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Reform Scotland News: 22 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.

 

Politics

Scottish Banknotes: The Bank of England could withdraw its support for Scottish banknotes if Scotland votes for independence. A Treasury report suggested this could be the case even if the SNP government decides to keep the pound. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Financial Times page 4, Daily Record page 2, Express page 4, Guardian page 14, Daily Mail page 4, Courier page 14) The Finance Secretary John Swinney, writing in the Scotsman, says an independent Scotland will retain the pound as it is in everyone’s interest and the existing banknote situation will remain in place because it is underpinned by the 2009 Banking Act. Andrew McKie writing in the Herald argues that an independent Scotland will not control its currency unless it adopts its own. He also contends that debt is the more pressing economic issue. Torcuil Crichton writing in the Daily Record suggests Scottish banknotes would form part of negotiations if there were to be new currency arrangements between two independent countries. Hamish Macdonell writing in the Daily Mail expects George Osborne to attack the SNP on the currency issue when he comes to Scotland tomorrow.     

 

Scottish Labour: More reports and comment on the Scottish Labour Party Conference. Deputy Labour Leader Anas Sarwar said the Chancellor George Osborne was carrying on the policies of Margaret Thatcher. He also said Alex Salmond and the SNP wanted to create an independent Scotland that put the needs of big business before those of ordinary people. His speech and that of leader Johann Lamont have been viewed by some as part of an attempt to secure the support of Scotland’s trade unions. (Scotsman page 10, Times page 11, Sun page 2, Daily Mail page 4, Courier page 13, Sunday Herald page 16, Scotland on Sunday page 1) Andrew Nicoll writing in the Sun argues Scottish Labour need to start coming up with policies if it wants to start shaping the political debate in Scotland. Brian Monteith writing in the Scotsman argues Scottish Labour appears to be adopting a new language in an attempt to communicate with working-class central Scotland. Lindsay McIntosh writing in the Times argues that Johann Lamont must tackle the constitutional questions despite MPs wanting the opposite. Ian Bell writing in the Sunday Herald argues Scottish Labour’s commission on further tax proposals for the Scottish parliament has produced a flawed report. Eddie Barnes writing in the Scotland on Sunday says the Scottish Labour leader has to contain the splits within her own party and forge a new vision for devolution.  

 

Mary Lockhart: The chair of the Scottish Co-operative Party and Labour stalwart has revealed she supports Scottish independence. (Scotland on Sunday page 14, Daily Record page 2, Courier page 13)   

 

Creative Scotland: Andrew Dixon, the former chief executive of Creative Scotland, believes a protest letter signed by more than 100 artists last year was a ‘highly political’ move by those opposed to the existence of the funding body. (Herald page 5)

 

FOI Requests: Public authorities in Scotland have spent more than £400,000 of private legal advice to help them deal with freedom of information requests. (Scotland on Sunday page 7)

 

Economy

 

Housing Market: The Fabian Society argues pensioners should ‘share the pain’ of austerity by paying more in taxes to encourage inter-generational fairness in the housing market. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1)

 

Energy Bills: Energy tariff reforms proposed by Ofgem could lead to households paying tens of millions of pounds more for gas and electricity, according to research by the consumer watchdog Which? (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 3)

 

Employment Investigation: Anas Sarwar, deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party, has called for a Levenson-style inquiry into employment blacklisting. (Herald page 6)

 

Business for Britain: A new campaign representing hundreds of British business leaders has supported David Cameron’s pledge to repatriate powers from the EU back to the UK. (Herald page 7, Express page 4, Mail page 2)

 

Recession: Figures to be released this week will reveal if the UK economy managed to avoid a triple dip recession. Experts forecast growth of 0.1% for the first three months of the year. (Herald page 10, Telegraph page 2, Daily Mail page 10)

 

Biotech Sector: Sir John Bell, a senior academic and government advisor, has warned British biotech companies could be stymied if European Medicines Agency plans to release testing data come into effect. (Financial Times page 2)

 

Wealthy Scots: A record number of Scots have joined the ranks of the super-rich according to The Sunday Times Rich List 2103 (Sunday Times page 1, Herald page 11, Scotsman page 14)

 

Joseph Rowntree Foundation: The council tax freeze and universal free services in Scotland have not helped the poorer households and made have made the effects of austerity cuts even worse. (Scotland on Sunday page 4)

 

 

Local government

 

Gordon Matheson: The Labour leader of Glasgow City Council has reportedly been urged to resign after being referred to an ethics watchdog over his involvement in the aborted plans to redevelop George Square. (Scotsman page 19, Herald page 2, Daily Mail page 6, Sunday Herald page 14)

 

 

Health

 

Patient Service: The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow is to discuss how to implement a seven-day-a-week patient service in the NHS because patients admitted to hospital on the weekend are more likely to die. (Sunday Herald page 22)

 

Justice

 

Expert Evidence: A campaigner has urged action to ensure expert evidence can be relied upon in court because defective evidence in a minority of cases can threaten the credibility of the majority. (Herald page 10)

 

Crime Rates: Scottish Tories have accused the SNP of spinning crime figures by failing to take into account ‘soft touch’ punishments. (Daily Mail page 7)

 

Sheriff Courts: The Law Society of Scotland has expressed concern about the plans of the Scottish Court Service to close 10 sheriff courts across Scotland. (Courier page 2)

 

 

Education

 

Arabic in Schools: The Dar Al-Falaah Community Education Association has asked MSPs to include Arabic language classes in the Curriculum for Excellence in an attempt to improve community cohesion. (Daily Express page 7, Sunday Herald page 21)

 

Faith Schools: Euan McColm writing in the Scotland on Sunday argues that faith schools, with their greater social diversity, might be able to offer to solutions to inequality in education.