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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 29 JUNE 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 29th 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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Politics

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Immigration: Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a cap on the number of skilled workers entering the UK, claiming that it would lead to a decrease in immigration numbers by five percent. The announcement was criticised by the Scottish Government and opposition parties who argued that it could exclude workers whose skills where needed to help the Scottish economy grow. The SNP’s home affairs spokesman, Pete Wishart, argued that Scotland had “different population concerns from the rest of the UK and we need a system an immigration system that recognises these needs.” (The Scotsman page 4, The Guardian page 4, The Financial Times page 3, The Press and Journal page 9.)

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Fiscal powers: Yesterday’s discovery of the largest oilfield in nine years has sparked debate on the possible independence of Scotland. It was hailed by SNP as a proof that Scotland can be financially independent from the rest of UK. Brian Adams, the SNP MSP for Aberdeen, called for an oil fund to collect North Sea taxes. Due to the tax revenues from oil Scotland had in 2008/09 a surplus of £1.3 billion, compared to the £48.9billion UK deficit.

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A report published by Professors Andrew Hughes Hallet and Drew Scott yesterday criticised the Calman Commission’s plans, which envisages partial financial devolution to Holyrood, for creating a £150 million a year budget cut , as it decreases the bulk grant from Westminister and would “impose on Scotland a scale of fiscal cuts that no other part of the UK will experience.” (The Times page 8, Scottish Daily Mail page 12, The Press and Journal page 10, Herald)

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Economy

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Economic growth: Lloyds TSB Scotland report that a third of the companies they have surveyed had seen an increase in turnover in the last three months. The bank is forecasting economic growth in Scotland to be between 0.5 and one percent during 2010, which is below the UK wide estimate of 1.3 percent. (The Scotsman page B8, The Herald page 28, The Daily Express page 2.)

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Justice

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Human Right Legislation: George Hamilton, secretary of Crime Business Area for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos), has criticised human right legislation, arguing that it is becoming too “restrictive.” Due to the tradition of corroborative evidence, Scotland has Europe’s lowest rape conviction rate. It can be difficult to find evidence for rape, as those cases are focused on if consent was given, rather than if the victim also suffered physical injuries. (The Scotsman page 1.)  

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Health

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NHS: MSPs on the Health and Sports Committee report that the NHS budget in Scotland has been managed in an inefficient way in the past. They criticise the way new staff have been employed without a rise in productivity and question what criteria has been used to approve new spending. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon argued that the focus of the NHS has been on protecting frontline operations and that the number of operations has increased by nearly 40,000 from 2006/07. However, this does not match the double increase in staff during the last seven years. (The Herald page 1, The Sun page 2, The Daily Express page 10, The Times page 10, The Daily Telegraph page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 12, The Press and Journal page 7.)

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Education

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Wrong course: An Ipsos Mori poll for the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) found that a nearly a quarter of all graduates believe that they made the wrong choice of course at university, and that 13 percent also felt that they had chosen the wrong university. Furthermore, the economic climate was causing 33 percent of the graduates to feel that the money spent on further education was not a good investment. (The Scotsman page 16.)