REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 11 JUNE 2010

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 11 June 2010

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.

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

Afghanistan: David Cameron’s first visit to Afghanistan as Prime Minister was marred by a possible Taliban threat. The Prime Minister was forced to abandon a visit to British troops in the Helmand province after an intelligence report suggested the Taliban might try to shoot down his helicopter.  Instead, he addressed troops at Camp Bastion where he pledged support for the troops and announced a £58 million increase in payments for those on the front line (Scotsman page 8, Guardian page 4, Times page 7, Telegraph page 4, Courier page 3, Press and Journal page 11, Financial Times page 4, Mail page 4).

However, according to a Ministry of Defence report, munitions depots across Britain, including three in Scotland, have deteriorated to the point where they are a threat to the troops in Afghanistan (Herald page 15).

SNP: Former MSPs Duncan Hamilton and Andrew Wilson will not be returning to Holyrood having decided not to stand at next year\’s Scottish elections (Scotsman page 2).

Labour: During a visit to Holyrood, David Miliband backed greater tax powers for the Scottish Parliament and claimed that a Labour return to power at next year\’s Holyrood elections could see Scotland become a "laboratory" for policies on affordable housing and safer streets (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6, Times page 20, Telegraph page 4, Express page 2).

Media chief: According to recent Parliament figures Andy Coulson, David Cameron\’s media chief, earns more than the deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.  Mr Coulson’s salary is more than five times the national average income but represents a huge pay cut for the former News of the World editor (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 7, Guardian page 12, Telegraph page 8).

Committee on benefits: Aberdeen South MP Anne Begg has been elected to chair the work and pensions select committee (Scotsman page 14).

Alcohol pricing: The Scottish Government’s flagship plan for a minimum price for alcohol was rejected at stage one of the bill by MSPs who claimed that the move would penalise responsible drinkers and cost jobs (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 7, Telegraph page 9, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Mail page 1, Express page 2).

Illegal stop and search: Thousands of people across the UK, including some in Fife, have been illegally searched by police using counter-terrorism powers.  Section 44 of the Terrorism Act allows officers to stop and search anyone, without necessarily having any reasonable suspicion. An urgent review was announced after finding that paperwork blunders meant senior officers did not get the correct authorisation to implement the law in a number of forces. Now thousands of people who were unlawfully stopped could be eligible for compensation (Herald page 2, Guardian page 9, Telegraph page 6).

Economy

Fringe: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has announced a 17 per cent increase in the number of its shows, with the programme set to run 2,453 shows.  A new box office system with a single website for all festival tickets may be trialled this summer, and brought into action next year (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 4, Times page 19, Mail page 24).

Transport 

Cancelled trams: Edinburgh\’s city council is expected to be liable for a range of costs if it decides to axe the tram scheme, forcing taxpayers to pay tens of millions of pounds more in future years (Scotsman page 21).

Health

Unhealthy living: According to a study based on the 2003 Scottish Health Survey, a large majority of the Scottish population is putting itself at risk, with an estimated 97.5% of Scots likely to be overweight, to smoke, drink heavily, take no exercise or have a poor diet (Scotsman page 7, Courier page 6, Press and Journal page 8, Mail page 2, Express page 15).

Multiple sclerosis care centre: Scotland’s only respite care centre for people with multiple sclerosis will close later this year unless a new provider is found to run the service. Leuchie House near North Berwick is to shut in November following a year-long review to assess whether it met the needs of those living with multiple sclerosis (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 3).

Education

Concordat arrangement: Helen Connor, the president of Scotland\’s biggest teaching union, called for the funding arrangement with local authorities to be scrapped and spending on schools to be protected (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 10).