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Reform Scotland News: 14 July 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: According to an ICM poll published yesterday, the No campaign has extended its lead in the referendum race, with support for Better Together at 45%, up two percentage points from the same survey done a month ago. Backing for Yes was down two points at 34%. (Herald page 6, Scotland on Sunday page 1, Daily Express page 2, Daily Mail page 4, Courier page 17)

In a report published today, the Law Society, the body representing Scotland’s solicitors, has called on the SNP to outline contingency plans for both currency and EU membership. The report also questions Alex Salmond’s plans to continue charging tuition fees to students from the rest of the UK following a Yes vote, which is an apparent breach of EU law. (Herald page 1, Telegraph page 4, Times page 1, Daily Mail page 4)

An ICM survey for the Scotsman has shown that support for independence would increase in the run-up to the referendum if Scots feared the UK would leave the EU. (Scotsman page 1)

Babcock, Scotland’s largest employer in the engineering sector and one of Scotland’s biggest defence contractors, has warned that independence could harm its operations north of the border. (Times page 8, Scotsman page 6, Sunday Times page 1, Daily Express page 2, Daily Mail page 4)

Scottish naval architect Stuart Ballantyne has backed the idea that Scotland’s shipbuilding industry would be better served by constructing small defence vessels rather than relying on Westminster for orders.  (Sunday Herald page 11)

David Torrance comments in the Herald on how the Scottish islands and their remoteness invite the case for localism to be explored.

Gillian Bowditch comments in the Sunday Times on bridging the gap between the head and the heart in the independence debate.

Kezia Dugdale comments in the Daily Record that Scotland doesn’t need to leave the UK to prove that it is a nation.

 

Defence: David Cameron will today launch a £1.1 billion of investment in military capabilities, including an £800 million intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance package, which is to include unmanned aircraft. (Herald page 1)

 

Quango use: Reform Scotland are calling for the use of quangos in Scotland to be transformed after conducting research revealing that 43 bosses of the organisations, which are “not sufficiently accountable to the Scottish Parliament or the Scottish people”, are paid an annual salary of more than Alex Salmond’s £141,000 and 686 quango staff make more than the £57,521 earned by a MSP. (Scotsman page 4, Sunday Herald page 4, Telegraph page 10, Daily Record page 18, Daily Mail page 8, Courier page16)

 

Borders: The Scottish affairs committee is today opening a consultation on “the Borderlands of Scotland”, with MPs on the committee saying they were worried that the region has been consistently overlooked, with a succession of governments focussing instead on pumping money and government help into the highlands and islands. (Times page 6, Telegraph page 9)

 

Economy

North Sea oil: David Phillips, a senior economist from the IFS has warned that the row over the start-up costs of an independent Scotland is a “red herring” and that Scots should be more concerned about Scotland’s ability to offset a long-term decline in North Sea oil revenue. (Sunday Times page 7)

As the UK government launches a review of its oil tax regime, Danny Alexander has warned that an independent Scotland may not have the capacity to cash in on the full economic potential of the oil in the North Sea. (Herald page 6, Press and Journal page 12, Courier page 17)

David Phillips comments in the Sunday times on how shrinking North Sea oil revenues could be disastrous for the economy of an independent Scotland.

 

Shooting: As estates prepare for the Glorious 12th, Public and Corporate Economic Consultants (PACEC) have calculated that shooting generates £200 million a year for the Scottish economy and supports 8,800 jobs. (Herald page 4)

 

Barnett Formula: Brian Monteith comments in the Scotsman on the Barnett formula, and on how a new formula is needed.

 

Scottish employment: An Employer Skills Survey has revealed that 10,000 employment opportunities have been created in Scotland in the last two years. (Daily Express page 4)

 

Health

Hospital food: David Maguire, a successful restaurateur and catering expert who has been given access to the “super kitchens” that cook for Scotland’s hospitals, has launched an attack on the food served up to patients, calling it a “pastiche of food”. (Herald page 1)

 

Transport

Space hub: Scotland stands a strong chance of being host to Britain’s first spaceport, a dedicated base for space-planes, with six of the eight potential locations being situated north of the Border. It is hoped that the spaceport will be ready to function by 2018. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 6, Sunday Times page 8)