Reform Scotland News: 12 September 2013

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 12 September 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

Scottish budget: Yesterday John Swinney set out the Scottish government’s spending plans for the next two years. Measures include a £109m real-terms cuts to local authorities in 2015/16, a £20m fund to help people struggling due to the “bedroom tax”, and plans to use the new borrowing powers, borrowing the maximum £296m in 2015/16, to invest in building projects.  (Scotsman page 1, John McLaren in the Scotsman, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Sun page 2, Herald page 6, FT page 4, Telegraph page 10, Express page 1, Kerry Gill in the Express, Times page 1, Peter Jones in the Times, Guardian page 7, Mail page 1, John MacLeod in the Mail, P&J page 14, Courier page 13, Record page 6

By-election: Susan Dalgety, a former adviser to Jack McConnell, and Kate Higgins, an independence campaigner, are urging Labour and the SNP to adopt all-women shortlists to select candidates from the Dunfermline by-election on 24 October. (Scotsman page 1, Susan Dalgety & Kate Higgins in the Scotsman, Herald page 12, Telegraph page 9, Mail page 4, Courier page 16)

UN & the bedroom tax: Raquel Rolnik, a UN special rappateur on housing, has stood by her report criticising the “bedroom tax”. Ms Rolnik said that her trip to inspect housing had been at the invitation of the UK government.  However, Tory chairman Grant Shapps has insisted that she had not been invited and had “clearly come over with an agenda”. (Scotsman page 12, FT page 4, Telegraph page 18, Express page 23, Times page 18, Guardian page 7, Zoe Williams in the Guardian, Mail page 10, Courier page 17, Record page 1)

Scottish Socialist Party: Former MSP and Scottish Socialist Party leader Colin Fox has claimed that the independence referendum offers Scots a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to create a socialist Scottish republic, arguing that a Yes vote in next year’s referendum would shift Scotland’s “political gravity to the left”. (Herald page 2, Telegraph page 6)

BBC: Culture Secretary Maria Miller has promised to increase powers for auditors of the BBC, and create a system in which the National Audit Office was allowed access to the BBC “without hindrance or delay”. (Herald page 15, FT page 2, John Gapper in the Financial Times, Telegraph page 8)

Royal Mail privatisation: Ministers will today give the go-ahead for the stock market floatation of the Royal Mail, potentially valuing the company at £3billion. The Royal Mail’s 150,000 staff have been promised a 10% stake, equal to £2,000 each if the company is valued at £3billion. (FT page 1, Telegraph B1)

Nigel Evans: Nigel Evans MP gave a personal statement to the House of Commons yesterday where he stepped down as deputy speaker as he faces charges of sex offences against seven men. (Scotsman page 13, Sun page 2, Times page 13)

Gay Marriage:  The Free Church of Scotland has accused the Scottish government of opening up “this minefield on behalf of a tiny minority” with regard to gay marriage. (Times page 1, Mail page 24)

Alex Salmond: Alex Massie in the Scotsman considers whether Alex Salmond will continue to lead the SNP if Scotland votes against independence next year.)

Economy

Unemployment: Official figures for May to July have shown that unemployment in Scotland rose by 10,000 to 203,000, compared with a fall of 24,000 across the UK as a whole.  However, the Scottish unemployment rate of 7.4 per cent is still lower than the UK rate of 7.7 per cent. (Scotsman page 8, Sun page 2, Herald page 14, Mail page 2, Courier page 20)

Energy targets: According to a report from Audit Scotland, meeting Scotland’s 2020 energy targets will be “challenging” and hopes of creating 40,000 jobs in renewable are “optimistic”. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 6, Mail page 4, P&J page 1)

Pensions: Pensions Minister Steve Webb has claimed that Britain’s pension gap is worse than originally thought, saying that up to 13 million people are headed towards a drop in living standards once retiring. (FT page 4)

Health

NHS proposals: A report from the Future Hospital Commission, set up by the Royal College of Physicians, has made a number of recommendations on the future of NHS hospital care, including proposals to move to a seven-days-a-week provision to address concerns about out-of-hours periods. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 9, Guardian page 13) 

Justice

Intelligence commissioner: Police Scotland chief constable, Sir Stephan House has repeated his desire for an “intelligence commissioner” to prevent criminals getting a foothold in the licensed trade. Leading figures in the licensing industry have expressed concern however, saying that proposals have “all the fairness of a witch trial”. (Herald  page 5)

Transport

Glasgow Airport: Passengers at Glasgow airport rose by 125,000 to 2.4million during the June to August period, making it the airport’s busiest summer since 2008. The airport has attributed much of the increase to the success of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, as well as increased airplane capacity. (Herald page 31)