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Reform Scotland News: 12 April 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.

 

 

Scottish Election

Tory pledge: Annabel Goldie has vowed to give local people the right to veto above inflation rises in council tax bills. (Scotsman page 12, P&J page 10, Express page 2, Sun page 2)

 

Lib Dem promise: Tavish Scott has promised to make Scotland a world leader in Science and research if the party wins next month. (Scotsman page 12, P&J page 10)

 

Labour priority: According to an ICM poll, Ian Gray’s pledge to cut cancer waiting times has become the top priority among voters. (Scotsman page 12, Courier page 8, P&J page 10, Record page 2, Telegraph page 8, Express page 2, Mail page 4, Sun page 2)

 

SNP/ Green pledge: Both parties have promised that they would invest in reducing fuel poverty and meeting Scotland’s climate change targets, if they win the upcoming election. (Herald page 6, Sun page 2)

 

State School influx: Independent candidate Margo MacDonald has called for a commission to be launched to look at how Edinburgh’s state schools will be able to cope with a predicted influx of former private school pupils. She has also criticised the main parties for making false promises in their campaigns. (Scotsman page 12, Courier page 8, P&J page 10, Telegraph page 8, Express page 2)

 

Wind Energy: Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles has attacked the wind energy project proposed by his former party leader, Lord Nicol Stephen. Rumbles describes the project as “cynical and outrageous”. (Times page 6, Scotsman page 14)

 

Labour criticism: Labour leader, Ian Gray, has accused SNP leader, Alex Salmond, of being “too cosy” with Prime Minister, David Cameron. Gray also criticises the Tory-led coalition for failing to deliver on their promise to return the £200 million fossil fuel fund levied on past Scottish carbon output to promote the development of green energy. (Times page 6 with interview on page 16, P&J page 10)

 

Ed Balls: Shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, has claimed the SNP’s case for an independent Scotland has been proven “completely wrong” during the party’s period in office.

He also said the forthcoming election is a chance for Scots to admonish the Tory-Lib Dem coalition at Westminster. (Scotsman page 12, Record page 2, Express page 2, Sun page 2)

 

Politics

CO2 Emissions: Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by a half within 20 years, according to a new study by Edinburgh University’s School of GeoSciences and Business School. (Scotsman page 22)

 

Economy

Banking reforms: Millions are facing a rise in bank charges after the industry was told to make major changes to prevent another credit crunch. (Guardian page 10, Mail page 6, Express page 12, Telegraph page 1, B1,2&5, FT page 1,2,3, Times page 8, Scotsman page 8, Sun page 6)

 

High Street Crisis: the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that many high street shops may not survive another sustained period of low consumer spending. The experts revealed that Britain’s shops suffered the worst monthly drop in sales since records began 16 years ago, and the emergence of “new, lower” spending patterns since the beginning of the year. (Scotsman page 4, P&J page 12, FT page 4, Sun page 6)

 

Housing market: the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has revealed that the Scottish housing market picked up last month due to rising numbers of people putting their house up for sale; this was accompanied by increases in both agreed sales and inquiries from potential buyers. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 8, Courier page 7, P&J page 7, Mail page 2, Sun page 4)

 

 

Local Government

Commonwealth Games: Glasgow city council’s leader, Gordon Matheson, met with English political figures involved in the planning and execution of previous Commonwealth Games to discuss ways to ensure lasting benefits from the event, due to take place in Glasgow in 2014. (Scotsman page 14)

 

Gathering Inquiry: An Independent consultant is to be commissioned to oversee an inquiry into Edinburgh City Council’s handling of the centrepiece event of the 2009 Year of Homecoming. The external review will be carried out over the next few months. (Scotsman page 19)

 

Corruption Claims:  Edinburgh City Council is being investigated after allegations an official provided access to a computer system which holds bidding information for millions of pounds worth of home repairs work. Six workers at the Edinburgh City Council department were suspended after a tip-off to police. (Herald page 8)

 

Justice

Single Police Force: The leaders of Scotland’s two main political parties are facing a rank-and-file revolt by police officers against plans to create a single national force. Alex Salmond and Iain Gray, who are both reportedly in favour of the proposals, are due to attend the Scottish Police Federation’s annual conference in Aviemore, where a motion will be proposed calling for all-out opposition to plans to replace Scotland’s eight forces with one.(Herald page 14, Sun page 2)

 

Transport

Aberdeen Roundabout: The infamous Haudagain roundabout in Aberdeen has emerged as Scotland’s sole nomination for the title of worst roundabout in Britain. (Scotsman page 15, Mail page 24)

 

Education

Privatisation: The former Edinburgh University Principle and University of London vice-chancellor, Lord Sutherland has called for large sections of the university sector to be privatised and allow institutions to set their own fees. (Scotsman page 2 & 32-33)

 

Health

Healing Gene: Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have identified a gene that slows the recovery from damage to the nerves in people’s limbs. The discovery will help doctors to make more accurate predictions about recovery after injuries, give clearer information about the effects of drugs and, in the long term, allow treatment to be tailored for individual patients. (Scotsman page 11, Record page 2, Express page 10)

 

Pomegranate: Researchers at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh have found that drinking 500ml of pomegranate juice a day could help to reduce blood pressure. (Scotsman page 11)

 

Mental Illness: The social and economic “cost” of poor mental health in Scotland has reached £10.7 billion a year, according to a leading charity. A report issued by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), shows that the cost of dealing with mental illness has increased by nearly a quarter in the past five years. (Herald page 3, Courier page 9, P&J page 7)