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Reform Scotland Media Summary 13 March 2015

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 13 March 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
Devo max: An independent analysis from SPICe, the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre, has reportedly suggested the SNP’s demands for devo max could result in the loss of 138,000 jobs in an attempt to balance the books. Kezia Dugdale attacked the SNP’s “reckless plan for full fiscal autonomy”. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 4, The Telegraph page 7, The Times page 15, Scottish Daily Express page 2, Daily Recordpage 6, Scottish Daily Mail page 1, Press and Journal page 12)

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp in The National suggests that the figures for devo max do add up, claiming that GERS figures show that “even in a bad year, Scotland’s tax raised per head was £400 more than the average for the UK”. He claims Scots are no longer “sleepwalking” to vote labour.

Alan Cochrane in The Telegraph suggests that Nicola Sturgeon has successfully learned that “bravado and bluster” can cover up failings in economic policy.

Liberal Democrats: Tim Farron MP claims he is looking forward to “the thrill of rebuilding” despite claiming that the Lib Dems will likely hold more than half of the seats gained in 2010. He gave the party “two out of ten” for its handling of the politics of coalition government. (Financial Times page 2, Scottish Daily Mail page 8)

Danny Alexander: Nick Clegg and Paddy Ashdown have come to the defence of Danny Alexander after claims that a party fundraiser sought to bypass donations laws in what the SNP have branded a “dodgy donation scandal”. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 4, The National page 4, Scottish Daily Express page 2, Press and Journal page 14)

Union action: Care workers and Glasgow City Council chiefs are in a dispute over plans to cut hundreds of jobs and make changes to working terms.  This could lead to industrial action. (The Herald page 3)

Trident: The MOD has opposed further devolution to the Scottish Parliament over fears that changes would be made to Britain’s nuclear defence Trident. (The Herald page 1)

Foreign policy: A key part of any possible deal with Labour following the general election would be an insistence from the SNP that “interventionist” foreign policy be curtailed. (The Times page 1)

Scottish Labour: A YouGov poll for The Times has shown that despite constant campaigning, Jim Murphy is failing to turn around the fortunes of Labour in Scotland with the SNP still enjoying a 19 point lead. (The Times page 14)

Peter Kellner in The Times compares the SNP approaching the 2015 General Election to the Conservatives in 1997 and suggests there is little time left for Scottish Labour to prevent an SNP landslide.

Bob Holman: One of Scotland’s best-known anti-poverty campaigners who voted Yes at the referendum has endorsed Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran ahead of the general election in May claiming that his Yes vote was not for SNP but for independence and that he will “always vote labour”. (Daily Record page 7)

Energy Bills: Ed Milliband has pledged new powers for energy regulator Ofgem should Labour win the next election. Powers will allow the regulator to force energy suppliers to lowers costs for customers in line with continuing drops in costs. (Daily Record page 7)

Welfare reform: Campaigners have called for benefits changes to be halted after it emerged that half of disabled Scots would see their benefits “halved” according to a report from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS). Despite a leading labour councillor branding his plans “behind the times”, Jim Murphy has stated he supports “payments for all”. (Daily Record page 2,The Courier page 15)

TV debates: The Scottish Greens are considering legal action after broadcaster STV excluded the party from its pre-election Holyrood leaders’ debates. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 1, The Telegraph page 7, The National page 5, Scottish Daily Express, Daily Record page 6, The Sun page 2, Scottish Daily Mail page 2, The Courierpage 15)

Postal service: It is feared that isolated communities could lose out if more powers are not given to Ofcom to prevent profitable postal routes being “cherry-picked” by the private sector. (The Scotsman page 14)

Scotland in Britain: Kenny Farquharson in The Scotsman suggests that both the SNP and the Conservatives have forgotten the outcome of the referendum. The tories are “othering” the SNP; while the SNP have lost their purpose outside referendums.

Immigration: Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman says that although a recent YouGov survey has shown that 49% of Scots think immigration should be reduced (matching the UK figure), more Scots than Brits feel that immigration has had a positive impact on the country

Economy
Oil and gas: A Bank of Scotland report has shown that most oil and gas firms expect to grow over the next two years: the outlook for the industry may be better than expected. (The Herald page 28, The Scotsman page 5)

Whisky: Sales of Scotch whisky fell by approximately 5% in the UK last year, according to a report published by the Scotch Whisky Association. David Frost, SWA chief executive, has called on the Chancellor to support “an important UK industry” by cutting spirits duty by 2%. (The Scotsman page 12, Scottish Daily Mail page 33)

Health
GP shortage: Dr Alan McDevitt, has warned of a GP shortage across Scotland as patients face having to see nurses and other health workers due to the staffing crisis. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 8, Press and Journal page 16)

Complaints: Doctors in Scotland have accused the General Medical Council of creating a “climate of fear” by handing out tougher sanctions on medics following complaints. Doctors claim that this can make doctors more cautious to the disadvantage of the NHS. (The Herald page 8)

Pay rise: NHS workers in Scotland are set to receive a 1% pay rise for the second year in a row with those earning under £21,000 given a top up to ensure they receive at least an extra £300. (The Scotsman page 1, The National page 15, The Sun page 2)

Education
Further education: Funding chiefs have launched an attack on the board that controls further education in Glasgow. The Scottish Funding Council has said the body is “far from ready”. (The Herald page 3)

Justice
Film evidence: Scotland is on the verge of a judicial revolution as courts prepare for the approval of pre-recorded video testimony. Senior judges and officials have proposed changes to the rules requiring most witnesses to appear in person. (The Herald page 2)

Railway policing: Controversial plans to hand policing of the railways to Police Scotland has prompted Labour’s Brian Donohoe, a former special constable, to accuse the Scottish Government of “empire building” and “scheming”. (The Herald page 4)
Prisons: New standards have been announced for the inspection and monitoring of Scottish prisons and will come into effect  for the first time next week. (The Scotsman page 16)

Compensation: It has emerged that convicted criminals in Scotland have failed to pay nearly £2 million in compensation to their victims since 2009. The situation was condemned by Scottish Tory justice spokesperson Margaret Mitchell. (The Sun page 2, Scottish Daily Mail page 11)