Reform Scotland News: 5 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. 



Ed Miliband: Labour peer Lord Glasman has complained in an article in the New Statesman that the party under Ed Miliband has shown “no signs of winning the economic argument” and failed to offer any constructive alternative to the coalition.  In what is also being interpreted as a swipe at Ed Balls he added “Old faces from the Brown era still dominate the Shadow Cabinet and they seem stuck in defending Labour’s record in all the wrong ways”. (Herald page 6, Times page 15, Sun page 2, Mail page 2, Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 1, FT page 2 )


Credit rating for Scotland: An analysis by Jim Leaviss, a fund manager at M&G Group, has suggested that while figures on debt and deficit “look good for Scotland on a headline basis”, an independent Scotland could struggle to sustain the top triple-A credit rating on its sovereign debt.  Without the triple-A rating interest rates are often higher in order to attract foreign investors. (Scotsman page 1)


Tory speech: Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson is expected to give a keynote speech in Glasgow today setting out her vision for the party. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 6, Record page 2, Times page 11, Sun page 2, P&J page 9)


Pandas: £42,722 of taxpayers’ money was spent on the arrival celebrations of the two giant pandas to Edinburgh Zoo last month. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 8, Sun page 2, Express page 19, P&J page 12, Courier page 10)


Holyrood reform: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman comments on proposed changes to the way Holyrood operates.


Carers: The SNP has been accused of betraying carers for failing to keep a pledge made in 2007 to ensure all kinship carers of looked after children were paid the same as foster carers. (Herald page 6, Record page 2, P&J page 13)



Storm consequences: Nearly 10,000 people spent a second night without power in Scotland following the worst storms for 13 years.  Some homes are not expected to be re-connected until tomorrow. (Scotsman page 10, Record page 7, Times page 5, Sun page 8, Express page 7, Telegraph page 8, P&J page 5, Courier page 1)


Energy costs: Gerald Warner in the Mail comments on rising energy bills.



Stephen Lawrence: Further coverage of the trial of two men found guilty of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. (Scotsman page 1, Geoff Palmer in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Record page 8, Times page 1, Eva Simpson in the Times , Sun page 14, Mail page 1, Express page 4, Steven Raeburn in the Express, Mirror page 1, Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 1, Matt Delito in the Telegraph, P&J page 7, Courier page 12)


Fines: According to official figures of the £64.6million in fines handed out by Sheriff and Justice of the Peace courts since 2008, £9.7m is currently in arrears and there are 22,680 cases where the convicted individual has failed to make any payment. (Scotsman page 14)


The SNP has called for all fines imposed by Scottish courts to be retained in Scotland.  £113m collected in fines since 2007 has been sent to Westminster. (Herald page 2, Record page 2, Express page 10, P&J page 12)


Child abuse: Sacro, the Scottish community justice voluntary organisation has called for the creation of a UK-wide agency to help abused youngsters in care. (Herald page 9)



Assisted suicide: The Commission on Assisted Dying is expected to publish proposals today urging MPs to change the law to allow adults with less than a year to live to ask their GP for a prescription of medicine to end their life.  The proposals are mainly aimed at the English and Welsh legal systems, though the commission say they could apply to Scotland. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 1, Times page 11, Raymond Tallis & Elizabeth Butler-Sloss in the Times, Mail page 10, Express page 2, Mirror page 11, Guardian page 1, Charles Falconer in the Guardian, Telegraph page 1)


Breast implants: Nuffield Health has become the first private healthcare company to say it will pay for the removal of faulty breast implants.  UK health secretary Andrew Lansley had said it would be “unacceptable” if clinics who profited from breast enlargements neglected their responsibilities to their patients. (Telegraph page 2)


The Scottish Parliament has called for fresh advice on the potential risks for silicone implants. (P&J page 1, Courier page 9)



University merger: Details published under Freedom of Information reportedly show that education secretary Mike Russell was briefed on the possible merger of Dundee and Abertay universities three weeks before the proposal was made public.  As a result opposition politicians have accused him of an “unhealthy” level of “meddling” in the affairs of Scotland’s higher education sector. (Scotsman page 11)


Studying at Scottish universities: Figures released by UCAS show overall applications to Scottish universities rose by 0.8 per cent in December compared with the same time last year.  The rise includes a 0.1 per cent increase from Scottish students, a 7.6 per cent increase in applications from the EU, though applications from the rest of the UK fell. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 8, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, FT page 3)



Free ferries: Dr Michael Foxley, the leader of Highland Council, has called on the Scottish government to consider giving every Scot a voucher for a free passenger return ticket to one of Scotland’s inhabited islands in the Clyde, Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland. (Herald page 5)


Rest and Be Thankful:  In a letter to Jamie McGrigor MSP, Transport Minister Keith Brown has indicated that there could be worse landslides to come on the Rest and Be Thankful section of the A83.  Keith Brown also said that Transport Scotland was considering a range of options, including “the establishment of an emergency diversion route via an existing forestry haul road”. (P&J page 3)