Reform Scotland Media Summary 24 February 2015

Reform Scotland

 Political Newspaper Summary: 24 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
Lobbying: There have been calls for Sir Malcolm Rifkind to step down as chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee at Westminster over cash-for-access allegations. Both Sir Malcolm and Jack Straw have referred themselves to the parliamentary watchdog over the issue and have both been suspended by their parliamentary parties (Scotsmanpage 1, Herald page1&7, Times page 1, National page 3, Financial Times page 2, Daily Mail page 6&7, Courier page 13)

Rachel Sylvester in The Times comments that Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind have played straight into the hands of those bitterly disillusioned with the Westminster elite (page 25)

Ed Miliband: The Labour leader has called for limits on the outside earnings of MPs, in light of the cash-for-access allegations (Times page 6&7, Telegraph page 4)

Election: Alan Cochrane in The Telegraph claims that the SNP hope to ‘hammer labour so comprehensively’ that it cannot form any kind of government, and maintain their grievance that Scotland has been lumbered with another Tory government to further justify their own claims for independence (page 7)

SNP: Nicola Sturgeon has criticised the Prime Minister after he claimed an alliance between the SNP and Labour would be the ‘ultimate nightmare scenario’ for Britain (Herald page 6, National page 3, Press & Journal page 12

Robert McNeill Tweet: A Senior Labour party figure, Robert McNeill, has reportedly urged Scots voters to vote tactically in the General Election for the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats to prevent the SNP from gaining their targeted seats, a move that was criticised by Scottish Labour Leader Jim Murphy (National page 2, Daily Record page 2, Sun page 6)

Pensioner benefits: David Cameron has pledged that a Conservative government would maintain universal benefits for pensioners. (Scotsman page 8, Daily Express page 8, Financial Times page 3)

Payday lenders: Scottish Ministers have been accused of doing a U-turn over payday lenders, and failing to protect Scottish families from falling into debt, after they reportedly abandoned plans to tackle the growth of payday loan companies and betting shops (Herald page 1)

Pre-election TV debates: The Liberal Democrats have threatened legal action against the four main broadcasters after it was revealed yesterday that the final debate a week before the election would be between Ed Miliband and David Cameron, excluding Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg (Times page 2)

Scots Benefit Sanctions: The National reports that 80,000 out of work Scots have had their benefits suspended for up to four weeks at a time, under the sanctions system introduced two years ago by Iain Duncan Smith (page 1)

Economy 
North Sea Industry: Trade body, UK Oil & Gas, have warned George Osborne that hundreds of jobs are at risk if the Chancellor does not deliver radical tax cuts in his budget in three weeks time, in light of big losses anticipated this year (Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Daily Mail page 16, Guardian page 27)

Oil Industry hits hotels: Hotels in Aberdeen are reportedly being hit by the oil downturn, with occupancy down nearly 3 per cent, year on year. (Herald page 4)

Health 
Football Alcohol Ban: David Cameron has backed calls for football fans in Scotland to be allowed to drink, clashing with Alex Salmond who has called the plan a ‘daft notion’, following a survey of 26 clubs in the professional football league that suggests 85% want to end to end the ban (Scotsman page 12, Daily Mail page 20)

Future of NHS: NHS workers across Scotland have issued a stark warning about the future of the NHS saying that things cannot go on as they are if it is to remain viable in the long term (Herald page 6)

Transport
Prestwick:  An Audit Scotland report has warned that the cost of bailing our Prestwick airport has doubled to £40m and passenger numbers have continued to fall (Scotsmanpage 1, Herald page 2, Times page 8, Daily Express page 4, Telegraph page 1, Daily Mail page 9)

Education
Headteachers: Under new proposals, headteachers will have to pass a “masters” qualification before being allowed to take charge of a school. (Scotsman page 1, Ken Cunningham in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Times page 10&11, National page 10, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 21, Telegraph page 11, Press & Journal page 12)

Four year courses: Universities in Scotland have been urged to save money and cut student debt by cutting four year degree courses, or increasing the two terms per annum structure to maximise students’ time at university (Herald page 5)

Pupils’ class time: Ministers are facing calls from Scotland’s biggest teaching union to provide a legal guarantee of a 25- hour school week amid threats to councils that they may cut provision (Times page 10)

Local Government:
V&A Development: Accounting firm KPMG have launched a further financial probe into the Dundee V&A development (Courier page 9)