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Reform Scotland News: 6 Sept 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
Scottish reshuffle:
Alex Salmond has reshuffled his cabinet with Nicola Sturgeon moved from health to Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, but with the additional responsibility of taking charge of the independence referendum.  Alex Neil replaces Ms Sturgeon as the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing. (Scotsman page 6, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Iain MacWhirter in the Herald, Express page 5, Times page 1, Angus Macleod in the Times, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Mail page 10, John MacLeod in the Mail, P&J page 18 , SNP page 14, Telegraph, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph)

UK cabinet:  The reshuffle to the UK cabinet has reportedly caused a lot of tension and resentment, including suggestions that Michael Gove was irritated by the decision to move senior Lib Dem David Laws into his department. (Times page 8, Sam Coates in the Times, Sun page 2, Mail page 13, Guardian page 6, Courier page 15)

CBI & union: In a speech to Scottish business leaders tonight, the Director-General of the CBI, John Cridland, is expected to say that the organisation was “not convinced of the business and economic case” for independence. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 6, Express page 5, Times page 11, Record page 2, Mail page 10, P&J page 14, Telegraph)

UK reshuffle & planning system: Bill Jamieson comments on David Cameron’s recent reshuffle and what the change in personnel suggests about potential changes to the planning system and the green belt.

Iraq war: Jim Sillars in the Scotsman argues that Holyrood should introduce retrospective legislation to enable it to indict Tony Blair on war crimes regarding the war in Iraq.

Scottish OBR: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman calls for Scotland to have its own Office of Budget Responsibility.

Devo Max confusion: Jeremy Purvis in the Scotsman comments that there is little explanation regarding what Devo Max actually means, which is causing confusion in the independence debate.

Economy
Irn-Bru:
AG Barr, which owns Irn-Bru, is reportedly in talks with rival Britvic over a possible £1.4billion merger. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Express page 2, Times page 17,Sun page 1, Record page 10, FT page 17)

Lloyds Banking Group: The Financial Services Authority has referred Lloyds Banking Group, which is 40% state owned, to its enforcement division due to concerns regarding the use of sales bonuses to frontline staff which can lead to miss-selling of products.   The FSA has also said that it will look to introduce new rules regarding incentive schemes unless the industry addresses the problem itself. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 2, Sun page 4, FT page 4, Mail page 6, Guardian page 4)

Direct Line: Insurance company Direct Line is expected to cut about 900 jobs. (Herald page 5, Sun page 7)

Empty property tax: David Lonsdale in the Scotsman comments that the Scottish government’s plans to increase business rates on empty commercial properties could make a bad situation worse.

Justice
Drink drive limits:
The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS) has said it would back a reduction in the drink drive limit in Scotland.  The Scottish government is expected to launch a consultation on the issue today.  Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has previously indicated he supported a reduction in the legal limit from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. (Scotsman page 1)

Education
School cuts:
Scottish councils are reportedly cutting pupils’ entitlement to free school transport and classroom equipment as well as closing schools in an attempt to balance the books. (Mail page 1)

Transport
West Coast Main Line: Sir Richard Branson has been invited to a hearing on Monday of the House of Commons transport committee to discuss the government’s decision to award the new West Coast Main Line Franchise to FirstGroup.  Tim O’Toole, chief executive of FirstGroup, will also give evidence. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 8)

Petrol prices: The Office of Fair Trading announced yesterday that it is to investigate whether cuts in oil prices are being passed onto to drivers through reductions at the pumps. (Scotsman page 20, Herald page 10, Express page 2, Times page 6, Sun page 4, Mail page 21, Guardian page 9, P&J page 14, Courier page 22)

Heathrow: David Cameron has delayed any decision over a third runway at Heathrow until after the next General Election by setting up a cross-party commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies to look at the issue. (Herald page 7, FT page 3, Mail page 12, Guardian page 7, Courier page 14)

Health
Whooping cough: 1,020 cases of whooping cough have been reported by GPs since the start of the year compared with just 43 in the same period in 2011. (Herald page 11)