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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 06 October 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary:

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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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‘Thick Scots’ slur: Conservative candidate for the Scottish parliament, Ivor Tiefenbrun, caused outrage last night by saying Scots were “so thick” for hating Margaret Thatcher. The Scottish Tories were under pressure to deselect the businessman as the party’s candidate for Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, and have done so this morning. (Scotsman page 2)

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Landlord Fines: Landlords could face fines of up to £50,000 under new proposals announced by the Scottish Government aimed at improving the standard of private rented housing. (Scotsman page 2 & Press and Journal page 10)

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Aircraft budget cuts: Last minute lobbying has taken place with government ministers to save the £5.2billion aircraft project after it emerged that a decision on it is likely tomorrow. The National Security Council (NSC) will publish the full details of its decisions on 21 October, and this is to include the decision on whether to build one or two aircraft carriers. (Scotsman page 5).

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The NSC meeting is expected to be particular hard on the RAF, as the coalition grapples with an overspend of £38billion. (Times page 8-9).

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Former British PM Gordon Brown has also warned against downgrading aircraft carrier contracts on which thousands of Scottish shipbuilding jobs depend on. (Times page 16 & Daily Telegraph page 1 & Courier page 1 & Scottish Daily Mail page 10).

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Swingers-gate: Former Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan asked a party colleague to lie for him after he admitted twice to visiting a swingers club, a court has heard. Ms Kane was the second person to tell a perjury trial at the High Court in Glasgow of Mr Sheridan’s admission. She also revealed that he requested her to “rattle some cages” so as to make minutes of the party meeting at which the admission was made disappear. (Scotsman page 7 & Times page 5 & Sun page 7 & Herald page 8-9 & Guardian page 6 & Daily Telegraph page 9 & Press and Journal page 8& Courier page 8 & Daily Express page 7 & Scottish Daily Mail page 5 & Daily Record)

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Scottish Referendum: David Cameron has been accused of creating confusion on the issue of an independence referendum in Scotland after he suggested that he would relish the opportunity of campaigning against it. (Times page 7 & Sun page 2 & Daily Telegraph page 8 & Daily Express page 4). Other media focuses on Mr Cameron’s comments which suggest he was saying First Minister Salmond was ‘afraid’ to call the referendum. (Scottish Daily Mail page 2).

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Alcohol Levy: Labour have backed SNP on the ‘polluter pays’ plan for addressing alcohol misuse. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon got her way on the policy yesterday after being rebuffed over her plans to secure a minimum price per unit and losing out on giving councils the powers locally to ban off-sales to under-21s. (Herald page 2)

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Economy

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Conservative Party Conference: In his first speech to the conservative conference, PM David Cameron will insist that marriage will be recognised in the tax system, as he attempts to overcome the row over cuts to child benefits for the middle classes. He will say that bolstering families, pushing poor children into the best schools, and making work pay for benefit claimants are the “real routes out of poverty”. (Scotsman page 1 & Herald page 1).

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David Cameron will also insist that wealthier families pay their contribution towards the austerity drive as he stands firm against the Conservative disquiet about cuts to child benefit. (Times page 1 & Guardian page 1 & Daily Express page 1 & Scottish Daily Mail page 6-7 & Daily Record page 2). However, he has issued an apology for not warning middle class mothers of the looming child benefit cuts (Scottish Daily Mail page 1). Critics of George Osborne’s proposed cuts point to the effect on Middle England, and therefore on the Conservatives’ voting base (useful summary table in Times page 6-7 & Guardian page 10 & Mirror page 9 & Daily Telegraph page 1).

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David Cameron will also say today that if banks pay excessive bonuses they will be met with a new tax on bankers’ pay (Herald page 6). Lord Oakshott, a Lib Dem Treasury spokesman, said the moment had now arrived to reintroduce a tax on bonuses which, when imposed on the banks last year, raised £3.5 billion for the exchequer (Guardian page 23).

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Oil and Gas platforms: Thousands of jobs could be created at Scotland’s largely disused oil fabrication plants which supplying offshore wind, wave and tidal projects and this could partially offset the effect of decommissioning North Sea oil and gas platforms. However, concerns have been raised as to the capability of the platforms to supply both industries whilst in transition. (Herald page 12)

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Justice

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Human Trafficking: Scotland’s top law officer, Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini, has defended attempts to tackle human trafficking in Scotland. (Scotsman page 6 & Herald page 6)

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Transport 

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Glasgow Airport Rail Link: Business who were paid millions of pounds to relocate in order to make way for the Glasgow Airport Rail Link are being offered the and back at a fraction of the original cost to taxpayers. Hopes of recouping the £40million already spent on the cancelled airport branch line have foundered as the land has lost a significant amount of value in the housing marking crash. (Herald page 5)

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Aircraft laser attack: Police in Dumfries and Galloway have launched an investigation after a laser pen was shone into the cockpit of a passenger jet flying at 20,000 feet over south west Scotland putting the lives of passengers at risk. The attacks can only have an impact at night, but have the potential to render pilots blinded for a short time. (Herald page 3)

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Local Government

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Edinburgh Film Centre: Long running plans for a multi-million pound film centre in Edinburgh are set to be revived more than 15 years after the idea was first floated. (Scotsman page 10)

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Health

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NHS Homeopathy: A health board has become the first in Scotland to begin phasing out homeopathic treatments on the NHS after deciding that they provide no clinical benefit. NHS Highlands spends a minimum of £13,000 a year on referrals to two homeopathic practitioners in Inverness, and this will no longer occur under the plans. In June of this year the British Medical Association urged the Scottish NHS to withdraw the £1.5 million spent each year on homeopathic treatments. (Scotsman page 6 & Press and Journal page 5)

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Mental Health: Scottish employers could save the economy £1 million every day by properly investing in mental health support in the workplace, the Scottish Association for Mental Health has claimed today. (Scotsman page 7)

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Assisted Suicide: The MSP behind plans to legalise assisted suicide, Margo MacDonald, has faced claims that it could result in up to 1,000 deaths a year. MSPs also heard that even if the bill was passed, assisted suicide could not be carried out under the NHS under current legislation. (Scotsman page 8 & Times page 16 & Herald page 6 & Daily Express page 10).

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Nurses’ budget cuts: Scottish nurses are being asked to work more shifts for free to save their jobs. Last night it emerged that 14 health boards have set aside £30 million for temporary nurses and theatre staff over the next four years, and hospitals are considering asking permanent staff to fill up this gap for free so as to save them from being subject to the planned 1,500 nursing jobs to be axed this year due to cutbacks. (Press and Journal page 1)

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Education

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‘Flat-line’ Exam Results: Tom Miers has claimed today that Scottish education has failed to make any progress since the reconstitution of the Scottish Parliament, referring to the fact that Standard Grade results have fallen to 1997 levels. (Scotsman page 10)