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Reform Scotland News: 26 March 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

Immigration: There have been reported rifts within the UK coalition following David Cameron’s speech setting out plans to crackdown on immigration.  A senior UK government source reportedly accused the Prime Minister of adopting a “two-tone approach” to immigration – trying to sound tough at home, but urging people to come and work and study in the UK when he is abroad. There is also some suggestions that David Cameron’s plans may contravene EU law.(Herald page 6, Colette Douglas Home in the Herald, Sun page 6, Express page 1, Ross Clark in the Express, FT page 3, Janan Ganesh in the FT, Telegraph page 4, Mail page 10, Guardian page 6, P&J page 18, Courier page 15, David Maddox in the Scotsman)

RAF: The next generation of fighter jets will not be based in Scotland but at RAF Marham in Norfolk.  It was also announced yesterday that the military air traffic control centre at Prestwck Airport will close with the loss of 30 jobs. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Express page 2, Mail page 4)

Financial case for independence: Professor Andrew Goudie has commented that the financial case for independence is often based on “cavalier assertions with little or no foundation”. Professor Goudie sets out six tests which he believes should be considered as part of the independence debate. (Scotsman page 1, Andrew Goudie in the Scotsman)

Scottish Tories: Ruth Davidson is expected to give a speech today where she will call for more tax powers to be handed to the Scottish Parliament and for the Scottish Parliament to use those powers to reduce tax rates. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 6, Times page 4, Record page 2, Mail page 4, P&J page 20, Courier page 15)

New drivers: The UK government is considering proposals of night-time curfews and restrictions on the number of young passengers for newly-qualified drivers.  Other proposals under consideration include reducing the age which people can legally begin to drive to 16½ with a period of a year imposed on holders of a provisional licence before they can sit a driving test. (Times page 1)

Nordic Scotland: Robin McAlpine in the Scotsman comments that Alex Salmond must choose between backing the little Britainers and the Nordics within the SNP – those who want to tinker with Scotland and those who want to change it.

Civil service: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph argues that the civil service in Scotland has become politicised citing work carried out by Scottish government officials and used at the SNP conference, which claims information provided by officials at the Department of Work and Pensions over changes to benefits in Scotland was wrong.

David Cameron: Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph considers whether David Cameron can turn his leadership around stop his party thinking of him as a lame duck.

Economy

Oil revenue:  An analysis carried out by the Centre for Public Policy for the Regions (CPPR) has warned that a new oil tax boom in Scotland is “not readily supported by the evidence”. (Herald page 1, Times page 1, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Telegraph page 1, P&J page 3, Courier page 14)

Farming: Scottish sheep farmers are reportedly struggling to protect their flocks and businesses due to the continuing arctic weather conditions. (Herald page 1)

Glasgow and Edinburgh: The Biannual Global Financial Centres Index has shown that Glasgow has fallen 11 places to 50.  However, Edinburgh has fallen by 17 places and is now behind Glasgow at 54. (Herald page 3)

Cyprus and Scotland: Peter Jones in the Scotsman suggests that the situation in Cyprus may offer a number of lessons for an independent Scotland.

Education

Pensions: Education Secretary Michael Russell is reportedly under increasing pressure not to implement proposed changes by the UK government to teachers’ pensions.  Teaching union the EIS is currently considering industrial action over the proposals. (Scotsman page 9)

Higher maths: Opposition politicians are reportedly calling for answers from the Scottish government following claims that the SQA lowered the pass mark for last year’s Higher maths exam to prevent an overall fall in passes. (Scotsman page 9)

Post 16 education legislation: Joan McAlpine in the Record outlines the importance of the Post 16 Education Reform Bill.