Reform Scotland News: 11 January 2013

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

EU advice row: Alex Salmond has been cleared of breaching the ministerial code over comments about the legality of Scotland’s position in the EU should it become independent. However, the inquiry set up to investigate these comments criticised Salmond for giving a ‘muddled and confused’ assessment as to Scotland’s legal position in the EU with the recommendation that further legal advice be sought. Alan Cochrane comments on the inquiry in The Telegraph. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Times page 6, Daily Record page 6, Sun page 2, P&J page 12, Courier page 17)

 Referendum electorate: The House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee has voiced its opinion that non-residents should be given a vote in the upcoming referendum. This would mean that Scots serving in the armed forces would be ensured a say in Scotland’s future. (Herald page 6)

Referendum vote: The SNP have pledged that the referendum on independence will be free and fair. (Daily Record page 6, P&J page 13)

Salary of MPs: MPs have caused outrage by suggesting in response to a survey that their pay should rise by up to £20,000 and their final salary pension be retained. This comes just days after capping benefits for the neediest households. (Daily Record page 2, P&J page 21, Courier page 16)

Faslane: The UK Defence Forum has warned that the British nuclear arsenal would not be used to protect an independent Scotland. (Sun page 2)

Nuclear disarmament: Joyce McMillan writes in The Scotsman that independence offers Scotland a chance to champion nuclear disarmament in an era defined by diplomacy rather than weaponry.

 

Economy

‘Olympic Effect’ not felt in Scotland: Last year saw a 12% decrease in visitors to Scotland. VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay says that this is due to many events in the summer being cancelled due to rain and the attraction of London, the Olympic city for many domestic visitors. (Herald page 5, Scotsman page 19, Scottish Mail page 3)

 Libor fixing: RBS is anticipating a £300m fine after Libor fixing settlement. This sparked fresh calls for its two best-paid executives to resign and give back their bonuses. (Daily Telegraph Business page 1)

Inflation rates: The Office for National Statistics has announced that the method of calculating inflation would not be altered. (Financial Times page 1)

Independence: ‘Capital Economics’ has released a report stating that a ‘yes’ vote on independence does not automatically equal economic independence. It claims that as a small economy Scotland would still rely heavily on the UK economy for stability. (Times page 1) 

Retail: Customers with deposits for items from the collapsed retailer Jessops have been told that these are now void and they will have to pay again to receive their items. (Sun page 4, The Guardian page 3)

 

Justice

Community Payback Orders under review: The Scottish Government has ordered a review of the Community Payback Orders scheme which came in just over a year ago to replace Community Service Orders. (Herald page 6, Scottish Mail page 1)

Arrest warrants: 90,000 warrants have been signed for criminals who have refused to pay fines. (Daily Telegraph page 8, Scottish Mail page 2)

 

Health

NHS Board disclosure: Lothian NHS Board will be forced by Health Secretary Alex Neil to hand over full minutes, agendas and briefing papers to public sector watchdog ‘Audit Scotland’ amidst claims that the Board had ‘manipulated waiting times’. It is alleged that the Board artificially decreased waiting time statistics by offering treatment in England and reporting as ‘unavailable’ those who could not travel for treatment. (Herald page 1)

 

Transport

New flight routes: Flights between Aberdeen and Barcelona have resumed after a four year hiatus. (P&J page 5)

 

Education

EU students soar: The number of EU students studying at Scottish universities has risen in the last year, increasing by 7%. (Herald page 3)  

University students: The number of students enrolling in Scottish universities has decreased. The number of part-time students has fallen 14% and full-time students 3%. However, these figures are for 2011-2012 and so do not reflect changes due to the increase in tuition fees for RUK students. (Scotsman page 11)

College funding: Scottish colleges are to receive £24m to help young people into employment as part of a £52m Employability Fund drawn from the Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland. (Daily Record page 2)