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Reform Scotland News: 15 May 2014

Daily Political Newspaper Summary:  15th May 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

Osborne & independence: George Osborne yesterday told the Scottish affairs select committee at Westminster that a currency union with an independent Scotland would only work if Scotland handed over almost all of its economic levers such as banking, spending limits and financial services regulation to the UK, a position he described as unsustainable.  He also commented that if Scotland adopted the pound in an informal sterlingisation arrangement, Scottish sterling bank notes would be lost. (Scotsman page 1, Times page 6, Herald page 6, Record page 7, Sun page 2, Express page 6, FT page 2, Telegraph page 6, Mail page 10, P&J page 11, Courier page 18)


David Cameron:  David Cameron is expected to say “Scotland puts the great into Great Britain” during a visit to Scotland today as well as arguing that voting “no” does not make people unpatriotic. (Times page 1, Herald page 6, Catherine MacLeod in the Herald, Sun page 1, Record page 6, Sun page 2, FT page 2, Mail page 11, P&J page 13)


Commonwealth Games: Glasgow 2014 has reportedly suggested that its ticketing website is likely to remain closed into the weekend. (Scotsman page 1, Times page 4, Herald page 3, Record page 20, Sun page 20, Mail page 1, Courier page 20)


Immigration: Official figures published yesterday have shown that the number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK between January and March this year was 4,000 fewer than the last three months of 2013, despite employment restrictions being lifted in January. (Scotsman page 1, Rob McNeil in the Scotsman, Times page 18, Leo McKinstry in the Express, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 2, Courier page 28)


European elections: Nicola Sturgeon has commented that Scotland’s last European seat is likely to be a straight fight between the SNP and Ukip. (Scotsman page 5, Telegraph page 3, Mail page 10, P&J page 11, Courier page 18)


Alistair Darling: Alistair Darling has rejected claims that he is being sidelined by the Better Together campaign. (Herald page 7, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 11, Mail page 11, P&J page 12)


Opinion poll: A Survation poll has put yes on 36.6 per cent, no on 46.8 per cent with undecided at 16.6 per cent. (Record page 1)


Scottish security: The Royal United Services Institute has claimed that there are “considerable blind spots” in the plans for the security of an independent Scotland, which could be exploited by criminals and terrorists. (Express page 1)


Yes vote: Iain MacWhirter in the Herald comments that Scotland could be ‘swithering’ towards a yes vote in the referendum.


Holyrood: Tavish Scott in the Mail argues that back-bench SNP MSPs at Holyrood follow government instructions to ensure “nothing is allowed to get in the way of the government’s agenda”, regardless of the evidence and arguments that may be given to parliamentary committees.


 

 Economy

Unemployment: The number of jobless people in Scotland fell by 18,000 between January and March this year.  The Scottish unemployment rate is 6.4 per cent compared to 6.8 per cent across the UK. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 5, Record page 2, Sun page 2, Express page 4, Mail page 19, Courier page 27)


Interest rates: Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, yesterday reportedly played down expectorations of a rise in interest rates, saying the economy had “only just begun to head back towards normal”. (FT page 1, Guardian page 25, Courier page 26)

 

Justice

HMP Grampian: Riot teams were drafted in to respond to a 14-hour disturbance at HMP Grampian on Tuesday night. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 8, Record page 4, Sun page 29, Mail page 4, P&J page 6)


Health

Alex Neil: Alex Neil, the Scottish Health Secretary, is facing allegations that he misled parliament over his role in changes to acute mental services in his constituency.   Emails released under Freedom of Information reportedly show that on taking the post Alex Neil immediately halted plans agreed by his predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon, to concentrate NHS Lanarkshire’s acute mental services at Hairmyres and Wishaw hospitals, which would have closed 48 beds at Monklands, in his constituency. (Herald page 1)

 

Education

Teachers’ morale: According to the teaching union NASUWT, the excessive workload facing Scottish teachers has left morale at an all time low. (Telegraph page 4)