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Reform Scotland News: 9 January 2014

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 9 January 2014

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

Independence debate: David Cameron accepted comments by Labour MP Ian Davidson at PMQs yesterday that the Prime Minister may not be the best person to front the campaign against independence.  David Cameron added “I accept that my appeal does not stretch to all parts of Scotland”.  A spokesman for the Prime Minister also confirmed that he would definitely not take part in a TV debate with the First Minister. (Scotsman page 6, Sun page 2, Record page 9, Herald page 6, Times page 2, Mail page 1, P&J page 13)

Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown have agreed to work together, despite a reported rift between the two, as part of the referendum campaign. (Telegraph page 1, Mail page 6)

Wages: Gordon Brown has warned that independence would lead to a race to the bottom on wages and threaten the future of the Rosyth dockyard. (Scotsman page 7, Express page 2, Times page 14, P&J page 16)

Commonwealth Games: Continued coverage of the suggestion that there should be a truce in campaigning ahead of the independence referendum during the Commonwealth Games.  Commonwealth Games and Sport minister Shona Robison commented that a truce was “unrealistic”.(Times page 1, Express page 2, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 12, Courier page 2)

Labour & the Lib Dems: Ed Balls has reportedly commented that he would be willing to work with Nick Clegg in a Labour/ Lib Dem coalition. (Record page 2, FT page 3)

Tavish Scott in the Scotsman comments that George Osborne’s proposal for further spending cuts after the next election has allowed Nick Clegg and Ed Balls to unite in opposition to the Conservatives.

Scandinavian example: Ib Hansen in the Scotsman comments that the Scandinavian countries have illustrated how small nations can work together while keeping borders intact.

Immigration: Iain MacWhirter in the Herald comments on the different experiences of immigration north and south of the Border.

Economy

Tax: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman comments on the looming 31 January deadline for tax returns, arguing that it is a testing time for small businesses and the self-employed.

Local government

Highland Council:
The Accounts Commission has criticised Highland Council for spending £11.5million on a flawed eco-energy project to heat homes.  It commented that the scheme had “significant deficiencies”. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 9, Express page 1)

Justice

Criminal Justice Bill: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments on the Criminal Justice Bill currently before Holyrood.

Corroboration: Bruce Beveridge in the Herald argues that the reforms to corroboration in the Criminal Justice Bill could be hugely damaging to the Scottish legal system.

Education

Part-time study: Figures published by the Scottish Tories have shown that there are 80,000 fewer women studying part-time in Scotland since 2007/8. (Scotsman page 11, Record page 2, Herald page 6)

Childcare jobs: John Swinney has commented that 2,000 new childcare jobs will be created in Scotland as a result of a £3.5million drive to help more women find work. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 4, P&J page 12)

School dinners: Michael Russell and Johann Lamont in the Sun argue for and against free school meals for children in primaries 1 to 3.

Health

C diff: Rates of Clostridium difficile in Scotland increased by 19% in patients over 65 between July and August 2013, compared to same period in the previous year, according to Health Protection Scotland. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 8, P&J page 10)

Baby unit: Dr Jane Hamilton, an established consultant specialising in perinatal psychiatry, has spoken out about concerns she has over a specialist psychiatric mother and baby unit at St John’s Hospital and warnings she had made that someone would die because of short comings in care at the unit. (Herald page 1)