Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 16 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.
SNP double apology in Holyrood: Alex Salmond had to apologise last night for misleading MSPs after using incorrect figures to claim funding to Scotland’s colleges had increased. This followed the Labour party producing figures in the name of Education Secretary Mike Russell that showed funding to colleges has been cut. Mr Salmond said he would be writing to the Presiding Officer to apologise for telling Labour MSP Hamzala Malik in June that there was no reduction in funding. [Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 3, Telegraph page 1, Simon Johnson in the Telegraph, Sun page 1, Express page 2].
BBC payout to Lord McAlpine: Lord McAlpine is to receive a £185,000 settlement from the BBC following false child abuse claims in a Newsnight report. Further legal action is being prepared by his lawyer against ITV’s This Morning and Twitter users who identified Lord McAlpine in connection with the false claims. [Scotsman page 7, Herald page 5, Times page 4, Telegraph page 1, Express page 4, Guardian page 18, Mail page 4, P&J page 13].
Cable tries to gather support for UK and EU unions: Business Secretary Vince Cable launched a review into the impact of the EU single market in a defence of EU membership. He further warned against Scottish independence suggesting Scotland may need to reapply for EU membership and that this could have a negative impact on the Scottish economy as over half of its exports are within the UK. [Scotsman page 8].
FoI law extended to external organisations: The Scottish government are reportedly planning to extend Freedom of Information (FoI) laws to include external organisations and companies that are used by local councils to provide public services. Current proposed changes do not require external organisations to provide information under FoI requests. [Scotsman page 9].
UK government demanded clear “yes-no” referendum question: Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that a straight “yes-no” referendum question was a “red line” issue demanded by the UK government during the Edinburgh Agreement negotiations. [Scotsman page 20].
Herald and STV documentary on independence: The Herald and STV have announced plans to co-produce a three-part series charting the history of the independence issue in Scotland. The three one-hour episodes are to track changing opinion from WW2 to the present day and are expected to air in spring 2013. [Herald page 2].
Electoral Commission: Nicola Sturgeon told Holyrood’s Referendum Bill Committee that she was willing to overrule the Electoral Commission if so needed, adding that “They are not the decision makers” but that she was willing to consider their advice. [Herald page 2, P&J page 18].
Scottish children are left at risk: A study by the Scottish Children’s Reporters Administration has shown that around 13,000 Scottish children are officially “in care” having been required to have social work protection by a children’s hearing. The report looks at 2,000 children in such circumstance with some being left with emotional or behavioural problems after being left at risk. [Herald page 3].
Politician of the Year: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was named The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year last night in recognition of a series of achievements from same-sex marriage, to her role in the referendum campaign and the alcohol pricing bill. [Herald page 7].
RBS and Lloyds deals made unrecoverable loss to taxpayers: A report for the Westminster Public Accounts Committee has suggested that more that £66 billion of taxpayers’ money invested in the RBS and Lloyds bailouts may never be recovered. It further added that the Treasury may have made a costly mistake in the Northern Rock rescue. [Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6].
Scottish employment figures misleading: George Kerevan in The Scotsman writes that the disparities in the Scottish and UK-wide ONS unemployment figures comes down to details in the data and that we ought not to be so hasty to criticise Scotland’s employment, especially as it has a higher employment rate in comparison to five out of nine areas in England.
Scottish Gas make £1.4bn profit: Centrica, the owner of Scottish Gas, is expected to announce annual profits of £1.4 billion following a 6% increase in charges to customers. Further reports claim that Eon plans to increase domestic charges by 11% this January. [Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1, Guardian page 18].
Super Puma fleet grounded until February: CEO of Eurocopter, the French manufacturer of the North Sea’s Super Puma fleet, Lutz Bertling announced the fleet would be grounded until next February following 2 flights ditching since May. The delay is expected to cause disruption to companies and employees of North Sea gas and oil companies as normal crew-change flights are temporarily suspended. [Scotsman page 16, P&J page 1].
Flood prevention scheme row: Edinburgh City Council is in a row with civil engineering company Lagan Construction as the cost of the Water of Leith Flood Prevention Scheme almost doubled to £21 million in the last year. The project is running a year behind schedule. [Scotsman page 11].
McColl backs vocational education: Jim McColl OBE, CEO of Clyde Blowers, has called for changes in the way vocational subjects are taught saying that teaching of vocational subjects should not be left to schools but could be taught by specialist “junior colleges”. The scheme would allow third and fourth year secondary school pupils to leave the academic curriculum and attend a junior college focused on core English and Maths and other vocational subjects. [Herald page 2].