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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 29 OCTOBER 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 29 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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Scottish Labour: Labour leader Ed Miliband has said the Holyrood elections are a springboard for his party’s comeback at the next UK General Election. Mr Miliband, speaking ahead of the Scottish Labour Party conference, which opens in Oban today, said the Holyrood ballot was crucial and “we need to be going all out to win”. The Labour leader, who will be addressing the conference this afternoon, said Scottish leader Iain Gray would spearhead the campaign but he would be in Scotland “a lot” to offer his support. He said: “We have just lost a General Election in the UK but it is very important here in Scotland that we show there is an alternative and that is what Iain Gray’s leadership is showing – an alternative when it comes to apprenticeships, to creating jobs, to the issues that really matter here in Scotland. “These elections are very important for who governs Scotland but they’re also very important as a springboard for the next General Election for Labour.”(Herald page 6, Press and Journal page 8) 

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Sheridan trial: Former MSP Tommy Sheridan reportedly panicked when he was recognised visiting a swingers\’ club in Manchester, a court heard yesterday. Anvar Khan, a former News of the World columnist, told the High Court in Glasgow she was at Cupid\’s club with the former Scottish Socialist MSP in September 2002. She said Mr Sheridan was recognised by someone from Glasgow after they entered the club in a "broken down industrial estate" in Manchester. Ms Khan told the court: "He panicked as soon as we went in because there were a couple of people from Glasgow who recognised him immediately."  Mr Sheridan asked Ms Khan about a number of "inconsistencies" between her evidence in court yesterday and her evidence during the defamation hearing in 2006. The trial continues. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1, Times page 18, Telegraph page 9, Press and Journal page 3, Courier page 3, Daily Mail page 7, Daily Record page 1, Sun page 9)

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Papal visit: Scottish Catholics will be told this weekend that they have to make up an £800,000 cash shortfall for the cost of the papal visit.  Congregations were already asked in the run-up to the event in September to donate cash to an appeal target of £1.7 million to fund the historic first state visit by a pontiff.  How successful the Scots were in reaching this target remains unknown, as it has never been published by the Church, but church-goers are due to be told at mass this weekend the size of their share of the total cash shortfall for the visit by Pope Benedict XVI. A collection will be held on the weekend of 6 and 7 November to try to raise the outstanding £800,000. (Scotsman page 8)
\r\nChildren in care: More than 2000 children have been stuck in Scotland’s care system for at least five years. New figures revealed what officials called the “concerning” length of time some youngsters are looked after by the state. The Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) said the number of children put under “supervision requirements” – when social workers are effectively appointed as their corporate parents – had risen once more, to 13,829 children at the end of March this year. Of these, some 2145 of the youngsters had been under supervision since at least 2005, officials said. The body’s outgoing principal reporter and chief executive, Netta Maciver, said: “There is a concern about the length of time children and young people are on supervision. (Herald page 2) 

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Trident: Two-thirds of Scots are opposed to replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system, according to a poll. The survey found 67% did not want the Government to spend money on the weaponry while it was cutting budgets for conventional forces. The YouGov poll was carried out as Westminster’s Strategic Defence and Security Review announced the closure of RAF Kinloss and created uncertainty over the future of RAF Lossiemouth, Fort George and the Army’s Edinburgh HQ. (Herald page 7) 

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Economy

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Tourism: Tourism is worth an estimated £11 billion a year to the nation\’s economy and supports more than 200,000 jobs; and there are growing signs that Scotland\’s tourism industry could be helping the nation withstand the full brunt of the global downturn. Mounting evidence of a boom year for tourism businesses in the face of the recession and fears over public spending cuts have triggered a campaign to boost the industry – and shield it from budget cuts. Ahead of Visit Scotland’s annual "Oscars" night – the Scottish Thistle Awards – in Edinburgh tonight, its chairman, Mike Cantlay, repeated a call from the organisation\’s recently appointed chief executive, Malcolm Roughead, to protect its budgets. He said the industry had "huge potential for growth" by investing in campaigns to target niche markets including food and drink, adventure tourism and island holidays. (Scotsman page 24) 

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Justice

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Human rights: Radical changes to criminal law were approved last night by MSPs after a marathon session of Parliament involving fiery exchanges in response to the UK Supreme Court ruling on suspects’ human rights. There were vitriolic exchanges between Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and the Lib Dems, whose justice spokesman Robert Brown tabled a series of amendments to the emergency legislation that will give people suspected of a crime immediate access to a lawyer. Mr Brown was backed by his party colleague Mike Rumbles, whose exchanges with the Cabinet Secretary became highly personal. Mr Rumbles told the Scottish Parliament: “The Justice Secretary should be ashamed of the approach he has taken to this whole debate. The Government have misused this whole process. It is a bad Bill using a bad process and we should be ashamed of it.”(Herald) 

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Transport 

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Airport fees: The introduction of a controversial "kiss and fly" £1 payment at Edinburgh Airport will increase to £5 for drop-offs that exceed 10 minutes and will rise to £7 if the time in the drop-off zone exceeds 60 minutes. A new 50-space "fast track" drop-off zone was due to open in the airport\’s multi-storey at 4am today, replacing the adjacent congested 18-space site. Drivers dropping off passengers will be charged £1, with fees rising sharply if they stay more than ten minutes, to deter parking there. The cost will increase to £5 for ten to 20 minutes, £7 for an hour and then £9 an hour thereafter. (Scotsman page 17) 

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Health

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NHS chiefs: The cost of employing Scotland\’s senior NHS managers has more than tripled in the last three years, leaving the Scottish health service with a bill of almost £105 million. The number of non-clinical staff being paid more than £50,000 soared from just over 600 to nearly 1,800 in three years. Salaries for the "army of NHS managers" also rocketed from nearly £34.9 million to more than £104 million between 2007 and 2010. The figures were revealed during First Minister\’s question time yesterday when Alex Salmond was criticised by Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott for allowing the number of non-clinicians earning more than £50,000 to treble during his time in power. (Scotsman page 1, Press and Journal page 7) 

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Education

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University fees: A "distinctive Scottish" solution is needed to university funding, First Minister Alex Salmond said yesterday amid growing pressure for students to pay towards the cost of their degrees after graduating. However, he vowed there would be no return to up-front tuition fees north of the Border. He spoke in the Scottish Parliament after it emerged that Universities Scotland, the umbrella group for the sector, called for graduates to contribute to the cost of their education. (Scotsman page 16, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1)