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Reform Scotland News: 16 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
Payout:
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has criticised a £500,000 payout to Ronnie Saez, the former chief executive of the Glasgow East Regeneration Agency.  The payout was made in 2011 as part of a redundancy and pension deal. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 8, Mail page 13)

Date of independence: Lord Jay Ewelme, a former head of the diplomatic service, yesterday told the foreign affairs select committee that “difficult and tricky negotiations” with Nato and the EU could see the date of actual independence delayed even if the public support independence in next year’s referendum. (Scotsman page 6)

EU and the UK: Nick Clegg has reportedly warned his Conservative colleagues that the uncertainty over the outcome of an in-out EU referendum could have a “chilling effect” on the UK economy. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 6, David Miliband in the Times, Sun page 2, Express page 15, Interview with Ken Clark in the FT, Ian Davidson in the FT, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, Guardian page 1, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian)

Volunteers for sport: A report by the Scottish Parliament’s health and sport committee has questioned the ability of local sports clubs to cope with the number of youngsters expected to flood through their doors as a result of the surge in interest expected by the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 4)

Civil service neutrality: Alistair Darling has reportedly questioned the ability of Sir Peter Housden, Scotland’s most senior civil servant, to maintain political neutrality in the run up to the referendum. (Times page 1, Telegraph page 1)

Planning fees: The Scottish government is reportedly going to increase planning application fees by 20 per cent for homeowners who want to extend their homes. (Express page 1)

Section 30: The House of Commons yesterday gave cross party support for a ‘Section 30’ order that will give the necessary powers to Holyrood to run a legally-binding independence referendum. (Mail page 8, P&J page 13)

Shetland: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on the right of the Scottish islands to exert local control.

Trident: Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman comments that international policy will have a major impact on the future of Trident in an independent Scotland.

Referendum: Ian Bell in the Herald comments that people should take as long as they want ahead of the referendum to make their decision.

Economy
HMV:
Trevor Moore, the chief executive of HMV, has commented that he was “convinced” a future can be secured for the company despite falling into administration.  There has been a negative reaction from customers to news that the store will no longer honour gift vouchers. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 2, Sun page 12, Express page 2, Record page 11, FT page 3, Mick Brown in the Telegraph, Guardian page 8, Mail page 6, P&J page 16, Courier page 22)

Cormorant Alpha platform: There are reported fears that oil prices will increase after 92 workers had to be evacuated from the Cormorant Alpha platform, which is part of the Brent field, leading to the shutdown of the Brent pipeline system. (Herald page 1, P&J page 1)

The high street: Kerry Gill in the Express calls on people to stop shopping online and use shops in order to help revitalise our high streets, while Simon Heffer in the Mail comments that the high street is demising because it cannot match the choice on offer with online retailers.

Health
Horsemeat:
Traces of horsemeat have been found in beef burgers being sold in Tesco and Iceland in the UK.  Both companies have said that the products were removed from their shelves yesterday.  (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 3, Sun page 1, Record page 2, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 1, P&J page 14)

Autism: A study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry has shown that some children are able to grow out of autism. (Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 1)

Minimum pricing: The Scotch Whisky Association has argued that the introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol will affect the common market within Britain created by the Act of Union and could lead to alcohol tourism.  The organisation is calling on the Court of Session in Edinburgh to follow the opinion of the European Commission and outlaw the introduction of the scheme. (Scotsman page 8, Evelyn Gillan in the Scotsman, Herald page 7, Times page 9, Express page 10, Telegraph page 4, P&J page 17, Courier page 14)

NHS complaints: The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Jim Martin has suggested that a fear of litigation in the NHS has contributed to more than half of complaints being unfairly rejected and left staff and patients feeling ignored. (Scotsman page 16, Times page 13)

Visiting times: Five health boards are to pilot extended visiting times following calls from patients and their families for greater flexibility. (Herald page 3)

Drugs policy: Neil McKeganey in the Scotsman comments that we need to be as bold in our efforts to reduce the availability and consumption of drugs as we are in relation to alcohol and tobacco.

Diet: Christine Jardine in the Scotsman argues that banning certain foods is not the right way to go about changing Scot’s diets.

Local government
Homelessness:
According to official figures, homelessness in Scotland has fallen by 13 per cent but more than 10,000 families and individuals are still living in temporary accommodation. (Scotsman page 17 , P&J page 6)

Education
University to teach Advanced Highers:
Glasgow Caledonian University is to employ teachers as part of a £1million project to enable school pupils from disadvantaged areas across Glasgow to study for Advanced Higher qualifications. (Herald page 11)