Reform Scotland News: 10 July 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

Labour & the trade unions: Ed Miliband has promised to examine the Labour Party’s relationship with the unions. He has pledged to create an opt-in, rather than opt-out, system for trade unions members joining the party following the controversy surrounding Unite’s role in the selection of a Labour candidate in Falkirk. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Record page 11, Telegraph page 8, Times page 1, Express page 4, FT page 2, Mail page 4, Guardian page 4, P&J page 17, Courier page 20)

Trade union funding: John Curtice in the Scotsman comments that Ed Miliband’s attempt to alter the relationship between the Labour Party and the unions could impact negatively on party funding. However, it is argued that if Labour can persuade trade union members to still sign up to the party, it will make it easier for Labour to argue that donations from big business should be capped.

Labour Party Reform: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments that the issue of the Falkirk candidate selection has given Ed Miliband an opportunity to address the issue of the unions’ relationship with the Labour Party successfully before the next election. Ian Bell in the Herald comments the changes are an attempt to remove trade unionism from political life. Mary Riddell in the Telegraph comments that such discussions are risky for Ed Miliband since it has little relevance to ordinary voters. 

Welfare Reform: Citizens Advice Scotland have warned that disabled people in Scotland could lose more than £1 billion in benefit payments, and are calling on Westminster to examine the cumulative impact of its welfare reforms (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 9, Courier page 19)

Broadband internet: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that more than 600,000 Scottish homes will benefit from a £264 million high-speed broadband investment aimed at improving speeds in rural areas. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 4, Express page 4, Courier page 18)

Tennis funding: Scottish Government agency Sport Scotland is to spend £5.8 million modernising Scottish tennis facilities in a bid to capitalise on the success of Andy Murray. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 5, Times page 7, Express page 3, P&J page 10, Courier page 1)

Economy

Green energy: The Institute for Public Policy Research has claimed that the UK risks missing emissions targets as well as securing thousands of jobs, if it does not maximise its potential to become a world leader in offshore wind energy. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 11)

Royal Mail privatisation: Business Secretary Vince Cable is expected to announce that Royal Mail staff will be offered at least 10% of shares as members of the public, foreign investors and banks will be invited to buy shares for sales this autumn or spring 2014. (Scotsman page 14)

Britvic merger: Britvic have halted plans for a £1.4 billion merger with AG Barr, with it necessary for Barr to table a new offer by the end of the month. (Scotsman page 35, Record page 9, Courier page 33)

IMF forecast: The International Monetary Fund have increased their 2013 growth prediction, providing a boost for Chancellor George Osborne’s deficit reduction plans. (Herald page 2, Telegraph page 1, FT page 1, Guardian page 18)

Transport

Rail delays: Temperatures of up to 29ºC caused major disruption to rail services, particularly around Edinburgh’s Waverly Station, with around 200 Scotrail trains cancelled or delayed because of signalling problems. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 4, Record page 1, Sun page 25)

North Sea Helicopters: The fleet of Super Puma helicopters, which were grounded in October 2012 following two offshore ditchings, will be cleared for use once the requirements of an airworthiness directive from the European Aviation Safety Agency are met. (Scotsman page 4, P&J page 1) 

HS2: Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has defended the HS2 high-speed rail project, reaffirming the Coalition government’s commitment to the project. (Scotsman page 12)

Justice

EU ruling: The European Court of Human Rights has found that the life-sentences given to convicted murderers by British courts amount to “inhuman and degrading treatment”. Parole boards must therefore decide whether individuals still pose a threat to the public after serving their sentences, although the ruling has been criticised by MPs, including the Prime Minister. (Scotsman page 6, Telegraph page 1, Times page 4, Express page 7, Guardian page 9, P&J page 16)

Police Scotland: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has claimed that good progress has been made in the first 100 days since the national police force was established. (Scotsman page 2)

Education

Universities: Applications to Scottish universities have risen despite an increase in fees for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Whilst applications from Scottish students have increased 1.2%, there has been a 13.9% rise in applications from the rest of the UK. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 4, Times page 5)

Health

Alex Neil: The Health Secretary has ordered an inquiry into whether trauma patients in Scottish hospitals have died because of being given hydroxyethyl starch drips. (Scotsman page 16, Courier page 21)

Health board targets: The Scottish Stroke Care Audit has found that two-thirds of health boards in Scotland are failing to reach admissions targets for ensuring stroke patients have access to specialist units. (Scotsman page 20, Herald page 9)