Reform Scotland News: 4 January 201204.01.2012

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
Storms:
Scotland yesterday suffered from winds up to 102mph which damaged buildings, caused travel problems and left many households without power. The Met Office has been accused of failing to properly warn the public about the storms as it did not issue a ‘red warning’ for high winds until after 8am.  (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Sun page 1, Record page 1, Mail page 2, Express page 2, Guardian page 9, Times page 3, Courier page 1, Telegraph page 8, P&J)

Cameron and independence:  Downing Street have dismissed the notion that David Cameron will have a negative impact on the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK following comments from Alex Salmond that the Prime Minister was a “great asset” to the campaign for independence. (Herald page 7)

UK coalition: Daniel Finkelstein in the Times gives his forecast for the coalition in 2012, commenting that they have trapped themselves in it, whether they like it or not, and as a result it is likely to stay intact.

Economy
Household income:
A report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies suggests that couples with two children will be £1,250 a year worse off by 2015 as families “shoulder the burden of austerity”. (Scotsman page 18, Sun page 2, Express page 1, Guardian page 16, Telegraph page 1)

Energy: According to Save the Children the UK government’s Warm Homes Discount Scheme is “underfunded by millions” and only reaches about three per cent of families at risk of fuel poverty. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 12, Express page 16)

Welfare: David Maddox in the Scotsman comments on the challenges Iain Duncan Smith will face in selling his welfare reforms in Scotland.

Payday loans: Many Scots and almost one million people across the UK are reportedly turning to payday loan companies in order to keep a roof over their head but, as a result, are spiralling into debt due to the very high interest payments.  Independent MSP Margo MacDonald is urging the UK government to take tougher action to regulate the companies. (Herald page 4, Sun page 28)

Glasgow East: The Glasgow East constituency has emerged as the most costly in the UK for benefits, at £1,843 per head. Off the top 20 areas, four were in or around Glasgow.  West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine emerged amongst the cheapest at £434 per head. (Record page 10, Express page 15)

North / south divide: The FT (page 3) has produced data looking at the economic output across the UK.

Top pay: The UK government is expected to announce measures to tackle “grossly excessive top pay awards” and a new clampdown on tax avoidance in the coming weeks. (FT page 1, P&J)

Justice
Stephen Lawrence:
Two men were yesterday found guilty of the racist murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993.   Findings from the public inquiry into the case by Sir William MacPherson, published in 1999, branded the Metropolitan Police “institutionally racist” following its handling of the original case.  The case brought about changes to the way race-related crimes were treated across the UK. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Sun page 1, Record page 8, Mail page 1, Mirror page 1, Express page 4, Guardian page 1, Herman Ouseley in the Guardian, Michael Mansfield in the Guardian, Times page 1, Jack Straw in the Times, FT page 2, Courier page 1, Telegraph page 1, Trevor Phillips in the Telegraph)

Senior police officers: It has been reported that Scottish police forces have suffered a “mass exodus” of experienced officers which has been masked by the recruitment drive to deliver the Scottish Government’s 2007 pledge of 1,000 additional police officers. (Scotsman page 1, Sun page 2, Courier page 10)

Domestic abuse: Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has called for specialised domestic abuse courts to be set up across Scotland to tackle rising levels of domestic abuse.  She also called on Scottish police forces to set up dedicated units to protect victims. (Record page 10, Mail page 36, Courier page 10)

Health
Breast implants:
Fazel Fatah, a consultant plastic surgeon, who is sitting on the panel investigating the Poly Implant Prothese scandal, has claimed that there are simply no firm figures in the UK on what proportion of devices have ruptured.  As a result he claims the Government review will not provide reliable data.  Professor Norman Williams, president of the College of Surgeons and also a member of the panel, has called for the urgent introduction of a mandatory database for all surgical implants following this crisis. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 5, Dorothy-Grace Elder in the Express, Guardian page 9, Times page 5)

Scottish hospitals: Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw has highlighted a recent Audit Scotland report which suggests that there is an estimated £500m backlog in maintenance and repairs to NHS buildings. (Times page 15, P&J)

Education
Supply teachers:
 A controversial deal which reduced the pay of supply teachers has led to a shortage of teaching staff according to teaching unions. (Scotsman page 14)

Education Scotland: The EIS has warned that the creation of the new quango, Education Scotland, could erode local authorities’ control of schools as the body allegedly paves the way for ministerial intervention in the running of schools by local authorities. (Herald page 6)

Local government
Highland council health and social care:
From April Highland Council and NHS Highland will participate in a pilot project which will see health and social care staff and budgets transferred between the bodies with the local authority taking the lead on children and the health board leading on adult care, but within an integrated system. (Herald page 11)

Transport
Traffic pledge:
Environmental charity WWF has highlighted and criticised a policy shift by the Scottish government away from pledges to reduce traffic to planning for an increase of up to 20 per cent more journeys on Scotland roads by 2020. (Herald page 10)