Reform Scotland News: 28 January 2014


Daily Political Newspaper Summary:  28 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



50p rate and independence: Finance Secretary John Swinney has reportedly refused to guarantee that an SNP government in an independent Scotland would impose a 50p income tax rate on higher earners, though did say the SNP would support the policy if reintroduced by Westminster. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, Daily Record page 8, Times page 16)


Labour election aid: US polling expert Arnie Graf has reportedly been paid by the Labour party despite not having a work permit.  The Labour Party has denied paying him a salary, saying that it is “reimbursing him for lost earnings and expenses”. (Sun page 2)


Scots Pine: MSPs tomorrow will officially endorse the Scots Pine as the national tree of Scotland after a three–month consultation. (Herald page 1)


Top jobs for women: After Nicola Sturgeon called increasing the number of women in Scotland’s boardrooms a “gain of independence”, the Government has confirmed that it has accepted an invitation from Jo Swinson, the UK Government’s Minister for Women and Equalities, to present proposals for setting a legally binding quota for the number of women on the boards of devolved public bodies. (Herald page 1, Colette Douglas Home in the Herald)


Women voters: A YouGov survey conducted for the Herald has found that 58% of women polled do not trust First Minister Alex Salmond, compared with 30% who said they did. Alex Salmond also reportedly faces challenges in persuading young and elderly voters to trust him. (Herald page 2)


EU immigration: An ICM survey has shown that 53% of Scots polled want stricter policies on immigration from EU countries. It has also shown that a third of Scots might vote for Scotland to leave the EU if David Cameron holds in-out referendum. (Scottish Daily Mail, page 18)


SNP general election: It was confirmed last night that the SNP will not select any candidates for next year’s UK general election until after the independence referendum. (Press and Journal page 13)



RBS: RBS is reportedly facing full-year losses of up to £8 billion following the bank’s announcement that a further £3.1bn was being set aside for litigation and compensation claims. (Scotsman page 1, Martin Flanagan in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Financial Times page 1, Jonathon Guthrie in the Financial Times page 18, Times page 16, Andrew Clark in the Times, Guardian page 19, Scottish Daily Mail page 2, Courier page 33)


Wind farms: Investment in offshore wind farms fell from £63.6m in 2012 to £28.9m last year. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 8, Times page 1, Courier page 34)


Economic growth: Official figures released today are expected to show that the economy grew by 0.8% in the last quarter of 2013, meaning annual growth of 1.9% in 2013, the biggest annual growth since 2007. (Telegraph page 1)


Debt: Peter Jones in the Scotsman considers the debt that an independent Scotland could face.


Scottish wage rises: The Barclays Employers Survey 2014 has found that two-thirds of Scottish businesses plan to bring an end to wage freezes and raise pay this year. (Herald page 3)


London: The SNP has reportedly warned that London remains a threat to the Scottish economy, despite Edinburgh and Aberdeen’s success in creating jobs, whilst Glasgow and Dundee lag behind. (Herald page 6, Daily Express page 2, Daily Record page 8, Scottish Daily Mail page 13, Courier page 13)


Oil industry: The Coalition Business Minister Michael Fallon has warned that uncertainty caused by the Scottish independence referendum might temporarily stop investment in the North Sea oil and gas industry. (Herald page 6, Financial Times page 4, Press and Journal page 12)


Business start-ups: Figures from Startup Britain show that more than 30,000 new businesses were set up in Scotland in 2013, with Edinburgh and Glasgow in the top 10 UK places for start-ups. (Herald page 7)



Rail improvement: The cost of improving rail travel between Edinburgh and Glasgow has risen in cost from £650m to £741.5m, largely due to the expanded redevelopment of Queen Street Station, accoutring to transport minister Keith Brown. (Scotsman page 17, Sun page 4, Telegraph page 9, Herald page 5, Daily Express page 4, Times page 8, Scottish Daily Mail page 10)



Police Scotland: Police Scotland has reportedly been criticised for plans which would close 50% of Scottish 999 centres and threaten up to 300 jobs. (Herald page 1, Press and Journal page 10)