Reform Scotland News: 24 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.



Woolwich attack: Continuing coverage of the murder of a British soldier in Woolwich. More information about the suspects has been released including reports that the suspects were known to MI5 and the police. The victim of the attacks has been named as Drummer Lee Rigby. (Scotsman page 1 and pages 4-7, Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman, Herald page 1 and page 5, Alison Rowat in the Herald, Telegraph page 1 and pages 2-7, Times pages 1-9, FT page 3, Express pages 1-7, Record page 1 and pages 4-7, Sun pages 1-10, Guardian page 1 and pages 4-11, Mail pages 1-13, Courier pages 16-17, P&J pages 16-17)


Scottish Hollywood: Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop has said her department is ready to support any firm offering a business plan for a film studio to rival Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire. Confidential discussions are reportedly underway to attempt to make that ambition a reality. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 3)


Independence debate: The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has backed a report calling on the Scottish Government to publish any draft constitution for an independent Scotland before the vote is held next year. The independence debate has also been criticised for focusing on “political point-scoring”. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 9, Telegraph page 11, Courier page 22, P&J page 21)


Referendum finances: The Electoral Commission has warned that it has strict guidelines to monitor links between the Yes and No referendum campaigns and other groups. The warning has come in response to increased concern that the campaigns could create “dummy” bodies to spend surplus cash in the run up to the vote next year. (Scotsman page 11)


WWI Centenary: First Minister Alex Salmond has announced plans to commemorate the centenary of the First World War over five-years. Amongst the plans is a re-enactment of a frontline military service at Edinburgh Castle. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 11, Courier page 14)


Healthcare debate: Ian Bell writing in the Herald criticises Labour leader Johann Lamont’s style of debate over healthcare and suggests Labour should put forward an action plan to fix the system in Scotland.


Scottish Conservative leadership: Senior members of the Scottish Conservatives are reportedly expressing concern over Ruth Davidson’s leadership of the party and have warned that the party is in danger of losing its one remaining Scottish MP at the next general election. Murdo Fraser, who narrowly lost to Ms Davidson in the leadership contest, has also urged her to continue with efforts to reform the party and called for the party to become more serious about devolving powers to Holyrood. (Herald page 6, Telegraph page 11, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Times page 16)


Charities regulator rules: Draft guidelines issued by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator have been criticised by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations for threatening to stifle debate and dissuade charities from participating in the referendum debate. The guidelines said charities should not support a particular political party, but could support or oppose a policy that affected their operations. (Telegraph page 12)



Mining: Energy minister Fergus Ewing has warned that Scotland’s open-cast mining sector could be destroyed if proposals to increase track-access charges for coal freight on a per-kilometre-travelled basis go through. This would result in Scottish mines paying more to transport coal to England than companies further south. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 2, Record page 2)


Scotland’s economy: Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has criticised the SNP’s economic paper on independence saying that it raises more questions than it answers. In response, Alex Salmond insisted Westminster’s policies were holding Scotland back. (Scotsman page 11, Robin McAlpine in the Scotsman, Sun page 14)

George Kerevan writing in the Scotsman comments on the UK Treasury and the Scottish Government’s reports on Scotland’s economy after independence.



Seized funds: Chief Constable Stephen House has urged the Scottish Government to return the funds seized from criminals to his budget. In contrast to England and Wales, the majority of funds seized go to good causes such as the Cashback for Communities scheme. The Scottish Government has said it will consider Mr House’s request. (Scotsman page 8)


DNA: An investigation has been launched into police DNA and fingerprinting procedures across Scotland following claims that samples have been taken by uncertified staff. Police Scotland is seeking advice from the Crown Office amid fears that evidence could be invalidated and lead to legal challenges from those convicted. (Times page 30, Express page 11, Record page 2, Sun page 14, Courier page 1)



Curriculum for Excellence: A survey of Scotland’s largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland, has found that more than 80 per cent of nursery and primary school teachers described an increase in their workload as a result of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). The survey also found a lack of confidence in the forms of assessment associated with CfE. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 4, Express page 12)



Flybe sale: The airline Flybe has sold its take-off and landing slots at London Gatwick airport to Easyjet sparking fears for the future of air links to the Highlands. Business leaders and politicians have called for urgent steps to be taken to safeguard the flights which Flybe ran between Inverness and Gatwick. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 8, Courier page 31, P&J page 1 and pages 4-5)


Edinburgh Trams: Vic Emery, a former consultant to the Edinburgh trams project, has suggested that the tram service will be running by the end of the year. Shops along the route hope that it could be operating in time to give them a Christmas boost, but the City of Edinburgh Council transport convenor Councillor Lesley Hinds has said that the announcement as to when the travelling public will be able to use the trams will be made in September. (Scotsman page 14)