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Reform Scotland News:6 October 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

 

Cameron’s speech:  The Prime Minister reportedly re-wrote parts of his key-note speech, which he gave to the Conservative Party conference yesterday.  He had been expected to call for individuals to try and pay off their credit cards but was warned that this could slow down high street sales further.  The Prime Minister also insisted that “better days” lay ahead. Commentators and observers have suggested that the speech was low-key with empty seats in the conference hall.  (Scotsman page 1, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Ian MacWirther in Herald, Scottish Daily Mail page 2, Press and Journal page 5, Courier page 1, Daily Mirror page 4, Financial Times page 1, Times page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 4, Record page 2, Guardian page 1, Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian, Larry Elliot in the Guardian, John Harris in the Guardian, Seumas Milne in the Guardian, Telegraph page 1, Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph, Graeme Archer in the Telegraph)

 

Tory spin doctor: Ramsay Jones, the Scottish Conservative Party’s head of media, has been suspended for the duration of the leadership contest to replace Annabel Goldie while allegations that he had been helping Ruth Davidson, one of the candidates, are investigated.  Party staff are reportedly supposed to remain neutral during leadership contests. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 6, Press and Journal page 5, Times page 1, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 1)

 

Church summit: Alex Salmond is due to hold talks with Bishop Philip Tartaglia tomorrow to try and improve relations between the Scottish Government and the Catholic Church following Bishop Tartaglia’s comments that there is growing disappointment amongst Catholics with the SNP. The meeting will concern the Scottish government’s proposed legalisation of gay marriages and anti-sectarian legislation. (Scotsman page 9, Michael Kelly in the Scotsman, Herald page 8, Courier page 6, Times page 3, Sun page 24)

 

Nil by Mouth, an anti-sectarianism organization, has said they want “less grandstanding and more understanding” on the issue from Alex Salmond and have refused to endorse the Offensive Behaviour at Football Bill. While Alex Salmond is said to be under pressure to match David Cameron’s public declaration backing gay marriage (Record page 1, Telegraph page 10)

 

Labour: The Labour Party in North Lanarkshire has deselected two sitting councillors. Party sources claim it is due to poor attendance records. (Herald page 7)

 

Economy

Home loans:  Leeds Building Society has reportedly launched a two-year fixed mortgage deal at 1.99 per cent.  The move reportedly suggests that cheaper home loans are becoming more available.  (Express page 1)

 

Retail sales: Tesco announced their worst UK sales in two decades yesterday while Mothercare and Supergroup issued profit warnings.  The announcements came as new economic data indicated that the second quarter of the year showed the biggest decrease in consumer demand since the recession with a 0.8% drop in household consumption. (Guardian page 4, Telegraph page 1)

 

BBC jobs: The BBC is expected to cut about 2,000 jobs as part of changes to save 20% of its budget. (Scotsman page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 9, Press and Journal page 12, Financial Times page 3, Sun page 4)

 

Fuel bills: According to a report by uSwitch.com more than a quarter of households are struggling to afford the cost of fuel.  The organisation has suggested that families are just £207 away from hitting the point where “consumers start rationing their usage as though they are living in the third world.” (Scotsman page 17)

 

The Scottish Government announced a £5m increase in the Energy Assistance Package to help people through the winter. (Herald page 7, Courier page 11)

 

Tesco tax: Ian Shearer, of the Scottish Retail Consortium, has advised Holyrood’s Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Committee that large supermarkets would need a sales boost of £1 billion to cover the planned tax, and warned about the potential for job losses. (Herald page 1)

 

Export rise: Scottish exports have risen with 1.1% in the three months to June, according to figures published by the Scottish Government. (Herald page 32, Press and Journal page 12)

 

Justice

Student lawyers:  The Scottish Government is reportedly considering using law students to provide free advice to members of the public on “no win, no fee services” in compensation cases. The proposals are part of a consultation coming out of the Making Justice Work programme. (Scotsman page 1, Oliver Adair in the Scotsman, Herald page 9, Scottish Daily Mail page 19)

 

Lockerbie bomber: William Hague has accused the former Labour government of “conniving” in the release of the Lockerbie bomber.  His comments came on the back of a report by Sir Gus O’Donnell which concluded that the Labour government did “all it could” to help facilitate the release. (Scotsman page 6)

 

Domestic abuse: Domestic abuse against men has risen by 10% over the past year according to figures from Abused Men in Scotland. (Scotsman page 20, Herald page 5)

 

Education

4-year degrees: The education secretary, Michael Russell, has indicated he is “flexible” about the future of four-year degrees in Scotland and felt that students should be able to choose a three-year degree if the wished. (Scotsman page 10, David Coats in the Scotsman)

 

Universities: Five Scottish institutions have made the top 200 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011/12, with Edinburgh University at 36th place. (Herald page 2, Times page 11)

 

Local Government

COSLA: Liberal Democrat Aberdeen City councillor Neil Fletcher is expected to urge the local authority to considering pulling out of COSLA, the umbrella organisation for local authorities in Scotland, as part of a cost-benefit appraisal of the authority’s membership. (Scotsman page 2)

 

Transport

A9: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman argues that it is vital to dual the entire A9 to help the highland economy.

 

Health 

Ambulance crews: An interim deal has been reached which should see an end to the dispute over ambulance crews responding to 999 calls during their breaks.  The deal will see each ambulance crew person receiving £100 for responding to a life-threatening call whilst on a break. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 14, Express page 9)

 

NHS post code lottery: A pensioner, Joyce Juszczak, denied medication for a rare lethal condition is going to the Scottish Parliament to hear Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil question the Health Secretary about her case. If she had lived in England she would have received the treatment. (Herald page 1, Daily Mail page 24)