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Reform Scotland News: 20 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
Falklands: David Cameron yesterday reportedly refused to accept a package marked “UN – Malvinas” handed to him by Argentina’s president Christina Fernandez de Kirchner whilst telling her to respect the decision of the islanders in their referendum. The incident occurred at the G20 summit. (Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 1, Sun page 2, Record page 6, FT page 3, Guardian page 4, Mail page 16)

Economic uncertainty: Professor John Kay has warned that Scotland could face five years of economic uncertainty following a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum due to negotiations with the UK and EU over its new status. (Scotsman page 1, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Times page 9)

Opinion poll: Labour has welcomed the results of an Ipsos MORI poll, which showed that support for a yes vote has slipped by four points in recent months. Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said voters ‘see through the absurdities of Alex Salmond’s case for separation’. (Herald page 6, Record page 8, Express page 8)

Presbyterians & Independence: The Free Presbyterian Church has entered the independence debate in favour of the Union, declaring that it is ‘sacred’. A spokesman for the Church has argued that the constitution of a new, independent Scotland would be secular. (Herald page 8, Times page 15, P&J page 11, Mail page 17)

Trident: The Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has said that Britain’s nuclear submarines would be “more than welcome” in Wales if they left Scotland. (Herald page 6, Ian Bell in the Scotsman discusses defence spending, Telegraph page 2)

Youth Olympics: Glasgow has launched its bid to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. (Herald page 8, Record page 14)

Economy
K2 tax avoidance: Thousands of wealthy people and celebrities in Britain have allegedly paid as little as 1% income tax by using ‘below the radar’ accounting methods. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has confirmed that the K2 scheme is being investigated. (Herald page 6, Times page 1, David Aaronovitch in the Times, Telegraph page 13, Sun page 6, Record page 11, Guardian page 8, Mail page 8)

Marine energy: During his speech to the Commonwealth Club of California last night, Alex Salmond said that Scotland would become the “Silicon Valley” of marine energy. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 1, P&J page 17)

Independence & Sterling: Alistair Darling said yesterday that it was “surreal” that Alex Salmond could claim the remainder of the UK would share control over the pound without checking with Westminster first. The former Labour chancellor stated that an independent Scotland would be more like “serfdom than freedom” if its monetary policy was set by a different country. (Telegraph page 1, Express page 4)

Independence & business: David Watt, executive director of the Institute of Directors, has argued that companies will continue to invest and prosper in Scotland whether it becomes independent or not. (P&J page 1, Courier page 13)

Eurozone: George Osborne said yesterday that leaders in the Eurozone were “inching” towards wide-ranging plans to address the problems facing the single currency. A £600 billion deal to bail out Spain and Italy is reportedly on the verge of being announced. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 2, Telegraph page 1, Express page 2, FT page 1, Guardian page 1, P&J page 20, Courier page 22, Mail page 12)

Water: The UK government has reportedly indicated that it is willing to discuss plans to sell Scotland’s water to drought-hit areas of south-east England following an offer from the Scottish government. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 6)

Wind farm subsidies: Ministers are expecting a reduction in subsidies for wind energy to be outlined in the Westminster Energy Bill, which is to be published in a few weeks’ time. (Telegraph page 2)

Unemployment: A new report by ProjectScotland has shown that the proportion of unemployed 25 to 29-year-olds has nearly doubled between 2008 and 2011. The report has called on the Scottish Government to improve support for this “stalled generation”. (Herald page 1)

House Prices: A study of the Scottish housing market has revealed an east-west divide has opened up. The data from LSL/Acad Scotland shows house values in Edinburgh, Aberdeenshire, Midlothian and Dundee are up to 16% higher than they were five years ago, whereas areas such as Glasgow, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire and Inverclyde are as much as 13.7% down. (Herald page 5)

Regional pay: Labour will argue that Scottish independence risks a “race to the bottom” on pay. (Herald page 9)

Conservatives & cuts: Sean Worth, a former senior adviser on public sector reform, has said that David Cameron’s Conservatives are in danger of becoming permanently associated with cuts to public sector spending. (Guardian page 15)

Justice
Prostitution: Holyrood’s justice committee has voted that a 12-week consultation period on Labour MSP Rhoda Grant’s proposals to criminalise paying for sex must go ahead, meaning the proposed member’s bill could not be fast-tracked. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 6, Record page 2, Express page 8, Courier page 16)

Prison inquiry: Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has called for an inquiry following claims that two members of a prison visiting committee were wrongly suspended for raising concerns about inmates’ treatment. (Herald page 8)

Education
Cuts protest: A protest against funding cuts is being staged outside the Scottish Parliament today. Lecturers, students and other supporters aim to send a message to MSPs and the Scottish Government that the impact on jobs and course choices is unacceptable. (P&J page 14)

Local Government
Equal pay: South Lanarkshire council faces a bill for millions of pounds after low-paid women workers won a victory in a long-running battle over equal pay. The 2,400 female claimants now stand to gain tens of thousands of pounds in back-dated pay. (Herald page 7, Times page 11, Record page 24)

Dalai Lama visit: Dundee council was accused of bowing to pressure from Beijing after withdrawing an invitation to the Dalai Lama to speak in the city. (Times page 1, Courier page 1)

Transport
WiFi: WiFi is to be piloted on the Edinburgh to Glasgow train line for three months, during which time it will be free.  However, transport minister Keith Brown has admitted that that just four trains have been fitted with the equipment and it may not work through tunnels. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 9, Courier page 2)

Health
Right-to-die: Coverage of locked-in syndrome victim Tony Nicklinson’s High Court battle to allow a doctor to be able to legally end his life without fear of prosecution. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 5, Telegraph page 11, Ann Widdecombe in the Express, Guardian page 10)

Care for the elderly: Peter MacLeod in the Scotsman comments that reforms to health and social care in Scotland should focus on giving people support to live the way they want to live.

BMA strike: BMA Chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum has said that patient safety is their priority and that the strike is being undertaken with “extreme reluctance”. Lord Hutton of Furness, who published a government-commissioned review of public sector pensions in 2010, has said, “There is no justification for industrial action”. (Herald page 5, FT page 2, Courier page 14, Mail page 1, David Davidson in the Scotsman)

Welfare reforms: Illness could increase as a result of the UK Government’s welfare reforms. NHS Highland has predicted an increase in adults and children requiring inpatient care and a significant rise in the number of people visiting GPs or contacting NHS 24. (Herald page 7, Guardian page 4)

Cancer funding: Hospitals are set to lose millions of pounds in government funding for cancer experts under NHS reforms. (Telegraph page 2)