Reform Scotland News: 24 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

Currency: George Osborne yesterday commented that it might not be worth the risk for the rest of the UK to agree to a currency pact with an independent Scotland. (Scotsman page 8, Brian Wilson in the Scotsman, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Ian Bell in the Herald, Sun page 2, Record page 8, Times page 17, Peter Jones in the Times, Express page 7, Kerry Gill in the Express, FT page 2, John Kay in the FT, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 1, Gerald Warner in the Mail, Guardian page 7, P&J page 12, Courier page 14)

Press regulation: Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop yesterday told Holyrood’s culture committee that the group headed up by Lord McClusky to report on newspaper regulation in Scotland “most definitely” overstepped its remit. (Scotsman page 1, Times page 4, Mail page 2, P&J page 14)

Lord Rennard:  Scotland Yard has reportedly launched a criminal inquiry into allegations that Lib Dem Peer Lord Rennard sexually harassed party workers. (Herald page 2, Mail page 6)

Food banks: The number of people in Scotland using food banks has increased by 150 per cent over the past year according to the Trussell Trust. (Herald page 5, Record page 2, FT page 4

Independence and devolution: Alice Thomson in the Times comments that even if the Alex Salmond loses the independence referendum, he is likely to still win more powers from Westminster.

Economy

Employment figures: A study carried out by the Fawcett Society has found that although unemployment among men is falling, the number of women out of work across the UK is at a 25-year high.  The study reported that 103,000 women compared with 37,000 men have become long-term unemployed in the past two and a half years. (Scotsman page 1, Ceri Goddard in the Scotsman, Herald page 5)

Qualifications: The latest Skills and Employment Survey has concluded that there are more jobs that require a degree than no qualifications at all. (Scotsman page 5)

Borrowing: Public sector borrowing fell by £300m in 2012-13 to £120.6bn according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics.  The Labour party commented that at this rate, it would require 400 years for the books to balance. (Scotsman page 16, FT page 2, Martin Wolf in the FT, Guardian page 21, Courier page 14)

Manufacturing: The CBI has reported that the manufacturing sector in Scotland has suffered a decline in domestic orders and output. (Herald page 1)

Pensions: It is reported that the price of an annuity has increased by 29 per cent in the past four years while the level of pensions being paid out has fallen. (Express page 1, Telegraph page 8)

Benefits: Iain Duncan Smith is expected to say today that one million people across the UK who are capable of work are “stuck” on benefits. (Telegraph page 1)

Credit unions: Robbie Mochrie and Jeremy Peat in the Scotsman comment about the role credit unions can play to help ensure more responsible lending and improved financial literacy.

Abenomics: Simon Jenkins in the Guardian comments that the UK should follow what is happening in Japan and print more money and ensure that is pumped out into the productive economy.

Justice

Violence: The UK Peace Index has found Glasgow to be the most violent area of the UK. (Scotsman page 1, Sun page 23, Times page 21, Telegraph page 12)

Local Government

Local government budgets: Jim McCormick in the Scotsman comments that people with vision are needed to try and solve the problem of local government funding.

Health

Minimum pricing: A study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has claimed that key organisations, including supermarkets and the Scotch Whisky Association, “ignored, misrepresented and undermined” scientific advice when submitting their views to  the Scottish government  on plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, Times page 8, P&J page 17, Courier page 17)

Pay: More than 155,000 NHS staff in Scotland are reportedly having to wait for a promised pay rise of 1 per cent which has already been given to workers south of the Border. (Herald page 1)