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Reform Scotland News: 7 May 2014

Daily Political Newspaper Summary:  7 May 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: The majority of businesses elsewhere in the UK do not support a formal currency union with Scotland should it become independent, a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has reported.

(Scotsman page 5, Herald page 2, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Express page 2 P&J page 15)

Angus Robertson MP in the Scotsman argues that an independent Scotland would work more closely with Nordic states and other northern neighbour states.

Civil service impartiality: Scotland’s most senior civil servant, Sir Peter Housden, has denied claims that he and his staff have broken rules governing impartiality during the independence referendum campaign. (Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 12)

UK civil servants, meanwhile, have voiced concerns that they are being pressed to provide information to ministers on one side of the Westminster coalition without informing the other. (FT page 2)

UKIP: Over half of voters intending to vote for UKIP in this month’s European election also intend to support the party in next year’s General Election, according to a poll by YouGov (FT page 2)

David Cameron has conceded that it will be difficult to beat UKIP in the European elections (FT page 2).

Pro-Union campaign: A senior Labour source has reportedly labelled Prime Minister David Cameron as “toxic” to the pro-Union campaign. (Herald page 6)

SNP: Ruth Davidson has compared the SNP to the UKIP party, claiming that both offer the same “bellicose, nationalist, anti-Westminster” option for voters. (Herald page 6)

BBC: BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten is stepping down from his role with immediate effect following major heart surgery (Herald page 4, Times page 1). Labour has reportedly warned the Conservatives against appointing a “political stooge” as Lord Patten’s replacement. (FT page 4)

General Election: Over 61 percent of voters want the party that wins the next General Election to be tough on big business, a Populus/FT survey has found. (FT page 2)

Daniel Hannan in the Telegraph comments that the biggest long-term challenge for the Conservative party will be attracting meaningful support from ethnic minorities.

Police officers: The number of police officers on Scotland’s streets has fallen by over 250 in the past year, official figures show. (Scotsman page 8)

Economy

AstraZeneca: Business Secretary Vince Cable last night refused to rule out intervention to ensure protection for UK jobs and research & development should US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer successfully complete a takeover of AstraZeneca (Scotsman page 12, FT page 2, Herald page 6)

Allister Heath in the Telegraph denounces government intervention in the proposed Pfizer-AstraZeneca deal.

Housing bubble: The Bank of England should invoke new legal powers to allow it to curtail Britain’s housing boom, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said. (Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 10)

Education

Inequality: Extra funds and top teachers should be provided to failing schools in an attempt to tackle the gap in the quality of education provided to the poor and rich in Scotland, a new Labour report has suggested. The report also suggested the establishment of new family centres. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 1, Times page 8)

Children’s health: Marjory Burns in the Scotsman suggests that the curtailing of advertisements of junk food would be an investment in Scotland’s youth.

Health

Cleaning standards: A hospital in Dundee has been ordered to improve cleaning standards in wards caring for seriously ill babies. Inspectors also discovered dirty patient equipment including “blood and faecal contamination” in other wards within the hospital. (Scotsman page 16)

Local government

Ashes scandal: Continued coverage of the ashes scandal. (Sun page 21)