Reform Scotland News: 12 August 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
Miliband criticism: 
Despite a recent plea for ‘iron discipline’, Ed Miliband’s leadership of Labour has faced fresh criticism from within the party. Former whip Graham Stringer accused labour of an ‘almost deafening silence’ since the summer break at Westminster. The Labour leader has also been urged to sack some members of his cabinet, including Andy Burnham and Ed Balls. Mr Stringer also called for the return of former Labour spin doctor Peter Mandelson. (Scotsman page 9, Herald 
page 4, Telegraph page 1, Times page 2, Sun page 2, Guardian page 4, Daily Mail page 8, P&J page 11)
 
Andrew McKie, writing in the Herald, comments on the leadership of the Labour party and the Conservative party.
 
Bank gender quotas: Under a new European directive, British banks will be legally obliged to set quotas for the number of women they will have on their boards. Banks will become the first businesses in Britain which need to set targets for gender balance. Details are being set out by UK regulators, and the new regulations are to come into force by the start of next year. (Scotsman page 1)
 
Fringe record year: Some Edinburgh Fringe promoters have speculated that 2013 could be a record year for sales after they suffered last year due to clashing with the London Olympics. (Scotsman 
page 7)
 
Armed forces cuts: Vice-Admiral Sir Jeremy Blackham has warned that cuts to the UK’s armed forces will make the country’s nuclear deterrent ineffective. He said that the nuclear option would be a ‘disproportionate response’ to a conventional assault, and that enemies would be prepared to call the UK’s bluff. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 10, P&J page 16)
 
Tesco: Chris Bryant, the shadow immigration minister, will criticise Tesco in a speech today over their recruitment of foreign workers. He is set to claim that Tesco distribution centre was moved to Kent, where a ‘large percentage’ of the staff are from Eastern European countries. (Scotsman page 18, Herald 
page 7, Guardian page 1, Daily Mail page 12)
 
Monarchy Referendum: SNP minister Aileen Campbell has suggested there should be a referendum on the monarchy in an independent Scotland. The Scottish Children’s Minister said that it would be ‘up to the people to decide’ if the Queen remained as head of state, if voters back independence in September next year. (Telegraph 
page 8, Express page 15, Sun page 2, Daily Mail page 20)
 
Cold Calls: John Swinney, the SNP finance secretary, has pledged that there would be a crackdown on nuisance calls in an independent Scotland. (Sunday Times page 8, Express page 7)
 
Land Reform: 
Lesley Riddoch, writing in the Scotsman, comments on the need for land reform in Scotland.
 
EIF and Independence: 
Brian Monteith, writing in the Scotsman, comments on the debate about the absence of the independence referendum in next year’s official EIF programme.
 
This issue is discussed further in an interview with EIF director Sir Jonathan Mills in the Herald. (Herald 
page 11, Times page 14, Scotland on Sunday page 5)
 
Shale Gas: Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson, writing in the Sunday Times, comments on the need for shale gas in the UK. (Sunday Times page 3)
 
Aberdeen Donside by-election: Jenny Hjul, writing in the Sunday Times, and 
Euan McColm, writing in the Scotland on Sunday, comment on Alex Salmond’s school visit during the Aberdeen Donside by-election.
 
Independence Referendum: 
Jim Gallagher, writing in the Scotland on Sunday, comments on the possible outcomes of next year’s independence referendum.
 
Population: 
Ian Macwhirter, writing in the Sunday Herald, comments on population growth and immigration in Scotland.
 
Economy
Welfare devolution:
 Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has said that there is a ‘strong case’ for further devolution of the welfare budget, but control over immigration law would remain at Westminster. (Herald 
page 5, Scotland on Sunday page 1)
 
Jobs needed: The Resolution Foundation, a think tank, has warned that Scotland needs 110,000 more jobs to return to the employment levels enjoyed before the financial crisis five years ago. (Herald 
page 2, Record page 2)
 
UK wages: Workers in the UK have experienced one of the biggest falls in wages in the European Union, according to new figures. Adjusted for inflation, average hourly wages have fallen by 5.5% compared to mid-2010. Only three of the other 26 member countries experienced a larger drop in wages. (Scotsman 
page 1, Daily Mail page 2)
 
Shooting season: Experts believe that Scotland could have one of its best grouse shooting seasons in years. Gamekeepers believe that the recent heat wave has helped bird populations to recover after a string of cold winters and wet summers. Grouse shooting reportedly adds £30m on average to the Scottish economy; figures are expected to be much higher this year. (Scotsman 
page 3Cate Devine in the Herald)
 
Royal Mail privatisation: Plans to privatise the Royal mail have come under attack, as the National Federation of Subpostmasters urged its members not to promote the sell off. The Post Office was reportedly set to contact thousands of post offices this week, asking them to stock information on how the public can buy Royal Mail shares. (Scotsman page 5, Herald 
page 9)
 
Spending: Growth in UK consumer spending was boosted by last month’s sunny weather. The 4.8% UK-wide increase was driven by spending on groceries, petrol and clothing, and pubs saw growth of 10.8%. Scotland reported one of the lowest increases in spending, at 3.6%. (Scotsman page 7)
 
Independent economy: In an article for the Institute of Directors, Alistair Darling has called for clarity from the SNP on how the economy of an independent Scotland would look. In his message to business leaders, the head of the Better Together campaign warns that voters have not been given enough information. (Herald 
page 6)
 
Late payments: Vince Cable is set to explore the possibilities of imposing a fine or levy on businesses that are late in paying their suppliers, after the voluntary prompt payment code has so far proven ineffective. (FT page 1)
 
RBS Sale: Vince Cable has revealed that the return of Royal Bank of Scotland to the private sector could be delayed for five years as the bank is extensively restructured. (Times page 13, Record page 2)
 
Meanwhile, a consortium of fund managers is reportedly set to make a £1.5bn bid for 315 Royal Bank of Scotland branches this week. (Sunday Times page 3)
 
Health
‘Whitewash’ reports: Concerns have been raised about Scottish hospital inspectors after it emerged that details of overcrowding were left out of an official report. Comments highlighting the large number of beds in wards at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley were left out of a report by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS). (Herald page 1)
 
Ageing population: According to the Scottish Government, £67million will be spent over the next year to reduce the pressure from the country’s ageing population on health services. (Herald page 9, Express 
page 4, Record page 2, Sun page 2, Scotland on Sunday page 6)
 
Education
Exam passes: 
The Scottish Qualifications Authority has been criticised after it emerged that some pupils have passed exams this year with scores as low as 33%. National results indicated a record high pass rate of 98.9% for Standard Grades and 77.4% for Highers. Standard Grade Spanish, graphic communication, French, maths and geography could all be passed with a result below 40%. (Scotsman 
page 6, Sunday Times page 1, Daily Mail page 9)
 
New Curriculum: Concerns have been voiced about Scotland’s new exam system after it emerged that pupils are studying fewer subjects than before. According to the SQA, pupils are being submitted for an average of six exams in 2014 compared to seven under the previous system of Standard Grades. (Herald 
page 1)
 
Scottish Universities: A report supported by law firm Marks & Clerk claims that Scottish Universities are the best in the UK at turning their research into businesses. More spin-out companies have reportedly been set up in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK. (Times page 3)