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Reform Scotland News: 22 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

Plebgate: Three police officers have apologised for “poor judgement in talking to the media” following their meeting with Andrew Mitchell MP, though they did not apologised for the comments they made.  At the time the police officers claimed the then Tory chef whip refused to provide an account of the plebgate incident.  However, a transcript of the meeting showed that Andrew Mitchell had apologised for swearing at the officers but denied using the word “plebs”. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 9, Times page 5, Courier page 17, Mail page 12)

Best place to live: According to MoneySupermarket’s Quality of Living Index, Edinburgh is the second best place to live in Britain.  However, Glasgow recorded one of the lowest quality of living scores. (Scotsman page 14)

Wind farm: A public inquiry into the Glenmorie wind farm in the Highlands has begun. (Scotsman page 17)

SNP links with Northern Allies: Angus Robertson is visiting Iceland this afternoon as part of the SNP’s ‘international outreach initiative’ (Herald page 6)

Currency union: Foreign exchange specialists have reportedly cautioned that the United Kingdom will never agree to a currency union with an independent Scotland (Herald page 6)

By-Election: SNP election candidate Shirley-Anne Sommerville has accused the Labour Party of producing the ‘most desperate and misleading leaflet ever produced in an election campaign’, ahead of the Dunfermline by-election this week. (Herald page 6, Record page 13, Courier page 17)

Social justice: Peter Jones in the Scotsman considers why Scotland needs independence to address problems related to social justice.

Alex Salmond: Matt Qvortup in the Scotsman examines Alex Salmond’s SNP conference speech and argues that he has been transformed into a man with courage and vision

Economy

Grangemouth: The Scottish government is reportedly trying to find a buyer for the Grangemouth refinery and petro-chemical plant.  The deadline for workers accepting new terms and conditions from plant owners Ineos passed with more than 665 staff refusing the deal. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Sun page 1, Telegraph page 6, Times page 1, Express page 1, Record page 1, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 12, Mail page 4)

Energy prices: Npower has announced that it is to increase its prices by 10.4%, becoming the third of the big six energy companies to announce price increases recently. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 13, Sun page 1, Telegraph page 4, Times page 8, Express page 2, Guardian page 9, Press and Journal page 10)

House Building: Members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors have reported a 35% rise in privately funded housing projects in the last three months, compared with the same time last year. (Herald page 3)

Cost of Living: 23% of 50 to 64 year olds are now using their savings to pay for food or household bills, according to a survey by Which? (Herald page 5)

Pensions: The Pensions Policy Institute has suggested the UK Government may need to consider making it mandatory for workers to save into a pension (Telegraph page 1)

Blackouts and Water Shortages: 46% of Scots worry about losing power, water and fuel during winter and 33% more Scots than last year, are concerned about emergencies caused by the weather (Times page 2, Mail page 1)

Co-operative Merger: The Co-operative has been forced to abandon its bank’s mutual structure but will remain the largest shareholder and has promised it will not abandon its ethical values. (Financial Times page 1, Guardian page 1)

MP Pay Rise: The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority plans to give MPs an 11% pay rise while all three party leaders have condemned the idea of a large pay increase for MPs. (Telegraph page 14, Express page 4, Record page 2, Guardian page 12, Mail page 6)

Singapore: Roddy Gow in the Scotsman argues that Singapore offers lessons of how Scotland’s economy could be successful, whether Scotland was independent or not.

Education

Industrial action: A ballot by teaching union the EIS has resulted in 60 per cent of voters opposing the McCormac report, which would require teachers to carry out more non-classroom duties along with a 1 per cent pay rise back dated to April and better terms for supply teachers.  The union has reportedly hinted that this could be a step towards industrial action by teachers in Scotland. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 2, Times page 9, Express page 10, Press and Journal page 16)

Health

Round the clock care: Dr Nikki Thompson in the Scotsman responds to comments from Alex Neil saying that he envisaged “more senior doctors being on site at weekends rather than on call at home”.

Immigration Bill: Labour MP Pamela Nash has reportedly warned that plans to cut immigrations access to healthcare could trigger a rise in cases of Aids (Herald page 6)

Justice

Corroboration: Lawyers have warned removing corroboration in Scots Law will put large numbers of public sector workers at risk of prosecution (Herald page 11)

Local government

Council Tax Rises: Glasgow City Council will cut the 50% discount to property owners of empty homes to 10% this week (Herald page 13)