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Reform Scotland News: 2 March 2011

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.

 

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

Armed forces: The Government announced yesterday that the armed services are facing 11,000 redundancies. The cuts include plans to axe a tornado jet squadron at RAF Lossiemouth. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Times page 1, Sun page 1, Express page 4, Mirror page 15, Mail page 1, Record page 4, Courier page 1, P&J page 1, FT page 2, Telegraph page 1)

 

Insurance costs: A ruling by the European Court will ban insurance companies and pension providers from using gender to set premiums.  The move could mean young women in particular are penalised, facing up to a 40% increase in their car insurance premium.  (Scotsman page 10, Times page 5, Sun page 16, Herald page 10, Guardian page 17, Express page 1, Mail page 4, Record page 1, Courier page 10, FT page 4)

 

Calman Commission: The Scottish Parliament committee examining the Scotland Bill has backed all the findings of the Calman Commission according to a leaked draft seen by the Herald. (Herald page 6)

 

Independence:  Brian Wilson in the Scotsman accuses the SNP of being Scotland’s Fianna Fail by being non-ideological and populist, rather than being radical.

 

Housing benefit: About 45,000 people in Scotland in receipt of housing benefit will have their payments reduced under the coalition government’s plans according to Scottish local authorities. (Times page 6)

 

Andrew Cooper: Daniel Finkelstein in the Times comments on the appointment of Andrew Cooper as David Cameron’s new director of strategy, calling him a ruthless moderniser.

 

SNP Cabinet:  The Scottish Government has been accused of planning to spend taxpayers’ money on holding Cabinet meetings in key SNP constituencies. (Mail page 24)

 

Economy

Broadband: The average UK broadband speed remains less than half the advertised level according to Ofcom. (Scotsman page 21, Herald page 9, P&J page 5)

 

Justice

Supreme Court: External Affairs Minister Fiona Hyslop has criticised plans to allow a route of appeal in criminal cases in Scotland to the UK Supreme Court. John McTernan in the Scotsman accuses the SNP of putting politics before human rights. (Scotsman page 2, Courier page 6)

 

Early release: The Court of Appeal in Edinburgh yesterday ruled that people serving indeterminate life sentences in non-murder cases could become eligible for parole after serving half of the punishment part of their sentence, rather than the current two- thirds. (Scotsman page 3, Times page 11, Herald page 9, Express page 21, Courier page 10, P&J page 9)

 

Police numbers: The Scottish Government says it expects police numbers to reach 17,720 by the end of this month, 1,036 above the number they inherited in 2007 fulfilling the SNP pledge for 1,000 extra police officers. (Scotsman page 8, Times page 11, Herald page 6, Courier page 1, Telegraph page 2)

 

Transport

Petrol prices: Unleaded petrol prices are at a record 130.03 pence a litre. (Scotsman page 5, Record page 2, Courier page 14, P&J page 9)

 

Transport Scotland: Transport Scotland has been criticised by the Scottish Parliament’s Audit Committee for allowing the cost of electronic ticketing machines, introduced as part of the National Concessionary Travel scheme, to jump from an estimated £9m in 2004 to £42m by the time they were operational in 2010. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 6, Express page 2)

 

Education

Higher education: Funding plans for Scottish Universities, which will see students from South of the Border pay £25,500 for a degree, only £1,500 less than the maximum allowable fee in England,  have been criticised for potentially pricing out students from the rest of the UK.  (Scotsman page 2, Times page 11)

 

Universities in Scotland have also claimed that there could be a £200m funding gap between universities in Scotland and their counterparts in England due to the new fees being introduced south of the border.  The gap is more than twice the £93m the Scottish government estimate. (Telegraph page 1)

 

In a submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on higher education, 200 professors and researchers from Glasgow University have called for the influence of senior management groups to be reduced and for a cap on the salaries of senior officials. (Herald page 5)

 

Teachers’ pay: Teaching union the EIS has called on its members to reject a new pay deal which would freeze teachers’ pay for two years. (Record page 6)