Reform Scotland News: 16 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: 130 MPs voted for an amendment to the Queen’s Speech expressing regret that the coalition government had not included an EU referendum bill in its legislative programme. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 1, Sun page 2, Record page 2, FT page 4, Times page 4, Guardian page 6, Mail page 4, Courier page 13, Press and Journal page 16)


Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman and Iain MacWhiter in the Herald argue that a combination of the referenda on the UK’s place in the EU and Scotland’s place in the UK complicate the British political landscape.


Boris Johnston: The London mayor has argued that London should have the same fiscal powers as those available to the devolved parliaments in Scotland and Wales. (Scotsman page 12)


Scottish Referendum: Evidence from the most recent Social Attitudes Survey suggests economic wellbeing and people’s sense of Britishness are the key issues in determining the outcome of the referendum on Scottish independence. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 6).


Pete Martin, writing in the Scotsman, contends that the public needs to be vigilant of politicians being ‘economical with the truth’, particularly in the run-up to the referendum. Michael Kelly in the Scotsman asks why successful business leaders need politicians to give them the answers they need on the constitutional debate. John MacLoed in the Daily Mail believes the SNP and supporters of independence are concerned about Gordon Brown’s intervention in the debate.  


Cardinal O’Brien: Pope Francis has ordered the Cardinal to leave Scotland and undertake a period of ‘spiritual renewal, prayer and penance’. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 7, Telegraph page 8, Record page 6, Times page 10, Express page 7, Guardian page 5, Mail page 5, Courier page 21)




Amazon: The online retail giant is reportedly once again facing criticism over its tax affairs. It paid only £2.4million in corporation tax despite sales of £4billion. The amount of tax was almost equal to the amount the company received in UK government grants. (Scotsman page 1, Record page 2, FT page 4, Times page 6, Guardian page 1, Mail page 21)


Unemployment: Scotland’s unemployment total fell by 7,000 in the first three months of 2013. There are now 199,000 people out of work in Scotland, an unemployment rate of 7.3 per cent. Across the UK over the same period, unemployment increased by 15,000 to 2.52million, a rate of 7.8 per cent. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 2, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Express page 10, Courier page 20)


Wind-farms: The chair of the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Review Group has pledged to investigate how money generated from wind-farms might be redistributed from landowners to those suffering from fuel poverty. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 6)


George Street: Businesses on Edinburgh’s George Street have objected to plans to relocate the Winter Festival ice rink from Princes Street Gardens to the retail thoroughfare because it will require road closures. They fear this will lead to a slump in takings. (Scotsman page 19)


Oil Prices: Campaigners have called for the creation of an independent fuel watchdog after an investigation was launched by the European Commission into allegations price-fixing by big oil companies including BP and Shell. MPs have insisted that any guilty parties should face jail sentences. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 5, Telegraph page 1, Sun page 8, Record page 4, FT page 2, Times page 7, Guardian page 18, Mail page 8, Courier page 23, Press and Journal page 10)


National Debt: The Chief Secretary to the Treasury has warned that an independent Scotland would be regarded as an international basket case by organisations such as the EU and financial markets if it did not accept a share of UK national debt. (Telegraph page 9, Times page 21, Express page 2




IVF Treatment: New guidelines to be issued to the NHS in Scotland will allow women to have two cycles of IVF funded by the health service but will exclude those who are obese or couples where either partner smokes or drinks alcohol during treatment. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 9, Telegraph page 1, Sun page 2, Times page 1, Express page 7, Mail page 7, Courier page 15)




Primary School Teachers: The Royal Society of Edinburgh has called for all primary school teachers to have a science qualification to improve the standard of teaching of the subject. (Herald page 2)




Green Transport: The Eco Travel Network, which allows people to hire lightweight Renualt Twizy microcars, has won a Scottish Green Transport Prize worth £50,000 which it plans to use to expand its operations north of the border. (Scotsman page 3)


High-speed Rail: Keith Brown, the Scottish Transport minister, has called for the HS2 high speed rail network to be extended to include Glasgow and Edinburgh. Under current plans it will only extended as far as Leeds. (Herald page 9)