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Reform Scotland News: 30 April 2014

Daily Political Newspaper Summary:  30 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

Politics

Referendum spending: Referendum watchdogs are under pressure to block the registration of a number of pro-independence groups amid claims the groups are being used as a front to boost the Yes campaign’s spending power in the run up to September’s referendum. (Herald page 1)

Independence debate: Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander will today call on the Scottish Government to publish “realistic” forecasts on oil and gas revenues in an independent Scotland. SNP finance secretary John Swinney, meanwhile, has demanded the Treasury reveal Scotland’s share of the UK’s assets in the event of a vote for independence. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Times page 5, P&J page 13)

A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has suggested that independence would lead to one third of financial jobs within Scotland moving south of the border. (Telegraph B1)

Meanwhile, an English academic has dismissed claims that energy bills could be higher in an independent Scotland. (P&J page 12)

Newark by-election: Former Tory MP Patrick Mercer has quit his Westminster seat after facing imminent suspension from the House of Commons over cash-for-questions allegations. (Herald page 1, FT page 4, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 2)

Salmond’s Putin comments: Ukrainians living in Scotland have demanded a public apology from Alex Salmond, after Mr. Salmond controversially told GQ magazine that he admired “certain aspects” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, Times page 8, Express page 7)

Food banks: Neil Couling, work services director at the Department for Work and Pensions, has said that Scots turning to food banks were making the most of their “economic choices”, insisting that the growth in the number of families relying on food banks was a supply-led growth. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 4)

UKIP: The UKIP party is facing yet another race row after one of its candidates suggested that Mo Farah, who was born in Somalia, was not British because he was from Africa. (Herald page 6)

Meanwhile, another candidate is said to have urged the banning of Islam and the destruction of British mosques. (Times page 4)

Ian Bell in the Herald suggests that attacks on the credibility of the UKIP party only serve to strengthen its standing. Mr. Bell also notes the differing levels of support that UKIP enjoy within England, Wales and Scotland.

Economy

Economic growth: Chancellor George Osborne has insisted that Britain is “coming back” after figures revealed the fifth successive quarter of growth, with figures set to soon surpass their pre-crash levels. (Herald page 2, FT page 4, Telegraph B1, Express page 17, Sun page 2, Guardian page 23)

St James Quarter: Plans for a new £850million redevelopment of a commercial district in Edinburgh have been unveiled. The new St James Quarter, estimated to generate £25million for the Scottish economy annually and create 2,300 jobs, will begin construction in 2015. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 10)

Turnberry golf course: Last night it was confirmed that American billionaire Donald Trump had purchased the golf course and luxury hotel at Turnberry, in a deal reportedly worth £35million. (Scotsman page 1, P&J page 18)

Wolfson Micro: Edinburgh based firm Wolfson Microelectronics has been bought over by Texas-based Cirrus Logic in a deal reported to be worth £291million. (Scotsman page 30, Herald page 24, FT page 17, Courier page 31)

George Kerevan and Scott Reid in the Scotsman, and Robert Cookson in the FT comment on the news that Wolfson Micro has been taken over by a US firm.

Health

Suicide rate: Suicides are three times more common in the most deprived Scottish communities, a report released by the Scottish Suicide Information Database has found. (Scotsman page 5)  

Skin cancer: New figures released by the Information Services Division (ISD) have revealed an increase of 40 percent in the number Scots diagnosed with skin cancer. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 9, Courier page 25)

Education

Student funding: The former head of higher education and student support for the Scottish Government has warned that the existing system, in which students are provided with larger loans and smaller grants, was harming poorer students the most. (Herald page 6)

Justice

Civil courts: Roseanna Cunningham MSP has reportedly branded Scotland’s civil courts as “outdated” while giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee, while urging their replacement with a more efficient system. (Scotsman page 8)