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Reform Scotland News: 17 December 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

Sir Ian Wood: Sir Ian Wood’s offer of £50m to help regenerate Aberdeen’s city centre, as long as the council came up with a project by the end of the year, is expected to be formally declined by Aberdeen City Council. (Scotsman page 11 , Herald page 5, P&J page 1)

Free movement of people: Home Secretary Theresa May reportedly wants to introduce a cap on EU migration as part of any negotiations on new arrangements for the UK’s membership of the EU.  However, Nick Clegg has reportedly called the proposal “illegal and undeliverable”. (Scotsman page 12, Times page 4, Express page 2, FT page 3, Telegraph page 16, Mail page 19, Guardian page 2)

John Major: Former Prime Minister John Major has commented that independence would be a “folly on a grand scale” and that the UK would be seen overseas as “damaged and diminished”. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6, Courier page 21)

Businesses & the referendum: Alistair Carmichael has reportedly accused the Scottish Government of using “heavy influence” to silence business voices in Scotland which may be against independence. (Herald page 6, Mail page 6)

State guardians: Janys Scott QC has commented that it is not clear what the government’s objective is with regard to state guardians for older children. Under proposals in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, 16 and 17 year olds who get married and start families will have their own state guardian and one for each of their children.  (Times page 1)

Ryder Cup visit: Alex Salmond is reportedly under pressure to account for a “mystery” £54,000 spent during his delegation’s trip to the Ryder Cup in Chicago. (Telegraph page 1)

Dalgety Bay: Gordon Brown in the Scotsman criticises the Ministry of Defence for failing to launch a clean-up operation more than three years after radioactive materials were found in Dalgety Bay.

Economy

High streets: A study by the Local Data Company, the Institute for Retail Studies and the University of Stirling has found that roughly 70 per cent of vacant shops in a third of Scottish cities and towns have remained empty for more than a year. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1)

Retirement living standards: A report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has suggested that the children born in the 1960s and 1970s will only be better off than the previous generation when they retire if they inherited wealth. (Herald page 1, Express page 17, FT page 2, Robert Joyce in the FT, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 1, Guardian page 1)

Fracking: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments that fracking could be good for Scotland.

Justice

Lockerbie: Libya has reportedly appointed two prosecutors to work with Scottish and US prosecutors investigating the Lockerbie bombing.  Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland has commented that there were still others with “blood on their hands”. (Scotsman page 1, Sun page 9, Herald page 7, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 18, P&J page 12, Courier page 13)

Anti-slavery law: The Scottish Government has commented that it is giving careful consideration to the UK Government’s Modern Slavery Bill, which currently covers England and Wales, and is exploring the potential for the Bill to cover Scotland. (Scotsman page 10

Education

Free school meals: A letter, signed by teaching union the EIS, the STUC and Children 1st, has called for all children in Scotland in P1-P3 to be given free school lunches. From September 2014, children in the first three years of school in England will receive free lunches. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 5)

Transport

20mph zones: A pilot project will see speed limits on major roads in five towns and villages cut to 20mph in an attempt to improve safety. (Scotsman page 13, Record page 2, Herald page 7, Express page 2, P&J page 14)