Reform Scotland News: 21 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: According to Unite, hundreds of workers at Scotland’s largest oil refinery plant have rejected new pay and conditions proposed by managers. Workers have until 6pm this evening to agree to the reduced terms or possibly face the permanent closure of the plant. Grangemouth owner Ineos claims that 1 in 5 workers have already accepted the proposals. (Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 1, Daily Express page 4, The Sun page 25, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Times page 1, Press and Journal, The Guardian page 23, The Sunday Times page 1)

 SNP conference: On the final day of the party conference, Alex Salmond yesterday claimed that “trust”, “passion” and “commitment” would ensure a Yes vote. (Scotsman page 8, Daily Record page 2, The Sun page 5)

Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins criticised the “remote” and “ridiculous” Westminster government, as he urged voters to support independence in order to rid the country of “warmongers and welfare bashers”. (The Herald page 6, The Times page 6)

In an attempt to reassure academics, the Education Secretary Michael Russell has insisted that independence would not starve universities of research funding; while pledging low-interest loans to help post-graduates with living expenses from 2015 (The Herald page 6, The Times page 7)

Independence White Paper: Alex Salmond revealed yesterday that the blueprint outlining Scottish independence will be published on November 26th 2013. (The Sunday Times page 2)

Meanwhile, the ‘Better Together’ leader Alistair Darling warns that the SNP’s White Paper will be worthless unless it makes clear the party’s ‘Plan B’ for the currency post-independence. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman)

Trident policy: The SNP last night reemphasised its policy on Trident removal, despite Alex Salmond suggesting that such a deal may not happen until 2016. (Scotsman page 9, Daily Express page 2, Daily Record page 2, The Times page 7, The Guardian page 7)

Referendum debate: Despite polls showing a high approval for the SNP’s devolved administration proposals, pro-independence support is lacking. (Financial Times page 3)

In an interview with Andrew Marr, Alex Salmond insists that Britain would survive Scottish independence because it is a mere “geographical expression.” (The Daily Telegraph, page 6)

Alan Cochrane in The Daily Telegraph says that unionists should be more forthright in their campaign to prevent separation. 

Lesley Riddoch in The Scotsman discusses a “shameful” week for British democracy and questions whether this will sway Scottish voters towards voting ‘yes’ to independence.   

Andrew McKie in The Herald argues that the SNP cannot guarantee what independence would bring.

John McTernan writing in The Times discusses how Alex Salmond is sketching an independent Scotland defined by not being England (Times page 26).

Economy

Scottish Enterprise: Taxpayers reportedly face a £10million bill after a succession of failed investments in companies backed by Scottish Enterprise. (Daily Express page 10, The Times page 17)

Energy bill rise: In a week where energy giants have increased their prices, First Direct chief executive Ian McCaig warns that soaring energy bills could double to £3,000 a year by 2020. (Daily Express page 1)

Energy provider RWE npower today increased their electricity and gas prices by 9.3% and 11.1% respectively from December 1st 2013. (The Herald , The Courier

Nuclear plant: Westminster is today expected to approve the UK’s first new nuclear power station in a generation. (Scotsman page 6, The Herald page 8, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Guardian page 1)

Justice

Policing: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill rejected the UK government’s proposals to appoint people to senior positions in Police Scotland, without having been so much as a police constable. (Scotsman page 9, Daily Express page 2)

Corroboration review: Kenny MacAskill has urged lawyers to back plans to end the requirement for corroboration in criminal cases, which he argues is necessary to ensure justice for victims. (The Herald page 6)

Stalking convictions: Despite the introduction of new legislation to further protect victims, less than one-third of the 1,400 alleged stalking cases reported in Scotland in the last three years resulted in a conviction. (The Herald page 1, The Times page 7)

Health

Alcohol licensing: A government consultation has found that Scotland’s alcohol sales laws are too complex and need streamlining (The Herald page 5)

Parents’ drinking: According to research for the industry-founded charity Drinkaware, 46% of 10 – 14 year olds have seen their parents drunk, while a further 29% claimed they had seen their parents intoxicated on more than one occasion. (Scotsman page 17, The Herald page 8)

E-cigarettes: The British Medical Association’s board of science in Glasgow has urged caution over Celtic and Rangers football club’s partnership with brands of e-cigarettes, fearing that their advertisement helps to maintain addiction and could attract more people to the product. (Scotsman)