Reform Scotland News: 16 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

Royal Mail: Business Secretary Vince Cable has been called back to appear before the business select committee at Westminster to answer allegations that Royal Mail was sold off too cheaply. (Scotsman page 1, Record page 2, Herald page 3, Ian Bell in the Herald, FT page 3)

Plebgate: The Independent Police Complaints Commission has questioned the “honesty and integrity” of three officers who met with Andrew Mitchell MP over the plebgate row and reportedly gave a false account of the meeting. (Scotsman page 1, Sun page 2, Times page 1, Herald page 3, Express page 5, FT page 4, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 4, Courier page 16, Mail page 12)

‘Bedroom tax’: Nick Clegg said yesterday that research was needed into the ‘bedroom tax’ to look at whether tenants were able to take a smaller house or flat to avoid a reduction in their benefit.  (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 18)

Food banks: The Trussell Trust has revealed that between April and September 22,073 Scots were referred to the charity for three days’ worth of food, compared with 4,021 in the same period last year. (Scotsman page 15, Record page 1, Herald page 1, Courier page 20)

Press regulation: A YouGov poll has suggested that 76% of people have concerns about politicians regulating the press. (Sun page 2)

UK/ Holyrood relations: The new Scottish Secretary has reportedly commented that the First Minister should stop “trotting out a list of grievances”. The comments come has Alex Salmond let it be known that he intends to raise a number of issues, including the ‘bedroom tax’, at the Joint Ministerial Council in London. (Times page 1, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 1, P&J page 16, Mail page 8)

Election spending: Unison has called for Scottish political parties to agree to have their 2016 manifestos audited due to the budget cuts due in 2016/17 and 2017/18. (Herald page 1)

Wind farms and independence: Protect Wild Scotland has commented that independence would lead to wind farms “littering” the Scottish countryside and new salmon farms “polluting Scottish waters”. (Telegraph page 12)

GCHQ: Labour MP Nick Brown has suggested that GCHQ and the UK’s other intelligence services could be undertaking mass surveillance without parliament’s consent. (Guardian page 1)

Freedom of Information: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on the Scottish government’s attitude to freedom of information requests. 

Deputy Speaker: David Maddox in the Scotsman comments on the election to replace Nigel Evans as Deputy Speaker in the House of Commons.

Independence: Gregor Gall in the Scotsman comments that the Yes campaign should focus on demonstrating that individual Scots will be better off after independence, rather than whether Scotland as a single entity would be better off.

Separation: Roger Boyes in the Times comments on what the Scots can learn from the break-up Czechoslovakia, and the possibility of a ‘Tartan Divorce’.

Economy

High street sales: Total sales were up by 1.8% in September compared to the same period last year according to the Scottish Retail Consortium KPMG retail sales monitor.  (Scotsman page 8)

Broadband: The Moray Firth is to the first area to benefit from a £260m investment for fibre broadband in areas where it is not seen as commercially viable. (Scotsman page 14, Record page 2)

Local government

Council tax freeze: Dougie Black from Unison has criticised the SNP’s council tax freeze, arguing that it is no longer feasible. (Express page 25, Courier page 23)

Health

Complaints: The number of complaints and inquiries about doctors in Scotland which needed to be examined by the General Medical Council to see if the medic’s fitness to practise was affected, increased from 342 in 2007 to 948 in 2012. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 10, Mail page 2)