Reform Scotland News: 3 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




Public sector strikes: Yesterday the UK government offered a new deal on public sector pensions meaning future pension schemes would be based on 1/60th of average salary accruing for each year worked, rather than the previous offer of 1/65th.  However, unions have indicated that they intend to press ahead with strike action planned for November 30th. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 1, Courier page 12, Times page 5, Sun page 6, Guardian page 6, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 2, Daily Mirror page 4, Press and Journal page 5, Financial Times page 2, Scottish Daily Mail page 6)


Drunk allegations: David Linden, the national convenor of SNP Youth who also works for John Mason MSP, has accused Lord Foulkes of being drunk in the House of Lords. The SNP has said that Mr Linden has been asked to remove the Tweet where he made the accusation. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 6, Daily Record page 4)


Electoral Commission: In evidence to a House of Commons inquiry on the proposed independence referendum, the Electoral Commission expressed fears over the financial and staffing independence of the referendum. The concerns were based on the draft legislation put forward by the Scottish government before the last Scottish election.  Despite these fears, the Electoral Commission said that SNP ministers had not contacted them to discuss the issues. (Scotsman page 12, Alan Trench in the Scotsman, Herald page 6)


Scottish Labour: Councillor Andy Muir has reportedly defied the council leadership by continuing to take his place as vice-chairman of the city’s licensing board. He has sought legal advice regarding a potential attempt to sack him, showing that the Labour group has no legal remit to remove any councillors. (Herald page 4)


Fracking: Calls to ban “fracking”, a controversial form of extracting natural gas, has been made by Scottish environmentalists. Concerns have emerged that the exploration firm Dart Energy is soon to carry out such an operation on their site in Airth, near Sterling, which could be the first operation of its kind in Scotland. Emotions are stirred following the release of a report regarding two minor earthquakes in North of England. The report was commissioned by the company concerned, Quadrilla Resources, and concluded that the quakes earlier this year probably were caused by the technique. (Herald page 8, Courier page 15, Times page 49, Sun page 44, Guardian page 2, Daily Record page 29, Daily Mirror page 21, Press and Journal page 5, Financial times page 3)



Oil wealth: A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers has suggested that Scotland’s North Sea oil and gas industry could deliver £376bn over the next 40 years.  However, fresh funding and investment along with fiscal certainty and targets incentives were needed to realise the vision. (Scotsman page 1, Bob Collier in the Scotsman)


Renewable energy report: David Cameron and Alex Salmond have clashed over a recent report from a leading financial house Citigroup. The report concerns costs attached to the Scottish Government’s renewable energy development, encouraging investors to back off until a referendum on Scottish independence has been held. The First Minister dismissed the claims that an independent Scotland could not afford to sustain its renewable sector yesterday. (Herald page 6, Courier page 1, Times page 3, Peter Jones in Times, Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Record page 4, Daily Express page 4, Press and Journal page 15, Scottish Daily Mail page 17)


Renewable energy: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman comments on the debate over renewable energy and its potential impact on Scotland’s landscape. 


Labour stimulation plans: Labour are to unveil their own five-point growth plan to stimulate the economy today, including suggestions for Scotland. The proposal is to contain, among other things, a call for the Scottish Government to build 2500 more affordable homes, and long-term investment projects on schools, roads and other transport schemes. It also reiterates a call for the Coalition to bring in a £2 billion bank bonus tax to fund jobs, to reverse the VAT rate rise and to slash VAT on home improvements. (Herald page 6)


Concert arena: Plans for a 12,000 capacity indoor area near Edinburgh airport have been unveiled. (Scotsman page 6)


Supermarket tax: John Swinney has insisted that a controversial £110m tax on supermarkets will not lead to job cuts or damage the economy.  His comments come in response to business leaders who had warned the proposal could “sully” Scotland’s reputation as a place to do business. (Scotsman page 13, Daily Express page 4)


Council budget cuts: The Welfare Reform Bill before Westminster involves changes which will impact on local authorities in Scotland. The effects  of the proposals were discussed by Holyrood’s Local Government Committee yesterday. (Herald page 13)



ScotRail: The operators of Scotland’s rail services have been called upon to improve punctuality following warnings over poor performance. The Office of Rail Regulation warned Network Rail, which owns the UK’s tracks and signals, that it could be in breach of its license conditions and face multimillion pound fines over poor performance. (Herald page 10, Scottish Daily Mail page 4)



Cancer deaths: According to Cancer Research more than one in three adults who die prematurely between the ages of 25 and 74 are killed by cancer. (Scotsman page 16)


Autism: The Scottish government has announced that more than £13m is to be used to help improve the care and support of people with autism. (Scotsman page 24, Herald page 13, Courier page 9, Press and Journal page 13)


Scottish diet: Scientists of the British Heart Foundation say the healthier average diet in England contributes to a lower death rate from heart disease, strokes and 10 cancers. (Herald page 8, Courier page 9, Times page 8, Daily Telegraph page 9, Press and Journal page 19, Scottish Daily Mail page 19)



Ban on foreign students: Two Scottish language schools appear on the list of 474 colleges produced by the Home Office which are barred from recruiting foreign students. These colleges have either not signed up for the new inspection system or has shown irregularities. (Herald page 4)



Anti-sectarian legislation:  Opposition parties at Holyrood have joined forces in a call for the Scottish Government to drop controversial new laws to tackle sectarianism in football.  The Tories, Lib Dems and Greens are all backing a Labour motion which says that the government has failed to make the case for the legislation and argues that the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill “lacks clarity, would lead to confusion, be difficult to enforce if implemented and cannot be supported”. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 6, Daily Telegraph page 6, Sun page 2, Daily Record page 4, Daily Express page 4, Press and Journal page 10)