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Reform Scotland News 3 July 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

EU: David Cameron yesterday said that the “status quo” with regard to the UK’s relationship with the EU was unacceptable. However, he suggested that a referendum on membership should be held off until after a “fresh deal” for Britain in the EU was reached. Alex Salmond has accused Cameron of “double dealing” and hypocrisy in his refusal to define a potential question that would be proposed on the EU poll, whilst still threatening the obstruction of a Scottish referendum. (Scotsman page 12, David Maddox in the Scotsman, Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Times page 14, The Daily Telegraph page 5, P&J page 16, Sun page 2, Express page 2, FT page 3, Gideon Rachman in the FT, Guardian page 8, Courier page 21)

Prince Andrew: Buckingham Palace accounts have revealed that Prince Andrew built up a bill of £350,000 in 2011-12 on air travel. The amount of tax that the monarchy claims from UK citizens has risen overall by £200,000 this past year. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 3, Times page 4, The Daily Telegraph page 4, P&J page 11, Sun page8, Record page 1, Express page 5, FT page 2, Mail page 1, Courier page 17)

Personality: Michael Portillo has commented that the ‘Better Together’ campaign has no figure with a “personality the size” of Alex Salmond and would struggle to match the First Minister’s charisma. (Scotsman page 10)

Salmond wavering over Independence stance: Margaret Curran, shadow Scottish secretary, is expected to accuse Alex Salmond today of distancing himself Scottish Independence suggesting that this is due to a failure in investigating the consequences of an Independent Scotland, and a general lack of “homework” done on the issue. Labour reportedly believes that by championing the inclusion of a devo-max option on the referendum ballot paper, the First Minister is showing signs of doubt over full independence. (Herald, page 6)

Danny Alexander: Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, is expected to make a speech today where he will warn that an independent Scotland would have a large deficit, would be overly reliant on oil revenues and would see financial services companies flee to England. (Scotsman page 10, Sun page 2, Record page 2) 

Presiding Officer: David Clegg in the Courier interviews Holyrood’s Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick.

Economy

Banks inquiry: David Cameron yesterday announced that British banks would face a parliamentary inquiry into their professional standards. It has also emerged that Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband are to be called up to face an official enquiry. However, the Labour Party has argued that this does not go far enough, instead calling for a full independent investigation similar to the Leveson Inquiry.  The Serious Fraud Office has also confirmed it is looking into potential breaches of the Fraud Act. It has also emerged this morning that Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays, has resigned. (Scotsman page 1, Peter Jones in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, The Times page 6-7, Rachel Sylvester in The Times, David Davis in The Times, P&J page 17, Sun page 2, Record page 8, Express page 4, FT page 1, Gillian Tett in the FT, Guardian page 1, Mail page 1, Alex Brummer in the Mail, Courier page 18)

Tour de France: EventScotland is behind a bid for the opening stages of the Tour de France to begin in Edinburgh, targeting 2017. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 4)

Olympic money for Scotland: According to a study carried out by the Bank of Scotland, the Olympics could generate £774m boost for the Scottish economy through Scottish construction firms and their suppliers, with tourism expected to generate an additional £185m. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 7)

Education

University access plan for deprived students expanded: A number of major Scottish Universities including Edinburgh, Aberdeen and St Andrews have implemented a three-year initiative launched by the Scottish Funding Council to make courses more accessible to a wider range of students from diverging backgrounds. However, due to its limited availability, student bodies such as NUS Scotland have accused the scheme of “lacking ambition”. (Herald, page 5)

Record truancy in Scottish pupils: It has been documented that half of Scottish school children are missing lessons, with 337,041 pupils missing a half day or more, and 155,839 having been registered with an unauthorised absence. Tory spokeswoman Liz Smith has accused the SNP of “not doing enough to tackle the problem of truancy” (The Daily Telegraph page 1)

Quango: Scottish government quango, Education Scotland has reportedly spent £3.2m on ‘travel and development’ and outside ‘contractors’ were paid £5m. (Mail page 1)

Justice

Sex offender monitoring: The Scottish government has reportedly reduced funding for Intensive Support Packages for high risk sex offenders newly released from prison by 90 per cent over the past three years. (Scotsman page 1)Health

Old age: Tiffany Jenkins in the Scotsman considers the way the elderly are treated in our society.

MRSA cuts: NHS Western Isles reported a decline in MRSA cases from 64 to 24 in the last two years, thanks to the implementation of a risk assessment style screening project. (Herald, page 7)

Hospitalisation for mentally unstable prisoners: The Scottish Association for Mental Health People has claimed that tough prison conditions are not suited to the needs of severely mentally ill prisoners, instead hindering their recovery and exacerbating their illnesses. Due to the disproportionate number of mentally unstable prisoners and widespread problems at Barlinnie, Scotland’s biggest jail, inmates now have access to relaxation and yoga sessions, reducing the risks of self-harm and suicide. (The Herald, page 7)

Quango: National Procurement, an NHS quango in Scotland, has been criticised for spending almost £1m on top model cars. (Record page 4, Express page 10, Mail page 4)