Reform Scotland News: 13 December 2012


Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 13 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



EU membership: Deputy First minister Nicola Sturgeon is due to make a statement in Holyrood today on the issue of EU membership for an independent Scotland. This comes after EC President Jose Manuel Barroso stated earlier this week that Scotland would have to re-apply should it leave the UK. Ian MacWhirter in The Herald comments on the notion that an independent Scotland would have to re-apply for membership of the European Union, and the backlash facing the SNP party. (The Scotsman page 9, Daniel Kenealy in the Scotsman, Alan Cochrane in the Daily Telegraph, The Times page 13)


Same-sex marriage: Equal marriage campaigners are celebrating the growing support for a draft Holyrood Bill on same-sex marriage which they argue goes significantly further than proposals south of the border. The Holyrood legislation would still leave it open for any Church or belief group to make its own decisions, however it proposes the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Scotland in 2014. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 16, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Times page 6, Daily Express page 2, The Daily Record page 10, The Sun page 2)


Myth of ‘welfare scroungers’: A report published today by Glasgow and Teesside Universities denounces the idea that worklessness passes from generation to generation. Many current benefit reforms have been made to address this exact problem, however the new research found no families with three generations in which no-one had ever worked. (The Herald page 5, Anne Johnstone in the Herald)


Military decline: The number of military personnel based in Scotland has fallen by 7.5% in the past year, according to the Minister of Defence. This was the biggest fallout of any of the four UK nations. The Scottish Government has said that the country has been disproportionately affected by cuts. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 2)


Childcare campaign: MSPs at Holyrood will be lobbied today in a call to make childcare more affordable so more mothers can return to work. Save the children Scotland has argued that Scottish parents face the highest childcare costs in Europe, and wants all councils to provide 15 hours a week for all two to four year-olds. (The Scotsman page 13)


Official Christmas Card: Alex Salmond’s Christmas card this year will show a painting by renowned Scottish artist Dame Elizabeth Blackadder. It marks the year of Natural Scotland in 2013 and the original will be auctioned for charity. (The Scotsman page 3, The Daily Express page 2, The Times page 12, The Sun page 2)



BoE denies currency talks: The Bank of England has denied having talks with the Scottish Government over proposals for an independent Scotland to keep the pound. They rejected the previous announcement by SNP Finance Secretary John Swinney who said the government had been in a “very helpful dialogue” with the bank over the SNP policy to keep the pound should Scotland become independent. (The Herald page 6, Jim Sillars in the Scotsman)


Fears of “economically inactive” Scots: Professor John McLaren has warned of a worrying economic trend, noting that thousands of Scots are becoming “economically inactive” by giving up on the job market altogether after failing to find work. Figures revealed yesterday showed those in work in Scotland had fallen by 27,000 in the last quarter. However, it was also announced that Scotland had recorded its largest fall in unemployment for more than four years, down by 19,000. (The Scotsman page 1, the Daily Telegraph page 2, The Times page 12, The Daily Express page 4, the Daily Record page 2, The Sun page 2)


Energy prices rise further: Government forecasters have warned that households face more rises in their gas and electricity bills, with the Office for Budget Responsibility predicting above-inflation rises in energy prises next year. (The Daily Record page 2)


Coastal communities share £4m fund: Nineteen projects designed to create jobs and training will share £4million from a fund set up to regenerate coastal areas. (The Herald page 5, The Scotsman page 14)



Health inequality persists: Spending watchdog Audit Scotland has today revealed that health inequalities continue to persist despite a £2bn investment in the last three years. The gap between the life expectancy of the affluent and the poor has remained high. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 1, The Daily Telegraph page 11, The Times page 20, The Daily Express page 5, The Daily Record page 10, The Sun page 2)


Cigarette display ban: Leading cigarette firm Imperial Tobacco lost its case in the Supreme Court yesterday after fighting the Scottish Government proposals for a ban on cigarette vending machines and displays in shops. Imperial argued that there was no credible evidence that display bans have cut tobacco consumption, however the appeal was unanimously dismissed yesterday and ministers now intend to introduce the legislation next April. (The Herald page 8, The Scotsman page 9, The Daily Express page 7, The Daily Record page 2)



Student visa row: Scottish universities have criticised plans for a crackdown on bogus students, saying that proposals for the UK Borders Agency to interview all overseas students are “disproportionate and unnecessary”. (The Herald page 2, The Times page 6)


Rise in Scots university students: The number of Scots being given a place at university has increased, despite a “challenging environment” for higher education in the UK. A report released today by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (Ucas) shows a 0.3% rise in the number of Scottish applicants taking a place this year compared to last. (The Scotsman page 18)