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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 14 JUNE 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 14 June 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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Education

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Power to Learn:  A report published by Reform Scotland today proposes that university graduates should pay towards the cost of their higher education once they earn more than the average salary. The report, Power to Learn, states “there needs to be a better balance where the individual graduate, as well as taxpayers, contribute towards higher education.” Reform Scotland’s Research Director Alison Payne in the Scotsman argues funding for university and college students should be fairer and offer better value for money. Coverage in the Sunday papers focussed on the report’s proposal to break up the exams authority and the abolition of the Scottish Funding Council with its functions transferred to the Scottish Government. (Scotsman page 5, Herald, Daily Telegraph page 15, Press and Journal page 8, Scotsman on Sunday page 4, Sunday Times page 10, BBC) 

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School Ownership: A Group of parents of pupils at St Margaret’s School in Edinburgh have launched an attempt to take ownership of the closure-threatened school. The group have to find £2 million to pay creditors and if successful would be the first parents to own a school in Scotland. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 9) 

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Curriculum for Excellence: The Curriculum for Excellence is set to dominate the agenda of the EIS teaching union this summer as they debate the inadequate resources they feel have been given to implement the initiative. Labour spokesman Des McNulty comments that education secretary Mike Russell should accept responsibility of the mismanagement of this project and reassure teachers they will be given the necessary support before the start of the next term. (Sunday Herald page 8) 

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University Heads’ Wages: Despite calls for restraint, fourteen university principals and vice chancellors received more than £3 million in total last year. (Scotsman on Sunday page 5) 

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Film Studies:  Actress Tilda Swinson and other actors have called for film studies qualifications to be available in all secondary schools in Scotland, arguing the subject has been neglected by the Scottish school system. (Scotsman page 10 

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Politics

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Conservative commission: The former Stirling MP Lord Forsyth has been added to the commission investigating Conservative failures in Scotland, prompting critics to complain further that the commission will fail to deliver the radical change needed. David Mundell, Scotland’s only Tory MP has told critics of the review committee to “put up or shut up”.(Scotsman page 2, Daily Telegraph page 14, Press and Journal page 8, Sunday Herald page 6) 

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Labour Leadership: The first of 50 Labour leadership hustings has been held in Glasgow. Candidate David Miliband argued the party should stop trashing its record on the economy as Labour comes under fire from the coalition government for mishandling the economy. Gerry Hassan in The Scotsman argues there was no clear winner of the debate. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, Ed Balls in the Daily Telegraph page 8, Times page 19, Courier page 10, Press and Journal page 9, Daily Mail page 17, Daily Record page 2, James Cusick in the Sunday Herald 

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David Miliband in Scotland on Sunday said the SNP and Conservative-led UK government have conspired to put off spending cuts until after the next Scottish elections. (Page 2) 

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Fiscal Powers: Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has said that greater tax powers for Holyrood would not be a ‘big-bang moment’ but rather would take several years to implement. Ben Thomson in Scotland on Sunday sets out the case for greater Scottish fiscal powers and why he is part of the Campaign for Fiscal Responsibility, arguing all the main parties in Scotland agree Holyrood should have greater financial powers and these would help create the right framework for sustainable economic growth and job creation. (Herald page 1, Scotland on Sunday page 16 

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Defence: Defence Secretary Liam Fox has said that the Trident nuclear deterrent and service pensions will be ring-fenced from future cuts but that troop numbers could be reduced in the upcoming review. (Scotsman page 6, Courier page 11, Press and Journal page 11) 

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Voting Age: SNP proposals to lower the voting age to 16 have been hindered by the Electoral Commission’s warning that extending the vote could result in children’s details being put on the public electoral roll, exposing them to predatory paedophiles. (Scotland on Sunday page 1) 

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Economy

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UK Growth Forecasts: The Office for Budget Responsibility is expected to publish a report today showing lower growth forecasts for the UK economy than current Treasury forecasts and that there has been long term damage to the economy’s growth potential. (Times page 7, Guardian page 1, Financial Times page 1, Daily Telegraph 

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Bank Reform: Business Secretary Vince Cable has endorsed proposals to restructure banks by separating investment banks from retail banks according to proposals set out by the cross-party Future of Banking Commission. (Scotsman page 33, Financial Times page 3, Scotsman on Sunday page B1) 

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House Prices: Scottish house prices have risen this month despite more houses going on the market across the UK. Scottish prices are still down 0.6 per cent from a year ago. (Scotsman page 33) 

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Private Sector: Private sector activity grew at its fastest level in three months in May which has driven Scottish economic recovery but still lags behind UK recovery as a whole according to the latest Bank of Scotland Purchasing Managers’ Index. Tom Miers in the Sunday Herald warns of a Scottish crunch in which businesses bear the brunt of public sector cuts due to the size of the public sector in Scotland. (Scotsman page 34, Daily Mail page 2) 

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Capital Gains Tax:  Almost half of Scottish businesses claim they would be adversely affected by UK government plans to increase capital gains tax to 40 or 50 per cent according to the Scottish Chambers of Commerce. The Daily telegraph claims 17,000 of its readers have signed a petition against the rise in CGT. (Scotsman page 37, Daily Telegraph page 2, Press and Journal page 9, Daily Mail page 2) 

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Transport

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Package Holidays: Scottish travellers are opting for more package holidays in efforts to avoid travel uncertainties following volcanic ash disruptions and airlines going bust. (Herald page 10) 

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Health

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Obesity: A new study has shown that a complete ban on junk food adverts could reduce Scottish childhood obesity by fourteen per cent. Junk food adverts during children’s programmes were banned in 2007, but health campaigners say children are still susceptible to adverts shown during adult shows before 9pm. (Herald page 5) 

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Care Workers: The trade union Unite has warned that elderly people are being neglected because of the poor treatment of private home-care workers, who are often paid below the minimum wage and receive little or no training. (Scotsman page 10) 

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Free Care: The Scottish Government is under pressure to re-examine Scotland’s free personal care policy amid fears it is too expensive to maintain and alternative methods of funding such as insurance schemes must be explored. (Scotland on Sunday page 3) 

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Bullying:  The charity Beatbullying has claimed that nearly half of suicides among ten to fourteen year-olds are due to bullying and calls for greater government action to try and prevent young people taking their lives. (Scotsman page 17) 

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Liver Transplants: Doctors believe livers for transplants could be grown in a lab within five years. (Daily Telegraph page 1) 

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Minimum Alcohol Pricing: Joan McAlpine in the Sunday Times writes that Labour ‘lied’ about their support for minimum alcohol pricing in which they voted with the Conservatives to defeat proposals for pricing in the alcohol bill. (Sunday Times page 23) 

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Justice

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Young Crime: New figures show almost 200 children under the age of eight committed offences in Scotland last year – a 45 per cent rise from three years ago. (Herald page 1) 

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Freed Criminals: A UK Supreme court ruling on prisoners’ rights could see thousands of criminals freed from jail because they were interviewed by police without a lawyer. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill is to make a statement in Holyrood outlining the impact of the case in Scotland where a person suspected of an imprisonable offence can be questioned without a lawyer for up to six hours. (Sunday Herald page 1) 

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Disabled protection: An inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has been launched to investigate the level of protection for disabled people against harassment or attack offered by the police, schools and other public bodies. (Scotsman page 2, Guardian page 14) 

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Firefighter Attacks:  A firefighter is attacked almost every day in Scotland while on duty according to new national figures. (Scotsman page 6) 

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Glassings: Demands have been made to reduce the number of glassing offences in Scotland following a rise in criminal compensation pay-outs to victims. (Herald page 4_) 

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Police Cuts: Patrick Shearer, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland has warned the era of ‘universal police service for all’ is over due to budgetary pressures forcing cuts in officers on the beat to refocus them on poorer areas. (Daily Mail page 1) 

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Police Pay: The north and north-east’s police forces have spent more than £2 million paying officers who have been suspended while complaints against them were investigated. (Press and Journal page 1) 

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Local Government:

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Glasgow NHS Dispute: Sir John Arbuthnott has told NHS Greater Glasgow and Glasgow City Council that he will intervene for nine days to solve a dispute between the two parties over the imminent collapse of a £1 billion joint agency. (Herald page 8) 

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Council Consultations: Regular outsourcing by Perth and Kinross council has cost taxpayers over £3.5 million over the last three years in addition to an £18 million rise in the authority’s wage bill over the same period. (Courier page 1)