Reform Scotland news: 20 DECEMBER 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. 



Scottish Labour shadow cabinet: New Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont unveiled her shadow cabinet yesterday.  The line up includes defeated leadership candidate Ken Macintosh as the front bench spokesman on finance, employment and sustainable growth. Other appointments include High Henry at education, Jackie Bailie staying at health, Lewis Macdonald at justice and Sarah Boyak at local government. (Scotsman page 1, David Maddox in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Brian Currie in the Herald, Times page 10, Sun page 2, Record page 6, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 4)


Scotland should use a Scottish dollar: Former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars has reportedly claimed that David Cameron was right to block the EU treaty changes.  He has also commented that he hopes an independent Scotland would adopt its own currency, a Scottish dollar, which would be separate from both sterling and the euro.  He also challenged SNP policy on an independent Scotland automatically joining the EU, saying it was likely other member states would give Scotland’s application a “bumpy ride”. (Scotsman page 1, Trevor Salmon in the Scotsman, Jim Sillars in the Scotsman)


Pensions:  An initial agreement on health workers’ pensions was reached yesterday, raising hopes that further mass strikes of public sector workers may be averted.  Unison has said they will put the UK government’s “final offer” to members of its executive in January.  There are hopes that other unions will follow.  However, the PCS, the largest civil service union has made comments appearing to reject the offer.  (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 7, Sun page 2, Record page 8, Guardian page 1, Mail page 2, Record page 8, Express page 2)


Levenson inquiry: Further coverage of the inquiry into the role of the press in the phone hacking Scandal. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 1)


Married couples’ tax break: Collette Douglas Home in the Herald comments on proposals to introduce a tax break for married couples.



RBS: The chancellor signalled the end of RBS as a major international player yesterday after announcing that the bank would have to get rid of half its international investment operations and focus on the “UK domestic market” concentrating on services for consumers and small and medium sized businesses. George Osborne said that as the government owned more than 80 per cent of the bank it could dictate the terms and highlighted that the bank is worth £27billion less than when it was bailed out in 2009. (Scotsman page 8, Steve Davies in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Record page 2)


Tobin tax: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments that a Tobin tax, which places a levy on financial transactions, should be considered to boost the economy.


Unresolved tax bills: HMRC has reportedly failed to collect more than £25 billion in “unresolved tax bills” from major firms. (Telegraph page 1, Mail page 1)


HMV in financial difficulty: Reportedly shouldering debts of over £160 million, the high street chain has decided to sell off its most profitable business: HMV Live. Revenue from the assets which includes Edinburgh Picture house is hoped to go some way to replenishing the troubled company’s balance.  (Guardian page 25, Sun page 49, Financial Times page 19)


Delivery Costs: A survey published by Citizens Advice Scotland yesterday found that 84 per cent of homes in remote parts of Scotland had been refused delivery. Higher delivery costs were also noted. Over 500 comments followed from annoyed customers throughout Scotland, although mainly from the Highlands and islands. (Telegraph page 10)



Strasbourg ruling: A ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg which prohibits any questioning of a suspect without their lawyer present may have deprived the police of crucial evidence. After England successfully quashed the ruling, there is now for Scotland to attempt the same. The law set to protect human rights is seen largely unnecessary since Scot’s law requires all suspects to be told they can remain silent and not damage their case. (Times page 5, John McCluskey in The Times)



Teaching posts:  The Scottish Government has announced plans to create an additional 200 primary school teachers and 100 secondary teacher training posts due to rising school rolls.  However, there are calls for posts to be targeted toward subjects where there are currently shortages. Teaching unions and opposition politicians have warned that many newly qualified teachers are unable to find full-time employment. (Scotsman page 6, Hugh Reilly in the Scotsman, Herald page 3, Times page 10, Mail page 4)



Lightburn hospital: Nicola Sturgeon has overruled a decision by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde to close Lightburn hospital, which treats elderly patients in Glasgow. (Scotsman page 19