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Reform Scotland News: 30 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

Referendum confusion: The Electoral Commission reported yesterday that Scots should be more informed  on what will happen to Scotland if they vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ rather than voting whether they agree with Scottish Independence or not.  The Electoral Commission state UK and Scottish governments should focus more on providing clarity and more information ahead of the referendum. (The Scotsman page 1, The Daily Express page 4, The Herald page 6, Iain MacWhirter in The Herald, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Daily Record page 4, The Times page 1, The Sun page 8, The P&J page 12, The Courier and Advertiser page 15, Guardian page 4, The Daily Mail page 8)

Travellers: MSPs are set to organise a formal meeting at a traveller site for the first time as they aim to investigate hostility faced by travelling communities.  Holyrood’s equal opportunities committee reportedly believes that the location and condition of where Gypsy-Travellers live is the root of the problem. (The Scotsman page 17, The P&J page 6, The Daily Mail page 5)

Spy HQ: Defence expert, Stuart Crawford, has warned an independent Scotland would not have the finances to replicate the GCHQ spy listening post, stating it would cost at least £200 million a year.  (The Herald page 2 )

Debating Independence: The Dunblane branch of the SNP yesterday reportedly argued English newspapers and broadcasters should be banned from debating Scottish independence. (The Daily Telegraph page 6 )

Northern alliance: Bill Jamieson in The Scotsman comments on the economic relationship between Scotland and Northern England after a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote.

New Scottish Conservatives: Andy Maciver in The Scotsman speculates on the future of the Scottish Conservative Party.

Economy

Bankruptcy: New Scottish figures show the number of people declaring themselves insolvent has fallen to its lowest level since 2008.  During 2012, Accountancy in Bankruptcy report in total 18,392 people were made insolvent and 1,264 businesses were forced to close. (The Scotsman page 14)

Trading Standards: The Accounts Commission has reported almost half of Scottish local authorities now have eight or fewer trading standards staff due to financial pressure, meaning the public could be unprotected from rogue traders, scams and unsafe goods.  It has been claimed elderly people and low income families are particularly at risk. (The Herald page 2)   

Justice

Frontline police:  Figures obtained by The Scottish Conservatives show the number of police officers unable to carry out frontline duties have soared from 560 in 2006 to 1,400.  (The Scotsman page 9, The Daily Record page 2, The P&J page 18, The Courier & Advertiser page 2 )

Legal-aid law: The Edinburgh Bar Association believes Kenny MacAskill’s new legislation will face criticism as it leads to breaches of Article 6 of ECHR, which stipulates the right to a fair trial.  (The Scotsman page 18)

Transport

West Coast Main Line: The department for Transport has been branded irresponsible for the collapse of the £5 billion West Coast Main Line contract, in a report by MPs.  The plan has been criticised as being over ambitious, overcomplicated and done in haste. (The Scotsman page 1, The Daily Record page 2, The Sun page 2, The P&J page 22)

Health

Elderly patients: Healthcare Improvement Scotland has reported concerns about the care of vulnerable elderly patients at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital, including concerns over privacy and dignity. (The Scotsman page 7, The Daily Record page 2, The Sun page 2)

NHS: It has been reported from frontline health professionals that immigrants living in one of Scotland’s poorest communities, Govanhill in Glasgow, are receiving better quality healthcare than the majority of the population.  (The Scotsman page 8, The Daily Express page 1)

GPs: 360 GPs within Scotland’s most deprived areas gave evidence to Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee investigation into health inquiries.  The doctors argue the distribution of GPs across the country does not match health trends, stating GPs have “dysfunctional links” with the NHS. (The Herald page 7 )

Education

University:  The number of students applying to Scottish universities from other parts of the UK has increased despite the increase in tuition fees for ‘rest-of-UK’ students.  There was a 14.5% increase from students in England and a 17.3% increase from Northern Ireland according to UCAS.  There was also a 2% increase in Scottish students applying to study in Scotland. (The Scotsman page 10, The Daily Express page 2, The Herald page 7, The Daily Telegraph page 12, The Times page 8)