Reform Scotland News: 9 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. 



Tax Powers: The SNP is threatening to block any transfer of tax raising powers to the Scottish Government out of concern that the powers will result in Scotland’s budget being cut.  As part of the Scotland Bill, income tax in Scotland would be cut by 10p, with MSPs then having to raise it to set a level to meet spending in Scotland. (Scotsman page 1 and page 32, The Telegraph page 10, Daily Record page 2, The Herald page 1, The Sun page 2)


Conservative Leadership Election: Ruth Davidson has officially entered the race to be the next leader of the Conservative party in Scotland. At her launch in Edinburgh yesterday, Ms Davidson attacked Murdo Fraser’s ‘breakaway party’ proposal and rejected the idea of extending the powers of MSPs beyond the Scotland Bill, and promised she would be a ‘dynamic modern leader’. (Scotsman page 3, Daily Express page 8, Press and Journal page 9, The Times page 5, The Telegraph page 6 and Alan Cochrane in The Telegraph, The Record page 8, The Herald page 6, The Courier page 10, The Daily Mail page 18, The Sun page 2)


West Lothian Question: A commission has been set up by the UK Coalition Government to look into the issue of Scots MPs voting on English matters. The commission will focus on parliamentary procedures at Westminster and will not consider the funding of the different parts of the UK, constitutional reform minister Mark Harper announced in a statement to MPs. (Times page 22, The Telegraph page 1, The Daily Mail page 2)


Nuclear Power: Public support for nuclear power has increased since Fukushima, according to a poll. The poll, carried out by Populus for the British Science Foundation, found that the proportion of British people who think the benefits of nuclear outweigh the risks has risen from 38% last year to 41%. (The Times page 29)


The EU: MSP Fiona Hyslop reportedly refused last night to commit to an independent Scotland joining the European Union.  In what would be a change of SNP party policy, Ms Hyslop claimed that a separate Scotland would choose between joining the EU and joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). EFTA consists of just four European states – Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. (The Telegraph page 1)



UK Economy: The UK economy is ‘grinding to a halt’ according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.  The OECD has forecast that economic growth in the UK will fall to 0.3% by the end of the year, a large drop from the 2.5% recorded in the third quarter of 2010. (Scotsman page 4, Daily Mirror page 14, The Times page 4, The Herald page 6, The Daily Mail page 2, The Guardian page 28)


Public Sector Pensions: The UK Government has been urged to ‘ruthlessly’ cut public sector pensions, claiming they are unaffordable and an unfair burden on the private sector. The Centre for Policy Studies think tank has produced a report claiming the current proposals for reforming pensions are ‘too weak’. (Scotsman page 4, Daily Express page 19)


Car Insurance: The Office of Fair Trading is to investigate a 40% increase in car insurance premiums; reportedly fuelled by ‘no win no fee’ court claims. The OFT will look into insurance companies’ provision of courtesy cars, their choice of approved repairers and the extra products which they sell. (Daily Express page 2, The Times page 14, the Herald page 11, The Daily Mail page 8)



Single Police Force:  Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has claimed that single police and fire forces will save taxpayers up to £2billion over 15 years. In a statement to Holyrood, Mr MacAskill also stated that an eight week consultation will take place on the plans, which are supported by the Scottish Conservatives and Labour. (Daily Express page 4, Press and Journal page 9, The Times page 22, The Telegraph page 12, The Herald page 2, The Courier page 1, The Daily Mail page 4)



Blood Donation: Gay men are to be allowed to donate blood, but only if they have not had sex with another man for 12 months.  A lifetime ban on blood donation for any man who had ever had sex with another man was put in place in the 1980s in light of the HIV/Aids spread. However, from the 7th November the law will be relaxed in light of improved testing for the disease. The law will be changed in all parts of the UK. (Scotsman page 19, Daily Express page 20, Daily Mirror page 24, The Times page 26, The Record page 16, The Guardian page 13)