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Reform Scotland News: 6 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
Alex Salmond: First Minister Alex Salmond will become Scotland’s longest serving First Minister today when he surpasses the mark of 2001 days set by his predecessor Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale. (Times page 18, Joan McAlpine in the Record, P&J page 12)

Green energy: According to email correspondence which has been published, First Minister Alex Salmond was aware that plans for a £170m wind power research centre near Glasgow had been shelved by Doosan Power Systems when he announced the development at Holyrood. (Mail page 2)

Independent Scotland and the Euro: Jim Sillars and Gordon Wilson have warned that an independent Scotland may need to join the Euro as a condition for membership of the European Union. As an alternative they propose that Scotland join the European Free Trade Association.  An SNP Government spokesperson commented that an independent Scotland would retain membership of the European Union. (Herald page 6, Record page 2, Courier page 17)

Abuse allegation: David Cameron has announced an investigation of the inquiry into the 1980’s child abuse scandal in North Wales. No.10 has suggested there may be two enquiries – one to look at the police response and another to look at the original enquiry. (Herald page 6, Times page 14, Telegraph page 1, Record page 4, Guardian page 2, Courier page 20)

Ruth Davidson: In a speech to mark her first year as Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson outlined an aspiration to cut income tax by more than the 1p currently proposed by the party. She also made a commitment to tear down ‘Scotland’s educational Berlin Wall’ by freeing schools from council control. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 10, Telegraph page 7, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 4, P&J page 12, Courier page 16)

Catholic Church: Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leading member of the Catholic Church in Scotland, has stood down from his role due to health concerns. The development raises the possibility that he may quit the role prior to his planned retirement in a few months. The Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, has assumed his role of president of the Bishop’s Council which oversees the church. (Herald page 5, Scotsman page 1)

EU warrants: The Scottish Government is seeking clarification from Theresa May over what talks she has had with her European counterparts over EU arrest warrants. This comes as she stated she favoured withdrawing from EU-wide crime fighting agreements as set out in the Lisbon Treaty. (Herald page 10)

Yes campaign: Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman says that it is up to the Yes Scotland campaign to show that the Better Together camp’s plan for  Scotland should it remain in the union is thoroughly unattractive, especially regarding the lack of protection given to those on middle and low incomes and that independence can be a positive outcome for Scotland.

Alex Salmond’s leadership: Magnus Linklater in the Times suggests that, whilst Alex Salmond remains a formidable political figure, he must prove to the Scottish people that he is still the leader they put in power if he wants to achieve his goal of independence. (Times page 19)

Education
Awards: Kilmarnock College was awarded the Education Initiative of the Year for their Hive (Hope, Inspiration, Vision in Education) centre. The centre transforms young peoples’ prospects by giving young people a positive educational experience. (Herald page 19)

Economy
Living Wage: John Swinney announced yesterday that the Living Wage will rise to £7.45 an hour, representing a rise of 25p from the start of the year. Business leaders have said that the rise is an ‘unrealistic’ one for many firms. (Scotsman page 13, Tim Worstall in the Times, Sun page 2, Express page 14)

House building: Official statistics reveal that planning decisions for housebuilding projects are taking 77 weeks, over one year over the Scottish Government’s target of 16 weeks. Planning Minister Derek Mackay has said that such delays will be investigated and that there will be no increase in planning application fees unless decisions were made quicker. (Herald page 2)

Salaries: A rise in share-based incentive schemes has caused the average salary of FTSE 100 chief executives to rise by 27% in the last year. This is despite the payments of bonuses and basic pay slowing almost to a standstill. (Herald page 9, FT page 6)

Justice
Anti bigotry laws: Prosecutors are reportedly hailing the anti-sectarian laws introduced in March as a success after 34 convictions were secured. However no-one has yet been prosecuted for a crime relating to online communications. (Scotsman page 16, Sun page 2, Record page 2)

Health
Strike action: The Scottish branch of the British Medical Association have reiterated their intention to hold a strike ballot over NHS pension reforms currently being considered by the Scottish Government. The proposed action would take place over three days – December 12th and January 8th and 17th next year. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 4, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Mail page 21)