Reform Scotland News: 29 April 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



Salmond’s ‘gross error’ over comments on Putin: The First Minister’s assertion that he admired ‘certain aspects’ of Russian president Vladimir Putin have been denounced as a ‘gross error of judgement in international relations’ by William Hague, who claims that Scottish people will be ‘horrified’ by these comments. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 4, Telegraph page 1, Times page 12, Mail page 14, Press & Journal page 13, Courier page 14)


Independent Scotland’s commitment to EU: Alex Salmond claimed yesterday that an Independent Scotland would be an enthusiastic member of the EU, making comparisons to the ‘disengaged’ approach of the UK. (Financial Times page 2, Press & Journal page 12)


No campaign’s lack of a united cause benefits Yes campaign: Peter Jones in the Scotsman claims that the Better Together campaign is lacking in unity as the unionist parties are also competing against each other in the run up to the 2015 general election. He also asserts that the referendum is widely perceived as a vote simply for or against Scotland.



EU rejects Salmond’s claim over living wage:  An EU spokesman has countered Alex Salmond’s claim that existing EU regulations restrict Holyrood’s ability to ensure that all public sector workers are paid the ‘living wage’ of £7.65 an hour. In response to the First Minister’s comments during a speech in Bruges yesterday, the spokesman stated that there is no European Law in place which would obstruct the Scottish Government from moving forward with its proposal. (Scotsman page 1)


Warning of departure of banks: Dyfrig John, a director of the Lloyds Banking Group has warned that Independence could cause banks and other financial institutions to flee Scotland. (Daily Express page 4)


North Sea oil fields: Alex Kemp, a professor of Petroleum Economics at Aberdeen University has warned Holyrood’s economy committee that the costs of decommissioning North Sea fields could be as high as £45 billion. Speaking in Aberdeen yesterday, Kemp claimed that a ‘major chunk’ of this would be in the Scottish sector. (Scotsman page 8, Times page 19, Mail page 2)


Salmon’s threat to ban EU fishing fleets: Alex Salmond has been condemned by opponents for declaring that EU boats would be banned from fishing in Scottish waters. Salmond’s comments, made during a speech in Bruges yesterday, were criticised by the Scotland Office minister David Mundell, for being ‘in breach of international law’ (Herald, page 6, Sun page 2, Daily Express page 4, Telegraph page 9, Times page 1, Mail page 14)


White Paper economic claims: The ‘most significant in-depth analysis’ of the Scottish government’s economic claims to date has been carried out by the Treasury’s leading economists. The first part of the results will be delivered tomorrow by Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, in a speech in Edinburgh. (Herald page 6)



Local Government

 Local authorities accused of ‘making a profit out of people dying’: A Church of Scotland report has revealed an average increase of 47% in the cost of funeral services from five years ago. South Lanarkshire had the largest increase, with Glasgow and Edinburgh also displaying increases of 68% and 31% respectfully. (Scotsman page 17, Press & Journal page 14)




Sufferers in chronic pain wait between 78 and 104 weeks to see specialist: Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) has published a report which states that people in the NHS Borders area were forced to wait up to two years to access specialist pain psychology services. The report also found that chronic pain services vary substantially across Scotland in terms of access, extent and type of service. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 9, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express, page 8, Press & Journal page 8)


NHS free helpline launched: A new freephone number for NHS 24 will open today, offering members of the public free medical advice and assistance. (Herald page 4)


E-cigarettes: The use of e-cigarettes has been banned at Holyrood by chiefs adhering to health advice. (Daily Express page 8)



Teaching Union general secretary sacked: Sheila Mechan has been removed from the role of general-secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, just three weeks after taking up the position. Her employment was terminated as a result of the ‘immediate breakdown of a significant number of crucial working relationships’, and former deputy secretary Alan McKenzie will resume the role until a new permanent general secretary is recruited. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Sun page 2)


Call for new education complaints body: The Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) has claimed that a new Independent Education Tribunal Service should be set up to deal with complaints about Scottish pupils’ education. (Herald page 7)


New school curriculum costs: The Scottish Conservatives have called for ministers to reveal the total cost of the implementation of Scotland’s new school curriculum. (Herald, page 9)