Reform Scotland News: 1 December 2011


In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News



Strike: About 300,000 public sector workers are thought to have gone on strike yesterday in Scotland over proposed changes to their pensions, part of a UK-wide day of strikes. Ed Miliband accused the coalition of failing to listen to the concerns of the poorest paid at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, while David Cameron commented “I believe those reforms are absolutely essential and as the former Labour pensions secretary Lord Hutton said, ‘it is hard to imagine a better deal than this’”. (Scotsman page 5, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Craig Brown & Jennifer O’Mahony in the Scotsman, Allan Massie in the Scotsman, Michael Kelly in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Sun page 1, Daily Mail page 1, Daily Record page 1, Press & Journal page 1, Daily Mirror page 1, The Courier page 1, Daily Express page 4, Times page 1, Guardian page 3)


Labour MSPs refused to cross the picket line at Holyrood yesterday in sympathy with trade unions and have reportedly given up a day’s pay to take part in the action.  (Scotsman page 6, Magnus Linklater in The Times, Daily Telegraph page 1)


Gay marriage: Scotland for Marriage, a new organisation bringing together different faiths, staged a protest at the Scottish Parliament yesterday against proposals which could see gay marriage legalised in Scotland.  Former SNP leader Gordon Wilson led the rally suggesting that the proposal could cost the SNP victory at the independence referendum.  Cardinal Keith O’Brien and Muslim community leader Bashir Maan also attended the rally. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 1, Daily Mail page 37, Daily Record page 2, Press & Journal page 12, Courier page 1, Daily Express page 14, Times page 23, Daily Telegraph page 12


Interns: Tory Peer Lord Lucas has called on parliament to take on more interns to help deal with youth unemployment and suggested that employers should be allowed to pay interns what they would have received on benefits. (Scotsman page 2)


Independence: Entrepreneur Jim McColl and CBI Scotland director Iain McMillan have clashed over the prospect of independence for Scotland.  Iain McMillan used a speech to business leaders last week to underline the CBI’s opposition to independence.  Jim McColl has responded by commenting “The flaw in CBI Scotland’s approach is that it has only ever adopted a negative attitude to constitutional change of any kind.” (Scotsman page 10, Daily Telegraph page 15)


Ross Martin in the Scotsman comments on the different options for the independence referendum.


Oil revenue: Independent figures published by the Office for Budget Responsibility projected that oil and gas would produce £14.5 billion less in tax revenue over the next five years than had been predicted by a similar set of calculations produced in March. David Mundell, a Scotland Office Minister said such a large drop could lead to “huge cuts in public services”. (Daily Telegraph page 6)


Hacking: Further coverage of Lord Leveson’s Inquiry.  Alistair Campbell gave evidence yesterday. (Scotsman page 14, Sun page 8, Daily Mail page 4, Daily Record page 14, Daily Mirror page 17, Times page 25, Guardian page 19)



Living standards: According to figures published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies household incomes will fall by 7.4 per cent between 2009/10 and 2012/13 due to inflation and austerity measures.  This reportedly represents the worst fall in living standards since the three-day week in the 1970s, and it would see an average family lose nearly £2,500 over the period. (Scotsman page 1, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Herald page 4, Sun page 2, Press & Journal page 5, Times page 6, Guardian page 1, Financial Times page 1, Daily Telegraph page 6)



Early deaths: According to a study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the number of people dying before 65 is higher in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK and is 50 per cent higher than in the east and south east of England which have the best results.  The study found that 208 men per 100,000 and 174 women under 65 died in 2009.  (Scotsman page 24)


Local Government

Dalgety Bay: Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called on the Ministry of Defence to take urgent action to deal with the radioactive particles that have been found at Dalgety Bay in Fife. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 8, Sun page 15, Daily Record page 2, Daily Telegraph page 2)