Reform Scotland News: 19 June 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.

 

Politics

Ukip: Ukip leader Nigel Farage has reportedly said there is “something unpleasant going on” in Scotland following a chaotic day of campaigning for Thursday’s Aberdeen Donside by-election. Mr Farage was forced to change his plans due to cancellations which he has attributed to threats of violent protests. Lord Monckton, Ukip’s president in Scotland, has reportedly said there is a problem with democracy in Scotland. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6, Times page 8, Record page 4, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Mail page 6, P&J page 1, Courier page 17)

 

European Union: Allan Massie writing in the Scotsman comments on the increasingly Eurosceptic Conservative party and Ken Clarke’s new role in the negotiations of a trade deal between the EU and North American Free Trade Agreement.

 

Independence: Barra Collins writing in the Scotsman compares Scotland’s current position to Ireland’s before it became a republic. He argues that, as in Ireland, there is a desire for independence, but Scotland is better prepared to support itself after independence than Ireland was.

 

Yes campaign: Natalie McGarry writing in the Scotsman calls on the Yes campaign to show the opportunity that independence offers and warns that they are at risk of alienating large parts of the Scottish electorate who cannot identify with their current campaign.

  

Military defence: Ian Bell writing in the Herald criticises the Ministry of Defence and the Government for making army personnel redundant and continuing to spend on nuclear weapons, drones and aircraft carriers.

 

Andy Coulson case: Former News of the World editor and David Cameron’s former press chief Andy Coulson has appeared in court in Glasgow charged with perjury. Media coverage of the case had been banned but this was challenged by media outlets and has been lifted. Mr Coulson has been charged over allegations he lied during the perjury trial of former MSP Tommy Sheridan. (Express page 7, Courier page 20)

 

Economy

Banking Commission report: The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards has recommended a series of new measures to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crash. Among its recommendations is that highly-paid bankers should be subject to a new criminal offence “reckless misconduct” that could see them jailed if they act irresponsibly. Other recommendations include deferred bonuses and pension rights cancelled if banks require taxpayer support in the future. The report also recommended that RBS be split so that bad assets could be separated from good assets allowing the bank to lend to small businesses. Chancellor George Osborne will set out his plans for the banking industry in his annual Mansion House speech tonight. He is expected to welcome the commission’s report and recommendations. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, FT pages 1-3, Record page 8, Sun page 2, Guardian page 1 and pages 24-25, Mail page 4, Courier page 15)

 

Pensions: Speaking at a conference in Glasgow, finance secretary John Swinney has insisted that after independence the Scottish Government would ensure the basic state pension is increased by the rate of earnings, inflation or 2.5 per cent, whichever was higher. However, the viability of this offer has been challenged as concerns were raised over the cost of supporting a rapidly ageing population and the cost of setting up new regulation. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Mail page 6, P&J page 12, Courier page 13)

 

House prices: A new report has shown that house prices in Scotland fell by 1.4 per cent last year while sales are increasing. However, the market is thought to be improving with the average price of a house in April this year being £2,430 higher than in December 2012. (Scotsman page 7)

 

Vion buyout: Birmingham-based company 2 Sisters is to take over the Vion UK Poultry business saving more than 1600 jobs in Scotland. Finance Secretary John Swinney spoke out in support of the buyout and wrote to 2 Sisters’ chief executive to express support on behalf of Holyrood. (Record page 2, Express page 23)

 

Justice

Crime rates: Scotland’s crime rates have dropped to the lowest rate since 1974 according to new figures. There has also been an increase in the number of cases producing enough evidence to decide whether to bring a prosecution. However, sex offences have reached their highest level in 10 years with crimes against children and incidents of reported rape increasing. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has warned that the figures may be skewed due to the sharp rise in rape complaints following the Jimmy Savile scandal. (Scotsman page 1, Sandy Brindley in the Scotsman, Telegraph page 5, Times page 5, Record page 2, Sun page 2, Express page 1, Mail page 8, P&J page 15, Courier page 10)

 

Local Government

Right to buy: Plans announced by Aberdeen council could see council tenants lose their right to buy their council homes for the next ten years. The authority plans to extend the pressured area designations (Pads) and include new towns and villages in the scheme, which aims to protect affordable housing and reduce housing waiting lists but also prevents tenants buying their council homes. (P&J page 10)

 

Education

Sex education: A report from Holyrood’s health and sport committee has called for a new strategy to tackle levels of teenage pregnancy in Scotland. The committee has suggested teaching children sex education at an earlier age and considering free contraception for children aged 13. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 10, Times page 11, Record page 18, Mail page 1, Courier page 17)

 

University residency tests: Denis Edwards writing in the Scotsman criticises Universities Scotland’s suggestion of a residency test for students before receiving free tuition and suggests that it would weaken Scotland’s place in Europe.

 

Highers: A survey of 100 university admissions officials from the UK and US by the ACS International Schools group of private schools has revealed that 3 per cent of university admissions officers think Highers are the best preparation for degree courses. Scottish Conservative education spokesperson Elizabeth Smith has called on the Scottish Government to become more concerned about the uneven provision of Advanced Highers in Scotland, arguing that there is an increasing demand for skills which are the focus of Advanced Highers. (Mail page 7)