Reform Scotland News: 02 October 2013

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 2 October 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

Conservative conference: David Cameron will reportedly tell Conservative party members they must spread opportunity outside of Britain’s traditionally privileged groups, making it available “for all”. He is expected to use his speech today to assert his backing for the profit motive, though insist recovery cannot pave a return for the “casino economy” and “welfare society” of the past. (Scotsman page 4, Allan Massie in the Scotsman, FT page 2, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Express page 17, Mail page 2, Guardian page 1)

Independence: Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is expected to tell delegates that Alex Salmond does not represent the majority of Scots, while urging them to get behind the campaign to keep the UK together. The allocation of Ms Davidson’s prime slot on the main platform immediately ahead of David Cameron is reportedly seen as an attempt by the Conservatives to rebuild support in Scotland. (Scotsman page 4, Telegraph page 4, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Times page 8, P&J page 17)

Bedroom tax: A women suffering from multiple sclerosis who cannot share a bedroom with her partner yesterday won a ruling that the reduction of her welfare benefits under the “bedroom tax” is a breach of her human rights. (Scotsman page 6, Telegraph page 8, Mail page 10)

Economy

Referendum economy: A survey by Capital Spreads has shown that City executives believe that the British economy would continue to thrive irrespective of a majority ‘yes’ vote in next years referendum. The report predicted that the financial industry in the south-east of England would continue to drive the economy, while shale gas reserves would make up for the loss of North Sea oil and gas revenue. (Scotsman page 12)

Energy firms: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman argues that the government cannot risk leaving the supply of electricity and gas to the mercy of the free market.   Government, Wilson argues, has a responsibility to make sure that access to electricity and gas is affordable for families.

Pensions: The Axe Life Cost of Living in Retirement report has revealed that three out of four employees in their 50s and 60s have little idea about how their pension scheme is performing, and were unclear over of the amount of income it was likely to provide. (Express page 1)

Royal Mail: Just 100 Royal Mail staff have decided to turn down the offer of free shares in its £3billion privatisation, despite the CWU union earlier claiming that 96% of staff were opposed to privatisation. (Telegraph page 7)

Transport

Glasgow Airport Rail Link: The SNP Government has been criticised after it emerged that almost £30million of taxpayer money was spent on the Glasgow Airport Rail Link, which was ultimately cancelled by ministers. (Herald page 2, Scotsman page 16, Telegraph page 23)

Justice        

Police stations: Police Scotland yesterday announced that more than 70 police stations will close front desks to the public or significantly reduce opening hours, as the police service seeks to find around £60million of cuts to its budget. The move means members of the public will be unable to walk into the affected stations to report crimes, and will instead have to speak to call centre staff. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Record page 1, P&J page 1, Courier page 16, Mail page 1)

Murder rate: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill yesterday revealed that the number of people murdered in Scotland dropped to its lowest level since records began in 1976, with just 62 homicides recorded last year. (Herald page 10, Telegraph page 13, Express page 4, P&J page 19, Courier page 15, Mail page 4)

Arrest law: Senior lawyers and police officers yesterday condemned plans to create two categories of arrested person under the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill, with the term “arrest” to be widened to include a person detained without charge – leading to fears innocent people could be smeared by the media. (Times page 11)

Education

Scottish universities: A report commissioned by the British Council Scotland (BCS) has found that foreign students rate Scotland the top destination worldwide for overall learning satisfaction. (Scotsman page 11, Lloyd Anderson in the Scotsman)