Reform Scotland News: 13 June 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
Leveson Inquiry: Sir John Major gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry yesterday claiming that Rupert Murdoch had tried to get him to change the government’s policy on Europe when he was Prime Minister.  Mr Murdoch allegedly told Sir John that without a policy change his newspapers would not support the then Conservative government.   Sir John also accused Gordon Brown’s aides of “lying” to the media when Mr Brown was Prime Minister.  Alex Salmond is due to give evidence today. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 4, Express page 15, Record page 13, Telegraph page 10, Mail page 20, Guardian page 7)

Media ownership:  Ed Miliband has called for a cap on media ownership, suggesting it should be set lower than the proportion of the market currently owned by News International. (Scotsman page 8, FT page 2, Times page 17, Guardian page 7, Seamus Milne in the Guardian, P&J page 16)

Jeremy Hunt: Lib Dem MPs are expected to abstain in a House of Commons vote calling for Jeremy Hunt to be investigated over his handling of the BSkyB bid.   However, Nick Clegg has reportedly called for the Culture Secretary to face an independent inquiry into whether he misled parliament. (Scotsman page 8, Telegraph page 1, Times page 3, Mail page 2, Guardian page 1)

Falkland Islands:  The Falkland Islands government has said that it intends to hold a referendum early next year on whether the electorate wish the islands to remain a British territory.  The reported intention of the vote is to send a message to Argentina which continues to dispute Britain’s role in the islands. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 5, Express page 7, Sun page 10, Guardian page 4, P&J page 17)

Armed forces job losses: More than 1,000 armed forces personnel were informed yesterday that they were losing their jobs through compulsory redundancies.  The compulsory redundancies represent about 30 per cent of 3,800 confirmed redundancies.  (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 6, Express page 5, Record page 12, FT page 3, P&J page 14)

Currency after independence: Nicola Sturgeon has said that Scotland would, if necessary, pay the Bank of England to provide “lender of last resort” facilities to Scottish banks.  However, the Treasury is calling on the SNP to clarify whether an independent Scotland would want full monetary union with the UK or a looser deal where it shares the pound. (Scotsman page 10, Express page 2)

Financial services regulation: Scottish Financial Enterprise chief executive Owen Kelly has commented that an independent Scotland would need its own version of the FSA as it would contravene EU law to allow the FSA to continue regulating Scottish banks and financial services. (Telegraph page 1, Times page 5, Angus Macleod in the Times, Mail page 2, Gerald Warner in the Mail, P&J page 12)

Alex Salmond & independence: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph claims the First Minister’s comments on issues like the Queen and the pound suggest he doesn’t really want independence but more devolution.

Question Time: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on the BBC’s handling of Question Time’s visits to Scotland.

Gay marriage: Scotland for Marriage has claimed that the proposed exemption for priests and ministers enabling them to refuse to solemnise same sex marriage is worthless as it could be successfully challenged on equality grounds. (Herald page 7, George Carey in the Telegraph, Diarmaid MacCulloch in the Times, Mail page 10, Guardian page 7, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, P&J page 14)

EU referendum: A spokesman for David Cameron has reportedly commented that there is no popular demand for a referendum on EU membership. (Telegraph page 1, Daniel Finkelstein in the Times, Alan Massie in the Scotsman)

Economy
Rangers FC: Yesterday HMRC announced that it would not support moves to take Rangers out of administration with a Company Voluntary Arrangement; as a result Rangers will have to go into liquidation.  HMRC explained that it felt liquidation was the best option for taxpayers because it allowed for the “potential investigation and pursuit of possible claims against those responsible for the company’s financial affairs”.  Charles Green is expected to buy the club’s assets and form a new company which will take the Rangers name; however there are questions over whether new Rangers will be automatically allowed into the SPL.  Rangers will also be banned from European football for three seasons. (Scotsman page 1, Ken Pattullo in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Express page 1, Sun page 1, Bill Leckie in the Sun, Record page 1, FT page 4, Times page 1, Tom Cannon in the Times, Mail page 1)

Lena Wilson: Senior MSPs have criticised chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, Lena Wilson’s decision to accept £55,000 for working one day a week as a director of a FTSE-100 company on top of her £200,000 a year salary, claiming there is a conflict of interests and at odds with the SNP’s ban on public sector bonuses. (Scotsman page 9, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Herald page 5, Express page 5, Record page 13)

European banking union: The UK government yesterday indicated that it would veto any attempt to create a banking union across all 27 EU member states. (Herald page 6, Express page 2, FT page 6, Times page 6)

Water consumption: The Institution of Civil Engineers in Scotland has called for water meters should be introduced in homes so that families pay for what they use in an effort to cut consumption. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 8)

Local Government
Edinburgh council repairs scandal: Dave Anderson, director of city development at Edinburgh City Council has been suspended as part of an investigation into the council’s “statutory repairs” service.  His suspension is thought to follow allegations of huge increases in the cost of the repairs with the value increasing from £9.2million in 2005 to £30m in 2010 and the service has faced allegations of corruption, mismanagement and fraud. (Scotsman page 1)

Local autonomy: Reform Scotland chairman Ben Thomson in the Times comments on recent centralisation in Scotland and the subsequent need for councils to be given greater tax raising powers.

Justice
Racism: There were 4,907 racist incidents recorded in Scotland in 2010/11 according to official figures, down 8 per cent on 2006/07 but still the equivalent of 15 every day. (Scotsman page 13, Express page 10, Mail page 17, P&J page 13)

Education
University drop-outs: Statistics indicate that Scotland’s leading universities, including St Andrews and Glasgow, have a large gap between the drop-out rates for all students and those from poorer backgrounds.  (Scotsman page 20, Alastair Sim in the Scotsman)

Health
Diesel: The WHO has ruled that diesel exhaust fumes are as big a cancer risk as second hand smoke and asbestos. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 4, P&J page 23)