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Reform Scotland News: 4 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

Cabinet reshuffle: With the Conservatives lagging behind Labour in the polls, David Cameron is set to announce today the first major reshuffle of the Cabinet since the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition came to power, though the positions of the Chancellor, the Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary are likely to remain unchanged. Andrew Mitchell was appointed Chief Whip late last night, from the post of Secretary of State for International Development. David Cameron is expected to promote a number of MPs from the right of the party to lessen backbencher discontent. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, FT page1, Times page 1, Rachel Sylvester in the Times page 17, Peter Wintour in the Guardian page 1, Sun page 2, Record page 15, Express page 4, P&J page 14, Courier page 14)

House of Lords reform: Nick Clegg yesterday announced that the government was to drop its motion to bring elections to the House of Lords, confirming also that the Lib Dems would no longer support Conservative bids to redraw constituency boundaries, a move which has caused some Tory MPs to accuse him of childish behaviour. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 7, Janan Ganesh in FT page 13, P&J page 14, Courier page 14)

Independence referendum: Westminster has hinted that unless an agreement can be reached in the next two months on the number of questions to be included in a Scottish independence referendum, and their likely wording, the referendum could be delayed until 2015. (Scotsman page 1, Simon Pia in the Scotsman page 26, Times page 10)

Culture quango costs: MSPs are to receive an update today from the regional leader of the biggest union for council staff in Scotland, Unison, claiming that the creation of independent committees for running cultural and leisure services, practiced by two thirds of Scottish councils, costs taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds unnecessarily, encourages less democratic accountability, and can lead to job insecurity in the public sector. (Scotsman page 17)

Polling stations: MSP John Mason has written to Glasgow City Council urging it to reconsider the use of schools as polling stations, which causes disruptions to children’s schooling and to families’ routines. Some members in Mr Mason’s constituency have faced voting eight times since 2007, with three by-elections in addition to local, Scottish, UK, and European elections and referenda. (Herald page 6)

Economy

Remploy strikes: Workers at Remploy, one of the biggest employers of people with disabilities, have begun a week of strike action in Glasgow and in Derbyshire, after months of uncertainty over job security, and as 24 Remploy factories have been shut across the country. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 4, Bill Leckie in the Sun page 13, Record page 8, P&J page 14)

Transport

West Coast Main Line contract: The likely granting of a £13.3 billion rail contract by Westminster to Aberdeen-based FirstGroup has been delayed by a legal challenge by rival bidder Virgin Rail. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, FT page 2, Guardian page 7, Mail page 11, Courier page 14)