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Reform Scotland News: 01 March 2011

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 01 March 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 highlighted 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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Compulsory redundancies: The Scottish Government has been accused of ‘jumping the gun’ by claiming Scotland will be safe from the kind of widespread lay-offs seen recently in England. A spokesman for local government body Cosla said any lay-offs would be a last resort. But he added that councils cannot say there will be no compulsory redundancies because they may be necessary given the current financial situation. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 2, Courier page 11, Press & Journal page 12, Telegraph page 10, Daily Mail page 19)

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Economy

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Enterprise agencies: Scotland’s enterprise agencies need to do more to assist economic recovery and facilitate access to finance, the lack of which is hindering growth. This comes after Holyrood’s Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee reviewed Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Island Enterprise, Scottish Development International and Skills Development Scotland and found several weaknesses. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 6, Press & Journal page 12)

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Renewable energy jobs: A report by Verso Economics has claimed that the renewable energy industry in Scotland could be costing more jobs than it actually creates. The report claims that the number of jobs that ministers have said the plans will create, may be reduced from 26,000 to 1,100. (Scotsman page 2, Courier page 14)

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Tourism industry: Scotland’s £1.1 billion tourism industry is at a growing risk from the impact of public spending cuts. Some businesses are considering closing at quieter times to save money. However, it has emerged that the SNP could allocate £1.5 million from “unallocated reserves” to help fund a new VisitScotland campaign. (Scotsman page 4)

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Banking complaints: The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) yesterday reported a 15 per cent increase in the number of complaints about financial services firms in the final six months of 2010. Lloyds Banking Group racked up the most complaints (22,187), although the high figure also reflects its status as Britain\\\’s biggest bank. There were 12,234 cases relating to Lloyds TSB alone. Bank of Scotland, also part of the group, accounted for 6,743 complaints. RBS, including NatWest, attracted 8,644 complaints, placing it second behind Lloyds. (Herald page 12, Scotsman page 5, FT page 5)

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Justice

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Drug squad: Chief Superintendent David O\\\’Connor, President of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS), has called for greater integration of police services than the government has put out for consultation. He said Scotland’s drugs and organised crime investigation squad should be disbanded and its detectives merged into the mainstream police. He wants a single police force to include the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency and Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA), which provides support such as forensics and training. (Scotsman page 14)

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Health

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Health board elections: Elections to two health boards in Scotland have come under fire after it emerged they cost more than £1.5 million at a time when the NHS is axing jobs to save money. Staff bodies, including the British Medical Association Scotland, say that in the current financial climate the money is needed to fund frontline care. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the entire cost of the pilot would reach £1.6m by the time the final evaluation of the trial is published next year. (Herald page 5)

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Death toll: Efforts to improve patient safety have seen death rates drop in Scottish hospitals, the Health Secretary has said. Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock has seen a 15 per cent drop in mortality since the start of 2008; whereas other hospitals cut death tolls by up to a fifth. However, figures across Scotland showed some hospitals were improving faster than others, with a small number actually seeing mortality rates increase in the past three years (Scotsman page 11)

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Alzheimer’s diagnosis: Figures from the Alzheimer\\\’s Society reveal just more than 300,000 people are undiagnosed at the moment, but this is set to almost double in the next decade.

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According to the charity, if nothing is done to improve diagnosis rates, which currently stand at 40 per cent, some 595,725 people will be undiagnosed by 2021. Diagnosis across Scotland is better on average than the UK as a whole at 50 per cent. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 6, Courier page 11, Telegraph page 2, Daily Mail page 26, Daily Mirror page 20, Daily Express page 19)

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Education

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Glasgow Caledonian University: Lecturers at the Glasgow University have hit out at management for taking high salaries while they are facing job cuts. They claim that 373 teaching and support jobs had been cut while nine senior staff, including Principal Pamela Gillies, now earned over £100,000 a year. (Scotsman page 5)

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University funding: Scottish universities face a potential funding gap of up to £200 million as a result of the introduction of higher student tuition fees in England, a new report shows. Universities argue the scale of the gap will threaten their status because rivals in England would use the extra money to develop better facilities and attract top academics. However, the Scottish Government said the eventual gap could be as little as £93m because Scottish institutions could raise extra income by charging students from England additional fees. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 2, Courier page 11, Press & Journal page 7, FT page 4, Times page 3, Telegraph page 5, Daily Mail page 30)

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