Reform Scotland News: 23 February 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
Marie Colvin:
Veteran war reported Marie Colvin, who worked for the Sunday Times, was killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs yesterday after the makeshift media centre she was using came under fire from Syrian government forces.  It is reported that the Syrian Army was intent on “deliberately” shelling buildings used by foreign journalists. (Scotsman page 1, Sun page 1, Mirror page 8, Guardian page 1, Mail page 20, P&J page 20, Record page 2, Times page 1, Courier page 22, Express page 23, FT page 1, Telegraph page 20)

Independence referendum: Michael Moore has called for the independence referendum to be held in September next year. (Scotsman page 10, John Curtis in the Scotsman, Bruce Skivington in the Scotsman, Sun page 2, Guardian page 14, Mail page 1, P&J page 12, Record page 7, Herald page 6, Times page 3, Courier page 2, Express page 4, Kerry Gill in the Express, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph)

Oil fund: A report by the Centre for Public Policy and the Regions (CPPR) argues that while there may be “moral” grounds for putting aside oil wealth for future generations, politicians would not have any spare money after independence to do so. (Scotsman page 1, Tavish Scott in the Scotsman, P&J page 12, Record page 7, Courier page 13)

Trump wind farm battle: Donald Trump is reportedly prepared to put the Trump organisation behind an anti-wind farm group, Communities Against Turbines Scotland.  George Sorial, Donald Trump’s executive vice-president and legal counsel, said Trump was prepared to do “whatever it takes” to prevent Scotland being “encircled by these monstrous turbines”. (Herald page 1)

Welfare: According to Citizens Advice Scotland, thousands of sick and disabled Scots will lose out under UK government plans to reform welfare benefits.  (Herald page 8, Courier page 13)

Economy
RBS bonuses:
RBS, which is 82 per cent owned by the taxpayer, is expected to announce a pay freeze on 10,000 staff today while also paying out £800m in bonuses.  Half of the bonuses are expected to go to the bank’s investment bankers. (Scotsman page 1, Sun page 2, P&J page 13, Record page 14, Herald page 1, FT page 1)

Crony Capitalism: Tory MP David Davis has attacked David Cameron’s record on “crony capitalism” and for failing to block Stephen Hester’s near £1m bonus. (Scotsman page 5, P&J page 13)

Anti-business culture: In a speech to the Business in the Community annual conference today, David Cameron is expected to address “the snobbery that says business has no inherent moral worth like the state does” and say that he is “sick of this anti-business snobbery”. (Herald page 2)

Rangers: Further coverage of the crisis at Rangers. (Scotsman page 1, Sun page 1, Mail page 10, Record page 1, Times page 5, Express page 7)

Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments that the First Minister was wrong to take Rangers’ side in the current crisis.

Green bank: MSPs have backed Edinburgh’s bid to become home to the UK Green Investment Bank. (Scotsman page 9)

Quantitative easing:  Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman comments that pensioners are bearing the brunt of the Bank of England’s quantitative easing policy.

Back-to-work-firm:  A4e, the company at the centre of a police investigation unto an alleged abuse of government back-to-work contracts, reportedly compelled jobseekers to work unpaid in their own offices for at least a month at a time. (Guardian page 1)

Taxes: Tim Montgomerie in the Times calls on the Chancellor to deliver tax cuts for industry and families and should shift from a tax system which falls heavily on income to one which falls more heavily on wealth.

Education
New exams:
Teaching unions  and parents groups have reportedly warned that new national exams will not be ready on time, will not give pupils a broad enough education and will not be accepted by employers. St Aloysius College, a leading private school in Glasgow, has decided to delay the introduction of the new exams to give staff more time to prepare. (Record page 10, Herald page 10, Courier page 16, Telegraph page 6)

Health
Eating disorders:
SNP MSP Dennis Robertson, whose teenage daughter died after a five-year battle with anorexia, has called for a more interventionist approach to treating eating disorders where a child is “wilfully starving themselves”.  Children as young as six are reportedly now being treated for anorexia whilst the number of people contacting their GP in Scotland due to eating disorders has increased by 20 per cent in two years.  (Scotsman page 16, Sun page 25, Mail page 1, P&J page 11, Record page 10, Herald page 6, Courier page 13, Express page 15)

West Ardnamurchan: Nicola Sturgeon has apologised to the remote community in West Ardnamurchan which had been left without a 999 service following the retirement of one of two nurses who provide cover on Monday. (P&J page 1)

Pregnancy: A Glasgow pilot scheme is going to offer financial incentives of in-store vouchers to encourage pregnant women to stop smoking. (Herald page 1)