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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 13 OCTOBER 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 13 October 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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AV Referendum: A bid to prevent the referendum on the alternative voting system was defeated by 326 votes to 264. As such the referendum will take place on 5 May 2011 on the same day as voters elect a new parliament at Holyrood. The bill still requires the approval of the full house, but the vote last night makes any further changes in the Commons unlikely. (Scotsman page 2)

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Glasgow Commonwealth Games: In light of the run-up to the Delhi Games, the CEO of the Glasgow 2014 Games said facilities for the 2014 Games will be ready in 2012. The organisers are using the slogan “We’re ready – are you?” to indicate their confidence. (Scotsman page 7)

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Defence Spending Cuts: Downing Street has revealed today that the main decisions on the future of Britain’s military assets are set to be published over two days next week. Central to the review is the future of the £5.2 billion aircraft carriers contract, with speculation that the UK Government has decided to build both ships – safeguarding 10,000 jobs on the Clyde and Rosyth and the future of Scotland’s shipbuilding industry. (Scotsman page 11 & Herald page 6 & Times page 16 & Guardian page 12 & Sun page 2)

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Economy

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Spending Cuts: The UK Government is close to reaching agreements with most government departments on spending, leaving the toughest decisions of the £83 billion spending cuts to the very end. These final cuts are expected to fall into just three areas: defence, education and welfare. Anger across Whitehall has been growing at the way the MoD’s fight for a generous settlement has been portrayed favourably in the media, restricting breathing space for other departments. Nick Clegg is also fighting to ensure that money is found to fund the party’s flagship policy of a pupil premium to help poorer pupils and nursery places, even if it is at the expense of defence spending. (Financial Times page 3)

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Business: CALA Group the Scottish house builder that underwent a life-saving financial restructuring last year, has further reduced its losses and appointed City veteran Anthony Fry as chairman. The pre-tax losses of the firm have fallen from £33.9 million last June to £27.1 million this year. (Scotsman/Business Section page 1)

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Spending Cuts & Employment: PwC research estimates that as a result of the upcoming spending cuts there will be approximately 50,000 public sector and 45,000 private sector jobs lost in Scotland. This would amount to 4% of the total workforce. (Daily Telegraph/Business Section page 1 & Times page 3)

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Perspectives on Economic Crisis: A new Ipsos-MORI poll for BBC Scotland found that most Scots pin the blame for the crisis on the last Labour government, but also found voters much more cautious about the pace of the cuts than the need for them. (Herald page 6)

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Justice

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Legal Aid: Lawyers have called for the Scottish Legal Aid Board to be merged with the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, saving an estimated £40 million over five years. The Law Society of Scotland’s access to justice committee fears cuts resulting from the spending review will hit the poorest hardest, and therefore aims to protect the money available to them by cutting down on administration costs elsewhere. (Scotsman page 15)

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Jail Contraband: Official figures released under freedom of information laws show the volume of mobile phones, syringes, weapons and a host of other contraband items that are found during searches of jail cells in Scotland. The figures show that 71 mobile phones are confiscated a month along with 318 weapons. (Daily Express page 10)

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Heroin in prisons: Scotland’s criminal justice system has been criticised today after evidence that jail chiefs supply ‘drug kits’ to accommodate drug use in a sterilised and safe way as part of the government’s ‘harm reduction’ strategy. (Scottish Daily Mail page 1-2)

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Health

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Memory Boosting Drug: Scottish researchers at the University of Edinburgh say they have discovered a drug which can halt the process that causes memory problems as we get older. (Daily Express page 1 & Scotsman page 23)

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Transport

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Edinburgh Trams: The CEO of the firm in charge of the tram developments in Edinburgh (Tie), Richard Jeffrey, said they should hand over control of the scheme to another body if there was a “logical, rational view” that it was in the interests of the operation. The £545 million project has been plagued by delays and cost over-runs and is at a standstill due to a dispute between Tie and its tram line contractors. (Scotsman page 1 & detail on page 4-5)

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Education

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Scottish Universities: A review of higher education funding in England by Lord Browne has prompted academic leaders to warn that Scottish universities risk falling behind without the introduction of a graduate contribution scheme. Scottish university principals and other senior figures lined up to urge the SNP ministers to take action to preserve the quality of higher education in Scotland. (Scotsman page 8-9). This warning comes as UK Business Secretary Vince Cable says Scotland will have to adopt a market model similar to the one being proposed for England. His message drew a swift response from the Scottish Government which told him Holyrood would find its own solution to the funding crisis, but without recourse to tuition fees. (Herald page 1 & Times page 10 & Guardian page 1). However, some commentators criticised Scottish Education Secretary Michael Russell for the response, accusing the SNP administration of a “dereliction of duty” by attempting to postpone dealing with the crisis in university funding until after the Holyrood elections. (Daily Telegraph page 1 & Scottish Daily Mail page 6 & Daily Express page 12 & Financial Times page 1). Commenting on the debate over university funding, Dundee University has put its support behind the ‘graduate tax’ concept as an alternative to tuition fee hikes. (Courier page 1)

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India-Scotland Education Links: A series of agreements have been signed between universities in India and Scotland as part of a drive to share knowledge and expertise, Alex Salmond announced yesterday during his Commonwealth Games visit. (Herald page 4)

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Job exchange scheme: Scottish teachers have been urged to improve their skills by working across a range of different schools throughout their career. Education Secretary Michael Russell said that many teachers currently spend their entire working lives at one school, and that local authorities should look at moving them around. (Herald page 8)