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Reform Scotland News: 28 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

The Queen & Martin McGuiness: Yesterday the Queen shook hands with the former IRA commander and current Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuiness.  The event occured almost 33 years after her cousin, Earl Mountbatten, was murdered by the IRA. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, FT page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Express page 1, Sun page 1, Record page 10, P&J page 18, Courier page 1)    

Independence: Alex Salmond said yesterday the SNP’s fundamental argument for independence was not an economic one when he spoke at the TEDGlobal2012 conference in Edinburgh. He argued that although there was a strong economic case for independence, splitting from the rest of the UK was about Scots governing themselves. (Scotsman page 10)

Michael Fry in the Scotsman comments on the need for fewer slogans and more substance in the debate over Scotland’s future, hoping both sides will “clean up their act a bit”. 

Yes campaign: The Yes Scotland has announced that Blair Jenkins is to be its chief executive and former Labour politician Dennis Canavan will chair its advisory board. (Times page 5, Telegraph page 12, Express page 2, Guardian page 6)

Economy

Barclay’s: Barclay’s bank has been fined £290 million after “serious and widespread” misconduct in trying to rig the rates at which banks lend to each other. Bob Diamond, the bank’s chief executive, has apologised but will be summoned by the Treasury committee to explain what happened. Officials are investigating whether other banks deliberately tried to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) by submitting inaccurate data. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, FT page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Mail page 1, Guardian page 1, Courier page 16)

Economic stimulus: A £105 million package of measures to boost the Scottish economy has been unveiled by finance secretary John Swinney. The Scottish Government said each other the capital projects would be taken forward quickly to “deliver maximum economic impact”. The list includes £22million for renewables and low carbon initiatives, as well as £35 million for housing. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 9, Telegraph page 14, Mail page 2)

Welfare reform: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman comments on the timing and subject of David Cameron’s speech on radical welfare reform.

Recession: Iain MacWhirter in the Herald comments on the Treasury Select Committee’s announcement that the recession is only half-way through.

Skills shortage: The booming north-east-based subsea industry is poised to offer jobs to up to 100,000 workers over the next year. However sector bosses feel a skills shortage will mean they struggle to fill the posts- despite the UK being in the midst of a double-dip recession. (P&J page 1)

Education

Foreign students: The UK higher education minister is urging universities not to sacrifice standards in the recruitment of foreign students as six more top universities became embroiled in the enrolment scandal including Edinburgh University. (Telegraph page 1)

David Willetts in the Telegraph comments on how universities must learn from this investigation and stop political meddling.

Transport

Flights axed: British Airways has reportedly dropped two-thirds of the daily flights operated by BMI between Heathrow and Scotland following the recent takeover. (Herald page 8)

Health

Doctors strike: The chair of the British Medical Association, Dr Brian Keighley,  has accused the SNP of double standards, saying that despite opposing the pension reforms from Westminster, it has the  power to top up doctor’s pensions through the block grant from Westminster but has failed to do so. (Scotsman page 1)

Ban of gender terminations rejected: Banning abortions on the grounds of gender would drive more women to have “back street operations”, doctors have warned and as a result they have refused the back a motion to make it illegal. (Scotsman page 8, Telegraph page 14)

Children’s ward closure: A hospital has said it will not admit patients to its children’s ward for three weeks during the summer because of a staff shortage. St John’s Hospital in Livingston will still assess patients on weekdays but will have to transfer children to Edinburgh if they need to be admitted. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 1, Times page 4, Mail page 27)

Waiting lists: Thousands of NHS patients at Scotland’s second-largest health board will be treated at private hospitals across the country in a bid to clear massive waiting lists. NHS Lothian will reportedly pass on patient’s medical records and personal details to private hospitals who will call patients directly. (Herald page 2)

Justice

Police and fire services merger: Scotland will have a single national police force and a single fire and rescue service after MSP’s voted in favour of merging the current regional organisations at the Scottish Parliament yesterday. (Herald page 3, Mail page 2, P&J page 1, Courier page 18)  

Local Government

Edinburgh council: Fifteen people, including four former employees, have been charged in connection with alleged fraud at the City of Edinburgh council. Seven people have been dismissed and about twelve are understood to currently be suspended by the council in relation to money laundering and corruption. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 1, Record page 4, Mail page 25)