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Reform Scotland News: 12 December 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

Energy bills: Ed Davey, UK Energy Secretary, has reportedly claimed that energy bills will rise for Scottish families after independence if the burden of paying for the country’s renewable sector falls upon consumers north of the Border. His claims were rejected by the SNP. (Scotsman page 6, Telegraph page 1, Times page 6, Courier page 15, Mail page 6)

 

Wild salmon: Scottish wild salmon will soon be covered by a protected geographical indication (PGI), meaning it has a particular quality attributable to its region of origin. Salmon caught in other countries will not be able to be packaged, sold or advertised as Scottish wild salmon. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 3, P&J page 11, Mail page 7)

 

Shale gas: The SNP have reportedly been accused of ignoring official warnings on the use of shale gas and fracking after energy minister Fergus Ewing refused to rule out a dash for the gas. (Scotsman page 18)

 

SNP and Europe: Brian Wilson comments in The Scotsman on an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU and suggests the SNP are disingenuous over Europe.

 

Tenements: Tenement owners struggling with the cost of communal repairs should be offered financial support incentives according to a petition which has been backed by MSPs. (Herald page 5)

 

Parking: MSPs are expected to back a law today that would ban drivers from parking alongside other parked vehicles, on pavements and dropped kerbs. (Herald page 5)

 

EU status: John Swinney has rejected Jose Manuel Barroso’s declaration that an independent Scotland would have to apply for EU membership and claimed that it had “no foundation”. Mr Swinney was also reportedly accused of being a ‘scoundrel’ by Labour peer Lord Lipsey for his assertion. (Herald page 6, Telegraph page 9, Times page 1, Sun page 4, Express page 9, P&J page 19, Courier page 15, Mail page 4)

 

Holyrood: Holyrood’s newest MSP Jayne Baxter was sworn in yesterday. She has taken over as a Labour member for Mid Scotland and Fife following John Park’s departure to take up a senior trade union post. (Record page 2)

 

Same-sex marriage: A law paving the way for same-sex marriages will be unveiled in Holyrood today after details of similar plans for England and Wales were disclosed at Westminster yesterday. (Mail page 8)

 

Nelson Mandela: Nelson Mandela’s wife has said his “sparkle is fading” as he is being treated in hospital for a lung infection. The hospital has said Mr Mandela is responding well to treatment and is not in immediate danger. (Record page 2, Guardian page 20, Courier page 24, Mail page 24)

 

Economy

Retail sales: Hopes for a pre-Christmas boost to high-street sales have been dashed as figures have shown Scots are delaying their Christmas shopping. This is in contrast to sales south of the Border which have grown slightly. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Courier page 31, Mail page 4)

 

Northern Rock: Customers who took out regulated loans with the former Northern Rock will share £270 million that has been set aside to repay interest charges after the bank broke strict wording contracts. (Scotsman page 5, Guardian page 25, Mail page 8)

 

Starbucks and Costa: Costa Coffee has reported that a record £10 million was taken in UK outlets last week following a backlash against Starbucks and Caffe Nero over tax avoidance. (Scotsman page 15, Guardian page 9)

 

Inflation: The next Governor of the Bank of England has said that central banks may have to adopt more radical measures to boost growth, including temporarily scrapping their inflation targets. (Times page 3, FT page 1)

 

Education

Class sizes: New legislation could be brought in to minimise the class sizes further in primary schools. Figures released by the Scottish Government showed the number of P1 children being taught in classes of more than 25 has continued to fall since legislation was introduced in November 2010. Education secretary Mike Russell said he was considering extending this to P2 and P3. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 2)

 

Teacher numbers: Official statistics have shown there are 3,690 fewer teachers in Scotland than in 2007. Scottish Labour’s education spokesman, Hugh Henry, has criticised the SNP for the fall in numbers. (Scotsman page 12, Times page 18, Sun page 2, Express page 1, Record page 2, Courier page 14, Mail page 1)

 

Justice

Racism: Racism is on the rise in Scotland and is now almost as likely to be directed against white people as any other group. “White British” is now the second most targeted ethnic group and it is reported that this rise may be driven by anti-English sentiments. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 3, Telegraph page 1, Times page 13, Sun page 14, Express page 4, Record page 1, P&J page 12, Courier page 11)

 

Community service: Jamie McKenzie, who failed to turn up for community service 19 times, has been sentenced to carry out more hours of unpaid work sparking concerns over the SNP’s policy of diverting criminals away from prison and into community service. Labour MSP Graeme Pearson has said Mr McKenzie should begin his prison sentence as soon as possible. (Express page 8)

 

Police Scotland: Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick, one of four DCCs in Police Scotland, has said she cannot rule out closing police stations as the constabulary looks to save nearly £200million over the first two years. (P&J page 10)

 

Health

Organ donation: A petition for an opt-out procedure, where consent to donate organs would be presumed unless the deceased had indicated otherwise whilst alive, has received 18,000 signatures and cross-party support from MSPs. Labour has urged the Scottish Government to introduce the bill. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Courier page 15)