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Reform Scotland News: 26 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
Better together: Former Chancellor Alistair Darling launched the ‘no’ campaign yesterday which is officially called “Better together: A stronger Scotland, a United Kingdom”.  Mr Darling described the referendum campaign as the “most important political campaign of my life”.  He was joined at the launch by Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson and Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie. However, Alex Salmond accused Mr Darling of making a “threadbare case” against independence. (Scotsman page 1, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Peter Jones in the Scotsman, Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, John Curtice in the Herald, Times page 4, Mike Wade in the Times, David Torrance in the Times, Record page 4, Joan McAlpine in the Record, Sun page 8, Mail page 4, Courier page 1, P&J page 12, Express page 4, Kerry Gill in the Express, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, FT page 3)

More powers: A group known as the “Red paper collective”, containing senior trade union and Scottish Labour figures is expected to be launched later today. The group wants a major transfer of powers to the Scottish Parliament to “attack inequality and poverty and redistribute wealth”. (Scotsman page 7)

Welfare: In a speech yesterday reportedly setting out what a future Conservative only government would consider, David Cameron outlined some policies to tackle welfare dependency including limiting the welfare paid to families with three or more children, taking council homes away from high earners and ending housing benefit for under 25s.  It was also revealed that proposals under consideration included allowing benefit claimants to receive different levels of benefits depending on where they lived, though this idea was dropped from the speech. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 4, Times page 17, Hugo Rifkind in the Times, Record page 2, Guardian page 1, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, Mail page 8, Courier page 16, P&J page 17, Dame Anne Begg in the P&J, Express page 15, Telegraph page 12, Philip Johnston in the Telegraph, FT page 2)

Scottish affairs committee: David Maddox in the Scotsman comments on the SNP’s continued decision to maintain no representation on the House of Commons Scottish affairs select committee.

Economy
RBS IT problems: The Financial Services Authority is reportedly demanding answers from RBS over why a technical glitch left millions of customers unable to access their money or pay bills.  However, the FSA has refused to comment on whether the bank is under a formal investigation following the incident. It is thought the problems could cost RBS hundreds of millions in compensation.  (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 2, Sun page 4, Guardian page 4, Mail page 12, Courier page 2, P&J page 15, Telegraph page 1)

Rangers: The Crown Office has instructed Strathclyde Police to investigate the May 2011 deal which saw an 85 per cent share holding in Rangers transfer between Sir David Murray to Craig Whyte for £1.  ‘Newco’ Rangers is now unlikely to be able to play in the SPL next season as at least six clubs have indicated they are against automatic readmission for the club. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Record page 1, Sun page 1, Mail page 1, Courier page 9, Express page 1, Telegraph page 1)

Power stations: Graham van’t Hoff, the chairman of Shell UK has commented that the UK government should focus on cleaning up fossil-fuel power stations instead of subsiding offshore wind farms to meet emissions targets. (Scotsman page 1)

Turbine firm: Spanish firm, Gamesa, which was given £1.5m of public money to locate in Scotland less than a year ago and promised to create 180 jobs, has made some staff redundant. (Herald page 7)

Broadband: The Scottish Government yesterday announced a £120m investment to help bring superfast broadband to the Highlands and Islands. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 4)

Economic growth: John McLaren in the Scotsman considers by how much we can actually expect the economy to grow by in the future, and how we can achieve this.

Youth unemployment: Angela Constance in the Scotsman comments on the need for the public, private and voluntary sectors to all work together to help tackle youth unemployment.

Education
PE target: 84 per cent of primary schools and 92 per cent of secondary schools in Scotland met national standards of providing two hours of PE a week according to official statistics. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 11, Sun page 2, Courier page 9, P&J page 20)

Justice
Female offenders: The Scottish government has backed wide-ranging reforms aimed at addressing female offending proposed by former Lord Advocate, Dame Elish Angiolini, including demolishing Scotland’s only female-only prison, Cornton Vale.  (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 11, Times page 14, Record page 13, Courier page 10, Express page 10)

Previous convictions: Hugh McLachlan in the Scotsman argues against informing juries of a defender’s previous convictions.

Transport
Princes Street: Princes Street in Edinburgh is expected to open again to traffic on Saturday for the first time in 10 months. (Herald page 7)

Fuel costs: Labour  at Westminster is urging Tory rebels to help them overturn a planned 3p rise in the cost of fuel planned for August 1st. (Sun page 2, Ed Balls in the Sun, P&J page 18)

A9: The Scottish Government has reportedly agreed to bring forward by two years work to dual the A9 between Inverness and Perth. (Courier page 1)

Health
Industrial action: The chairman of the BMA, Hamish Meldrum, has warned that doctors risked alienating themselves from patients the longer their dispute over pensions went on. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 7, Guardian page 5)