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Reform Scotland News: 20 November 2013

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 20 November 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

SNP economic policy: A report published by the SNP has alleged that independence could lead to the creation of almost 200,000 jobs within Scotland, primarily by refocusing the economy to capitalise on the emergence of global superpowers. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Ian Bell in the Herald, Telegraph page 7, Magnus Linklater in the Times, FT page 2, Kerry Gill in the Express, Sun page 2, Record page 9, Guardian page 18, P&J page 12, Courier page 15)

Independence White Paper: Opposition parties have criticised the SNP’s decision to launch next week’s independence white paper at an event in Glasgow rather than at the Scottish Parliament, saying that the decision to not present the paper to MSPs first is an “affront to justice”. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 16, Express page 8, page 4, P&J page 12, Courier page 15)

Bedroom tax: Opponents of the ‘bedroom tax’ have criticised the SNP’s decision to side with the Conservatives and reject a motion calling for a national ban on evictions arising from arrears in rent caused by the bedroom tax. (Scotsman page 5, Courier page 15)

Gay marriage: MSP John Mason has said that the Scottish Parliament will be ignoring the public if it backs gay marriage in a vote at Holyrood this evening, alleging Parliament to be out of line with the public’s views on same-sex marriage. (Scotsman page 14, P&J page 11)

Free speech: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments that people in Scotland must be able to speak freely in the run-up to next year’s referendum without fear of retribution, describing MSP Shona Robinson’s alleged attempt to silence an academic as the stuff of “tin-pot dictatorships”.

Benefits for under-25s: Those under the age of 25 would be barred from claiming unemployment benefits unless they can prove they are in “purposeful” training or carrying out an “intensive” job search, under proposals reportedly being considered by the Labour party. (Telegraph page 1, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph)

Army reserves: The Army would be plunged into “chaos and uncertainty” if government plans to replace regular soldiers with part-time reserves are opposed, according to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, warning Conservative rebels that they would leave the army “lopsided”. (Telegraph page 1)

Tory image: The Conservatives will lose the next general election if they cannot win over the many young voters who view the Tories as “the party of the rich”, MP Nick Boles has warned. (Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1)

Payday loan firms: Margo McDonald MSP has called for ban on advertising by payday loan firms at sporting events, similar to the existing ban on tobacco firms. (Scotsman page 21)

Economy

Growth forecast: The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has upgraded Britain’s growth forecast for the next two years by more than any other G7 country, though urged the coalition to build more houses and closely monitor the help-to-buy scheme, so as to prevent from the creation of another housing bubble. (Herald page 5, Telegraph B8, FT page 3, Express page 5)

Currency union: Alex Salmond has reportedly vowed to refuse to pay a share of the national debt in an independent Scotland if Scotland is denied the right to share the sterling on its own terms. (Times page 4, Alistair Darling in the FT)

Education

Graduate jobs: 47 percent of all recent university graduates are now working non-graduate jobs, in contrast to 37 percent in 2001, also representing the largest rise since the beginning of the recession. (Telegraph page 12, FT page 3, Record page 2, Guardian page 7)

Research funding: Roland Wolf, Director of Medical Research at Dundee University, has spoken out about reported fears by academics that funding for their work would dry up in an independent Scotland, adding that he did not think a system of funding for a separate Scotland had been thought through. (Times page 16)

Health

Out-of-hours GP service: The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland has warned that the current out-of-hours services provided by GPs is under increasing strain, and requires urgent action to ensure public safety over weekends and public holidays. (Scotsman page 16, Mail page 10)

Justice

Corroboration: The Law Society of Scotland has said that the scrapping of corroboration risked opening the floodgates to appeals, while other law reforms will make it harder to overturn potential miscarriages of justice. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 6, Times page 2, Record page 7)

Prison reform: The head of Scotland’s prison service has called for radical reform in the way prisoners are treated, saying that prisons should focus more on helping offenders rehabilitate and integrate back into their communities, and that prisoners should be treated in a kinder fashion. (Herald page 1)

Local Government

Opencast mine: Midlothian Council have granted final planning approval for a new opencast mine which will see the evacuation of ten million tonnes of coal, despite fierce opposition from environmental groups and local residents, determining the mine near Penicuik as “necessary and in the national interest”. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 9, Mail page 24)