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Reform Scotland News: 12 April 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

Better Together donation: Leading political figures behind the pro-Union campaign Better Together are remaining silent over a £500,000 contribution from controversial businessman Ian Taylor. The SNP have called for the donation to be returned and criticised Labour MP John Mann in particular for accepting it. (Herald page 1, Express page 2, P&J page 13)

 

Nato: Green and Independent MSPs are reportedly calling on the SNP leadership to rethink its proposal for a £2.5billion annual defence and security budget as part of the Nato nuclear defence alliance. Concerns have also been raised over plans to maintain US non-nuclear bases in Scotland after independence. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 4, John MacDonald in the Scotsman, Telegraph page 10, Record page 2, Express page 2, Mail page 4)

 

Blair warning: Former Prime Minister and Labour leader Tony Blair has warned that the Labour party could risk losing the next election if it does not embrace welfare cuts. However Ed Miliband has dismissed Mr Blair’s interventions and stated that political parties need to move forwards and that is what he thinks Labour is doing under his leadership. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 12, Times page 1, Sun page 2, Record page 10, Express page 2, Mail page 2, Courier page 23)

 

Margaret Thatcher: Continuing comments and analysis following the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 6, Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman, Telegraph page 1, Telegraph page 4, Telegraph page 5, Times page 1, Times page 6, Times page 9, Sun page 2, Express page 6, Express page 7, Guardian page 1, Guardian page 6, Mail page 8, Tom Utley in the Mail, P&J page 12, Courier page 22)

 

Economy

Tax revenue: According to a new report by the Scottish Government, the tax-take per person is higher in Scotland that the rest of the UK. According to Finance Secretary John Swinney the analysis of tax revenue over three decades proves the country “more than pays its way”. (Herald page 1, Courier page 23)

 

Welfare reforms: SNP and Labour MSPs have urged Alex Salmond and Johann Lamont to back a joint approach to challenge the Westminster coalition’s welfare reforms. (Scotsman page 8)

 

Justice

Sectarian ruling: A Celtic fan on trial for singing a pro-terrorist song at a football match has been acquitted after the sheriff described the Scottish Government’s anti-sectarian legislation as “mince”. Prosecutors are considering appealing the verdict. (Herald page 9, Telegraph page 1, Record page 2, Courier page 15)

 

Mentoring scheme: The Scottish Conservatives have criticised a mentoring scheme launched yesterday by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. The £7million scheme aims to help prevent young offenders committing more crimes. (Herald page 10, Alison Rowat in the Herald, Times page 20, Record page 2, Express page 2, Mail page 28)

 

Non-emergency calls: Scotland’s new non-emergency number for contacting the police received more than 100,000 calls since it was launched in February. (Express page 10)

 

Local Authority

Crematoriums: Nicola Sturgeon has called on Glasgow City Council to launch a review into procedures at the city’s council-run crematoriums. The calls come after it was revealed that Mortonhall crematorium in Edinburgh had buried babies’ remains without the consent of parents. (Herald page 3, P&J page 18)

 

Transport

Passenger increase: ScotRail has reported a surge in train passengers with two million more journeys being taken than last year. (Herald page 3, Scotsman page 12, Record page 2, Mail page 37, Courier page 24)

 

Roads: Professor Iain Docherty, a former non-executive director of Transport Scotland, has criticised the standards of Edinburgh’s roads saying they compare poorly with other European cities such as Zurich. It was also claimed that drivers would benefit more from improvements to the roads than they will from the new Forth road bridge. (Telegraph page 11)

 

Health

Elderly care: Inspectors from Health Improvement Scotland have criticised the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, one of Scotland’s main hospitals, for failing to properly care for elderly patients with dementia. NHS Lothian is reportedly rolling out a programme of improvements to address the concerns raised. (Herald page 4, Scotsman page 4, Mail page 21)

 

Records: The Scottish Government has axed a £50million NHS computer system after a decade of failure. The system was meant to unify patient records from the NHS and social services but never worked properly. (Herald page 4)

 

NHS pensions: NHS staff have called on Health Secretary Alex Neil to prevent a third year of pension contribution increases following anger over the increases introduced by the Scottish Government for 2012/13 and 2013/14. (Herald page 8, Scotsman page 11, Courier page 23)

 

Obesity: A freedom of information request has revealed health boards across Scotland have spent thousands of pounds on equipment for obese Scots. This included £85,000 for one hoist purchased by NHS Shetland and NHS Lanarkshire has admitted spending £3million over the past five years on equipment to cope with obese patients. (Record page 2, P&J page 16)