Reform Scotland News: 5 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



Press watchdog: Alex Salmond has suggested that he could accept a new UK-wide watchdog for Scottish press providing it was underpinned by Scots Law. He had previously favoured something based on the Irish model. (Scotsman page 6, Telegraph page 13, Times page 6, Magnus Linklater in Times, Herald page 1, P&J page 22, Courier page 21, Keiran Andrews in Courier)


Creative Scotland: Sir Sandy Crombie, chairman of Creative Scotland, is facing calls to resign from his position following chief executive Andrew Dixon’s resignation. A shake-up of senior management is expected along with an overhaul of funding. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 3, Ian Bell in Herald, Jennifer Cosgrove in Courier)


Independent Scotland: Brian Wilson, writing in the Scotsman, comments on the lack of evidence supporting Nicola Sturgeon’s claims that an independent Scotland would be fairer and wealthier.


Ryder Cup costs: SNP ministers have been reprimanded by Holyrood’s Presiding Officer after refusing a Labour MSP’s request for details of Alex Salmond’s £500,000 trip to watch the Ryder Cup. (Telegraph page 1, Times page 15, Herald page 6, Courier page 15)


Europe referendum: David Cameron is reportedly ready to give a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. It is thought he would urge the public to support a looser relationship with Brussels. (Times page 3)



Autumn Statement: George Osborne will reportedly confirm in his Autumn Statement that £5 billion will be taken from Whitehall and the Scottish Government’s budget and diverted into building and infrastructure projects. He is also expected to announce that targets for cutting back Britain’s debt have been missed. (Scotsman page 1, Ruchir Shah in Scotsman, FT page 1, Telegraph page 4, Times page 1, Daniel Finkelstein in Times, Sun page 9, Herald page 6, Guardian page 15, P&J page 18, Courier page 14)


North Sea oil: Nearly 17 billion barrels of oil are to be recovered from the North Sea over the next 30 years following a £134 billion investment by oil and gas companies. The majority of the new developments will be in Scottish waters while production from gas fields in the southern North Sea begins a dramatic decline. (Scotsman page 10, Times page 10) 


Household spending: According to official statistics, Scottish households have shaved £7 from their weekly spending in 2011 whilst households across the rest of the UK have spent more. (Scotsman page 17, FT page 4, Herald page 2, Guardian page 19, Mail page 12, Courier page 17)


Tax anomalies: A committee of MPs is to carry out an inquiry into Britain’s tax system which will probe whether it is vulnerable to tax avoidance and examine its competitiveness. (FT page 4)


Climate aid: Britain has pledged almost £2 billion in ‘climate aid’ to help finance schemes to tackle climate change in developing countries. (Telegraph page 1)



Cancer care: According to specialists, Scotland is offering an inferior health service for cancer sufferers and is at risk of losing its world-class status for biomedical research. (Scotsman page 8, Telegraph page 8, Times page 21, Herald page 3, Express page 16, Record page 1, Mail page 10, P&J page 16, Courier page 1)


Booze culture: Alan Massie comments in the Scotsman on the drinking culture in Scotland and advocates a strong dose of shame to fight against it.


Waiting times: Health Secretary Alex Neil faced questions at Holyrood yesterday amid fears health boards have manipulated waiting time figures. (Herald page 6, P&J page 10, Courier page 15)



Legal aid: Kenny MacAskill has given more detail on a concession that he hopes will end industrial action by lawyers over changes to legal aid. He has said he is willing to raise the weekly disposable income threshold from £68 to £82. (Scotsman page 10)


Gun crime: Firearm offences in Scotland have dropped by half in the last six years according to new figures. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 11, Mail page 25, Courier page 8)


Police watchdog: An expert team of investigators is being put together by former CID boss John Mitchell. The team will form part of a watchdog for Scotland’s new single police force. (Herald page 9)


Police numbers: Figures released by the Scottish Government show that the number of police officers in Scotland has reached a record high. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the increase in police numbers had helped reduce Scotland’s crime rate. (Courier page 14)



University funding: The Scottish Funding Council has been accused of undermining Scottish universities’ international competitiveness after announcing an unexpected £16 million cut. (Herald page 9)