Reform Scotland News: 29 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

First Minister’s Questions: Alex Salmond was accused by Labour during First Minister’s Questions of “abandoning” the quest for independence, and focussing on a possible second question to increase Holyrood’s powers. (Scotsman page 14, Mike Wade comments in the Times, Express page 15, Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph, Courier page 18)

 

Independence referendum: Alastair Campbell has said that he believes that the Scottish diaspora should have the right to vote in the independence referendum. (Scotsman page 3 An interview delves more deeply into his thoughts on the independence referendum.)

 

Bhutan example: Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson said yesterday that Bhutan, the small country in the Himalayas, may hold lessons for an independent Scotland, claiming that the ‘time has come’ to stop relying on traditional world leaders such as the EU. (Herald page 3, Times page 3, Express page 15, Telegraph page 10, P&J page 12, Mail page 7, Courier page 19)

 

Gay marriage: A YouGov poll commissioned by the charity Stonewall has found that two-thirds of people in Scotland support the legalisation of gay marriage. (Scotsman page 17)

 

EU referendum: Almost 100 Conservative backbenchers signed a letter to David Cameron demanding a referendum on EU membership after the next general election. (Telegraph page 1, Express page 9, Mail page 4)

 

Independent defence: Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey claimed that Scotland would lose money and jobs in defence as an independent country, as currently £1.8 billion in contracts and 20,000 jobs are linked to UK defence. (Herald page 6)

 

Olympic decorations: Two SNP MSPs, Linda Fabiani and George Adam, reportedly commented that Union Jack decorations intended to celebrate an Olympics-themed menu  in the Holyrood staff restaurant were “not Scottish,” causing them to be replaced by multi-coloured balloons. (Sun page 1, Mail page 1)

 

Economy

Barclays investigation: Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that the Serious Fraud Office is talking with the Financial Services Authority about the possibility of criminal charges against Barclays bankers accused of manipulating interest rates to increase profits. The value of Barclays shares has dropped by £3 billion and it appears that more banks, including RBS, may be implicated in the scandal. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Sun page 8, Record page 6, Nigel Lawson comments in the Times, Express page 7, Telegraph page 1, Telegraph page 4, FT page 1, Guardian page 1, P&J page 13, Mail page 1)

 

Recession reports: The UK recession is worse than previously thought; while a Lloyds TSB report concluded that the Scottish economy is stagnating, finding little momentum in the global market. However, Scotland may be avoiding the UK-wide double-dip recession. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, Times page 20, FT page 3)

 

North Sea jobs: Up to 10,000 new jobs could be created in the North Sea’s subsea sector, but companies are warning that it is ‘almost impossible’ to find qualified recruits, which could adversely affect job growth. (Scotsman page 10)

 

Alternative energy: The Department for Energy and Climate Change has found that Scotland produced 13,735 gigawatt hours of alternative energy last year, which is double the amount produced five years ago. (Scotsman page 14)

 

Arts and culture: A new report has found that Scottish arts and culture contribute £3.2 billion to the economy and directly create 34,000 jobs. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 9)

 

Education

Universities reform: Education secretary Mike Russell announced a shake-up of universities and colleges, including new ‘outcome agreements’ from colleges and universities which aim to widen access in elite institutions, and organising colleges under thirteen regional boards. The plans are unpopular with many university principals and critics said the reforms were a ‘power grab’ by Mr Russell. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 5, Times page 19, Telegraph page 21)

 

Gaelic: Development Agency Bòrd na Gàidhlig has announced plans to double the number of primary school students speaking Gaelic. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 9)

 

Transport

Weather disruption: Both mainline rail services between Scotland and England have been severely affected by flooding and landslides. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 1, Record page 9, Telegraph page 13)

 

Health

Doctors’ strike: The British Medical Association has voted in favour of the possibility of another strike, although they stopped short of demanding the industrial action immediately. They also called on Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to resign. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 10, Express page 21, Guardian page 6)

 

Life expectancy: Scottish life expectancy is shorter than the English average by about two years. (Herald page 3)

 

Children’s ward closure: Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has been criticised for claiming that the part-closure of a ward at St John’s Hospital was not financially motivated. (Herald page 6)

 

Local Government

Trams: Plans to shut a major route to motorists for eighteen months may have to be adjusted, after a major protest from community and business groups. There are reportedly concerns that not completely shutting York Place would extend the project timeline to 2014. (Scotsman page 19)