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Reform Scotland News: 14 June 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

Leveson Inquiry: Alex Salmond gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry yesterday where he revealed that while his phone had not been hacked, the Observer had obtained details of his bank account prior to 1999. The First Minister also insisted that there was no “quid pro quo” over his backing for News Corp’s BSkyB bid.  (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 1&6, Iain MacWhirter in the Herald, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Sun page 1, Express page 5, Record page 8, Mail page 4, P&J page 12, Courier page 25)

Nick Clegg also gave evidence yesterday and referred to being at a dinner party with Rupert Murdoch and where he was put at the “very end of the table where the children sit”.  David Cameron is due to give evidence today. (Scotsman page 4, P&J page 12)

Jeremy Hunt: The House of Commons yesterday voted against Labour’s motion that the Culture Secretary should be subject to a parliament standards inquiry over his handling of the BSkyB bid. However, Labour MP Chris Bryant called Jeremy Hunt a “liar” and, although normally considered an un-parliamentary phrase, the Speaker allowed it to stand. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Times page 16, Telegraph page 1, Sun page 2, Express page 5, Mail page 6, Guardian page 1)

Faslane: Armed Forces minister Nick Harvey has suggested that the Faslane nuclear submarine base on the Clyde could remain under UK control following independence, commenting that the “costs of moving the base would be absolutely immense”.  However, the SNP dismissed the suggestion as the party reportedly wants the nuclear submarines removed and the base turned into a conventional naval base. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 8, Sun page 2, Mail page 34, P&J page 14)

Quangos: Audit Scotland has found that the merging of 12 smaller quangos into four larger ones may have cost £50m more than expected.  The study suggests that the £63m saved in the first five years could be dwarfed by implementation costs which could be up to £80m. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 12, Sun page 6, Mail page 19)

Referendum: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman comments that there are many unanswered questions about the tax & regulatory framework as well as sharing currency with the rest of the UK if Scotland becomes independent.  While Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments on the Yes campaign.

Social media: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman considers how much influence social media has over politics.

Economy

Lena Wilson: The chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, Lena Wilson, is to forgo any future public sector bonuses following her decision to accept £55,000 a year for working one day a month for a FTSE-100 company. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 4)

Wind subsidies: Niall Stuart, director of Scottish Renewables, has said that he has deep concerns over rumours that the UK government could cut subsidies for off shore wind farms by up to a quarter. (Scotsman page 18)

Renewable energy: The Scottish Government’s target of meeting all its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020 are likely to be missed by a decade according to Oil & Gas UK. The body’s energy policy manager said the target poses “considerable difficulties, especially with the time frame envisaged.” (Herald page 9, Express page 25)

Rangers: Further coverage of Rangers Football Club’s liquidation. (Herald page 1, Times page 9, Sun page 1)

Child poverty: Families will be told today that they should work at least 35 hours a week, rather than rely on state handouts, if they want to avoid their children living in poverty. This claim has arisen after announcements that the previous Labour government’s strategy to spend more than £150 billion in extra benefit payments for poor families had failed to stop child poverty. (Telegraph page 1

Retirement age: Britain’s economic crisis has reportedly almost doubled the number of pensioners forced to work in their retirement. As many as 1.4million people were working beyond 65 last year, up from around 800,000 in 2000, according to the Office of National Statistics. (Herald page 10, Express page 1)

Property market:  Figures from the Bank of Scotland and NatCen Social Research have indicated that two in five young people believe they will never own their own home. High lending costs and steep deposits mean an entire generation are now resigned to renting. (Express page 8, Mail page 1)

Local Government

Edinburgh council: After the senior director at Edinburgh council was suspended as part of an inquiry into its property repairs service, the council has stated that they plan to investigate the outstanding 513 disputes over statutory notices. (Telegraph page 2, Express page 10, Scotsman page 19)

Education

Standards in schools: Education Scotland has found many schools continue to be rated “weak” or “unsatisfactory” by inspectors despite raised expectations surrounding the introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence.  The report found that Scottish pupils continued to be “middle-ranking” when compared internationally. (Scotsman page 1, John Coggins in the Scotsman, Herald page 5, Mail page 1)

Health

Bowel disease: Researchers at Edinburgh University have found that the number of children diagnosed with bowel disease has increased by 75 per cent in just over a decade. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 9, Express page 11, Mail page 25, P&J page 24)