Reform Scotland News: 18 July 2012

Reform Scotland

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

Same-sex marriage: Alex Salmond has rejected calls from the Catholic Church for a referendum to be held on the legalisation of gay marriage. He has also formed a special committee, chaired by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, to look into the issue. A delay of the decision was initially criticised by gay rights campaigners, but it is thought that the committee is moving towards approving same-sex marriage. (Herald page 1, Times page 1, Scotsman page 1, Daily Express page 5, Daily Mail page 8, P&J page 1, Courier page 13, Daily Record page 8, Sun page 2

Olympics: G4S, the firm criticised for its handling of Olympics security, has not ruled out a bid for the contract to provide security at Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games in 2014.The Glasgow Games organisers said that all bids for the contract would be ‘considered on their merits.’  The news comes as Nick Buckles, chief executive of the company, was called to answer questions before MPs on the situation. (Herald page 3 Daily Mail page 6, Guardian page 1, Seamus Milne in the Guardian, Courier page 21, Scotsman page 1

Smacking: Childrens’ charity umbrella group Children are Unbeatable has called for a ban on smacking in Scotland. However, a Scottish government spokesperson said that there are no current plans to change the law on the issue. (Herald page 4, Daily Express page 7, Daily Record page 8 Times page 9)

Environment: Green campaigners have criticised the Scottish government after it emerged that Scotland missed its targets on carbon emissions. Ministers have blamed this on the severity of last year’s winter. (Herald page 7, Daily Mail page 17, Courier page 17, Scotsman page 3, Daily Express page 5, The Sun page 2

NATO: The SNP’s claim that an independent Scotland could remove its nuclear weapons whilst at the same time remaining in NATO has come under scrutiny from Lord Robertson, Lord Healey and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, three former defence secretaries. (Times page 15, Daily Mail page 16 Scotsman page 12, Daily Record page 2

Independence: The SNP’s pursuit of independence through compromise is in danger of alienating the party’s rank and file membership, Allan Massie argues (Scotsman page 28

Economy

Property Market: There was an 11% year-on-year rise in the number of houses sold in Scotland in the first five months of the year, figures in the LSA/Acad Scotland house price index show. However a separate study by the Office for National Statistics shows that the house price gap between Scotland and England is widening. (Herald page 11 Scotsman page 9 Daily Express page 2, Daily Mail page 2

Inflation: The rate of inflation fell to 2.4% last month, the lowest level since 2009, confounding analysts’ predictions that the rate would remain steady. (FT page 2, Terry Murden in the Scotsman page 37, The Sun page 2, Daily Record page 38 

Milk:  A plan to deal with dairy pricing has been unveiled by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead. The move comes as dairy farmers plan a blockade next month in protest at plans to cut pricing (The Sun page 2)

Retail: The Scottish Retail Consortium’s latest figures show zero like-for-like growth for June. The stagnation is being blamed on the wet weather the country experienced last month (Daily Mail page 17)

Transport

Trams: Ken Houston in The Scotsman argues that Edinburgh City Council would have been better off improving the cities’ bus network rather than creating a tram network. (Scotsman page 26)

Health

Smoking:  David Stewart, chairman of NHS Fife’s operation division, has remarked that pleas to ban smoking on hospital grounds throughout Scotland have been ignored. Complaints of tobacco fumes entering delivery rooms through open windows have prompted the complaints. The Scottish government have ruled out a nationwide ban, but say it is a matter for individual health boards. (Courier page 10)

Multiple Sclerosis: Research teams at the University of Aberdeen have uncovered a possible link between Scotland’s high rate of MS and the country’s lack of sunshine hours. (Courier page 17, Press and Journal page 14)