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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 16 SEPTEMBER 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 16 September 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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Papal visit: Education is expected to be main theme for the Papal sermon at Bellahouston Park. Focusing on Catholicism’s historical role in the development of education in Scotland, highlighting involvement in the founding of Scotland’s historical universities (Aberdeen, St. Andrews & Glasgow) whilst also reaching out to the reformed faiths, mentioning their role in developing free schools for children in their parishes. The visit however is mired in controversy; with the withdrawal of a senior cardinal and aide to the Pope after comments that the UK was a “Third World Country”; planned demonstrations from humanists, atheists and other groups; and the continued calls from victims of the child abuse scandal for the Pope to ‘hand over information’. (Scotsman pages 1&2, 4 and  5, Herald page 9, Times page 1, 6-9, Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, FT page 2, Guardian page 1, Daily Record page 1, Daily Mail page 1, Sun page 1)

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Referendum date: Nick Clegg has announced plans to hold a consultation allowing Scottish organisations and the public to give their views on the proposed plans to hold the referendum on electoral reform on the same day as the Scottish election. This had caused controversy after the difficulties experienced in Scotland in 2007. (Scotsman page 17)

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Faslane and Trident: The First Minister agreed to include the retention of the Faslane naval base on the Clyde in a cross-party submission to the Government’s Strategic Defence Review (SDR). The four Trident nuclear submarines based there are specifically cited in the latest version of the document as one of the reasons the Ministry of Defence (MoD) should not shut the facility. Mr Salmond had left them out from a draft version of the dossier, which aims to persuade the MoD that defence spending in Scotland must be maintained despite severe cutbacks. (Telegraph page 8, Alan Cochrane page 9, Daily Mail page 6)

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PM ‘snub’: An opposition Labour MP claims that David Cameron has snubbed workers after declining to meet with them  in order to discuss the potential loss of jobs associated with the withdrawal of the £5.2 billion aircraft carrier project based in Scotland.( Herald page 6, Scotsman page6)

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Economy

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Unemployment: Around 25,000 Scots lost their jobs over the past three months while unemployment elsewhere in the UK fell by 8,000 in the same period. The figures emerged a day after research by the Scottish Trades Union Congress showed the total of long-term unemployed  has more than doubled over the past two-and-a-half years. Overall, there are 239,000 people out of work in Scotland, nearly 50,000 higher than this time last year. Conversely, there were 2,455,000 Scots in employment last quarter — 25,000 more than in the previous three months but still 40,000 less than a year ago. These figures leave Scotland’s unemployment rate at 8.9 per cent, whilst the UK average is 7.8 per cent. (Courier page 1, Scotsman page 8 Daily Mail page 2, Daily Express page 2)

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BP drilling: Offshore giant BP insisted last night that deep-water drilling in the huge oil and gas fields west of Shetland would be less risky than similar exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. The company’s outgoing chief executive also assured MPs that the company’s £12 billion, five-year investment programme for the North Sea would not be blown off course by the financial impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Tony Hayward defended the firm’s safety record as he gave evidence to the Commons Energy and Climate-Change Committee and said recent criticism of BP operations had not exposed any fundamental weaknesses. However, newly released reports from last year show that four North Sea rigs failed safety inspections, casting doubt that BP is suitably prepared for another oil spill. (Press and Journal page 11, Courier page 17, FT page 7, Herald page 10)

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‘Wee Inverness’: £500 million plans to build a new town on the outskirts of Inverness have been given the go-ahead. (Scotsman page 17)

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Green funding: The Scottish Government calls for “urgent clarification” after fears that funding for carbon capture and storage projects, potentially £9 billion, could be slashed as part of the UK Government budget cuts. (Scotsman Page 11)

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British fashion: British fashion contributes almost £21 billion a year to the UK economy. The Value of the UK Fashion Industry report was commissioned by the British Fashion Council and seeks for the first time to quantify the true economic and social impact of the UK fashion industry. The research highlights not only the direct impact of the fashion industry, including wholesale, retail and manufacturing, on the economy but also its effect on other industries including financial services and tourism. (Guardian page 15)

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Justice

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Lockerbie bombing: Kenny MacAskill and Kathryn Truman, the FBI director dedicated to supporting victims of the Lockerbie bombing, will both be speaking at an international conference organised by Victim Support Scotland. However a spokesman for the Scottish Government said they had made no formal meeting plans. (Scotsman page 15)

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Health

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Children and asthma: Research by Glasgow University has found that the number of children admitted to hospital with asthma has dropped by 18 per cent year-on-year since 2006 after the smoking ban came into force. (Scotsman page13, Herald page 7)

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Drug addiction: Government figures suggest that Scotland’s national drugs strategy is having a positive impact on addicts through increasing access to treatment, care and recovery facilities. (Scotsman page 6)

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Weight loss: Doing more exercise is not a practical way to reduce weight for most people, according to a leading scientist, challenging the government’s approach to tackling the obesity epidemic. Using data from the last 25 years, Professor John Speakman of Aberdeen University told the British Science Festival on Wednesday that the current obesity epidemic has been caused by people eating more, rather than doing less exercise. Professor Speakman, director of Aberdeen’s Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, also challenged the idea that physical activity is more important than diet in weight loss, suggesting people should focus on eating less if they want to lose weight. His research shows that, contrary to popular belief, levels of activity in the general population have not fallen since the 1980s. (FT page 6, Guardian page 17)

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Scottish doctors:  NHS data has shown that GPs in Scotland earn less than the average across the UK, with the average Scottish GP’s salary being £86,500 (1 per cent less than last year). (Scotsman page 14)

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Education

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Scottish universities: Scotland’s leading universities have plunged down the world rankings, leaving just Edinburgh University in the top 100. Edinburgh University fell from 20th in the global league to 40th, and St Andrews from 87th to 103rd. Glasgow University is ranked 128th, down from 79th. University chiefs called the results a ‘wake-up’ call as ministers prepare to make serious budget cuts in higher education. (The Herald page 1&4 Daily Mail page 30)

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Teacher numbers: Teacher numbers have fallen to their lowest in 8 years (down by 3,000 since 2007), sparking claims by opposition MSPs that the SNP has reneged on one of its key manifesto promises. (Scotsman page 6)

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Teachers: A report from HM Inspectorate of Education has found that some teachers in Scotland feel it is acceptable to teach pupils whilst they “keep just ahead” of the children. A spokesman for the Educational Institute of Scotland (Scotland’s largest teachers’ union) qualified these findings as only applicable to a minority of teachers. (Herald page 8)

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