Reform Scotland News: 9 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

Army: The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond yesterday warned that an independent Scotland would be left with a “home defence force” unable to provide the same level of security currently provided by the UK.  However, the SNP has insisted that its Scottish Defence Force would have more than 15,000 personnel, higher that the current level of troops. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6, Record page 2, Sun page 2, Express page 4, Times page 21, FT page 4, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 8, P&J page 16, Courier page 13)

GCHQ: Head of MI5, Andrew Parker, commented in a speech last night that exposing the “reach and limits” of listening posts causes enormous damage and hands the advantage to terrorists.  He also said that the idea that the service monitors “everyone and all their communication” was “utter nonsense”. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 4, Sun page 8, Express page 23, Times page 1, FT page 2, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 1, Guardian page 2)

Press regulation:  Newspapers have been given three days to back the government’s plans for regulating the press after the UK government rejected the proposals put forward by the newspaper industry itself.  (Herald page 6, Tom Harris in the Herald, Brian Wilson in the Scotsman, Record page 10, Sun page 8, Express page 2, Times page 17, FT page 4, Telegraph page 2, Tom Harris in the Telegraph, Mail page 2, Guardian page 11)

Debt interest in an independent Scotland: Dr Angus Armstrong, the head of macroeconomics at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has commented that an independent Scotland could have to pay debt interest payments of at least £5.7bn a year, £1.7bn more than it notionally pays at present. (Times page 21)

EU vote: Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman comments on Tory MP Adam Afriye’s call for a referendum on EU membership next year.

Second chamber: Michael Fry in the Scotsman outlines why a second chamber would be helpful in an independent Scotland.

Reshuffle: Allan Massie in the Scotsman and Ian Bell in the Herald comment on the reshuffle which saw Michael Moore sacked as Scottish Secretary and replaced by Alistair Carmichael.

Economy

Royal Mail shares: Almost all of Royal Mail’s 150,000 staff have reportedly taken up the offer of free shares in the company. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Times page 2, FT page 1, Mail page 4)

Help to buy: Gemma Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, has warned that more needs to be done to increase housing supply and the new help to buy scheme could increase demand and push prices higher. (Herald page 10 , FT page 3, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian)

IMF: The IMF has revised up the UK’s growth forecast by more than any other leading economy to 1.4 per cent this year and 1.9 per cent in 2014. (FT page 1)

Health

Drugs: The Scottish government has told the Scottish Medical Consortium, which recommends drugs for use by the NHS in Scotland, that it wants the drug approval system to become more transparent, with greater access to end-of-life treatments and medicines for rare conditions. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 11, Sun page 12, Express page 10, P&J page 11)

Education

Fast-track students: A report by the Higher Education Academy Scotland and NUS Scotland has suggested that students who go straight into the second year of a degree course after first studying at college often struggle to adapt to university life. (Herald page 7)

Justice

Domestic abuse: According to new official figures, the police are called to a rape or attempted rape by a domestic abuser three times a week in Scotland. (Scotsman page 20, Express page 2, Mail page 16, P&J page 8)

Transport

Prestwick airport: The Scottish government yesterday announced that it was taking Prestwick airport into public ownership.  The Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon commented that without government intervention the loss-making airport would have been shut by its current owner as it had failed to find a buyer.  A “commercial partner” is expected to run the airport on behalf of ministers. (Scotsman page 1, George Kerevan in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Record page 2, Sun page 4, Express page 4, Times page 6, Telegraph page 7, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 24, P&J page 18)