Reform Scotland News: 18 November 2011

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 18 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

 

Politics

Scotland Bill: Plans for new powers for Holyrood could collapse over a controversial tax-raising proposal in the Scotland Bill. The bill would see a reduction in income tax by 10p, which could then be raised as required by Scottish ministers. The £30 billion grant from Westminster would consequently be cut by roughly 35%, but the SNP have warned this would leave a shortfall of £500 million. As a result, the SNP may vote down the entire bill. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 6)

 

NHS pensions: Plans in place by Westminster to change NHS pensions in a way which would significantly increase contributions has been proposed in Scotland. The British Medical Association Scotland condemned the Scottish government’s move to follow Westminster’s path. (Scotsman page 22)

 

European Union: Angela Merkel is today expected to tell David Cameron that a referendum on EU treaty changes is not necessary, while Conservative MPs demand power returns to Westminster amid fears of a ‘two-speed EU’. Fears of a European “super state” and loss of sovereignty in Westminster are behind Conservative demands. A German foreign ministry paper sets out plans for steps towards a political union in Europe. (Telegraph page 1, Times page 18, Mail page 2, Guardian page 4, Sun page 2)

 

Labour leadership: Ken Macintosh, a contender for the Scottish Labour leadership, was yesterday accused of abandoning small Scottish firms, in his proposal to scrap the Small Business Bonus Scheme and raise funds to create 20,000 jobs. (Express page 21, Record page 6)

 

Economy

CBI comment: Director General of CBI, the leader of the UK’s largest business organisation, warns that the economy is in the “last chance saloon,” and that investment in the economy is vital for survival. (Scotsman page 1)

 

Air passenger duty: Chief executives of IAG (owner of British Airways’), EasyJet, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic signed a letter to George Osborne urging the UK government to axe its air passenger duty, in light of 7.4 million fewer passengers in the UK in 2010. (Scotsman page 10)

 

Northern Rock: Northern Rock is to be sold to Virgin Money in a deal that will leave taxpayers with a loss of at least £400 million. The sale price is below the £1.4 billion injected by the UK government, an issue that has attracted criticism. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 2, P&J page 5)

 

Diesel prices: Diesel prices went up 1.6p a litre over last month to an average of 141.6p a litre, compared to England’s increase of 1.3p and an average price of 140.95p a litre, according to the Automobile Association fuel price report. (Scotsman page 23, Herald page 5, P&J page 11)

 

Michelin tyre plant: French tyre company Michelin will today announce a multi-million pound investment in their Dundee factory, securing 700 jobs with the promise of 100 more to meet winter demand for tyres. (Herald page 2, Courier page 9)

 

Scottish defence and investment: Lord Robertson has commented on defence companies, saying nervousness surrounding independence may stifle investment in Rosyth dockyard, echoing Scottish Secretary Michael Moore who argued jobs were under threat if Scotland became independent. Similarly, Ruth Davidson pointed to the SNP’s ‘dither and delay on the constitutional question,’ contending that it is causing uncertainty that is reducing the prospect of long-term investment. (Courier page 7, P&J page 15)

 

North Sea Oil: Energy Minister Fergus Ewing claimed the North Sea could still hold £1 trillion worth of oil, or 24 billion barrels. (Sun page 2, P&K page 1)

 

Education

School-leavers: Four out of 10 Scottish firms are struggling to recruit school leavers as they are unprepared for the world of work, a report from the Alliance of Skills Councils in Scotland contends. The report also says that eight out of 10 recruits from university were well equipped for starting work. (Express page 21, Mail page 1)

 

Justice

Corroboration: Proposals by Lord Carloway to shake up Scottish law may see the end of the legal safeguard of corroboration, a law unique to Scotland and centuries old. The law ensures that all evidence is backed by two sources in an effort to prevent miscarriages of justice and the proposal has been criticised by the Law Society of Scotland, judges and sheriffs. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Courier page 7, P&J page 8, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Express page 2, Mail page 19, Record page 4, Sun page 1)

 

Mineshaft death: Strathclyde Fire and Rescue head Brian Sweeney apologised to the family of Alison Hume, who fell down a mineshaft and was trapped for more than seven hours, after health and safety rules prevented firemen from going into the mine. Mountain Rescue were instead used, but the delay was a factor in her death. (Times page 17, Courier page 11, Herald page 7, Mail page 1, Record page 2)

 

Summer riots: Professor Steve Reicher of St Andrews University argues that the approach to policing in Scotland prevented the riots spreading north of the border, in an e-book released today entitled ‘Mad Mobs and Englishmen?’ (Record page 2, Sun page 29)

 

Health

Drugs league: A United Nations report indicates Scotland has the highest rate of cocaine and heroin abuse in the Western world, with about 52,000 problem drug users across Scotland. (Mail page 1)