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Reform Scotland News: 2 June 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

Military presence in Scotland: The UK government is reportedly planning to double the size of the army based in Scotland to try and prevent military cuts being used to boost the case for independence.  The UK’s 18,000 strong army presence in Germany is to be completely withdrawn between 2015 and 2020 and it is expected that about 3,000 of these troops will be based in Scotland. (Scotsman page 1)

 

Committee convenors: The convenors of Holyrood’s committees were elected yesterday.  The SNP holds nine of the 14 posts, Labour four and the Conservatives one. (Scotsman page 6, Hugh Henry in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, P&J page 4)

 

By-election: Former MSP David Whitton has joined the list of 26 people hoping to be selected as the Labour candidate in the by-election to replace David Cairns as MP for Inverclyde. (Herald page 6, Sun page 2)

 

Asylum seekers: 161,000 asylum seekers and their dependents have been granted an amnesty to stay in the UK by the UK Border Agency as part of a move to clear a backlog of up to 450,000 cases. (Times page 3, Express page 1, Mirror page 18, Guardian page 4, Telegraph page 2)

 

Economy

Interest rates: Experts are predicting that interest rates will remain at 0.5% until next year following new figures showing that the UK’s manufacturing sector fell to its lowest level for nearly two years and mortgage lending fell. (Times page 1)

 

Economic outlook: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman comments that the UK’s economic recovery is the slowest pickup after any recession dating back to 1830 when records began.

 

Justice

Supreme Court: UK Attorney-General and former justice minister Lord Wallace has warned Kenny MacAskill against taking on “the independence of the judiciary” following Kenny MacAskill’s threat to withdraw £500,000 funding for the UK’s Supreme Court. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 10, Iain Macwhirter in the Herald, Times page 15, Magnus Linklater in the Times, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Mail page 2, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, P&J page 11, Courier page 1)

 

Health

Care homes:  The Scottish Government is under pressure to help 4,000 elderly residents in 98 Southern Cross care homes in Scotland after the company, which operates across the UK, announced it is reducing its rent payments and cannot afford to meet its annual rental costs of £230million. (Scotsman page 3, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 4, Graham Ruddick in the Telegraph, Courier page 6)

 

Community health partnerships: Audit Scotland has criticised the management of community health services in Scotland, commenting that the Community Health Partnerships have largely failed to deliver improvements and has called for a fundamental review of the entire system. (Herald page 1, Express page 10, Telegraph page 2, P&J page 9, Courier page 11)

 

Local government

Housing: Housing charity Shelter has warned that the Scottish Government has provided funds to build just 1,550 social houses a year, well below the government’s 6,000 pledge. (Record page 2, P&J page 11)

 

Education

Rural schools: Argyll & Bute Council, which is proposing to close a number of rural primary schools, has hit back at the Scottish Government’s call for a moratorium on closures arguing that such a move needs to be backed up by increased funding. (Herald page 2, Sun page 2, Express page 10, Mail page 21, Telegraph page 8, P&J page 7, Courier page 8)

 

Attacks on teachers: Figures obtained by the P&J indicate that have been hundreds of assaults on teachers by pupils in the North East of Scotland over the past three years. Improvised weapons included scissors, chairs, shoes and keyboards. (P&J page 1)