Reform Scotland Media Summary 16 February 2015

Reform Scotland
Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 16 February 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 demands: The SNP could demand hundreds of millions of pounds for building projects in Scotland as part of the price of propping up a Labour government at Westminster (The Herald page 6, The Sun page 2, Euan McColm in Scotland on Sunday page 29, The Courier page 15)

Plaid Cymru: Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has paved the way for a formal pact with the SNP MPs in the event of a hung Parliament at Westminster. Her party already holds three Westminster seats in Wales (The Herald page 6, Sunday Herald page 10)

Nicola Sturgeon: David Torrance comments in the Herald on the assessment made by the First Minister about the fact that she was for “the principle of meritocracy”. (page 15) Dudley Treffry comments on the First Minister’s speech held at the University College of London last week (The Courier page 23)

War on Tax avoiders: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has promised a “zero tolerance” approach in Scotland regarding tax avoiders (The Sunday Herald page 6)

Lobbying code: Labour MSP Neil Findlay said he will force a Holyrood vote on proposals to introduce a strict code of conduct designed to monitor the activities of lobbyists. (The Scotsman page 6)

Receipt for jobs: Labour MP Ed Balls told families to seek a receipt for every low-cost cash job because it was “the right thing to do” (The Times page 1, The Scottish Daily Mail page 4)

Tory donation: One of the Conservative party’s biggest donors is being investigated over “alleged embezzlements” at a finance firm linked to a collapsed £400 million hedge fund (Sunday Herald page 8)

Local finance commission: The Scottish Tories have snubbed a cross-party commission to find a fairer alternative to the council tax, even though the party has told the Government it will not take part as it is examining council tax through its “own tax commission” (Sunday Herald page 11)

Scottish Government in Aberdeen: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon believes Aberdeen can remain Europe’s energy capital for the next half-century and will bring her Cabinet to the city and make fresh calls for UK Government support for the offshore sector (The Press and Journal page 12)

Economy
Poverty: A TUC study revealed that the average Scots worker’s annual salary has fallen by almost £1,900 in real-terms since the Tory-Lib Dem government came to power five years ago in Westminster. (The Herald page 5, Opinion in the Herald page 16)

Oil Union threat: An oil workers’ union has threatened industrial action in the North Sea as companies continue to reduce pay and make changes to working practices. (The Times page 12, The Press and Journal page 8)

Education 
Teachers and Councils: Ministers are facing the threat of a legal challenge from Scotland’s councils over the “imposition” of a budget deal forcing them to maintain teacher numbers. Cosla, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, claimed that there was no link between the number of teachers at school and wider educational standards, and also believes ministers have acted beyond their powers on the educational matter. Finally, deputy First Minister John Swinney has been accused of acting illegally by threatening to cut funding to councils unless they give a “clear commitment to protect teachers numbers” (The Herald page 2, The Scotsman page 4, Brian Monteith in The Scotsman page 24, The National page 4, The Daily Record page 6, The Times page 5, The Courier page 15, The Press and Journal page 13)

Health
Ban on alcohol: Ministers are facing growing pressure to lift a controversial alcohol ban at football matches as Scotland’s most senior police officer said he would be ready to discuss the matter if it shown to have public support. Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy aims to relax the ban (The Scotsman page 8, Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman page 23, The Daily Record page 2, The Sun page 2, Scotland on Sunday page 9, The Times pages 4, Magnus Linklater in The Times page 4, The Sunday Herald page 12, Iain MacWhirter in the Sunday Herald page 16, The Courier page 9,  The Press and Journal page 15)

Dangerous route: Politicians and residents highlight impact of new out-of hours cover in the Western Isles (The Herald page 8)

Labour A&E wards: Labour leader Jim Murphy has pledged to reintroduce hospital matrons in Scotland’s Accident and Emergency wards as part of a five-point plan to tackle recent problems in emergency departments (Scotland on Sunday pages 8 and 32, Sunday Herald page 12)

NHS: A senior health manager, Jeff Ace, has compared the hard-up NHS to a “sinking canoe” (The Daily Record page 2)

Pregnancy law: The welfare of unborn children will come under scrutiny as part of the Scottish Government proposals for a named person for every child in the country (Scotland on Sunday page 6)

Justice
Police rise: The number of official complains has increased by 12% in reports recorded against the new national force. There were almost 4,000 complaints recorded against officers with Police Scotland (The Herald page 4)