Reform Scotland News: 28 March 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

Energy: Centrica, the parent company of British gas, has warned that a two year investigation into the “Big Six” energy companies could put the UK at risk of blackouts. The risk of blackouts is said to come from making major firms reluctant to invest in energy generation projects. The regulator, Ofgem, has referred to the £1.1 billion of profits of the “Big Six” energy companies and said that tougher regulations will be put in place. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 9, Times page 6, Financial Times page 3, Daily Record page 2, Sun page 2, Daily Express page 7)

 

Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference: Nick Clegg is reportedly to say that the prospect of staying in the UK needs to be as exciting as independence. It is also anticipated that he will say that there is a “broad agreement” developing over devolution for Scotland in the event of a No vote. (Telegraph page 9, Times page 4, Daily Express page 4)

 

Danny Alexander will warn today at the Scottish Liberal Democrats conference in Aberdeen that Scotland is at “five minutes to midnight”. The phrase is more commonly associated with the doomsday clock and the countdown to nuclear war. (Herald page 1)

 

Alan Cochrane comments on page 9 of the Telegraph that Charles Kennedy, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, is the right man to keep Scotland as part of the UK.

 

EU and Pensions: The European Commission rules regarding cross border pension schemes had been expected to change, but it was announced that they would stay the same. According to one expert, this means that firms in Scotland would have to make up as much as £225 billion in pensions. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1)

 

UK Coalition: Willie Rennie, the leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, has claimed that the coalition with the Conservatives has “shaken the faith” of many who voted for them, but that “they are not lost to us”. He has reportedly said that the theme of the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference will be to promote Scotland in the UK and the UK in Europe. (Herald page 7)

 

Micro chipping for dogs: Proposals have been put forward for micro chipping dogs following a summit in Edinburgh. MSPs discussed the advantages of micro chipping, including helping deal with stray animals and increasing the responsibility of owners. (Scotsman page 1)

 

Golf and women: Following the R&A announcing a vote on admitting women members in September, Muirfield is reportedly reviewing its policy on women members. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 3)

 

 

Economy

Scottish Currency: A report by Scottish Financial Enterprise, the Scottish Umbrella group for the Scottish financial services industry, set out the currency options if Scotland went independent. The report gave the options of a new currency or using the pound without any formal agreement. The report also said that Scotland would likely be allowed to join the EU, but would be expected to adopt the Euro. (Daily Express page 4)

 

Education

University access: Scottish Universities have been criticised for only marginally increasing their intake of students from the poorest 40% of postcodes. 23.2% of students beginning their degree come from the poorest 40%, compared to 22.5% in 2011/12. (Herald page 2)

 

Justice

Clare’s Law: The Scottish Government is reportedly seriously considering adopting a law where women are allowed to find out if their partner has a history of domestic violence. The law was initially introduced in England and Wales. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, Daily Record page 2)

 

Health

Smoking ban: Research by the University of Edinburgh has shown that the smoking ban has reduced premature births and childhood asthma attacks by a tenth. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 11)