Reform Scotland News: 18 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

Grangemouth: Alex Salmond has called for concessions from management and unions in a bid to solve the industrial dispute over the Grangemouth oil refinery. He urged Unite to guarantee in writing that it will not strike and asked the plant’s owners Ineos to return to normal production. Union leaders have also reportedly claimed workers were told they would lose their jobs if they did not accept the new contracts. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 2, Alison Rowat in the Herald, Record page 4-5, Telegraph page 1, FT page 4, Express page 1, Kerry Gill in the Express, Sun page 2, Times page 1, Guardian page 33, Mail page 6, P&J page 12, Courier page 8)

 

Independence: Alex Salmond, speaking at the SNP conference, has said that the trust Scots have in the Scottish Parliament will deliver a Yes vote at the referendum. Mr Salmond argued that Scots trust in Holyrood more than Westminster and criticised claims made by the Better Together campaign. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 6, Express page 2, Mail pages 12-13, P&J page 14)

 

Gaelic: Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has hailed Gaelic as an important part of Scottish culture during a visit to the Royal National Mod in Paisley. (Scotsman page 18)

 

Oil fund: Gavin McCrone writing in the Scotsman comments on the feasibility of an oil fund in an independent Scotland.

 

SNP conference: George Kerevan writing in the Scotsman comments on the SNP conference and claims the SNP is a consistent centraliser.

 

Alan Cochrane writing in the Telegraph comments on the effect the crisis at Grangemouth is having on the SNP conference.

 

Sexism row: A row has emerged over Equalities minister Jo Swinson not being offered a seat at Prime Minister’s Questions. The Scottish MP is seven-months pregnant but sources close to Ms Swinson reportedly said that offering her a seat would have been sexist. Ms Swinson attempted to defuse the situation but the Prime Minister’s spokesman said offering her a seat would have been the decent thing to do. (Herald page 3, Telegraph page 3, Sun page 2, Times page 8, Guardian page 4, Mail page 11)

 

Business: Martin Donnelly, the leading civil servant in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, has warned that rapid progress is needed if David Cameron’s pledge to make the UK one of the world’s leading business-friendly countries is to be realised. (Herald page 1)

 

Welfare: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce plans for a £20million fund for people suffering as a result of changes to housing benefit. The extra funding will allow councils to make discretionary housing payments for tenants struggling as a result of the changes. Ms Sturgeon is also expected to warn that if Scots reject independence, Westminster will cut welfare spending and Scotland will suffer. (Record page 8-9, Telegraph page 4, Sun pages 8-9, Times page 5, P&J page 14, Courier page 14)

 

TV funding: Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced a £2 million boost for Scotland film and TV production sector. The loan fund is to help improve film and television production infrastructure in Scotland. (Herald page 6, P&J page 15)

 

Economy

British Gas: The north of Scotland will reportedly be hit hardest by British Gas energy price increases for domestic customers. Prime Minister David Cameron has encouraged customers to consider switching suppliers. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 13, Record page 2, Telegraph page 1, FT page 4, Express pages 4-5, Sun pages 4-5, Times page 2, Guardian page 1, Mail page 1, P&J page 1, Courier page 16)

 

Petrol prices: Average petrol prices in the UK fell by 5.49p per litre between mid-September and mid-October. The fall is the biggest since 2008 but the AA has warned a further reduction in price is unlikely. (Scotsman page 5, Courier page 2)

 

Jobless households: According to analysis published by the Office of National Statistics, Scotland has the lowest number of children living in jobless households in the UK. Scotland also had a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the UK in April to June. (Scotsman page 16)

 

Fuel scheme: Motorists in seven mainland areas of Scotland will be guaranteed lower petrol and diesel prices if the Coalition Government’s rural fuel rebate scheme goes ahead. The scheme would see 5p cut off a litre. (Herald page 1, Times page 35, Mail page 19, P&J page 12, Courier page 2)

 

Pensioners: Government adviser Alan Milburn has suggested older people should shoulder more of the burden of austerity measures. Mr Milburn suggested removal of benefits such as free TV licenses and the winter fuel allowance. (Express page 5, Guardian page 13, Courier page 19)

 

Local Government

Statutory Notices: Edinburgh City Council is reportedly looking into a renewed enforcement programme for compulsory building repairs to the city’s ageing tenement buildings. The previous Statutory Notice scheme was axed amid allegations of bribery and overcharging. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 1)

 

Education

Adam Smith College: A report by the Auditor General for Scotland has strongly criticised the leadership of Adam Smith College in Fife and highlighted grant repayments the college has had to make. A police investigation into claims the college fraudulently claimed European funding is ongoing. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 4, Times page 46, Mail page 6, Courier page 11)

 

Education standards: Vice-principal of St Andrews University Professor Chris Hawkesworth has warned that independence is likely to cause significant damage to groundbreaking research at Scotland’s universities and see them falling down world rankings. (Telegraph page 4, Times page 5, Courier page 14)