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Reform Scotland News: 5 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

 

Politics

Independence: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reportedly said that, in the event of a No vote, another independence referendum could be held within 15 years. (Scotsman page 9, Daily Express page 6, Daily Mail page 14)

Downing Street has insisted that Alistair Darling is the right man to lead the campaign against Scottish independence after senior Conservatives reportedly described him as “useless” and “comatose”. (Times page 4, Herald page 6, Daily Express page 17, Courier page 15)

Brandon Malone comments in the Scotsman that it is inconceivable that Scotland would be excluded from the EU after a Yes vote, and that the remainder of the UK cannot claim to be a continuing state either.

Elspeth Orcharton, director of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) has urged SNP ministers to be honest about the financial cost of independence. (Telegraph page 10)

Equal marriage:  A new poll from YouGov has shown that 56% of Scots are in favour of same-sex marriage. (Herald page 1)

Green energy: A group of academics, who previously stated that Scottish independence would be detrimental for green energy, have published a u-turn report arguing that independence would actually help Scotland meet its green targets. (Herald page 2)

Ageing population: A report from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has warned that the issue of Scotland’s ageing population will not be a decisive factor in the referendum as it will be a major challenge regardless of whether Scotland gains independence or not. (Herald page 6)

Andy Lunn: Labour Councillor Andy Lunn, who represents the Craigentinny/Duddingston ward in Edinburgh, has defected to the SNP and is pledging to campaign for independence. (Herald page 6)

Cultural industries: As party of a UK wide campaign, employers in Scotland’s cultural and creative industries have been urged to create 50,000 jobs over then next 1000 days. (Herald page 11)

Helicopter investigation: As tributes pour in from around the world, finding out why the Eurocopter EC135 crashed into the Clutha Bar in Glasgow is reportedly to be the top priority of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch. No time limit has been set for the inquiry. (Times page 2 Scotsman page 10, Herald page 4, Daily Express page 7, Courier page 21, Press and Journal page 12)

Digital revolution: A study from the Royal Society of Edinburgh has warned that over a million Scottish citizens, as well as most small businesses in Scotland, do not have the access or the skills needed to enable them to participate properly in a “digital Scotland”. (Scotsman page 21)

2015 election: John McTernan comments in the Scotsman that David Cameron must play to his strengths if he is to win a second term, which involves being compassionate and not trying to play tough.

Royal Mail: A proposed deal regarding pay, pensions and other issues linked to privatisation has been agreed between the Royal Mail and leaders of the Communication Workers Union, and will be considered by the union’s executive and subject to a ballot of union members. (Herald page 9)

Grangemouth: In a move that will likely be seen as an attempt to bypass the Unite union, Ineos, the owner of the petrochemical plant at Grangemouth, is to introduce European-style “worker councils” where management will meet with workers to discuss issues. (Times page 15, Courier page 1)

Economy

State pensions: Chancellor George Osborne will use his Autumn Statement to inform the UK that the state pension age is expected to rise to 68 by the mid 2030s and 70 by 2060. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, FT page 1, Daily Express page 2, Daily Record page 2, Sun page 2, Daily Mail page 2, Guardian page 1)

Andrew McKie comments in the Herald that, despite the fact that George Osborne has a credible case to claim that his policies are working, he is unlikely to assure the country that they can relax the purse strings just yet.

Tim Montgomerie comments in the Times that Osborne’s Plan A has worked, showing that austerity does not kill economies, but insists that the UK must still make an effort not to follow in Germany’s footsteps.

Currency union: A group of Scottish business leaders have backed the SNP’s plan to remain in a currency union with the rest of the UK if Scotland is to gain independence. (Scotsman page 1)

Transport

Trams: Last night in Edinburgh a tram ran along Princess Street for the first time in 57 Years, its journey being considered a vital part of getting the city ready for the launch of the £776 million project in May 2014. (Scotsman page 6, Daily Record page 1)

Health

Children smoking: Research from the Health and Social Care Information Centre claim that around fifty children in Scotland begin smoking every day, leading to calls for tougher restrictions on youngsters’ access to cigarettes. (Herald page 8, Times page 26, Daily Mail page 3)

Nurses: A poll of nurses in Scotland conducted by the Royal College of Nursing has reported that more than half are working excess hours and feel that they are under too much pressure to meet the needs of patients. (Herald page 11, Courier page 22, Scotsman page 1, Times page 4, Daily Record page 9, Press and Journal page 18)

Crime

Crime increases: Crime figures in Scotland, which are currently at a 39-year low, are reportedly in danger of increasing because some parts of Scotland have experienced sharp increases in offences such as burglary, car theft and sexual offences. (Herald page 5, Scotsman page 19)