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Reform Scotland News: 14 January 2014

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

Fracking: The Conservative Party has warned that Scotland risks missing out on the economic benefits that will be brought by the “fracking revolution” as David Cameron reveals that the UK are going to fully embrace the industry, and that the Scottish Government has no plans to follow. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 1, Financial Times page 2, Daily Express page 7)

 

Clyde carriers: Defence ministers are reportedly being put under pressure to confirm whether the £65 billion project to build two aircraft carriers in Glasgow remains on track or not, as a report by the Defence Committee warns that the MoD is facing a shortage of nuclear engineers and other specialist staff. (Herald page 6)

 

Independence debate: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has challenged the No campaign by issuing them with a list of fifty ‘crunch’ questions about their plans for Scotland if independence is rejected, prompting the No campaign to accuse her of “something of a cheek” to be demanding answers of them when her own campaign has failed to answer so many key questions. (Scotsman page 5, Press and Journal page 15)

Scottish Secretary Alex Carmichael has announced that Scotland gets more from the UK than it puts in, saying that, as a result of the union, the country receives ten percent more public spending than the UK average, and can take advantage of access to cheaper mortgages, greater financial protection and safer banks. (Telegraph page 10)

Magnus Gardham comments in the Herald that the Yes and No campaigns have spent the first week of 2014 arguing about what they should be arguing about, but what they are really arguing about is the importance of everyday politics in the independence debate.

 

Child sexploitation: As Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee issues a call for refuges for young people at risk of sexual exploitation, children’s charity Bernardo’s warns that children are suffering from sexual exploitation in every Scottish city. (Herald page 5, Scotsman page 9)

 

Tuition fees: Alex Salmond has reportedly been accused of misleading the public, and is coming under increasing pressure to publish any legal advice he has regarding university tuition fees in an independent Scotland. (Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 15)

 

Scottish Drones: Hew Strachan, Chief of the Defence Staff’s Chief Advisory Panel, has warned that an independent Scotland would struggle to protect its borders and suggests that unmanned drones would be required to protect remote Scottish waters. (Daily Express page 14)

 

Economy

Treasury statement: In a move reportedly aimed at reassuring financial markets that the UK debt would be unaffected by independence, the Treasury has announced will cover all of the UK’s estimated £1.7 trillion of national debt even if Scotland votes for independence. Chief Danny Alexander has, however, warned that mortgage payments in Scotland would be “ramped up” following a Yes vote if the Scottish government were not to pay its share of the UK’s national debt. (Telegraph page 1, Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Times page 1, Financial Times page 2, Daily Express page 2, Daily record page 8, Guardian page 8, Daily Mail page 4, Courier page 18, Press and Journal page 14)

Peter Jones comments in the Scotsman that when it comes to the repayment of the national debt, financial opinion means more than politics.

 

Renewables industry: A report commissioned by Scottish Renewables has revealed record numbers of Scots working in the renewables industry, with 540 Scottish-based firms now employing at least 11,695 people. (Scotsman page 14)

 

Education

Childcare reform: As amendments to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill are to be considered at Holyrood today, Reform Scotland calls for the Education Committee of the Scottish Parliament to back moves to end the inequality in nursery provision which currently sees some children entitled to less than 2 years of government-funded nursery education, depending on when in the year they were born. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 5)

Parents from the nursery at Donaldson’s School, Scotland’s national school for the deaf, will no longer be able to access funded places under the Scottish Government’s childcare policy after a West Lothian council decided to remove it from its list of partnership nurseries. (Herald page 7)

 

Health

Food hygiene: A report by consumer watchdog Which? has revealed that food businesses across Scotland are not complying with hygiene regulations, and that West Dunbartonshire ranks among the worst in the UK with more than half of food companies failing to comply. (Scotsman page 13)

 

Justice

Prisons: Lord Carloway, the Lord Justice Clerk has said that Scotland’s prison population is too high and that sentencing should move away from a culture of retribution towards one that takes more into account the impact on inmates and society. (Herald page 1, Press and Journal page 1)

Harry Reid comments in the Herald that, with regard to Scotland’s prisons, the SNP’s White paper does not set out a vision for an independent Scotland, but merely answers some very basic questions.