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.
Public sector reform: The Scottish Parliament’s local government committee has published a report on public sector reform. The report claims that public sector bodies are blocking change because they are “risk-averse” and that there was a “systemic lack of appetite for change”. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6)
Bill Walker: Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker appeared at a procedural hearing at the Sheriff Court in Edinburgh yesterday in relation to allegations of domestic abuse. A special defence of self-defence was lodged to three of the charges. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 5, Sun page 7, Express page 15, Courier page 11)
Falkirk Labour: The Labour Party has put its Falkirk constituency association under “special measures” following an internal report which raised concerns about the selection of a candidate to fight the next general election. Membership will be frozen for all individuals who joined the party following the resignation of the current MP for Falkirk, Eric Joyce, from the party, following his arrest for a fight in a bar. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 1, Record page 5, Times page 8, Express page 4, Courier page 1)
Holyrood shutdown: The Scottish government has reportedly come under fire for plans to “close down parliament” for four weeks prior to the referendum. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 13, P&J page 12)
Referendum: Peter Duncan in the Scotsman comments that both sides in the referendum debate need to improve their campaign strategies.
Welfare and independence: Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman comments that statistical smokescreens are being used in the debate about the affordability of welfare following independence.
Spending review: George Osborne is due to announce the government’s spending review today. (Sun page 2, Record page 22, Times page 4, Daniel Finkelstein in the Times, Mail page 2, Guardian page 2)
Sir Mervyn King: Sir Mervyn King has criticised banks for their intense lobbying against tougher balance sheet rules. He also commented that many homeowners in their thirties and forties have unsustainably large mortgages and would not survive if interest rates returned to normal levels. (Scotsman page 8, Times page 1, FT page 1, Guardian page 4)
Stamp duty: MSPs yesterday backed plans to replace stamp duty with a new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax to apply to all property sales from April 2015. John Swinney has said that the rates and tax bands will not be announced until September 2014 at the earliest. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 4, Mail page 12, Courier page 17)
Adam Smith College: Adam Smith College is currently being investigated by police following allegations of fraud. Investigations by KPMG and the Scottish government have been released by Audit Scotland which suggest a series of financial irregularities including “systemic overclaiming” of staff time and unusual severance payments. (Scotsman page 9)
Post-16 legislation: The final stage of the Post-6 legislation will be debated at Holyrood today. Education Secretary Mike Russell has said that the widening access agreements could see an extra 16,000 students from deprived areas win a place at university. (Scotsman page 9)
Leaver destinations: Figures published by the Scottish government have shown that 89.9 per cent of school leavers in 2011-12 went on to positive destinations – up from 87.2 per cent in 2010-11. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 8, Courier page 9)
Start school at 10am: Glasgow Green councillor Nina Baker is to put forward a motion at a council meeting calling for a group to be set up to investigate the possibility of high-school start times being moved to 10am. It follows a study in the New Scientists suggesting that teenagers need an extra hour in the morning to be able to function properly. (Scotsman page 19, Herald page 1, Record page 18)
Higher maths: Clive Chamber, a former principal examiner of maths for the SQA, has commented that this year’s maths was a “poor quality paper” and “it was clear it had been dumbed down compared to previous years.” (Scotsman page 22, Herald page 5, Telegraph page 6)
Midwives appeal: NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde have appealed to the Supreme Court following the decision by the Court of Session to back two midwives who claimed they should be entitled to refuse to delegate, supervise and support staff involved in abortions. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 5, Record page 19, Courier page 17)
Teenage pregnancies: Teenagers in deprived areas of Scotland are ten times more likely to fall pregnant than those the in the wealthiest parts according to figures published yesterday. (Scotsman page 23, Herald page 9, Courier page 11, P&J page 13)
Caner waiting times: NHS boards failed to meet a two-month target from referral to treatment for seven out of ten caner types according to official figures published yesterday. (Scotsman page 23, Herald page 11)
Stress: The BMA’s conference in Edinburgh yesterday warned that doctors were struggling to cope with the intensity of their workload and that pressure on NHS staff could not continue. (Herald page 2, Mail page 25)