Reform Scotland News: 14 September 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

Please not that there will be no media summary on Monday 17th September due to the public holiday.

Politics

Olympic parade: The Scottish government has urged people from all across the country to attend today’s parade and it is expected that up to 100,000 people will do so. The Glasgow route will be walked by 50 of the 82 Scots in the Olympics and Paralympics teams, including almost all 13 Olympic medal winners. Unfortunately, Andy Murray has been forced to bow out of today’s parade due to exhaustion, saying that he is an “emotional and physical wreck” after his gruelling US open final. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 7, Sun page 5, Daily Record page 7, P&J page 9)

SNP and Coalition in talks over referendum plans: Crucial discussions have taken place between Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore in order to work out a draft agreement on the rules of a referendum.  However, the key issue of the number of questions due to be on the ballot paper has yet to be decided. While the SNP reportedly support one question, they are waiting for the publication of a consultation document which will show the level of public support for a second question. (Scotsman page 6, Sun page 2, P&J page 13, Daily Mail page 4, Courier page 14)

SNP to reveal EU plans by next year: A detailed assessment of an Independent Scotland’s position in the European Union will be revealed by November 2013, as part of the government’s Independence white paper. Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie responded that “discussion and negotiations with EU members must begin now.  There is conflicting legal advice which is why we need clarity”. (Herald page 6, Daily Telegraph page 6, Alan Cochrane in the Daily Telegraph, The Times page 3, Angus MacLeod in The Times, Sun page 2, Daily Express page 2, P&J page 13, Daily Mail page 4, Courier page 15)

Millions of BT customers facing rise in phone bills: Around ten million BT customers are being told to expect a rise of up to 6% in telephone and broadband bills, a figure which is over twice the rate of inflation. (Scotsman page 18, P&J page 13)

Vulnerable children abandoned: A shocking report has shown that abused children are being neglected and forced to live in abusive homes, because the state cannot afford to look after them.  Problems were identified regarding newly qualified social workers who are often ill-equipped in dealing with children in care.  (Daily Record page 1)

Economy

Lloyds shareholders tell HBOS to name names: The shareholder group “Lloyds Action Now” are in talks to launch a £2 billion lawsuit against Lloyds TSB directors, urging them to make public those responsible for misleading investors over the takeover of HBOS. The move came after former head of HBOS Peter Cummins, was fined £500,000 over the banks collapse, and claimed that he was being used as a scapegoat when there were other senior people involved. (Scotsman page 15, George Kerevan in the Scotsman, Herald page 5)

Trevor Davies in The Scotsman calls on Britain to avoid the “economic insanity trap” by urging political leaders to take a different strategy in order to boost UK growth, which includes taxing unearned wealth and closing the gap between the rich and poor. 

Trade Unions demand BAE talks: A proposed £30 billion merger between BAE and European rival EADS has prompted Trade Unions at BAE systems to demand talks with bosses over its possible consequences. Alistair Darling has also commented that the taxpayer will lose out if the merger goes ahead. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 4, Daily Mail page 1)

Offshore wind power: Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has introduced a targeted incentive designed to increase subsidies for offshore wind technology in order to encourage investment.  Mr Ewing said “Scotland has huge offshore wind potential, but a lot of that resource is in far greater water depths than elsewhere in the UK, which is challenging and costly to exploit” (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 6, P&J page 12)

Tax holiday: Former Cabinet minister Liam Fox has proposed a three-year capital gains tax holiday in order to kick-start the UK economy. Mr Fox has criticised George Osborne’s deficit reduction policy, suggesting that it would not be enough to revive the economy.  He warned: “If we don’t take some risks, we’ll not get growth”. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 5)

Education

Universities set to change method of recording immigration figures: Scottish Universities have embraced a UK government decision to change the way that it records the number of students entering the country, after Universities Scotland called for a removal of international students from net migration targets. (Scotsman page 8

Teachers threaten walkout: Scottish teachers have threatened to stage a walkout in protest of plans to keep them in work till their 70s. Larry Flanagan, Secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), said that teachers would not “meekly” accept plans to link their pensions to the state pension age, and commented that the prospect of a walkout was “very real”. (Herald page 1)

Health

Care-home elderly kept sedated for convenience: A study carried out by Dundee University and NHS Fife has found that almost half of elderly people in care homes may be kept on sedatives for prolonged periods of time in order to make it easier for staff to manage them. Health experts want to see national guidelines drawn up to ensure the use of these sedatives is monitored and controlled, and have called for reviews to be carried out on elderly people at least every six months. (Scotsman page 1)

NHS staff trained in identifying trafficking victims: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) is training frontline medical staff in how to recognise the signs of human trafficking, such as forced prostitution and domestic servitude. Doctor Sharon Doherty, NHSGGC consultant clinical psychologist, said “By increasing awareness amongst health staff about this issue, I think it will make it increasingly difficult for traffickers to use the UK as a destination” (Herald page 3, Courier page 22)