Reform Scotland News: 9 December 2011


Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 9 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



Weather: As winds reaching up to 165mph hit Scotland, three-quarters of schools closed yesterday and 60,000 were left without power, many will have to do without electricity until the weekend. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, P&J page 1, Courier page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Guardian page 1, Sun page 1, Express page 1, Mail page 1, Record page 1)


EU summit: David Cameron vetoed an EU treaty change, raising further questions about Britain’s role in the EU.  Meanwhile, George Osborne made clear the disastrous effects a break-up of the euro could cause to Britain. The Franco-German plan to draw countries in the union closer together drew criticism from member states, with Ireland making it clear a referendum would have to be held before such a treaty change was made. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 6, P&J page 11, Courier page 15, Telegraph page 1, FT page 1, Guardian page 1, Sun page 2, Express page 6 & page 7,  Mail page 12, Record page 10)


Pensions: Government has tried to resolve the public sector pensions deadlock by protecting lower-paid staff in the NHS, a move criticised by Unison’s head of health Christina McAnea. (Scotsman page 7, Courier page 15)


Council budgets: Labour have criticised the SNP after Labour-led Glasgow City Council’s budget is to drop £7 million over the next year, while SNP-run Aberdeen will gain £5 million and Lib Dem-SNP Edinburgh City Council will gain £25 million. SNP ministers argued that this change is to fit in with new measures that ensure no local council receives less than 85 per cent of the average, and that Glasgow retains the highest cash award per capita. Finance Secretary John Swinney also offered money to freeze council tax and maintain police numbers. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6, P&J page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 4, Record page 6)


MSP expenses: MSPs claimed £11.8 million in expenses last year, or £32,000 a day, while MSP staff salaries also increased to £8.84 million. However the Scottish Parliament said that in real terms, the expenses represented a real-term reduction as the increase is lower than the rate of inflation. (Scotsman page 21, P&J page 15, Courier page 11, Sun page 2, Express page 8, Mail page 6, Record page 8)


Chinese links: Alex Salmond is to link a major Scottish city with Shenzhen, a link that reflects Mr Salmond’s desire to present Scotland as a ‘world leader in research skills’ and which was agreed during his trip to China. (Scotsman page 21, P&J page 15, Courier page 10)


Independence: Danny Alexander will today argue that independence for Scotland means a eurozone style crisis as a result of keeping the pound, because being part of a monetary union but fiscally independent creates similar risks to those seen in the eurozone. Conversely, Michael Moore was reported as saying he was not a Unionist in a political magazine interview. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 9, Telegraph page 14, Times page 16, Mail page 17)


Same sex marriage: SNP ministers denied requests from Catholic leaders to have lobby groups in favour of same sex marriage from outside Scotland excluded. (Telegraph page 18, Times page 27)


Business rates: Finance Secretary John Swinney announced yesterday that business rates will rise by 5.6% next year, drawing criticism in light of the financial crisis. The rate currently stands at 42.6p, and will rise to 45p. (Mail page 30)



New MA course: Heriot-Watt University will be the first university in Scotland to offer a degree course in British Sign Language. It is hoped this will increase the number of interpreters available in Scotland, the figure currently standing at 50. (Herald page 9)


US ties: The school of culture and creative arts at the University of Glasgow has cemented links with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and George Mason University in Virginia, allowing for student and staff exchanges and collaborative research. (Scotsman page 8)


Truancy: Figures from the Scottish Government this week show that over 8,000 pupils miss school every day, a significant proportion of whom are suspected to be truants. (Mail page 31)



Lockerbie bombing: Scottish police officers are to be invited to Libya to question suspects, including Abudulla al-Senussi, a key figure in the Gaddafi regime. (Times page 13, Scotsman page 6)


Domestic abuse: A dedicated domestic abuse court could be established in Edinburgh in early 2012. Michael Matheson, public health minister, said that a court could be set up in the mould of Glasgow’s domestic abuse court. (Scotsman page 6)