Reform Scotland News: 18 December 2013


Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 18 December 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


White paper on independence: An independent Scotland would run a spending deficit of £1.6 billion annually in attempting to implement three of the key pledges made by the SNP in its white paper on independence, the first formal analysis by the UK Government has claimed. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6, Times page 2, Telegraph B1, Sun page 2)

Woman voters: A poll for the Herald has suggested that the SNP are struggling to appeal to female voters ahead of next September’s referendum on independence. (Herald page 1)

Fracking: A swathe of land covering the Central Belt and large parts of the Borders and Fife has been identified by UK ministers for shale gas exploration. (Scotsman page 6, Times page 21, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 1, Mail page 2)

Migrant benefits: Rules to stop EU citizens immediately claiming benefits upon arrival to the UK will be in place by the time that UK borders are opened to immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria, David Cameron has said. (Telegraph page 2, Guardian page 1)

Food banks: Nearly five times as many people have used food banks or soup kitchens in the six months to September than during the whole 2011/2012, according to a report by the Scottish Government. (Herald page 6, Ian Bell in the Herald, Courier page 2)

Aberdeen city council: Alex Salmond has urged the Labour-led Aberdeen city council to accept Sir Ian Wood’s donation of £50million to revamp Union Terrace Gardens. (P&J page 1)

Bedroom tax: Campaigners and officials from Castlemilk Credit Union have warned Scottish ministers that the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ is forcing people to turn to payday lenders, while others are contemplating suicide. (Herald page 11)

Salmond’s expenses: Scottish Labour has warned that Alex Salmond cannot continue to refuse to publish details of his spending during a trip to the Ryder Cup. (Telegraph page 6, Express page 9, Record page 2, Courier page 2)

SNP immigration policy: First Minister Alex Salmond has been accused of attempting to open Scottish borders to foreigners following a ‘Yes’ vote in next year’s referendum with a series of “bribes” for immigrants. (Express page 1, P&J page 14, Mail page 4)

EU referendum: Charles Grant in the FT comments on David Cameron’s policy towards the EU.

Universal schemes: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on the conflict between universal “free” schemes and the priority of addressing inequalities within Scottish society.

Polling: Gregor Gall in the Scotsman comments on recent figures showing that the ‘lower social class’ in Scotland is in conflict over how to vote in next year’s referendum on independence.


Lloyds Banking Group: The taxpayer has lost £230million from the sale of 6 percent of Lloyds Banking Group to the private sector, according to a report by the National Audit Office. Chancellor George Osborne has in the past claimed that the taxpayer is set to profit from the re-privatisation of Lloyds. (Scotsman page 37, Herald page 5, FT page 3, Times page 39, Guardian page 30)

Inflation: The Bank of England appears set to achieve its target for inflation next year after price rises eased to a four year low last month, official figures show. (Herald page 23, Scotsman page 37, Express page 2, P&J page 32)

Scottish house prices: The upturn in house sales in Scotland could slow next year as a result of the uncertainty caused by the independence referendum, according to experts at consultant firm Acadata. (Herald page 8)


NHS report: A review by Healthcare Improvement Scotland of NHS Lanarkshire, prompted by high mortality rates at hospitals under its control, has raised serious concerns about shortfalls in the levels of care provided. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Record page 6)

Mental health: The number of children in Scotland being admitted into hospital for reasons related to mental health has increased by nearly 20 percent in the period 2012-2013. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 7)

Inmate health: An official inspection of HMP Edinburgh, known better as Saughton prison, has highlighted shortfalls in medical care for inmates with mental health and addiction problems. (Herald page 8, Scotsman page 20)


Airport expansion: Scotland’s two largest airports, Edinburgh and Glasgow, are split over whether to support plans to expand either Heathrow or Gatwick. (Scotsman page 20, Martin Flanagan in the Scotsman, Record page 2)


Peru drug trafficking: A Scottish women and her Northern Irish friend have been sentenced in Peru to six years and 8 months in prison for attempting to smuggle cocaine out of the country. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 8, Telegraph page 2, Express page 11, P&J page 10, Guardian page 5, Courier page 26)

Lockerbie bomber: UK relatives of victims of the Lockerbie disaster plan to launch a third appeal against the conviction of former Libyan agent Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi. (Scotsman page 12, Dr Jim Swire in the Scotsman, Herald page 1)

Local government

Council tax: There are now 4,000 fewer recipients of council tax relief since responsibility for assistance shifted from the UK Government to Scottish local authorities in April this year, according to official statistics. (Herald page 9)