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Reform Scotland News: 27 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

Census: Latest census figures have shown that two thirds of Scots indentify themselves as “Scottish only”. The figures also show that Scotland is becoming more ethnically diverse, with double the proportion of people coming from non-white minority groups than in 2001. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1 and page 4, Express page 4, Record page 28, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 6, Times page 4, Mail page 10, P&J page 14, Courier page 20)

 

Defence plans: A report by the Defence Select Committee published today has criticised the Scottish and UK Governments for their failure to prepare adequate defence plans in the event of independence. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Express page 2, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 1, Times page 9, Deborah Haynes in the Times, Guardian page 18, Mail page 25, P&J page 11)

 

‘Bedroom tax’: First Minister Alex Salmond has been urged to back laws proposed by Labour. The proposed laws would ensure people who fell into rent arrears as a result of the controversial housing benefit change would not be evicted from their homes. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 4, Record page 2, Times page 2, Courier page 14)

 

Fire service: Plans for a single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will see five of Scotland’s eight fire control rooms closed. The executive of the Fire Brigades Union in Scotland is to hold an emergency meeting over the plans on Monday. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 7, P&J page 2)

 

Immigration: Christina Boswell, professor of politics at the University of Edinburgh, has warned the Scottish Government that a more open approach to immigration in an independent Scotland could face a public backlash. (Scotsman page 21)

 

Britishness: George Kerevan in the Scotsman criticises a new ‘Britishness’ and suggests Scottish independence would benefit England by eradicating the concept.

 

Labour energy price freeze: Tony Blair has declined to comment on the energy price freeze policy announced by Ed Miliband at the Labour Party conference. The plan has been heavily criticised, including by Lord Mandelson and energy minister Michael Fallon, but those opposed are reportedly concerned that the policy has struck a cord with the public. (Herald page 6, John McTernan in the Scotsman, Express page 2, Sun page 2, Times page 11, FT page 3, Guardian page 5, Mail page 4, Courier page 14)

 

St Andrew’s Day: Prime Minister David Cameron has reportedly invited a number of Scottish celebrities to celebrate St Andrew’s Day at Downing Street. The reception will be held around the same time as the SNP unveil their White Paper on independence. (Herald page 2)

 

National Trust: The National Trust for Scotland has been criticised by the Prospect union for hiring staff on controversial zero-hours contracts. The union is calling on the NTS and Scottish Government to back its call for better conditions and rates of pay. (Herald page 3)

 

Fuel poverty: Almost 1,000 council house tenants in the Outer Hebrides are classed as living in extreme poverty according to a survey by Hebridean Housing Partnership. (Herald page 6)

 

Ed Miliband: George Parker writing in the Financial Times comments on Ed Miliband’s party conference speech and his focus on recovery not austerity.

Polly Toynbee writing in the Guardian comments on the effect Ed Miliband’s speech will have on the Conservative Party and their upcoming conference.

 

Economy

Mortgage compensation: Clydesdale bank has been fined almost £9million and ordered to pay customers compensation after a mistake in the way mortgages were calculated resulted in increases to their monthly payments. The overall cost to Clydesdale is expected to be around £42million. (Herald page 1, Mail page 26, Courier page 31)

 

Tax cuts: Business leaders have called on George Osborne to offer companies long-lasting tax cuts to help them hire more staff. (Herald page 2)

 

Pensions: Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has criticised the SNP for using misleading figures to give a more positive picture of pension payments if Scotland becomes independent. However, Alex Salmond referred to a letter received by one of his constituents from the Department of Work and Pensions stating that independence would have no effect on the pension payment they received. (Sun page 2, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Times page 1)

 

Unemployment benefits: An extension to the conditions attached to unemployment benefits will reportedly be announced next week at the Conservative Party conference. It is expected that claimants who go through the Government’s back-to-work scheme, but fail to find a job, will be required to take part in unpaid community activities or work experience. (Mail page 1)

 

Justice

Domestic abuse: Domestic abuse cases in Scotland will be co-ordinated by a newly created national prosecutor, it was announced yesterday. Anne Marie Hicks has been appointed Scotland’s first specialist procurator fiscal for domestic abuse. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 7, Record page 2, P&J page 17, Courier page 13)

 

Education

Same-sex marriage: MSPs have been warned that Scotland may face controversy over the way homosexuality is taught in schools if the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill is passed. (Scotsman page 10)

 

Poverty: Education Scotland has raised concerns about the impact poverty has on how successful pupils are at passing exams. The concerns come after their corporate plan for 2013-2016 showed pupils from affluent areas do nearly three times as well as those from the most deprived communities. (Herald page 9)

 

Local Government

George Square redesign: Glasgow City Council leader George Matheson has been cleared of rigging a competition to redesign George Square. Mr Matheson was accused of trying to pressure officials into supporting his favourite design and failing to chair the judging panel impartially. (Herald page 3)