Reform Scotland News: 13 September 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
Hillsborough:
Yesterday the Hillsborough Independent Panel published their report into the 1989 disaster which claimed 96 lives, having gone through 450,000 pages of previously unseen documentation.  The panel ruled that South Yorkshire Police and emergency services made “strenuous attempts to deflect blame” on to innocent fans for the disaster.  The panel also found that 116 out of 164 police statements identified for “substantive amendment” were “amended to remove or alter comments unfavourable” of the way the football match was policed.  The panel also doubted the coroner’s report which ruled that by 3:15pm on the day all victims had received fatal injuries. The panel said 41 of those who died were alive after that time, or sustained injuries inconsistent with those findings.  David Cameron apologised for the handling of tragedy saying “I am profoundly sorry for this double injustice that has been left uncorrected for so long.” (Scotsman page 1, Martyn McLaughlin in the Scotsman, Times page 1, Tony Evans in the Times, Russell Jenkins in the Times, Herald page 1, Sun page 1, Record page 1, Express page 1, Stephen Pollard in the Express, FT page 2, Telegraph page 6, Mail page 1, Guardian page 1, P&J page 12, Courier page 1)

Scotland in the EU: European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly commented yesterday on a “speculative question” of an independent Scotland joining the EU, saying “there is a secession process under international law, and the request for accession to EU member states under EU treaties.  In the meantime, of course, this [country]is not part of the EU since it has to make a request for accession”.  The comments have been seized upon by unionists who claim they mean that Scotland’s membership would only be secured after lengthy negotiations. (Scotsman page 8, Times page 7, Herald page 1, Iain MacWhirter in the Herald , Sun page 2, Record page 16, Express page 1, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 2, Guardian page 8)

Liam Fox: Liam Fox has reportedly called for George Osborne to deliver a “totemic shock” to the ailing UK economy through emergency tax and welfare cuts or risk loosing the next election. (Times page 22)

Scottish reshuffle: Christine Jardine in the Scotsman comments on Nicola Sturgeon’s new role in the Scottish government.

Economy
Unemployment:
The unemployment rate in Scotland is higher in Scotland at 8.2 per cent than the rest of the UK, at 8.1 per cent, according to official figures.  The figures also indicate that nearly a quarter of Scottish 16 to 24 year olds out of work.  Total unemployment rose by 4,000 to 223,000 from May to June. (Scotsman page 1, John McLaren in the Scotsman, Times page 22, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Record page 8, Express page 2, FT page 3, Telegraph page 11, Mail page 10, Courier page 14)

First-time buyers: A new MI New Home mortgage indemnity scheme, which is backed by the Scottish government, is aimed at helping first-time buyers buy a new-built property with only a 5 per cent deposit. (Scotsman page 12, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Record page 8, Telegraph page 2, P&J page 16)

HBOS: Peter Cummings, a former chief executive of the corporate lending division at HBOS, has been fined a record £500,000 and given a lifetime ban from the financial industry by the FSA for leading “a culture of optimism which also affected the division’s judgement about bad debts”. (Scotsman page 34, Times page 12, Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Record page 10, Express page 21, FT page 1, Guardian page 28)

Women’s jobs: Alex Salmond has announced that £250,000 is being invested in Careerwise Scotland to help girls consider professions which tend to be perceived as being for men only, such as in science and engineering. (Courier page 14)

Justice
Domestic abuse:
According to official figures, reports of domestic abuse have risen in Scotland by nine per cent over the past year. (Scotsman page 18)

Education
University league tables:
Christopher Marshall in the Scotsman comments on the publication of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) latest global university league tables.

College funding row: John Henderson, chief executive of Scotland’s colleges, has commented that the Scottish government’s claims that it is increasing funding to colleges in response to reports of significant waiting lists for colleges, ignores significant cuts to the amount of money provided for teaching. (Herald page 9)

Local Government
Aberdeen libraries:
As many as eight of 17 library buildings in Aberdeen City Council reportedly could be shut as part of cost saving measures. (P&J page 1)

Transport
Scottish air connections to London:
Tavish Scott in the Scotsman discusses Scottish air connections to London and says that consumer choice and competition on fares is in Scotland’s interests.