Reform Scotland News: 4 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. 

 

Please note that there will not be a media summary on Monday 7 May due to the bank holiday.

 

Politics

Civil service criticism: Leaders from the three opposition parties criticised the Scottish government permanent secretary, Sir Peter Housden, for “failing to uphold” the impartiality of the civil service. The claim followed allegations that Sir Peter rejected a complaint about an SNP minister breaching government guidelines during election ‘purdah’, and follows earlier allegations of impartiality. Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said he would be appealing to the new head of the UK civil service, Sir Bob Kerslake, though the previous head, Sir Gus O’Donnell, cleared Sir Peter following an earlier complaint. (Scotsman page 1, Press & Journal page 12, Courier page 1, 10, Telegraph page 1)

 

Local election turnout: Vote counting has begun in Scotland with results expected to be announced throughout the day. Early indications are that turnout could be as low as 30% despite the good weather which seems to support claims that voters are disengaged with their local authorities. Glasgow council was considered too close to predict the results. In England, overnight counting and polls indicate that Labour has gained hundreds of seats. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1, Mail page 8, Times page 10, Express page 5, Sun page 2)

 

Leveson inquiry: Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson are to give evidence at the Leveson inquiry next week on consecutive days. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 6, Times page 13, Telegraph page 17)

 

Scottish hacking inquiry: Alistair Bonnington in the Telegraph criticises the Scottish government’s reluctance to hold its own inquiry into phone hacking and other press activity. (Telegraph page 14).

 

Debt blame: The Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond warned that families must accept part of the responsibility for the debt crisis, instead of solely blaming banks. (Telegraph page 1)

 

Replacement MSP: SNP is reportedly considering former MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville to take Bill Walker’s seat. (Record page 10)

 

Economy

Rangers: Administrators for Rangers Football Club have granted preferred bidder status to Bill Miller, an American tow-truck tycoon from Detroit. It is expected that a binding agreement will be made within the next nine days. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, 4, 5, Mail page 11, Times page 4, Sun page 1, Record page 4)

 

Energy ‘crisis’: A PwC report has claimed that the UK could be hit by an increase in power blackouts by 2030 as vital upgrades to electricity infrastructure have been held back by the economic crisis. (Scotsman page 4)

 

Unemployment: The National Institute of Economic and Social Research have forecast that unemployment will reach 9 per cent this year, due to the situation in Europe and the ‘double dip’ recession. (Herald page 6)

 

Airline closing: Bmibaby is expected to close in September, with flights from Edinburgh and Glasgow axed from June. BA now has a monopoly on flights from Heathrow to Edinburgh and Aberdeen. (Scotsman page 13)

 

House prices: House prices have dropped again in April, and are 0.9 per cent lower than a year ago. (Scotsman page 22, Herald page 15)

 

Local Government

Edinburgh tram chaos: There has been a 14.2 per cent decline in foot traffic on Princes Street, and nearby streets have experienced falls as high as 30 per cent. The figures come as it emerges that businesses have lodged compensation claims for up to £5 million for lost revenue. (Herald page 3)

 

Education

Supply teachers: It has emerged that schools spent £450 million on supply teachers, while the number of probationary teachers given permanent jobs has fallen 60 per cent. (Express page 6, Record page 2)

 

Health

NHS waiting times: Audit Scotland has launched an investigation into NHS waiting times after reports emerged of NHS trusts manipulating their figures to ‘meet’ government targets. (Herald page 9, P&J page 19, Mail page 18, Courier page 13, Sun page 2)

 

Diabetes risk: Researchers at Edinburgh University have found that low levels of testosterone in men may be linked to diabetes. (Scotsman page 19, Herald page 15, P&J page 19)

 

Bionic eye: Two British men have regained some sight after being fitted with a ‘bionic eye.’ (Scotsman page 2, Guardian page 6, P&J page 19, Mail page 19, Times page 9)