Reform Scotland News: 22 September 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

Spending review: Yesterday finance secretary John Swinney set out the Scottish Government’s spending review.  Key proposals included a new levy on retailers that sell alcohol and tobacco; public sector pay freeze for those earning over £21,000 is extended to 2012-13; university spending will increase by £140m over three years though college spending will decrease by £74m; the NHS budget is protected but will fall in real terms.  The Government also prioritised spending on infrastructure and announced a £9bn of investment over the next three years.  However, unions are considering strike action over pay freezes and local government leaders have criticised the seven per cent real terms cut in their allocation over the next three years.  (Scotsman page 1, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, David Bell in the Scotsman, Brian Ashcroft in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Alison Campsie in the Herald, Jim & Margaret Cuthbert in the Herald, Andrew Denholm in the Herald, Iain Macwhirter in the Herald, Record page 1, Mail page 1, Hamish Macdonell in the Mail, Times page 1, Peter Jones in the Times, Guardian page 15, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, The Sun page 2, Daily Express page 1, Daily Mirror page 6, The courier page 1, the Press and Journal page 1)

 

Lib Dem conference: In his speech to the Lib Dem conference yesterday Nick Clegg warned that the UK’s record borrowing figures means that there is a “long, hard road ahead.”  Lib Dem spokesmen were reportedly playing down rumours that the Lib Dems were pushing for a £5billion stimulus package. Nick Clegg also said that the party was steering the government on a ‘liberal path’ and pledged to block any attempts to axe the Human Rights Act. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Michael Settle in the Herald, Record page 2, Mail page 12, Times page 14, Matthew Parris in the Times, Guardian page 6, Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian, FT page 2, Telegraph page 12, The Sun page 4, Daily Express page 15, Daily Mirror page 9, The Press and Journal page 6)

 

Trade & Growth: Scottish Secretary Michael Moore yesterday announced a new board for trade and growth to help address Scotland’s faltering economy.  The board is expected to address key issues for Scottish businesses. (Scotsman page 13, Telegraph page 6)

 

Tony Blair: In an introduction to Philip Gould’s new book, Tony Blair has warned that Labour cannot return to power until it returns to new Labour values and takes the centre ground.  He believes that the party lost power because the party lost touch with the public. (Times page 8)

 

Private email accounts: Michael Gove is in the middle of a row over his use of personal email accounts to conduct government business.  Along with advisers he has reportedly used private email accounts which civil servants have been unable to retrieve when asked for information under Freedom of Information. (Telegraph page 2)

 

Economy

Corporation tax: Gavin McCrone in the Scotsman comments that while reducing corporation tax in Scotland could encourage growth, it could also encourage further resentment from south of the border.

 

Tax avoidance: Tax avoidance and evasion reportedly cost the UK £35bn in 2009/10 according to HMRC. (Herald page 6, Guardian page 4)

 

Quantitative easing: Minutes from the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee suggest the Bank is moving closer to deciding to increase the UK’s monetary supply in an effort to help the economy.  A survey of economists carried out by Reuters suggests that they expect that MPC may initially boost the money supply by £50bn by November. (Herald page 36, FT page 1)

 

IMF: The UK’s growth forecast by the IMF was cut from 1.5 to 1.1%. (Daily Express page 2, The Press and Journal page 7)

 

Fuel bills: The watchdog Ofgem has warned the cost of gas and electricity will rise by 15% this year. (The Sun page 26, Daily Mirror page 4)

 

Highland toffee: Millar McCowan, the makers of Highland toffee, which has factories at Broxburn and Stenhousemuir has gone into administration. (Guardian page 27)

 

Private Finance Initiatives: PFI deals signed by the previous Scottish Labour/ Lib Dem administration, involving paying an annual fee to take on the construction and management of schools and hospitals, are reportedly binding taxpayers into paying land leases to firms for up to 130 years. (Daily Express page 10)

 

 

Health

Waiting to see a GP: According to survey carried out by Aviva UK Health, 35 per cent of patients in Scotland have to wait at least seven days to get an appointment to see their GP.  Scotland was the lowest area of the UK when it came to being seen by a GP within 48 hours. (Scotsman page 17, Mail page 1)

 

Smoking on screen: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman calls for smoking in films to be banned.

 

Cold foot in hospital: Patients at Wishaw General Hospital were reportedly served ‘tepid’ meals after staff were banned from using oven gloves to serve meals to patients due to a mistaken belief that the gloves would spread infection. (Record page 1, Mail page 9)

 

Education

Primary seven: Every child leaving primary school in Scotland is to have their key achievements documented in a ‘P7 Profile’ as part of an expansion of the new Curriculum for Excellence. (Scotsman page 10)

 

Justice

Public audit committee: In evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s public audit committee, Scotland’s Auditor General, Robert Black, highlighted a failure to drive down re-offending as a reason for inefficiencies within the justice system. (Scotsman page 2)