Reform Scotland News: 17 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



MSPs striking: The Scottish Parliament voted last night to debate public sector pensions on 30 November, the day of industrial action across the UK.  However, the Labour party have already indicated that their MSPs will remain in their constituencies on the day in support of those on strike. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Daily Record page 2, Press&Journal page 8, Daily express page 4, Courier page 7, Daily Telegraph page 2)


Politician of the year: Alex Salmond was named the UK’s politician of the year at the Spectator magazine’s annual awards ceremony last night. (Scotsman page 2, Times page 13, Courier page 7)


Ministerial wages: The Scottish government has reportedly been criticised after the ministerial wage bill increased by £170,000 this year, despite a pay freeze, due to the increase in the cabinet from six to nine senior ministers. (Scotsman page 14)


Labour leadership: Labour leadership candidate Johann Lamont has secured the most nominations for the contest with 27 MSPs, MPs and MEPs.  She also has the most support from other affiliates and party members.  Ken Macintosh MSP has secured 26 political nominations and Tom Harris MP 13. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Daily Record page 2)


Sectarianism: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments on the SNP’s proposals to tackle sectarianism within football.


Cost of Parliament maintenance: The cost of maintaining the Scottish Parliament will reportedly rise from £75,000 to £685,000 next year, though no explanation for the rise has been given in the briefing notes given to Holyrood’s finance committee. (Sun page 4, Press&Journal page 13, Daily Express page 14, Times page 28)


Electoral system: Angus McLeod in the Times, comments on an academic study of Holyrood’s electoral system.



Unemployment: Official figures published yesterday indicate that unemployment across the UK has now reached 2.62million, including one million 16-to-24 year olds.  In Scotland unemployment is at 8 per cent, slightly below the UK figure of 8.3 per cent. (Scotsman page 1, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Page 6, Iain Macwhirter in the Herald, Sun page 6, Daily Mirror page 1, Daily Record page 1, Press&Journal page 5, Financial Times page 2, Daily Express page 2, Times page 8, David Aaronovitch in the Times, Courier page 9, Daily Mail page 6, Daily Telegraph page 4)


British Gas: British Gas has announced it is to cut 850 jobs from their services business. (Herald page 2)


Double-dip recession: The Bank of England yesterday forecast a heightened risk of a double-dip recession, highlighting the eurozone crisis as the biggest risk to the UK economy.  Sir Mervyn King cut the bank’s UK growth estimate to 1 per cent for 2011 and 2012.  However, the forecast is on the basis that the euro crisis does not get any worse. (Scotsman page 2, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Sun page 6, Press&Journal page 5, Daily Express page 2, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Telegraph page 1)



Child health: Former health minister Susan Deacon has admitted she “failed” in her attempts to improve the lives of pre-school children during her time in government after getting caught up in “techno speak” and “over professionalization”.  (Scotsman page 2)



Charitable status: Four Scottish private schools are expected to retain their charitable status after a three-year investigation by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.  One school source reportedly called the process a “shambles”. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 7)


Senior staff: Jim Thewliss, president of the headteachers’ union School Leaders’ Scotland, has commented that the number of senior staff in Scottish schools is being cut, placing an “intolerable burden” on remaining staff. (Herald page 4)



Fatal accident inquiry: A fatal accident inquiry into the death of Alison Hume, who fell down a disused mineshaft, has ruled that her death may have been avoided if she had been brought out earlier.  Ms Hume spent up to eight hours in the shaft while her rescue was delayed due to senior fire officials showing “rigid compliance” to health and safety procedures and did not allow fire fighters to go into the mine to bring her out.  (Scotsman page 1, Graeme Garrett in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Sun page 23, Daily Record page 10, Press&Journal page 1, Daily Express page 1, Times page 1, Courier page 3, Daily Mail page 1, Daily Telegraph page 9)