Reform Scotland News: 27 January 2012

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



Independence referendum: A campaign comprising churches, trade unions and voluntary bodies will reportedly be launched next week to make the case for extending devolution and possibly adding another option to the independence referendum.  There are reports that former First Minister Henry McLeish may front this campaign. There is also ongoing debate about the framing of the question on independence and whether it is fair, with reports that the Prime Minister might frame his own question.  In addition, Chief Secretary to The Treasury Danny Alexander has questioned why people in Scotland will have to wait 1,000 days for the referendum. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 1, Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman, P&J page 12 and 13, Courier page 8, Telegraph page 1, Times page 6 and 7, Express page 5, Mail page 6, Record page 2, Sun page 1)

Currency Union: The former Chancellor Alistair Darling has reportedly poured scorn on Alex Salmond’s claim that an independent Scotland could appeal to the Bank of England in a future financial crisis. Alex Salmond has argued that the Chancellor would be ‘biting our hands off’ for an independent Scotland to keep the pound and that 67 nations across the world shared their currencies in a similar way. (Herald
page 6, Scotsman page 6)

Banker bonus:
  The bonus for Royal Bank of Scotland’s Chief Executive Stephen Hester will be reduced to £960,000, taking his total pay package to £3.3 million and sparking outrage from some politicians and unions. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, P&J page 14, Express page 2, FT page 2, Mail page 1, Guardian page 2, Record page 2)

Tax overhaul:  Nick Clegg has called for an overhaul of the tax system, backing the so-called ‘Mansion Tax’ and arguing that the plan to introduce a £10,000 personal income tax allowance should be accelerated. (Herald page 2, Times page 20, Mail page 2)

Marine energy: The UK government is reportedly about to boost the Highlands and Islands economy by naming the Pentland Firth as Scotland’s first marine energy park. (P&J page 1)

College job losses:
  College staff across Scotland are bracing themselves for a wave of job losses as the Scottish government reportedly steps up its plans for a radical shake-up of the sector, with Education Secretary Michael Russell writing to college principals inviting them to apply for a share of a £15 million fund to pay for redundancy schemes. (Herald page 4)

Trainee nurses:
  Scotland’s largest nursing body, RCN Scotland, has attacked the Scottish government’s plan to reduce this year’s intake of trainee nurses and midwives by 10 per cent. (Herald page 3)

Alcohol-related deaths: The number of alcohol-related deaths in Scotland has more than doubled in the past three decades the latest figures show. (Scotsman page 10)

High speed rail:
Infrastructure Secretary Alex Neil has said that a high-speed train line could be built in Scotland before the completion of the English leg of the railway. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 13, Record page 22)


Police cuts:
  There is reportedly a threat of strike action over the possibility of 2,000 civilian police staff losing their jobs following the decision to create the new single police force for Scotland. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 11)

Chhokar inquiry: The investigation into the murder of Surjit Singh Chhokar is to be reopened 13 years after the three men accused of the killing walked free from court. (Herald page 9. Scotsman page 9, Courier page 11, Telegraph page 4, Times page 3, Express page 15, Mail page 5, Record page 9, Sun page 6)