Reform Scotland News: 30th 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



Independence Referendum:  Alex Salmond is under increased pressure from Tory and Liberal Democrat leaders to reveal the likely start-up costs of independence after the UK and Scottish administrations produced conflicting figures. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Express page 1, Record page 8, Guardian page 1)


Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph discusses the credibility and inconsistencies of the Scottish and UK government’s predictions for the start-up costs of an independent Scotland.


Chancellor George Osborne has called Britain the ‘greatest family on earth’ as he made an impassioned plea for Scots to reject independence. (Sun page 2)


Pro-Independence group Options for Scotland (OFS) has called for a break up of The Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank following independence, with their Scottish arms being placed under Holyrood control. OFS dismissed claims that Scotland’s banking sector is too big for a small, independent country as ‘scaremongering’. (Scotsman page 7, Times page 7, Telegraph page 10)


The Electoral Commission has issued a warning that strict rules are now in place regarding campaign spending during the ‘referendum period’ which runs from today until 18th September. No individual can spend more than £10,000 on campaigning unless they are registered as a ‘permitted participant’ and all donations over £7,500 must be reported. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 6, Times page 7, Express page 2, Record page 9)


Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman discusses UKIP’s success in gaining a Scottish seat in the European Elections and the implications of this for Alex Salmond and the Yes campaign.


Referendum Voting:  Highland Council has been ordered to relocate one of its polling booths in Fort William after a complaint was lodged that the Saltire was on display. (Record page 8)


The design of ballot papers for the referendum, which will feature unique identifying marks on each slip, is being kept secret over fears of forgeries. (Herald page 1)  


Lib Dems:  Nick Clegg will address his MPs next week to reassert his position as party leader after calls for him to step down in light of recent disappointment in the polls. (Finanical Times, page 3)



Edinburgh Trams:  Edinburgh’s controversial tram network will be active as of 5am tomorrow the 31st of May with locals, tram enthusiasts and tourists expected to gather at York Place for the launch. (Scotsman page 3, Record page 16)


Ken Houston in the Herald discusses the history and previous successes of trams in Edinburgh.


Speed Limit:  Former Transport & Environment minister Stewart Stevenson has urged ministers to ask the public to drive 10mph slower to protect the environment by reducing emissions and to stay safe in extreme weather. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 2)



Unpaid Fines:  Details repleased by the Scottish Court Service show that since the 2010-2011 period, offenders have failed to pay arrears of £19.3m. Tory Justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell claims this is an insult to victims as well as a blow to the taxpayer and that the Scottish Government has a duty to ensure these fines are paid. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 1)


Police Scotland:  Deputy Chief Constable Steve Allen has described a ‘culture clash’ following the merger of Scotland’s eight police forces to form Police Scotland in which Strathclyde’s tactics have been forced on other areas of the country. The criticism was specifically in reference to raids carried out on Edinburgh saunas which had previously been tolerated as part of the Lothian and Borders Police Force’s attitude to the sex trade. (Scotsman page 14)


Young Offenders:  Police Scotland have released figures to the BBC detailing children committing offences in the last 2 years. 44,341 offences such as shop-lifting and vandalism were recorded for under-16s including five individuals aged 3. (Scotsman page 18, Express page 25)


Games Security:  Organisers of the Commonwealth Games have released information about ‘unprecedented levels of security’ at the Commonwealth Games involving Police Scotland, Military Personnel, prison officers and 17 private firms. (Telegraph page 10)



NHS Failures:  Johann Lamont has accused Alex Salmond of ‘disgraceful complacency’ and claims the NHS is failing under his watch. Her criticism comes a week after Health Secretary Alex Neil survived a vote of no confidence and official statistics showed that the NHS is missing key targets. (Herald page 6, Times page 13)


Elderly Care:  Ranald Mair, chief executive of Scottish Care, has described care for elderly people in Scotland as being at a crisis point which will only get worse if staff shortages are not addressed.  He has urged the Holyrood administration to set up a taskforce to improve the quality of care patients are receiving in their own homes. (Times page 13)


Referendum Advertisting:  Great Ormond Street Hospital has called for the removal of a Vote No Borders advert which claims that after independence, Scottish people can “join a long list of foreigners waiting to be seen”. A spokesperson has said the hospital does not endorse the message and reassured Scots that reciprocal healthcare agreements are already in place with a number of countries. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 3, Telegraph page 10, Express page 2, Sun page 2, Record page 9)


Prison Food:  Heathcare campaigners and politicians have called for a review into spending on hospital food in comparison with prison food. This follows the release of menus by the Scottish Prison Service which suggests that prisoners receive better choice and quality than patients in hospital. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 11, Express page 11)


Teenage Heath:  Lyndsay Buckland in the Scotsman discusses a report by Strathclyde University which suggests Scots teenagers are among the least active in the world and explores ways in which they could achieve the recommended hour of exercise per day.