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Reform Scotland News: 17 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

Lib Dems’ devolution commission: A Liberal Democrat devolution commission chaired by Sir Menzies Campbell is expected to unveil its proposals today.  Recommendations reportedly include giving the Scottish Parliament powers to borrow up to £1bn from the UK and the power to collect almost all income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax and air passenger duty.  (Scotsman page 9, Times page 9, Mail page 13, P&J page 12)

 

Trident: Former defence secretary Liam Fox has supported Alex Salmond’s plans to keep an independent Scotland in NATO and urged that the First Minister give assurances to member countries that Scotland would keep Trident “for as long as it takes to move it elsewhere”. (Scotsman, Liam Fox in the Scotsman, Herald page 4)

 

BBC in an independent Scotland: Labour MP Anas Sarwar has claimed the SNP was “simply living in a fantasy world” if it thought the current range of BBC TV, radio, website and iPlayer content would be available to an independent Scotland. (Scotsman page 9, Telegraph page 2, P&J page 13)

 

BBC inquires: It has been announced that former High Court judge, Dame Janet Smith will lead the review into the culture of practices at the BBC during the years that Jimmy Savile worked at the corporation and former Sky News executive Nick Pollard will look into whether there were any failings in the way a Newsnight report into allegations against Jimmy Savile was handled.  Dame Janet’s inquiry will not begin until after the police indicate they are happy for it to proceed. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 5, Sun page 5, FT page 4, Telegraph page 9, Times page 13, Mail page 18, Guardian page 10, P&J page 17)

 

Independence: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman argues that it is not necessary to become an independent country to change the long-term vision for Scotland.

 

Media Regulation: David Newell, director of the Newspaper Society, has warned the coalition government not to respond disproportionately in light of the Leveson Inquiry. He said that a statute-based media standards body would impact on freedom of expression and that the Inquiry focussed on “less than 1% of newspapers and magazines and the journalists that work for them”. (Herald page 2,)

 

Election Expenses: Members of the Falkirk Constituency Labour Party are reportedly asking MP Eric Joyce to refund £3,000 that it contributed to his election expenses. They are also asking the Labour HQ in Glasgow for permission to appoint a prospective candidate to stand in the 2015 Westminster election. After being forced out of the Labour Party Joyce said he would not stand down as an MP because he had been elected personally. A member of the Falkirk Labour Party stated that “if that’s the case we want our money back.” (Herald page 3)

 

Public spending after independence: Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has accused the SNP of ignoring the issue of public spending after independence. Mr Alexander has warned that an independent Scotland would have to cut public spending immediately and keep cutting for decades. (Herald page 4, Ian Bell in the Herald, Daily Record page 8, FT page 2, Telegraph page 16)

 

Trumps legal threat over wind farm: Donald Trump’s lawyers have warned they will advise him to take legal action unless the Scottish Government holds a public inquiry into the proposed wind farm which would be located near Trump’s Menie Estate golf course. Ministers are still to decide whether the turbines at the European Offshore Wind Development Centre can be built. (Herald page 10, Daily Express page 14 )

 

Independence and Euro: An independent Scotland would reportedly have to rejoin the EU and would lose any existing opt-outs held by the UK such as the Schengen Agreement and Euro according to three constitutional experts. However the Scottish Government has said that they would inherit existing treaties. (Daily Express page 2, Telegraph page 1, Times page 9, P&J page 12)

 

Independence: Alice Thomson in the Times comments that the Referendum result should not be seen as a foregone conclusion and David Cameron still has a battle on his hands.

 

Independence: Alex Salmond in the Guardian comments on what he believes voting ‘yes’ in the referendum will mean for Scotland.

 

Economy

Chanel: Fashion house Chanel has bought Borders based Barrie Knitwear in a deal which will save all 176 staff. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 24, Daily Express page 1, Times page 35, Mail page 21, Courier page 27)

 

Retail sales: According to the Scottish Retail Consortium, Scottish shopping sales rose by 1 per cent last month when compared with the same period last year. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 24, Daily Express page 15, Mail page 25)

 

Starbucks: Coffee retailer Starbucks has reportedly paid just £8.6million in corporation in the 14 years it has been trading in the UK, despite generating sales of more than £3billion. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 8, Daily Record page 6, Mail page 11, Daniel Johnson in the Mail, Guardian page 9, Courier page 27)

 

Benefits: Citizens Advice Scotland has claimed that many Scots receiving Job Seeker’s Allowance are being unfairly penalised for missed meetings and mistakes by the organisation. The CAS warned that it has seen a sharp rise in the number of people contacting them with issues relating to JSA and that for some it has resulted in them being left in a desperate situation. The rise has come after changes to JSA rules in 2010 allowing sanctions to be applied for missing meetings. A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said that those claiming JSA must stick to the contract they make and the conditions that go with it ensure advantage is not taken of taxpayers’ money. (Herald page 7)

 

House Price Fall: House prices have fallen by 1.2%, their steepest monthly fall for over three years. The fall is thought to be due to wet weather and the Olympics. Despite the fall, experts have said there is room for cautious optimism for the recovery. (Herald page 10, Mail page 12, P&J page 19)

 

RBS: RBS is expected to announce its exit from the £282billion state-backed insurance scheme today. The scheme was set up when the bank was bailed out four years ago and RBS is set to make its final payment this week. (Telegraph page B8, Guardian page 22)

 

Payday Lenders: Alyn Smith in the Daily Express comments that payday lenders are taking advantage of the poor and vulnerable with “horrendous interest rates”. He suggests that Westminster is ignoring the problem and that the payday loans are in breach of European consumer legislation.

 

Justice

Gary McKinnon: Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday ruled against extraditing Scottish computer hacker Gary McKinnon to the USA under human rights legislation as there was a high risk the Aspergers sufferer would attempt to commit suicide. (Scotsman page 1,  Trevor Salmon in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Sun page 9, Daily Record page 14, Daily Express page 5, FT page 2, Telegraph page 1, Times page 6, Mail page 1, Guardian page 1, P&J page 11, Courier page 16)

 

Corroboration:  The Senators of the College of Justice yesterday rejected calls to abolish the requirement of corroboration in criminal prosecutions, arguing that it was a “major safeguard” against miscarriages of justice. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 1, Daily Express page 4, Telegraph page 7, Times page 1, P&J page 15)

 

Tobacco: Chinese Triads are reportedly smuggling toxic counterfeit tobacco into Scotland, making more than £10million a year. The tobacco contains high levels of carbon monoxide and tar. Customs have said that they intercept thousands of the small parcels and a senior investigator at HMRC stated “we are awash with it.” (Daily Record page 1)

 

Education

University funding: Christine Jardine in the Scotsman comments that university funding in Scotland needs to change if Scotland’s institutions are to retain their global rankings.

 

Health

Waiting in A&E: Over the last four years more than 50 patients, including some children, have been forced to wait more than 24 hours in Accident and Emergency according to figures published by the Scottish Conservatives.  (Scotsman page 19, Daily Express page 23, Mail page 2)