Reform Scotland News: 8 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

Being British: Ed Miliband has said that Scottish residents would no longer be British if Scotland were to become independent, a claim that SNP spokespeople derided as impossible due to close links across the British Isles. Mr Miliband accused Alex Salmond of trying to ‘keep the bits people liked’ such as the Queen, the pound, the BBC and “Britishness.” (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 6)

 

EU referendum: Chancellor George Osborne has ‘hinted’ that there may be a referendum on the EU as the eurozone crisis has made further integration increasingly likely. (Telegraph page 4, Times page 1, Mail page 4)

 

Bill Walker: Ex-SNP MSP Bill Walker has been arrested on charges relating to domestic abuse. (Sun page 1)

 

Economy

Stamp duty scrapped: Finance Secretary John Swinney has announced that stamp duty is to be replaced with a ‘more progressive’ property tax while Landfill Tax will be replaced by an environmental tax. They will be administered by a new body called Revenue Scotland once these tax powers have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament in April 2015, under the Scotland Act. There has been some criticism of the cost of the new body, though the government insists it will be less expensive than allowing HMRC administer the taxes. Tax on more expensive homes is expected to rise considerably. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 5, Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph, Express page 2, Mail page 1)

 

Income tax: The UK government is reportedly considering proposals to devolve income tax-raising and spending powers if Scotland votes ‘no’ in the independence referendum. David Cameron had earlier said that further powers would be devolved, though he refused to specify which ones. (Times page 1)

 

Right-to-buy: The Scottish Government is considering proposals to either scrap or further limit the right to buy council homes at steep discounts. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6, Mail page 10)

 

Arts funding: The recent backlash from the arts community over changes to funding was due to a failure of communication, says Andrew Dixon, who is in charge of arts funding body Creative Scotland. (Scotsman page 11)

 

Pensions: A study by financial services firm Prudential has found that retired women in Scotland can expect an income one-third lower than men, an average of £10,029 compared to the average for men of £17,539. (Scotsman page 22, Herald page 4)

 

Oil investment: Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created as Norwegian energy firm Statoil plans to invest £18 billion in two projects. (Press & Journal page 1)

 

Education

EIS criticism: Outgoing president of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) Alan Munro has criticised education secretary Michael Russell in an AGM speech, calling him “threatening” and claiming that he listened to union concerns only “grudgingly.” (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 9)

 

Justice

Reported rapes increase: Reported rapes have increased by almost 25 per cent in Strathclyde since last year, an increase that was expected due to a change in the law that widens the definition of rape. (Scotsman page 17, Record page 2, Sun page 18)

 

Health

Legionnaires’: Tests have been undertaken on two more industrial sites in Edinburgh as the number of confirmed cases has risen to 24, with a further 37 suspected. In addition, over 35,000 homes have received leaflets with information on symptoms. There are allegations that some cases may not have been recorded, and the source is still not confirmed. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1, Times page 11, Telegraph page 11, Express page 7, Record page 6, Sun page 4, Guardian page 9, P&J page 15, Mail page 11)