Reform Scotland News: 16 November 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. 



Electoral system: Professor John Curtice has called for Holyrood’s electoral system to be changed, claiming it has failed to meet the aspirations of devolution by delivering an outright majority for the SNP at the last election. The SNP won 69 out of 129 seats in May with 44 per cent of the vote.  Professor Curtice has called for the system to be more proportional to make it less likely any one party could achieve an outright majority.   Professor Curtice also pointed out that of the 48 new members elected in May; only one had served in the parliament before.  He claimed that a lack of experience on the government back-benches and in opposition meant that the SNP would be held to account less. (Scotsman page 1, Trevor Salmon in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Mail page 17)


Security hall for Holyrood: Green MSP Patrick Harvie has described plans to construct a new security hall at the front of the Scottish Parliament as “costly and pointless”. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 7)


Coalition split on Europe: After the Prime Minister called for “fundamental reform” of EU institutions as part of his Mansion House speech, Nick Clegg commented that only “populists, chauvinists and demagogues” would benefit if mainstream politicians became locked in “arcane” discussions rather than focusing on economic recovery. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 6, Mail page 2, Courier page 15)


UK Border Agency: The former head of the UK Border Agency, Brodie Clark, yesterday told MPs that Theresa May had “destroyed” his career and that he was “no rogue officer” with regard to the controversy over relaxed immigration controls. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 4, Mail page 10, Times page 3, Brodie Clark in the Times, Record page 9, Mirror page 10, Guardian page 10, P&J page 11, Courier page 12, FT page 2, Telegraph page 4)


Coastguard station: The coastguard station on the Clyde, which is facing closure by the UK government, is the busiest station in Scotland and the fourth busiest across the UK according to figures obtained under Freedom of Information. (Herald page 7)


MSPs striking: Labour MSPs are reportedly likely to stay away from Holyrood on November 30th in support of striking public sector workers.  (Sun page 2, Courier page 12)



Cost of living: The Consumer Price Index fell to 5 per cent in October according to figures published yesterday, helped by a supermarket price war. (Scotsman page 10, Sun page 2, P&J page 5, Courier page 11, FT page 3)


Amazon: The First Minister yesterday opened Amazon’s largest depot in Europe, which is the length of 14 football pitches.  The depot is situated in Dunfermline and employs 750 full time staff and will employ a further 750 seasonal workers. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 7, Sun page 6, Express page 10, Mail page 31, Record page 10, Courier page 10)


‘Sabotage’ claims: John Swinney has accused George Osborne of deliberately attempting to sabotage the Scottish economy with his claims that the independence referendum is scaring away big business from Scotland. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 1, Express page 4, P&J page 10, Courier page 10)


Energy costs: A panel of industry experts for SmartestEnergy has predicted that annual electricity bills could increase by 60 per cent and 54 per cent for gas due to rising wholesale prices. (Express page 1)



Train services: Transport Scotland have put forward a number of proposals to the Scottish Government regarding Scotland’s train services.  They include cross-border services terminating in Edinburgh, some sleeper services being axed, an alcohol ban on trains and increasing the time passengers may have to stand.  The agency also suggested that fare rises may have to be accelerated despite passenger numbers increasing by 25 per cent since 2004.  The comments are part of the Rail 2014 consultation. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Sun page 6, Express page 5, Mail page 1, Times page 1, Record page 1, P&J page 9, Courier page 8, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph)


Petrol: MPs yesterday approved a motion, tabled by back bench Tory MP Robert Halfon, calling for action on high petrol prices, to consider a “price stabilisation mechanism” and to scarp a planned 3p-a-litre increase in fuel duty. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 6, Express page 2, Record page 2, Mirror page 6, Guardian page 16, P&J page 1, Courier page 1, FT page 2)


Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael has said he is confident that a scheme to reduce the price of fuel sold on the islands will be in place by the spring. (P&J page 5)



Smoking: BMA Scotland yesterday called on the Scottish Government to consider banning smoking in cars.  The organisation pointed to research which showed that 26 per cent of adult non-smokers were exposed to second-hand smoke in cars, rising to 37 per cent of 18-24 year olds.  51 per cent of 8 to 15 year olds were also said to have been exposed to smoke in vehicles. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 8, Express page 22, Mail page 27, Record page 4, Mirror page 15, Guardian page 9, Telegraph page 19)


Lung cancer: According to the Roy Castle Lung Foundation the chances of surviving lung cancer vary depending on where you live in Scotland. People living Greater Glasgow and Clyde were twice as likely to develop the disease as people living in Grampian and also more likely to die.  The percentage of people who survived one year varied from 27 per cent in Ayrshire and Arran to 36 per cent in the Borders. (Scotsman page 14, Express page 14)


Local government

Equal pay: A case at the Court of Session involving Edinburgh City Council could lead to 1,000 female workers in the capital claiming £20million for doing “work of equal value” to men in certain posts. (Herald page 1)



Barlinnie: Hugh Monro, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons has warned that Scotland’s largest jail, Barlinnie prison in Glasgow, was failing to rehabilitate prisoners due to overcrowding and dilapidated conditions and needed to be updated as a matter of urgency. (Scotsman page 1, Clive Fairweather in the Scotsman, Herald page 5, Express page 4, Times page 7, Record page 18)