Reform Scotland News: 1 November 2012

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 1 November 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

European “fast track” for Scotland: The Yes Scotland campaign has reiterated comments made in September by a leading expert on European policy, Graham Avery, to a House of Commons committee which said that as Scots are already European citizens they “could hardly be asked to leave and then reapply for membership”. This would suggest a ‘fast-track’ process for membership into the EU, should Scotland choose independence. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 5, Marc Weller in the Scotsman, The Times page 25)

 

PM defeat in Europe vote: David Cameron has faced rebellion from within his party and been defeated in a vote over whether or not to make real terms cuts to the EU budget. (The Herald page 6, Ian MacWhirter in the Herald comments on the UK’s position within Europe, The Scotsman page 1, Daily Record page 8, The Times page 1, The Daily Express page 2, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Financial Times page 1)

 

Spending gap: Treasury figures have shown that Scots received an average government expenditure of £10,088 per person last year, compared to £8,491 for people in England. However, the Scottish Government cited data showing Scotland pays a larger percentage of UK tax than the cash it receives. (The Scotsman page 1, The Daily Record page 4, The Times page 15, The Sun page 2)

 

Washington Post comments on independence: Leading US paper ‘The Washington Post’ has commented that an independent Scotland could lead to a less stable world, saying that Scotland would be unable to contribute meaningfully to global security. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 5,The Daily Record page 4, The Daily Express page 2, The Sun page 2, The Daily Telegraph page 14)

 

Arts quango ‘elitism’: Creative Scotland has been accused of retaining power among a small elite, with artists claiming that the Scottish Government’s arts quango makes them feel like “benefit scroungers”. (The Scotsman page 19)

 

Economy

Airport tax: Scotland has witnessed a reduction in 1.7 million air passengers over the past five years since increases were made to airport departure taxes. The Scottish government has been campaigning for devolved responsibility over Air Passenger Duty (APD), claiming long-term damages to the economy. (The Herald page 5, The Scotsman page 8, The Times page 27)

 

RBS chief calls for “greater clarity”: The chair of RBS, Sir Phillip Hampton, has called for greater clarity on how plans for an independent Scotland would impact on the country’s financial sector. (The Scotsman page 4)

 

Increased high-street spending: There has been a slight increase in spending on the Scottish high streets, with a 0.9% rise in the value of sales. However, UK-wide there has been a 3.3% rise, showing increases in Scotland are falling short of the rest of the UK. (The Scotsman page 13)

 

Heseltine Report: Scottish business leaders have backed a UK government-commissioned report by Lord Heseltine on how to restore Britain’s economic health, which includes 89 recommendations to help industry. (The Scotsman page 14)

 

Tax hike on empty premises: MSPs yesterday passed legislation creating a tax rise on empty high street premises. Where owners were previously charged 50% of usual business rates, this has been increased to 90%, in the hope that more vacant commercial properties will be put back into use. However, businesses have said the measure will cost firms £18 million a year in a time of already harsh economic conditions. (The Scotsman page 20, The Daily Express page 19)

 

Mixed signals on renewable energy: Alex Salmond has commented on the “chaos and confusion” of the UK Government’s renewable energy policies, saying that mixed signals on either side of the border risks damaging investor confidence in this major industry. This comes after the new target released by the SNP on Tuesday to make 50% of Scotland’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2015. The Conservative Energy Minister John Hayes was reprimanded yesterday after his comments that Britain already has enough on-shore wind farms. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 9, The Times page 20, Kerry Gill in the Daily Express, The Sun page 2, The Daily Telegraph page 10, The Financial Times page 2)

 

Importance of small businesses: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman comments on why he thinks small business is the key to economic recovery.

 

Education

Late student loans: Around 6000 undergraduates at Scottish universities have yet to receive their student loans from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) despite the academic year starting about 7-8 weeks ago for most. However, it is thought that many of these applicants applied after the deadline, hence explaining the long delays. (The Herald page 2, The Scotsman page 12, The Daily Record page 6, The Times page 4, The Daily Telegraph page 17)

 

College places cut: Thousands of college places for subjects such as maths, engineering and science have been cut over the past five years. It has been suggested that this is due to a policy decision by the Scottish Government to focus on full-time rather than part-time courses. (The Herald page 7)

 

Vulnerable children neglected: Schools and local authorities have been criticised for failing to properly protect children at risk, with a report by Education Scotland showing that strategy varies considerably in different parts of the country. (The Scotsman page 21)

 

Health

Equipment for drug addicts: NHS boards have spent £3.8 million on drug paraphernalia for addicts in the past two years. (The Herald page 10, The Times page 27, The Daily Express page 4)

 

Justice

Abolish corroboration campaign: Campaigners for sexual abuse victims have joined the calls to abolish corroboration as a cornerstone of Scottish criminal justice, saying that just 7% of reported rapes and attempted rapes go to court. Rape Crisis Scotland has said that removing the requirement for corroboration in evidence would make a huge difference in efforts to effectively help rape victims (The Herald page 12)

 

Jail staff probes: 535 prison staff have been probed in the last five years it was revealed yesterday, with offences including drug smuggling, security breaches and assault. Politicians have called for disciplinary procedures to be tightened up. (The Daily Record page 31, The Sun page 22)

 

Batons for jail staff: The Scottish Prison service is to spend £132,000 on weapons for staff to help defend themselves from inmates. Prison officers currently suffer an average of 15 attacks a month from prisoners. (The Daily Express page 10)