Reform Scotland News: 9 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
Scottish budget: The Scottish government last night passed its £28bn budget.  Changes announced by finance secretary John Swinney included a £40m investment for colleges and revisions to the retail levy, which will reduce the amount collected by the levy by £5m each year, over the next three years. (Scotsman
page 1, David Bell in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Times page 11, Mail page 4, Courier page 20, Record page 2, P&J page 12, Express page 6, Telegraph page 11, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph)

BBC row: The row between the BBC and the SNP has apparently worsened after the corporation said that the First Minister had asked to be included in its TV coverage of the Calcutta Cup match last weekend, but his appearance had never been confirmed.  However, a Scottish government spokesman has referred to emails where the BBC reportedly invites Alex Salmond onto the programme. (Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Times page 12, Record page 6, Express page 4, Kerry Gill in the Express, Telegraph page 1)

TV historian & independence: TV historian Neil Oliver has expressed fears of Scotland “sleepwalking into independence” and said that people needed a “historical grasp” of Britain in order to make an informed decision on the best interests of Scotland. (Scotsman page 6)

PM & independence: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman comments that the Prime Minister could do more to outline why Scotland is better remaining within the UK.

Labour after independence: Pat Kane in the Scotsman comments on the independence debate and the prospects for the Labour party in an independent Scotland.

Welfare row: Lib Dem MP and Children’s Minister Sarah Teather will reportedly be sacked if she criticises welfare reforms again. (Sun page 2, P&J page 20)

Ken Livingstone: Labour candidate for Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has come under pressure to apologise after suggesting that the Conservative party was “riddled” with suppressed homosexuality. (Guardian page 9, Telegraph page 8)

Mayors: Liverpool is to become the biggest city outside of London to be run by an elected mayor. (FT page 3)

Economy

Stephen Hester: Stephen Hester, the chief executive of RBS, has commented that the “personal vilification” of former RBS chief executive, Fred Goodwin, does not “reflect well on the country”.   He also commented it took “reserves of strength” to stay in his job during the fallout over his proposed bonus.  (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 1, Courier page 17, Record page 12, P&J page 14, Express page 6, Mail page 8, Guardian page 27, FT page 1, Sharlene Goff & George Parker in the FT)

Health
Suicide:
Scottish men are almost twice as likely to take their own life as those living in England and Wales according to a study funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish government. (Scotsman
page 1, Alana Atkinson in the Scotsman, Herald page 2, Times page 17, Mail page 17, Courier page 22, Record page 8, Express page 6)

Minimum pricing: An email from EU health commissioner John Dalli reportedly told Nicola Sturgeon that the legality of minimum pricing on alcohol was a grey area.  This follows Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that she received a “very clear message” that the measure was in line with EU law. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Mail page 2, P&J page 14, Express page 4)

Ambulance staff overtime: The Scottish Ambulance Service paid out more than £6m in overtime pay from April to December 2011 according to a parliamentary written answer. (Mail page 19)

Education
Independent schools
: Scottish independent schools are reportedly rejecting the Scottish government’s new exam system in favour of GCSEs taught in England. (Times page 17)

Justice
Prison:
Pete Martin in the Scotsman argues that our approach to prison is in need of a rethink.

Bail law: Judges at the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh have ruled that legislation which automatically forces suspects to attend identification parades and submit to DNA sampling was contrary to human rights provisions. (Herald page 6)