Reform Scotland News: 2 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

Rupert Murdoch: The House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee has published its report into the phone hacking scandal concluding that Rupert Murdoch “turned a blind eye” to illegal activity at his papers and was “not a fit person” to run an international company.  Although MPs were unanimous in their view that senior executives from news International misled the committee, they were split over the conclusions regarding Rupert Murdoch with the four Conservatives refusing to back them as they felt they were outside the scope of the committee. Alex Salmond has reportedly refused to endorse the House of Commons’ report and will not back a Scottish inquiry into phone hacking.  (Scotsman page 1, David Torrance in the Scotsman, Brian Wilson in the Scotsman Herald page 5, Ian Bell in the Herald, Times page 1, Sun page 8, Record page 1, Express page 5, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, FT page 1, Mail page 2, Guardian page 1, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, P&J page 12, Courier page 19)

Devolution: Jim Gallagher in the Scotsman argues that the new Scotland Act has embedded devolution.

Referendum: Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman comments on the pro-unionists strategy of focusing on a straight yes/no question for the referendum.

Household bills: According to figures published by Santander the cost of household bills has risen by 71 per cent in the past decade, almost twice the rate of inflation. Analysis indicated that electricity costs had risen by 109 per cent and water bills by 64 per cent, though salaries had only increased by 24 per cent. (Scotsman page 11)

Housing market: Figures from the Registers of Scotsman indicate that the number of house sales in the first three months of 2012 were up 8.6 per cent on last year and prices were up by 1.7 per cent. (Herald page 1, Mail page 1)

Local Government
Glasgow: The SNP and the Greens in Glasgow have reportedly talked up their chances of being able to successfully form a coalition following tomorrow’s local election and oust Labour from controlling the city. (Scotsman page 22, Times page 16, Guardian page 15)

Local elections: John Curtice in the Scotsman examines the impact of the Single Transferable Vote for Thursday’s local elections, while Richard Kerley in the Herald comments that it should be local issues that determine the outcome in the elections.

Turnout: Political parties and observers are reportedly suggesting that turnout at the local elections could be as low as 30 per cent. (Herald page 6, Courier page 14)

Northern Irish students: It has been reported that some students from Northern Ireland are being advised they could study for free at Scottish universities if they obtained an Irish passport.  Students from Ireland are allowed to study for free under EU law and anyone who is a citizen of the “island of Ireland” is entitled to apply for an Irish passport. (Scotsman page 26, Express page 2, Mail page 9, Courier page 13)

Teachers’ pensions: The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association is to introduce a work to contract from Monday 14 May in protest over changes to public sector pensions.  However, members of the EIS union have put off industrial action while negotiating with the Scottish government. (Herald page 3, Mail page 17)

Suicide in Renfrewshire: A Fatal Accident Inquiry by Sheriff Ruth Anderson QC has heavily criticised the Renfrewshire care home where teenagers Niamh  Lafferty and Georgia Rowe were living before they committed suicide by jumping from the Erskine Bridge in 2009. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 9, Times page 3, Record page 2, Express page 4, Telegraph page 7, Mail page 6, Guardian page 17, P&J page 15, Courier page 20)

Happy young Scots: According to the Health Behaviour in School-age Children report by the World Health Organisation, young Scots are amongst those with the highest levels of satisfaction with life compared to their counterparts elsewhere.  However, the study also found that 15-year-old girls in Scotland are drinking more and having more unprotected sex than many other countries. (Scotsman page 18, Candace Currie in the Scotsman, Herald page 3, Times page 5, Mail page 8, Courier page 10)

Minimum pricing: The Scottish government has agreed to a “sunset clause”, proposed by the Conservatives, in the minimum pricing for alcohol legislation which will mean that the proposals can be dropped after six years if they do not work. (Scotsman page 13)

Prescriptions: A study commissioned by the General Medical Council has found one in 20 prescriptions examined that were issued in the previous year contained an error. (Express page 1)