Reform Scotland News: 9 November 2012

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 9 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

Electoral Commission: Michael Moore has told MSPs that the outcome of the independence referendum will face problems if SNP ministers abandon the Electoral Commission as Scotland’s official elections watchdog. Nicola Sturgeon announced that the SNP plan to defy campaign spending limits established by the Electoral Commission to ensure fairness between the Yes and No campaigns. [Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Times page 29, Telegraph page 2, FT page 4].

Schofield apologises for TV stunt: TV presenter Phillip Schofield has apologised after he handed a list of alleged paedophiles linked to the Conservative party to David Cameron live on ITV’s This Morning .  The Guardian has named the Tory peer allegedly involved in a paedophile ring in a Welsh children’s home although the paper reports he may be a victim of mistaken identity. [Scotsman page 3, Times page 4, Telegraph page 1, Record page 7, Express page 5, Guardian page 1, Mail page 7, Courier page 14].

Salmond accused over NHS cuts: In yesterday’s FMQs, Labour leader Johann Lamont accused Alex Salmond of allowing severe NHS cuts; claiming the NHS is facing a £1billion repair bill with £200 million in real-term cuts. Alex Salmond responded by attacking a Labour-led commission established to look at ending free universal services, including higher education and prescriptions. [Scotsman page 7, Herald page 6, Sun page 2].

Archbishop of Canterbury appointed: Yesterday Rt Rev Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham and the fourth most senior member of the Church of England clergy, accepted the post as the Archbishop of Canterbury. He will be the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and will be the leader of the 77 million strong Anglican Communion, of which the Scottish Episcopal Church is a part. [Scotsman page 11, George Kerevan in the Scotsman, Herald page 9, Times page 9, FT page 3, Guardian page 7, Stephen Bates in the Guardian, P&J page 17, Courier page 13].

83 viewers for FMQs: It is reported that the Scottish Parliament’s Broadcasting Unit that employs 14 people and costs roughly £700,000 a year to run receives an average of only 83 people a week viewing the web-based footage of FMQs. [Express page 2]. 

Referendum debate: Kerry Gill in the Express and Robert McNeil in the Herald discuss the options for Alex Salmond and the SNP if the pro-independence campaign is defeated in the 2014 referendum.  Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph writes that Nationalists need to consider the culture and extent of public spending and free provision of the welfare state under independence.

TA work protection needed: Calls for Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond to increase work protection of part-time soldiers came yesterday after plans to double the size of the Territorial Army to 30,000 people were announced. Former army soldiers have been offered incentives to join the TA. This follows government plans to reduce the number of regular soldiers by 20,000 to 82,000. [Scotsman page 7, Herald page 6].

Economy

Scottish football clubs: Heart of Midlothian FC announced yesterday that it was struggling to stay in business and is unable to pay an overdue tax bill of £450,000. Rangers FC went into administration earlier this year after being unable to pay its tax bill and were forced into the fourth league tier of Scottish football after being forced to establish a new company. [Scotsman page 1, Herald page 3, Times page 1, Record page 1, Express page 15]. 

Fuel duty increase: George Osborne is facing a challenge today from the Labour party not to increase fuel duty by the scheduled 3p in January. Currently the average price per litre of petrol is 138p and 81p currently goes to Treasury. [Telegraph page 1, FT page 4].

Local Government

Glasgow invests in enterprise: Glasgow City Council announced a £1.5 million New Business Fund to help small businesses establish in Glasgow and will pay rents and rates for the businesses in the hope of increasing economic growth. [Herald page 5].

Education

Audit of college waiting lists: The Scottish government are to launch an audit of college waiting lists after it was revealed last month that 21,280 applications are on waiting lists. [Herald page 2].

Campaign for Scottish teachers in England: A UK-wide campaign launched on Facebook by Kent County Council is looking to attract Scottish teachers to work south of the border. The local authority has one of the largest education departments in the UK with around 14,000 teachers responsible for 300,000 students in 600 schools. [Scotsman page 12, Herald page 1].

Justice

Scotland-wide lawyer strike: Changes to legal aid that would see suspects having to pay contributions towards legal costs and solicitors collecting the fee have sparked concerns over a Scotland-wide strike of lawyers.  Members of Glasgow Bar Association voted unanimously to support the Edinburgh-led strike. [Scotsman page 8, Herald page 5, Times page 3, Express page 2].

Police Service: The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents has voiced concerns over the independence of the chief constable of Scotland’s new single police service following the establishment of the Scottish Police Authority to scrutinise the new police service. The Scottish Police Service is to launch in April 2013 [Scotsman page 7, Herald page 1].

Lord Advocate backs controversial plans: The Scottish Lord Advocate, Frank Mullholland QC,  backed Scottish government plans to dispense with the need for corroboration saying that it sometimes harmed the victims chances of conviction. The proposed reforms have been opposed by others. [Times page 10].

Health

Female workers in the NHS: The Labour Party have called comments by NHS Fife deeply offensive after the health board blamed staff shortages on female workers becoming pregnant and then only choosing to work part-time. [Herald page 4].