Reform Scotland News: 24 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

Politics

David Cameron: Following the dropping of plans for plain cigarette packaging, the Prime Minister has reportedly been warned that he must make clear whether government policy was influenced by his election advisor Lynton Crosby, whose lobbying firm is reported to have worked for tobacco firm Phillip Morris. In response, Downing Street has released a document outlining Mr. Crosby’s ‘principles of engagement’. (Scotsman page 18, Telegraph page 12, Times page 8, Herald page 6, Guardian page 2)

Charities: Scotland’s charity regulator has announced that charities may participate in the independence referendum debate and declare their support for the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ campaigns. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 1, Mail page 22)

Commonwealth Games: With a year until the start of the Commonwealth Games, Lord Smith of Kelvin, chairman of Glasgow 2014, has claimed that the event will build a golden era in Scottish sport and culture. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6) 

New archbishop: The Vatican will announce today the new Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 3, Times page 8, Sun page 15, Record page 2, Mail page 29)

Independence: Kevin Toolis in the Scotsman argues that support for Scottish independence is based more on voters’ emotional and moral perspectives, rather than on economic concerns.

Party politics: Colin McInnes in the Scotsman argues that commitment to party ideologies has restricted political, economic and cultural discourse in Scotland.

Royal Family: Emma Cowing in the Scotsman comments upon the media excitement regarding the birth of the Royal baby, and Simon Jenkins in the Guardian comments upon the media intrusion into the lives of the Royal family. Ian Bell in the Herald comments that the present popularity of the royal family may be temporary, whilst Seumas Milne in the Guardian argues that an elected head of state is overdue.

Economy

North Sea oil: With the publication of a paper on the future of the oil and gas industry in an independent Scotland, Alex Salmond has assured North Sea firms that no higher taxes would be imposed upon them and that they would be advised in advance of any reforms planned by the Government. However, the First Minister’s economic proposals have been criticised by both Alistair Darling and Glasgow University’s Centre for Public Policy for Regions, with the value of the remaining oil disputed. (Scotsman page 12, Brian Wilson in the Scotsman, Herald page 2, Telegraph page 12, Times page 17, Sun page 18, Record page 2, Daily Express page 19, Mail page 22, Courier page 20, P&J page 17)

Construction sector: A poll by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has found that the construction sector is enjoying a rise in new building projects. Whilst the increase reverses the downward trend which started in 2007, RICS Scotland warn a full recovery is still a long way off. (Herald page 2)

Inward investment:  UK Trade and Investment’s annual report on inward investment has found that inward investment in Scotland has increased by 16%, a higher rate than the UK as a whole, which saw an 11% rise. (Herald page 11)

Wind energy: Wind energy industry body Scottish Renewables has warned Scottish Ministers that wind farms will have to be built on wild land and near homes in order to meet green energy targets. (Telegraph page 11, Times page 16, Mail page 22, P&J page 15)

Vince Cable: The Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned that the Bank of England has held back small business lending and damaged the economic recovery by demanding banks hold on to high levels of capital. (FT page 1, Guardian page 21)

RBS: Former HSBC banker Mark McCombe has emerged as the leading external candidate to be appointed as the new Chief Executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland. (FT page 1)

Beer Duty Escalator: Colin Valentine in the Scotsman argues that Chancellor George Osborne’s scrapping of the Beer Duty Escalator, and 1p reduction in tax on beer in the 2013 budget, means that the UK pub industry is entering a period of recovery.

Health

Emergency Calls: A third of 999 calls to the Scottish Ambulance Service had to wait longer than 10 seconds for their call to be answered last year, with the target of 90% missed every month in 2012-13. Opposition politicians and patient representatives have expressed concern, although the Scottish Ambulance Service report that call handling performance is now on target. (Scotsman page 9, Daily Express page 9)

Patient Care: The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow has warned that government targets and the pressure to save money are responsible for poor patient care in Scottish hospitals. (Herald page 7)

Legionnaires costs: An interim report presented to NHS Lothian has found that a major outbreak of Legionnaires disease in Edinburgh last year cost the NHS £700,000. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 6, Courier page 20)

Crime

Rape sentencing: Lord Carloway has expressed concern that rape of a partner or ex-partner receives a lesser sentence in Scotland than rape of a stranger, with campaigners calling for an end to more lenient sentences. (Scotsman page 9)

Prison costs: The Scottish prison service has revealed that a total of £77,000 has been paid out in compensation to prison guards injured at work. (Sun page 15)

Transport

A9 dualling: The former Principal of the Free Church College in Edinburgh, Professor Donald Macleod, has called for the work to upgrade the A9 motorway to be speeded up, following the death of three road users in early July. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 11, Telegraph page 11, Courier page 8)