Reform Scotland News: 19 July 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




The Open: The Prime Minister has joined the row over men-only golf clubs and criticised Muirfield’s men-only membership policy. The row has been criticised for overshadowing the sporting event. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Maria Miller in the Herald, Alison Rowat in the Herald, Times page 19, Express page 4, Record page 4, Guardian page 9, Mail page 8, P&J page 21, Courier page 13)


Alex Salmond: Alex Salmond has been criticised for being a member of a male-only Burns Club despite boycotting the Open Championship at Muirfield on the grounds of sexism. Mr Salmond’s spokesman has said that the issue is with men-only clubs that do not have an equivalent women’s group. (Scotsman page 6, Telegraph page 1)


First-time buyers: The Scottish Government has been criticised for failing to invest £7.7million of a £40million fund set up to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder. (Scotsman page 20)


Plastic bags: Environment secretary Richard Lochhead has called for decisive action to be taken to reduce the number of disposable carrier bags used in Scotland. The Scottish Government has announced plans to introduce a new policy, with shoppers being charged 5p for single-use bags from October 2014. (Scotsman page 22, Herald page 5, Mail page 12, P&J page 16, Courier page 16)


Lobbying: Prime Minister David Cameron is continuing to come under criticism over his choice of Lynton Crosby as an advisor. Mr Crosby formerly worked with firms including tobacco giant Philip Morris and concerns have been raised that measures to make cigarettes have plain packaging were dropped on the advice of Mr Crosby. (Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 2Times page 16, Guardian page 3, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian)


UK-Ireland visa plan: The SNP have welcomed plans to develop a Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland as a sign of possible future cooperation with an independent Scotland. (Herald page 6)


“Black Paper”: Coalition ministers are reportedly considering drawing up a “Black Paper” to set out the key questions Alex Salmond’s White Paper on Scottish independence should answer. (Herald page 6)


Scottish government loans: The UK Treasury has indicated that when Scotland gets the power to borrow money for the first time in 2015-16, the UK will not underwrite any loans taken out by the Scottish Government. (Times page 1)


Holyrood probe:  Labour spin doctor Paul Sinclair may be facing a Holyrood investigation following allegations that he has made inappropriate comments about Alex Salmond on social media site Twitter. (Sun page 4)


Football: Alex Salmond has been accused trying to avoid Scotland’s football fans after it emerged that he will not be attending the England v Scotland match at Wembley. The criticism has come due to Mr Salmond attending a number of other high-profile sporting events, including Wimbledon. (Express page 7, Kerry Gill in the Express)


Child poverty: A report has revealed that the cost of tackling child poverty in Scotland has reached £2.1billion a year. According to the research done by Child Poverty Action Group, approximately 36,367 children in Glasgow live below the poverty line. Shelter Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to do more to tackle child poverty by providing accommodation for poorer families. (Record page 6)


Spin Doctors: Alex Salmond is reportedly recruiting seven communications and marketing officers. A Scottish Government spokesman said the workers will focus on the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup. But critics have expressed concern that new appointments are to allow existing employees to give more time to the referendum. (Mail page 10)



Interest-only mortgages: The Financial Conduct Authority has concluded that the vast majority of home owners sold interest-only mortgages understood what they were doing. Some calls have been made for the FCA to ensure borrowers were not victims of mis-selling. (Scotsman page 23)


Fracking: Scottish environmental campaigners have criticised Chancellor George Osborne after it emerged tax breaks are to be offered to firms involved in fracking for natural gas. (Herald page 2, FT page 1, Guardian page 2, Mail page 21, P&J page 20)


Riverside Inverclyde: Figures have revealed that Riverside Inverclyde, the agency set up by Scottish Enterprise and Inverclyde Council to regenerate one of Scotland’s most deprived areas, has met just 7% of its job targets and built 5% of the homes it promised. Leaders at the agency have defended their record saying that it had achieved many successes despite the recession and continuing downturn. (Herald page 8)


Independence and business: Scottish businessman Steve Forsyth has warned that overseas companies are refusing to sign contracts in Scots law because of the uncertainty of how Scottish independence will affect any deals they make. (Times page 9)



Faster trains: The Government has announced it has ordered a new fleet of faster trains for the east coast main line that will cut journey times between Edinburgh and London to just over four hours by 2019. UK ministers have also suggested they want to raise the line’s 125mph speed limit to 140mph after 2019 to enable the new trains to reach their top speed. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 7, P&J page 14)


Heathrow airport: George Kerevan writing in the Scotsman argues that Scotland’s economic future and connectivity with the rest of the world is affected by what decisions are made about Heathrow airport’s proposed third runway.


Petrol prices: Experts have warned that a surge in wholesale oil prices could result in the price of a litre of petrol increasing by 5p. (Express page 1, Record page 2, P&J page 7)



Alcohol deaths: New research has shown that deaths linked to alcohol are rising among younger women in Scotland. The study found that although men have higher levels of alcohol harm, the death rate in women is rising disproportionately higher than in men. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 10, Times page 16, Sun page 2, Guardian page 7, Mail page 1)


NHS inquiry: Labour health spokesman Neil Findlay has called for a full inquiry into the NHS in Scotland. The call comes after a survey of nurses revealed patients are being cared for in hospital corridors, day rooms, cupboards and storage areas. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 7, Record page 2, Mail page 18)


Ecstasy: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has produced a controversial guide on how to take ecstasy safely. The advice has been issued as concern grows over deaths in Scotland due to fake drugs. (Herald page 9)



Universities’ code of governance: The UCU lecturers’ union and NUS Scotland have called on Scottish ministers to reject a new code of governance for universities. The code has been criticised for rejecting specific recommendations from an earlier review on university governance. (Herald page 7, Courier page 22)