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Reform Scotland News: 23 August 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
Referendum question
: An expert group led by Lord Sutherland, which was established by the Scottish Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems to come up with a question for the independence referendum, has reported that the referendum should contain one “clear, decisive” question.  The panel produced what it believed was an objective question – “Scotland should become an independent state” with people asked whether they agreed or disagreed. (Scotsman page 1, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Sun page 6, Record page 8, Times page 7, Express page 4, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Courier page 15, P&J page 12)

Prince Harry: Nude pictures of Prince Harry taken in a Las Vegas Hotel have been published on an American entertainment website. UK Newspapers were reportedly warned against publishing the images. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 3, Sun page 1, Record page 7, Times page 4, Express page 1, Telegraph page 1, Peter Oborne in the Telegraph, Guardian page 16, Mail page 1, Amanda Platell in the Mail, Courier page 16, P&J page 18)

George Galloway: Respect MP George Galloway has been sacked as a columnist for Holyrood Magazine over his comments regarding rape. Harriet Harman has also attacked his comments saying they “provided cover for offenders”. (Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Times page 13, Express page 9)

National Marriage Sunday: The Catholic Church is to launch ‘National Marriage Sunday’ this weekend where every parish will issue a message from bishops emphasising families and marriage.  The Church is also to set up a ‘National Commission for Marriage and the Family’ to promote Christian marriage. (Express page 2)

Fiscal autonomy: Hugh McLachlan in the Scotsman comments that Scotland could not unilaterally decide that it wanted to stay in the Union, but with additional financial powers.

Legal advice: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments on the forum of experts set up by Advocate General Lord Wallace to look at the implications of independence.

Reshuffle: Martin Kettle in the Guardian speculates ahead of the widely expected reshuffle of the UK cabinet.

Economy
RBS:
RBS is reportedly being investigated by the United States over possible breaches of sanctions with Iran.  RBS volunteered information to US and UK regulators 18 months ago. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 4, P&J page 26)

Energy bills: Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) yesterday announced plans to raise gas and electricity prices by 9 per cent, prompting fears other companies will follow. (Herald page 7, Sun page 2, Times page 3, Express page 1, Telegraph page 2, Mail page 22, Courier page 2, P&J page 11)

Borrowing: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman and Iain MacWhirter in the Herald comment on recent borrowing figures, which show borrowing increased by £600 million in July.

Bank of England: Kate Barker in the FT comments that the Bank of England is too powerful.

Local government
Union Terrace Gardens
: By a majority of two votes, councillors on Aberdeen City Council yesterday voted to drop plans to transform the city’s Union Terrace Gardens. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 3, Record page 6, Times page 18, Express page 7, Telegraph page 2, Courier page 16, P&J page 1, Councillor Brian Crockett in the P&J)

Health
Buying alcohol from England:
Labour councillors on Northumberland County Council have reportedly suggested that the area could capitalise on minimum prices for alcohol being introduced in Scotland, by enticing Scottish drinkers to the area. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 8, Record page 9, Express page 20, P&J page 17)

Justice
Single fire service:
In a lecture at Glasgow University last night, head of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, Brian Sweeney, commented that the new single fire service must be free from political interference with eth chief officer free to manage the service.  (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 11)

Education
Financial help for students:
The Scottish government is to provide a new £4,500 loan to all students from 2013 to help them meet the cost of studying a university.  A new minimum income guarantee for the poorest students of £7,250 will also be introduced and fees are to be paid for part-time students earning less than £25,000 a year. (Herald page 1)

University places: Alistair Sim in the Scotsman comments that Scottish students won’t lose out to fee-paying students in the clearing process.

Transport
Transport projects:
Tavish Scott in the Scotsman comments on the importance of timing with regard to large scale transport projects.