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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 21 JULY 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 21 July 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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Lockerbie files: President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron yesterday attacked Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s decision to release the Lockerbie bomber one year ago saying it had damaged the fight against terrorism. President Obama called for the facts of the affair to be made public amid claims that Mr Megrahi’s release was linked to an oil deal for BP aided by the UK government. Mr MacAskill has accused the current and past UK Governments of hypocrisy and said he would not apologise for freeing Mr Megrahi. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 3, Times page 1, Guardian page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, Financial Times page 5, Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Express page 1) 

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Iraq Inquiry:  The former head of MI5, Baroness Manningham-Buller, has given evidence stating the invasion of Iraq triggered an upsurge in terrorist activity in the UK and condemned the way intelligence had been used to make the case for war. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 10, Times page 3, Guardian page 7, Press and Journal page 11, Financial Times page 3, Daily Telegraph page 1) 

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Defence Spending:  Liberal Democrat Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey argued that it would cost almost £500,000 to publish a breakdown of defence spending across nations and regions in the UK as the UK Government came under pressure to reveal the extent of military cuts in Scotland. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 9, Press and Journal page 1, Daily Mail page 2) 

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Calman Commission: Joan McAlpine argues in the Scotsman that the Westminster decision to implement the Calman proposals will leave Scotland more dependent on income tax with no access to VAT, National Insurance, excise or corporation tax and will leave Scotland almost £500 million worse off a year. Meanwhile, the Chancellor, George Osborne, has claimed the Calman proposals will not interfere with his plans to simplify the UK tax system. (Scotsman page 31, Herald page 6) 

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Economy

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Debt:  The UK Government is facing increasing pressure to cut the national debt after figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed government borrowing had reached £14.5 billion last month and the National Audit Office warned that efforts to reduce spending by £35 billion by the end of 2011 will not be met. (Scotsman page 2, Daily Telegraph page B1) 

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Consumer Spending:  Figures published today show a slow-down in high street sales last month as Scotland suffers worries over public sector job cuts, the weather and the lack of a rise in spending during the World Cup. (Scotsman page B1, Herald page 22, Press and Journal page 16, Daily Mail page 4) 

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Taxes:  The National Audit Office has revealed that a backlog of underpaid taxes from four or more years ago could lead to demands for an extra £1.4 billion from taxpayers, affecting as many as 15 million people. (Herald page 6, Financial Times page 2, Daily Express page 15) 

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Clydesdale Bank: Thousands of Clydesdale Bank customers are facing increased mortgage payments after the bank admitted they had miscalculated 18,000 borrowers’ repayments. (Herald page 1) 

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JP Morgan:  The banking group JP Morgan will owe Scotland £2.6 million in forfeited grants if it pulls out of Glasgow in the next year. The American bank has refused to comment on speculation that it will cut UK operations. (Herald page 2) 

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Exports: A CBI Scotland survey of domestic businesses shows manufacturing output grew for the fourth consecutive quarter as export orders increased on the back of a weak pound, but the pace of overall growth has slowed as domestic orders fell. (Scotsman page B2, Herald page 26, Courier page 9) 

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Transport 

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BA Strikes: Members of the Unite union have voted against a British Airways offer by two to one. BA has been urged to enter new talks to avoid the threat of fresh strikes. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 4, Guardian page 25, Press and Journal page 5, Financial Times page 2, Daily Mail page 8) 

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Airport Fee:  The Scottish Passengers Agents Association has joined a growing number of groups opposing the proposed £1 fee for passengers being dropped off at the Edinburgh airport terminal. The group argued against the increased cost to passengers and feared other airport charges would follow. (Scotsman page 21, Herald page 5) 

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Health

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Alcohol:  An NHS Scotland report has revealed that Scots drink 24 per cent more than the rest of Britain, which equates to 100 extra pints per person a year. The figures have led to renewed calls to increase the price of cheap drink in order to tackle the alcohol problem in Scotland. A separate report reveals that more than three-quarters of alcohol sold in off-licenses and supermarkets costs less than 50p per unit. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 5, Press and Journal page 15, Courier page 12, Daily Telegraph page 1, Sun page 29, Daily Express page 10) 

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HIV: Scientists have discovered a new gel that can block the Aids virus and halve a woman’s chances of getting HIV from an infected partner. (Scotsman page 20, Press and Journal) 

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Baby Health: Scottish scientists have found that a mother’s heart beats in time with that of her unborn baby and have said that irregular or unsynchronised heartbeats could detect development problems during the pregnancy. (Scotsman page 20, Press and Journal page 9)