Reform Scotland News: 18 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

Politics
Referendum law:
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore told the Scottish affairs select committee at Westminster yesterday that the Scottish government would only be given the power to hold a legally binding independence referendum, through a “section 30 order”, if it agrees to a single question referendum. (Scotsman page 1, Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman, Herald page 2, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Courier page 1, P&J page 12, Mail page 12)

Scotland’s defence budget: In evidence to Westminster’s defence select committee Dr Michael Williams has warned that an independent Scotland would have one of the smallest defence budgets in Europe but face “severe set-up costs”. (Scotsman page 9, Telegraph page 1)

Play parks: PlayScotland, Scotland’s national agency which promotes play in childhood, has called for playparks to be protected in law to prevent them being targeted as a result of financial cut-backs. (Scotsman page 20)

Opinion poll: A UK Populus poll for the Times has given Labour a 15-point lead over the Conservatives with Labour on 45%, the Tories on 30% and Lib Dems on 10%. (Times page 1, Ian King in the Times)

Tory defection to UKIP: Lord Stevens of Ludgate has reportedly defected from the Conservative Party to UKIP. (Express page 15)

Scotland and Quebec: Peter Jones in the Scotsman suggests that the recent electoral success of the pro-independence party in Quebec could offer some lessons for the SNP.

Scottish Labour Party: Simon Pia in the Scotsman comments on movements within the Labour Party’s grassroots to try and reclaim traditional ground and highlights the publication, ‘People Power: The Labour Movement Alternative for Radical Constitutional Change’, produced by the Red Paper Collective.

Conservative communications: David Maddox in the Scotsman comments on the appointment of Susie Squire as the Conservative Party’s new head of communications.

European Union: John Edward in the Scotsman outlines the benefits of the EU to Scotland and Scotland Europa, while Nigel Farage in the Express comments that mainstream politicians try to fudge the issue of the EU.

Scottish Tories: Harry Reid in the Herald considers David Cameron’s attitude to the Union, suggesting it would be more politically savvy of him to focus on England rather than being a steadfast defender of the Union.

Right-wing government: Polly Toynbee in the Guardian suggests that David Cameron’s government is the most right-wing of all post-war government.

Support for independence: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments that results from opinion polls, elections and the British Social Attitudes Survey suggest that there is not support for Scottish independence.

Economy
Carbon capture:
A study by Edinburgh University and Scottish Enterprise has suggested that about 500 jobs could be created in Peterhead if its potential to become a major world player in carbon capture is exploited. (Herald page 8, Courier page 10, P&J page 6)

Credit cards: Figures from research carried out by Santander suggest that almost a third of Scots rely on borrowing, through credit cards, overdrafts and loans, to make ends meet. (Mail page 1)

Austerity: Janan Ganesh in the FT suggests that austerity is changing the make-up of the electorate, which may help the Conservatives at the next election.

‘Squeezed middle’: Gaby Hinsliff in the Guardian calls on politicians to define what is the “squeezed middle”.

Education
Tennis academy:
Andy Murray has had talks with Alex Salmond about helping to fund a tennis academy in Edinburgh. (Herald page 1, Times page 5, Scotsman page 9, Sun page 9, Courier page 3, P&J page 13)

College hotline: Labour MSP Hugh Henry has described moves by the Scottish government to set up a hotline for young people trying to secure a college place as “papering over the cracks” and “too little too late”. (Herald page 4)

Local government
Beaches fail pollution test:
Both the Heads of Ayr beach in South Ayrshire and Stonehaven beach in Aberdeenshire have failed pollution safety limits. (Scotsman page 1)

Union Terrace Gardens: Aberdeen City Council’s Labour administration has reportedly been criticised for plans for a low-budget revamp of Union Terrace Gardens after officials revealed it could cost £2.5million just to reopen a toilet block. (P&J page 1)

Transport
Glasgow Airport:
Glasgow Airport has reportedly appealed for improved connections to Heathrow claiming it is struggling to meet demands of business and leisure passengers following the withdrawal of the BMI route last year. (Herald page 1)

Health
Cancer welfare benefits:
The UK government has announced that patients receiving treatment for cancer will no longer be forced to seek work if they want to keep sickness benefits. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 6)

Complaints about doctors: There were 8,781 complaints made against GPs throughout the UK in 2011, a 23 per cent increase on 20120.  Figures also suggest that there were 9,980 complaints raised in 2010/11 across all NHS professions in Scotland. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 7, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 11, Guardian page 2)

Breast cancer drug: Breakthrough Breast Cancer Scotland has called for a new drug, Everolimus, to be made available to patients in Scotland as soon as it is approved by the European Commission as the drug has been hailed as one of the biggest advances in breast cancer treatment. (Herald page 6, Mail page 13)