Reform Scotland News: 30/11/2011


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: Scotland is to face disruption today as 300,000 public sector workers in Scotland are expected to go on strike, protesting changes to their public sector pensions.  Many services are likely to be affected – most schools will be closed; council services will operate reduced services and many routine hospital and doctors appointments are to be cancelled.  The Scottish Labour and Green parties will join in the protest while the other political parties will continue with parliamentary business. The number of union members has risen in the past few weeks with Unison and GMB both reporting a surge in recruitment, especially from women. (Scotsman page 5, Sun page 2, Daily Mirror page 7, Daily Record page 1, Daily Express page 2, Financial Times page 8, Daily Mail page 4, Daily Telegraph page 2)


Hacking: Further coverage of Lord Levenson’s Inquiry.  Paul McMullan, a former journalist at the News of the World, gave evidence yesterday suggesting the papers editors knew journalists were illegally hacking voicemails.  Nick Davies, the Guardian journalist who broke the story, also gave evidence claiming that Glenn Muclaire, a private investigator, “facilitated” hacking, but in most cases it was News of The World journalists who illegally accessed the messages. (Scotsman page 21, Guardian page 16, Daily Mirror page 29, Daily Record page 10, Press and Journal page 8, Times page 3, Daily Mail page 10, Daily Telegraph page 14)


Ulster plea: Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Peter Robinson of the Democratic Unionist Party, yesterday called for ‘Ulster Scots brethren and sisters’ to reject any plans to break up the UK. (Daily Express page 14)


One Show: Alex Salmond reiterated that he believed Scotland would be independent on the One Show last night. (Courier page 12)



Autumn statement:  Yesterday the Chancellor outlined the UK government’s autumn statement.  He commented that the government “cannot afford” to maintain the public sector in its present state and warned it may “prove hard” to avoid a second recession in three years.   George Osborne announced that nearly 750,000 public sector workers will have lost their jobs by 2017, higher than the 400,000 originally predicted, and public sector pay rises will be capped at 1 per cent following the end of the current pay freeze.  State pensions are to increase by £5.30 a week from April, though the pension age will rise from 66 to 67 by 2026.  The Chancellor also confirmed that the UK will need to borrow £111billion more than predicted over the next four years.   Figures published by the Office of Budget Responsibility indicate that families’ spending power has fallen by 2.3 percent this year, the biggest fall since the end of the Second World War.  The OBR also forecast growth would only be 0.7 per cent next year compared to its prediction of 1.7 per cent in March. (Scotsman page 1, Tom Peterkin in the Scotsman, Allan Massie in the Scotsman, David Bell in the Scotsman, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Sun page 12, Guardian page 1, Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian, Daily Mirror page 1, Daily Express page 1, Patrick O’Flynn in the Daily Express, Times page 1, Financial Times page 1, The Herald page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 1, Max Hastings in the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph page 1)


The autumn statement will provide the Scottish Government with an additional £432m over the next four years. John Swinney, Scotland’s Finance Secretary said Osborne’s measures are ‘too little, too late’. (Scotsman page 10, John McLaren in the Scotsman, Sun page 12, Daily Express page 7, Press and Journal page 1, Cameron Brooks in the Press and Journal, The Courier page 1 &9, Angus McLeod in the Times, Ian Bell in the Herald, Daily Mail page 7, Daily Telegraph page 9)



University fees: Education Secretary Mike Russell has criticised the Universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh for setting tuition fees at the highest possible level for students from the rest of the UK.  The two universities are charging fees of £9,000 a year for four year courses.  As English universities offer three year courses, degrees from Edinburgh and St Andrews are the most expensive in the UK. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 2)


Glasgow College: Work is to begin on a “super college” in Glasgow for the City of Glasgow College.  £193m has been provided from the Scottish Funding Council for the project. The City of Glasgow College was formed last year following the merger of the Central, Metropolitan and Nautical colleges. (Scotsman page 2)



A9: The Scottish Government announced yesterday that work will start next week on dualling the A9 from Perth to Inverness and is expected to be completed by 2025. (Scotsman page 20, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 8, Press and Journal page 1, The Courier page 5, Herald page 6, Daily Mail page 28)


Ferry subsidy: The SNP have been accused of taking a ‘divisive’ approach to Scotland’s islands after extending a ferry subsidy to the Hebrides but not to Orkney and Shetland. (Herald page 2)



Staff: New statistics published yesterday suggest show that since September last year the number of whole-time posts in the NHS in Scotland has dropped by 3,624, including a 1,569 drop in nursing and midwifery roles.  (Scotsman page 22, Times page 24, Daily Mail page 26)


Stroke & heart disease:  Deaths from strokes and heart disease in Scotland have fallen from 124.6 per 100,000 under 75s to 49 per 100,000 between 1995 and 2010. (Scotsman page 22, Herald page 7)


Abuse statistics: A study by the youth group Voice against Violence has found that more than a quarter of the young people surveyed in Scotland would accept one-off violence from a partner. Nicola Sturgeon stated that, “It is important to see domestic abuse from a young person’s point of view. “ (Sun page 39)


Oyster warning: The Food Standards Agency has urged elderly or vulnerable adults to avoid eating raw oysters as research has found that 76% of British shellfish are infected with norovirus. (Guardian page 14, Herald page 6)


Local Government

Flooding: Bad weather, storms and flooding affected many areas of central and western Scotland yesterday.  40 children had to be rescued by fire-fighters while parts of the M9, M8 and A 8 had to be closed. (Scotsman page 14, Sun page 1, Daily Record page 11, Daily Express page 9, Times page 13, Herald page 3, Daily Mail page 12, Daily Telegraph page 2)



Sectarianism: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on the Scottish Government’s anti-sectarianism legislation. Rangers player Kyle Lafferty, who has been the victim of a number of attacks, last night criticised the ‘sectarian hatred that scars Scottish football’. (Sun page 15)


‘Spy’ cleared: The former intern for MP Mike Hancock, Katia Zatuliveter, who was alleged to have been a Russian agent and whom was facing deportation has won the right to stay in the UK. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission found no evidence that she was a spy. (Sun page 34, Guardian page 15, Daily Mirror page 16, Daily Record page 29, Press and Journal page 5, Times page 24, Daily Mail page 25, Daily Telegraph page 11)


Corroboration Rule: Lord Carloway, the senior judge who led a review of Scottish criminal law, yesterday defended his recommendation that the corroboration rule be scrapped to the Justice Committee at the Scottish Parliament. The Corroboration rule necessitates evidence from two sources for a conviction. Concerns have been raised that dealing with one ‘idiosyncrasy’ of Scottish law without an overhaul of others could lead to a rise in the number of unsafe convictions. (Times page 19)