Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 5 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.
Scottish Independence: The annual Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (SSA) today released figures that show support for independence has increased to 32 per cent, compared with 23 per cent last year. The figures also showed that 65 per cent would vote yes to independence if a higher standard of living was guaranteed. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Record page 2)
The pandas: The pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived yesterday at Edinburgh Airport and are now settling in at Edinburgh Zoo. Alex Salmond arrived in China yesterday, his third such visit, similarly increasing hopes that business links between the countries may improve. The deal for the pandas was signed between China and the UK government. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Mirror page 3, Times page 1, Express page 1, FT page 4, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 1, Record page 1, Sun page 1, Guardian page 10)
Pensions: Lord Hutton contends that the public-sector pension reform may not be enough to control costs in light of a downgrading of UK growth forecasts by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 6, Times page 5, Express page 4)
Eurozone: Nick Clegg warned of the dire situation the Eurozone is facing ahead of negotiations for a rescue package. Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel will meet tomorrow to discuss a treaty change whereby automatic penalties will be imposed on rule-breaking states in the 17 nation zone, while Italy is to save €30 billion a year. Iain Duncan-Smith yesterday argued that any change to EU rules would require a referendum. (Scotsman page 2, Times page 1, Express page 2, FT page 1, Guardian page 11)
Executive pay and pensions: Nick Clegg has vowed to attack the “abhorrent” pay of top executives in an attempt to reduce criticism of the coalition’s attack on the public sector, with speculation that free TV licences or bus passes may be cut from wealthier OAPs. (Scotsman page 10, Mirror page 4, Times page 5, FT page 2, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 12)
Benefit fraud: The Government is reportedly to join Crimestoppers to make it easier for people to turn in benefit fraudsters, in an attempt to claw back the crime that costs £1.6 billion. (Express page 1)
Gay marriage: Senior church figures hinted that the Kirk could make an about turn regarding gay marriage in Scotland after a report on human sexuality is complete in 2013. (Scotland on Sunday page 5) Duncan Hamilton comments on gay marriage and Scottish independence in Scotland on Sunday.
SNP and Europe: Kenny Farquharson comments on the SNP’s change of direction amid the eurozone crisis in Scotland on Sunday.
BBC’s sectarian coverage: Tom Gallagher, emeritus professor of politics from the University of Bradford, has accused BBC Scotland of superficial coverage regarding football-related sectarianism. (Sunday Times page 5)
Radioactive beach: The MoD have been accused of failing to effectively clean up Dalgety Bay beach. (Sunday Herald page 1)
‘Lost decade’: An Ernst & Young Item Club economic forecast has suggested Scotland may face a ‘lost decade’ of low growth and high unemployment, even if the eurozone crisis is resolved. The Item Club forecast predicts growth will be 0.6 percent, a figure that may reach 1.1 per cent in 2012. (Times page 17, Scotland on Sunday page 1, Business and Money supplement)
SNP economy plan: Infrastructure projects are expected to receive £60 billion from the Scottish government to help prevent Scotland falling back into recession. The 15-year plan is expected to be revealed this week. (Scotland on Sunday page 1) Steven Vass discusses the prospects for the Scottish economy in light of George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, looking at how his Plan A2 will affect Scottish growth and the SNP’s hopes of independence in the Sunday Herald. Paul Hutcheon assesses the SNP’s claim that fiscal autonomy in Scotland would safeguard pensions. (Sunday Herald page 16)
House reports: Ministers have been urged to ditch home reports as they have been accused of stifling the Scottish housing market. The reports require a report by the seller on the house being sold. (Sunday Times page 15)
Air tax: An increase in an airline departure tax will hit both tourism and the wider economy, according to Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG. (Scotsman page 3)
Science sector: The life sciences industry will receive an injection of money thought to be worth around £3 billion, with £180 million going to help break-through research. The money in Scotland will be going to around 600 life science firms which are estimated to employ 32,000 people. (Scotsman page 20, FT page 3)
Youth employment minister: There is speculation that the new ministerial position to tackle youth unemployment will be filled by Angela Constance. (Sunday Herald page 2)
Prosecutions abandoned: The number of prosecutions abandoned or put on hold has risen to over 1,000 in the wake of the Cadder case, in which the Scottish system of holding suspects for six hours without access to a lawyer was deemed to breach the European Convention on Human Rights. Current cases that had relied on a Cadder-affected interview could no longer continue. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 2, Mail page 13)
Police computer systems: The £6.6 million spent on an IT system that was to make savings has, after five years, nothing to show for it. Police forces are instead using disparate or incompatible systems months before legislation to amalgamate the eight police forces is to be put forward. (Herald page 5)
Nurses: Scottish nurses are being told not to report concerns regarding patient safety and staff numbers, after figures released by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) show 37 per cent of nurses said they had been discouraged or told not to be whistleblowers, an increase of 13 per cent since 2009. (Scotsman page 11, Times page 17)
Autism research: Dame Stephanie Shirley has given £1 million to the Patrick Wild Centre at Edinburgh University, an autism research centre. (Herald page 4)