Reform Scotland News: 12 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

Reform Scotland
Nursery inequality:
Plans to expand nursery provision in the Children and Young People Bill will result in a gap in entitlement of up to 400 hours provision or £1,300 towards the cost of a partnership nursery provider.  This is because not all children are entitled to the same basic level of provision due to their birthday.  This birthday discrimination also means that the government’s plans to expand provision to looked-after two-year-olds will not result in all of these vulnerable youngsters actually getting an additional year’s nursery provision compared to other children. (P&J page 18,
Reform Scotland bulletin)

Politics
MPs’ pay:
The First Minister yesterday said that there would not be any “ludicrous” pay rises for MSPs and said that “pay for MPs – and MSPs – should not rise beyond the limits of the restraints currently placed on public sector pay”.  His comments follow the recommendation from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority of a £6,000 increase in MPs’ salaries to £74,000. Politicians across all parties have reportedly condemned the increase. (Scotsman
page 1, Times page 4, Herald page 6, Alison Rowat in the Herald, Express page 7, Record page 2, Sun page 6, Telegraph page 4, Mail page 10, Guardian page 4, P&J page 19, Courier page 1)
 
Faslane: There was speculation yesterday that the UK government was considering claiming the Faslane nuclear base as a sovereign UK territory in the event of independence.  The UK government dismissed the claim made by an unnamed defence official, but the SNP claimed that the issue showed that the ‘no’ campaign was in disarray.  (Scotsman page 6,
George Kerevan in the Scotsman, Times page 7, Herald page 4, Express page 19, Record page 2, Sun page 2, FT page 3, Telegraph page 2, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Guardian page 7, P&J page 13, Courier page 17)
 
Denis MacShane: Former Labour MP Denis MacShane is to be charged with false accounting of £12,900 in expenses claims and will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London later this month. (Express
page 7, Sun page 7, Telegraph page 4, Mail page 10)
 
Independence:
Alex Massie in the Scotsman comments that the independence debate should be about what kind of nation we aspire to be.
 
Labour & the unions:
Tom Peterkin in the Scotsman comments on Johann Lamont’s perceived silence following Labour’s recent problems with the Unite union in Falkirk.
 
Economy
Tourism:
According to VisitScotland there are has been a fall in the number of overseas visitors to Scotland with the number of overnight stays falling from 325,000 in the first three months of 2012, to 297,000 in the first three months of this year.  However, spending increased from £148m to £180m. (Scotsman
page 16)
 
No tax rises: George Osborne has claimed that the Conservatives would eliminate the £23bn deficit after the next election by cutting spending, commenting “I’m clear that tax increases are not required to achieve this”. (Times page 1, Sun
page 4, FT page 3, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 8)
 
Pension spending: The National Audit Office has raised concerns that there is no single joined-up programme to encourage people to save for their old age, and warned of “significant consequences” for the taxpayer. (Herald
page 1)
 
Marriage and tax: George Osborne has reportedly signalled that the UK government will announce its plans to support marriage through the tax system within the next few months. (Herald page 6, Express
page 1)
 
Lloyds: Up to half of the government’s £18bn share in Lloyds Banking Group could reportedly be sold to retail investors, starting as early as September. (FT
page 1)
 
Justice
G4S:
  Security firm G4S has been reported to the Serious Fraud Office for allegedly overcharging the UK government by tens of millions of pounds for tagging criminals, some of whom had died.  The Scottish government has stated that it carried out “monthly audits” of G4S computer systems in Scotland and was confident that services paid for were delivered. (Scotsman
page 1, Times page 4, Herald page 2, FT page 1, Mail page 4, Guardian page 1
Prisoners’ voting rights: A long-term inmate of Addiewell prison has lodged papers at the Court of Session arguing that his rights under ECHR have been breached by legislation which excludes him from voting in the referendum. (Times page 1)

Transport
HS2:
John McCormick in the Scotsman argues that high speed rail should be extended to Scotland. 

Health
Obesity
: More than £7.5million was spent on prescribing anti-obesity drugs to Scots between 2010 and 2013. (Scotsman page 8, Express
page 4)

Transplants: The Scottish Transplant Group has called on Scottish ministers to wait and see what happens with a new opt-out system for organ donations being introduced in Wales, before deciding whether to introduce the same system in Scotland. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 1, P&J page 15, Courier page 16)

IVF:  UK fertility and family law specialist, Louisa Ghevaert, has said the decision by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman that a couple had suffered unacceptable delays in their IVF treatment and that NHS Glasgow and Clyde Health Board  should pay them £6,000 if they decide to try private fertility treatment could set a precedent, giving couples access to compensation. (Mail page 1)

Education
Rich/poor divide:
A report from the Sutton Trust has found that bright Scottish boys from the poorest families lagged nearly three years behind their high-achieving male classmates from the richest backgrounds.  The gap was bigger in Scotland than in any of the other 31 countries measured. (Scotsman
page 21, Telegraph page 14)

Schools & wind farms: Schools in Scotland are reportedly hosting 68 wind turbines erected with £1.5m of public money. Only six of the developments were paid for by the private sector. (Scotsman page 17)