Reform Scotland News: 07/12/2011

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.   

Politics

SNP ‘wish-list’: The SNP blueprint for new building and economic revival, which outlines about 80 projects costing a sum of £60 billion, has been dismissed by opposition parties as a ‘wish-list’ after concerns about the timing of projects and how the costs will be met. The plan includes proposals for a new Forth road bridge, a new prison (HMP Grampian), new hospitals and schools and other transport plans. However, the blueprint is likely to rely heavily upon private finance funding schemes which are uncertain in the current economic climate. Other parties have also critiqued the plans as they include some schemes which have already been announced and others which will not be finished for a significant number of years. (Scotsman page 1, Sun page 2, Press and Journal page 9, Daily Mail page 4, Daily Telegraph page 1, Herald page 5, Courier page 1, Daily Express page 2, Times page 1)

Cameron veto: David Cameron has warned that he may veto any changes brought in to save the eurozone that do not have safeguards to protect UK interests. However, his position has been criticised by members of his own party who want a referendum on UK’s continued membership of the EU. Cameron had claimed that any changes would only impact upon 17 EU countries and thus did not necessitate a referendum about the issue in the UK. Ken Clarke has urged Cameron to concentrate on maintaining financial stability and to forget about the repatriation of powers. (Scotsman page 2, Press and Journal page 7, Daily Mail page 10, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mirror page 6, Financial Times page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Express page 6)

State pension rise: UK Pension’s Minister Steve Webb has said that the cash rise in the basic state pension will protect poorer pensioners and that the move has restored the earnings link. (Scotsman page 2)

Minister medal slur: Tory minister Adam Robathan has been criticised for offensive remarks made in Westminster Hall about the appropriateness of the creation a of a new medal to recognise the efforts of veterans who were part of Arctic convoys during WWII. Robathan likened the creation of a new medal to medals given to ‘Saddam Huessain’s evil henchmen’ and to ‘authoritarian Soviet generals’ but stated that his remarks had been misunderstood and that he wished to convey the ‘value of British medals’. His words have infuriated veterans and there have been calls for his resignation. (Scotsman page 9, Daily Mail page 11)

Salmond and Chinese human rights: Alex Salmond has stated that he raised the issue of human rights in a friendly way during his diplomatic visit to the country. Human rights campaigners were keen that the issue not be side-stepped in the attempt to promote Scottish business opportunities in China. (Scotsman page 10, Daily Mail page 25, Times page 11)

Same-sex marriage: The Episcopalian Church has added its voice to those who oppose SNP plans to legalise same-sex marriage as it stated that it opposed the holding of such ceremonies in its churches. (Scotsman page 12, Press and Journal page 5, Daily Mail page 24, Herald page 7, Times page 4)

Daily Record & Sunday Mail SNP stance: The two papers have suggested that they are likely to adopt a more sympathetic tone towards the SNP, a move from their traditional pro-Labour stance. The move comes as their parent company is involved in a merger which will see the creation of ‘Media Scotland’, a new company which will have a portfolio including a number of local papers. (Scotsman page 12, Times page 11)

Former Met Chief Riot Concerns: The former Chief of the Metropolitan police has raised concerns that Britain may face years of public disorder and riots fuelled by the economic crisis. (The Guardian page 1)

Levenson inquiry: A Guardian journalist has admitted phone hacking. (Daily Record page 10, Daily Mirror page 14, Times page 11)

New SNP Youth Minister: A new junior minister post responsible for reducing youth unemployment was created last night in a mini-reshuffle in the SNP government. Angela Constance is the new Youth Unemployment Minister. (Daily Telegraph page 1, Herald page 6, Scotsman)

Economy

Bankers bonuses: The top 100 business bankers in the UK will have to make public their bonuses under new plans announced by the UK government. (Herald page 1)

Education

Teacher struck off: A teacher in Aberdeen has been struck off for failing to maintain order and discipline and for incompetence. The teacher reportedly allowed pupils to listen to i-pods during class and allegedly dictated essays which were assessed work. Scotsman page 21, Daily Record page 16, Herald page 7, Daily Express page 8)

Local government

Tram timeline: Edinburgh City Council has announced that the long delayed trams should start running between July and September 2014 and that progress has been made since work restarted this year. Scotsman page 8)

Edinburgh Tourist Tax: Edinburgh Councillors have agreed in principal to a ‘tourist tax’ which they hope will raise between £5 to £10million a year.  However, hotel and tourism associations have raised concerns that it will unfairly impact upon them and risk damaging tourism in Edinburgh. The exact nature of how the tax would be raised is as yet unclear. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 7, Daily Express page 8, Times page 23)

St Andrews campaigner: Penelope Uprichard who has campaigned against Fife Council’s plans for the development of the west side of St Andrews has been told that she must pay a legal bill of £173,000 after her latest attempt to overturn a planning decision failed despite her legal team claiming that she was litigating on behalf of St Andrews.  (Scotsman page 3, Daily Mail page 26, Daily Record page 24, Herald page 8, Courier page 1)

Old Town row: The Edinburgh City Chamber of Commerce has urged the city council and Historic Scotland to withdraw plans for a new hotel on the site of the Old Town fire as they believe that the plans will risk the world heritage status. (Scotsman page 15)

Justice

Prison lecturers plan strike: Lecturers who provide education in seven of Scotland’s prisons are planning to strike due to a row about the employment of ‘unqualified staff’ and ‘cost-cutting measures’. (Scotsman page 6)

Transport

Snow disruption: Wintry weather has been forecast for the next three days causing concerns about disruptions to transport in Scotland. Transport Minister Keith Brown has said that the ‘Scottish government-led multi-agency response team’ will continue to operate until Friday. Police are currently investigating incidents on the M8 yesterday where ice was thrown from bridges onto oncoming traffic causing disruption but not any serious injuries. (Scotsman page 13, Sun page 15, Press and Journal page 10, Daily Mail page 11, Daily Record page 1, Herald page 2, Courier page 10,Daily Express page 15)

Health

‘Holy Grail’ stem cell: British scientists have created high quality ‘xeno-free’ stem cells which could be used in pioneering patient trials of cell-based therapies. The cells are the result of ten years of research. (Scotsman page 15)

Lifestyle choices & cancer: Research by Scientists from the universities of London and Oxford have suggested that making small lifestyle changes could prevent more than four in ten cancers. Poor diet, smoking and alcohol consumption were all factors influencing the likelihood of developing cancers. (Daily Mail page 8, Press and Journal, Guardian, Herald page 10, Daily Express page 1, Times page 5)