Reform Scotland News: 8 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



Storm disruptions: The Scottish Government has advised schools to shut and motorists to stay off roads as hurricane strength winds are expected to cause massive disruption across Scotland. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Sun page 7, Daily Record page 1, Daily Express page 1, Daily Mail page 11, Press & Journal page 10, Courier page 1, Guardian page 11, Times page 13)


Referendum fears: Market analyst Peter Atherton, of financiers Citigroup, came under fire from SNP MSPs in Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee yesterday. The row was sparked by a report produced last month by the same group. The report focused on the uncertainty created by an independence referendum for potential investors in renewable energy. Asherton stated that believing otherwise would be “preposterous” (Scotsman page 2, Press & Journal page 19, Daily Telegraph page 6, Courier page 8)


Scots regiments: The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, appearing before the defence select committee yesterday, called for a restructuring of the Ministry of Defence and cuts of troops. It has been reported that this may mean recalling the Scottish units currently stationed in Germany. (Scotsman page 2, Daily Telegraph page 2)


Michael Moore: The Scottish Secretary, a LibDem MP, has stated he is not a “unionist” and further suggested the party’s commission on home rule would propose devolving further power to Scotland. The SNP claims his constitutional position has crumbled into a “mess of confusion and contradiction”. (Herald page 6)



Powerline protest thrown out: ScottishPower’s visual impact mitigation proposals for the section of the Beauly to Denny power line near Sterling have been condemned by councillor and action groups.  However, the energy minister Fergus Ewing approved the scheme yesterday. He rejected calls to bury the line as too costly. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 5, Daily Express page 21, Press & Journal page 14, Daily Telegraph page 1, times page 5)


Climate change: Audit Scotland, a public spending watchdog, has reported that an estimate of £10-11 billion is needed to meet the 2020 climate change targets set by the SNP. The watchdog calls for more “completeness and transparency” in the way ministers are to go about achieving these targets. (Scotsman page 2, Michael Kelly in Scotsman, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Daily Express page 21, Daily Mail page 1, Courier page 8)


Welfare bill: MSPs have suggested that the impact of the UK’s Welfare Reform Bill on Scotland could be severe. The Health and Sport Committee, convened by Duncan McNeil (Labour), urged for rejection of the Bill and suggested that Holyrood attempts fresh legislation of its own. (Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Press & Journal page 7, Courier page 10)


Spending cuts: The Finance Secretary John Swinney told MSPs that Scotland can be expected to face consecutive seven years of spending cuts, a result due to failure of spark growth. (Herald page 6)


National pay rates: George Osborne wrote yesterday to a series of independent review bodies ordering them to recommend how public sector salaries can be brought into line with those of private workers in the same geographical area. (Sun page 2, Daily Telegraph page 16, Financial Times page 4)


Small businesses: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman comments that the Scottish Government needs to do more to help small businesses as huge the recent capital projects announced are of such a scale that only large national and international engineering firms will be in a position to tender. 



Scotland’s education system: Official figures published yesterday indicate a rise in class sizes, a decrease in numbers of teachers and increasing truancy rates. The Scottish Government’s statistics for state schools show a mixed report. Class sizes have across Scotland have risen marginally on average and teacher numbers have dropped by almost 4,000 in four years. (Scotsman page 1, Daily Record page 5, Daily Express page 2, Press & Journal page 15, Daily Telegraph page 21, Courier page 9, Times page 1, Lindsay McIntosh in The Times, Financial times page 2)


Newly qualified teachers: Statistics released by the General Teaching Council for Scotland show that nearly 80% of newly qualified teachers fail to find full-time employment in Scotland’s schools. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Press & Journal page 13)