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Reform Scotland News: 19 February 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
BBC strike:
BBC journalists staged a 24-hour strike yesterday over proposed job cuts.  (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 3, Times page 13, Sun page 4, Express page 9, Mail page 8)

Welfare costs: Professor David Bell has suggested that Scots would face rising taxes to meet welfare demands if the country became independent because there are a higher proportion of pensioners and people on benefits in Scotland. (Scotsman page 6, David Bell in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Times page 9, Sun page 2, Express page 4, Telegraph page 4)

Horsemeat: Ministers met with supermarket representatives yesterday to discuss the recent horsemeat saga.  A Downing Street source commented afterwards that retailers must be responsible for restoring consumer faith. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 5, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Record page 2, Courier page 14)

Tory party: Ruth Davidson has reportedly set out a number of policies to help the Scottish Conservatives broaden their appeal.  Policies include extending free nursery provision to two-year-olds, developing vocational education in school for 14 and 15 year-olds and allowing a return to 95% mortgages to help people on to the housing ladder. (Herald page 6, Times page 8, Sun page 8, Express page 10, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 12, Courier page 17)

Economy
Tax dodgers:
The Public Accounts Committee has said that tax dodgers using “aggressive” avoidance schemes should be “named and shamed” to deter others. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 2, Sun page 2, Mail page 19, Guardian page 2, Courier page 17)

Back-to-work schemes: The Geological Society of London has said it was “surprised” at the comments made by Iain Duncan Smith regarding geologists and people stacking shelves in response to the High Court ruling that rules forcing people to work for free or face losing benefits were unclear. (Scotsman page 5, Christine Jardine in the Scotsman, Herald page 6)

RBS: David Cameron has reportedly increased pressure on RBS to “accelerate” reforms at the bank. (FT page 1, Guardian page 4)

Import-export balance: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments on conflicting figures regarding the state of Scotland’s import-export balance.

Health
Soft drink tax: AG Barr, the producer of Irn-Bru, yesterday commented that it supported the view of the British Soft Drinks Association that a tax on fizzy drinks would not address the problems associated with obesity. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 5, Collette Douglas Home, Record page 2, Courier page 19, P&J page 19)

The pill: Community Pharmacy Scotland has said that it wants pharmacists to be able to give the contraceptive pill to girls as young as 13 without them seeing a doctor or consulting their parents. (Mail page 1)

Education
Tuition fees: The Committee of Scottish Chairs, which represents the governing bodies of universities in Scotland, has called for the cap of £9,000 a year which they can charge students from the rest of the UK to be scrapped. (Herald page 1)