Reform Scotland News: 8 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

Vicky Pryce: The former wife of ex-MP Chris Huhne has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice. The pair have faced trial regarding an incident where Ms Pryce took the blame for speeding points incurred by Mr Huhne. Chris Huhne pleaded guilty to similar charges. They have been told to be under no illusion about the level of their sentencing; a date for which has not yet been announced. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 5, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Express page 8, Record page 4, Sun page 1, Guardian page 1, P&J page 22, Mail page 1, Courier page 13)

Public Spending: In response to the leaked document revealing the state of Scotland’s finances, Alex Salmond has said that he expects public spending to rise after a ‘Yes’ vote. The document claimed to show a fall in revenue from North Sea oil leading to speculation that cuts to spending would have to continue post independence. Mr Salmond has said that he would compile and release his own figures relating to Scotland’s finances. (Scotsman page 1, Alan Cochrane, Telegraph page 1, Times page 11, Express page 19, Sun page 4, P&J page 14, Courier page 15)

Child Poverty: The Deputy First Minister has pledged to end child poverty in an independent Scotland. Currently 1 in 5 children in Scotland are claimed to be living in poverty. However, Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to write the eradication of child poverty into the constitution. (Scotsman page 12, P&J page 14)

EU: Scottish ministers have reportedly been told that Scotland could face a five-fold increase in payments to the EU after independence. This is because an independent Scotland would be classified as wealthier based on the GDP per head measurement. (Times page 1)

Liberal Democrats: A survey has revealed that of those who voted for the Liberal Democrats in the 2010 general election only around a third will back the party at the polls in 2015. The majority of the dissatisfied show a preference for either Labour or the Green Party. (Telegraph page 14, Times page 19, Mail page 14)

Economy

Economic Strategy: David Cameron has reasserted the Conservative economic plan amidst claims that it is failing, evidenced by the UK’s reduced credit rating. Mr Cameron claims that there is no alternative to the current plan which involves restructuring public finances and cutting the deficit. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 12, Times page 19, FT page 2)

Coal Industry: The Scottish Resources Group, responsible for mining operations in Scotland, has axed 60% of its staff. These cuts could impact six out of the eight surface mining projects in Scotland. This leaves the Scottish mining in disarray, the sector is already under pressure after the last deep mine was closed in 2002. (Herald page 1, Mail page 20, Courier page 1)

RBS: The Royal Bank of Scotland is face another bout of compensation payments after a second technical malfunction that saw customers unable to withdraw money and manage payments online with some even having their bank cards taken by ATMs. (Herald page 10)

Deer Cull: Scottish gamekeepers have warned of repercussions should the plan to cull half of Britain’s deer go ahead. The cull could result in a fall in visitors to rural communities leading to the closure of much needed public amenities. (Telegraph page 8)

Closures: Cleaning firm Jeyes have closed their East Kilbride plant resulting in the loss of 110 jobs. (Record page 2)

Local Government

Devolution: Today, Alistair Darling is expected to deliver a speech to the COSLA conference urging more powers to be devolved from Holyrood to Local Authorities. The speech is expected to tie in with Mr Darling’s role as head of the ‘Better Together’ Campaign as he asserts that Scotland is not to be synonymous with Holyrood. (Herald page 4)

Justice

Scottish Police: Stirling is reportedly to be proposed as the Head Quarters of the new Scottish police force.  (Scotsman page 17)

Education

Teacher Training: Trainee primary school teachers at Edinburgh’s Moray House School of Education are to increase the time they spend working in schools as part of their training. The hope is that such experience will make the process of teacher training more relevant to real world situations. (Herald page 8)

Health

GPs: The head of Scotland’s GPs, Alan McDevitt, has warned that GPs face ‘burn out’ due to a saturated work load. The BMA has already made a deal with the Scottish government relating to the management of the work load. However, some say that this is not enough and the only solution is to hire more GPs. (Scotsman page 20)

Smoking: New figures have revealed that the number of people in Britain smoking has been halved over the last 40 years. This drop has been linked to anti-smoking policy including the ban on smoking in public places and aggressive public awareness campaigns. (Herald page 2)