REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 27 MAY 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 27 May 2010

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All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is blue and underlined.

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In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News. 

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Politics  

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Scottish Spending cuts: Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws yesterday urged devolved administrations not to defer spending cuts as this could lead to more problems and deeper cuts later. The comments came as the Centre for Public Policy for the Regions published research indicating that if Scotland delayed the cuts, it could mean having to find savings of £1.9bn in 2011-12. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Daily Telegraph page 2, Daily Mail page 2) 

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Tax powers for Holyrood: There are allegations of mounting confusion over what tax powers will be transferred to Holyrood in the Scotland Bill expected to be published in the autumn. (Scotsman page 6, George Kerevan in the Scotsman, Times page 5) 

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Capital Gains Tax:  Prime Minister David Cameron is facing growing criticism from the Conservative party over plans to raise the level of capital gains tax. Both John Redwood and David Davies have argued for new thresholds to be subject to taper relief so as not to discourage people from saving and stop investors offloading second homes and shares. (Daily Telegraph page 4, Times page 1, Financial Times page 2, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Express page 4) 

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Scottish Labour: Ross Martin in the Scotsman comments on the strategy the Labour Party in Scotland should follow ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections. 

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Jack McConnell: In an interview to be broadcast on BBC Alba the former First Minister, Jack McConnell talks about making jokes with President Bush and why he was convinced to ban smoking in public places. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 5) 

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Scottish Parliament boundaries: New constituencies for the Scottish Parliament have been drawn up by the Boundary Commission to reflect changes in demographics.  The new seats could mean that SNP Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon faces a tough fight to hold onto her Glasgow seat at the Holyrood elections next year. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 6, Daily Telegraph page 19, Press and Journal page 13) 

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Welfare Reforms:  Scottish Secretary Danny Alexander has warned proposed welfare reforms could wrongly force sick people to return to work and may bring the benefits system close to meltdown due to thousands of appealed rulings. Reforms would reassess everyone who currently claims benefits and use new medical tests to determine whether applicants are fit for work. (Daily Telegraph page 8, Guardian page 1, Daily Mail page 1) 

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Economy

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Interest rates: The OECD has warned that the Bank of England should raise interest rates to 3.5 per cent to tackle inflation. (Scotsman Business 1, Herald page 32, Daily Telegraph page 1, Financial Times page 4, Daily Mail page 6) 

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Bank Levy:  Chancellor George Osborne has backed EU plans for a tax on banks to bail them out in the event of a future banking crisis but does not support the structure of the plans, warning of the threat of moral hazard and banks taking more risks. (Herald page 4, Courier page 11, Press and Journal page 5, Guardian page 32, Financial Times page 1, Daily Mail page 6 

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Property Market:  Between January and the end of March, Scotland’s commercial property market grew 5.5 per cent in total returns and 3.8 per cent in capital growth. (Herald page 30)  

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VAT: The UK retail industry is warning that UK Government plans to raise the value added tax to 20 per cent could cut consumer spending by £3.6 billion over four years and cost 163,000 jobs. (Herald page 31, Daily Telegraph) 

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Local government

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Trump development: Donald Trump flew into Scotland yesterday saying that his golf course development in Aberdeenshire would go ahead despite local objections.  Commenting on Michael Forbes, who refuses to sell his home to the developers, Donald Trump referred to his property as a slum and a pigsty. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 5, Daily Telegraph page 10, Times page 10, Courier page 11, Press and Journal page 1, Guardian page 10, Financial Times page 4, Daily Express page 23) 

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Transport

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Forth crossing: Plans for a new Forth Road Bridge moved a step closer yesterday following a vote in the Scottish Parliament. (Scotsman page 11, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 3, Daily Express page 10) 

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Road Damage: Jim Valentine, the head of the body representing council transportation chiefs, has warned that privatisation of maintenance on Scotland’s local roads is necessary to avoid potential road closures due to disrepair in the near future. (Herald page 1) 

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BA Strikes: British Airways has warned Unite that it will seek a full hearing to determine the legality of the strikes that could allow BA to sack cabin crew who walk out. (Daily Telegraph page 17, Guardian page 16) 

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Health

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Alcohol plans: An alcohol commission set up by Scottish Labour yesterday proposed a legal limit of caffeine in alcoholic drinks which could outlaw Buckfast and called for drinkers who looked under 25 to be required to produce proof-of-age ID. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 7, Daily Telegraph page 10, Courier page 6, Daily Express page 2) 

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Obesity:  Leading Scottish researcher Professor John Speakman has said modern living with less exercise is not the reason behind the surge in obesity; rather it has simply been caused by people eating more. (Herald page 1) 

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Education

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School cuts:  Teachers are warning that Glasgow City Council’s plans to cut positions and place more responsibility on head teachers will distract staff from their core responsibilities. (Herald page 2)