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Reform Scotland News: 26 July 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

Norway: There is further coverage on the tragedy that took place in Norway last week. Norwegian police are investigating claims that killer Anders Behring Breivik had two more cells working with him. Mr Breivik made the chilling claim during his first court appearance following one of the worst mass killings in modern peacetime. A judge has ordered him to be held in isolation for at least four weeks. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Guardian page 1, FT page 6, Courier page 1, Daily Mail page 1, Daily Express page 1, Daily Mirror page 8, Daily Record page 1, Sun page 1)

 

Single police force:  Councils have launched a campaign against a single police force, warning the Scottish Government’s plans amount to “little more then a centralising power grab”. They argue the proposed merger will cost £230 million, the equivalent of 7,600 officers. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) is urging people to write to justice secretary Kenny MacAskill and First Minister Alex Salmond voicing their opposition.
It also plans to hold a conference to build momentum as the campaign, “Six weeks to save genuinely local Scottish policing” moves towards Mr MacAskill’s decision, expected in September. (Scotsman
page 7)

 

RAF Kinloss: Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has praised a new initiative designed to help find new jobs for Moray workers who have lost their employment as a result of the closure of RAF Kinloss as a frontline air base. Mr Alexander, who is MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, yesterday visited the former air base for the first time since an announcement on the government’s Strategic Defence Review confirmed that Kinloss will be turned into an army base, with the first units expected to move to Kinloss by about 2014-15. During his visit Mr Alexander met members of the Kinloss Skills Partnership which aims to promote and develop the community around the base as a source of skilled manpower to support the changing business environment in the north-east of Scotland as a whole. (Scotsman page 19, Courier page 1)

 

Hacking inquiry: The Crown Office investigation into allegations of phone hacking and data protection breaches in Scotland was stepped up only after Alex Salmond intervened, it has been reported. Although the investigation was initially described as ‘preliminary’, 40 police officers are now working full-time on the case. It has now emerged that the investigation was stepped up after Mr Salmond discussed the case with Frank Mulholland QC, the Lord Advocate. (Times page 5)

 

Air passenger duty: The UK government was reported last night of being at odds over whether air passenger duty will be devolved to Scotland. Devolution of air passenger duty was recommended by the Calman Commission on Scottish devolution, which formed the basis of the Scotland Bill currently going through Westminster. (Press and Journal page 9, Courier page 8, Daily Express page 10)

 

Economy

Single currency: A leading Scottish economist has called on the SNP to abandon its plans to join the euro in the wake if the euro zone crisis. Brian Ashcroft, of the Fraser Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde, said that the Scottish Government should pledge to retain the sterling amid the uncertainty over the single currency. (Times page 14)

 

Local Government

Deputy Lord Provost: The Deputy Lord Provost of Glasgow City Council is in a coma after suffering a massive heart attack while he was exercising. Allan Stewart, 66, was running with two fellow councillors at the Crownpoint Sports complex in the east end of the city on Friday when he suffered a cardiac arrest. The Labour councillor for Springburn, who is one of the longest serving members of the authority, is in the intensive care unit of the Golden Jubilee hospital in Clydebank where his condition was described last night as “stable”. (Herald page 6)

 

Justice

Dundee United striker: A professional footballer accused of a serious sexual assault against a young woman has had the charge dropped. Police charged Dundee United striker David Goodwillie in light of a complaint made by a 24-year-old woman over an alleged incident in Armadale, West Lothian, on 2 January. The Crown Office said yesterday “insufficient evidence” meant the case has been closed. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Daily Express page 10, Daily Record page 1, Sun page 9)

 

Education

Student visas: Universities will be “adversely and unduly” affected by planned changes to the student visa system, according to a Westminster committee. The UK government plans to reduce immigration by restricting visas for foreign students. The cross-party Scottish affairs committee launched an inquiry into whether the measures would deter “genuine, high-calibre” students from applying to study in Scotland, which would damage higher education and the wider economy. A report based on the inquiry’s findings was published yesterday. It said Scottish circumstances were not adequately taken into account when proposals that will apply across the UK were drawn up. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 10, Telegraph page 1)

 

Health

Emergency calls: Unions have been accused of putting lives at risk by rejecting a deal for extra payments to ambulance crews responding to emergency calls during their meal breaks. Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon led demands last night for a speedy resolution to the life-threatening dispute and crisis talks are to be held in Edinburgh on Friday in a bid to break the deadlock. Ambulance staff who are members of the GMB union yesterday joined colleagues in the Unite and Unison trade unions who have already rejected a management offer of an extra payment if they are called out to an emergency. (Scotsman page 1)