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Reform Scotland News: 26 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
Johann Lamont: The leader of Scottish Labour, Johann Lamont, used a speech to party activists yesterday to call for an end to Scotland’s “something for nothing” culture, referring to some of the Scottish Government’s policies such as free university tuition.  Such policies, she says create a culture in which the ‘poorest pay for tax breaks for the rich’.  The party has set up an economic group chaired by Labour MP Cathy Jamieson and MSP Ken Macintosh to examine whether free tuition fees, free prescription charges and the council tax freeze are affordable. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Sun page 1, Record page 2, Times page 1, Express page 2 Paul Gilbride in the Express, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, P&J page 13, Courier page 17, Mail page 6)

SNP and Nato: Finance Secretary John Swinney and Health Secretary Alex Neill have backed First Minister Alex Salmond’s planned U-turn over an independent Scotland being a member of Nato. (Herald page 6, Express page 2)

Nick Clegg: Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will use his speech at the Lib Dem’s party conference in Brighton to say that, whilst the cuts in the years ahead may make his party unpopular, the Liberal Democrat’s status in Government shows they are able to make the transfer from a party in opposition to a party in power. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 10, Allan Massie in the Scotsman, Times page 8, FT page 2, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, P&J page 12, Guardian page 1)

More powers: Future of Scotland, the umbrella group of civic organisations that have been pressing for enhanced powers for the Scottish Parliament, have said their campaign will continue in spite of First Minister Alex Salmond’s disclosure that there will be no second question on the independence referendum ballot paper. The group insist their campaign was never about a second question in the referendum but about ensuring Scotland gets the best constitutional deal to effect positive change for the people. (Herald page 2, Ian Bell in the Herald)

Scotland & Venezuela: Brian Wilson suggests in the Scotsman that there are a number of similarities between Scotland and Venezuela.

Paying for welfare: Gavin McCrone in the Scotsman says that the issue of how a welfare state would function in an independent Scotland – and how the country would pay for it – needs to be addressed by both the Better Together and Yes campaigns.

Economy
Unemployment: Figures released by the Scottish Government suggest that 250,000 Scots have never had a job, double the rate in 2004. The Scottish Government says the figures can be explained by the number of 16 to 24 year olds in full-time education. (Sun page 24)

Education
College cuts: Redundancies are inevitable if the Scottish Government’s proposed cuts to the college sector are carried out, Paul Buchanan, the former chair of Reid Kerr College’s board of management has said. Up until now, most of the redundancies have occurred voluntarily but Mr. Buchanan says compulsory redundancies may be necessary. (Herald page 1)

Graduate jobs: Statistics released by the Scottish Government show that almost 95% of Scottish graduates have found work or are in further education a year after graduating. Education Secretary Michael Russell says the figures show that Scotland provides the best opportunities for their graduates. However, the figures also show that 26% of graduates are in a job in which no degree is necessary. (Herald page 2, Scotsman page 14, Mail page 17)

Justice
Police Service of Scotland: Stephen House, the current chief constable of Strathclyde police force, will take on the equivalent role in the combined Police Service of Scotland when it comes in to force next April. A long-standing supporter of combining the eight Scottish police forces, he will take charge of what will be the second largest force in Britain. (Herald page 4, Scotsman page 1, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Express page 10, P&J page 14, Courier page 1, Mail page 7)

Re-offending: Scottish Government statistics show that 45% of those released from prison after serving their sentence re-offend within the year. However, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill says the figures represent the best figures for 13 years. (Sun page 2, Times page 15, P&J page 14, Mail page 8)

Health
Childhood obesity: The number of children between the ages of two and six classed as obese has risen by 4% compared to last year, the Scottish Health Survey has revealed. In addition, there has been no increase in physical activity amongst all ages for the fourth straight year. (Herald page 9, Mail page 1)

Complaints: Complaints about NHS care in Scotland are at the highest level for seven years, leading some to suggest that care is suffering in the face of public sector cuts. There was a 15% rise in the number of complaints in the year 2011-12. (Scotsman page 16, Times page 7)