Reform Scotland News: 5 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.

Foreign investment: Foreign investment in Scotland has reached a 15-year high according to a survey by Ernst & Young.  76 major projects secured foreign investment in 2012, a 49% increase on 2011.  The survey reportedly suggested that there was “no sign” of investors being deterred from coming to Scotland due to the possibility of independence.  The increase also outstripped the 2.7% increase recorded across the UK. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 2, FT page 3, Courier page 16)
Referendum timing: Professor David Bell has commented that the timing of the referendum could “hardly be worse” for the independence campaign due to the crisis in the eurozone which had led to “increased scrutiny” on currency-sharing pacts.  (Scotsman
page 10, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman)
Scottish civil service: Robert Soames, chief executive of Aggreko, has claimed that an independent Scotland’s civil service would cost £700million a year. (Scotsman
page 10, Times page 11)
House of Lords: Nick Clegg has intimated that a planned bill to recall or sack errant MPs could incorporate proposals to expel convicted peers from the House of Lords. (Herald
page 6 , Sun page 2)
Gay marriage: A wrecking amendment to legislation to introduce gay marriage in England and Wales was defeated by 390 votes to 148 as the bill passed the second reading in the House of Lords yesterday. (Scotsman
page 5, Herald page 2)
Migrant workers: House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has reportedly commented that Eastern European immigrants to the UK show more “aptitude and commitment to work” than British people. (Telegraph
page 1)
Independence: Jim McColl has reportedly commented that the next year’s referendum is about creating “an independent Scottish Parliament within the UK”. (Telegraph
page 1)
Scotland, rUK and the EU:
Willie Rennie in the Scotsman argues that the UK leaving the EU would be bad for Scotland, whether Scotland was independent or not.

House building: 14,877 new homes were built in 2012; a drop of 42% on 2007 levels and is the lowest level since 1947. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 1)
Ed Balls:
Ian Bell in the Herald criticises Ed Balls’ speech, where he committed Labour to working within George Osborne’s spending plans, as “catastrophic” for Labour as it said the “Tories were right all along”.

Student bursaries: Lucy Hunter, a former head of higher education and student support for the Scottish government, has advised that the government’s proposals to reduce student bursaries in favour of larger loans will lead to Scots from poorer backgrounds graduating with more debt that their peers. (Scotsman page 1, Lucy Hunter in the Scotsman)
Industrial action: The Scottish Parent Teacher Council has reportedly commented that parents were already anxious about the roll-out of the Curriculum for Excellence and did not support the industrial action being threatened by teachers. (Herald
page 3)
Religion in schools: More than 600 people have signed a Scottish Parliament raised by Secular Scotland calling for a change in the law to make it easier for parents to opt their children out of religious observance in schools. (Herald page 4)
Referendum packs for schools: Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS teaching union, has commented that schools referendum packs put together by the Better Together campaign are likely to have an inherent bias, and instead information should be prepared by Education Scotland.  The Better Together campaign has reportedly now decided not to send packs to schools. (Herald
page 9, Mail page 10, Courier page 17)

Court closures: Lawyers have reportedly warned that plans to close 17 courts across Scotland could lead to miscarriages of justice. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Times page 2, Record page 8, Express page 6, Mail page 26, Courier page 10, P&J page 14)

Police numbers: The number of police officers in Scotland has reached a record high of 17,496. (Record page 2, Mail page 26)
Seats on trains: It has been reported that the main benefits to passengers of the upgrade to the Edinburgh-Glasgow line, including longer trains with more seats, will not happen until December 2018. (Scotsman page 19)

Private sector spending: Private sector spending by the NHS in Scotland reportedly grew by 60% over the past year, with NHS Lothian accounting for almost half the increase. (Herald page 5, Scotsman page 18, Sun page 2, Express page 9, Mail page 4, P&J page 6)
Out of hours: Less than one in 20 GP practices in Scotland reportedly operate out of hours.  According to reports this has lead to a greater reliance on NHS 24 and A&E departments. (Mail page 1)