Reform Scotland News: 22 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. 


This is the last daily summary until Wednesday 4th January.  Reform Scotland would therefore like to wish all our subscribers a very happy Christmas!



Welfare reform: MSPs are today expected to reject a legislative consent motion which would allow Westminster to introduce changes to the welfare system in Scotland.  The changes proposed include the new Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments System, which the SNP claim would damage the lives of vulnerable people. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 7, Times page 6)


EU treaty: In a letter to Alex Salmond, David Cameron has claimed that Scotland is “benefiting” from his decision to veto the EU treaty changes, arguing that Scottish financial services jobs would have been at risk had the UK signed up to the changes.  Alex Salmond had accused the coalition of “collective irresponsibility”. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Times page 8, Express page 8, Mail page 19, Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian, P&J page 8, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph)


Levenson inquiry: Further coverage of the Levenson inquiry.  James Hipwell, a former journalist at the Mirror, yesterday said it was “very unlikely” that former Mirror editor Piers Morgan was unaware of phone hacking. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 3, Sun page 2, Times page 19, David Aaronovitch in the Times, Express page 2, Mail page 12, Guardian page 11, P&J page 10, FT page 2, Telegraph page 14)


Independence: Elliot Bulmer in the Scotsman comments that the Scandinavian model of government offers an example for an independent Scotland.


Labour leadership: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments on the election of Johann Lamont as the new Scottish Labour leader and urges her to reform the party. Frank McAveety in the Herald gives his advice to the new Labour leader.


Sir Gus O’Donnell: The UK’s most senior civil servant has questioned whether the UK will still exist in a few years’ time.  Writing in the Daily Telegraph he questions whether the Union can survive greater pressure for Scottish independence. (Telegraph page 1, Sir Gus O’Donnell in the Telegraph)



Borrowing: Public sector borrowing fell to £18.1billion, which is £2.3bn lower than the same time last year. (Scotsman page 6, Express page 2, FT page 4)


Living wage: Firms taking on Scottish Government contracts could face requirements to pay their staff a “living wage”.  John Swinney has indicated that the government is seeking advice as to whether it could introduce the measure to the public procurement process.  The Scottish Government has introduced the living wage for its own staff, set at £7.20 an hour from April 2012. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 6, P&J page 5)



‘Big man’ to be charged: The man at the centre of a YouTube sensation for throwing an alleged fare dodger off a train at Linlithgow has been charged with assault. (Scotsman page 3, Campbell Deane in the Scotsman, Herald page 3, Sun page 1, Times page 15, Express page 1, page 6, Mirror page 4, Mail page 1, P&J page 5)


John Terry: The English football captain is to face a criminal charge for using racist language toward footballer Anton Ferdinand at a match on October 23. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 3, Sun page 15, Times page 1, Patrick Kidd in the Times, Express page 7, Record page 11, Mirror page 1, Mail page 9, Guardian page 1, Courier page 10)


Bootlegging: John Drummond, chief executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation, yesterday told Holyrood’s finance committee that the introduction of the Alcohol Act in Scotland, which stopped alcohol being sold on promotion in Scotland, has already led to bargain seekers going south of the border to stock up on cheap alcohol.  A situation which he felt could worsen with the introduction of minimum pricing on alcohol. (Scotsman page 7, Times page 6)


Lockerbie bombing: Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland has indicated he hopes Scottish police officers will be in Libya early next year to find all those responsible for the Lockerbie bombing. (Herald page 1, Record page 6, P&J page 11)


Meanwhile the convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi has said he is “about to die” and asked to be to left in peace.  He has also insisted he is innocent of the bombing. (Sun page 1, Times page 1, Mail page 4)


Open prisons: 53 high-risk criminals have gone on the run from open prisons in Scotland over the past three years.  However, the number of people absconding reached an all time low in 2010-11. (Herald page 9, Sun page 2, Times page 17)



Higher education: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman comments that cuts to the higher education budget could lead to more centralisation.


Local government

Edinburgh Cowgate:  Edinburgh councillors yesterday gave approval to the design of a new hotel development for the Cowgate area, which was cleared by a major fire nine years ago. Work is expected to begin early next year.  (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 1)



M8: The upgrading of the seven-mile section of the A8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh to complete the M8 has been put back from 2013 to 2017.  Scottish ministers have admitted the delay is due to a lack of money to pay for the £30m cost of land needed for the road. (Scotsman page 1)


Ferry fares: Ferry fares may be cut on some routes, though rise on longer sailings under plans to roll out “road equivalent tariff” fares.  The draft Scottish ferries plan also proposes upgrading the Ardrossan to Brodick service, later evening sailings for Cumbrae and Bute and more services to Barra in the winter. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 5, P&J page 3)


The sleeper: The cross-border sleeper service has been saved following a decision by the Scottish Government to match a £50m offer from Westminster for the under-threat train service. (Scotsman page 13, Jim Gallacher in the Scotsman, Herald page 4, Express page 4, P&J page 1)


Aberdeen airport: Aberdeen airport is the fastest growing in the UK according to figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority. (Scotsman page 19, Herald page 7, Express page 9)