Reform Scotland News: 15 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.

EU: Alex Salmond reportedly said last night that the only way to ensure Scotland’s continued membership of the EU was to vote for independence.  His comments follow a pledge by the Conservative Party to hold an in-out referendum on the UK’s EU membership.  (Scotsman page 1, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, P&J page 15)
There will be a vote in Westminster today on an amendment from Euro-sceptic Tory MPs expressing regret that there was no government bill for an EU referendum included in the recent Queen’s Speech. It has also been revealed that the EU referendum question the Tories are proposing is “Do you think that the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union?”(Scotsman
page 6, Allan Massie in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Times page 9, Sun page 2, Express page 1, Telegraph page 1, Iain Martin in the Telegraph, FT page 2, Charles Grant in the FT, Mail page 4, Dominic Sandbrook in the Mail, Guardian page 2, Seumas Milne in the Guardian, Melissa Kite in the Guardian, Courier page 23)
Prisoners’ votes: Nicola Sturgeon has reportedly rejected calls from the Lib Dems to allow convicted prisoners to vote in the independence referendum. (Scotsman
page 8, Herald page 6, Mail page 8)
Income tax: Alistair Darling has reportedly backed the principle of devolving income tax to the Scottish Parliament.  He also commented that the ‘no’ side needed to win decisively to avoid the so-called “neverendum”. (Scotsman
page 8, Herald page 1, Record page 2, Mail page 8, P&J page 14)
Business for Scotland:
More than 350 businessmen and women have launched the Business for Scotland group in favour of independence. (Herald page 2, Telegraph page 9,
Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph)
Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on a Joseph Rowntree Foundation study which suggests that the public are becoming increasingly likely to say that individual characteristics, rather than societal issues, cause poverty.
Women & independence:
Natalie McGarry in the Scotsman outlines what she believes needs to be done to engage women in the independence debate.
Gordon Brown
Ian Bell in the Herald comments on Gordon Brown’s recent speech launching Labour’s campaign for the Union.

Food sales: Figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium have shown that food sales in Scotland fell by 1.4 per cent in April, while total sales fell by 2.1 per cent.  However, some retail experts have suggested that the timing of Easter combined with unseasonable weather had distorted the true picture. (Scotsman page 1, Brian Ashcroft in the Scotsman, Mail page 17)

Island renewable: An assessment by energy consultants Baringa Partners and TNEI has suggested that renewable energy projects could create more than 10,000 jobs on Scottish islands by 2030. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 5)
Donald Trump: The Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee was yesterday told that councillors were lobbied by other public officials in favour of Donald Trump’s resort on the Menie estate and that the police in the area were biased in favour of the development. (Scotsman
page 15, Herald page 9, Sun page 4, Express page 22, P&J page 4, Courier page 2)
Pensions: David Wood, an executive director at the Institute of Chartered Accountants for Scotland, yesterday told Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Select Committee that Scottish independence could cause a black hole of up to £170bn for UK pensions. (Times page 4, Express
page 2, Telegraph page 5, Mail page 8)
Housing market:
Peter Geoghegan in the Scotsman argues that the Help-to-Buy scheme, to help fist-time buyers onto the property market, is unlikely to work.

Wi-fi: Transport minister Keith Brown announced yesterday that free wi-fi is to become available at 25 ScotRail stations and on more of its trains. (Scotsman page 19, Herald page 5, P&J page 17, Courier page 18)

Petrol prices: The London offices of BP and Shell have been raided on suspicion of manipulating oil prices, leading MPs and energy experts to claim that motorists may have paid thousands of pounds too much for petrol over the past decade. (Telegraph page 1, FT page 1, Mail page 1, P&J page 11)