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Reform Scotland News: 7 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

US Presidential Election: President Barack Obama has been elected to serve another term defeating Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate. (BBC News, Sky News)

 

EU budget: Pressure is reportedly rising on David Cameron to negotiate a reduction in the EU budget following information revealed by auditors that mistakes in spending are increasing. The report by auditors said that the European Commission and EU governments “must manage spending better” and that financial management systems to ensure correct spending were not fully effective. (Scotsman page 8, Daily Express page 1, Telegraph page 23)

 

Naddine Dorries: Comment following the decision by sitting Tory MP Nadine Dorris to appear on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. (Mail page 6, Quentin Letts in the Mail, Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 8, P&J page 23)

 

Scotland and EU after independence: Gordon Wilson, SNP leader in the 1980s, and Jim Sillar, deputy leading in the 1980s, have warned that Scottish EU membership would be a “transfer of sovereignty” to Brussels. They have highlighted the benefits of the European Free Trade Agreement instead and have said there must be a second referendum to resolve the issue if Scotland chooses to become independent in 2014. (Scotsman page 12, Times page 17)

 

Creative Scotland: Scottish actor Brian Cox has criticised Creative Scotland saying that meaningless jobs were being created and accused Creative Scotland of being “a law unto themselves”. Artists and organisations have criticised the way in which funding decisions are taken and the level of bureaucracy and secrecy of Creative Scotland. Two internal inquiries have been set up and there have been indications of a major organisational shake-up over the next few months. (Scotsman page 15)

 

Scottish creative jobs: Pete Martin, in the Scotsman, criticises the lack of commitment to Scotland’s own talent and comments that Creative Scotland should be telling the world that Scotland is full of creative talent but is undermined by its director not being Scottish.

 

Referendum: Andrew McFadyen comments in the Scotsman that there is much support for more Scottish powers and criticises this not being an option in the referendum vote.

 

Independent Scotland and the EU:  Alex Salmond has been criticised by Professor Neil Walker, one of Scotland’s foremost constitutional lawyers, for assuming that an Independent Scotland would be able to join the European Union without any difficulty. (Herald page 6, P&J page 13)

 

Independent Scotland and the Pound: A readers’ poll carried out by the Daily Record has shown that Scots would want to keep the pound even if Scotland became independent. Most Scots also backed NATO membership and EU membership if Scotland became independent too. The SNP have praised the polls findings saying it shows that the Scottish Government’s independence proposals match the views of people in Scotland. (Daily Record page 2)

 

Economy

Equal pay: New figures released today show that the average female executive in Scotland earns £10,683 a year less than her male counterparts. The difference in executive salaries is greater than that south of the border according to the report. Ian Andrew, of CMI Scotland, called for the Government to demand more transparency from companies on pay and to name and shame those that continue to maintain inequality. (Herald page 2, Mail page 1, P&J page 14)

 

Tax system in Scotland: A new survey shows that three quarters of Scots think taxes should be raised for those with the highest incomes and wealth. The findings come as the Scottish Conservatives said they may fight the next Holyrood election on a pledge to cut the basic rate of income tax by at least 2p. (Herald page 6)

 

Living wage: Ian Bell comments in the Herald that the living-wage campaign encourages some employers to pay as little as they can get away with.

 

Education

Teacher training changes: Ministers have accepted a new report recommending the introduction of numeracy and literacy assessments for prospective teachers before they are allowed into the classroom. The report also recommended that teachers are encouraged to take Masters courses to improve their knowledge. Alasdair Allan, Scotland’s minister for learning, announced a £3million Scottish Government fund over the next three years to support higher quality learning for teachers. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 2, Courier page 22)

 

Justice

Fall in murders: The number of murders and culpable homicides has fallen by more than a quarter in Scotland over the last 10 years and has decreased by 11% from last year. New figures also show that alcohol remains a key factor, with nearly 60% of homicides in 2011-2012 involving it. The Scottish Government has launched a “no knives, better lives” campaign and called for an end to automatic early release for prisoners sentenced to four years or less to be released after serving half their time. (Scotsman page 14, Telegraph page 21)

 

Beggs compensation: Kerry Gill, in the Daily Express, criticises the European Court of Human Rights decision to award convicted murderer William Beggs almost £5000 because his appeals took too long.

 

Strike action: The Edinburgh Bar Association (EBA) have unanimously voted in favour of industrial action in response to the changes planned by the Scottish Government to Legal Aid. The changes proposed include making low-income suspects pay contributions to legal bills. The Glasgow Bar Association plan to vote tomorrow and the EBA are expected to protest outside the Scottish Parliament on 13 November. (Scotsman page 1, Times page 19, Herald page 1)

 

Legal-high deaths: The dangers of legal-highs were stressed yesterday in a report showing an increase in UK deaths from the drugs. More than 40 deaths across the UK were linked to the class of drugs in 2010 compared to just 5 in 2009. (Scotsman page 9)

 

Tackling reoffending: Scotland’s public spending watchdog has called for major changes in tackling reoffending in Scotland. Audit Scotland has raised concerns over Community Justice Authorities struggling to tackle reoffending due to the way they were set up and inflexible funding. Scottish Conservative and Labour MSPs have criticised the Government over the report’s findings but a spokesman for the Government said that reconviction rates were at the lowest levels in 13 years and the second phase of the Reducing Reoffending Programme is already addressing Audit Scotland’s recommendations. (Herald page 6, Daily Record page 8, Daily Express page 17, Telegraph page 21)

 

Local government

Aberdeen’s heart:  Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland has commented that Aberdeen needs a new heart to draw people to the north-east. (P&J page 1)

 

Transport

Borders Railway: The cost of the Borders Railway has increased again by £50million but ministers have been accused of covering up the cost of the project as a deal with Network Rail was announced. Network Rail will now build the 30-mile line between Tweedbank and Edinburgh for £294million. However this figure does not include the £54million already spent on the project and MSP John Lamont has said it appears that the government is trying to cover up the further increase in cost. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1)

 

Health

Review for NHS Highland: A major review into primary care services in NHS Highland has been approved. It could reportedly revolutionise how GPs serve patients in remote and rural communities across Scotland. Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, supported plans to develop a new model for remote primary care following growing fears about GP provisions in rural communities. (Herald page 7)