Reform Scotland News: 14 October 2013

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 14 October 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

Banks: A study by Which? has found that some banks are charging more than payday lenders to borrow money. The research suggested that the mainstream credit industry was in as much need of regulation as frequently criticised payday lenders. Which? found that high-street borrowers could amass “sky-high default charges” if they use an unauthorised overdraft, similar to the huge debts amassed by the rolling over of payday loans. (Scotsman page 1, Times page 2)

Defence: SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson will tell this week’s SNP conference that soldiers would not face compulsory redundancy during their service contracts under independence, while also promising a better career structure with a greater range of senior military posts. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 6, P&J page 11)

Energy bills: Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey yesterday questioned Ed Miliband’s promised prize freeze on energy bills should Labour win the next general election, claiming that ministers were powerless to protect households from the rising costs of energy bills. Mr Davey added that green levies applied to energy bills would not be cut in order to aid consumers. (Times page 1, Telegraph page 6, FT page 1)

Co-op:  A senior figure within the Co-operative movement has criticised the group’s close relationship with the Labour party. David Bowman, formerly the editor of the Co-operative News also alleged that the Co-op would be better served by Scottish independence, claiming it would lead to more economic success. (Scotsman page 12)

Scottish Secretary: New Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael yesterday admitted that the UK Government had on occasions gone too far in its attempts to scare voters away from independence, adding that he was nonetheless very supportive of the general thrust of UK criticisms of Alex Salmond’s independence plans. (Times page 4)

Same-sex marriage: Ministers may potentially face legal action to block plans to legalise same-sex marriage in Scotland. An umbrella group claims that the Scottish government acted unlawfully by failing to acknowledge the views of 4,000 supporters of traditional marriage during the consultation process. (Sunday Times page 2)

Independence: Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman comments on the latest TNS/BMRB polling results, highlighting that the benchmark of “one year to go” hasn’t transformed the independence debate. She goes on to accuse the mainstream media of being ‘independence-averse’, and comments on both camps’ campaigning methods.

Ed Miliband: Brian Monteith in the Scotsman argues that while Ed Miliband’s ‘new, active and even bold’ approach to leadership may have been seen as successful, his apparent veer to the left and resulting policy can potentially be used by the Conservative party to attack him.

Economy

PMI: The Bank of Scotland’s latest purchasing managers’ index (PMI) indicates that Scotland’s economy last month kept up its record pace of expansion, reflecting both higher service sector activity and greater goods production. (Scotsman page 37, Herald page 24, Courier page 31)

Tax cut: David Cameron is to promise small businesses a £2,000 tax cut and new rules to protect them against late payment from big customers. The Government has said the measure will benefit over 1.25million companies, the majority of these being companies with fewer than 50 employees. (Telegraph page 1, FT page 2)

Pensions: Former Downing Street pensions adviser Ros Altmann has claimed that millions of workers will be exposed to risky, hard-to-understand and outdated retirement saving schemes under the Government’s landmark reforms. (Herald page 4, FT page 13, Courier page 31)

European Union: The EEF, which represents thousands of exporting engineering companies and manufacturers, has said that David Cameron’s commitment to a referendum on membership in the European Union is hurting business investment and is bad for exporters. (Times page 39)

Health

NHS: Health secretary Alex Neil will today announce plans to create a “genuinely seven-day” NHS in Scotland. Mr Neil said that the Scottish Government wanted to see a move away from variations in how care is provided at different times of the week, with a taskforce of senior NHS and government officials to be set up to oversee proposed changes. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 9, Sunday Times page 1)

Education

Secular education: The Edinburgh Secular Society has claimed that Churches hold the balance of power in nearly two thirds of council education committees, due to legislation which compels councils to appoint three religious representatives. The group has lodged a petition to repeal the law, claiming that “undemocratic, unelected, unscientific and self-serving” church leaders should not have a legal right to make decisions on school education. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 9, P&J page 14, Courier page 17)