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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 29 JULY 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 29 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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Electoral Reform: Labour and Conservative peers have vowed to “massacre” the plan to hold a referendum on voting reform on the same day as the Scottish elections if it reaches the House of Lords. Labour and Conservative peers make up half of the Lords intake and are pledging to unite in opposition, with many also objecting to the principle of a vote on a new voting system. David Cameron has called the Labour U-turn on the issue ‘complete and utter opportunism’ but key Labour MPs insist they are trying to stop the Government using the legislation to smuggle in changes that allow ‘gerrymandering’ of parliamentary constituencies. (Scotsman page 1, Daily Telegraph page 15, Martin Kettle in the Guardian) 

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Wendy Alexander:  A High Court judge has ordered a court hearing to decide whether the full facts of the donations scandal that ended Wendy Alexander’s leadership of Scottish Labour should be made public. (Herald page 3) 

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Spending Cuts: Alex Salmond has been urged to reveal where he has considered making spending cuts after it emerged he has made contingency plans. The First Minister refused to confirm the existence of blueprints in an answer to Annabel Goldie’s query which prompted the Scottish Tories to request copies of all contingency work under the Freedom of Information Act. Separately, the Independent Budget Review report due to be published today is expected to tell Scottish ministers to cut free personal care and other universal benefits in order to save at least £1 billion in next year’s budget. (Daily Telegraph page 1, Times page 14) 

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Senate Inquiry: The US Senate investigation into the release of the Lockerbie bomber Megrahi is to be broadened in an attempt to force Kenny MacAskill to stop ‘stonewalling’ and give evidence. (Daily Telegraph page 6, Daily Mail page 12) 

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Economy

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Inflation: The governor of the Bank of England has said inflation would remain high throughout 2011, indicating he remains more concerned about the strength of recovery and keeping interest rates low rather than escalating prices. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 28, Daily Telegraph page B1, Press and Journal page 5, Guardian page 20) 

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Private Sector Funding:  CBI Scotland has claimed Scottish Government plans to bring firms involved in running schools and hospitals under more scrutiny will deter the private sector from investing in public services. The warning comes after ministers launched a consultation on whether to extend the Freedom of Information laws. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 5, Courier page 3) 

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British Gas:  British Gas has announced doubled profits of £585 million in the first half of 2010 due to a bitter winter but has provoked anger by also warning of price increases to come. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 7, Daily Telegraph page B1, Times page 39, Press and Journal page 8, Guardian page 22) 

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Justice

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ASBOs: The Scottish Government intends to keep Asbos despite a UK government plan to move beyond the measure introduced by Labour to tackle anti-social behaviour. Last year the Scottish Government adopted a ‘more rounded’ approach to try and solve problems of drink, drugs and poverty alongside the use of Asbos where necessary. (Scotsman page 5, Times page 15, Guardian page 1) 

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Terror Appeals:  The Court of Appeal has rejected a government challenge to a High Court ruling allowing terror suspects to sue for damages over legally flawed control orders that breached human rights. The decision effectively paves the way for damages claims for the loss of liberty and violations of human rights. (Scotsman page 12, Daily Telegraph page 14, Courier page 13, Guardian page 4) 

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Chinook Inquiry: The retired Scottish judge, Lord Philip, is expected to be appointed as the head of an independent review into the RAF Chinook helicopter crash on the Mull of Kintyre 16 years ago. (Herald page 4, Daily Telegraph page 12) 

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Transport

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Eco-drivers: Motorists are being offered £5,000 to buy low-carbon cars from January. The exact models covered by the grants have yet to be disclosed, but it is expected they will include most electric cars, hybrid vehicles and those powered by hydrogen fuel cells. (Scotsman page 3, Daily Telegraph) 

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Jura Ferry: The Island of Jura and its 210 inhabitants could lose its direct ferry service to the mainland unless they can raise £12,500. (Herald page 3) 

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Supermarket Deliveries: Sainsbury’s is halting its home deliveries in Edinburgh during the festival season, citing road works and the influx of tourists will create driving chaos and prevent drivers from making their deliveries on time. (Herald page 10) 

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Health

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Joint Growth:  Scientists have said people with hip or knee problems could “grow” their own replacement joints in future. Experts have show for the first time it is possible to grow joints inside the body using stem cells. (Scotsman page 23, Herald page 3, Daily Telegraph page 8) 

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Malaria: The numbers of cases of malaria in Scotland rose 19% last year, mirroring a similar rise across the UK. Dr Kitty Smith of Health Protection Scotland has said the rise could be a blip but that the celebrity case of Cheryl Cole has helped raise awareness among travellers of the dangers of malaria. (Herald page 4) 

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Junior Doctor Training: Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon is facing mounting pressure after it emerged the number of training places for junior doctors in Scotland is to be cut over the next three years. Sixty places have been cut this year, with a further 100 expected next year and 300 in 2012. (Courier page 1) 

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Education

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School Closure: Parents of children at a primary school in Kilmarnock threatened with closure are considering legal action in a bid to keep in open. (Herald page 2)