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Reform Scotland News: 30 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

Politics

Independence debate:  Alex Salmond said that by maintaining the Queen as head of state, the United Kingdom would be preserved, even if voters said yes to independence Salmond drew a distinction between leaving the United Kingdom and political independence in an attempt to reassure voters that a yes vote would not mean the end of the United Kingdom. The move was criticised by political opponents for its attempt to play both sides. (The Scotsman page 1, Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman page 25, Brian Monteith in the Scotsman page 27, The Times page 3, The Daily Telegraph page 1, the Financial Times page 2, The Courier page 3,  Scottish Daily Mail page 14, The Press and Journal page 12, Daily Express page 5, The Sunday Times page 19)

Referendum Questions: David Cameron asserted that Scotland must decide between independence and the status quo, arguing that a third option would confuse voters. However, Alex Salmond has suggested that a third option might be an option. This comes as Civic Scotland prepares to launch a debate on independence versus enhanced powers for the Scottish government, or devolution max. Writing in Scotland on Sunday, Eddie Barnes argues that there are in fact six choices for Scottish voters, ranging from the dismantling of the Scottish Parliament at one end to full independence at the other. Ben Thomson of Reform Scotland explains the devo plus option in which taxes and control over aspects of welfare spending would largely be devolved to Holyrood while Westminister retained control over VAT and national insurance. (Duncan Hamilton in Scotland on Sunday page 17, Kenny Farquharson in Scotland on Sunday page 16, Scotland on Sunday page 1, Tom Gordon in the Sunday Herald page 24, Eddie Barnes, Scotland on Sunday page 13, The Herald page 6)

Scottish Labour: Speaking before an audience in Glasgow today, Labour leader Ed Miliband is expected to tell Scots that the divide between Scotland and the UK is a result of class rather than constitutional issues. He is in Scotland to support the Scottish Labour party and its leader Johann Lamont. (The Scotsman page 10, The Herald page 6, Daily Record, page 8, The Press and Journal page 12)

Scottish business: Lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone said that should Scotland vote for independence, she would have no choice but to move her business to England. (The Daily Telegraph page 7, The Courier page 3, Daily Record page9, Scottish Daily Mail page 9, The Press and Journal page 13, Daily Express page 5, The Sunday Times page 7, The Scotsman page 1)

Currency Concerns: The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said that the Bank of England could be forced to bail out an independent Scotland should it face financial crisis. This would occur should Scotland maintain a monetary union with the rest of the United Kingdom. (The Sunday Times page 7).

Economics

RBS bonus: After a week of intense criticism, RBS chief executive Stephen Hester has decided to waive his £1 million bonus. The decision was welcomed by government leaders who had criticised executive bonuses for recipients of government bailouts.  (The Scotsman page 1, The Times page 1, the Herald page 1, The Financial Times page 1, Stefan Morkis in the Courier page 25, Daily Mirror page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 1, Daily Express page 2, Dani Garavelli in the Scotland on Sunday page 17,  The Sunday Times page 1)

Economic issues: While Michael Moore has been an active participant in the debate over Scotland’s future, he is turning his attention to the economic issues facing the people of Scotland, focusing on how parties might collaborate on economic growth. His emphasis is on creating growth which will lead to more funds available for social services. (Sunday Herald page 42)

Green investment: Edinburgh’s bid to host the £3 billion Green Investment Bank has received a major boost as the heads of Scotland’s most powerful fund management firms come out in support of the proposal. Edinburgh is competing with 20 locations across the United Kingdom. (The Scotsman page 35, The Herald page 24, The Courier page 30)

Investment fears: Investors are increasingly uncertain about Scottish businesses in the face of a referendum on independence. A poll by DGC Asset Management found that half of investment companies polled are concerned about the prospect of investment while the independence issue remains unresolved. (The Sunday Times page 7)

Taxation:  Professor John Kay, one of Alex Salmond’s former economic advisors, has said that Alex Salmond’s proposal of an independent Scotland with a ultra-low corporation tax is a “fantasy,” arguing that the rest of the European Union would block the tax as part of accession agreements for Scotland. (Tom Gordon in the Sunday Herald page 5)

Education

University applications: Applications for Scottish universities have increased dramatically for the upcoming year. While the official figures have not been released, reports indicate that Glasgow, St. Andrews, Edinburgh Napier, University of the West of Scotland and Heriot-Watt have seen increases of between 10-20%. The rising applications are attributed to the increase in fees in England, the scarcity of jobs, and high youth unemployment. This comes amidst a predicted 10% drop in UK-wide applications. (The Herald page 1, The Guardian page 9)

University pay: A ministerial panel has come out in support of limited bonuses and salary rises for University principals in addition to supporting diversity requirements and student representation on remuneration committees. However, the report has not advocated the direct election of principals, a proposal supported by NUS Scotland. (Sunday Herald page 3)

Local Government

Nuclear waste: Consultation exercises conducted by Fife Council found that communities surrounding the Rosyth dockside have rejected the storage of nuclear waste in the area once nuclear submarines have been disassembled. (The Courier page 1)