Reform Scotland News: 9 March 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

Referendum: Scotland could face years more constitutional navel-gazing even if it decides not to back independence, Bruce Crawford, the Cabinet Secretary for Government strategy, has warned.   Mr Crawford also suggested that all politicians would be playing “fast and loose” with voters if they did not include a third way on the ballot paper if a “groundswell” of support for such a model was found. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 5, The Sun page 2, Courier & Advertiser page 17, The Times page 9)

Economy

Alex Salmond and female unemployment: First minister Alex Salmond was challenged to act on female unemployment, with Labour claiming Scottish Government “inaction” was holding women back. (Scotsman page 16)

Remploy: The First Minister has criticised proposed cuts to Remploy while the Unite union said it will “fight to the end” to save 111 jobs at four Remploy sites in Scotland that have been earmarked for closure. (Herald page 4)

Green Bank: Edinburgh is to become the headquarters of the £3 billion UK Green Investment Bank.   It is reported that the decision was made in part to strengthen the case against Scotland breaking away from the UK. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 9, Daily Mail page 35, Daily Telegraph page 18, The Times page 1)

Rangers: Ranger has been warned their £49 million battle with  HMRC and the £9 million bill for unpaid VAT and PAYE will only be resolved if owner Craig Whyte is removed. Footballers Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker, who are high earners and are on long-term contracts, have agreed to a 75% reduction in wages for the remainder of the season at the club. (Herald page 1, The Sun page 4, Guardian page 42, Daily Record page 1, Daily Express page 1, The Times page 72)

Scotland’s Welfare Bill: New figures show that the cost of welfare in Scotland reached £15.5 billion last year, up 27 percent since 2006. (Scottish Daily Mail page 1)

Funding for Edinburgh festivals: Public funding for Edinburgh’s festival programmes has been increased to £3.2 million. (Herald page 10, Courier & Advertiser page 8, The Times page 5)

Burcote wind: Burcote wind expects to have to secure more than £1 billion of investment to develop its renewable energy portfolio. The Dunfermline company is planning 10 wind farms across Scotland and hopes the first tranche may be operating by 2015. (Herald page 24)

Education

New exams: Another Scottish private school, Fernhill School, is to delay the introduction of controversial new school exams because of the anxiety of parents. (Herald page 7)

Transport

Scotland’s airports on sale: Scotland’s fourth-biggest airport, Prestwick, was last night put up for sale by its New Zealand-based owners. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1, The Sun page 2, Courier & Advertiser page 13, Daily Mail page 31)

Health

SNP alcohol pricing: The Scottish Conservatives made a major policy U-turn yesterday and announced they will be supporting SNP plans for minimum pricing of alcohol. The Tories had been opponents of the move, which is designed to tackle Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with drink, and voted against it in the last parliament. (Courier & Advertiser page 2, Sun page 8, The Times page 9)

Scotland’s death rate: Efforts to improve Scotland’s health record have been hailed as new figures show the number of deaths is at an all-time low. Official statistics show 53,661 people died in 2011, the lowest number since records began in 1855. (Herald page 11, Courier & Advertiser page 17, Daily Express page 15)