Reform Scotland News: 06.12.2011


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. 



EU referendum:

David Cameron yesterday rejected calls to hold a referendum on changes to the European Union treaty, demanded by France and Germany to solve the euro crisis. The changes would reportedly allow the EU to impose tight sanctions on nations that fail to keep a tight control of their finances.  Cameron’s refusal to allow a referendum has reportedly angered many Tory MPs and could lead to a major fall-out within the party. Meanwhile France and Germany have agreed a deal on fiscal rules which they hope will begin the process of saving the single currency. (Scotsman page 1, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, David Maddox in the Scotsman, The Herald page 6, The Times page 1 and 6, The Guardian page 1, The Financial Times page 1, The Press and Journal page 7, Daily Mail page 2, The Sun page 4, The Daily Record page 2, The Daily Express page 4)



Leveson Inquiry: Further coverage of Lord Leveson’s press standards inquiry. (Scotsman page 2, The Courier page 11, The Times page 16, The Guardian page 17, Daily Mail page 10, The Daily Mirror page 4)


Holyrood falcon: A pigeon-fancier has been accused of killing one of the falcons responsible for protecting the Scottish Parliament from the damage caused by pigeons. (Scotsman page 3, The Herald page 9)


Scotland and China: The First Minister has said that a series of cultural agreements made as part of his trip to the Far East will help open doors between Scotland and China and bring “lasting benefits”. (Scotsman page 10)


Labour leadership: Labour leadership candidate Ken Macintosh has said that he can beat Alex Salmond by adopting a “mature” approach to debates”. (Scotsman page 13)


Independence: A cross-party campaign to save the union, “Keep Scotland in Britain” will be launched in the New Year in a bid to halt the SNP’s drive toward independence. Unionist politicians from both sides of the border will make the case for Scotland remaining within the UK, including Alistair Darling and Charles Kennedy. (The Times page 5)


Salmond accused of favouritism: Alex Salmond is facing accusations of favouritism after it was revealed that the brother of the Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, joined the First Minister on his trade mission to the Middle East. Allan MacAskill is an advisor to two foreign energy firms and accompanied the trade mission to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. (Daily Mail page 8)



Tax:  Research produced by the OECD has found on average the highest earners in the UK receive nearly 12 times as much as the lowest and that the gap between the rich and poor has risen in the UK more quickly than any other high-income country since 1975.  As a result the OECD has recommended the UK government impose higher taxes on the rich to tackle the inequality. (Scotsman page 2, The Herald page 7, The Guardian page 2, The Daily Telegraph page 4)


Nordic taxes: An independence prospective being drawn up by civil servants which was leaked over the weekend has suggested the SNP would run Scotland similar to the Nordic models used in Norway and Sweden.  Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has criticised the model saying that it could see Scots paying much higher levels of tax. (Scotsman page 2)


Fiscal freedom: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments on the pros and cons of Scotland getting greater control over its finances.


Christmas spending: According to a study by the insurance firm LV, parents in Scotland are spending on average 22% more on their children’s gifts than the UK average despite this year’s economic downturn. (The Herald page 3)


HSBC: HSBC has been told it is to pay the largest City fine on record after mis-selling bonds to nearly 3,000 elderly customers living in care. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined the bank £10.5million and it will be expected to pay another £29.3million in compensation. (The Herald page 3, The Times page 8, The Guardian page 15, The Financial Times page 1, The Press and Journal page 7, Daily Mail page 6, The Sun page 6, The Daily Record page 6, The Daily Express page 2, The Daily Mirror page 7)


Pensioner’s economic contribution: A report by MGM Advantage and supported by Age Scotland has found that pensioner’s contribute over £2billion a year to the Scottish economy through voluntary work and childcare duties. Age Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to provide sufficient support to older volunteers and carers so that they can continue making this contribution. (The Herald page 5)


Olympics: The cost of security for the 2012 Olympics has almost doubled to £553 million. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has said that this rise in costs is a result of the decision to recruit and train almost 14,000 extra personnel. Meanwhile the budget for the opening and closing ceremonies has been doubled to £81million. (The Herald page 5, The Times page 1, The Press and Journal page 9)



Teachers in Scotland: Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the union Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has said that Scottish teachers face a future with lower pay and cuts to jobs. His warning follows the attempts by Renfrewshire Council to introduce visiting specialists into classrooms for part of the school week. Mr Smith has urged the Scottish Government to force councils to employ teachers rather than lower qualified staff. (The Herald page 6)


New schools: Labour-run Glasgow City Council has accused the SNP of reneging on their promise to fund half the cost of three new primary schools as part of their flagship school building programme. The schools will cost the council £40million but they will only receive £10million through the Government’s initiative. (The Herald page 9)


Graduate employment crisis: A survey by the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils has revealed that employers in Scotland are increasingly recruiting new staff directly from school rather than university or college. (Daily Mail page 1)



Drink-driving: Drivers caught three times over the limit, or who refuse a breathalyser test will face losing their car as part of a police crackdown on drink-driving over the festive period. (Scotsman page 13, The Herald page 10, The Courier page 6, the Sun page 4)


Local government

Glasgow Housing Association: Glasgow Housing Association has been accused of moving away from its main purpose of providing low-cost housing for the poor and renting high-end flats to “yuppies” after it emerged that the charity had agreed a £14million deal to buy 150 flats to rent to professionals in Edinburgh and Glasgow.  (Scotsman page 6)



Winter weather: A lorry driver died on the M73 yesterday as snow brought disruption to many parts of Scotland. (Scotsman page 16, The Herald page 3, The Daily Record page 1)


High-speed rail: The Scottish Government has unveiled a twenty year investment plan which commits to building a high-speed rail line in Scotland which will drastically reduce travel time to London. However, the work may only begin in 2025 because funds have already been earmarked for dualling the remainder of the A9 between Perth and Inverness. (The Herald page 1)