Reform Scotland News: 30 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
Trident:  Nicola Sturgeon has accused the UK government of “dumping“ nuclear weapons on Scotland following comments by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond that there were no plans to move the Trident submarine base from the Clyde. In addition, UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has reiterated his opposition to a like for like replacement of the UK’s nuclear defence system, saying he did not want to see the country spend billions on a project designed to ‘flatten Moscow.’ (Scotsman page 1 Dr Phillips of Brien, Express page 2, Kerry Gill in the Express, Sun page 2, Times page 20, FT page 2, Herald page 6, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 2, Guardian page 4, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, P&J page 15, Courier page 21)

David Cameron : Prime Minister David Cameron is reportedly using the services of 13 civil servants to come up with arguments against independence. The UK Government plan to publish one report per month in 2013 to persuade the Scottish electorate to vote No. Areas to be covered include issues regarding tax, currency and EU membership (Record page 2)

EU: David Cameron is reportedly facing a rebellion in his party over his intention to push for an increase in EU spending, in line with inflation. 20 Conservative backbench MPs have agreed to back a Commons motion urging the prime minister to negotiate a cut in the European Union’s budget between 2014 and 2020. (FT page 2, Times page 19, Sun page 2, Express page 1, Scotsman page 17, Mail page 12)

Labour lead: An opinion poll published in the Independent by ComRes has suggested that Labour has an 11% lead over the Conservatives, its biggest since the UK General Election. Labour have 44% whilst the Tories and Liberal Democrats sit on 33% and 12% respectively. (Herald page 2)

Welfare reforms: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has criticised the UK government’s welfare reforms designed to encourage more benefits claimants into work, saying they make the system more complex when the intention was for simplification. They also suggest the proposals would not encourage claimants into full-time work. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 6, Times page 10)

Advice on Scotland & the EU: Dame Elish Angiolini has said stepped aside from the probe into the First Minister’s claims about an independent Scotland being in the European Union after consulting with Scotland’s leading civil servant Sir Peter Houston. The enquiry will be chaired solely by Sir David Bell. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 9)

The SNP: Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman writes that last week’s SNP resignations over NATO and Alex Salmond’s admission about legal advice concerning an independent Scotland’s place in the EU should not distract Scottish voters from the positives that independence would bring.

Henry McLeish: David Clegg in the Record interviews Henry McLeish, who warns that the Better Together campaign needs to recognise the changes Scotland has undergone in the last five years if it wants to ensure Scotland remains in the Union past 2014. He also says that the SNP have been successful at understanding the popular mood of the country. (Record page 8)

Economy
Renewables: UK Energy Minister John Hayes has said that the amount of electricity that the UK Government wants from renewable sources has a limit. However, he says there is little that can be done to stop the building of wind farms that have already received planning consent. (Herald page 6)

Transport
West Coast Rail: The UK Government was reportedly aware that the bidding process for the West Coast Rail franchise was flawed but carried on with the process anyway, a report has found. Pressure group Passenger Focus say the report shows the government has a lot of work to do in regaining trust in its rail franchise bidding process. (Herald page 1, FT page 2, Guardian page 13, Courier page 23

Health
Penrose Enquiry: The enquiry into how patients were infected with HIV from blood supplied from the NHS will not establish how many people were affected, solicitors for the victims have warned. The blood transfusions were administered in the 1970s and 80s. (Scotsman page 11)

Health targets: Some health boards are sending patients abroad in order to meet Scottish Government-set targets on the length of time it takes to treat patients. The chief executive of NHS Lothian, one board who does this, has defended the practise saying that because the targets have been enshrined in law, the board must adhere to them. (Express page 14, Sun page 4)

Education
University funding gap: A report for Holyrood’s education committee suggests that there could be a £260m funding gap between Scottish and English universities in 2014 as the English tuition fee rise takes hold. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 7, Record page 2)