Reform Sctoland News: 07/03/2012

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
YouGov poll: A new YouGov poll suggests that while backing for British institutions such as the monarchy, currency and current UK BBC news broadcasts are high in Scotland, Scots have warmed to the idea of being able to run their own tax affairs. (Scotsman
page 1, Peter Kellner in the Scotsman, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman)

Business worries over referendum: Sir Ian Wood and Lesley Knox are the latest high profile business figures to call for clarity over plans for independence. Sir Ian said that the Wood Group would not endorse a yes or no vote but said there needed to be more clarity over the next two years to minimise uncertainty while Lesley Knox, the outgoing chairman of the Alliance Trust, called for the implications of independence in areas such as fiscal policy and regulation of financial services to be spelt out.  (Scotsman page 6)

Cameron and Fox: Sir Christopher Kelly, the chairman of the committee on standards in public life, has said that David Cameron “almost certainly” breached the ministerial code by failing to call in his independent adviser on ministers’ interests to investigate the allegations against Liam Fox. (Scotsman paged 9, Guardian page 13, Mirror page 21, Telegraph page 8)

Freedom of information: The information commissioner has ruled that the Scottish government “failed to comply” with the law after ministers blocked a request for the release of documents revealing communication between the SNP and Sir Brian Souter, the SNP’s biggest donor. (Scotsman page 13)

Bill Walker MSP: Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker, who was suspended from the SNP and the SNP parliamentary group at the weekend following allegations of domestic abuse, has resigned from the Local Government and Public Petitions committees at Holyrood. (Scotsman page 15, Mail page 8, P&J page 12, Courier page 13, Express page 10)

MoD: The Ministry of Defence has been accused by SNP MP Angus Robertson of using cadet training gliders to mask a decline in defence equipment based in Scotland.  The information came out in a written parliamentary answer. (Scotsman page 17)

Devo Plus: Arthur Midwinter in the Scotsman argues against the Devo Plus proposals of each layer of government being broadly responsible for raising the money they spend.

Jewish group and Referendum: If the referendum vote was held on a Saturday, thousands of Jews may be “forbidden” from voting. A Jewish group has called for a new date. (Record page 10, Courier page 2, P&J page 12, Times page 11)

Joan McAlpine: Salmon’s parliamentary aide Joan McApline has come under fire after comparing the union with England to an abusive marriage. (Times page 11, Courier page 2, Mail page 8, Telegraph page 1)

Economy
RBS: It is reported that in a leaked letter to the Prime Minister Vince Cable suggested that RBS should remain mainly nationalised and act as a “British business bank”.  The Business Secretary also apparently criticised the coalition’s industrial policy and its vision for the future. (Scotsman
page 1, Herald page 6, Guardian page 2, Record page 2, P&J page 16, Mirror page 6, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1)

Tourism & the Olympics: Research by VisitScotland has suggested that half of those planning a visit to the UK in the summer will visit Scotland.  However, there is little evidence to suggest people will ‘tag on’ a trip to Scotland in they were visiting the UK for the Olympics. (Scotsman page 10)

Debt Warning: Scotland’s citizen advice service has said it is preparing itself for a flood of debt cases after researchers predicted that there will be a 21% increase in people seeking help for their money problems. (Herald page 2, Mail page 17, P&J page 17)

Costs of Liquor License:  According to new figures, Scotland’s convenience stores are each down an average of £4,000 as a result of the liquor licensing red tape that was introduced two years ago. New research suggests local authorities are “profiteering” at the expense of retailers. (Herald page 2)

Local Government
Mansion tax in Scotland: Chancellor George Osborne is reportedly considering plans to introduce a mansion tax plan in return for scrapping the 50p income tax. However, the council tax is devolved to Holyrood and therefore, Scots would avoid paying the new tax unless it was passed by the Scottish Parliament. (Herald
page 1, Mail page 6)

Education
New exams: Inspectors are to visit schools across Scotland to check that they are ready for the introduction of the new national qualifications. (Scotsman
page 14, Herald page 2, Mail page 17, Record page 10, P&J page 13, Courier page 8, Times page 8)

£10m grant: Dundee University has received a £10m grant to find safe treatments for tropical diseases that kill many each year in the developing world. (Record page 28, Courier page 15)

Health
Smoking: Research by Glasgow University has suggested that the introduction of the smoking ban in Scotland has helped to dramatically reduce the number of premature and low birth-weight babies in Scotland. (Scotsman
page 12, Herald page 11, Record page 20, P&J page 23, Courier page 16)

Alcohol Pricing Proposals: The plans for a minimum unit alcohol pricing have been backed by Holyrood’s Health and Sport Committee. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 2, P&J page 16, Times page 14)

Transport
New Forth crossing: A popular vote is to be held to name the new Forth crossing.  People will be able to select names from a short list drawn up be a specially-formed advisory panel. (Scotsman
page 3, Herald page 5, P&J page 14, Courier page 17, Express page 15, Telegraph page 14)

Strike Threat: Glasgow’s subway staff is considering strike action over new modernisation plans, which they believe will diminish pay and lead to the service towards privatisation. (Herald page 8)