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Reform Scotland News: 7 December 2012

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 7 December 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

Independence and the EU: In a written answer to Labour MEP David Martin, Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, has confirmed that if Scotland splits from the UK, EU membership and existing treaties that apply to the territory will no longer apply. Scotland would have to re-apply for EU membership. [Scotsman page 1, Times page 3, Telegraph page 18, Mail page 4, Record page 8]

IFS’s Autumn Statement reaction: The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) yesterday warned that one million people will find themselves joining the higher 40p income tax rate by 2015 following Chancellor George Osbourne’s decision to raise income tax above inflation. The IFS said austerity measures to increase taxes and cut benefits were unavoidable to fix the £27billion “black-hole” in the UK economy before the General Election. The poorest 30% of household will suffer the most under the change announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. [Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, Time page 6, FT page 2, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, Mail page 8]

Panel to discuss Leveson recommendations: Alex Salmond has announced that an expert panel will be assembled to investigate how the proposals of the Leveson Report could be implemented in Scotland. Salmond met with party leaders and independent MSP Margo McDonald yesterday evening and faced opposition to his proposal of a press watchdog but were supported in his decision to establish an expert panel. [Scotsman page 14, Times page 18, Telegraph page 1, Sun page 10, P&J page 16, Courier page 16, Mail page 2]

Dissenting congregation to leave Kirk property: The congregation of St George’s Tron in Glasgow has finally agreed to leave the building after a six-month stand-off with the Kirk after the congregation split over the Kirk’s decision to allow ministers in same-sex relationships. The Kirk has been criticised for its heavy-handed approach where law officers have served a writ and have demanded the return of prayer books and an organ. [Scotsman page 16, Herald page 1]

Smear campaign against Better Together: Police have been asked to investigate a four-page letter purporting to be from the pro-Union Better Together campaign that included far-right parties the BNP and the National Front in the letter head. The believed smear campaign is believed to be against Better Together, a campaign group consisting of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. [Herald page 5]

Economy

Bosses think independence will harm businesses: A poll by Ipsos MORI shows that 72% of corporate decision makers think that Scottish independence will harm Scotland’s business environment and only 10% of bosses thought that it would improve the outlook for their business. [Scotsman page 4, Herald page 6, Times page 1, Express page 2, Mail page 1, Record page 2, P&J page 11

Remploy job losses: 172 people, including 152 disabled workers, working at the five remaining Remploy factories after the announcement of new factory closures. [Scotsman page 13, Herald page 7, Guardian page 23]

Education

Improving prospects for new teachers: Official figures show that there has been an increase in the number of newly qualified teachers gaining permanent full-time work from 21% last year to 35%. Two-thirds of newly qualified teachers in Scotland are not in full-time permanent work. [Herald page 3, Express page 12, Mail page 20, P&J page 21]

Health

Salmond criticised over NHS cancer care: Alex Salmond was accused of complacency over after insisting that Scotland’s NHS system for improving cancer drugs was “very robust” in FMQ’s even though he admitted that had heard evidence from an expert to a Holyrood committee that said Scotland offered an inferior health service to cancer suffers as other diseases were given a higher priority. [Telegraph page 14, Express page 31, Mail page 6]

GP contract settlements welcomed: GPs have welcomed the settlement of GP contract negotiations with the Scottish Government. The talks in Scotland were to secure alternative arrangements to those proposed by the UK Government  after it imposed changes to the General Medical Services contract for 2013-14. [Herald page 7]

Transport

ScotRail fares capped: Train company, ScotRail, confirmed that it’s fares are to be increase by 3.9% in January. However, Scottish ministers have pledged to hold down rises over the next two years. [Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, Times page 24, Express page 10]

RMT ferry strike to cause xmas travel disruption: There is expected to be disruption for those planning to travel to Orkney and Shetland for Christmas following the announcement of three strike dates, starting next Friday, by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) over job cuts and flexible work arrangements. [Herald page 4, Record page 2]