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Reform Scotland News: 23 January 2013

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
Cameron’s EU speech:
David Cameron is expected to make his speech on the UK’s relationship with the EU today.  It is reported that he will offer voters an in/out referendum by the end of 2017 if the Conservatives win the next election. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Sun page 1, Times page 1, David Wighton in the Times, Express page 1, FT page 1, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 1, Guardian page 1, Courier page 15, P&J page 13)

Army cuts: The Ministry of Defence has announced a new round of redundancies which will see 5,300 personnel axed.  Although there are no details of where the loses will be, there have been warnings that many Scottish soldiers could lose their job as well as doubts expressed over whether promises to double the size of the army in Scotland will be met. (Scotsman page 4, Stuart Crawford in the Scotsman, Record page 6, Sun page 2, Times page 1, Express page 2, Mail page 6, Courier page 16)

Blue badges: SNP MSP Dennis Robertson has launched a bill in the Scottish Parliament aimed at cracking down on motorists who fraudulently use disabled parking badges. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 10, Express page 19, P&J page 17)

Scottish budget: John Swinney yesterday set out the Scottish government’s spending plans for the next year warning that Scotland faced its toughest period since devolution. However, opposition politicians claimed that the £28.6bn programme should have greater resources allocated for housing, colleges and railways. (Scotsman page 8, Brian Wilson in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 6, Courier page 14, P&J page 16)

BBC Scotland: BBC bosses were reportedly told yesterday that morale among staff at BBC Scotland had sunk to “rock-bottom low” amid deteriorating relations with management.   The broadcaster told Holyrood’s Education and Culture committee yesterday that the corporation’s plans to reduce jobs would not affect BBC Scotland’s news output. (Scotsman page 13, Times page 3, Express page 17)

Economy
Banks:
Sir Mervyn King commented last night that the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group would be back in the private sector in a “relatively short period”. (Scotsman page 1)

Savings: UK Cabinet ministers have reportedly been told to “step up” their efforts to identify savings within their departments which are to contribute to a target of £10bn savings. (Herald page 6, FT page 4)

Building firms: According to a survey by the Federation of Master Builders one-third of Scotland’s building firms’ fear that they will have to axe staff his year due to a decline in work. (Herald page 11)

Health
Crematorium practices:
Dame Elish Angiolini is to lead an investigation into the scandal that emerged at Mortonhall crematorium in Edinburgh where infants’ remains were buried without parents’ knowledge. (Herald page 5, Times page 11, Mail page 16)

Glasgow’s Western Infirmary: An 84-year old suffering from chest pains was reportedly left in a cold corridor in Glasgow’s Western Infirmary amongst a number of people waiting in A&E who were informed that they would have a 6 to 8 hour wait for a bed. (Record page 1)

Local government
Glasgow George Square:
The architect John McAslan who won the now cancelled plans to redesign George Square has accused the council’s leadership of incompetence. (Herald page 11)

Education
Universities:
Universities Scotland has criticised Scottish government plans to exert more control over universities by introducing new powers to widen access to students form poorer backgrounds, claiming the powers would undermine the autonomy of individual institutions. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 2, Times page 5, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 10, Courier page 15)