Reform Scotland News: 2nd 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


IDS’ comments on benefits: Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has reportedly caused fury amongst anti-poverty campaigners by claiming that he could live on benefits of £53 a week. As a result, tens of thousands of people have reportedly signed an on-line petition challenging him to do so. (Scotsman page 1, Sun page 2, Herald page 1, Record Page 6, Guardian Page 4, Courier Page 17, Express page 4, Telegraph page 4)

Welfare changes: Chancellor George Osborne is expected to make a speech to Morrisons workers today claiming that nine in ten workers will be better off following the changes to benefits. (Sun page 2, Guardian page 1, Express page 4, FT page 2, Telegraph page 1)

Richer pensioners may face welfare cuts: Cuts to the benefits of well-off pensioners have reportedly not been ruled out by Ian Duncan Smith. (Herald Page 6)

‘Bedroom Tax’ breaches human rights: Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner warns that young people will be plunged into poverty, harming their social and emotional welfare if ‘Bedroom Tax’ is put in place. (Times Page 14)

Murdoch and the SNP: Rupert Murdoch has reportedly withdrawn his support for Scottish independence, with the Scottish Sun no longer backing independence in the run-up to the referendum.   (Scotsman page 5)

Charities hit: The Scottish government’s Third Sector Early Intervention Fund has reportedly been delayed after more than 400 groups put in bids totalling £73.5m. The £20 million fund was supposed to be put in place yesterday. (Herald Page 2)

UN to probe wind farm complaint: The UN’s Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has received a complaint about a proposal for a wind farm in South Ayrshire, which was given planning permission last month. (Herald Page 6

Salmond independent speeches in US: Alex Salmond has reportedly been accused of using his week-long trip to the US to gather support for independence. (Herald Page 7)

Newspapers: Pat Kane in the Scotsman considers what newspaper journalism needs to do to survive in the digital age.

Religion and politics: Paul Goodman in the Telegraph considers whether religion has a place in today’s politics.

Free speech: Philip Johnston in the Telegraph argues that the UK parliament has been interfering with the principle of free speech.


Easter success for the high street: Scotland’s retail sector was given a boost over the Easter weekend with a 20 per cent increase on last year in the number of shoppers on high streets.  This compared to an increase of 6.7 per cent across the UK as a whole. (Scotsman page 11, Herald Page 9)

Credit rating: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments that a high credit rating for an independent Scotland would not guarantee low costs of borrowing.

Tourism: David Maddox in the Scotsman considers some of the problems facing the tourism industry.

Local government

Scotland’s 32 Councils: Mark Smith in the Herald questions Scotland’s need to have 32 councils.


Less Scottish students at Scottish universities: Reportedly less than half of the school-leavers starting at Scotland’s leading universities are Scottish, with the majority being fee payers from rest of UK or from outside the EU. (Mail Page 1)


Train fares: The Scottish government is expected to reduce train fares by up to 41%. (Courier Page 1)


Whistleblowers’ helpline: A whistleblowers’ helpline has come into force in Scotland to help NHS staff highlight concerns they have without fear of losing their jobs. (Scotsman page 6, Sun page 12, Herald Page 7, Record Page 2, Mail Page 8, Courier Page 16, P&G Page 5, Express page 2)

 Bowel cancer: Bowel cancer rates amongst men in Scotland have risen by 30 per cent in the last 35 years according to Cancer Research UK, though the disease has only risen by 5 per cent amongst women. (Scotsman page 18, Sun page 2, Herald Page 8, Record Page 20, Mail Page 25, Courier Page 20, P&G Page 19, Express page 1)

Throat cancer: Jamie Rae in the Scotsman calls on the Scottish government to introduce a gender-neutral vaccine against throat cancer.

Vomiting Bug: Winter vomiting bug has hit Scotland for a second time as sub zero temperatures continue. (Herald page 1, P&G Page 1)