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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 15 August 2011

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 15 August 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

Scottish policing: The Scottish Justice Secretary has dismissed fears that Scottish police forces may routinely be deployed south. Officers from all eight Scottish forces were deployed during the riots in England. Les Gray, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, stated such deployments were suitable only for emergencies and could not be feasibly maintained at any level. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government is expected to announce next month that the country’s police forces be merged into a single force in an attempt to save money in the biggest justice shake-up for 35 years, despite fears it will lead to fewer officers and police being overstretched on the streets. (The Times page 6, The Scotsman page 1, Sunday Herald page 2, Press and Journal page 9, Courier page 1, Daily Mail page 10)

Lockerbie bombing: Alex Salmond is facing renewed criticism of the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds in 2009, after Libya’s newly recognised leaders condemned the move and stated it had been a ‘political victory’ for Colonel Gaddafi. Scottish public opinion also reveals desires for Abelbaset al-Megrahi to go back to prison. The Scottish Government last night, however, robustly stood by their decision to release Mr al-Megrahi in 2009 on compassionate grounds. (The Times page 10, The Herald page 7, The Scotsman page 13, The Telegraph page 6, Scotland on Sunday page 1, Sunday Times page 1, Daily Express page 9, Daily Mail page 5)

Economy

Corporation tax: The Scottish Government will this week set out the details of its argument for the devolution of corporation tax. The SNP wants control of the tax to be one of the powers devolved as part of the Scotland Bill. The Institute for Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) has warned that cutting corporation tax in order to boost the economy and bring in investment, as has been suggested by the SNP in their proposal, would have severe effects on the public budget. (The Times page 6, Sunday Herald page 25, Scotland on Sunday page 4) On the other hand, some business leaders have been keen to voice support for the move to increase investment (The Herald page 4).

Economic recovery: Scottish job and property markets continue their recovery from recession. There are warnings, however, that this recovery may be weakened as worry grows about growth in Europe and the US. (The Times page 6, The Herald page 25, The Scotsman page 37)

Oil leak: Oil was still escaping from the North Sea platform 112 miles east of Aberdeen. Shell, which operates the platform, admitted the leak was continuing but said the flow had been reduced. The quantity released thus far has not yet been revealed (The Times page 6). Some experts believe the Government is downplaying the issue and that the spill may be the ‘worst for more than a decade’. (The Scotsman page 1)

Education

New language targets: The Scottish Government has announced new plans to teach pupils at least two modern languages. A working group has been set up to find ways to meet the target amidst new figures that the number of pupils taking modern languages at Higher level dropped. (The Herald page 1)

Justice

Legal cuts: Trainee and temporary prosecutors across Scotland will face unemployment at the end of the year due to cuts in the budget. This has led to warnings that there may be fewer prosecutions and more delays in court cases as the workload of more experienced members of the courts increase (The Herald page 1).