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Reform Scotland News: 11 September 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

Bedroom tax: A benefits appeal tribunal hearing in Fife has ruled that David Nelson should not pay the “bedroom tax” on a 66 sq ft spare room in his house.  As a result, it is speculated that residents across the UK could appeal against the charge by citing the dimensions of their spare room,  if the rooms involved could be deemed as too small to be used as an adult bedroom. (Scotsman page 1, Mike Dailly in the Scotsman, Herald page 8, Sun page 2, Express page 8, Mail page 11, P&J page 14, Courier page 13)

Raquel Rolnik, a special rapporteur from the UN, is expected to call on the coalition government to change the “bedroom tax” policy, claiming the policy breaches the basic right to housing. (Daily Record page 1, Guardian page 1)

Nigel Evans: Conservative MP Nigel Evans has resigned as deputy speaker of the House of Commons after being told he will be charged with two counts of indecent assault, five counts of sexual assault and one count of rape.  Mr Evans has denied the charges and will continue as MP for Ribble Valley. (Scotsman page 11, Sun page 10, Express page 2, Times page 2, Record page 6, Guardian page 6)

MSPs’ salaries: MSPs have approved new measures which will mean that jailed MSPs will be stripped of 90 per cent of their salaries. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 2, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Times page 5, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 8, P&J page 21, Courier page 16)

Ed Miliband: It is reported that Ed Miliband received a better-than-expected reaction to his speech about the relationship between the Labour Party and the unions at the TUC conference yesterday.  However, in other reports he is accused of backing down on his proposals to fundamentally change their relationship.   (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 1, Michael Settle in the Herald, Ian Bell in the Herald, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Times page 1, Francis Elliott in the Times, Record page 8, FT page 2, Telegraph page 10, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, Guardian page 9, Seumas Milne in the Guardian, Mail page 12, P&J page 15, Courier page 17)

Newsnight: The new editor of Newsnight, Ian Katz, has apologised after accidently tweeting that shadow treasury minister Rachel Reeves, who had appeared on the show, was “boring snoring”. (Sun page 9, Times page 14, Telegraph page 10, Guardian page 5, Mail page 20)

By-election: It is suggested that Labour and the SNP believe that Thursday 24 October could be the date for the Dunfermline by-election as there is already a local by-election taking place that day. (Telegraph page 6)

STUC: Dave Moxham in the Scotsman comments that the Scottish Trades Union Congress and many of their affiliated unions have yet to make up their mind on whether Scotland should become independent.

Economy

Plastic banknotes:  Banknotes made of polymer, rather than cotton paper, could be issued within three years under plans being drawn up by the Bank of England. (Scotsman page 4, Express page 15, Times page 23, FT page 2, Telegraph page 11, Guardian page 3, Mail page 9, P&J page 11, Courier page 20)

Retail sales: According to the Scottish Retail Consortium total sales in Scotland were 3.5 per cent higher in August than the same period last year. (Herald page 1, Express page 10, Times page 1, Mail page 2)

Vince Cable: Vince Cable is expected to say in a speech to the CBI that “complacency” could jeopardise economic growth and that an “out of control” housing market could derail the recovery. (Telegraph page 1)

Helicopter safety: The transport select committee at Westminster has launched an inquiry into helicopter safety in the North Sea oil and gas industry. (P&J page 1)

Currency: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on the SNP’s currency plans for an independent Scotland.

Justice

Human trafficking:  Labour MSP Jenny Marra has launched a consultation on making it illegal to punish people forced to commit crime as a result of their trafficking as well as calls for a “survivors’ service”. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 9, P&J page 12)

Transport

New Forth crossing: John Swinney has announced that the cost of the new Forth crossing has fallen by £145 million, with the new £1.4 to £1.45 billion estimate less than half the original predictions of up to £4bn. (Scotsman page 4, Sun page 2, Express page 4, P&J page 20, Courier page 21)

Education

Universities: Alastair Sim in the Scotsman argues that universities in Scotland are key to economic growth.

More universities: Former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini QC, who is to be appointed the chancellor of the University of the West of Scotland, has said that there should be more universities in Scotland to help raise the expectations of young people from challenging backgrounds. (Herald page 1)

Local Government

Cities alliance: Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, is urging the Cities Alliance, which is made up of all seven Scottish cities, to lobby the Scottish government for the cities to have greater control over economic development. (Herald page 6)