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Reform Scotland Media Summary 26 March 2015

Reform Scotland
Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 26 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
Europe poll: Today’s study debunked the suggestions that Scottish people are significantly more left-wing and pro-Europe than those in England. Scots have similar attitudes on public spending to voters south of the border. (The Herald page 1, The Times page 9, The Scottish Daily Mail page 12)

National Insurance and VAT: David Cameron unexpectedly ruled out a future Tory Government raising VAT for five years and also announced his own promise not to hike National Insurance. This puts tax at the heart of the campaign. As a consequence, Labour has sought to regain the political initiative with Labour Leader Ed Miliband asking the Prime minister how he would rule out the prospect of a future Conservative Government raising VAT. (The Herald page 8, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Times page 11, the Financial Time page 2, The Scotsman page 8, The Scottish Daily Mail page 13, The Guardian page 13)

Coalition: Prime Minister David Cameron has held private discussions about forming another coalition government after the General Election, and is not planning for a second coalition with the Liberal Democrats. This contrasts with his public aim of an ‘all-out win’. (The Daily Telegraph page 10)

Labour promise: Scottish Labour Leader Jim Murphy has pledged that tens of thousands of Scottish apprentices would receive free bus travel under a Labour Government. (The Herald page 8, The National page 12, The Daily record page 2, The Press and Journal page 13, The Courier page 19)
Tim Montgomerie comments in the Times about Labour’s policy over 15 years (page 31)

SNP&Labour: Prime Minister David Cameron has claimed in a parliamentary session yesterday that the former First Minister Alex Salmond had taken the entire Labour party hostage and now has ‘Ed Miliband as his poodle.’ (The Herald page 8, Iain Macwhirther in the Herald, Michael Deacon in the Daily Telegraph, Alan Cochrane in the Daily Telegraph, The Times page 8, The Scotsman page 8, The Daily Express page 4, The Sun page 2, The Daily Record page 9, The Press and Journal page 12, The Courier page 19)

Scotland Office: Deputy First Minister John Swinney has accused the UK Government of ‘mucking about’ with Scottish international trade missions. (The Courier page 18)

Nicola Sturgeon: The First Minister was forced to reassert her leadership of the SNP yesterday, after former First Minister Alex Salmond reportedly undermined her demands for propping up a minority Labour Government after the General Election. (The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Times page 8, Tom Peterkin in the Scotsman, Bill Leckie in the Sun, The Scottish Daily Mail page 12)

Alex Salmond: Magnus Linklater comments in The Times on the controversial presence of Alex Salmond on the political scene at the General Election. (page 8)
Lesley Riddoch comments in the National on Alex Salmond’s declaration she calls ‘hot non-news’ (page 8)

Liberal Democrats: The Liberal Democrats have blocked Conservative plans to make it easier to remove illegal gypsy encampments in the countryside, prompting a final coalition row ahead of the general election. (The Daily Telegraph page 12)

Moratorium: Demands for a moratorium on Iain Duncan Smith’s benefit sanctions regime, first reported in the National, have been backed by the SNP. The SNP has urged the Conservatives and LibDems to suspend the system following a damning report published earlier this week by a Commons select committee that questioned whether sanctions had any positive impact on people finding work. (The National page 17)

Gaelic: David Leask comments in the Herald on the necessity of equality and respect between Gaelic and English in Scotland. (page 11)

Economy
Land Reform: Land reform being championed by the Scottish Government risks leaving the taxpayer with a £600 million bill to Scottish landowners for infringement of their property rights, MSPs has been warned. (The Herald page 8, The Daily Telegraph page 12, The Times page 3, The Courier page 36)

Longannet: The premature closure of Scotland’s only remaining coal-fired power station at Longannet at a time of falling spare capacity in the system is a ‘national scandal’ according to the energy minister Fergus Ewing. 1,500 jobs are at risk after operator Scottish Power said the station will close by March 2016. (The National page 7)

Scottish Land: The UK Treasury will still be entitled to profit from Scottish Land after revenues from existing Crown property in Scotland are assigned to Holyrood, the Crown Estate’s Scottish Commissioner Gareth Baird has confirmed. (The National page 12)

Health
Contaminated blood: A major public inquiry into the infection of Scottish patients with contaminated blood has been condemned as a ‘whitewash’ by victims across the UK. Bill Right, chairman of the charity Haemophilia Scotland and a victim himself said the Government could not avoid its ‘moral responsibility’ to those patients who caught HIV or Hepatitis C. Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison both responded to the report by apologising to patients and promising a review of the financial support which they have been offered. (The Herald page 1, The Daily Telegraphpage 8, The Times page 1, The National page 2, The Scotsman page 1, The Daily Express page 1, Ben Borland in the Daily Express, The Sun page 8, The Daily Record page 6, The Scottish Daily Mail page 1, The Guardian page 11, The Press and Journal page 16)

Car Smoking plan: Plans to change the law to ban smoking in cars when children are on board have won the support of the Scottish Government. (The Daily Telegraph page 8, The Times page 17, The Scotsman page 6, The Daily Express page 10, The Daily Record page 2, The Press and Journal page 14)

Anti-bed blocking plan: Nurses treating the elderly have dismissed claims a new two-week discharge target, to be introduced in Scots hospitals from next month, will help combat the ‘bed-blocking’ delay. The elderly people suffered from inefficient support in the social care system according to them. (The National page 10)

Education
Fairer access: More students from the poorest parts of Scotland are securing a place at university and staying on to complete their studies according to official figures. However, the country still lags behind the rest of the UK both in terms of widening access and drop-out rates. (The Herald page 3, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Scotsman page 15, The Scottish Daily Mail page 19, The Press and Journal page 22)