REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 4 JUNE 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 4 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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Crime

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Cumbrian tragedy: There is further coverage on Cumbrian taxi driver Derrick Bird and his victims. Derrick Bird was the subject of a tax investigation into an undeclared sum of £60,000 before embarking on his killing spree, according to a friend and colleague. Taxi driver Mark Cooper said Bird was worried about going to jail because the Inland Revenue was investigating him for tax evasion. The Prime Minister is expected to arrive to Whitehaven today and the investigation in ongoing. (Scotsman page 1, page 4, Herald page 1, page 6, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Guardian page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, Sun page 1, Daily Mail page 1, Record page 1, Daily Express page 1, Daily Mirror page 1) 

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Steven Purcell: Former Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell was questioned by police yesterday as they continued to investigate his admission of drug use. Strathclyde Police said Mr Purcell attended an interview "voluntarily" at a police station in the city. Police said the 37-year-old was questioned in relation to "an ongoing criminal inquiry". The force launched an investigation in April after Mr Purcell admitted to a newspaper he had taken cocaine. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 1, Daily Record page 21, Sun page 15) 

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Politics

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Shadow cabinet: Labour’s acting leader today called for half of the party’s shadow cabinet to be made up of female MPs. Harriet Harman said it is time for “Labour women to step out of the shadows” and for the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) to revise its rules governing the make-up of the Opposition. Her proposal has received early support from senior Labour figures, including Ed Miliband, a leading contender to succeed Gordon Brown as party leader. (Times page 20) 

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Economy

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Tourism chief: VisitScotland announced that Philip Riddle will no longer carry out his chief executive duties while discussions about his future are ongoing, just days after Dr Mike Cantlay, the new chairman of the body, refused to publicly back him in his job. (Scotsman page 9, Bill Jamieson comments page 9, Herald page 2, Telegraph page 3, Times page 11, Press and Journal page 20) 

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Fiscal powers:  Leading Scottish businessman Jim McColl spoken out against the views of the head of the CBI in Scotland over his opposition to extra tax raising powers for Holyrood. Jim McColl, of engineering group Clyde Blowers, spoke at the launch of a campaign to give Scotland fiscal autonomy. He claimed the country needed to stop acting like a "benefits claimer" and take responsibility for its own finances. Mr McColl saved his main attack for comments made by CBI Scotland director Iain McMillan that different tax rates would create too much uncertainty and put an unnecessary administrative burden on Scottish companies. Mr McColl said the CBI represented just 10 per cent of Scottish businesses. (Scotsman page 24, Bill Jamieson comments on Calman page 33, Herald page 13, Telegraph page 12, Times page 9) 

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Vince Cable: Business Secretary Vince Cable unveiled his strategy to drive Britain\’s economic recovery yesterday, saying that the banks are not lending enough to small businesses and pledging a further crackdown on quangos. In his first major speech since taking office, Cable said he would enforce business lending agreements struck with banks bailed out with taxpayers\’ money. Speaking at the Cass Business School in the City, he rejected claims that there was no demand for credit from the small and medium enterprise sector. (Scotsman page B1, Telegraph page 12, Times page 13, Guardian page 26, Press and Journal page 12)

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Royal Mail: Unions have criticised payments totalling almost £2.5 million made to the former chief executive of Royal Mail for his work during a year in which the service was hit by a bitter industrial dispute. Adam Crozier, who grew up on the Isle of Bute, received a bonus of £1.5m, salary of £633,000, a cash supplement in lieu of a pension of £206,000 and other benefits worth £19,000 in his final year before he left to join ITV. The total pay and benefits package, which included a bonus paid under a three-year incentive plan, amounted to £2.42m for the financial year to March. (Herald page 34, Telegraph page 1, Times page 53) 

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Service sector: Fears over the momentum of the UK’s dominant services sector have been fuelled by the revelation that it cut its overall workforce in May amid a sharp slowdown in new business growth. These pointers to renewed service sector weakness, in a survey from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), will fuel worries about the strength and sustainability of the UK economic recovery as Chancellor George Osborne prepares to wield the axe on public spending and hike taxes in his June 22 Budget. (Herald page 34) 

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Health

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NHS jobs: Nearly 4,000 NHS jobs are to be axed across Scotland this year, health secretary Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs. The news came during a bad tempered clash at Holyrood, where Labour launched a high-profile campaign – "More Nats Fewer Nurses" – on the issue. Newly published Scottish Government workforce projections for health boards across the country revealed the impact of the spending cuts on jobs, including more than 1,500 nursing and midwifery posts. (Scotsman page 10, Telegraph page 15, Alan Cochrane page 15, Times page 17, Press and Journal page 12, Courier page 1) 

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Education

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Telford College: Telford College has seen three of its most senior staff leave within weeks of a new principal arriving on the job. Telford College\’s deputy principal Greg Irving, director of finance Ben McLeish and chair of the management board Ed Weeple are all to leave. Principal Miles Dibsdall took over in April, having previously been principal of New College in Stamford, Lincolnshire. Staff believe he has decided to press ahead with changes to senior staffing roles in a bid to transform the fortunes of the Edinburgh college. (Scotsman page 21) 

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Higher education: Education Secretary calls for universities to be more flexible in approach to entry qualifications Universities are coming under increasing political pressure to give greater weight to the new Scottish Baccalaureates in science and languages and to become more flexible in their approach to Highers as entry qualifications. Michael Russell told a modern languages conference last week that higher education needed to change its approach to baccs. He also chided universities for insisting that applicants for some highly-competitive courses should take all their Highers in one sitting. “Curriculum for Excellence will change the way qualifications take place and universities need to change the way they view that,” he told a national conference for head teachers and senior managers, organised by the Scottish Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research. (TESS page 1)