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Reform Scotland News: 15 August 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

Undecided voters: Ipsos Mori revealed yesterday that 44 per cent of voters are still to decide which way they will vote in next year’s referendum, if they will vote at all. The poll also showed that, of the 56 per cent of Scots certain to vote, 67 per cent would vote in favour of keeping the Union whilst 33 per cent are planning to vote for independence. (Scotsman page 5, Telegraph page 1, Times page 6, Express page 2, Sun page 2, Mail page 12, P&J page 12)

 

Island autonomy: Scottish Secretary Michael Moore is to meet leaders from Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles to hear about their ideas for greater autonomy. (Scotsman page 4)

 

Tory Yes vote: Scottish Conservative Party member and businessman Laurie Clark has reportedly told Prime Minister David Cameron that the Tory party should be backing Scottish independence. A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives dismissed Mr Clark’s comments as a separatist stunt. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 2)

 

Ed Miliband: Labour leader Ed Miliband was pelted with eggs yesterday during a campaign visit to a London market. Mr Miliband later joked about the incident saying it was a hazard of the job. The visit was part of an attempt to boost Labour’s poll position amid growing reports of dissatisfaction with Mr Miliband’s leadership. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 4, FT page 3, Express page 5, Guardian page 7, Mail page 18, P&J page 17, Courier page 19)

 

Children’s Bill: The Faculty of Advocates have expressed concern over the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill being put forward by the Scottish Government. They have claimed that the proposal within the bill to provide a named person for every child in Scotland could breach the European Convention on Human Rights. The Law Society of Scotland has also warned that the bill could interfere with respect for family life. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 10, Express page 1, Mail page 9, Courier page 14)

 

Cabinet to Scotland: David Cameron has announced he will bring his Cabinet to Scotland later this year to allow UK ministers to be involved in the preparations for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 6, Times page 8, Sun page 2, Mail page 12, Courier page 15)

 

Arts agenda: Scottish writer and artist Alasdair Gray has accused organisations such as Creative Scotland and the National Theatre of Scotland of ignoring Scottish artists because of an anti-independence agenda. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 2, Times page 6, Guardian page 13)

 

EIF and independence: The Scottish Government has refused to intervene over the Edinburgh International Festival’s decision to exclude productions about the independence referendum in next year’s programme. Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop insisted it was not the place of the government to interfere in the decision. (Scotsman page 15)

 

Homosexuality: Campaigners have called for Scotland to use the Glasgow 2014 Games to raise human rights abuses within Commonwealth countries that outlaw homosexuality. Glasgow Green MSP Patrick Harvie has said Scottish ministers should talk about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights with their Commonwealth counterparts when they meet. (Herald page 1)

 

£520,000 bequest: The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives have given up their shares of a £520,000 bequest from a spinster following confusion over whom she intended to receive the donation. The funds have now been given to the Treasury to help reduce the national debt. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 8, Telegraph page 4, Express page 5, Record page 2, Sun page 2, Guardian page 7, Quentin Letts in the Mail, P&J page 19)

 

BBC Scotland abuse: BBC Scotland have reportedly admitted several staff have been accused of sex abuse following the Jimmy Savile scandal. They have not revealed whether any of those involved are still working at BBC Scotland or the number involved. (Record page 1)

 

Economy

House prices: Bill Jamieson writing in the Scotsman criticises the use of house price statistics to scaremonger over the cost of buying a home.

 

‘Bedroom tax’: Senior party sources have revealed that the last Labour government rejected plans to introduce the ‘bedroom tax’ when it was in power. Alistair Darling reportedly rejected the benefit cut as it was thought it would do little to ease council waiting lists. (Herald page 6)

 

Employment levels: Official statistics have showed that the number of Scots in employment has reached its highest level in four years. The figures have been welcomed as a sign of economic recovery in Scotland however there are still concerns about job-security and declining real wages. (Herald page 11, Times page 11, Express page 2, Record page 2, Sun page 12, P&J page 11)

 

Forward guidance: Minutes from the Bank of England Monetary Policy committee meeting have shown that the Bank’s new governor Mark Carney faced dissent on ‘forward guidance’, his big idea to return the UK economy to full health. The news has raised doubt over the Bank of England’s promise to hold interest rates low for three years, triggering a further rise in sterling and government borrowing costs. Investors continue to think it likely that interest rates will increase about a year earlier than the Bank of England’s forecast implies. (FT page 3)

 

Health

HIV-positive surgery ban: A ban on NHS staff with HIV carrying out certain procedures on patients is to be lifted. Staff receiving treatment for HIV will be allowed to carry out procedures they were previously banned from including surgery and dentistry, provided they have very low or undetectable levels of HIV. Self-testing kits will also be legalised across the UK from 2014, with the aim of improving early detection. (Scotsman page 19, Guardian page 2)

 

NHS: John McTernan writing in the Scotsman argues that choice and competition will help improve services within the NHS and patient care.

 

Education

University funding: The income received by Scottish universities from English, Welsh and Northern Irish students is likely to match the current income from overseas undergraduates in three years, according to new figures. Academic leaders have stressed that the income from rest of the UK (rUK) students is not all profit and that universities now offer bursaries and scholarships to rUK students. (Lucy Hunter in the Scotsman, Herald page 4)

 

Education system: A London School of Economics study has said that Scotland’s education system has failed to substantially improve under devolution; however it is still on a par with elsewhere in the UK. (Scotsman page 1)

 

Transport

Speed cameras: Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has attacked plans by the SNP to install average speed cameras on Scotland’s most dangerous road. Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown made the announcement following three deaths on the stretch of the A9 between Dunblane and Inverness. Mr Alexander has said that alternatives should be considered and questioned what evidence there was that cameras would prevent similar accidents. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 11, Telegraph page 10, Sun page 2, P&J page 8, Courier page 15)

 

Local Government

Begging ban: Aberdeen City Council is set to continue with controversial plans to outlaw begging on the city’s streets. The Labour-led coalition is expected to agree to continue a joint venture with Glasgow City Council in collecting evidence on the need for begging to be criminalised. (Scotsman page 21, P&J page 2)

 

Glasgow development: Michael Kelly writing in the Scotsman comments on Glasgow’s city managers’ plans for development including making the city one of the top ten European city centres for international business and visitors. Mr Kelly goes on to criticise the constraints of planning consent and conservation, and suggests this is holding Glasgow back.