Reform Scotland News: 7 February 2013


Reform Scotland

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


Scottish budget: The Scottish Budget was approved at Holyrood yesterday, but John Swinney could not secure cross-party support for his proposal’s despite announcing  an extra £61 million over the next two years for colleges, £38m for housing and £10m for vital trunk road repairs.  Opponents and student groups have said that budget for further education would still fall this year because the £10m promised for 2013-14 follows a previously announced cut of £34.6m. (Scotsman page 1, Jo Armstrong in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Courier page 18, P&J page 12, Mail page 2, Sun, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Telegraph page 1, Times page 10)


 Independent Parliament:  An SNP MSP, Dave Thompson, has reportedly said that the Scottish Parliament in an independent Scotland would need an additional 70 MSPs to deal with the additional workload.  This could be covered by not having to fund the Commons or Lords any more. However, Alex Salmond has distanced himself from these claims. (Telegraph page 13, Times page 17, Herald page 6, Courier page 18)


The Post Office: Five of the 25 Crown Post Offices in Scottish major towns and cities are reportedly likely to be sold as part of a £1.3 billion UK-wide reorganisation that could see staff working from counters within a supermarket or even a coffee shop. (Herald page 1)


Gay marriage and the Tory party: Backbench Conservative MPs have reportedly warned David Cameron that he could face a leadership election if the Tories come third in the Eastleigh by-election as a consequence of proposals to introduce gay marriage which the Prime Minister supported, though the majority of his party voted against. (Scotsman page 12, John Curtice in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Mail page 10)


Eastleigh By-Election: Following Chris Huhne’s resignation as an MP, the by-election for his Eastleigh seat will reportedly take place on 28 February. (Telegraph page 2, Tavish Scott in the Scotsman, Mail page 10)


Fisheries: The European Parliament yesterday voted to reform the Common Fisheries Policy by ending the practice of forcing fisherman to discard catches. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 5, P&J page 11, Mail page 19)


Referenda: Stephen Gethins in the Scotsman comments on the consequences of Scotland facing two referenda; one on the Union and the other on the EU.



RBS: RBS was fined £391m by regulators in the US and UK yesterday for the part its traders played in the Libor rate rigging scandal.  The bank has said that £300m of the fine will be paid from the staff bonus pool for 2012. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 7, Iain MacWhirter in the Herald, P&J page 19, Guardian page 1)


Oil & gas: According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, revenues from oil and gas revenues could fall by 17 per cent by 2017/18 compared with 2011. (Scotsman page 6, P&J page 14)


Economic outlook: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman suggests there could be signs of recovery in the UK’s economy.


Minimum alcohol prices
: Research from Canada has suggested that plans to introduce a minimum price per unit of alcohol in Scotland could substantially reduce the number of alcohol related deaths. (Scotsman page 18)



School closures:  Ministers’ powers of school closures were discussed at the Court of Session yesterday.  Ministers had argued that their role in relation to plans by a local authority to shut a school was restricted to ensuring a proper consultation had taken place.  However, judges ruled that, under Scottish parliament legislation, once ministers had “called in” a proposal because of a failure in the consultation, they had to determine whether the closure ought to go ahead. (Scotsman page 11)



Young offenders: According to figures produced under Freedom of Information there are a number of very young children committing crimes.  In Tayside Police Force 1,880 crimes were committed by under 16s, including 190 crimes committed by children under 10. (Mail page 1, Record )