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Reform Scotland News: 30 June 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: Supporters of independence gathered outside the BBC’s headquarters in Glasgow yesterday to protest about the corporation’s supposedly biased coverage of the referendum campaign. (Herald page 6)

After initially saying that they would not tell Scots the price of independence until after they had voted, SNP ministers are facing mounting pressure to publish the costs of setting up an independent Scotland. (Times page 2)

Game of Thrones star Rose Leslie has declared her support for the United Kingdom, warning Scots that Alex Salmond has been “blinded by passion” in his bid to secure independence, and doesn’t see how good things are for Scotland right now. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Daily Mail page 4, Daily Express page 2, Daily Record page 2, Sun page 2)

David Cameron has been accused of using his Armed Forces Day speech to promote the Better Together campaign, after speaking of how the UK’s military strength keeps Scotland safe. (Scotland on Sunday page 4, Daily Express page 2, Times page 4, Sunday Times page 5)

The SNP have been reprimanded after breaking Holyrood rules which forbid referendum campaigning on Scottish Parliament property, after SNP MSPs joined activists for the launch of the English Scots for Yes campaign at Holyrood. (Scotland on Sunday page 11)

Education Secretary Michael Gove has warned that a Yes vote would invigorate Vladimir Putin because it would destabilise the UK, the West’s “second principal beacon of liberty”, and so put him in a stronger position to dictate to the world. (Telegraph page 1, Times page 4)

Scottish politician George Galloway has expressed his concerns about “posts and guards” at the English border if Scotland votes for independence. (Daily Express page 2)

Matt Forde comments in the Sunday Times on how a distinct lack of humour is setting the tone of the referendum debate.

Mure Dickie comments in the Financial Times on the Bannockburn festivities and on how, with the referendum coming up, Scottish people are currently more concerned with policy and economic issues than with history and identity.

Leslie Riddoch comments in the Scotsman that, whatever the result of the referendum in September, we have won because the resulting debate is crossing class, community and religion, and the whole country is better for it.

Ian Bell comments in the Sunday Herald on whether Alistair Darling has anything to say in the referendum campaign other than no.

Jason Allardyce and Nicholas Hellen comment in the Sunday Times on how Scots might be prevented from playing the EuroMillions if they vote for independence.

 

Federal UK: David Torrance comments in the Herald that the UK has been devolving power for a century, and the idea that federalism is beyond its competence isn’t a strong one.

Brian Monteith comments in the Scotsman that the notion of a federal United Kingdom may gather real support, and that now is a good time to be thinking of ways to make the countries of Britain more equal.

Iain MacWhirter comments in the Sunday Herald that there is no chance of the UK becoming a federal state as there is no demand for federalism in England, where 90% of the population reside.

Gilliam Bowditch comments in the Sunday Times on how a No vote might sow the seeds for a federal solution to the problem.

 

EU membership: Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has pledged to keep the UK in Europe, saying that a British exit would be “unimaginable”. (FT page 1)

John Cridland, Director of the CBI, has said that the UK’s membership of the EU is vital, and insisted that there is widespread support across the EU for reforms reducing regulation. (FT page 2)

 

BBC Scotland: According to leaked documents, BBC Scotland is seeking a financial handout from the controller of BBC 1 because they are on course to blow their £5m budget for their coverage of the independence referendum. (Sunday Times page 5)

 

Labour: The labour party is reportedly deeply split on whether or not to pledge bold reforms, according to insiders. (Sunday Times page 1, Sun page 2, Daily Record page 4)

 

Haggis row: Scotland’s national dish has become the subject of a trade row between Holyrood and Westminster over efforts to restore exports to the US, with Holyrood accusing Westminster of only holding talks with the US government in response to September’s independence referendum. (Herald page1, Press and Journal page 11, Courier page 2, Telegraph page 1)

 

Economy

Oil forecasts: The SNP has been accused of hiding a “multi-billion-pound black hole” in its independence case after it was revealed that, if IMF and World Bank forecasts about the value of oil and  gas are correct, an independent Scotland would face a budget shortfall of between £1.5 billion and £2.3 billion. (Sunday Times page 1, Daily Express page 2) 

 

Currency: Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has said that the SNP has given up its hopes of an independent Scotland retaining the pound in a currency union with the UK after Mr Alexander wrote to the SNP to warn that their plans to increase borrowing after a Yes vote would be incompatible with retaining Sterling. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 9, Daily Express page 2, Times page 2, Daily Record page 2) 

 

Working hours: As every worker now has the right to ask for flexible working hours, business minister Jo Swinson has warned that the long-hours culture present in too many workplaces is harming the economy, as workers may be less productive. (Herald page 2)

 

State pension: The Liberal democrats have unveiled plans to boost the state pension by £790 annually and to guarantee the “triple lock” arrangement after the next election. (Herald page 8, Sunday Times page 2)

 

Interest rates: While Bank of England governor Mark Carney has suggested interest rates could rise to 2.5% by early 2017, deputy governor Sir Charlie Bean has warned that we might expect borrowing costs to rise to 5% in the next 10 years. (Herald page 11, Guardian page 21)

 

Tax merger: A key element of the Conservative manifesto for next year’s election is reportedly to merge income tax and national insurance into one system. (Times page 1)

 

Cost of living: Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has revealed that a family with two children now needs to earn at least £40,600 a year to get by, and that most families can expect to earn about £10,000 below this. (Scotsman page 6, Guardian page 23, Times page 2)

 

Economic stability: Data compiled by Industry magazine The Banker in a global analysis of banks’ assets show that an Independent Scotland would be even more exposed to its banking sector than Iceland was in 2008, with Scottish-based lenders having combined balance sheets of £2.7 trillion, more than 12 times the size of Scotland’s economy. (Telegraph page 1, Sun page 2)

 

Corporation tax: Labour will today confirm its plans to raise corporation tax if elected next year. They are also examining the case for giving tax breaks to equalise the treatment of debt and equity finance for businesses. (FT page 2, Daily Record page 2, Sunday Times page 2)

 

Crime

Stop-and-search: According to a leaked email, police chiefs have warned their officers that they will be “firmly dealt with” if they do not step-up Police Scotland’s controversial stop-and-search policy. (Sunday Herald page 7)

 

Drink-driving: SNP ministers are to continue with legislation to reduce the drink-drive limit in Scotland to 50mg per 100ml instead of the current 80mg per 100ml, meaning that people driving up from England could find themselves in danger of accidentally breaking the law. (Daily Record page 10, Sun page 2)

 

Education

Education reform: Gillian Bowditch comments in the Sunday Times about Scotland’s place in the world’s education rankings, and asks how we might do better.

 

Health

NHS staff: A survey by the NHS GGC branch of Unison of NHS staff working in support, administration and nursing has found that, in 48% of cases, their wages did not allow them to afford basic items like books, new shoes or winter clothing. (Herald page 11)