Reform Scotland News: 31 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



Renewable Energy: Alex Salmond has set a new renewable energy target for Scotland aiming for half of Scottish energy to be from renewable sources by 2015. The Scottish Government also aims for 100% of electricity to be provided by renewable sources by 2020. (The Herald page 6, Scotsman page 1, Daily Express page 25, Courier page 29, P&J page 33, Daily Mail page 1)


Independent Scotland and Europe: Viviane Reding, European Commission vice-president, has backed comments suggesting an independent Scotland would need to reapply for membership to the EU. (The Herald page 6, Daily Mail page 10)


Scotland and EU membership: Alex Salmond has been criticised by Labour for not attending a Holyrood debate over what legal advice the Scottish Government had taken over post-independence EU membership. Labour leader Johann Lamont called for a judicial review into the affair and was backed by Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie. (Scotsman page 14, Telegraph page 15, Times page 8, Daily Express page 25, Courier page 16, P&J page 12)


RBS and independence: Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of RBS, has asked for greater clarity on what an independent Scotland would mean for the bank. He also emphasised that RBS was politically neutral. (The Herald page 1)


Salmond inquiry: Brian Wilson comments in the Scotsman on the appointment of Sir David Bell onto the panel of advisers on the ministerial code set to investigate Alex Salmond.


Scottish independence: Allan Massie writes in the Scotsman that the SNP have suffered from not appealing to the emotional reasons for an independent Scotland and that the SNP did not need to set out a detailed programme for a post-independence Scotland.


Trident: Ian Bell comments in the Herald on Trident’s future and the financial investment being made in it by the Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary. He also comments on the boats continuing to be in Scotland.


Scotland’s independence: John Kay comments in the Financial Times that Scotland’s debate on independence lacks seriousness at a fundamental level.



Child benefit cuts: The Government has announced plans to cut child benefit if one or both parents earns more than £50,000 a year and will remove the benefit completely if one earner receives £60,000. Concerns are reportedly being raised that those receiving notification of a reduction in the benefit they receive will be unaware of the impact this will have on their finances. (Daily Mail page 18)


Child benefit cuts breaching EU law: Tax experts have reportedly warned that the Government’s planned changes to child benefits could be in breach of EU law. (Daily Express page 27)


Hydro power plant: A controversial scheme to build a hydro-electric generation station in the Highlands was backed by councillors yesterday. Scottish Natural Heritage has said the scheme will have a negative impact on the landscape and nearby residents have complained that the dam will be bad for business. (Daily Record page 8, Courier page 29, P&J page 14)


Harris Tweed: Harris Tweed has experienced the best year for production in nearly 15 years. It is thought that celebrity backing has helped the industry to recover. (The Herald page 8)


Housing market: Figures have revealed that Scottish house sales dropped to half the figures seen at the peak of the property boom this summer. House sales were at the lowest they have been for a decade and there have been variations across different regions with some experiencing growth in house prices. (The Herald page 9, P&J page 13, Daily Mail page 19)



GPs: Prominent Scottish GPs have reportedly backed the NHS plan in which terminally ill patients are helped in their final hours. The plan is at the centre of a row over patient care and some claim the scheme quickens the passing of those who are terminally ill. (The Herald page 1, Scotsman page 18)



Curriculum for Excellence: Mike Russell, SNP Education Minister, has been accused of ignoring the advice of experts designing the new school curriculum. He has reportedly ordered that pupils learn more Scottish literature instead of English. The intervention has prompted complaints from teachers claiming they are being forced to remove Shakespeare and Dickens in favour of “dire” modern Scottish works. (Telegraph page 1)



Domestic Abuse: Reported incidents of domestic abuse have risen by 7% according to new figures. Almost two thirds of incidents involved victims who have previously experienced domestic abuse and one in six cases involved a male victim and female perpetrator. (The Herald page 5, Scotsman page 16, Telegraph page 9, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express, page 10, Daily Mail page 26)


Mobile phone blockers in prisons: Ministers have asked the Scottish Parliament to approve the use of mobile phone jamming equipment in prisons. The equipment could allow them to stop prisoners engaging in criminal activity from prisons however there are concerns that the jamming equipment could impact members of the public. (Times page 19, Courier page 16, P&J page 13)


Sectarianism: The Scottish Government’s attempts to tackle sectarianism has been criticised by Turnbull Hutton, chairman of Raith Rovers. He questioned whether any progress had been made since clashes between Celtic and Rangers football clubs sparked a debate last March. Hutton reportedly accused the Scottish Government of showing a lack of leadership in dealing with the issue. (Courier page 1)