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Reform Scotland News: 22 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

 

Education

Commission on School Reform report: An interim report by the Commission on School Reform, which is chaired by Keir Bloomer and was set up by Reform Scotland and the Centre for Scottish Public Policy has concluded that Scottish schools are no longer world-leading, and are failing some students from poorer areas. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 9, Telegraph page 10, Express page 4, Sun page 2, Mail page 6, comment in the Mail page 14, Courier page 2, comment in the Courier page 28)

 

Keir Bloomer comments on the Commission’s interim findings in The Scotsman.

 

Politics

Dalai Lama visit: Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP face criticism after the Deputy First Minister said the Dalai Lama was on a “pastoral visit” and therefore an official meeting was not planned. Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie called on the SNP to send a “loud and clear message” to China about their human rights record, with some accusations that the SNP is trying to pander to the Chinese government. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 6, Record page 2, Times page 11, Sun page 4, Mail page 18)

 

Immigration plans: Ed Miliband will announce Labour’s new approach to immigration today, which will apparently include new measures to prevent British workers from being “locked out.” The plans have already been met with criticism, as one anonymous ‘insider’ accuses Mr Miliband of failing to have a credible plan. (Herald page 1, Guardian page 1)

 

Trams ‘payout’: An investigation is being launched into the £700,000 payout to seven former directors of the Edinburgh trams project. The payments were apparently made without the knowledge or approval of the city council. (Scotsman page 25)

 

Independence: Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has accused the SNP of making “airy and meaningless assertions” about the case for independence. (Record page 2, Lorraine Davidson comments in The Times)

 

Army units: Some officers in English regiments are reportedly resentful that they are facing cuts while less well recruited Scottish ones are being saved. (Herald page 6)

 

Economy

Credit downgrade: Ratings agency Moody’s downgraded the credit ratings of certain UK banks including RBS, Barclays and HSBC. The move may affect the cost of borrowing for consumers, including mortgages for individual borrowers. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 4, Telegraph page 1)

 

Interest rate swap agreements: MPs are urging businesses that may have been mis-sold interest rate swap agreements (IRSAs) to contact the Financial Services Authority. The ‘scandal’ is reportedly set to become the commercial world’s equivalent to the payment protection insurance debacle. (Herald page 2)

 

RBS technical failure: Some RBS customers’ bank accounts were among the 100,000 accounts affected by a technical failure that affected certain transactions yesterday. (Scotsman page 1, Sun page 6, Guardian page 5, Mail page 7)

 

Rangers: Further coverage of Rangers Football Club, as an £11 million bid for the club has reportedly been withdrawn. (Herald page 1)

 

Local Government

Data loss: Glasgow City Council is facing a six-figure fine after a laptop without the recommended encryption was stolen, with the loss of data including tens of thousands of names, addresses and bank account details. (Herald page 7)

 

Transport

Trains plan: A £5 billion plan for the Scottish rail network includes new targets for timeliness, fare cuts to fill seats, a 15 year contract with ScotRail, system-wide Wi-Fi and smart ticketing before 2014. The plans were criticised by some for “lack of ambition.” (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 5, Telegraph page 16, Express page 8, Times page 20, Sun page 2, Mail page 8)

 

Health

Doctors’ strike: The strike action by the British Medical Association affected six in ten GP surgeries in Scotland, and 3,650 procedures were reportedly cancelled. Proportionally more Scottish doctors took part than any other part of the UK. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 3, Telegraph page 4, Express page 2, Record page 2, Guardian page 13, Mail page 1, P&J page 12)