Reform Scotland News: 25 September


Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 25 September 2015

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.



GM Crops ban: The Royal Society of Edinburgh has criticised the Scottish Government’s recent ban on genetically modified (GM) crops for its lack of scientific evidence (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 10, Times page 14, Telegraph page 1, Express page 2, Courier page 37).


Food fraud: In the wake of the horsemeat scandal, a new food fraud unit has been set up in Scotland to tackle food crime (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 8).


Energy production: Electricity produced by renewable sources in Scotland has increased by 13.5 per cent since last year, as Scotland reaches its 2020 target for reducing energy consumption. Meanwhile, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has not ruled out underground coal gasification (UCG) in Scotland, despite pressures from environmental groups and some sections of his own party (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6).


Scottish Labour: Dan Jarvis in The Scotsman comments on the prospects of Labour in Scotland under Kezia Dugdale, while Kenny Farquharson in The Times comments on Ms Dugdale’s stance on Scottish independence.


Under-resourced committees: MSPs have recently criticised the limited capacity of Scottish parliament committees to scrutinise government policy, mainly due to their size and workload (Times page 14).


Home downsizing: A report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has called for government help in freeing up under occupied family homes to ease pressure on the housing market (Herald page 12).


MSPs’ expenses: Despite some unusual claims, there has been a fall in MSPs’ expenses in the past year (Scotsman page 10, Times page 4, Record page 9, Courier page 14).


Labour: With the party’s conference coming up, Jeremy Corbyn’s promise to respect decisions made by the party’s various policy forums could reportedly spark tensions within the party. Research by Ipsos Mori gave Mr Corbyn the worst poll rating of any new Labour leader for more than 30 years. Martin Kettle in The Guardian comments on how Labour chose a leader without first choosing a path (FT page 3, Herald page 6, Sun page 6, Martin Kettle in the Guardian).


Indyref: A new biography on David Cameron has shown his stress in the run up to the Scottish referendum. Alison Rowat in the Herald comments on David Cameron’s stance in the 2014 Scottish Independence referendum and on Nicola Sturgeon’s bid for a second referendum (Times page 14).


SNP MPs behaviour: The SNP dismissed yesterday the Spectator’s claims of improper behaviour and drinking by SNP MPs at Westminster (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 5, Telegraph page 9).


BBC Scotland: Amidst the debate around cutting funding for the BBC, the SNP released plans to create a federal structure for the BBC yesterday (Telegraph page 7, Express page 2, Sun page 2, Courier page 16).



Pension pots: Environmental campaigners have warned of the risks of using public sector pension pots to invest in fossil fuels, due to the instability of the investments and the impact on the environment. These warnings come amidst a doubling in the complaints about public bodies withholding information on environmental issues (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 9).


Pro-EU businesses: A recent survey by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce has shown the support of about three quarters of Scottish businesses to remain in the European Union (Times page 4).



Bed blocking: Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has criticised the managing of bed blocking in Scotland’s hospitals by the SNP government and has pointed to the lack of care services. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has insisted on the SNP’s efforts and progress in solving bed blocking. Tom Gordon comments on the issue (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 6, National page 4, Record page 9, Tom Gordon in The Herald, Sun page 2, Courier page 5,17).


Eating disorders: There has been a considerable increase in the number of girls under 18 subjected to compulsory treatment for mental illness related to eating disorders (Herald page 3).



Private Schools: The Scottish Government is considering a plan to extend freedom of information (FoI) laws to private schools (Scotsman page 1).


Local government

Glasgow LED: Glasgow has set a precedent by switching to low-energy LED technology for street lighting, with estimated savings of 50-70 per cent (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 3).



Rail fares: A study by Voucherbox has shown that Scottish rail fares are among the cheapest in the UK (Herald page 8).