Reform Scotland News: 18 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. 



Absent MSP: Joan McAlpine MSP apologised to parliament yesterday for failing to appear to ask a question she had tabled. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 6, Express page 1, Sun page 2, Mail page 29, Courier page 16)


Referendum consultation: Business leaders have claimed that the uncertainty surrounding the referendum is damaging business as they try to plan for the future, and many have called for a single question. The Scottish Conservatives’ official response called for the referendum to be held by October 2013 though David Cameron has said he will support the 2014 date. (Scotsman page 6, comment in the Scotsman page 30, Herald page 1, Mail page 17, Press & Journal page 11, Courier page 13)


Hate crime: Every category of hate crime increased in Scotland last year, though Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland believes that high profile cases have raised awareness, helping to “flush out” cases. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 14, Mail page 7)


Scottish Regiments: Phillip Hammond has apparently abandoned the plan to axe historic Scottish regiment names. The number of military personnel based in Scotland is the lowest since 1997 with jobs having been cut 4 per cent in Scotland compared to 1.8 per cent in England. (Scotsman page 12, Telegraph page 14, Express page 8, Record page 6, Courier page 14)


Cameron support for Hollande: David Cameron is expected today to align himself with Francois Hollande in order to boost eurozone growth, a move over which Ed Miliband has expressed scepticism. (FT page 2)


Arts funding: Creative Scotland has changed the way it funds 75 arts groups, causing fears for the future. (Scotsman page 20, Herald page 9)



Eurozone: David Cameron has warned a group of business leaders that Britain would not be immune from eurozone problems, although Vince Cable apparently contradicted him, claiming that Britain “shouldn’t be panicking or unduly negative.” The comments came as shares of the largest Spanish bank fell by a fifth. Mr Cameron also told eurozone leaders to act decisively and quickly to prevent a crisis, calls that were echoed by President Obama. (Scotsman page 8, Times page 13, Times page 12, Express page 2, Guardian page 1, Mail page 8, P&J page 12, Courier page 18)


Greece: Martin Wolf in the FT comments on the effects of a Greek exit from the euro.


Shareholder revolt: Shareholders at Cairn Energy, one of Scotland’s largest firms, have rejected a report on executive pay. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 32)


UK credit: David Cameron asked the Treasury to help boost the UK economy by taking advantage of low borrowing costs ‘imaginatively’, including guaranteeing private borrowing to boost investment, something that would not show up as government debt. (FT page 2, Mail page 4)


Energy costs: A new study has claimed that home energy prices have risen five times faster than the average income since 2004. (Scotsman page 21, P&J page 19)


Local Government

Council coalitions: Council coalition negotiations have finished across Scotland, with notable new provosts including former football manager Jim Leishman in Fife and Nicola Sturgeon’s mother Joan Sturgeon in North Ayrshire. Labour will be part of administrations in almost half of all councils. (Record page 4, Sun page 2)



Trauma care: The provision of care for trauma patients is lagging compared to other developed countries including England, according to a report released by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. The college is calling for trauma centres across Scotland with the necessary specialist medical equipment. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 5)


Waiting lists: Fresh claims have emerged that NHS waiting times figures are deliberately distorted, as Labour MSP Jackie Baillie has found further evidence of patients wrongly being removed by NHS boards. (Mail page 1, Express page 29)



University admission: Universities Scotland, which represents university principals, warns that universities need to review their admissions requirements. The Curriculum for Excellence allows students to take their Higher exams over two years, though most universities prefer them all to be taken in the same year. The guidelines call for less emphasis on grades and more on students’ “skills and knowledge.” (Herald page 3, Telegraph page 1)


Languages: A decade of decline in the teaching of a second language in schools is costing the economy £500 million a year, according to the Scottish Government’s Languages Working Group. It makes 35 recommendations to improve the situation, including that language instruction begins earlier. (Herald page 7, Express page 5, Mail page 2)