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Reform Scotland News: 26 November 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

Independence: The Scottish white paper on independence will be published today.  It is reported that the 670-page document will answer 650 questions . (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Record page 8, Sun page 1, P&J page 10, Courier page 17 and Guardian page 4). 

The Sun also reports that the economy will be the key issue in the debate and that Better Together Leader Alistair Darling has said that the blue print is at risk of being the work of ‘fantasy.’  (Sun page 11).

Bravehearts versus Cool Heads: Rachel Sylvetser in the Times argues that Scotland must choose between hope and fear when voting in the referendum.

Not quite the “greatest show on Earth:” Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph argues that Salmond’s ‘love of conflict won’t win over the doubters.’

Job losses in an Independent Scotland: Alistair Carmichael has warned that Scottish based firms that do most of their trade in the UK will not want to deal with potentially two currency transactions (Scotsman page 9).

£1,000 higher taxes in an Independent Scotland: In response to the white paper, treasury ministers will today claim that independence would make Scottish people £1,000 a year worse off (Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, FT page 2, Sun page 10 and Mail page 1).

A new currency for Scotland: Bloomberg News Service have advised Scotland “would need and should want” its own separate currency (Scotsman page 9 and Express page 6).

The SNP: Magnus Linklater comments in The Times, 80 years after his father Eric Linklater lost his deposit in a by-election in East-Fife; the SNP have now reached their milestone of “setting out the ground rules for an independent Scotland.”

Phone Hacking Trial: Elmar Cook; the former wife of Scottish Golfer Colin Montgomery, told the court yesterday that ‘Brooks told me it was easy to hack phones’ (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 3, Mail page 5 and Guardian page 7).

Green Team for Independence: Glasgow MSP Patrick Harvie and Edinburgh Councillor Maggie Chapman will lead the party as it campaigns for a Yes vote (Herald page 6) 

Former Union Chief under investigation: Alan Ritchie, a former trade union chief and now paid advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee, has been accused of claiming up to £100,000 in expenses (Times page 5).

Economy

75% profit rise for the Big Six: Ofgem has reported that utility company profits have increased from £681 million in 2011 to £1.19 billion last year (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Record page 2 and Courier page 19).

Cooperative takeover of Lloyds: Following Labour claims that the Government should have realised that these takeovers were unviable; George Osborne has defended the Governments role saying ‘the system worked’ (FT page 3).

Financial Reforms: MP Andrew Tyrie has tabled a series of amendments on the banking reform bill due to be debated in the House of Lords (FT page 3).

Charities to pay lower water charges: The Scottish Government has launched a consultation that could mean charities on less than £75,000 a year will not have to pay water charges (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 9 and Courier page 17).

Film makers: The Independent Producers Scotland (IPS) is expected to urge the Scottish Parliament for more financial backing. (Scotsman page 3).

RBS accused of forcing firms into difficulty then buying off their assets: Yorkshire Businessman Lawrence Tomlinson has said of RBS ‘a perception has arisen that the intention is to purposefully distress businesses and put them in CRG and subsequently take their assets for the West Register at a discounted price.’ (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 7, Sun page 2 Record page 2, Courier page 13 and Mail page 6).  

RBS are also reportedly rejecting 10% of small business loans (Scotsman page 7).

PayDay Loans to be capped: Payday lenders will reportedly be prevented from charging high interest rates on short term loans (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 9, FT page 2, Express page 5, Record page 2, Sun page 2, P&J page 16, Courier page 18, Mail page 10 and Guardian page 8)

Aberdeen increases in wealth: Sales of properties £1 million or more have nearly doubled in the last five years (Scotsman page 12  and Herald page 5) 

Taxpayer costs of opencast coal mines: Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow has called the ‘failure of open cast mine restoration’ “nothing short of a national scandal” (Scotsman page 15

Workers on zero hour contracts happy with their work-life balance: A survey has reported that people on zero hour contacts are just as happy with their job than other workers and more content with their work life balance (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 9 and P&J page 14)

Transport

Public ownership of Prestwick Airport has raised fears over Glasgow Airport: Business leaders concerned over economic development and how investments will be affected have requested to meet with Nicola Sturgeon to discuss Prestwick Airport. (Herald page 6, Record page 2 and Mail page 5)

Health

One in three elderly people are obese: A study conducted at Glasgow University has found that people with a BMI of more than 30, which is considered obese, increased by 5 to 15% between 1994 and 2010 (Scotsman page 14)

Rising costs in elderly care: Experts in Health and Social Care fear that the question of how society affords good community care against the rising numbers in hospitals treatment for the rising number of pensioners is not being addressed (Herald page 1, Express page 17 and Sun page 2)

Private patients twice as likely to have Caesarean sections: A survey has found that one in five private patients have a scheduled c-section compared with 8.9% of publicly funded patients (Herald page 3)

Justice

Fife drug court to close on Friday: Following the announcement that Fife Drug Court which sits at Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline sheriff courts is due to close, Labour MSP, Claire Baker has said ‘drug courts were aimed at stopping the cycle of drug abuse and crime.  This is clearly a backwards step driven by cost.’ (Herald page 11)