Reform Scotland News: 17 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

Royal Navy Contracts: An independent Scotland will lose all its Royal Navy contracts, UK ministers have confirmed, in a move which would put 16,000 jobs at risk along with the country’s entire shipbuilding industry. The UK coalition government warned that if Scotland becomes a “foreign country” defence contractors could no longer use Scottish yards in their bids. (Scotsman page 1 & 36-38, Herald page 2, Courier page 21)

Independence Referendum: Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has said that the UK government does not view the SNP’s planned date for the independence referendum as a “barrier” to a deal with Alex Salmond on holding the vote. On the other hand, Tories accused David Cameron of undermining the party’s leader north of the border after the Prime Minister reportedly said he is not “fussed” about the timing of the referendum. Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman questions whether people on the right of politics will back independence as a change in thinking among Tories may provide a new voice in the debate on Scotland’s future.  (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, Iain MacWhirter in the Herald, Keith Aitken in the Daily Express, Mail page 10)

Elgin platform: Environmental campaigners and politicians called for lessons to be learned after the uncontrolled gas leak on Total’s Elgin platform was finally stemmed. It may take until the end of the year for the platform, 150miles east of Aberdeen, to begin full production again. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 8, Times page 22, Record page 26, P&J page 6, Courier page 22)  

Scottish regiment names: More pressure was put on David Cameron last night as MPs from different parties joined the campaign “respect our regiments” (Scotsman page Herald page 6, Record page 1, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Daily Telegraph, Sun page 12, P&J page 12, Courier page 14)

Funding campaign to keep Scotland in the Union: The cross party campaign to keep Scotland in the Union is expected to attract enough funding from businesses, civic society and party donors to match or even trump the SNP’s total for the campaign. Organisers believe it will secure financial backing from voters who supported Alex Salmond at the last election but who do not want Scotland to become independent. (Times page 5, Angus Macleod in the Times, P&J page 13, Courier page 21)

Economy

Full time work & unemployment: Thousands more Scots are having to settle for part-time jobs because no full-time work is available, new figures showed last night, exposing the “under-employment” among Scottish families. This number has rocketed by 15% in the last year. However, joblessness in Scotland fell in the first 3 months of this year but women and young people are still being disproportionately affected by the downturn. The unemployment rate in Scotland fell to 8.2%, which is level with the rest of Britain.(Scotsman page 4&26, Herald page 5, Times page 23, Record page 8, Express page 4,  FT page 2, Guardian page 27, Courier page 16)

Job Cuts: The BBC confirmed plans to cut up to 120 jobs in Scotland (Herald page 1, Express page 4)

Tour de France: Edinburgh’s bid to stage the start of the Tour de France in 2017 was backed by First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday. It is hoped that hosting one of the world’s most-watched annual sporting events would inject millions of pounds into the economy. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 7, Express page 5)

New Forth Bridge Caissons arrive: The £1.6 billion Forth Replacement Crossing’s biggest parts yet have arrived in Rosyth. The SNP cites the bridge construction as an example of the Scottish government bringing forward big public works to both stimulate the economy and create jobs. Some 400 people are working on the project now, which will increase to 1,200 ahead of its completion in 2016. (Scotsman page 4)

Currency: An independent Scotland would have to create its own currency before it could join the euro, the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee was told. The SNP intends to use sterling if Scotland splits from the UK, and hold a later referendum on the euro. However there is no legal basis to move from sterling to the euro, Drew Scott, a professor at Edinburgh University, said. (Times page 4, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 16)

Local Government

Labour appoints city Lord Provost: Labour councillor George Adam has been appointed the new Lord Provost of Aberdeen. Mr Adam was elected unopposed. (Scotsman page 10, P&J page 1)

Health

Superbugs fall by one third: The latest annual report on Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) showed that hospital sugerbug infections in Scotland fell by more than one third last year as methods to stop bugs spreading proved effective. However it also revealed one in ten doctors, consultants and surgeons in Scottish hospitals doesn’t wash their hands often enough (Herald page 4, Record page 2, Express page 20, P&J page 18, Courier page 21)

Virtual health hub: A pioneering new online system which alters doctors and family members when someone suffers a stroke will be unveiled today. Computer scientists from Edinburgh’s Napier University have developed the futuristic health tool that, within seconds of a patient calling ill, dispatches an ambulance, informs the nearest accident and emergency ward of vital signs and texts next of kin. (Scotsman page 19)

Fighting obesity: Over a quarter of Scots are clinically obese and over two-thirds are overweight. Children are at the most risk because fat children grow into fatter adults. (Scotsman page 28)

Education

Colleges in cash plea: Scotland’s colleges, who face a £78million cash cut, yesterday made a fresh plea for government funding. Scotland’s colleges, who represent 41% of further education institutes, made their case as unemployment figures showed 82,000 16 to 24 year olds in Scotland were out of work. (Record page 6

Transport

Scottish rail travel: Violent crimes on Scotland’s railways increased by 17% in the year to march despite an overall fall in offences. British Transport Police report that violent crimes were up between 2010/2011, but overall crime was down by 5.3%. (Scotsman page 10)

Flight from Aberdeen to Stansted: Ryanair has expressed an interest in operating a direct route between Aberdeen and London Stansted Airport, the MSP Brian Adam has claimed (P&J page 8)