0131 524 9500 | info@reformscotland.com

Reform Scotland News: 20 March 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

Childcare proposals: Some charities have reportedly criticised the UK government’s proposals to enable parents in work to receive up to £1,200 a year towards the cost of child care  as it won’t come into effect until 2015 and it would not do enough to help those most in need. Meanwhile other campaigners have reportedly accused the UK government of a “slur” on stay-at-home mothers. (Scotsman page 4, Rona Dougall in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 1, FT page 3, Mail page 2, P&J page 12)

Press regulation: Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop told Holyrood yesterday that there may not be enough time for a public consultation on the McClusky report on press regulation in Scotland in order to allow time for cross-party discussions and developments of the Royal Charter proposals.  A number of editors of UK publications have indicated that they will not sign up to the new system. (Scotsman page 7, Brian Wilson in the Scotsman, Herald page 7, Times page 1, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Express page 2, Telegraph page 14, Francis Bennion in the Telegraph, Mail page 8, Guardian page 4, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, P&J page 11, Courier page 25)

Off-shore wind: Highland councillors have backed proposals for a £4.5bn off-shore wind farm.  The project would be the biggest in the world and include up to 339 turbines. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 9, Times page 4)

Wind power disagreement: Former SNP Leader Gordon Wilson has reportedly commented that Scotland’s rush for renewable could leave an independent Scotland facing a bill of billions of pounds if it can’t sell excess energy to England. (Express page 9, Telegraph page 5, Courier page 16)

PCS strike: Gregor Gall in the Scotsman comments on the industrial action being taken by the PCS union and argues that all trade unions should stand together.

Nuclear weapons: Labour MSP Neil Bibby and SNP First Minister Alex Salmond in the Record argue for and against keeping Trident on the Clyde.

Scottish EU membership: Angus Roxburgh in the Guardian argues that the European commission is interfering in the independent debate by wrongly implying that some law exists that would prevent Scotland from negotiating membership in the months or years between a referendum and actual independence.

Economy

Budget day: George Osborne is to unveil his budget to the House of Commons today.  The Chancellor pledged yesterday that he would cut £2.5bn from UK spending, which it is reported could lead to a £250m cut to the Scottish block grant. The Chancellor is also expected to abolish the ale duty regulator. (Scotsman page 1, Robert Kerr in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Times page 8, Daniel Finkelstein in the Times, David Wighton in the Times, Sun page 1, Express page 2, Telegraph page 4, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, FT page 1, Mail page 4, Guardian page 1, P&J page 12, Courier page 25)

“Bedroom Tax”: Alice Thomson in the Times argues that a “bedroom tax” is needed because of the number of people on council house waiting lists.  She argues that the 25 million spare bedrooms need to be put to use helping accommodate those with no home.

Justice

Industrial action: Scottish Fire-fighters are reportedly threatening to take industrial action over plans by the UK government to raise their retirement age from 55 to 60. (Scotsman page 1)

Prisoners into work: In a speech this evening Sir Harry Burns, Scotland’s chief medical officer, is expected to call for philanthropic entrepreneurs to launch US-style social enterprise projects to help former prisoners into work. (Scotsman page 24)

Health

Private patients: The NHS in Scotland has reportedly spent more than £70m over the past two years sending patients for treatment in the private sector. (Herald page 3, Record page 2, Express page 4)

Local Government

Press & Journal: Members of the Labour group on Aberdeen City Council have reportedly been told not to respond to any requests for comment from Press & Journal following a court report about a young man who admitted drug dealing. The man’s solicitor had told the court he campaigned for Labour in two local elections, but the party complained that it was wrong of the newspaper to describe him as an “activist”. (P&J page 1)