Reform Scotland News: 09.11.2011


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. 



Cost to join EU: ‘Scotland, Independence and the EU’, written by Arabella Thorp and Gavin Thompson, has warned that Scotland could be liable for approximately £8.4bn of the Eurozone bail-out fund if it were to join the EU as an independent country. The SNP has argued that this would only apply if Scotland joined the euro, though others argue that an independent Scotland seeking to join the EU would have no choice but to join the euro. The report also suggests that Scotland could pay more per head to the EU as it would have to negotiate new membership and may lose the UK rebate won by Margaret Thatcher.

(Scotsman page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Courier page 10)


Corporation Tax: Dr Graham Gudgin, adviser to Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson has told MSPs on the Scotland Bill committee that the coalition government has privately ruled out handing corporation tax over to Holyrood. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 1)


Scottish Tory leadership: Ruth Davidson, the new Scottish Tory leader, reportedly held a meeting with defeated candidate Murdo Fraser yesterday.  It is understood Murdo may lead the party’s campaign against independence, though is unlikely to serve on the new leader’s front bench team. The 15 Tory MSPs met as a group for the first time yesterday since Ms Davidson became leader. (Scotsman page 20, Herald page 6, Times page 17, Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph)



Fraser of Allander: A report by the Fraser if Allander Institute published yesterday halved its growth forecasts for Scotland from earlier this summer and raised concerns that unemployment figures could rise significantly in 2012 and 2013. Scotland’s predicted growth rate for this year (0.4%) is less than half of the predicted UK average (1%).The report also suggests that George Osborne should consider a combination of tax cuts or extra spending to kick start the economy.   (Scotsman page 6, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Herald page 24, Sun page 4, Times page 9, Daily Express page 1)


Brian Ashcroft, editor of the Fraser of Allander Institute’s economic commentary has also suggested that raising unemployment benefits could kick start the economy because “the unemployed spend everything they have got”. (Herald page 1)


Town centres: Ross Martin in the Scotsman comments on the importance of town centres and local high streets and how their decline can be reversed.


Pensions crash: Figures from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) have shown that pensioners now have more debt than any other age group in Scotland. Average debts are more than £26,000 per person, 29% more than the Scotland-wide average. CAS have suggested that pensioners are financially supporting the next generation to an extent that their own financial wellbeing is at risk. (Daily Mail page 1)


North Sea Investment concerns: Business confidence in the UK Continental Shelf is apparently lagging behind that of international counterparts. Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s 15th Oil and Gas survey found that 50% of oil and gas operators in the UK North Sea believe that the March tax increase has been detrimental to long-term investment in the area. (Press and Journal page 16)



First Chancellor for university: Princess Anne will become the first Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands next year. (Press and Journal, page 4)



UK Border Agency:  Brodie Clark, the head of the UK Boarder Agency, quit his post last night and launched a case of constructive dismissal.  He has also denied accusations of “improperly” extending a relaxation of immigration controls, arguing that he followed measures which have been place since 2008-09, and has accused Home Secretary Theresa May of making his position untenable due to her comments made in the House of Commons. The Home office has set up three inquiries into the affair. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 1, The Sun page 2, The Guardian page 10, The Times page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Financial Times page 2, Courier page 10, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mirror page 6, Daily Express page 4)



Road network:  A report published as part of a review into Scotland’s road network has warned motorists could face longer journey times, higher vehicle repair costs and more traffic accidents due to an “inevitable” deterioration in the state of Scotland’s roads. (Herald page 4)


Air links: The Scottish Council for Development and Industry has called for air links between Scotland and Heathrow to be protected amid fears more domestic routes could be axed to make way for long haul services from London. (Herald page 10)



Care firm: Argus Care Group, an Aberdeen-based firm which runs 12 nursing and residential homes, went into administration last night.  Around 500 residents are currently cared for in Argus’ homes. (Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Daily Telegraph page 9, Daily Mail page 21)


Euthanasia workshop in Edinburgh:  Philip Nitschke, director of the Exit International organisation is to stage a ‘practical euthanasia workshop’ in a church hall in Edinburgh for those who are aged over fifty or are seriously ill. The workshop has been condemned by the convenor of the Church of Scotland, the Rev. Ian Galloway, and the Catholic Church in Scotland has called for the police to investigate the legality of the event. Margo MacDonald, the Independent MSP who has promoted a bill to legalise assisted suicide has distanced herself from the event.  (Times page 25, Daily Mail page 12, Daily Express page 31)


Health spending cuts: Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon told the Health and Sport committee at Holyrood yesterday that she expects health boards to make savings of between 2.5  and  3% next year. Health boards are expected to see an increase in their budget in 2012. The Labour health spokesman, Jackie Baillie, raised concerns that efficiency measures could lead to a reduction in NHS services. (Daily Mail page 5, Courier page 11)


Local Government

Edinburgh: Business leaders have suggested that Edinburgh’s recovery from the recession is being held back by a lack of strong leadership and overall vision for the city.  Edinburgh’s Chamber of Commerce has said that the STV voting system for local elections has left the capital handicapped when it comes to decision making sue to a divided leadership. (Scotsman page 1, Brian Ferguson in the Scotsman, Dave Anderson in the Scotsman)


Dalgety Bay: Areas of Dalgety Bay could be closed off after the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) found a further source of potentially dangerous radioactivity.  SEPA and the Scottish Government have appealed to the MoD to remove the source as the material is reported to originate from radium coatings on dials from military aircraft based at the Donibristle airbase which were incinerated on the site after the Second World War. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 8, Courier page 1)


Police Bills for public events: Strathclyde Police have revealed that they spent £1.6 million policing political and religious marches last year. This has come at a time when there also concerns about the amount of money spent by Lothian and Borders police, and paid by the taxpayer, in policing major events such as the wedding of Mike Tindall and Zara Philips. (Sun page 6)