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Reform Scotland News: 26 October 2012

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 26 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

Inquiry over Salmond EU legal advice: Alex Salmond has referred himself for investigation into whether he breached the ministerial code over comments on legal advice regarding Scotland’s future in the EU. It is the sixth time Alex Salmond will be investigated over his ministerial conduct. He has been cleared all previous times. Catherine Stihler, a Labour MEP, called the inquiry a “smokescreen”. [Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Times page 3, Telegraph page 1 and page 16, Express page 2, Record page 6, Sun page 8, FT page 2, Guardian page 17, Mail page 4, P&J page 18].

SNP rebels pressured to resign: Christine Grahame, a senior SNP backbencher, has urged John Finnie and Jean Urquhart to leave Holyrood as they have no democratic mandate to remain as independent MSPs after being elected by the Highland and Islands regional SNP lists. The two quit the SNP following the announcement of support for Nato membership. [Telegraph page 16, Mail page 4].

SNP to provide answers before Independence: Jim Sillars in The Scotsman writes that it is important for the SNP to answer key questions regarding fiscal control, currency position and European trade before the independence vote.

Too “canny” for Independence?: John Hayes, UK energy minister, commented that Scots are “too canny” to vote for independence in the 2014 referendum and they would be left with a smaller and less relevant country in Europe. SNP MSP Kevin Stewart branded the comments as ill-informed. A recent YouGov poll showed that 55% of people opposed independence.  [P&J page 1 and page 5, Courier page 1]. 

Calls for inquiry into dealings with Trump: David Milne, one of the residents facing compulsory eviction from his home on the Menie estate after approval of plans to build a £750million golf resort, has called for an investigation over dealings between Donald Trump and Scottish authorities. [Scotsman page 18, Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman, P&J page 13].

Congregations quit over gay ordination: 12 ministers and their congregations are reportedly to follow St George’s Tron in Glasgow and quit over gay ordination. The church which seceded from the Kirk is now in a fight over ownership for the church and land. Concerns have arisen over the Kirk being involved in further land litigation battles. [Herald page 1].

Grounded North Sea aircrafts: 60% of the North Sea’s Super Pumas are to remain grounded indefinitely. Safety concerns followed the ditching of an aircraft into the seas off Shetland on Monday. The move applies to 16 E225s and 13 earlier aircraft models. [Scotsman page 8, P&J page 6].

Economy

The end of recession: The UK has emerged from recession following 1% GDP growth in the three months from July to September. Growth is attributed to positive effects from the Olympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee. There is speculation that the figures could mark the end of the Bank of England’s quantitative easing policy. There remain concerns about performance of British manufacturers and the continued Eurozone crisis’s negative impact on UK-to-EU trade. [Scotsman page 1 and page 13, George Kerevan in the Scotsman, Alison Rowat in the Herald, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, FT page 3, Sun page 2, P&J page ].

Utility prices: A recent study by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk has found that 40% of households are looking to switch energy providers and 49% surveyed felt “angered” by recent price rises. [Scotsman page 8].

North Sea oil: 167 North Sea oil and gas licenses were awarded yesterday. The Department of Energy and Climate Change announced that they had received 244 applications with a further 61 applications still pending. Wholesale value of oil still to be extracted from the Scottish cost is estimated to be £1.5 trillion. Further, the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed that oil firms have only been fined seven times since 2000 even though there has been 4,123 separate spills. Fines from prosecution have reached £74,000 in the period of 2000 to 2011; no single firm has been charged more than £20,000. [Guardian page 15, Times page 7, Mail page 19, P&J page 5]

Santander lending to small businesses: Santander has announced a 43% increase in the last quarter of its year-on-year lending to small businesses in Scotland, creating £115million of lending in the last year.  [Herald page 26].

Local Government

Glasgow regeneration: The Scottish government has approved Glasgow City Council’s Buchanan Quarter regeneration project to be completed before the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014. It is expected to create 1,500 new jobs. [Scotsman page 16].

Education

College waiting lists: Colleges reportedly have waiting lists that are almost double original estimates. Education Secretary Michael Russell is being pressured to increase funding to create more college places for the 21,280 applicants. [Herald page 1].

Transport

Axed flights to Dundee: Loganair is to end flights to Dundee after December when services to Belfast and Birmingham will be axed. Concerns have arisen over the future of Dundee airport which Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd bought five years ago. [Scotsman page 5, Courier page 14].