Reform Scotland News: 11 April 2012

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

Terror suspects: The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that extraditing five suspected terrorists, including cleric Abu Hamza, to the US will not breach their human rights. Home Secretary Theresa May as said that as a result they will be “handed over to the US authorities as quickly as possible”. (Scotsman page 8, Niall McCluskey in the Scotsman, Sun page 1, Record page 6, Herald page 5, Times page 9, P&J page 12, Courier page 20, Guardian page 4, Richard Norton-Taylor in the Guardian page 28, Telegraph page 13, Mail page 8, Mirror page 4, Express page 4)

Pandas advert: A Scottish government advert which described the two pandas at Edinburgh Zoo as a “gift” from China has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for misleading the public because the zoo is paying £600,000 a year for the animals. (Scotsman page 1, Times page 12, Courier page 14, Telegraph page 5, Mail page 11, Express page 7)

Centralisation: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman accuses the SNP of centralising power in Edinburgh.

Immigration: San Jose reverend, Ben Daniel, in the Scotsman comments that Scotland needs a more enlightened attitude towards immigrants.

Border Agency: A House of Commons report published today says the UK Border Agency has failed to track and remove illegal immigrants from Britain. Concerns have been voiced over the 2,760 foreign nationals that were released from jails more than two years ago and are still awaiting deportation. (Herald page 11, Times page 3, Telegraph page 13, Financial Times page 2)

UK Conservative party: Allan Massie in the Scotsman comments on the state of David Cameron’s party. Tim Montgomerie also addresses this topic in the Times (page 21)

Wind farm protest: Donald Trump will apparently join a mass demonstration against wind farms outside the Scottish Parliament in two weeks time. (Times page 12)

Coalition spat over secret trials and email monitoring: David Cameron and Nick Clegg have been involved in a series of exchanges concerning the Deputy Prime Minister’s involvement in the controversial proposals to extend government surveillance. Clegg has reportedly denied Cameron’s claims that he had signed up to the plans. (Guardian page 8, Times page 16, Telegraph page 4)

Publication of tax returns: David Cameron has agreed to publish details of his taxes in an effort to increase financial transparency. (Times page 1, Guardian page 8, Telegraph page 1)

Salmond under pressure to disown Duff: Labour MP Frank Roy wrote to the First Minister yesterday asking for confirmation that he will not support Lyall Duff’s election campaign and encourage others to do the same. Mr Duff described two Catholic midwives as “money grabbing old witches.” (Telegraph page 7)

Sewers ‘blunder’: SNP MSP Joan McAlpine, who is also Alex Salmond’s parliamentary liaison officer, yesterday reportedly demanded to know why Scotland had been “cheated” out of £400m Barnett consequential funding due to the £4.1bn upgrade of London’s sewers system. However, it was pointed out that Scotland was not eligible for any money as the London project was being funded privately. As a result of the gaffe Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie called on the First Minister to call time on “these bizarre rants”. (Mail page 12)

Economy

Tax breaks: John Swinney has announced that firms in four enterprise sectors for green energy, manufacturing and life science will be able to claim business rate discounts worth up to £275,000 per business in an attempt to boost the economy. (Sun page 2, Herald page 6)

Caps on charity tax relief: George Osborne’s plans to cap relief on charitable donations have been criticised by charities that fear their funding is under threat. Osborne pledged to crack down on aggressive tax avoidance and announced last month that he would cap tax relief on charitable donations to prevent abuse of the system. Scottish billionaire Sir Tom Hunter has described the proposals as “ill-thought-out and punitive”. (Herald page 1, Courier page 20, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 4)

University graduates employment survey: The survey by Citizens Advice Scotland, which asks Scottish university graduates about their employment, has pulled in over 500 responses within just eight hours of going live. (Herald page 5)

Total’s Elgin platform: A leading credit scoring agency, Fitch Ratings, claimed the Elgin gas leak could cost oil firms £8.2 billion. A report published yesterday said it is likely that the Commission will implement stricter licensing and safety requirements on oil and gas companies. The oil industry warns this could have a huge impact on jobs. Philippe Guys, Total’s UK Managing Director, told the Press & Journal that the gas leak could be stopped by the end of the month. (Herald page 2, The Press & Journal page 5, Courier page 17)

Highland affordable homes crisis: At least 10,000 new houses are needed in Inverness and across the north to head off a looming affordable homes crisis. Inverness has been identified as Scotland’s least affordable city. (Press & Journal page 6)

Energy companies to reveal ‘best deals’: Energy companies will write to customers every year informing them of the best deal for their household.  (Press & Journal page 16, Guardian page 9, Telegraph page 1, Financial Times page 2)

Local Government

Elections: Tom Peterkin in the Scotsman argues that Scottish local elections are in need of some charisma to capture the public’s interest.

Labour launches manifesto: In an effort to retain control of Glasgow City Council in the face of SNP campaigns, Labour have pledged to create 1000 jobs a year for young people, graduates and the over 50s. Their 100-point manifesto also includes improved childcare, help for carers and an Oyster card travel system. (Herald page 6, Times page 13)

Planning: David C Bell in the Scotsman comments that the Scottish planning system could learn from England with the latter’s introduction of a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

Justice

Sentencing on TV: TV cameras will be allowed to broadcast the sentencing of David Gilroy, who was found guilty last month of murdering Suzanne Pilley. This will be the first time this has happened after Lord President Lord Hamilton agreed to a request from broadcasters. (Scotsman page 1, Austin Lafferty in the Scotsman, Sun page 19, Record page 1, Times page 5, Press & Journal page 11, Telegraph page 2, Express page 14)

Lawyers back cap on legal costs: The Faculty of Advocates, made up of 700 of Scotland’s lawyers, has called for a cap on legal costs for those challenging issues in the public interest. (Herald page 7, 14)

Education

Curriculum for Excellence: A report by researchers at Stirling University’s school of education has found some Scottish schools were struggling under the weight of expectations of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) with overstretched teachers worried about the impact on pupils. The report says that many schools have not fully embraced the potential of CfE with some doing only the minimum required of them. Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson’s understanding of the education system has been questioned by the leader of the Educational Institute for Scotland. (Scotsman page 1, Ann Ballinger in the Scotsman, Record page 2, Herald page 1, Times page 3, Press & Journal page 13, Telegraph page 12)

Strathclyde University: Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman interviews Jim McDonald, principle at Strathclyde University who wants to improve the links between academia and industry.

Global energy experts are to study in Glasgow as part on an international degree programme launched today. The Master of Business Administration course is to be run jointly by Strathclyde University, Scottish Power and the Comillas Pontifical University ICAI in Madrid. (Herald page 1)

Health

Dementia: The Scottish government has announced that newly diagnosed dementia sufferers will receive a year of specialist care provided by a healthcare worker.  The package of support will reportedly treble the number of ‘dementia champions’ working in hospitals to 300 by 2013. (Scotsman page 10, Press & Journal page 11)

Disabled get substandard care: A poll commissioned by the General Medical Council has shown that most doctors believe patients with learning disabilities receive poorer care than the rest of the population. (Times page 15)