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Reform Scotland News: 8 October 2012

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 8 October 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

Proposed welfare cuts: Chancellor George Osborne is expected to announce £10 billion in welfare cuts in an attempt to close the deficit. While the details of the cuts are not yet known, the anticipated targets are the housing benefit for under 25s and restraint on the uprating of benefits. The deal is understood to been have secured by plans to increase the contribution of the wealthy in closing the deficit, although the mansion tax proposed by Liberal Democrats is believed to have been taken off the table. (The Guardian page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 1, The Herald page 6, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Times page 8, The Sun page 2, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 5, Financial Times page 1)

Conservative plans: Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to focus his party conference speech on “strivers” trying to recover from the recession and get ahead. He will reportedly announce measures to support these groups, including an extension on the council-tax freeze and capping of rail fares, as well as efforts to boost international competitiveness. (The Sunday Times page 1)

Nuclear weapons and independence: First Minister Alex Salmond plans to include a ban of nuclear weapons in the constitution of an independent Scotland. The move is aimed to reassure voters that an independent Scotland would have the necessary leverage to force the removal of Trident nuclear submarines from the Clyde. Writing in Scotland on Sunday, Andrew Wilson discusses the strategy behind the move. (Sunday Herald page 2, Scotsman page 7, The Times page 13, Daily Record page 5)

Universal benefits: Writing in The Scotsman, Scottish finance secretary John Swinney defends the economics of universal benefits. Also in The Scotsman, Lesley Riddoch writes about the mismatch between care and outcomes, urging politicians to consider devolving responsibilities to the local level.

Independence poll: A YouGov poll reveals that 53% would vote No to Independence compared to 28% in favour. The figures come a week before an expected announcement by First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister David Cameron setting forth the terms of the referendum. (The Herald page 1)

Greens and yes campaign: The Scottish Greens voted for full participation in the Yes Scotland campaign at their party conference. The party participated in the May launch event but restricted its activity because of fears that the campaign was dominated by the SNP. (Sunday Herald page 2, Scottish Daily Mail page 4)

Party conferences: Writing in the Sunday Herald, Ian Bell reflects on Labour leader Ed Miliband’s message of one nation while Iain Macwhirter writes about the challenges facing Prime Minister David Cameron. Eddie Barnes in Scotland on Sunday discusses the future of Mr Cameron’s leadership. Andrew McKie in The Scotsman urges the Prime Minister to stop talking and start doing.

Ruth Davidson on independence: Speaking today at the Conservative conference in Birmingham, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is expected to stress the need for an emphatic victory for the pro-UK Better Together campaign to ensure stability in Scotland. (Scotland on Sunday page 7, Daily Telegraph page 9)

Scottish welfare: Ruth Davidson is expected to address the future of the welfare state, and will reportedly state that just 12% of Scottish homes give more than they get from the state, describing a “corrosive system of entitlement” among voters. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 6, The Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Record page 1)

Devo more: Writing in the Sunday Times, former Conservative MP and party chairman Peter Duncan urges Conservatives to open up to the possibility of Devo more, noting that a line in the sand on the limits of devolution will not help party prospects in Scotland. (The Sunday Times page 25)

Economy

Scottish enterprise expenditure: The economic development body faces criticism over spending £125,000 on a staff away day which included games and entertainment. (The Herald page 11, Daily Record page 7)

Private sector decline: A report by the Bank of Scotland indicates a decline in private sector output, the first in two years. The report also notes mounting cost pressures for Scotland, particularly in input price inflation. (The Scotsman page 39)

Bank of England race: The withdrawal of former cabinet secretary Gus O’Donnell from the contest for the top spot at the Bank of England leaves just two contenders, Paul Tucker, currently Bank deputy governor for financial stability, and Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority. (Financial Times page 1)

Justice

Drug dealing: Over the past 3 years, there have been 295 cases of dealing illegal drugs in which the offender has been aged 16 or younger. The youngest was a child aged 9. (Daily Express page 7)

Health

Abortion regulations: SNP Health Minister Alex Neil has reportedly remarked that following independence, he would reconsider the 24 week window for abortions. This follows Jeremy Hunt’s statement that he would support cutting the window for abortions in half, to just 12 weeks. Writing in The Scotsman, Rosemary Goring urges men to share their views in the abortion debate. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 2, Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 9, The Times page 6, Daily Record page 8)

Emergency blood supplies: Scottish hospitals have less than a three day supply of the universal blood group O-negative. The ideal supply is six days and health officials are asking donors to give before the school holiday. (The Scotsman page 18)

Morning after pill: School nurses are reportedly giving out the morning-after pill to girls who are worried they might become pregnant after unprotected sex. The emergency contraception is available for girls 13 and over and can be prescribed without their parents’ knowledge. The Scottish government said that this was up to individual NHS health boards. (Daily Express page 7, The Sun page 22)

Education

International student recruitment: The SNP has written to Westminster to urge a U-turn on a plan which would restrict the number of overseas students universities can recruit. The SNP and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry pointed to the money brought in to the Scottish economy by international students. (The Herald page 7)