Reform Scotland News: 22 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



Algeria hostages: Prime Minister David Cameron has said the UK will provide intelligence and counter-terrorism assets to help in an international effort to eradicate the network responsible for the Algerian gas plant siege. Three Britons have been confirmed among the fatalities, with three more missing and believe to be dead. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 4, FT page 8, Guardian page 6, P&J page 13)


EU speech: Prime Minister David Cameron is set to give his speech on how the UK needs to redefine its relationship with the European Union tomorrow. The speech is expected to outline how the UK should stay in the EU but argue for specific powers to be repatriated. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 8, FT page 2, Courier page 20)


EU and Africa: Rachel Sylvester writing in the Times comments on the two sides of David Cameron in his handling of the Algerian hostage crisis and the UKs membership of the European Union. Janen Ganesh writing in the Financial Times comments on the resurgence of a military approach to foreign affairs following the Algerian hostage crisis and its overshadowing of the David Cameron’s plans to renegotiate the UKs EU membership terms.


BBC: Chairman of the BBC Trust Lord Patten has intervened to ensure senior executives agreed to appear before a Holyrood inquiry, after they originally refused to do so. Holyrood’s culture committee is looking at changes to broadcasting in Scotland. (Scotsman page 14)


Independence debate: John Sturrock writing in the Scotsman argues that both sides of the independence debate would benefit from choosing their words more carefully and entering into a more respectful discussion of important issues.


Independence: Joan McAlpine writing in the Daily Record comments on Labour MP Anas Sarwar dismissing the Scottish Parliament as an elected dictatorship and criticises the House of Lords’ attitude towards the independence referendum.


North Sea oil: An independent Scotland’s plans to thrive on North Sea oil revenues has reportedly been called into question following new research analysing the high costs facing the industry. Costs of exploration are expected to continue to rise while production falls. (Times page 17)


Nato: Former American ambassador David Scheffer is expected to argue that an independent Scotland’s membership of Nato will depend on its citizens’ political will to fulfil the terms of membership during a speech at Glasgow University. (Telegraph page 9, P&J page 20)


Defence policy: Alan Cochrane writing in the Daily Telegraph comments that it could be quite expensive if the SNP could face a  intend to equip an independent Scotland’s armed forces to match Scandinavian levels.



Spending plans: The Scottish Government’s spending plans will come before MSPs at Holyrood today and it is expected that there will be new pressure to reverse the £35million cut in college funding. Opposition parties are also calling for more funding for railways and housing and there have been calls for privatising Scottish Water in a bid to save millions of pounds. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, P&J page 11, Courier page 21)


Benefits cuts: Nicola Sturgeon set out plans for a £5.4million funding injection to help Scots affected by benefits cuts. However Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone has stated that the £5million was part of a UK-wide grant to fund advice services announced by the Chancellor last year. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 5, Courier page 21)


Hogmanay boost: After years of cutbacks, Hogmanay celebrations are set to receive a £400,000 boost from the Scottish Government for 2014. An event produce is being targeted to plan a string of new and one-off events aimed at enhancing existing celebrations. (Scotsman page 16)


Welfare: Ewan Crawford writing in the Scotsman argues that Westminster’s welfare policies are producing poverty and the real welfare disaster would come if Scotland stayed in the Union.


Average wage: Latest figures show that the average wage in Scotland has fallen by nearly £1,200 a year. (Mail page 8)


Universal credit: Welfare minister Lord Freud speaking at a Policy Exchange event yesterday has reportedly said that nearly one million people who are in work and claim benefits may be required to work longer, increase their earnings or face losing access to the new universal credit. (Guardian page 9)


Mackerel: The Marine Conservation Society has removed mackerel from its list of “Fish to Eat”. The decision has come in response to fears of over-fishing. A dispute over the catch quotas for the fish reportedly continues between the European Union and Faroe and Iceland. (Scotsman page 9, Record page 16, Herald page 8, Times page 15, Telegraph page 10, Mail page 22, P&J page 18


Local Government

George Square: Plans to overhaul Glasgow’s George Square have been scrapped after public opposition. The redesign would have cost £15million but the area will instead be given a “facelift”. (Scotsman page 1, Record page 5, Herald page 3, Sun page 11, Express page 6, P&J page 22)



School investment: Glasgow City Council has announced a £100,000 investment into extra lessons in the evening and during holidays as part of a drive to help secondary schools put on additional study sessions outside normal school hours. (Herald page 4)