Reform Scotland News:17 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.
National commission for ashes scandal:
The Scottish government has announced that a national commission is to be established to investigate the scandal affecting a number of crematoriums around Scotland where babies’ ashes were disposed of without their parents’ permission.  (Scotsman
page 1, Herald page 8, Sun page 2, Record page 20, Express page 19, Mail page 14, P&J page 14, Courier page 17)
Baroness Thatcher’s funeral: Margaret Thatcher’s funeral is due to take place today.  A debate on the former prime minister’s legacy in the Scottish Parliament due to take place today will now take place tomorrow following an agreement reached by the Scottish Parliament’s business bureau. (Scotsman
page 11, Stephen McGinty in the Scotsman, Gregor Gall in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Record page 8, Tam Cowan in the Record, Times page 1, Daniel Finkelstein in the Times, Express page 1, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, Robin Renwick in the Telegraph, FT page 2, Richard Vinen in the FT, Mail page 2, Robin Harris in the Mail, Guardian page 1, Seumus Milne in the Guardian, P&J page 19, Courier page 13)                                                                                                                                   

Press regulation: Lord McClusky has commented that Scotland has been “totally ignored” in the decision to use a Royal Charter to impose new press regulations across the UK. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6, Sun page 8, Times page 11, Telegraph page 8, Mail page 28, Courier page 17)
Negotiating independence:  Authors of a new book entitled “Scotland’s Choices” have warned that negotiating independence in the two year time-frame set out by the SNP would be “very challenging” and Scotland’s ability to vary taxes significantly from the UK would be highly constrained. (Times page 17, Jim Gallagher in the Times)

Northern Isles: An opinion poll carried out by the Press & Journal has found that 82 per cent of people questioned living in Orkney and Shetland thought the islands should remain part of Scotland, with 8 per cent of respondents thinking the northern isles should break away from Scotland and 10 per cent unsure. (P&J page 12)

The IMF has cut the UK’s growth forecast to 0.7 per cent for this year and 1.5 per cent for next year and concluded that the UK government should ease back on plans to rein in public spending. (Scotsman
page 18, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Telegraph Page B1, FT page 1, Guardian page 7, P&J page 21)
Housing benefit:
Danny Alexander in the Scotsman argues that ending the spare room subsidy will help many families trapped in overcrowded houses waiting for a house big enough.
Iain McLean, Jim Gallagher and Guy Lodge in the Scotsman comment on the tax and spending choices and independent Scotland would have to make and the impact of oil revenues on those choices.
Underemployment and over-qualification: An enquiry by the Scottish Parliament’s economy, energy and tourism committee has highlighted the problems of underemployment and over-qualification facing many Scots. (Herald
page 1, Courier page 16)
SSE: Energy firm SSE has reportedly admitted that it expects to pay out £1.5m to customers who were mis-sold energy deals. (Herald page 7)
House prices: According to figures produced by LSL Property Services and property market consultancy Acadametrics, house prices in Scotland rose by £1,676 in February with sales 6 per cent higher this year. (Mail page 1)
Monetary policy:
Ian Bell in the Herald comments on the likely relationship between Scotland and the Bank of England following independence.
University code:
Staff and students have reportedly criticised a new code of governance for universities as “vague” and described it as a “code written by managers for managers”. (Scotsman
page 16, Herald page 8, Telegraph page 13, Courier page 16) 

Faith schools: Professor AC Grayling has criticised faith schools in Scotland commenting “The argument against faith–based schools can be summed up in two words – Northern Ireland.  Or perhaps one word – Glasgow”.  The Catholic Church in Scotland said his words were “ill-informed”. (Herald page 1)

Rail stations:
The Scottish government has announced that 56 train stations around Scotland are to be improved in the run up to 2014’s Year of Homecomeing, Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 4, P&J page 7)