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Reform Scotland News: 18 June 2014

Daily Political Newspaper Summary:  18 June 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

Baby ashes scandal: The Scottish Government yesterday announced a nationwide investigation into the baby ashes scandal. Meanwhile, ministers have accepted all 64 recommendations of an inquiry into child cremation by Lord Bonomy.

(Scotsman page 1, Herald page 11, Times page 6, Express page 2, Record page 7, Sun page 2, Courier page 13, P&J page 1)

Further devolution: Ben Thomson in the Scotsman comments on the pledges by pro-UK parties to increase devolution in the event of a No vote.

Half of Scots believe that Holyrood will get more powers after a No vote in the referendum, according to a study of around 4,000 Scots by the British Election Study (BES). (Scotsman page 12, Times page 9, Record page 8, Joan McAlpine in the Record)

The majority of Scots are unaware that Holyrood will soon wield major new tax-raising powers, including greater control over income tax, according to a new poll for the Herald. (Herald page 1)

Independence debate: The Chinese Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, has said that Scotland should stay part of a ‘strong, prosperous UK’ while on his official visit to the UK.

(Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 1, Times page 9, FT page 2, Express page 2, Courier page 15, Mail page 1)

Former Prime Minister John Major has accused Alex Salmond of trying to exploit anti-English sentiment by staging the independence referendum in the same year as the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. (Telegraph page 2, Record page 8)

Mr Major also stated that the referendum is more critical to the future of the UK than next year’s General Election. (Times page 1, Courier page 14)

George Kerevan in the Scotsman comments that the open debate caused by the independence referendum is helping to re-engage people with politics.

Jonathon Shafi in the Scotsman argues that class is at the heart of the independence referendum.

Andrew Nicoll in the Sun looks at examples of Icelandic life to illustrate the benefits of Scotland becoming independent.

European Union: Nick Clegg is reportedly considering matching David Cameron’s pledge to offer a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union in the Lib Dem party manifesto. (Times page 2)

BBC: BBC Scotland has been criticised for its decision to pay Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale to co-present a new radio programme that will debate key independence referendum issues. (Scotsman page 14)

Social media: Facebook updates and Twitter posts are being intercepted by the UK Government because they are regarded as external communications from countries based overseas, it has been revealed. (Guardian page 1)

Childcare: The SNP flagship policy to expand free childcare to Scottish families will not improve levels of education on its own, an independent report commissioned by the Scottish Government has found. (Herald page 7)

Trident: Joan McAlpine in the Record comments on the arguments put forward for the continued use of the Trident nuclear weapon system.

Economy

Inflation: Inflation is currently at its lowest level in four and a half years. Fierce competition by supermarkets has led to cheaper food and drink, leading the Consumer Prices Index to fall to 1.5 percent, compared to 1.8 percent in April. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 24)

House prices: House prices are growing at the longest sustained rate for four years, according to a survey by LSL property. House prices in Scotland have witnessed an eighth consecutive month of growth, with the independence referendum unlikely to negatively affect house prices. (Herald page 10)

Martin Flanagan in the Scotsman comments on the decrease in the level of inflation and the simultaneous increase in housing prices.

Bank loans: The boss of Clydesdale Bank has admitted to MPs that the Bank sold complex loans to small businesses that confused customers and would ‘not pass the plain English test’. (Scotsman page 34, Herald page 2)

Education

Mackintosh building: The restoration of the fire-damaged Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh building is estimated to cost £35million. Insurers will not fund the whole restoration, so public fundraising for up to £20million may be required. (Times page 6, Courier page 19, P&J page 11)

Health

Human rights: The Court of Appeal yesterday ruled that a terminally-ill woman had her human rights violated because she was not consulted prior to doctors placing a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) on her record. (Scotsman page 15)

Mesh implants: Health Secretary Alex Neil has announced a halt in the use of mesh implants to treat problems with pelvic organs and incontinence. Mr Neil also announced an investigation into the procedures. (Scotsman page 17)

Alcohol ban: Calls by Scottish football chiefs to bring alcohol back to football stadiums after a 30-year ban have been labelled a ‘step in the wrong direction’ by the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research. (Times page 14)

Transport

Edinburgh trams: Lesley Hinds in the Scotsman comments on the recent flourishing of Edinburgh’s tram system.