Reform Scotland News: 10 May 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.



Referendum debate: One of Scotland’s most successful entrepreneurs, Sir Tom Hunter, has criticised the poor level of debate between the Yes Scotland and Better Together campaigns. He has accused both sides of failing to provide answers to the key questions so that voters can decide whether the country should stay in the UK or become independent. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 6).  Chief executive of Oil and Gas UK Malcolm Webb has praised both sides of the referendum debate for not damaging the oil and gas sector. He indicated the record levels of investment in the North Sea proved that the referendum debate had not damaged confidence in the sector. (P&J page 14)


Opinion Polls: Two separate polls suggest support is growing for keeping the Union. An Ipsos Mori poll put those in favour of independence at 31% giving pro-Union campaigners a 28% lead. An online poll by Tory fundraiser Lord Ashcroft also put the pro-Union campaign ahead by 26%. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 6, Times page 14, Express page 2, Sun page 2, Mail page 10, Courier page 18)


Purdah: Holyrood’s Referendum Bill Committee have heard arguments for the period of “purdah”, when government announcements are put on hold during election campaigns, to be extended ahead of the 2014 referendum. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 6, Courier page 18)


Referendum TV debate: The first major TV debate on the Scottish independence referendum will be shown on STV’s flagship show Scotland Tonight on 16th May. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore will go head-to-head in the first of a series of live debates being organised by the show to examine key issues ahead of next year’s referendum. (Herald page 6, Express page 2)


Monarchy: Alison Rowat writing in the Herald comments on the increasing presence of Prince Charles at state occasions in place of the Queen.


Independence: Robert McNeil writing in the Herald comments on the increasing number of scare stories in the press relating to the 2014 referendum.


Trident: An opinion poll commissioned by Lord Ashcroft has suggested that more than half of Scots want Britain to retain a nuclear deterrent after Trident is decommissioned. The poll contradicts the findings of a CND-commissioned poll published in February, which claimed 60 per cent of Scots opposed replacing Trident. (Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, P&J page 14)



Financial crisis loans: Scots in financial hardship have claimed £14.4million in crisis loans in a year, according to official figures. Another £20million was paid out in community care grants amid fears over the impact of benefit cuts. The figures were revealed after MSP Jackie Baillie asked the Scottish Government for information on the number of claims. (Herald page 9)


Oil boom: Aberdeen is enjoying an energy-related boom with house prices doubling in the last decade and unemployment at less than half the Scottish average. Investment has been pouring into the city as advances in technology and high oil prices have made it possible and economical to find and tap substantial oil reserves. (FT page 3)


RBS sale: RBS chief executive Stephen Hester has reportedly signalled that he is determined to reprivatise the majority state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland. (FT page 1)


Local Government

Fascism comments: Labour Councillor Angela Moohan, who sits on West Lothian Council, has denied reports that she described the SNP as fascists during a council meeting. She was reported to the standards watchdog for the remark after all the councillors at the meeting signed a complaint reporting her to the Standards Commissioner. (Herald page 2)


George Square: New plans have been submitted for the redevelopment of Glasgow’s George Square. The aim is for work to start in July and include replacing the tarmac, cleaning statues, two new grass beds and potentially installing new lighting. (Herald page 3)



Prisons investment: Community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham has announced a £1.3million investment to tackle the number of short-term prisoners in Scotland committing new crimes within a year of release. (Scotsman page 16)


Life sentences: First Minister Alex Salmond has dismissed calls for the laws governing life sentences to be changed. Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson yesterday argued that life should mean life after triple axe murderer Thomas McCulloch was freed from prison. (Telegraph page 9, Sun page 2, Record page 8, Courier page 18)



A&E waiting times: Labour leader Johann Lamont has criticised the SNP over a rise in A&E waiting times. Some areas of Scotland have seen the number of patients waiting more than four hours treble in recent years. (Herald page 4, Ian Bell in the Herald, Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Times page 23, Express page 5, Record page 8, Mail page 8, P&J page 7, Courier page 19) 


Homeopathic hospital: The number of people pledging support to a campaign to safeguard NHS funding for Glasgow’s homeopathic hospital has almost doubled in the last month. (Herald page 4)



Job satisfaction: A poll of 800 members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers has shown that job satisfaction is falling due to an increase in workload and stress. More than half of Scottish teachers have reportedly seriously considered quitting in the last year. (Express page 10, Courier page 13)