Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 30 July 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.
Empty seats at the Olympics: Soldiers and students have been drafted in to fill empty seats at Olympics events. An investigation has been launched into why hundreds of seats went unfilled at sold out events. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 1, The Telegraph page 1, The Times page 1, Daily Record page 4)
Olympics and the referendum: Writing in the Scotsman, Lesley Riddoch notes that while the Olympic ceremony was a modern nod to Britain, it is, despite the assertions of unionist campaigners, unlikely to play a role in the coming debate over independence.
Labour rebellion on independence: The launch of the website Labour for Independence urges Scottish party leader Johann Lamont to allow members a vote on the constitutional question. Labour chiefs have dismissed the grassroots group as lacking “any real support” within the party. (The Scotsman page 9, The Herald page 6)
Freedom of Information: Scottish Civil Servants are expected to start training courses on dealing with Freedom of Information requests surrounding the referendum. The courses, characterised as “training courses on secrecy” by opponents have faced criticism from Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders. (The Telegraph page 10, Scottish Daily Mail page 22)
Play parks: PlayScotland has submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament asking for legislative change to force councils to provide “sufficient and satisfying” play areas throughout the country to prevent parks being shut due to the financial crisis. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Daily Record page 10)
Same-sex marriage: Further comment and coverage of the Scottish government’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage. (Tom Miers in the Sunday Times, Alyn Smith in the Scotland on Sunday, Eddie Barnes in the Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Herald page 1, Ian Bell in the Sunday Herald)
Tennis match for independence: David Cameron reportedly challenged Alex Salmond to a tennis match to decide the future of the UK when the two met at Wimbledon. Mr Cameron is expected to use a visit to Scotland tomorrow to make the case for union. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, The Telegraph page 2)
Wind farm: Mainstream Renewable Power has submitted an application to build 125 wind turbines off the east coast of Scotland, a £1.4 billion project. If approved, the project could be up and running by 2016. It is expected to supply enough power for about 325,000 homes or 3.7 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demands. (The Scotsman page 8, The Herald page 2, The Courier page 1)
Tidal power: Michael Hanlon and Jonathan Leake in the Sunday Times examine the potential of wave and tidal power.
Right to buy plans: Housing campaigners are urging the Scottish government to scrap “right to buy” initiatives which allow council and housing association tenants to purchase their homes. Shelter Scotland argues that the scheme leads to longer wait lists and less investment in social housing. (The Scotsman page 14, The Herald page 6)
Women on boards: A study conducted by the Herald found that the number of women serving on Scotland’s corporate boards has increased by 28% in the last year. However, women make up only 15% of the total. (The Herald page 1)
Milk protests continue: Dairy farmers are gathering to protest in Lanark today. Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochead will attend to update the farmers on moves made by the Scottish government to ensure that pricing is fair. (The Herald page 6)
RBS fines: RBS Chief Executive Stephen Hester is reportedly preparing for fines for the bank for its role in the Libor scandal. Barclays was fined £290 million for its participation and an investigation of RBS by the Financial Services Authority is in progress. (The Guardian page 8, The Telegraph page 20)
Poverty: A report by the Scotland Institute has claimed that the “deliberately chosen policies” of the Coalition government on low pay and welfare cuts have meant more people in Scotland are facing poverty. The report also says that while a more powerful form of devolution may help, as long as Scotland continues to use the pound it will be “constrained”. (Scotland on Sunday page 6)
Police convictions: 160 serving police officers in Scotland reportedly have criminal records. Most are for minor offences such as speeding, though the figures include some for assault and theft. (Sunday Herald page 12)
Charitable status: The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator is reportedly to investigate 50 private schools to see if they meet the “benefit to the public” criteria in order to maintain their charitable status. (Sunday Herald page 13, The Telegraph page 8)
University access: Mark Batho, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, has warned that Scottish universities may face fines if they do not do enough to close the gap in access. (The Herald page 10)