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Reform Scotland News: 24 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

Reform Scotland

An Equal Start: Reform Scotland has today published a report highlighting the inequality in government-funded nursery provision. Children born between March and August are entitled to two years of government-funded nursery provision, while children born between September and December are only legally entitled to 18 months and children born in January or February who intend to start school when they are 4 are only entitled to 15 months.  As a result, Reform Scotland is calling all children to be entitled to the same two years provision which should commence at a fixed point in the year (probably August), two years before the child is due to start school (The Scotsman page 19, The Herald page 4, The Daily Record page 2, P&J page 15)

Politics

Cameron’s EU speech: David Cameron yesterday delivered his speech on the EU and offering an in/out referendum should the Conservatives win the next election.  It is reported David Cameron failed to answer questions on whether he would vote for the UK to stay within the EU if a request for a new deal fails, although the Prime Minister expressed “It is time for the British public to have their say”. (The Scotsman page 8, Matt Qvortrup in The Scotsman, Wolfram Kaiser in The Scotsman, The Herald page 6, The Sun page 2, The Daily Express page 4, The Times page 1, The Daily Telegraph page 1, Peter Oborne in The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times page 1, P&J page 12, Courier page 14, Guardian page 1, Martin Kettle in the Guardian, Timothy Garton-Ash in the Guardian, Mail page 1, Liam Fox in the Mail)

Independence attitudes: The Scottish Attitudes Survey has shown that support for Scottish independence has fallen by nine percentage points within the last year. The poll also reveals support for stronger devolution powers to Edinburgh, with an increase of three percent.   (The Scotsman page 1, John Curtice and Rachel Ormston in The Scotsman, The Herald page 1, The Daily Record page 2, The Daily Telegraph page 2, Courier page 13, Guardian page 13, Mail page 12)

Fear strategy: Robin McAlpine in The Scotsman comments on the Yes campaign, arguing the co-ordination is focused around the sense of negativity and fear rather than promoting positive reasons for the population to vote “Yes”.

EU: Jose Manuel Barroso, European Union president, has dismissed Nicola Sturgeon’s bid to organise discussions on an independent Scotland’s stance within Europe.  The Deputy First Minister received a message stating Barroso is unwilling to discuss the issue as he has yet to see a “precise scenario” from the Scottish Government on an independent Scottish relationship with the EU. (The Scotsman page 5, The Herald page 2, The Daily Express page 2)

Economy

Cost of a raising a child: Scottish parents on average will spend £225,338 to raise a child to the age of 21 due to childcare and education, according to the annual Cost of a Child Report. (The Scotsman page 3, The Daily Express page 5)

Exports: Alex Salmond reported yesterday Scotland’s worldwide exports have “rocketed”, as figures show a £1.6 billion rise in the value of goods sold overseas.  (The Scotsman page 6, The Daily Record page 2, The Daily Telegraph page 6)

Employment: It has been reported thousands of Scots are so dismayed at the bleak prospect of finding employment, thousands have given up completely.  Latest official figures show a 24,000 drop in the number of Scots who have a job. (The Scotsman page 10, The Herald page 10, The Daily express page 2, The Daily Telegraph page 6)

 Health

Drug charges: It has been reported Scottish GP’s have reduced their spending on NHS drugs by 11 percent, although Audit Scotland claim a further £26 million could be saved every year. (The Scotsman page 21, The Daily Express page 15)

A&E: Health Secretary Alex Neil has reported one quarter of patients are delayed in being sent home which is leading to bed blocking for those more in need. (The Herald page 1)

Education

Universities: The Royal Society of Edinburgh has reportedly attacked controversial new legislation that gives power to ministers over the way universities are run.  The academic body argues the bill ignored the “fundamental right” of universities. (The Herald page 11)

School Exams: Dr Bill Maxwell, head of Education Scotland, has commented that a child’s success as school should not be solely judged by exam results. (Mail page 24)