0131 524 9500 | info@reformscotland.com

Reform Scotland News: 3 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

Reform Scotland

Patients First: Reform Scotland today published its report looking at improving access to GP practices, by increasing the information available to patients about the different access arrangements offered by practices and giving them a wider choice of practice by enlarging catchment areas.  As health is devolved and policy is increasingly diverging north and south of the border, Reform Scotland’s report also called for a separate General Medical Services contract for Scotland. (Scotland on Sunday page 7, The Scotsman page 1 & page 26, The Herald page 9, The Sun page 2, The Times page 3, Daily Telegraph page 6, Courier page 13, Metro page 35)

Politics

Cameron declares Tory fightback: First Minister Alex Salmond has accused the coalition of “dither, delay, division and disarray”, with David Cameron’s leadership skills also coming under fire . However, George Osborne has insisted that the UK economy is now starting to “heal”, backing a state business bank for small companies as the first step on the road to recovery. He has also backed a £40bn investment in infrastructure, in response to critics who questioned him on his handling of the economy.(The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 6, Daily Record page 2, The Sun page 2, The Times page 1, Financial Times page 1, Daily Mail page 4, The Daily Telegraph page 11, P&J page 15)

Team behind Independence for Scotland is unveiled: The “Yes Scotland” campaign will be headed by former BBC news chief Blair Jenkins, and will also include a former diplomat and an ex-Nationalist MSP. (The Scotsman page 11, The Herald page 6)

Welfare cuts and ‘Better Together’: Euan McColm in the Scotland on Sunday considers the impact reported additional welfare spending cuts could have on the relationship between unionist parties campaigning in the run up to the independence referendum.

Hoy shuts down pro-Union rumours: Chris Hoy has denied rumours that he will helping to front the “Better Together” campaign, tweeting “The news apparently is I’m entering politics! Don’t believe the hype.” (The Sunday Times page 2)

Nick Clegg:  Gerald Warner in the Scotland on Sunday asks “what is Nick Clegg for?” Brian Monteith in the Scotsman addresses Clegg’s “poorly thought” idea to introduce a temporary wealth tax.

BBC: One of Scotland’s best-known broadcasters, Lesley Riddoch, has accused the BBC of “dumbing down” its Caledonian output, and in response, Alex Salmond proposes that Scotland have its own public-service broadcaster. (The Sunday Times page 14, Iain McWhirter in the Sunday Herald comments on Alex Salmond’s proposals for the BBC if Scotland becomes independent)

Euthanasia: Campaign group Care not Killing, has provoked criticism by likening the stance taken by right-to-die campaigners to elements of Nazism.  Independent MSP Margo MacDonald is expected to re-attempt to introduce legislation to allow assisted suicide in Scotland. (Sunday Herald page 1)

SNP blamed for rise in fuel poverty: The Scottish government has pledged £65 million to tackle fuel poverty, but has recently come under fire for failing to deliver on its policies. Its approach to tackling the issue has been labelled “feeble, inadequate and namby-pamby” by leading expert Brenda Boardman. This assertion comes after evidence revealing that one-third of Scots households are currently in poverty, and this figure is steadily increasing. (The Herald page 1)

Ministers facing axe in reshuffle: Scottish Secretary Michael Moore was rumoured to be losing his job last night, following speculation that he is to be replaced by Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson in the upcoming government reshuffle. Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is also battling for his job, pleading to keep his role, despite being accused of “soft” policy making. (Daily Record page 2, The Sun page 2,The Sunday Times page 1, Daily Mail page 10, Andrew Nicoll in the Sun comments on Mr Moore’s position, Roland Watson in The Times comments on the government reshuffle, calling on Cameron to show his decisive side)

Poorest in society floundering: Research conducted by Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University has shown that disabled people, minority ethnic groups, lone parents and older people often miss out on vital assistance, and don’t benefit from policies designed to help them. (The Sun page 2, Courier page 19)

Economy

Stamp Duty: Professor Sir James Mirrlees has expressed reservations about the Scottish government’s proposals to reform Stamp Duty, instead calling for transaction taxes to be abolished and instead for there to be a review of property taxes. (Scotland on Sunday page 7, Daily Mail page 18)   

Education

Music tuition: 11 local authorities in Scotland have reportedly raised the costs for music tuition in schools this year, while some pupils have to pay to sit higher and standard grade music exams.  The situation has led the Scotland on Sunday to launch a campaign to allow every Scottish school child to have free instrumental music tuition. (Scotland on Sunday page 1)

School fees: The school fees at independent schools for children of senior military personnel have reportedly been paid for by the taxpayer at a cost of £10.75m over the past three years.  The Continuity of Education Allowance pays for the private boarding school education of children of service personnel whose posting changes. (Sunday Herald page 3)

£90,000 to raise a pre-secondary school child: The average annual cost of raising a child up to the age of 11 in Britain has risen by £1,085, or 15% in the last five years, with schooling making up the largest increase in spending. (The Scotsman page 13, The Herald page 11, Daily Mail page 4)

Disadvantaged students do just as well at University: Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are often more at risk from dropping out, due to them not being used to the University environment.  However, studies have shown that such students are doing just as well, and are often more motivated than their middle-class counterparts. (The Herald page 2)

Transport

Third runway for Heathrow: Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has backed calls for a third runway for Heathrow saying it is vital for Scottish businesses and passengers.  David Cameron and the Conservatives at Westminster are opposed to the additional runway. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Sunday Times page 2, Ruth Davidson in the Scotland on Sunday, Daily Mail page 26, Daily Telegraph page 11, P&J page 11)

Health

Breast cancer advice: A UK-wide review of breast screening is reportedly considering reducing the number of women who receive regular checks amid mounting concern that regular screening can result in some women undergoing cancer treatment, including invasive surgery, when it is not medically necessary. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, The Times page 3, P&J page 11)

Transplantation cancer risks: Grant Thomson, who was the partner of a victim of cancer following a successful kidney transplant, has argued that more should be done to inform patients of the risks involved when accepting a transplant.  He claims that neither he nor his partner had been made aware of the potential dangers and urges the Scottish parliament to address the issue. (The Scotsman page 14)