Reform Scotland News: 28 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: A collection of emails reportedly suggest that the Unite official at the centre of the Grangemouth dispute was involved in the derailing of a candidate selection investigation, prompting calls for Labour leader Ed Miliband to reopen the inquiry into alleged vote rigging in its Falkirk constituency. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 5, Daily Express page 1, Ross Clark in the Daily Express, The Sun page 2, The Times page 1, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Guardian page 6, The Sunday Times page 1 and 10-11, Jenny Hjul in The Sunday Times)

Ineos owner Jim Ratcliffe has urged George Osborne to cut tax and energy costs in order to rebalance the economy (The Daily Telegraph B1)

First Minister Alex Salmond held secret talks last week with a possible buyer for the Grangemouth industrial site before it was spared closure. (The Scotsman page 5, The Herald)

Meanwhile, workers who did not initially sign up for the controversial survival plan will reportedly receive a smaller pension than those who agreed to it, leading to fears of a two tier work force. (The Scotsman page 5, The Herald page 5)

Brian Monteith in The Scotsman argues that politicians and unions misjudged the international scope of the Ineos brand.

Torcuil Crichton in The Daily Record assesses the state of unions today, arguing that there is a huge disconnect between union leaders and the union work on the ground which makes them considerably less effective in their role (Daily Record page 8).

Poverty: Labour has accused the SNP party of effectively dismantling its anti-poverty programme, giving way to the middle-classes through free services and tax freezes which should instead be directed to the poorest in society. (The Times page 2, The Daily Telegraph page 6, Daily Express)

Lesley Riddoch in The Scotsman urges the SNP government to develop a proper strategy to reduce inequalities.

Independence referendum: A new poll indicates that the Yes campaign needs just a 4-point swing to advance ahead in the independence debate. (The Scotsman page 6)

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander has called on the banking industry in Scotland to “stand up and be counted” on Scottish independence, after many business figures have failed to make their views on Scotland’s future known. (The Herald page 6, The Sunday Times page 6)

Two former senior police officers have clashed over the security implications of Scottish independence. MSP Graeme Pearson said effective working was easier as part of the UK, while Allan Burnett insisted an independent country would provide better security. (The Herald)

Scottish TV channel: The former chief executive officer of Channel 5 has said that Scotland deserves a fully independent television network funded by the licence fee. (The Times page 8, Daily Express,The Sunday Times page 6)

Dunfermline by-election: Andrew Nicoll writing in The Sun argues that Labour won Thursday’s by-election by stressing their “strongest selling point” – that they are not the SNP. 

Gender equality in public bodies: The Scottish government has been urged to end the male grip on public boards, following the release of new figures that reveal women make up less than one third of the board members at many of Scotland’s main public bodies. (The Herald page 1)

Economy

RBS: George Osborne is this week expected to back away from plans to break up the Royal Bank of Scotland and is due to receive a final report from the Treasury which is expected to stop short of a complete split. (Financial Times page 4, The Sunday Times page 2)

Energy

Energy bills: Consumers have been encouraged to check their energy bills after British Gas admitted to amassing overpayments from customers who had changed to other suppliers. (The Scotsman page 10, Daily Express page 1)

Energy regulator Ofgem is on course to clash with the “Big Six” power companies over the importance of wholesale gas and electricity prices in rising customer bills. (Financial Times page 1, The Guardian)

According to Liberal Democrat backbencher Simon Hughes, poorer households should receive an immediate rebate on their energy bills in George Osborne’s upcoming Autumn Statement (The Herald page 6)

Pensioners: One in four pensioners is worried about keeping themselves warm over the winter, according to a poll conducted by Age UK. (The Scotsman page 10, Press & Journal page 16)

Crime & Justice

Sex offenders: The national child sexual abuse organisation, Stop It Now, has urged MSPs not to always send sex offenders to jail, but to instead use early intervention programmes and rehabilitation regimes in some cases. (The Scotsman page 1)

Health

Alzheimer’s: A study led by Cardiff University and the International Genomics Project has uncovered 11 new genes involved in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, with experts believing that the discovery will further advance scientific knowledge of the neurological disease. (The Scotsman page 16, The Herald page 11, The Guardian page 6)