Reform Scotland News: 25 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 coronation: Next month the General Assembly is to discuss proposals for future monarchs to have separate Scottish coronations if Scotland votes for independence.  The suggestion is made in a report by the Church of Scotland exploring the implications of independence.  The report also calls on the Scottish government to publish its written constitution before the independence referendum. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Express page 5, Telegraph page 13, Mail page 6, P&J page 12, Courier page 16)

Tax powers: Gerald Holtham, who chaired the commission in Wales on devolved powers, has commented that the powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament in the recent Scotland Act had “serious limitations” and said that the parliament should have a much wider remit over income tax. (Scotsman page 8, P&J page 13)

Miliband & Unite: Ed Miliband has accused the Unite general secretary, Len McClusky, of disloyalty and a “reprehensible” attempt to divide the Labour party.  The comments come after Mr McClucky reportedly commented that if the Labour leader allowed himself to be swayed by Blairite colleagues he would be “cast into the dustbin of history”. (Herald page 1, Record page 2, FT page 4, Guardian page 6

George Galloway: Respect MP George Galloway has reportedly endorsed Ed Miliband. (Herald page 6)

Lockerbie: The wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 which exploded over Lockerbie in 1988 has reportedly been secretly returned to Scotland. (Sun page 1)

Alex Salmond: Martin Kettle in the Guardian reflects on what he sees as Alex Salmond’s personal “low-key response” to George Osborne’s comments this week on currency following independence.

Economy

 TSB: The TSB brand is expected to reappear on the high street.  A deal to sell off more than 600 branches belonging to Lloyds Banking Group collapsed yesterday when the Co-operative Bank pulled out.  As a result, Lloyds is to rebrand the branches under the TSB name and float the new standalone bank on the stock exchange. (Scotsman page 6, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Herald page 3, Iain MacWhirter in the Herald, Telegraph page B1, Guardian page 27, Mail page 12, Courier page 2)

Exports: Scottish exports have fallen by 2.9 per cent over the past year, driven by a 16.6 per cent fall in exports for metal and fabricated metal products according to the quarterly Index of Manufacturing Exports. (Scotsman page 14, Record page 2, P&J page 18)

Long-term unemployment: The number of people out of work for more than two years has risen from 2,260 to 16,420 since 2010 according to Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran. (Record page 8)

Rights for shares: Companies will be able to allow workers to swap employment rights for shares, but only after they receive independent advice, after a vote in the House of Lords was passed yesterday.  (FT page 4, Guardian page 7)

Justice

Violence: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments on the Institute for Economics and Peace labelling Glasgow the least peaceful major urban area in the UK.

Education

Literacy and numeracy standards: The first Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy was published yesterday.  The survey shows that while more than 90% of pupils are within or above the expected level for reading and writing, there is a continuing drop in performance between the end of primary and start of secondary. (Scotsman page 4, Hugh Reilly in the Scotsman, Herald page 3, Record page 2, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 9, P&J page 15)

Science: Iain Gray in the Scotsman comments that independence could threaten Scotland’s world-beating innovation in science.

Health

Measles: Scotland’s chief medical officer, Sir Harry Burns, has urged parents to get children immunised against measles following the major outbreak in Wales. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 2, Express page 1)

Midwives: Two Catholic midwives have won a landmark court ruling which means they no longer have to play any part in abortions.  The two women had no direct role, however objected to delegating and supporting staff dealing with patients. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 9, Sun page 6, Theresa Fyffe in the Sun, Record page 2, Times page 1, Express page 9, Telegraph page 8, Guardian page 11, Mail page 1, Courier page 13)

Hospital beds: In a speech to health workers yesterday, Health secretary Alex Neil reportedly said that there would be no more cuts to the number of hospital beds in Scotland.   Mr Neil also commented that if there is a ‘Yes’ vote next year, the Scottish government would negotiate with the trade union movement to impose a fairer long-term pension deal. (Herald page 1, Sun page 10, Record page 8, Express page 2)