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Reform Scotland News: 5 September 2013

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 5 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

Labour Funding: The GMB trade union is reportedly to cut the amount of cash it donates to the Labour party from £1.2million to just £150,000 in response to Ed Miliband’s plans to reform the party’s relationship with the unions. Mr Miliband is expected to lose up to £9million in party funding as a result of the reforms. The decision by the GMB follows Mr Miliband’s decision to give individual union members the option to join the party, rather than just being automatically affiliated to Labour. (Scotsman page 12, Times page 2, Telegraph page 12, Dan Hodges in the Telegraph, Express page 23, Record page 8, Sun page 4, Guardian page 4, P&J page 17)

Liberal Democrat Campaign: The Liberal Democrats will reportedly campaign on a platform of increased devolution for Holyrood at the next general election, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is expected to announce to Scottish business leaders today. Speaking to the Confederation of British Industry Scotland, he will set out what the coalition is doing for the economy, and promote the case for Scotland to remain in the UK. (Scotsman page 15, Telegraph page 1)

Universal Credit Scheme: A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) alleges the UK government embarked on its flagship Universal Credit Scheme without knowing how it would work and, as a result, has already had to write off £30million in failed IT. The scheme is said to have been beset by “weak management, ineffective control and poor governance”. (Herald page 5, Times page 16, Telegraph page 1, FT page 4, Sun page 2, Guardian page 1)

Criminal Justice Bill: Proposed changes to the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill have led to warnings from senior police officers that they will no longer be able to arrest people for fear of their own safety, under proposed new laws. Proposed changes to the Bill will mean anyone arrested will have to be taken to a police station and investigated for a crime, leaving police officers with the choice of criminalising someone under laws such as breach of the peace or not intervening at all, the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents has warned. (Scotsman page 6)

Lobbying: The UK Government’s lobbying reforms should be withdrawn for up to six months so a special committee can produce improved proposals, a cross-party report has concluded. The report found that legislation had been “unnecessarily rushed” and failed to cover large parts of the lobbying industry. Proposals in the bill would see a £390,000 cap on the amount any organisation could spend during UK elections, as well as the creation of a statutory register of lobbyists. (Herald page 1)

Bedroom Tax: Scottish Labour is to bring forward a Holyrood Bill protecting tenants unable to pay the ‘bedroom tax’ from eviction. Meanwhile, Labour-led councils across Scotland have made a commitment to not evict tenants unable to pay their rent as a result of the change. An estimated 80,000 people in Scotland have been affected by the tax. (Herald page 2, Express page 10, Record page 4)

Ed Miliband: David Aaronovitch in the times comments on Ed Miliband’s decision to oppose British intervention in Syria and other aspects of his leadership.   

Independence: Iain Macwhirter in the Herald comments on George Osborne’s claims that Scotland would be economically worse off as an independent nation.

Economy

Glasgow Unemployment: A study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that nearly a third of households within Glasgow have no one in employment. The study released by the ONS, found that 30.2% of homes in Scotland’s largest city were workless in 2012. Glasgow now overtakes Liverpool as the British city with the highest percentage of workless households. Experts last night blamed the low level of job vacancies, poor health and high levels of lone parenting for the crisis. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 12, Times page 5, Telegraph page 11, Courier page 18)

Scotch Exports: Strong demand from the United States, Latin America and France helped Scotch whisky exports reach nearly £2billion in the opening half of the year, offsetting slowdown in the Chinese market. (Scotsman page 36, Herald page 28, Courier page 33)

UK Global ranking: The UK has moved two places lower in the annual global rankings of economic competitiveness, to 10th, down from 8th last year. The deficit, public debt and low savings rates were cited as the main factors for the drop. (Herald page 2)

RBS Shareholders: A judge is expected to rule that two cases, in which institutional investors and around 12,000 small shareholders in RBS allege that the bank misled its shareholders in a £12billion capital-raising drive, will be heard together. (Scotsman page 10, Times page 1)

Economic Union: Jim Gallagher in the Scotsman, argues that both Scotland and England benefit from the existing economic integration of the United Kingdom, and that the existing fiscal union leads to a fairer distribution of wealth throughout the UK. 

Health

Improved pay: Health Secretary Alex Neil has promised a better pay deal for managers in the NHS Scotland. Mr Neil also pledged to review some of the existing pay arrangements which exist for health service executives at a conference of NHS managers. (Herald page 1)

Education

Philanthropy: Scotland’s schools would be able to develop the country’s most talented pupils using money from a National Lottery-style fund under new proposals. Both state and private schools would be able to bid for bursaries on behalf of pupils who have shown excellence in a range of disciplines. Professor of Education at Edinburgh Lindsay Paterson has criticised the new scheme however, arguing that the scheme helps further entrench divisions by giving support to pupils who already have an advantage through their family background. (Herald page 1)

Edinburgh University: The University of Edinburgh has been highlighted as the biggest user of zero hour contracts, in research conducted by the University and College Union. The University was found to employ 2,712 members of staff on zero hour contracts, the highest number by a university in the UK. (Scotsman  page 18, Herald page 10, Guardian page 13)

Local Government

Referendum Lending Risk: Glasgow City Council has warned of risks to its ambitious building programme, and raised concerns about credit, after it was refused loans by two English local authorities. Authorities south of the border have refused to lend beyond the date of next year’s referendum, a decision reportedly seen as a sign of “market uncertainty”. Therefore, the Council may be forced to borrow elsewhere, potentially with higher rates of interest. (Herald page 6)