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Reform Scotland News: 25 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: Ineos is under pressure to announce whether the Grangemouth petrochemical plant will close following Unite agreeing to the company’s demands in a bid to save thousands of jobs. Both the Scottish and UK Governments have called on Ineos to accept the deal and save the plant. Unite has been criticised for its handling of the situation amid concerns that the union put thousands of jobs at risk. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1 and pages 4-5, Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Telegraph page B3, FT page 2, Express pages 1 & 5, Record page 1 & pages 4-6, Sun page 1 & pages 4-5, Times pages 1 & 8, Guardian page 4, Mail pages 1 & 4-5, P&J pages 12-13, Courier pages 1 and pages 16-17)

A deal has been done to save the Grangemouth petrochemical plant. (BBC News Scotland)

 

Dunfermline by-election: Labour appeared to be heading for victory in the Dunfermline by-election to fill the seat vacated by SNP MSP Bill Walker following his conviction for domestic abuse. (Scotsman page 8, Sun page 2, Times page 13, Mail page 2, Courier page 14)

Scottish Labour candidate Cara Hilton has won the Dunfermline by-election by a majority of 2,873 votes. (BBC News Scotland)

 

Pension age: An independent Scotland may need to raise the pension age according to Scottish Labour. The suggestion follows a report by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries which said the debate on pension provision in an independent Scotland lacked clarity. The Scottish Government have stressed that pensions would be fully protected. (Herald page 6, Telegraph page 8, Express page 12, Times page 18, Courier page 18)

 

Independence: The former principal of the Free Church of Scotland College, Professor Donald Macleod, has reportedly criticised the drive for independence as a policy dreamed up by theorists disconnected from reality. (Telegraph page 8)

 

Philip Stephens writing in the Financial Times warns that if Britain leaves Europe, sooner or later Scotland will become independent from Britain.

 

Economy

Energy prices: An alliance of campaigners, including Barnardo’s charity, is urging action after ScottishPower announced an energy price increase of between 8.5% and 9%. ScottishPower is the fourth of the “big six” energy firms to unveil similar hikes in recent weeks. Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to reduce the green levies in energy bills but this decision has been criticised by the Liberal Democrats as a “panicky U-turn”. (Herald page 5, Scotsman page 12, Telegraph page B1, FT page 2, Record page 2, Sun page 10, Times page 2, Mail page 10, P&J page 11, Courier page 19)

 

Banks: Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has warned that Britain would have to give up its leading position in financial services unless the UK’s ‘too big to fail’ banks can go bust without putting the taxpayer at risk. Mr Carney warned that the City would have to shrink if the Government were to rescue banks in a future crisis. (Telegraph page B1, FT page 1)

 

Scottish Widows: Aberdeen Asset Management is reportedly close to buying Scottish Widows Investment Partnership from Lloyds Banking Group for £500m. The deal would place Aberdeen Asset Management as Europe’s biggest listed investment group. (FT page 1, P&J page 36)

 

Justice

Road safety: Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House has said road safety is one of the priorities raised by local communities and has pledged to do more to improve safety. The announcement follows a significant increase in the number of road safety offences. (Herald page 11, Scotsman page 19, Mail page 35)

 

Religion in prisons: The Scottish Prison Service has reportedly spent around £5million in the last five years to support prisoners in practising their religion whilst in custody. Secular campaigners have criticised the spending saying it was a state subsidy for religion. (Sun page 2, Courier page 2)

 

Transport

East Coast rail: Details of the service passengers can expect when the government-owned East Coast line returns to the private sector are being laid out today. Labour and rail unions have opposed the privatisation. (Herald page 5)

 

Local Government

Aberdeen trams: Aberdeen City Council is to consider plans to bring trams back to the city next week as part of a strategic infrastructure plan. (Herald page 4, Scotsman page 15, Mail page 35, P&J page 5)