Reform Scotland News: 19/01/12


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. 



Referendum: Further coverage of the debate over the proposed independence referendum. An Edinburgh University law graduate who is leaving Scotland for a job in England is leading a campaign for expat Scots to vote in the independence referendum. However, the Scottish Government have rejected these calls. Jack Perry, the former chief executive of Scottish Enterprise and now adviser to companies including Barclays Wealth, has commented that uncertainty about referendum rules is damaging to the Scottish economy. Shipbuilding unions have reportedly raised concerns that Scottish shipbuilding could be wiped out by uncertainty over independence.  They have outlined fears that consultants brought in by BAE Systems will recommend the next generation of Royal Navy ships be built in Portsmouth rather than on the Clyde (Scotsman page 10 , Tavish Scott in the Scotsman, The Herald page 6, The Press and Journal page 12, The Times page 7, Sun page 4, Joan McAlpine in the Guardian, Kerry Gill in the Express, Courier page 11, Record page 10)


Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman looks to the referendum experience in Quebec and what lessons it can offer to Scotland.


Leveson Inquiry: Further coverage of the Leveson Inquiry. Editors from regional papers told the Inquiry yesterday that newspapers outside Fleet Street had a good reputation and should not be tarnished by the phone-hacking scandal. (Scotsman page 8, Courier page 12)


Falklands: David Cameron yesterday told MPs he had called a special National Security Council meeting to discuss a renewed threat to the Falkland Islands. (Sun page 2, Mail page 10)


Fred Goodwin: David Cameron is reportedly ‘sympathetic’ to the demands by MPs to strip Sir Fred Goodwin of his knighthood.  Sir Fred was in charge of the Royal Bank of Scotland for nine years leading up to its near collapse in 2008.  In the past 14 years the Forfeiture Committee has made 34 recommendations for titles and honours to be revoked. (Scotsman page 1, Mail page 1)



Unemployment: The number of Scots out of work has risen to 231,000 according to official figures.  More than a third of the total are aged between 18 and 24. Scottish unemployment has now risen above the UK average of 8.4%. (Scotsman page 1, John McLaren in the Scotsman, The Herald page 6, The Press and Journal page 14, The Telegraph page 12, Sun page 6, Record page 2, Mail page 19, Express page 2, Mirror page 4, Courier page 9)


Westminster Urges SNP to focus on economy: The Scottish Conservatives have today urged the Scottish Government to introduce a budget for economic growth.  Finance spokesman Gavin Brown wrote to John Swinney, the Scottish Finance Secretary requesting talks on the 2013-14 draft budget ahead of next week’s debate. (The Press and Journal page 14)


IMF: The UK could be asked to contribute an additional £17bn to the IMF following the organisation’s conformation that it was planning to raise an additional £324bn to shore up ailing economies. (Scotsman page 8, The Times page 39, The Financial Times page 1, Mail page 2, Guardian page 27, Courier page 9)


Royal Bank of Scotland Fined: RBS has been fined £2.17 million yesterday by the FSA for tampering with closed complaint files. Insurance staff at Direct Line and Churchill acted under pressure from management to alter the documents before they were sent away for regulatory review. This is the third fine the RBS Group have been subject to in 18 months. (The Herald page 31, The Times page 33, The Financial Times page 18)



Supreme Court: In a letter to the UK parliament the Lord President, Lord Hamilton, Scotland’s most senior judge, has argued that the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh is better placed to deal with Scottish criminal appeals than the Supreme Court. However, the Advocate General for Scotland, Lord Wallace, has signalled that he has yet to be persuaded. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 1)


Single police force: Alison McInnes in the Record argues against a single police force for Scotland.



Attainment gap: A report by the Improvement Service has concluded that Scotland has the highest gap in attainment between the top 20 per cent and the bottom 20 per cent of anywhere in Western Europe.  The report says that the bottom 20 per cent at age 15 are performing as if they have had five years less schooling than the top 20 per cent. (Scotsman page 9)



Doctors threaten industrial action: Scottish doctors are reportedly threatening their first course of industrial action in nearly 40 years. A poll conducted by the BMA has found that 84 per cent of its members opposed changes to their pensions being proposed by the UK government with two-thirds prepared to take industrial action. (Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 2, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Mail page 19, Express page 1, Mirror page 4)


Ambulance row: An agreement has been reached which will see Scottish ambulance workers having their hours cut in return for a guarantee that they will respond to all life-threatening emergency calls and major incidents even if they are on a break. The deal will also see The Scottish Ambulance Service recruiting 150 more frontline staff. (Scotsman page 4, The Herald page 6, The Press and Journal page 11, The Telegraph page 18, Mail page 19, Express page 2, Courier page 1)



Roadworks: The Scottish Roadworks Commissioner John Gooday has imposed Scotland’s first fines for poorly completed roadworks.  Openreach will have to pay £38,500, Scottish Water £38,000, Virgin Media £14,000 and Scottish Hyrdo Electric Power Distribution £2,000. (Scotsman page 13, Mail page 20)


Petrol inquiry: The Office of Fair Trading is to carry out an investigation into the cost of petrol and the supply of fuel to the Outer Hebrides. (Scotsman page 18   )


New Bus Lane Rules: Drives who use bus lanes in Scotland’s biggest three cities will be subject to fines of around £60 as councils are given new powers to crack down. (The Herald page 3


Local government

Elections: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments that he hopes the local elections in May will be fought on local issues and not on independence.


Glasgow Games hit by cash flow issues: Glasgow City Council have been forced to intervene in plans for the 2014 Commonwealth Games after the consortium behind the  Athletes’ Village failed to reach an agreement over the terms of its loan. According to leaked documents City Legacy has requested to borrow £35m from the Strathclyde Pension Fund. (The Herald page 4)