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Reform Scotland News: 5 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

Missiles: Prime Minister David Cameron has raised concern that the UK could be in range of a North Korean missile attack. His warning came as missiles with considerable range have reportedly been moved to North Korea’s eastern coastline. (Scotsman page 6, Sun page 16, Record page 6, Mail page 12, P&J page 12)

 

Trident: During a visit to Faslane yesterday, David Cameron has told Scots that keeping Trident as part of the UK is the country’s only safeguard against “nuclear blackmail” in the future. The SNP government has pledged to remove the nuclear weapons if Scotland becomes independent. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6 Telegraph page 1, FT page 3, Express page 2, Guardian page 10, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, Courier page 19)

 

Referendum: David Cameron called for Scots to vote with their heads and hearts in next year’s referendum. During a visit to Glasgow, he said the decision was up to voters but that he hoped they would decide to keep the UK together. (Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Mail page 6)

 

Strikes: The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian will be closed today as the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) goes on strike. The strike will also affect the Scottish Parliament, High Court in Scotland, sheriff courts and driving test centres. (Herald page 5, FT page 4, Mail page 10, Courier page 18)

 

Scotland Week: Alison Rowat writing in the Herald comments on the opposition’s criticism of Alex Salmond for pushing independence whilst in the US for Scotland Week and suggests Salmond gives more speeches in Scotland on independence.

 

TV debate: David Cameron has again refused to take part in a televised debate with Alex Salmond in the run up to next year’s referendum. Mr Cameron dismissed calls from the SNP as “diversion tactics” and reportedly claimed the nationalists were losing the argument on independence. (P&J page 12 )

 

Biomass plant: Concerns have been raised by Friends of the Earth Tayside over the green credentials of a biomass plant set to be built in Dundee. Labour leaders have urged the Scottish government not to rush the decision to grant permission for the plant as public opinion is against it and the future pollution levels from it cannot be accurately predicted. (Courier page 20)

 

Economy

HBOS: A report published today by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking has found that the former chairman Lord Stevenson and former chief executives Sir James Crosby and Andy Hornby were to blame for “catastrophic” management failures that led to the banks downfall. The commission also concluded that the three men should never be allowed to work in the financial sector again. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph, Record page 1, FT page 1, Express page 19, Guardian page 1, Nils Pratley in the Guardian, Mail page 1, P&J page 15, Courier page 18)

 

Austerity: Joyce McMillan writing in the Scotsman comments on Labour MP Helen Goodman’s experience of living on the typical benefits of a woman her age and criticises those that suggest the poor exaggerate their plight or are benefit “scroungers”.

Joan Burnie writing in the Record criticises the general public for demonising the poor as scroungers.

 

Independence: Michael Fry writing in the Scotsman calls for the SNP to adopt the benefit and taxation system laid out by Nobel prizewinning economist Sir James Mirrlees and argues that doing so would greatly benefit the campaign for independence.

 

Entitlement: Susan Dalgety writing in the Scotsman argues that under the current economic climate we can no longer afford to sustain a culture of entitlement such as free prescriptions and eye tests.

 

Energy compensation: Energy firm SSE is reportedly preparing to give compensation payouts to approximately 25,000 customers caught up in the mis-selling of packages scandal. (Herald page 12)

 

Currency union: A paper due to be published by the Treasury in two weeks is expected to argue that Scotland would have to accept budget constraints set in London if it wishes to keep the pound after independence. Ministers are also expected to argue that the sterling works best if Scotland and England remain together. (FT page 3)

 

Justice

Rape trials: Campaigners have urged the Scottish Government to scrap the not proven verdict in rape trials, arguing that guilty people are allowed to go free because of it. The call comes in a submission to the government’s second consultation on scrapping corroboration, which Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has indicated he is in favour of. (Scotsman page 22)

 

Unexplained deaths: Patricia Ferguson, MSP for Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, has called for a radical overhaul of the fatal accident inquiry system which is predominantly used to investigate unexplained deaths. (Times page 17)

 

Health

Ambulance service: Plans by the Scottish Ambulance Service to integrate three specialist services to improve care for the seriously ill have been approved. The new service ScotStar could be running by April 2014 and is expected to cost the Scottish government £9.3million a year. (Times page 23, P&J page 20)