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Reform Scotland News: 21 December 2012

 

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 3 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

Reform Scotland wishes you a Happy Christmas. The daily news summary will return in the New Year.

Politics

Creative Scotland resignation: Creative director Venu Dhupa has quit after a damning internal report into the running of the quango was published. Chief Executive Andrew Dixon also resigned this month. Ms. Dhupa had reportedly faced criticism for her overhaul of the funding models. (The Scotsman page 7)

Green energy targets: Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced that Scotland has exceeded its domestically produced green energy targets and is well on its way to providing 100% of Scotland’s energy needs by 2020. However, the figures have been questioned by anti-wind farm campaigners who claim the target is unachievable and efforts to meet it will come at the cost of Scotland’s natural beauty and tourism. (The Herald page 1)

First Minister’s Questions: Writing in The Telegraph, Alan Cochrane responded to the mood at the final Holyrood Question Time of the year. He noted that rather than the typical ‘forced bonhomie’, Labour and Conservative leaders questioned the First Minister on a wide range of issues. (The Telegraph page 13)

Pro-Megrahi response: Scotland’s Lord Advocate has issued a rebuke to ‘conspiracy theorists’ who claim that the Lockerbie bomber was wrongly convicted. He spoke out against media criticism of the integrity of the process, arguing that the proper place to voice these concerns was before a court of law rather than the court of public opinion. (The Times page 1)

Fisheries deal: The UK and Scottish Fisheries ministers have announced changes which will allow catch levels for some white fish stocks off the west of Scotland to be maintained and resisted plans to reduce the number of fishing days at sea. (The Herald page 9, The Scotsman page 20)

Construction spending: Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has accused the SNP of holding back cash for construction projects until 2014 in an effort to ‘buy independence’. Up to £350 million in infrastructure spending was promised this financial year, but only £20 million was spent. (Daily Express page 2)

Economy

Scottish steel: A Scottish firm will provide the steel for the Forth Road Bridge after the Spanish firm which originally won the bid went bankrupt. They will use steel from Tata’s Dalzell steelworks in Motherwell. (Scottish Sun page 2, Daily Record page 2)

Bank ring fencing: A commission of MPs is expected to announce plans to introduce ring fencing in British banks. Under these recommendations, banks would be required to ring-fence high-street operations from more risky endeavour. Banks that fail to comply, according to MPs, should be forcibly split up. (Financial Times page 2)

Health

Waiting list figures: Internal audits reportedly suggest some health boards have massaged their figures to meet waiting time targets. In some cases, patients were offered treatment in England at short notice. When they were unable to attend, they were declared socially unavailable, allowing the health boards to delay treatment and bypass the 18 week promise. Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie accused Alex Neil of downplaying the scale of the problem and presiding over a whitewash after he said that there was ‘no evidence’ of nationwide wrongdoing, admitting only problems on a local level.  (The Herald page 1, Scottish Sun page 2, Daily Record page 4)

Education

European students: The number of EU students studying in Scotland has increased by 4 per cent over the past year, totalling over 4,000. The annual cost of funding these places has increased to £75 million a year. The number of EU students at English universities, where tuition fees have been introduced, has dropped by 17%. (The Telegraph page 16)

Justice

Double jeopardy legislation: The suspect in the World’s End murders may face trial for a second time. The Scottish Parliament has recently scrapped the double jeopardy law, citing the World’s End murders as a key factor. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 1, Scottish Sun page 9, Daily Express page 5, The Times page 3)

Lord Advocate on Corroboration: In a Times interview, Frank Mulholland described how the law of corroboration has been heavily weighted in favour of the accused and has had a particularly negative effect on female and youth victims. (The Times page 10)