Reform Scotland News: 19 April 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.



Scottish Labour conference: Ed Miliband is expected to say that Britain needs a “new economic settlement” and argue that he is the person to deliver it during his keynote speech at the Scottish Labour Party conference in Inverness today. Ed Miliband is also expected to attack the SNP and Alex Salmond. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Times page 9, Express page 2, Record page 8, Sun page 2, Guardian page 15, Mail page 6, P&J page 13, Courier page 20) There is an article from Ben Thomson, chairman of Reform Scotland, commenting on the opportunities for Labour and its devolution commission in The Times. (Times page 9)


Independence debate: A panel of artists, writers, actors and journalists took part in a debate on the impact an independent Scotland would have on artists and the administration of the arts. The debate was the latest event in the Aye Write! calendar. (Herald page 2)


Better Together donation: Alex Salmond has joined the row over the £500,000 donation received by the Better Together campaign from Ian Taylor, the CEO of oil company Vitol, and has called for the donation to be returned. Pro-independence group the National Collective have re-published an article criticising Vitol after initially removing it from their website following threats of legal action from the company. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 5, Sun page 2)


Anti-wind farm party: A new political party called the Alliance Party of Scotland has been formed to challenge the Scottish Government’s renewable energy policy and stop the spread of wind farms. (Herald page 6)


Margaret Thatcher: Further comment on the debate in the Scottish Parliament on Margaret Thatcher and her legacy. (Herald page 7, Ian Bell in the Herald, Scotsman page 14, Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman, Samuel Brittan in the FT, Record page 2, Sun page 2, P&J page 12, Courier page 21)


New Lanark quarry: A management plan designed to protect New Lanark, one of five World Heritage sites in Scotland, has been published amid fears that a nearby quarry could extend into the site’s green buffer zone. However the plan, produced by Historic Scotland, has been heavily criticised for failing to address the issue of the quarry. (Times page 5)



Aviva cuts: Scots call centre workers may lose their jobs following an announcement by insurance giant Aviva that it plans to axe 2,000 jobs from its UK, European and Asian workforce. (Herald page 2, Guardian page 29, Courier page 31)


Income tax: Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has said that any proposals to give Holyrood full powers over income tax will be subject to the broadest consultation and debate. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 4, George Kerevan in the Scotsman, Record page 8, Sun page 12, Mail page 19, P&J page 13, Courier page 20)


Monetary union: Pro-UK campaign leaders are reportedly set to launch a fresh assault on SNP plans for independence by warning that plans to keep the pound would fail to deliver genuine independence. (Scotsman page 10, Crawford Beveridge in the Scotsman, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 2, P&J page 12, Courier page 20)


Landfill tax: The Scottish Government has published a bill aimed at tackling illegal dumping. The Landfill Tax (Scotland) Bill will transfer responsibility from the UK government for administering the tax and encourage the proper disposal and recycling of waste. (Scotsman page 11)


Welfare: Iain McLean, Jim Gallagher and Guy Lodge writing in the Scotsman comment on Scotland’s relationship with the welfare state and how this may change with greater devolution or independence.


Austerity: George Osborne is expected to defend his Plan A aggressively to IMF officials when they arrive in London to assess the British economy. The IMF has suggested that Mr Osborne should consider greater flexibility in his deficit reduction plan amid growing concern about the poor performance of the British economy. (FT page 1, Guardian page 1, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, Mail page 6)



School closure rules: Concern is reportedly mounting at plans to change the criteria councils need to meet when proposing rural school closures. The education authorities will no longer have to show that the closure will be an educational benefit to pupils. Instead, councils will have to show the closure would have a neutral impact on the education of pupils. The recommendations are set to be announced today in the final report of the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education. (Herald page 1, P&J page 2)


Foreign languages: Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, has argued that Scottish Government plans to improve foreign language teaching in Scotland are being hindered by the majority of television shows watched by children being in English. (Herald page 4, Scotsman page 17)


Child care: Ministers announced plans to increase free pre-school childcare yesterday with the introduction of the Children and Young People Bill. The bill will entitle three and four year olds to 600 hours of free early learning nursery education a year. (Express page 4, Mail page 21, P&J page 19, Courier page 21)



Borders railway: Construction of the new Borders Railway has commenced at a site in Edinburgh. The railway will re-establish a passenger rail link between Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders and is expected to be completed by 2015. (Times page 5, Scotsman page 16)