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Reform Scotland News: 2 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

Further devolution: Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, will today announce her support for giving more tax powers to Holyrood. Party insiders have reportedly also stressed that the recommendations of the Strathclyde Commission – set up by the Conservatives to investigate further devolution – will not clash with Labour’s proposals on the matter. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 6, Press and Journal page 12, Financial Times page 1, Daily Express page 2, Sun page 2, Sunday Times page 19, Times page 11, Telegraph page 2)

David Torrance comments in the Herald on Ruth Davidson’s devolution pledge.

Brian Monteith comments in the Scotsman on the Conservatives and more powers for the Scottish Parliament.

 

Independence debate: Gordon Brown will tomorrow urge Labour supporters who may be flirting with the idea of independence to reject the notion and stick with the union. He also lays out his vision for the future of Scotland as part of the UK. (Herald page 6, Daily Record page 6, Sunday Times page 18)

According to leading economist Ronald MacDonald, every Scot could be £9,000 worse off under independence because Alex Salmond’s plans to keep the pound in a currency union are untenable. (Sunday Times page 18, Times page 11)

It was claimed yesterday that farmers across Scotland may be driven out of business if voters back independence, and many farmers fear that they could face a backlash from English customers and retailers. (Daily Express page 2)

Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed a 130 page policy document backing independence from think tank the Jimmy Reid Foundation. Proposals include taxing the wealthy higher rates to allow an independent Scotland to enjoy a 4-day working week. (Herald page 8, Daily Express page 2)

A YouGov poll compiled by the Better Together group has revealed that 64% of Scots would prefer to share the money raised from North Sea oil and gas with the rest of the UK. Only 30% of those surveyed said they thought the money should stay in Scotland. A similar poll also showed that two-thirds of Scots want to keep their UK pensions. (Scotsman page 8, Telegraph page 12)

Iain McLean comments in the Sunday Times on how Scotland might look in 2020 having become independent in 2014.

Gillian Bowditch comments in the Sunday Times on the various different options that would be available for Scotland in the event of a No vote.

 

Iraq War letters: Alex Salmond has added his voice to the increasing number of those calling for the private exchanges between Tony Blair and George Bush in the run up to the Iraq war to be released to the public in full. (Herald page 2)

 

European Union: David Cameron has been accused of blackmail as a result of his attempts to block veteran federalist Jean Claude Juncker from becoming the next European Commission President. The allegations come as it was suggested that Mr Cameron warned his European counterparts that Britain might leave the EU if Mr Juncker took the position. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 12, Guardian page 1, Daily Mail page 6)

 

Immigration targets: George Osborne has reportedly admitted defeat on the Conservative pledge to bring down the UK’s annual net immigration to 100,000 by the 2015 general election, saying that Britain’s EU membership would have to be re-negotiated in order to deliver on the promise. (Herald page 6)

 

UKIP: In a bid to broaden the party’s appeal beyond Euroscepticism, Nigel Farage has promised to cut taxes in the UK, insisting that nobody on the minimum wage should have to pay tax, and saying he believes that the top band should be reduced from 45% to 40%. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 12, Guardian page 4, Courier page 16, Times page 2, Telegraph page 2)

Nigel Farage has also predicted that UKIP are on course to enter Holyrood, saying that if they secure the same percentage of the vote in the next Scottish election, they will be on track to win eight seats in the Parliament. (Sunday Times page 19)

 

Press regulation: Sir Alan Moses, the senior judge who is to chair Britain’s new newspaper regulation body, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), has said that he has no intention of controlling the press, and says that Ipso still has no plans to seek recognition under the terms of a royal charter. (Herald page 7)

 

MSPs hiring family: A ban on MSPs hiring members of their own family that is due to come into force next year may be rethought due to fears that the original plan could lead to legal challenges. (Herald page 7)

 

Apprenticeships: According to a report on youth employment led by retired oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood, small businesses should be given more support for taking on apprentices. (Sunday Times page 13)

 

Health

Dementia care: NHS units specialising in giving care to dementia sufferers in Scotland have been heavily criticised in a damning report from the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1)

 

Assisted suicide:  A group of physicians have formed a new body to back proposals to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland. The group consists of practising and retired doctors and will lobby MSPs considering the changes put forward by Margo MacDonald. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 12, Courier page 13)

 

Economy

Pensions: A radical shake up of the pensions system is set to be unveiled in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday. The proposals will mean that, for the first time, employees will be given the chance to pool their pensions in collectives, as was pioneered originally in the Netherlands. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6, Daily Mail page 8)

 

Education

Teacher strikes: School teachers are threatening to strike over the roll-out of Scotland’s controversial new exams, and the increased workload involved. The threat of industrial action will be will be raised at the AGM of the Educational Institute of Scotland in Perth. (Herald page 10, Press and Journal page 14)

 

Local Government

Edinburgh trams: Despite some minor “teething issues” being reported, the Edinburgh Tram system enjoyed a busy inaugural weekend, with 21,000 people riding the new tram link on Saturday. (Herald page 4, Scotsman page 3, Courier page 15, Daily Express page 9)