Reform Scotland News: 15 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



Pensions: The government unveiled a radical shake-up of state pensions yesterday. Ministers have said the reforms will simplify the system, with a flat-rate state pension of about £144 a week in today’s money. The move has been criticised with warnings that millions will lose out as a result of the changes, but the UK government has defended its plans saying that the reforms will ensure it pays to save. (Scotsman page 1, Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Express page 2, Guardian page 16, Mail page 6, P&J page 16, Courier page 16)


EU and UK relationship: Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out holding a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU until after the next general election. He said it would be a ‘false choice’ prior to negotiations about the UK’s membership. His comments come ahead of his keynote speech calling for a new deal with Europe which has been brought forward to this week to avoid clashing with a key Franco-German anniversary. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, Record page 2, Sun page 2, Express page 1, FT page 2, Times page 1, Guardian page 6, Mail page 8, P&J page 12, Courier page 15)


Independence poll: According to the latest TNS BMRB poll, support for independence has remained at 28%, trailing 20 points behind those wanting to stay in the UK. However, support for maintaining the UK has dropped from 53% to 48%. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 6, Mail page 12)


Independence and Westminster: Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has said that Scottish members of the coalition government would have to step down if voters backed independence in next year’s referendum. (Scotsman page 14)


Fishing quotas: Talks between the European Union and Norway begin in Ireland today to set catch limits for cod, haddock and other white fish species in the North Sea. They will also attempt to set quotas for mackerel following the dispute between the EU and Iceland and the Faroes who have refused to sign up to an agreement on mackerel catches. (Scotsman page 7)


Fracking: Peter Jones writing in The Scotsman comments on the attractions of extracting oil and gas from shale if environmental concerns could be overcome.


New TV franchises: Robert Beveridge writing in The Scotsman comments on the award of local television franchises for Edinburgh and Glasgow and questions the necessity of the channels.


2014 Commonwealth games: More than 10,000 people have signed up in 12 hours to be involved in the 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow. (Sun page 1, Times page 10, Mail page 11)


Wind farms: New figures have revealed that there have been almost 10,000 objections to planning applications to build wind farms whilst separate figures showed that 83% of applications submitted were approved. Anti-wind farm campaigners have said the figures show that the SNP are not listening to ordinary people. (Express page 6, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 21, P&J page 5)


Post-referendum plans: Alan Cochrane writing in the Telegraph comments on the SNP’s unwillingness to comment on what happens if voters do not back independence and questions their expectation that Westminster should make plans for independence. He also criticises the SNP’s lack of action on other matters in the meantime.


Referendum powers: Plans to give the Scottish Parliament temporary legal powers to hold next year’s independence referendum are expected to be approved by MPs in Westminster today. (P&J page 13)


Scotland football manager: Former Celtic boss Gordon Strachan is set to take over the management of Scotland’s football team. The confirmation is expected within the next 48 hours and his first game as Scotland’s boss will be a friendly in February against Estonia. (Scotsman page 1, Sun page 1, Express page 1, Mail page 1)



HMV: Music and film retailer HMV has announced it will be going into administration, putting more than 4,000 jobs at risk. It is the latest victim of the economic downturn following the collapse of Jessops and Comet. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Express page 2, FT page 1, Mail page 4, P&J page 14, Courier page 19)


Barr merger: AG Barr’s merger with Britvic was put on hold by the Office of Fair Trading yesterday fuelling more uncertainty for 500 workers in Scotland. (Record page 2, Sun page 2, Courier page 29)


Oil contract: A Scottish plant has won a £30million contract to build equipment for BP’s oil drilling operations in the North Atlantic. The contract, which was won by Babcock’s yard in Rosyth, will secure more than 100 jobs. Firms are expected to invest £40billion into the oil and gas industry over the next three years. (Sun page 2, Express page 6, Mail page 19, Courier page 15)


Housing market: Property experts have claimed that Scotland’s housing market could be bouncing back as home sales are expected to increase over the next three months and more properties are coming on the market. (Sun page 20, Mail page 20)


Banking watchdog: The British Bankers’ Association has called for an independent Banking Standards Review Council to police the sector and stated that the UK banks have pledged their support and co-operation. Appearing in front of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, the chief executive of the association also called for the establishment of a code of conduct setting out ethical principles for the sector. (FT page 15)



Rare conditions fund: The Scottish Government has launched a £21million rare conditions fund which will allow Scottish sufferers of a rare form of cystic fibrosis access to a life-saving drug. The move came after the Scottish Medicines Consortium rejected use of the drug on the NHS in Scotland due to cost. (Herald page 2, Times page 18, Mail page 24, P&J page 22, Courier page 14)



Bad weather: Official weather alerts across the UK are warning of the risk of travel chaos due to ice, freezing temperatures and snow. Parts of Scotland have already been affected with schools being closed and roads blocked by stranded vehicles yesterday following heavy snowfall at the height of rush hour. (Scotsman page 10, Sun page 7, Mail page 11, P&J page 1, Courier page 13)



College fraud: Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy is to be investigated by police amid allegations of fraud over the misuse of European Union funding. The investigation follows an audit by the Scottish Government. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 4, Courier page 10)


Scottish Universities: Alan Simpson, leader of the umbrella body that represents the chairmen of all Scotland’s university governing bodies, has warned that new education legislation will allow more political influence over the higher education sector. He has warned that the standards at Scottish universities were at risk of being eroded by the plans which would interfere with the running and courses of universities. (Telegraph page 1)