Reform Scotland News: 26 April 2013


Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 26 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.



Energy bills: Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex is expected to say in a speech today that households and investors need to know what impact independence will have on fuel bills and the energy industry in Scotland. (Herald page 4)


Better Together donation: SNP MSPs have again urged the Better Together campaign to return the £500,000 donation they received from controversial businessman Ian Taylor. Calls have also been made for an inquiry into the decision to accept the donation. (Herald page 6)


Press regulation: Editors of almost all the major newspaper announced yesterday that they have rejected plans agreed at Westminster for press regulation and have published their own scheme of self-regulation free from state interference. Scotland’s response to plans to regulate the press with a Royal Charter are to be debated at Holyrood. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 6, Telegraph page 2, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Guardian page 1, Mail page 6, P&J page 17, Courier page 22)


Currency debate: SNP plans to maintain the pound after independence have come under fire at Holyrood as opposition parties accuse Alex Salmond of relying on the goodwill of “neighbours we’ve just rejected”. Mr Salmond also faced criticism for failing to have contingency plans for a separate currency. (Scotsman page 5, Ian Bell in the Herald, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 8, P&J page 19)


Brian Adam: Alex Salmond has lead tributes from all sides of the Chamber following the death of SNP MSP Brian Adam. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 14, Times page 17, Sun page 2, Record page 6, P&J page 1, Courier page 25)


Lockerbie exhibit: The Riverside Museum in Glasgow is bidding to house the aircraft wreckage from the Lockerbie bombing. The museum has a permanent display about the atrocity which was previously housed at the Museum of Transport. (Scotsman page 1, Times page 11, Mail page 5, P&J page 21)


Wind energy: Energy minister Fergus Ewing has announced a £15million fund to develop deep-water foundations for wind turbines. It is hoped the award will help maintain Scotland’s position as an attractive place for investment in renewable energy. (Scotsman page 17)


Scottish coronation: Joyce McMillan writing in the Scotsman argues that the suggestion of a Scottish coronation for the Queen’s successor could result in people embracing republicanism.


EU and independence: The European Union has ruled that breakaway regions must apply to join the EU like any other country. The decision comes as a blow to the SNP as they had hoped that an independent Scotland’s EU membership would be fast-tracked. (Mail page 8)



Pensions: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland has warned that businesses could face a multi-billion-pound pension bill to finance private retirement schemes if Scotland votes for independence. ICAS has called for a Scottish Pension Protection Fund to be set up to secure people’s retirement plans in the event of independence. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, David Wood in the Scotsman, Times page 6, Angus Macleod in the Times, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 1, P&J page 19, Courier page 25)


Stamp duty: The Conservatives have called for an announcement of the Scottish Government’s proposed replacement for stamp duty to be brought forward. Finance Secretary John Swinney had said the announcement would not be made until after the referendum but concern is rising that the uncertainty could delay or scare off major investment in Scotland. (Herald page 1, Times page 11, Sun page 6, Record page 6, Mail page 17, Courier page 24)


UK economy: Official figures have shown the UK economy has avoided a triple-dip recession, growing by 0.3% in the first quarter of the year. Although the figure is higher than the 0.1% most economists had predicted, Chancellor George Osborne has been criticised by Labour’s Ed Balls and the Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney who have both called for him to change his approach to economic recovery. (Herald page 2, Alison Rowat in the Herald, Scotsman page 8, George Kerevan in the Scotsman, FT page 2, Record page 6, Guardian page 10, Mail page 2, P&J page 18, Courier page 22)


Cash reserve: A cash reserve has been opened by Westminster to allow the Scottish Government to set aside up to £125million over five years. The reserve can be accessed if future tax revenues are lower than forecast. (Herald page 6)


Tax avoidance: MPs have warned that some of Britain’s large accountancy firms are using inside knowledge from staff seconded to the treasury to help leading companies and wealthy individuals avoid paying UK taxes. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 18, Guardian page 1, Mail page 17)


Local Government

George Square redevelopment: A formal complaint has been lodged with Police Scotland calling for an investigation to into the role of Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson’s in the George Square redevelopment fiasco. The calls have come amid allegations that Matheson interfered in the competition for the £15million redesign of the square. (Herald page 5)



Hospital beds: Health Secretary Alex Neil has suggested that the Scottish Government may halt the cutting of hospital beds. The Royal College of Physicians has called on the Scottish Government to confirm the decision, saying patient care has been compromised by the pressure on busy wards. However, there has been no official confirmation that bed numbers will be protected. (Herald page 4)