Reform Scotland News: 7 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.



Independence: Support for independence has risen almost 13% in less than a year, according to a poll for The Times. However, despite the increase only just over a third of Scottish voters back independence. 67% of people, however, agree that the powers of the Scottish Parliament should be extended to include “more laws and duties and all tax raising powers”.(The Times page 1, Magnus Linklater in The Times, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman)


Conservative leadership election: Former Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie has appealed to leadership candidates and their supporters to “temper their language” and to avoid “mudslinging” in the contest to replace Annabel Goldie as Scottish Tory leader. (Scotsman page 19)


Further comment on the Scottish Conservative leadership contest. (Allan Massie in the Scotsman, Kenneth Ferguson in the Scotsman)


Labour leadership: John McTernan in the Scotsman contrasts the Scottish Conservative leadership race with the Scottish Labour one.


Wind Farms: Protestors in Elgin have reportedly accused Alex Salmond of “trashing the Highlands” with the SNP wind energy policy. The First Minister spent ten minutes trying to explain to the group why the costs of wind energy were justified and explaining the SNP position. (Press and Journal page 1)


Childcare costs: A study by Save the Children and Daycare Trust has suggested that parents are giving up jobs due to increasing costs of childcare and that average childcare costs in Scotland were more than half average part-time weekly earnings. (Scotsman page 25,)


Hacking: Former employees of News International, legal manager Tom Crone and News of the World editor Colin Myler, gave evidence to Westminster’s culture committee yesterday suggesting that they had informed James Murdoch that phone hacking was more widespread than the company had previously claimed.  Their evidence contradicted the statements given by James Murdoch when he appeared before the committee in July. (Scotsman page 14, Daily Mail page 8, The Times Page 5, Press and Journal page 5, Financial Times page 2, The Sun page 6, The Guardian page 1, The Herald page 4, The Daily Express page 2, The Telegraph page 4, The Daily Record page 4, The Courier page 10)



Economic policy: In a speech to the City yesterday George Osborne reportedly insisted that there will be no change to economic policy despite fears of a double-dip recession. (Scotsman page 2, Daily Mirror page 10)


Oil jobs: BP has announced more than 1,000 new jobs as part of a £700million investment in a new oilfield in the North Sea.  Jobs will be created in Wick, Aberdeen and Invergordon as well as in England. (Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 11, The Daily Record page 12, The Courier page 7)


House prices: House princes in Edinburgh have fallen by 3.6 per cent over the past year according to the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre.  Houses in East Lothian fell by 5.3 per cent, though West Lothian and Midlothian saw increases of 7.5 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively. (Scotsman page 1)


Corporation Tax: Treasury chiefs have claimed that Scotland cannot afford to control its own corporation tax.  SNP ministers claim that the cost of administering the tax will be £28million a year but Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke has written to SNP ministers claiming it would be ‘significantly higher’ (Daily Mail page 2, Press and Journal page 9, John Swinney to Peter Hetherington in The Guardian, The Herald page 1 and page 14, The Daily Express page 4, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Daily Record page 2)



Charging English students: It has emerged that the EU will not challenge the practice of allowing Scottish universities to charge students from the rest of the UK. Dennis Abbott, spokesman for EU Education commissioner Androulla Vassiliou has said “There is no violation of EU law.  The Scottish practice in relation to students from other parts of the UK is a matter of policy internal to the UK and outside the scope of EU law.” This comes as St Andrew’s becomes the second Scottish University to announce it will charge £36,000 to students from other parts of the UK for a four year degree. (Scotsman page 15, Daily Mail page 17, The Herald page 7 and page 14, The Telegraph page 2)



Crime figures: Official crime figures published by the Scottish Government yesterday showed that overall crime fell by 4 per cent compared to last year and now stood at a 35-year low.  However, critics have pointed out that the level of serious sexual assault was at a ten-year high and there was a 2 per cent increase in violence and dishonesty. (Scotsman page 1, Sandy Brindley in the Scotsman, Daily Mail page 1, Gerald Warner in the Daily Mail, Press and Journal page 12, The Sun page 16, The Herald page 7, Daily Express page 1, Kerry Gill in the Daily Express, The Telegraph page 2, The Daily Record page 2, The Courier page 8 )


Sectarian legislation: Football pundit Pat Nevin, representatives from Rangers and Celtic football clubs as well as academics gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee yesterday on the proposed legislation to tackle football related sectarianism. (Scotsman page 8, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, The Courier page 7)


Hate Crime: A 19 year-old soldier has become the first person to be convicted under the Scottish Government’s ‘transphobia’ hate crime legislation.  The law, which makes ‘transphobia’ a hate crime, is the first of its kind in Europe. (Daily Mail page 7, The Telegraph page 12, The Courier page 1)


Neil Lennon Trial: Two men will stand trial in connection with an alleged plot to kill Celtic manager Neil Lennon and other high profile supporters of the club. Trevor Muirhead (43) and Neil McKenzie (42) are alleged to have sent suspected parcel bombs to Lennon, QC Paul McBride and former MSP Trish Godman. (Daily Mail page 18, Press and Journal page 8, The Sun page 1, The Telegraph page 10, The Daily Record page 7, The Courier page 7)