Reform Scotland News: 10 October 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

Conservative Party conference: David Cameron is due to address the Conservative Party conference today.  He is expected to say that Britain faces “an hour of reckoning” and warns of dire consequences if significant spending cuts are not implemented. Boris Johnson gave his speech to the conference yesterday amid reports and comments about his potential future leadership of the party.  (Scotsman page 1, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Allan Massie in the Scotsman, Sun page 2, Record page 8, The Herald page 1, The Times page 1, Daniel Finkelstein in The Times, P&J page 12, Courier page 14,Telegraph page 1, Harry Mount in the Telegraph, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, Chris Skidmore in the Telegraph, FT page 2, Matthew Engel in the FT, Denis MacShane in the FT, Guardian page 1, Mail page 2, Max Hastings in the Mail)

 

Referendum deal: A deal has reportedly been reached between the Scottish and UK governments over the independence referendum.  It is now expected that the referendum will contain only one question.  The final details are expected to be resolved ahead of a meeting between Alex Salmond and David Cameron on Monday. (Scotsman page 4, Sun page 1, Record page 1. Daily Express page 5, The Times page 9, Courier page 2, Telegraph page 2, Mail page 10)

 

Creative Scotland: Andrew Dixon, the chief executive of Creative Scotland, has said that he does not intend to stand down despite criticism from 100 of Scotland’s leading artists and has denied claims that the government quango was not listening to artists. (Scotsman page 8, The Herald page 5, The Times page 5, Magnus Linklater in The Times, P&J page 23, Courier page 14, Telegraph page 6, Guardian page 7)

 

Special advisors: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman suggests that the recent story regarding a special advisor to Alex Salmond trying to get Donald Trump to back the release of the Lockerbie bomber highlights the need to question the role of special advisors.

 

Nuclear Weapons: Ex-Defence Secretary Liam Fox criticised the SNP at the Conservative Party Conference accusing them of living “in wonderland” if they believe that an independent Scotland can expel nuclear weapons and join Nato. Angus Robertson MP, said Dr Fox was not in a position to lecture Scotland on defence after the base closures and personnel cuts he had presided over. (The Herald page 6)

 

Europe Referendum: David Cameron has hinted at a referendum on the UK’s future in Europe. A poll is thought to be planned for after the 2015 General Election but will not be an in-out referendum. (The Herald page 6, Daily Express page 1, Patrick O’Flynn in Daily Express, Telegraph page 5)

 

Economy

Economic figures: Official figures published by the ONS yesterday showed that the UK had its second-biggest trade deficit on record in August at £4.2bn.  The IMF also forecast that the UK economy would fall by 0.4 per cent in 2012. (Scotsman page 1)

Net household contributors: Following Ruth Davidson’s claims that only 12 per cent of Scottish households contribute more through taxes than they receive through benefits and public services has been criticised by the SNP who have pointed out that the figure is largely the same for the UK as a whole, which stands at 13 per cent, and that Scotland therefore was not a “nation of spongers”. (Scotsman page 5, Telegraph page 4, Mail page 2)

 

Scottish Enterprise: John Swinney reportedly knew of Scottish Enterprise chief Lena Wilson’s second appointment to a part-time directorship with Intertek whilst keeping her position at the Scottish Enterprise, prior to the announcement being made. (The Herald page 1

 

Tax havens: Peter Geoghegan in the Scotsman comments that the UK government’s actions do not suggest that it is serious about stopping tax avoidance.

 

Hall’s Closure: John Swinney and union and council representatives will meet with Vion, the owners of Hall’s of Broxburn, to discuss the site today as 1700 workers could face redundancy. (The Herald page 2)

 

Historic Scotland funding cuts: Historic Scotland’s funding is set to fall from £50.2 million in 2010 to £35.7 million by 2015. Professor Michael Lynch has warned that the reduction in funding has compromised the process of listing and scheduling exceptional properties. (The Times page 17)

 

Inflation: Sir Mervyn King has commented that sometimes it is right to “aim off the inflation target for a while” leading many to interpret that he believes that price stability should no longer be the Bank of England’s primary objective. (FT page 1)

 

Public debt: Martin Wolf in the FT considers the lessons that can be learnt from history regarding public debt.

 

Green government?: An analysis of the Scottish government’s energy strategy has suggested that it plans to sell 12bn to 24bn barrels of oil and gas over the next 40 years, which would mean the release of 5.2bn to 10.4bn tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.  This would reportedly dwarf the impact of the Scottish governments target to cut Scotland’s CO2 emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 down to 40m tonnes. (Guardian page 5)

Justice

Police stations: Up to a fifth of Scottish police stations could reportedly face closure under the new single police force according to a leaked document prepared by force planning chiefs.  However, Stephen House, chief constable of the Police Service of Scotland has denied the claims. (Sun page 16)

Education

‘Bored’ college students: A report by Education Scotland has found that although colleges play a lately positive role in preparing students for the work place, some students are often left “bored” and “disengaged” due to a lack of focus and clarity over the skills that learners are supposed to attain. (Scotsman page 16