Reform Scotland News: 22 Novermber 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
Devo Plus:
Yesterday the Devo Plus group, which was set up by Reform Scotland, published a blueprint setting out how further powers could be devolved to Holyrood so that the Scottish Parliament could become responsible for raising the majority of what it spends, if independence is rejected in the referendum. The Devo Plus group includes Labour MSP Duncan McNeil, Tory MSP Alex Fergusson, Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott and is led by former Lib Dem MSP Jeremy Purvis. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 2, Times page 5, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 10, Record, Severin Carrell in the Guardian, Mail page 10, P&J page 13, Courier page 16)
Green jobs: Alex Salmond has been accused of undermining the “integrity of parliament” after reportedly trying to cover up an inflation he gave in the number of green jobs in Scotland.  On 25 October he told Holyrood that there were 18,000 such jobs in Scotland although there are only 11,000 and it has emerged that the official report of his comments to parliament had been changed without MSPs being notified. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 5, Sun page 1, Record page 15, Telegraph page 1, Express page 5, Kerry Gill in the Express, Mail page 4, P&J page 11, Courier page 16)

EU and independence: The coalition government yesterday claimed that an independent Scotland would have to negotiate its way back into the EU. (Scotsman page 6, Courier page 16)
Costs of income tax changes: Edward Troup, the person responsible for the collection of the Scottish rate of income tax at HMRC, has told MSPs that the Scottish government would have to pay the costs of any changes to the Scottish rate of income tax. (Scotsman page 7, Express page 2, Mail page 10)
UK rebate
: The Prime Minister has reportedly vowed to veto any threat to the UK’s multi-billion-pound rebate as part of the EU budget talks which begin today. (Herald page 6, Times page 1, Roland Watson & Charles Bremner in the Times, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 2, Express page 2, Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian, Mail page 2, Courier page 17)
Defence and independence: MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee were told yesterday that Scotland’s defence industry could survive independence as the international nature of defence contracts meant there were few “national” contracts anymore. (Herald page 6)
UK Border Agency:
John Vine, the chief inspector of immigration has said that the UK Border Agency’s programme to deal with 147,000 outstanding asylum cases that were submitted before March 2007 is far from being resolved and last winter more than 150 boxes of mail, including correspondence from applicants and lawyers, lay unopened. (Guardian page 1, Mail page 6)
Business comment on independence: The CBI yesterday said that business leaders in Scotland should be allowed to speak out against independence without receiving a “bullying phone call”.  Rupert Soames, head of Aggreko, told a Lords inquiry that the majority remain suilent because they don’t want to be “hauled over the coals”. (Telegraph page 8, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman)
North Sea oil: John McLaren in the Scotsman comments on how the Scottish government could balance the books if the decline in North Sea oil continues, while Iain MacWhirter in the Herald comments that Scotland could be as prosperous as Norway.
: Net public sector borrowing was £8.6bn in October, £2.7bn higher than October 2011.  This reportedly makes it increasingly difficult for the Chancellor to meet his target of £120bn total borrowing for 2012/13 compared with £121.4bn last year. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, FT page 2, P&J page 22)
Lawyers plan national strike:
Bar associations and faculties in Scotland have reportedly backed industrial action over plans proposed by the Scottish government to reform legal aid and would see an accused paying a contribution to their defence costs if they have more than £68 a week of disposable income.  (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 25)

Free bus passes:
Age Scotland has said that the free bus travel entitlement age should be increased from 60 to 65 to enable the savings to be spent on local schemes tailored for elderly people who have no other means of getting about.  (Scotsman page 15)

Local government
Edinburgh official
: Dave Anderson, who had been suspended as head of city development at Edinburgh City Council as a result of a corruption investigation into the property conservation department, has resigned and will not face any disciplinary action. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1)

Student backgrounds: The universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh have promised to increase the number of students they accept from deprived backgrounds in return for an increase in funding. (Scotsman page 19)
Poor secondary teaching: Dundee University has blamed years of poor maths and science teaching in secondary schools for difficulties in recruiting more pupils from deprived backgrounds. (Herald page 9)