0131 524 9500 | info@reformscotland.com

REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 3 SEPTEMBER 2010

Reform Scotland

\r\n

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 3 September 2010

\r\n

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.

\r\n

In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News.

\r\n

Politics

\r\n

Gordon Brown: Gordon Brown is preparing to make his full parliamentary comeback on Monday as the storm over accusations made against him by Tony Blair continues to rage. The former prime minister is said to be "undeterred" by an attack made on him in his memoirs – A Journey – by Mr Blair, who accused him of blackmail, pushing Mr Blair towards drink by being very difficult and losing the election by abandoning New Labour. The return comes after the Labour whips office made it clear that there "should be no exceptions" on Monday and all Labour MPs should be present for the crucial votes on a referendum on changing the voting system and reviewing the number and size of constituencies. (Scotsman page 2, Guardian page 1, Daily Express page 5) 

\r\n

William Hague: Foreign Secretary William Hague said his decision to deny publicly speculation about a gay affair with an aide was "not an easy thing to do". William Hague found questions about his private life dominated his press conference at the Foreign Office yesterday with his German counterpart.  Revealing the frustration he felt, Mr Hague said he and his wife had "had enough" and decided to "put the record straight" about the rumours which had been circulating, particularly on internet sites. (Scotsman page 10, Telegraph page 1, Times page 23, Guardian page 9, Daily Express page 5, Daily Mail page 7, Sun page 2) 

\r\n

BBC: The BBC defended its impartiality last night after the director general of the corporation went to a meeting at Downing Street to discuss coverage of government spending cuts. Mark Thompson met one of Prime Minister David Cameron’s senior aides to talk about offering prominent exposure to senior government figures on BBC channels in the coming weeks, sources claimed last night. (Scotsman page 7)

\r\n

Pakistan aid: Alex Salmond has announced an extra £300,000 for the flood victims in Pakistan and praised the aid efforts of the Scottish people so far. At Edinburgh\’s Blackhall Mosque yesterday the First Minister pledged the extra money which increases Scottish Government support for the beleaguered country to more than £1.2 million. The £300,000 will be added to the emergency funding announced last month. (Scotsman page 18) 

\r\n

Economy

\r\n

RBS:  Royal Bank of Scotland has delivered another blow to the financial services community by revealing 3,500 more jobs are to be slashed in its UK business – including several hundred in Scotland. While the majority of the cuts will be in business services centres in England, about 1,000 posts are to go in the bank\’s IT services division which has a major hub in Edinburgh. However, RBS claimed the announcement would mean a net jobs gain for Scotland, as hundreds of the redundant roles are relocated north of the Border, where the bank plans to consolidate its back-office operations. A further 500 back-office jobs will be moved overseas – to India, the Far East and the US. The job losses are the latest in a string of cuts unveiled by Scottish financial companies in the past week. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 3) 

\r\n

Property prices: Experts have warned of a property prices slump, with some predicting values to plummet by at least 10% by the end of next year. The stark forecast comes after Nationwide, the second-biggest lender in the UK, reported a second consecutive monthly drop in the value of property for the first time since February 2009. (Herald page 1) 

\r\n

Transport 

\r\n

Papal visit: Drivers face widespread chaos across central Scotland during Pope Benedict XVI\’s visit in two weeks\’ time. More than 200 roads will be closed or have parking restricted in Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of the one-day tour, with rolling closures of sections of the M8 as the papal motorcade makes its way west during the evening rush hour. An expected 100,000 people will turn out to see the Popemobile travel through Edinburgh, with a further 85,000 anticipated for a Mass at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. Some main routes will be shut on the morning of the visit on Thursday, 16 September, to enable the Pope to travel from Edinburgh Airport, where he arrives, to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 7) 

\r\n

Health

\r\n

Downs Syndrome: Scientists made a major step towards understanding why older women are more likely to produce abnormal eggs, increasing the risk of conditions such as Down\’s syndrome, it was announced yesterday. They believe the research could produce tests and potential interventions to help give women in their late thirties and forties a better chance to produce healthy babies. Research by Newcastle University, published in the journal Current Biology, has now shed new light on why this happens. The key is declining levels of proteins called cohesins, which hold chromosomes together by entrapping them in a ring. This is essential for chromosomes to split evenly when cells divide. (Scotsman page 13) 

\r\n

Minimum alcohol: Plans to charge drinkers a minimum price of 45p per unit of alcohol have been branded illegal and ineffective. After months of refusing to reveal the baseline price for the controversial policy, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon yesterday announced a figure she claimed would lead to significant health and social benefits and save the country £721 million over 10 years. Her announcement was welcomed by health campaigners, but criticised by opposition politicians and drinks bodies. (Herald page 6, Times page 4, Guardian page 7, Daily Express page 4, Sun page 10) 

\r\n

Local Government

\r\n

Edinburgh: Scotland\’s capital has reclaimed the title as Britain\’s best city in the annual poll compiled by a leading travel industry bible. Readers of Conde Nast Traveller magazine voted Edinburgh ahead of runner-up Oxford and last year\’s winner, London, citing its "culture" and "user-friendliness" as its major plus points. Edinburgh has made it into the top ten every year since the influential awards began in 1989. It has also topped the list three times in the past 12 years. (Scotsman page 23) 

\r\n

Education

\r\n

School closures: Councils across Scotland will have to close more schools as part of moves to save money, an academic has warned. Professor Richard Kerley, of Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh said yesterday that closures were inescapable in the current financial climate. The warning comes just a month before new figures are set to be released by the Scottish Government that detail the number of schools that are less than half full. (Herald page 2)