Reform Scotland News: 10 May 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

Industrial action: 30,000 Scottish public sector workers are expected to go on strike today in opposition to the UK government’s proposed changes to their pensions. (Herald page 1, Daily Express page 2, Daily Telegraph page 10, Guardian page 14)

Scottish battalions:  It is reported that the Black Watch and Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders battalions within the Royal Regiment of Scotland are to be merged.  It is also reported that the UK government is considering scrapping the Scots Guards due to poor recruitment. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 9, Daily Record page 10, Courier page 1)

Queen’s Speech: Coverage and comment following yesterday’s Queen’s Speech.  Proposals include plans to reform pensions, reduce red tape for businesses, allow authorities to monitor internet use and reform the House of Lords.  (Scotsman page 1, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Tom Miers in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Daily Record page 6, Sun page 1, Times page 2, Ann Treneman in the Times, FT page 2, Daily Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, Simon Hoggart in the Guardian, Martin Kettle in the Guardian, Daily Mail page 10, P&J page 12&13, Courier page 20)

Gay marriage: Legislation on gay marriage was left out of yesterday’s Queen’s Speech prompting calls from equality campaigners or Scotland to lead the way and legislate on the issue. (Scotsman page 9, Times page 8)

 Referendum: Philip Grant from Lloyds Banking Group yesterday told MSPs on the Finance Committee that the debate over the referendum has boosted Scotland’s brand image and could help its performance internationally. (Herald page 1, Daily Mail page 26, Courier page 13)

SNP’s renewable energy: It has been claimed 260ft wind turbines would need to be built to realise Alex Salmond’s dream of a renewables revolution in Scotland. The SNP’s radical green targets can reportedly only be met if planning rules are relaxed to allow massive new turbines. (Daily Mail page 6)

SNP tax cuts: The Scottish Government is pressing ahead with cuts to the tax relief on empty properties which will bring in £18million a year. This has caused businesses to accuse SNP ministers of hitting cash strapped firms and preventing economic growth. (Daily Mail page 19)

Economy

Clinton cards: High-street greeting cards company, Clinton Cards, has gone into administration.  The company employs 8,000 in the UK. (Herald page 1, FT page 1, Guardian page 3&5, P&J page 26, Courier page 33)

Child maintenance fines: Absent parents in Scotland have racked up debts of more than £330 million in unpaid child maintenance and government fines. Official figures say mostly fathers owe money to their partners and children and some to the Child Support Agency. (Times page 1, Daily Mail page 19)

Local Government

Local government elections: Comment and analysis following last week’s local elections. (Tavish Scott in the Scotsman, Michael Kelly in the Scotsman, Trevor Davies in the Scotsman, Iain Macwhirter in the Herald)

Aberdeen Union Terrace Gardens: Labour and the Conservatives have reached a deal to run Aberdeen City Council prompting suggestions that reform of Union Terrace Gardens could be abandoned as the Labour party has been opposed to the project. (Herald page 7, P&J page 1)

Perth City Hall:  Historic Scotland has rejected plans by Perth & Kinross Council to demolish Perth City Hall and redevelop it into a new civic centre for the community. (Herald page 7, Times page 13, Daily Telegraph page 17, Courier page 1)

Council spending: Scottish councils are spending up to 85% of their budgets on staff pay and pensions according to Audit Scotland. (Daily Express page 2, Daily Mail page 4)

Health

Multiple health problems:  A Scotland-wide study which looked at the health records of a third of the population has found that many of the services used to manage multiple diseases in one patient were “duplicative and inefficient, burdensome and unsafe for patients because of poor coordination and integration”. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 10)

Education

University fees: Opposition parties have called on Education Secretary Michael Russell to make an urgent statement with regard to revelations that anyone who lives in the rest of the UK and has an Irish grandparent could be entitled to obtain an Irish passport and therefore study for free in Scotland. (Herald page 9 , Daily Express page 15, Daily Telegraph page 6, Daily Mail page 9)

Cultural Change: Lena Wilson, the boss of Scottish Enterprise has made an urgent plea for a “cultural change” in schools and universities to encourage more students to study engineering. She called on the Scottish Government to do more to promote science, maths and technology teaching. (Daily Record page 8) 

New Curriculum: It emerged yesterday that there is no formal cap on expenditure for the new school curriculum. This comes after revelations that the bill for the Curriculum for Excellence has risen to as much as £110million already. (Daily Mail page 17)

Justice

Abu Qatada: The European Court of Human Rights has rejected Abu Qatada’s attempt to stop his deportation to Jordan. (Scotsman page 12, Daily Express page 1, Sun page 4, Times page 12, FT page 2, Daily Telegraph page 6, Guardian page 11, Daily Mail page 4, P&J page 17, Courier page 26)