Foulis has criticised Scottish Water for costing the taxpayer almost £300,000 due to criminal convictions.  Scottish Water has been convicted of more than 60 crimes since 2002 due to failing water environment and services legislation.  One such instance saw untreated sewage pouring into a burn for 48 hours resulting in the deaths of 560 fish. (Scotsman page 21, Sun page 13)



Universities in Dundee: The Scottish Funding Council has said that it wants the Universities of Abertay and Dundee to agree to a merger by the end of October in an effort to save money. Lord Sutherland has suggested that this amounts to “merger by fax”.  However, Mike Russell, the Scottish Government’s Education Secretary, has said the merger is not inevitable. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 4, Times page 7, Courier page 1)


Four year degrees: Dundee University is considering becoming the first Scottish university to offer a dedicated three-years honours degree.  The move is aimed at helping cutting down the costs for students. (Herald page 1)


Deprivation: Education Scotland has suggested that children from the most deprived communities in Scotland are as much as 18 months behind in the development of their vocabulary compared with those most affluent areas by the time they go to school. (Herald page 9)


Childcare costs: Tory leadership contender Ruth Davidson has called for an increase in government funded childcare places for three and four year olds from 12.5 hours a week to 15 hours to help ease the cost of childcare on working families. (Express page 4)



Anti-sectarian legislation: Rangers fans protested against the Scottish Government’s proposed anti-sectarian legislation at last night’s Rangers vs Kilmarnock match. (Scotsman page 1)



Depression and poor health: 11.3 per cent of Scots over 15 currently take anti-depressants daily according to the NHS Prescription Service.  The figures corresponded with the publication of the Scottish Health Survey which revealed that only 39 per cent of adults were getting their recommended daily amount of physical exercise and only 22 per cent eat enough fruit and vegetables. (Scotsman page 1, Naveed Sattar in the Scotsman, Herald page 10, Times page 14, Sun page 12, Mail page 1, Express page 10, Telegraph page 10, P&J page 9)


Dental care: The Scottish Government is reportedly considering restricting who can see an NHS orthodontist. (P&J page 1)