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Reform Scotland News: 7 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
Currency Union
: The Fiscal Commission Working Group, set up by Alex Salmond, is to set out the arguments on why George Osborne is wrong in rejecting a currency union. (Times page 2)
 
Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will reportedly today attack Alex Salmond on his belief that a currency union can be reached. (Daily Telegraph
page 1)
 
Independence costs: The Scottish based company Aggreko, who produce electrically powered generators, has reportedly warned that independence for Scotland could lead to increased administration costs, as well as years of uncertainty. (Scotsman
page 10, Daily Telegraph page 7, Daily Express page 2, Daily Record page 8)
 
Shell has claimed that political stability in the UK would be required for any of its investment decisions. (Financial Times page 4)
 
Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments that parties in opposition to the SNP are failing to take advantage of an “open goal” with major companies highlighting the problems with independence.
 
Radiation cover up: Both the Scottish Labour party and the SNP have reportedly voiced anger over the UK Government taking two years to make them aware of a radiation leak at the nuclear testing site at Dounreay.  (Herald
page 1, Scotsman page 1, Daily Record page 2, Sun page 2)
 
Councillors’ Code of Conduct: Mark Macmillan, a Labour councillor in Renfrewhshire, has reportedly been found guilty of breaching the Councillors’ Cod of Conduct by helping to approve £25,000 of funding for a subsidiary of his employer. (Herald
page 1)
 
Liberal Democrats: The Liberal Democrat Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael has reportedly claimed that the Lib Dems should retain their Scottish seats in the 2015 General election (Herald
page 6)
 
SSE: Scottish and Southern Energy, a Perth based company, is being investigated by Ofgem for being one of the slowest companies to respond to storm damage and reconnecting energy supplies. It now faces a further investigation and a potential fine. (Scotsman
page 12)
 
Tweet Apology: Roseanna Cunningham, the Minister for Community Safety and Legal affairs, has apologised after sharing a photo of fundraising letter from a retired General. The letter was supporting the Better Together campaign and contained his personal contact details, including his address. (Herald
page 3, Scotsman page 19, Times page 4, Daily Telegraph page 6)

Labour infighting: Former Labour First Minister, Henry McLeish, has warned that infighting over devolution amongst Labour could undermine the Better Together campaign. (Financial Times page 4)

Economy
Value for money
: Lloyds bank has produced a report, based on the data from the Office for National Statistics, which claims that the pound has devalued 90% over the last 40 years. (Herald
page 11, Scotsman page 21)
 
Low tax High earners: Alex Salmond has hinted that he would keep income tax rates below that of the UK, telling an audience in London he would not put Scotland at a disadvantage to the rest of the UK. (Times page 2)
 
Black hole: Official government economic models have shown a £20 billion budget deficit, which could potentially mean an extra year of austerity for Brits. (Financial Times page 1)

Education
Colleges
: A report by Colleges Scotland has reportedly claimed that the majority of colleges in Scotland have had to reduce staff number, due to cutbacks. (Herald
page 5)

Transport
Network Rail
: Network Rail have been ordered by have been ordered by MPs to publicly apologise for using the word trespassers when describing people killed in level crossing accidents. The Commons Transport Committee accused Network Rail of being insensitive. (Herald
page 1, Scotsman page 1)
 
Health
Waiting lists
: Internal audits have shown that health boards are failing to inform patients of their rights to prompt treatment, following the Treatment Time Guarantee, which came into law in 2012. (Herald page 9)
 
Better Eating, Better Learning: The Scottish government has produced a report on school meals, which calls for improved training for canteen staff, and more involvement of pupils in choosing menus, as well as other recommendations. (Scotsman
page 22)
 
Justice
Police Stations:
Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader has reportedly accused Alex Salmond of taking a “wrecking ball to the Scotland’s justice system” following the revelation that reportedly 60% of Scotland’s police stations have either been shut down or closed to the public, since 2007 (Herald
page 6)
 
Police IT contract: Police Scotland are withholding £7.3 million of an £8 million down payment for their new IT system, as they have claimed milestones have not been reached by the provider, Accenture. (Herald
page 3, Scotsman page 8, Sun page 2)

Future of Pensions in Scotland:
There are still some places available for our free event ‘The Future of Pensions in Scotland’ which we are running with Pinsent Masons.  It will take place at 2pm on Thursday 13th March and promises to be an interesting discussion with the UK Pensions Minister, Steve Webb MP, and other leading politicians. Please email Alison.Payne@reformscotland.com for full details, or to reserve a place.