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Reform Scotland News: 8 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

Shipyards: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has accused Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael of “shameful” behaviour after he suggested that warship contracts earmarked for the Clyde could go to Portsmouth if Scotland becomes independent. Mr Carmichael has denied accusations of blackmailing shipbuilders into voting no to independence. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 1, Times page 6, Express page 2, Record page 2, Sun page 8, Mail page 12, P&J page 12, Courier page 23)

 

George Kerevan writing in the Scotsman argues that the Royal Navy’s policy of only procuring ships built in the UK has damaged the British shipbuilding industry. 

 

Terrorism: The heads of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ have appeared in front of a Westminster committee to detail the ongoing threat of terrorism to the UK. They stated that 34 terror plots have been disrupted, but former US intelligence officer Edward Snowden had seriously damaged the UK’s security. They also said they are considering making more of their tactics public. (Scotsman page 1 and pages 4-5, Herald page 8, Telegraph page 24, Times pages 1 and 8, FT page 2, Express page 5, Guardian page 1 and pages 6-7, Mail pages 10-11, P&J page 18, Courier page 18)

 

Price fixing: A probe into alleged price fixing of wholesale gas prices by power firms has found no evidence of wrongdoing. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 13)

 

Labour membership: Labour leader Ed Miliband has reportedly refused to condemn the practice of people being signed up to Labour by their families. The refusal came during a speech in Edinburgh as he defended the party’s investigation into allegations of vote-rigging by Unite and ruled out a new probe into the scandal. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 2, Telegraph page 2, Times pages 18, Express page 2, Sun page 2, Mail page 28, Courier page 22)

 

Metal thefts: Businesses have criticised the Scottish Government for failing to bring forward legislation to tackle metal thefts quickly enough. At a summit on the problem, Energy Networks Association said there are now 21 attacks on key infrastructure every day. (Scotsman page 15)

 

Same-sex marriage: While endorsing the bill, the equal opportunities committee has heard concerns that the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill could lead to individual ministers being unable to refuse to carry out ceremonies on the grounds of religious conscience. A report from the committee highlights concerns that safeguards in the bill may not be enough to prevent a legal challenge. (Scotsman page 20, Herald page 6, Times page 16, Sun page 2, P&J page 13, Courier page 22)

 

Army recruitment: The Church of Scotland has joined calls for the Ministry of Defence to raise the minimum army enlistment age to 18. (Scotsman page 23, Herald page 12)

 

Immigration: Michael Fry writing in the Scotsman argues that immigrants to Scotland should be encouraged to integrate and we should welcome the cultural enrichment.

 

Independence: First Minister Alex Salmond has claimed that independence could lead to more financial companies setting up headquarters in Scotland. Mr Salmond was addressing the FT International Financial Centres Forum in Hong Kong and attempted to convince financial service industry leaders that Scotland’s links to the City of London would make it a global player in banking, investment and asset management. (Herald page 6, Telegraph page 8, Mail page 12)

 

Phone-hacking: A court has heard that recordings of voicemail messages left by former Home Secretary David Blunkett were discovered in a safe at News International alongside draft articles and documents by the reporter who broke the story of Mr Blunkett’s affair. (FT page 2, Guardian page 15, Mail page 9)

 

Fuel poverty: Energy Action Scotland has warned that two out of five households will be plunged into fuel poverty this winter. The warning follows the latest round of price hikes from energy suppliers. (Mail page 2)

 

Economy

Town Centres: The Scottish Government’s Town Centre Action Plan has been criticised by business chiefs and opposition parties. They claimed that the measures set out in the plan yesterday are not enough to revive town centres. (Scotsman page 19, Herald page 11, Express page 5, Mail page 24, P&J page 14, Courier page 14)

 

Pensions: The UK government has reportedly put forward proposals to inject new “exciting possibilities” into workplace pensions and give employees more certainty over the eventual size of their pension. Under the proposed defined ambition (DA) scheme, pension saving risks would be more evenly split between firms and employees. (Scotsman page 22, Express page 1)

 

Living wage: Joyce McMillan writing in the Scotsman comments on Ed Miliband’s recent visit to Edinburgh and supports his calls for a living wage.

 

Independence: Martin Wolf writing in the Financial Times comments on proposals for an independent Scotland to keep the pound and warns that this could change the way the Bank of England is governed unless Scotland accepted that it would not have any say in its running.

 

Mortgages: The Council of Mortgage Lenders has warned that separation could cause mortgage costs to be driven up. A Scottish Government spokesman has said that the claims are unfounded. (Express page 2)

 

Justice

Tribunals: MSPs have been told that plans to simplify tribunals are a key part of the Scottish Government’s shake up of the justice system. The plans will establish two generic tribunals: a first-tier tribunal to hear initial cases and an upper tribunal which will mainly deal with appeals from the first-tier. (Scotsman page 6)

 

Health

Health board elections: Direct elections to health boards will not be extended across Scotland after a trial in which members of the public could vote people on to NHS Fife and NHS Dumfries and Galloway health boards was unsuccessful. NHS bosses have been told to use alternative methods to encourage involvement of local people. (Scotsman page 23, Herald page 3)

 

Superbugs: The NHS has been urged not to be complacent about tackling the Clostridium difficile superbug. Professor Robert Masterton, director of the Institute of Healthcare Associated Infection at the University of the West of Scotland, warned that whilst there had been improvement, infection rates have recently increased in some health board areas. (Herald page 1)

 

Medical breakthrough: A new form of gene therapy could mean a cure for cancer, HIV and other genetic diseases. The new treatment, called Crispr, is said to be very precise and works by altering defective DNA using the enzyme CAS9. (Sun page 2, P&J page 25)