REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 23 SEPTEMBER 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 23 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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Commonwealth Games: Team Scotland (plus seven other countries) last night issued an ultimatum to the Delhi Games’ Organising Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation saying they were prepared to pull out of the Games unless they received reassurance concerning the quality and safety of accommodation and stadiums. This comes after the weightlifting arena roof fell in and a footbridge at the central complex collapsed injuring twenty people. (The Scotsman pages 1, 4 & 5, The Times pages 1 & 5, The Herald pages 1&2, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Daily Mail page 4, Daily Record page 1, Sun page 6)

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Cable on Capitalism: Business Secretary Vince Cable has delivered his conference speech where he lambasted bankers and bonuses in what has been dubbed by some an attack on capitalism and a test to the coalition. However, although using controversial rhetoric, including addressing the delegates as ‘comrades’, his distinction between competition and capitalism is not as Bolshevik as some might think, and his commitment to businesses, markets and profits should serve to reassure, at least slightly, concerned parties in the corporate world.(The Scotsman page 12, The Times pages 2 & 16, The Herald page 6, Telegraph page 1 , Guardian page 12, FT page 2, Daily Mail page 8, Daily Express page 4)

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Economy

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Mortgages: The golden age of home ownership is over, the head of the Council of Mortgage Lenders says, as he claims new rules on mortgage lending will cause house prices to fall. The new rules, which include tough restrictions on how much a person can borrow, are expected to be enforced next year. They evolved after banks were accused of irresponsible lending, allowing home buyers to borrow more than the value of their home and take out interest-only mortgages without providing evidence of how they were expecting to repay the loan. (Telegraph page 1)

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Employment: Iain Duncan Smith announced during a trip to Edinburgh that ‘social enterprise firms’, referring to companies who employ disadvantaged people, would play a key role in moving people off benefits and into employment. (The Scotsman page 2)

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National Museum: After a three year revamp the National Museum of Scotland is forecast to bring in £58.1 million a year as well as provide 2,611 jobs. (The Scotsman page 6)

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Bonds: UK government bond yields fell today to a 12 month low amidst fears of inflation. (The Times page 39)

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Carriers project: Lib Dem defence minister gives strong indication that the £5.2 billion aircraft carrier project will not be axed during the Strategic Defence Review. (The Scotsman page 13)

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Justice

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Scottish jails: Drugs and weapons are being smuggled into Scotland’s jails in ‘unacceptably high’ levels, the chief inspectorate of prisons said yesterday. Brigadier Hugh Monro warned that the issue of contraband materials must be addressed as he delivered his first annual report. (Telegraph page 7, Daily Express page 6, The Herald page 10)

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Child offenders: New figures show that Scotland spends £27 million a year holding child criminals in secure units, amounting to an annual average of £250,000 per child. (The Scotsman page 17)

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Transport 

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FirstGroup: Sir Moir Lockhead, FirstGroup CEO, has revealed plans to stand down. Former London Underground boss, Tim O’Toole, is to take over from November. (The Herald page 34)

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Health

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NHS & Council mergers: Five health boards and four councils are considering merging managerial services and facilities. The plans reportedly could put hundreds of jobs at risk across Scotland. (The Herald page 7)

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Minimum alcohol pricing: The SNP government’s proposal to introduce a 45p minimum pricing for alcohol were rejected yesterday in a Holyrood committee. Despite health secretary Nicola Sturgeon’s plea for support, the five opposition MSPs on the health and sport committee all voted against plans to charge 45p per unit of alcohol. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to resurrect plans for a minimum price on alcohol at the third and final stage of consideration.  (Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 13, Sun page 2, The Scotsman page 8, The Times page 3, The Herald page 4)

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Education

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Curriculum for Excellence: Education Secretary Michael Russell has attempted to raise support for the new Curriculum for Excellence as he defended his action to go ahead with the policy despite calls from teachers to postpone. Opposition parties say they do not oppose the Curriculum itself, rather Mr Russell’s implementation of it, which has come under serious scrutiny.  (The Scotsman page 9, The Times page 9)

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School inspections overhaul:  The HM Inspectorate of Education has put forward plans to decrease the number of inspections it carries out in bid to reduce the stress caused to teaching staff. These plans have been sent out for public scrutiny today. (The Scotsman page 2, The Herald page 5)

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Tuition fees: Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph on the debate of higher education funding and if the taxpayer should be funding higher education. (Telegraph page 6)