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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 22 JULY 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 22 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: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has claimed he ‘did not have a great deal of discretion’ over the decision to free the Lockerbie bomber and that he was bound by the rules and regulations of his position as Justice Minister. In addition, Alex Salmond has sent Senator John Kerry, chair of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, a letter denying BP lobbied the Justice Secretary to release Mr Megrahi, but that BP should be included in any inquiry into the release. UN observer Hans Kochler has accused Mr MacAskill of releasing Mr Megrahi in exchange for him dropping his appeal against conviction. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Courier page 13, Times page 1, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mail page 1) 

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Labour Leadership: Ed Miliband has won the backing of Unison, the second trade union to back the candidate in a week. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 10, Times page 7, Guardian page 9) 

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Child Asylum Seekers:  Nick Clegg has announced an end to the detention of child asylum seekers in the UK, saying the family unit in Yarl’s Wood detention centre will be shut down. (Scotsman page 7, Guardian page 4) 

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Voting Reform:  Conservative MP Eleanor Laing has argued that holding the referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV) on the same day as the Welsh and Scottish elections risks undermining the poll north of the Border. (Scotsman page 16) 

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Public Investment: The Centre for Public Policy for Regions has said that investment in school, hospital and road construction will suffer if Holyrood decides to concentrate on maintaining public services. (Times page 5) 

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Economy

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Recession: Scotland could be hit by a double-dip recession after the economy failed to grow in the first three months of this year and the number of corporate liquidations reached its highest figure since 2002. There are now fears Scotland could re-enter a recession with parts of the private sector failing to grow and large cuts expected in the public sector. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 30, Daily Telegraph page 5, Press and Journal page 1, Daily Mail page 9) 

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Clydesdale Bank:  The Herald claims the Clydesdale Bank was aware of the computer problem that has affected thousands of customers’ mortgage payments over a year ago after being warned by several customers. (Herald page 1, Daily Telegraph page 15) 

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Bankruptcy: Personal insolvency levels have risen 4 per cent from April to June in comparison to the first three months of the year but are down 15 per cent on the same period in 2009. (Herald page 6, Press and Journal page 7) 

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Justice

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Police Cuts: The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents has criticised the Association of Chief Police Officers for excluding them from talks about reducing spending in the police service. (Scotsman page 16) 

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Gay Marriage:  Senior churchmen and a cross-party coalition of MSPs are lobbying for a change in Scottish law to give same-sex couples full marriage rights. (Herald page 3) 

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Education

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Graduate Tax: Brian McNair in the Scotsman argues that the UK Government’s idea of a graduate tax may work well in Scotland. The UK Government is likely, however, to decide against the idea, arguing it would be unfair for higher-paid graduates to pay back more than the cost of their degree. (Scotsman page 31, Daily Telegraph page 8) 

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Transport 

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Flooding:  Almost a month’s rainfall fell in the space of 24 hours around Scotland yesterday, leaving Perth flooded and disrupting road and rail travel in Tayside. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 6, Courier page 1, Times page 19) 

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Airport Fees: Lothians Conservative MSP Gavin Brown is leading a petition against the proposed £1 fee to drop off passengers at Edinburgh airport and argues there is almost unanimous opposition among those he asked about the ‘kiss and fly’ charge yesterday. (Scotsman page 6) 

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Drink Driving: The number of drink or drug drivers caught in the annual summer crackdown has fallen from 252 last year to 212. (Scotsman page 6) 

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Level Crossings: The Scottish Law Commission has revealed that level crossings pose the largest single risk of catastrophic train accidents in the UK, with 13 deaths at crossings in 2009. (Herald page 8) 

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Health

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Womb Cancer: The number of women diagnosed with womb cancer in the UK has risen to a rate of 19 in 100,000, its highest number in 30 years. Experts claim obesity and women having fewer or no children are behind the rise. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 7) 

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Strokes: Patients with stroke symptoms are failing to recognise the signs and are waiting too long for treatment as they are routinely treated as low-priority cases in NHS Scotland. (Scotsman page 23, Press and Journal page 9)