REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 19 October 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 19 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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Voluntary Power: A major overhaul in the provision of healthcare in Scotland is being urged by a leading think-tank, including charity work by gap-year students. Reform Scotland has called for an end to a "public-sector monopoly" and wants to see the voluntary sector given a much bigger role to help achieve greater choice for patients. It has argued that hospitals and other community health providers should become independent, not-for-profit trusts, which would be part of the voluntary sector. They would also be able to set up new bodies to provide healthcare. A report published today by the think tank after a four-month consultation on the voluntary sector found broad support for increasing the role of the voluntary sector in Scotland. (Scotsman page 20, Geoff Mawdsley comment page 22, Herald page 8, BBC)

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Budget Cuts: David Cameron will today announce a swathe of defence cuts, insisting he is sweeping away a “woefully inadequate” security structure and replacing it with one geared to making Britain ready for the threats of the 21st century. With warships, fighter jets, tanks and thousands of troops facing the axe in the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) statement to MPs, the Coalition yesterday published a document aimed at placing the spending cuts and shifting priorities in a strategic context. (Herald page 1 & 7, Press & Journal page 1 & 5, Guardian page 1 & 2, Telegraph page 10, Daily Mirror page 6, Daily Mail page 2, Financial Times page 1, Daily Record page 8 & 9)

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Aircraft Carriers: The government\’s strategic defence and security review, to be published today, will show that the first of the two vessels, the Queen Elizabeth, which is meant to have a 40-year lifespan, will only sail until 2019, sparking speculation last night that it will be sold. An MoD briefing has shown that although the £5.2 billion carriers project has been saved, Britain\’s military capability will be dramatically reduced over the next two years as the Treasury exacts cuts from the military budget. While the decisions will safeguard 10,000 jobs on the Clyde and in Rosyth, and possibly the future of Scottish ship-building, the vessels will not be what the navy and RAF had hoped for. (Scotsman page 1 & 4, comment page 30, Herald page 7, Courier page 1 & 8 & 9, Time page 1, Telegraph page 1, Daily Express page 4, Daily Record page 2, Sun page 1 & 11) 

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Tommy Sheridan:  Tommy Sheridan reportedly launched a tirade against a former parliamentary colleague, who he said should be ashamed for telling lies against him. In a heated exchange former MSP Rosie Kane and Tommy Sheridan each resorted to shouting at the other. Sheridan was allowed to cross-examine Ms Kane while standing behind counsel\’s lectern in the well of the High Court in Glasgow. Previously, he had been kept in the dock beside his wife and co-accused, Gail, but the trial judge, Lord Bracadale, relented in the face of submissions by Sheridan. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 1 & 5, Press & Journal page 1 & 8, Courier page 7, Times page 13, Telegraph page 6, Daily Express page 1 & 5, Daily Mail page 5, Daily Record page 7, Sun page 1, 4 & 5) 

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MP Expenses: Yesterday in court, former Livingston MP Jim Devine, David Chaytor and Elliot Morley, who deny theft by false accounting, claimed that any investigation into their expenses claims and the imposition of any sanctions "should lie within the hands of Parliament". Nigel Pleming QC, representing Devine and Chaytor, told a panel of nine Supreme Court Justices that the Parliamentary expenses scheme was part of proceedings in the House. As such, the men are protected by Parliamentary privilege. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 6, Press & Journal page 8, Guardian page 16, Telegraph page 2, Sun page 2) 

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Nuclear Power Stations: The debate over the future of Scotland\’s energy policy was reignited yesterday after the Westminster coalition announced eight potential sites for nuclear power stations. The announcement puts the London government at odds with the SNP administration, which has pledged not to build any more nuclear power stations after the decommissioning of Dounreay and Torness, making it clear that it is willing to use devolved powers such as planning to block new installations. (Scotsman page 14, Daily Mail page 10)

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First Minister: Alex Salmond has been accused of losing touch with reality over Scotland’s finances. Labour and Tory spokesmen united to attack his economic record following comments by the First Minister linking independence to financial recovery. (Herald page 6, Sun page 13)

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Economy

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HBOS Compensation: Lawyers battling to win compensation for thousands of Lloyds TSB shareholders who lost money in the wake of its takeover of HBOS last night said they were "very confident" of success. About 1,250 private investors have signed up for a bid to recoup some of the £14 billion in shares value that was lost after the controversial bail-out of the Scottish bank. About 100 shareholders attended an Edinburgh hotel last night to hear the case for legal action based on the fact that Lloyds failed to disclose the full state of HBOS\’s finances when it asked shareholders to vote on the takeover. (Scotsman page 11)

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Wind Farms: More than three-quarters of Scots support the growth of wind farms, according to a new survey. The opinion poll commissioned by Scottish Renewables found that 78% of those surveyed agreed wind farms were necessary – up 5% from five years ago. (Herald page 10, Scotsman page 14, Courier page 13, Daily Record Page 23)

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Transport 

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New Rail Link: The Airdrie-Bathgate route had been on course with few hiccups. However, moments after transport minister Stewart Stevenson arrived by rail to officially open the new Bathgate station, another train broke down, plunging services into chaos. (Scotsman page 15)

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Health

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Absenteeism: The number of days off sick taken by Scottish health workers has fallen by half after bosses started phoning them at home every day they were absent. Managers at NHS Lanarkshire acted after absence levels hit 6.75 per cent – almost three times the Scottish average of 2.4 per cent and more the double the private-sector figure of 2.8 per cent. The authority spent £265,000 to set up a new sickness absence management service, but in just one year they have saved the health service nearly £2 million and slashed the sickness absence rate to 3.61 per cent. The scheme has been so successful it is to be rolled out elsewhere in Scotland, starting with Tayside. (Scotsman page 10)

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Cancer Vaccine: A groundbreaking brain tumour vaccine is to undergo its first clinical trial in the UK. The drug, called IMA950, is designed to help the body\’s immune system fight glioblastoma, a deadly and common form of brain cancer. A total of 45 newly diagnosed patients will take part in the early Phase I trial at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre in Glasgow and up to four other hospitals across the UK. (Herald page 3, Scotsman page 23, Press & Journal page 7, Daily Record page 16)

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C. Diff Closure: A hospital ward has been closed after the death of two patients who had contracted the Clostridium difficile infection, health chiefs said. (Herald page 9, Press & Journal page 4, Sun page 2)

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Education

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Michael Russell: One of Scotland\’s most powerful teaching unions has accused the education secretary of "bullying" after he reportedly banned the organisation from a key schools committee. Michael Russell said he had "no option" but to suspend the Scottish Secondary Teachers\’ Association (SSTA) from the Curriculum for Excellence Management Board, because it refused to withdraw its threat of industrial action over the new curriculum. He accused the union of being in conflict with its role on the board to promote and support the curriculum, by balloting on a potential work to hours. A vote by members earlier this year decreed the controversial new Curriculum for Excellence should not be delayed by a year, but go ahead in August. (Scotsman page 2, comment page 20, Herald page 2, comment page 14)

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