0131 524 9500 | info@reformscotland.com

Reform Scotland News: 4 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

Royal baby: St James’ Palace announced yesterday that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant and is currently in hospital suffering from a severe form of morning sickness.   Due to a proposed shake up of the rules of succession the baby will eventually reign as monarch regardless of whether it is a boy or girl.  (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Record page 1, Times page 1, Sun page 1, Express page 1, Telegraph page 1, Harry Mount in the Telegraph, Mail page 1, Guardian page 1, Courier page 1, P&J page 1)

Creative Scotland: Andrew Dixon has resigned as chief executive of Creative Scotland, the arts quango.  His resignation comes on the back of criticism from a number of artists and arts organisations regarding the running of the organisation. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 3, Express page 18, Telegraph page 16)

‘Team Scotland’: In a keynote speech yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon called for all political leaders to be part of a united “Team Scotland’ approach if Scotland backs independence in the referendum. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1, Record page 8, Times page 9, Sun page 6, Telegraph page 8, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 17, P&J page 12)

John Park: John Park, a Labour MSP for the Mid Scotland and Fife region, is to step down as an MSP on Friday to take up a UK-wide role within the steelworkers union, Community.  As a list MSP, he is expected to be replaced by Jayne Baxter who was next on the party list. (Herald page 6, Record page 16, Sun page 6, Express page 18, Telegraph page 11, Courier page 14)

Scottish answer Leveson: Joan McAlpine in the Record argues that due to the different legal system in Scotland, there should be a separate Scottish response to Lord Leveson’s recommendations.

Miliband and Leveson: David Maddox in the Scotsman comments on Ed Miliband’s backing of Lord Leveson’s recommendations.

No campaign: Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman comments on the No campaign and the impact of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Economy

UK energy strategy: George Osborne is expected to reveal in his Autumn Statement tomorrow that the UK’s long-term energy strategy will be based on gas with plans to build up to 30 new power stations by 2023. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 5, FT page 1)

HBOS: Sir James Crosby, chief executive of HBOS between 2001 and 2006, yesterday admitted to MPs that incompetent lending was partly responsible for leaving the bank with huge losses and driving it into the deal with Lloyds Banking Group. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1, Guardian page 27, P&J page 30)

Scottish stamp duty: John Swinney has unveiled plans to reform stamp duty in Scotland which will reportedly see a reduction in duty on cheaper homes and an increase on more expensive ones. (Times page 3, Express page 18, Mail page 34, P&J page 12)

Mansion tax loophole: According to an investigation by the Times, offshore companies are exploiting a tax loophole which allows them to buy up some of the UK’s most expensive homes and avoid paying stamp duty, inheritance tax of capital gains tax. (Times page 1)

VAT loophole: Greenwich Consulting has estimated that the UK will lose £10bn between 2008 and 2014 in VAT on digital services bought by UK consumers from suppliers, such as Amazon, which are based overseas. (Guardian page 1)

Austerity: Peter Jones in the Scotsman reflects on a chart published by the Ernst & Young ITEM Club suggesting that the more austerity in an economy, the less growth there is.

Autumn Statement: Comment and reflection ahead of tomorrow’s Autumn Statement from the Chancellor. (Rachel Sylvester in the Times, Janan Ganesh in the FT, Michael Devereux in the FT, Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian)

Starbucks controversy: Christine Jardine in the Scotsman comments on the reports that Starbucks pays no corporation tax and the impact that independent coffee shops have on their local economy.

Health

Alcohol intake: According to new NHS figures the amount of alcohol consumed by Scots has declined over the past two years.  There has been a 5 per cent drop in sales, the first time the level has gone down since 1994. However, consumption in Scotland remains nearly twice the rate of England and Wales. (Scotsman page 1, Dr Evelyn Gillan in the Scotsman, Herald page 4, Express page 24, Mail page 21)

Waiting lists: Scottish Labour health spokesman Jackie Baillie has called on the Scottish government to published internal audits conducted by health boards to ensure appointments weren’t being fiddles to meet waiting time targets. (Herald page 4, Times page 9)

Justice

Industrial action: Lawyers yesterday boycotted custody courts in Scotland for a third time in protest to proposed changes to legal aid. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 1, Times page 21, Express page 10, P&J page 6)