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Reform Scotland News: 18 January 2011

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 18 January 2011

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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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Scotland bill: The debate over the Scotland bill continues as two academics came under fire during a committee hearing at Holyrood last week. Professors Andrew Hughes-Hallett and Drew Scott were criticised for producing a ‘fundamentally flawed’ report. The two academics have submitted a formal complaint to the Scottish Parliament over their treatment by MSPs at the hearing.  (Scotsman page 30, Herald page 2, Telegraph page 2, Times page 1, Record page 8)

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RAF Leuchars: Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott is to travel to London today to lobby the UK’s armed forces minister to save RAF Leuchars. MP Sir Menzies Campbell and MSP Ian Smith will join him in the battle to keep the air base open. (Courier page 11, Press & Journal page 7)

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Economy

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Housing market: The Scottish housing market is facing a prolonged slump in property values as the economic downturn continues to affect prices. Experts say the slump could continue for some time creating a ‘lost decade’. The main problem is currently mortgage financing, but the adverse weather conditions of this winter have also aggravated the issue. However, surveyors are confident that the spring will bring a rise in house sales. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 11)

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Bankers Pay: Sir Philip Hampton, Chairman of RBS, has admitted that many bankers are paid more than they are worth. This development comes as banks are deciding on pay and bonuses for 2010. The discussions between David Cameron and bank bosses over bonuses are still ongoing. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 5)

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Hydro-Scheme: The Scottish Government has approved a hydro electric plan which could power 2,500 homes in Sutherland, and create 25 jobs during construction. The energy minister, Jim Mather, has said this plan is in line with Scotland’s drive to generate green energy from its natural resources. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 10)

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Justice

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Legal Aid cuts: The law society of Scotland fears that a £10 million cut in the legal aid budget could impede justice for the poor. The society’s director of law reform has said that Scotland could breach the European Convention on Human Rights laws if the cuts go ahead. (Scotsman page 2)

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Bail: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has vowed to tighten the rules governing the granting of bail. He identified a number of areas which could be improved, such as enhanced national standards and improved information on bail, and said that the focus should be the protection of victims and the general public. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 9)

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Local Government

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Glasgow council cuts: Thousands of council workers face reduced holidays, increased hours and an end to flexible working under new plans to reduce spending. Glasgow City Council, Scotland’s largest authority, has said the cuts could save £5million over the next two years, and insists that it will not introduce compulsory redundancies and core pay and pensions will remain untouched. (Herald page 3)

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Health

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Cancer drug: Liver cancer patients in Scotland have been denied access to a new drug after it was rejected by Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC). The drug, Nexavar (or sorafenib), has shown to extend life by 3 months but the SMC decided it was overly expensive and therefore could not be provided for on the NHS. (Scotsman page 16, Express page 2)

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