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Reform Scotland Media Summary 19 January 2015

Reform Scotland
Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 19 January 2015
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
SNP Election Boost:  A Panelbase poll has shown that despite a lift from Jim Murphy, Labour is set to lose half its Scottish seats with the SNP’s tally expected to grow from 6 to 35 (Sunday Times page 1&2, Scotsman page 4, Times page 13, Telegraph page 4, National page 6, Courier page 13, Sun page 2)

A Survation poll has revealed that a majority of Scots want Labour to govern in coalition with the SNP at Westminster.  The poll also suggests that the SNP could win 52 seats in Scotland and Labour just 6 (Daily Record page 7)

A survey conducted for think tank British Future found that 33% of Scots think the SNP will be part of the next UK government.  The survey also found that two-thirds of Scots believe independence will eventually happen (Sunday Herald pages 1, 4&5)

Chilcot Inquiry:  Nicola Sturgeon has launched a cross-party appeal for the Chilcot report to be made public before the General Election (Sunday Herald page 10, Scotland on Sunday page 4, National page 2, Alex Salmond in the Courier, Press & Journal page 15)

Conservative Candidate Selection:  David Cameron’s commitment to boosting the number of female Tory MPs has been questioned after it is revealed 88% of his General Election candidates in Scotland are men (Sunday Herald page 13)

Leader Debates:  Andrew Wilson in Scotland on Sunday says the TV debates should be open to all parties in order to embrace the increasing differences of the people they serve

Six in 10 Scots say Nicola Sturgeon should take part in the leaders’ debates (Scotsman page 8)

General Election:  David Torrance in the Herald argues that small differences will be important as politicians fight for supremacy in an increasingly complex political context.

Nick Clegg:  The Lib Dem leader has said he finds it “difficult” to envisage a coalition with the SNP after claiming he would not sit around a Cabinet table with Nigel Farage (Herald page 1)

Scots OBR:  Labour has called for a Scottish version of Westminster’s Office for Budget Responsibility to provide independent economic analysis with more tax powers coming to Edinburgh through the Smith Commission proposals (Sunday Herald page 12Jackie Baillie in Scotland on Sunday, Press & Journal page 13)

Votes for 16&17 year olds:  Westminster will this week hand Scotland the power to give 16 & 17 year olds the vote as franchise powers are fast tracked (Herald page 6)

Jim Murphy:  The Labour leader has been accused of spin for asking the party’s Scottish executive to re-number the aims and values in the party rule-book so the recent re-write could be described as “clause four” (Sunday Herald page 12)

Trident: Pat Kane in the Scotsman suggests that Trident takes centre stage in the General Election, with SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party all wanting rid of it and set to hold the balance of power (also Times page 16)

Meanwhile, Labour have labelled the SNP’s Trident debate as a stunt and plan to boycott it in the Commons this week (Herald page 6)

Community Planning Partnerships:  Ministers are under pressure to reform Community Planning Partnerships, created to address inequality, after it is alleged they have achieved nothing in a decade (Herald page 13)

V&A:  Dundee’s V&A project has been given an extra £10m in Scottish Government funding to ensure that construction work isn’t further delayed (Courier pages 1-3)

Economy
North Sea Oil: Tom Peterkin in Scotland on Sunday suggests that without agreement on immediate action the current crisis of confidence threatens to do irreparable harm to Scotland’s oil and gas industry (also Herald page 11)

In the National James Meadway outlines how Scotland’s oil bankrolled Britain’s debt-driven economy over the last 30 years, but successive governments failed to plan for the long term (page 4)

Gillian Bowditch in the Sunday Times says that the SNP’s reliance on North Sea oil would have left an independent Scotland in the red (page 25)

Record low interest rates are set to continue for home-owners as the oil price plunge means the Bank of England is unlikely to raise the base rate from 0.5% (Express pages 1&4)

Land & Buildings Transaction Tax:  John Swinney has reportedly re-written the SNP’s replacement for stamp duty after being undercut by George Osborne, with estate agents welcoming the move (Sunday Herald page 10, Scotland on Sunday pages 1&5, Sunday Times page 7, Herald page 7, Brian Monteith in the Scotsman, FT page 3, Express page 4, Daily Mail page 2, Sun page 2, Courier page 14, Press & Journal page 12, the Times pages 1&2)

Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph says that John Swinney’s u-turn on Land & Buildings Tax, along with their oil predictions suggest that the SNP may not be as sure footed as recent polls suggest.

Labour Market:  According to a Bank of Scotland report, Scotland’s job market has regained strength with a sharp rise in permanent placements and starting salaries, raising hopes the economic recovery will continue into 2015 (Herald page 24, Scotsman page 9, Daily Mail page 2,Times page 2, National page 27, Press & Journal page 16)

Constitution Battle:  The CBI and the FSB have called for an end to the continuing battle over Scotland’s constitutional future in order to create stability and unlock investment (Scotsman page 1&4)

Larry Elliot in the Guardian comments on the need to move away from the centralised approach to managing the economy to benefit the different regions and nations of the UK.

Health
Assisted Dying:  Documents submitted to Holyrood’s Health Committee raise fears that legalising assisted dying could lead to pressure on patients to take a legal dose of drugs before they are ready (Herald page 5)

Loneliness:  Holyrood’s Equal Opportunities Committee is to hold an inquiry into the effect of loneliness and isolation on health (Herald page 1)

A&E: In the Herald Dr Barry Klaasen argues that a radical overhaul of primary care access is needed to tackle Scotland’s A&E crisis.

Obesity:  health experts admit they are struggling to deal with the side-effects of Scotland’s obesity crisis as children under the age of four are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (Scotsman pages 1&5)

Justice
Corroboration: Former judge and solicitor general for Scotland Lord McCluskey is calling for the SNP to drop plans to abolish corroboration (Sunday Herald page 11, Scotland on Sunday page 5, Sunday Times page 7, Herald page 13)

Early Release:  Academics have warned that plans to end the automatic early release of certain criminals from prison pose a risk to public safety (Herald page 9, National page 15)

Education
Teachers: The General Teaching Council for Scotland is drawing up plans for overseas teachers to take tough new aptitude tests before they can work in Scotland (Herald pages 1&3)