Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 17 October 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.
Scottish independence: Alex Salmond has claimed there is rising support for a ‘new relationship between the nations of the British Isles’ with growing support for Scottish independence across the UK, which 39% supporting the move according to ComRes. The latest Scottish Social Attitudes Survey for 2010 also showed 74% of people thought the Holyrood Government out to have most influence over how Scotland is run, compared with 16% for Westminster. The Prime Minister has called for Mr Salmond to hold an immediate referendum, however, the First Minister has reiterated that the poll will take place in the second half of the current Parliament. (The Herald page1, The Financial Times page 2, The Scotsman page1, Scotland on Sunday page 1, The Daily Express page 4, The Sun page 2, The Press and Journal page 1)
Liam Fox: The UK government has signalled that it would bring forth a compulsory register of lobbyists in the wake of the political storm that has forced Liam Fox to resign. Findings which show a large disparity in ministerial access for different types of groups has further prompted the introduction of a register. New questions have also emerged concerning a number of trips made by Adam Werrity, even while Dr Fox remained in the UK. (The Herald page 4, The Guardian, page 1,The Scotsman page 1, The Times page 1, The Sunday Herald page 6, The Telegraph page 1, The Sunday Times page 1, Scotland on Sunday page 5, Daily Express page 6, The Courier page 1, The Sun)
European Union: In an interview yesterday, Foreign Secretary William Hague stated that there was no immediate prospect of repatriating powers from the European Union. Such a change is only realistically feasible, he admits, if general changes occur at the EU level, as happens in treaty revisions. The main focus at the moment, according to Mr Hague, continues to be the stabilising of the Eurozone. In the midst of this interview, however, a Commons debate on a referendum to stay in the EU is still set to take place sometime next month. (The Scotsman page 2, The Telegraph page14, Scottish Daily Express page 1)
Protests begin in UK: The anti-capitalist protest movement which began in the United States has seen similar action occurring in Scotland and other parts of the UK. Small-scale protests emerged in Scotland aimed, amongst other things, at criticising banking practices and bringing attention to general economic malaise. (The Scotsman page 3, The Telegraph page 5, The Financial Times page 1, The Press and Journal page 19, The Courier page 10, The Sun)
Scottish Conservative leadership: Scottish Conservative officials have rejected calls for an immediate inquiry into reported claims that the party has unjustly focused on helping leadership candidate Ruth Davidson in the campaign for the party leadership in Scotland. (The Scotsman page 10, The Sunday Herald page 2, The Telegraph page 1)
Sectarian Bill: Alex Salmond, already reportedly agreeing to further key concessions to his anti-sectarian legislation, comes under further attack from departing Celtic Chairman John Reid. He expresses his concerns, along with others, that the legislation would prove too confusing and difficult to enforce. (The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday page 4)
First Minister’s residence: Claims that Alex Salmond was to spend over £10 million on a new official residence on Calton Hill have been dismissed as unfounded. The Scottish government stated that plans were in motion to change the location of the residence in an effort mainly to reduce costs. (The Scotsman page 14, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 4, Daily Mail page 10)
RBS chief apology: An apology made by Sir Fred Goodwin to shareholders of the Royal Bank of Scotland is to be shown this evening. The former chief admitted his regret as the bank recorded the biggest corporate loss in British history. This comes amidst new reports of a further reduction of jobs of about 5,000 employees. (The Scotsman page 7, The Times page 13, The Sunday Herald page 40, The Sun page 2, Daily Record)
UK Fuel Bills: According to Friends of the Earth, people in Scotland could be forced to subsidise UK-wide fossil fuel bills, even if Scotland reaches Mr Salmond’s goal of being entirely reliant on green energy sources by 2020. They claim this highlights the need for the UK government to reduce its reliance on natural gas and coal. (The Herald page 2)
Bus services: Scots living in some of the poorest communities are reportedly bearing the brunt of cuts to bus services. These findings have prompted concern that poor communities affected by high levels of unemployment are now suffering even more pressure as they lack the transport links that ensures access to jobs.(The Herald page 11)
Nursery Cuts: East Dunbartonshire Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council have become the first local authorities to stop funding for pre-school education for 3 and 4 year olds at private nurseries. This move has reportedly enraged parents, childcare campaigners and partner nursery owners. (The Herald page 5)
College course cuts: Union leaders have warned that Scottish colleges are being damaged by an agreement allowing the teaching time on full-time vocational courses to be cut. (The Herald page 9)
MP backing: Victims of a Scottish police officer who was jailed for a series of rapes and indecent assaults have been told that their rejected claims for compensation will be taken up by MPs (The Herald page 7).
Fund for carers: The Scottish government has announced a £1million fund to provide respite to around 3,500 carers. The funding will support both young and adult carers who look after people with disabilities. (The Herald page 5)