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Reform Scotland News: 25 November 2011

 

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 25 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

Europe: David Cameron has reportedly been put under increased pressure to hold an EU Referendum after Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and Mario Monti agreed that treaty changes are needed to save the Eurozone. (Scotsman page 2)

 

Strikes: The November 30th public sector strike action over pensions has been criticised, with the UK government claiming yesterday that £500million could be lost to the strike, while union leaders say strikes could go on into 2012. The government has been accused of ‘fantasy economies’, with the £500million prediction coming from figures in which all 2.6 million union members take part in the strikes. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 2, FT page 4, Express page 2, Mail page 4)

 

Independence: CBI Scotland director Iain McMillan has argued that questions over independence should not be equated to talking Scotland out of the idea; rather it should be seen as a constructive discussion and he reportedly criticised the SNP for attacking those who question independence. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 6, Courier page 1, Express page 4, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Mail page 6, Record page 6)

 

Boundary changes: The Boundary Commission’s plans have been criticised by north and north-east MPs, as constituencies will in effect be amalgamated to reduce the number of MPs in Westminster from 650 to 600. (P&J page 3)

 

Migration: Figures released on Wednesday show that net migration has reached record levels, as the number of those leaving the UK lessened and the number of migrants increased. The statistics go against Westminster’s plans to reduce net migration to the UK. (Herald page 3, FT page 4, Express page 1, Mail page 1)

 

Scottish soldiers: Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie asked Alex Salmond if Scottish soldiers serving in UK regiments would have to leave their post under independence, a question to which Alex Salmond replied ‘soldiers in that position will have a straight choice.’ Mr Salmond also claimed that Scottish soldiers and their families voted for the SNP in overwhelming numbers last May. (Express page 4, Times page 11)

 

Economy

Mortgage lending: Mortgage lending increased by 8 per cent in Scotland in the third quarter, with lending for house purchases in the UK increasing by 16 per cent. (Scotsman page 2)

 

Arcadia: The owner of Topshop and BHS is to close 260 stores across the UK over the next few years, announced Arcadia, the group that owns the chains and is led by Sir Philip Green. This reflects not only the economy, but the way in which people shop, many turning online. (Scotsman page 14)

 

Bank charges: Andrew Bailey, director of the Financial Services Authority, has said that higher fees for basic retail services will reduce the number of damaging decisions and make levied charges consistent. The argument follows that this will allow for more transparent banking, avoiding such problems as the improper selling of payment protection insurance. (FT page 1)

 

Fuel poverty: The Scottish government published figures showing that hundreds of thousands of middle-class Scottish households could not afford to heat their homes, fuel poverty being defined as someone spending over 10 per cent of income on fuel costs. In all, the figures show 28 per cent of all Scottish households were in fuel poverty. (Telegraph page 6)

 

Education

Neets: Lord Smith’s Smith Group paper said that the cost of ignoring young people not in education, employment and training (Neets) will be “enormous”. Lord Smith wants a new minister for Neets to overcome the current problem. Lord Smith’s paper also accused the exams-based education system of limiting school leavers’ access to the job market. The proposal comes as Nick Clegg announced a £1billion three year plan to address the joblessness of the ‘lost generation’. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Courier page 13, Express page 16, Mail page 6)

 

Shared service models: Midlothian and East Lothian have followed Stirling and Clackmannanshire in a similar way, becoming the latest to introduce a shared service model for education and children’s departments. The approach will appoint a joint head of education while the phased approach will see local authorities retain independent governance. (TESS page 5)

 

Local Government

Refuse collection: Edinburgh City Council has decided against privatising services, including bin collections, after they were voted down. (Scotsman page 25, Times page 11)

 

Green investment bank: The UK’s proposed Green Investment Bank has received encouragement from Gordon Matheson, Glasgow City Council leader, who said the bank should be sited in the Scottish capital. Edinburgh will be among 20 cities competing for the bank. (Times page 7)

 

Transport

Scottish highways: Scotland’s are the most potholed in Britain following two particularly harsh winters. The findings say that there are 20.1 potholes per neighbourhood as opposed to 14.9 across the UK. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 8, P&J page 7, Express page 11, Mail page 1