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Reform Scotland News: 8 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

 

Independence debate: Yes-supporting lottery winners, Mr and Mrs Weir, have called for a stop in personal attacks and more decency in the referendum debate (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 7, Telegraph page 1)

 

Holyrood’s economy committee have been told that the SNP’s economic plans for an independent Scotland do not add-up, as the white paper proposals for a Nordic-style economy do not include the necessary tax rises (Scotsman page 4, Times page 8, Telegraph page 10, Express page 4, P&J page 13). Professor John Kay, a former economic adviser to Alex Salmond, has warned that the conditions set out by the UK Treasury in any monetary union negotiations after a ‘yes’ vote would be hard for a Scottish Government to accept (Scotsman page 5, Sun page 2, Courier page 14).

 

According to a new analysis provided by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a currency union would resemble ‘dollarisation’ with flexibility over economic policy making but not the safety net of a banking bailout (Herald page 6, Times page 8, Courier page 14). John McFall, former Labour MP and member of the House of Lords, warns of the financial implications of Scottish independence ( Herald page 17).

 

David Cameron has stated that he will not resign as Prime Minister if Scotland votes ‘yes’ to independence (Mail page 1).

 

UK pensions minister has confirmed that Scots would still be able to withdraw from a UK pension, even if Scotland becomes independent (Mail page 6).

 

Analysis by USB, the Swiss-based bank, indicates that, in the event of a ‘yes’ vote, there will be falls in the values of the sterling and the UK stock market with uncertainty destabilising equity markets (Times page 1).

 

Due to a high turnout forecast for the referendum, officials have ordered enough ballot papers for 120% voters while councils have been told to bring in additional staff at polling stations (Herald page 6, Record page 6, Sun page 2, P&J page 13). Alan Cochrane, writing in The Telegraph, looks at the current state of the polls and the challenges presented by pre-voting surveys (page 13).

 

Writing in the Herald, Iain Macwhirter looks as the opportunities presented for social mobility and equality in an independent Scotland (page 15).

 

UKIP: Tom Peterkin looks at the opportunities presented to the SNP in the European elections and the ‘intriguing dimension’ introduced by the rise of UKIP (Scotsman page 25) and Martin Kettle outlines why the European elections are so important in the Guardian page 32)  Writing in the Express, Keith Aitken argues that the Scottish people should deny Nigel Farage the attention of a protest (page 13).

 

Blue badges: SNP MSP Dennis Robertson has put forward plans to reduce the abuse of the blue-badge parking scheme for the disabled (Herald page 8)

 

General election: Margaret Curran, shadow Scottish Secretary, has claimed that her party would ‘get down to business straightaway’ if Labour were elected in the 2015 General Election, while the SNP would be tied-up in negotiating independence (Herald page 6, Record page 8), while Ed Miliband has promised to fight for the next general election with a ‘radical offer’ for voters as he addressed Labour party activists one year before polling day (FT page 4, Sun page 2)

 

Fracking: MSPs in Holyrood have rejected the Greens motion to ban the controversial method of gas extraction (Scotsman page 12, Record page 4, P&J page 14) 

 

‘Bedroom Tax’: Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed the transfer of powers to Holyrood to enable Scottish ministers to lift the cap on Discretionary Housing Payments which help those in financial difficulty when hit with the ‘bedroom tax’ (Times page 11, Record page 6, Mail page 21).

 

In response to Ed Millband’s boasts of his ‘intellectual self-confidence’, Telegraph’s Bruce Anderson analyses the different forms of political intelligence (page 21)

 

Economy

 

Co-op bank: Lord Myners has produced a ‘damning report’ against the governance structure and culture of the Co-operative Group ahead of the body’s AGM this month and has advised that radical reform is needed for survival (Scotsman page 7, Guardian page 11, Mail page 14). Bill Jamieson looks at how these failings came about and what reforms the co-operative model needs to introduce for success ( Scotsman page 23)

 

House sales: house sales have risen to a six-year high, according to a report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, along with an expectation that property prices are set to increase (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 5, Courier page 23) 

 

Banking jobs: 260 Scottish managers and deputy managers will be made redundant by RBS in an attempt to reduce and estimated £1 billion of costs (Herald page 1). It is expected that Barclays is to announce cutting 15,000 jobs worldwide today, with 70 per cent of them in the UK (Sun page 24, Guardian page 11)

 

Adult employment: In 2013 there was a 20% increase in the number of adults who have never had a job, bringing the figure to just under 125,000, according to figures published by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. (Herald page 8, Times page 23, Telegraph page 13, Express page 2, Record page 8, Sun page 2, Mail page 10, Courier page 13, P&J page 23)

 

Living alone: One in five people are now living alone, a figure that has doubled in the last 40 years, according to research conducted by insurer LV= (Scotsman page 9, Telegraph page 16, Sun page 24).

 

‘Problem’ debt: 18 per cent of households are currently affected by ‘problem debt’, defined as being in arrears on at least one house-hold bill or credit commitment, according to the Children’s Society and Step-Change debt charity (Scotsman page 10) 

 

Education

 

Exam lottery: The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association has argued that the introduction of charges to exam appeals could create a postcode lottery if the funds have to be paid from school budgets (Herald page 12)

 

Health

 

A&E: Average A&E waiting times have risen to over two hours, with the number of patients waiting longer than four hours almost tripling from 36,000 in 2008-9 to 104,000 in 2012-13, according to an Audit Scotland report (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 9, Times page 14, Telegraph page 1, Express page 1, Record page 12, Mail page 12, Courier page 13, P&J page 11)

 

Child deaths: The Scottish Government plans to introduce a national ‘child death review system’ in efforts to reduce the number of child fatalities, a rate which is higher than many other European countries (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 7, Telegraph page 10, Record page 4, Mail page 26, Courier page 13, P&J page 14)

 

Local government

 

Council ties: Council chiefs from England’s biggest cities have argued for a ‘Glasgow declaration’ to enable cities across the UK to co-operate on economic development  which would be ‘a more radical constitutional agenda than establishing a border at Carlisle’ (Herald page 1)