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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 14 October 2010

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 14 October 2010

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.

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

Politics

Chilean miners: After 69 days trapped underground, the 33 San José miners are brought back up to the surface. An ordeal that has attracted international media coverage and sympathy, their final assent was watched by millions around the world. (Scotsman pages 1-5, Herald pages 1, 4&5, Guardian pages 1, 4-7  Times pages 1, 3-13, Telegraph pages 1&4, FT pages 1&6, Courier page 1&13, Daily Mail pages 6-9, Sun pages 1, 4-7, Mirror pages 1-7, Express pages 1-5, Record pages 1-7)

Holyrood Election: Nicola Sturgeon, Health Secretary and Deputy First Minister, has told The Scotsman that next year’s election will come down to a battle of personalities between the leaders of the parties. The SNP are also expected to launch their campaign agenda today at the SNP conference. (Scotsman page 14&15, Times page 25, Express page 12, Telegraph page 7)

Public-sector sick leave: The Scottish Conservatives have announced plans to help reduce public-sector sick leave, where employees would have to check-in with a nurse before they could take a day off work. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6, Times page 24, Daily Telegraph page 8)

The Gathering: Alex Salmond has been asked to appear before the Scottish Parliament’s public audit committee to answer questions concerning the use of taxpayers’ money to fund the Gathering of the clans in Edinburgh last year. (Scotsman page 26)

PMQs: There is reaction to Ed Miliband’s first performance at Prime Minister’s Questions which is generally favourable. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 6. Guardian page 10, FT page 2, Daily Mail page 12, Mirror page 10, Record page 10)

Pensions: The Coalition Government has raised the possibility of reducing non-taxable pension contributions. (Daily Telegraph page 1&2)

Cold weather payments: There is speculation that emergency payments for the elderly, which are given where the average temperature falls to zero or below for 7 consecutive days, could be cut. (Telegraph page 2, Guardian page 10, Times page 2 &18)

Tuition Fees: Sir Menzies Campbell’s confirmation that he will vote against any fee rises has added to mounting pressure on Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg from party members and MPs. (Herald page 6, Guardian page 19, Telegraph page 2)

Economy

Unemployment: New figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that Scotland has the fastest growing unemployment rate in the UK, with the number of working age people actively looking for a job rising from 7.2% to 8.6% in the last year.  There was a rise of 13,000 between June and August. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 2, Daily Telegraph page 18, Courier page 13, Daily Mail page 4)

Royal Mail: Business Secretary Vince Cable has published his reform bill for the postal network which includes privatising the Royal Mail, with 90% being owned by companies and 10% being held by employees through shares. These plans have raised concerns over the future of the universal service for remote areas amid speculation that foreign companies, such as TNT, may move in and cut services. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 6, FT page 2, Daily Mail page 2)

Lloyds: Around 400 Scottish jobs are to be lost as Lloyds Banking Group announces a further 4,500 posts are to cut, bringing the total to 20,000 since the start of 2009. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 1&2, Telegraph page b3, FT page 3, Courier page 13, Express page 10

Regional banks: Jeremy Purvis, Lib Dem finance spokesman, has suggested that several of Scotland’s big quangos should be scrapped and replaced with a regional bank network, which he suggests would save money and increase innovation. (Scotsman page 15)

Transport 

Edinburgh Trams: The tram saga continues as councillors meet today to decide the future of the tram project. The business consortium building the trams has accused the project overseers of “aggressive and hostile tactics” amid pleas to city councillors to hear their side of the dispute, a move that is proving difficult due to contractual constraints on speaking publicly. (Scotsman page 10&11)

Scottish Airports: The Appeal Court has found in favour of the Competition Commission saying that BAA should sell off one of its main Scottish airports, Edinburgh or Glasgow. There is still the possibility of further appeal, however appeal to the Supreme Court has initially been refused. (Herald page 10. Guardian page 30, Daily Telegraph page B1)

Local Government

Renewables: Plans for a waste energy generation plant have been unveiled by Fife Council. (Courier page 14)