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Reform Scotland News: 21 August 2015

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 21 August 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

Iraq Apology: Jeremy Corbyn has promised that if he becomes leader he would deliver a public apology over the Iraq War on behalf of Labour. Mr Corbyn called the war a ‘deception’ and said Labour would never again ‘flout…international law’. Mr Corbyn has been criticised for finding ‘equivalence’ between the behaviours of ISIS and the US army in Iraq. (Guardian page 1, Herald page 6, Times page 11.)

Scottish Labour: New leader Kezia Dugdale has hinted at plans to raise the highest band income tax in order to tackle inequality in Scotland after calling for ‘radical redistribution’. Her desire to ‘shake up’ the establishment will put pressure on the SNP to follow suit. (Telegraph page 5, Herald page 6, Sun page 6, Scotsman page 8, Mail page 10, Times page 11, Record page 12)

Jenny Marra in the Courier believes Kezia Dugdale’s leadership represents a positive fresh start for Scottish Labour. (Courier page 20)

Dalyell backs Corbyn: Labour veteran Tam Dalyell stated his support for Jeremy Corbyn whilst speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival yesterday, describing him as a ‘listener’ who will bring ‘a whole lot of young people’. Mr Dalyell also mentioned his belief that no future independence referendum will occur for at least a generation. (Scotsman page 1, National page 5, Herald page 6)

Tory retirement: Sir Jamie McGrigor, who has represented the Highlands and Islands since devolution in 1999, has become the seventh of the fifteen Conservative MSPs at Holyrood to announce their retirement. Leader Ruth Davidson is hoping to attract an influx of new talent. (Telegraph page 5, Courier)

Census: A new census reviews shows the Scottish population at a record high, with an increase in life expectancy of 8 and 6 years for men and women respectively over the past thirty years. However, life expectancy remains lower than the UK average. Analysis of ethnicity within the labour market shows that those of Polish descent are the most economically active group. (Herald page 4, Sun page 6, Courier page 17 P&J page 20)

 

Economy

Scottish growth: The economy grew by 0.6 percent over the first quarter of 2015, making the three year period of uninterrupted economic growth the longest seen in Scotland since 2001. (Express page 9)

EU funding: The EU has suspended £5 million funding to projects intended to support the economically disadvantaged across the Highlands, due to irregularities in Holyrood’s financial management. Ministers have been given two months to resolve the issue. (P&J page 1)

Worker exploitation: A report from Citizens Advice Scotland has highlighted a significant increase in inquiries regarding illegal worker exploitation. The report finds that fears of unemployment since the recession, and a £1,200 fee for employment tribunals introduced in 2013, has contributed to an 81% decrease in employees able to seek justice. (Herald page 8, Express page 9)

 

Health

Drink deaths: The number of alcohol-related deaths in Scotland has increased for the second year in a row, with 20 deaths per week in 2014. This has prompted fresh calls for the introduction of minimum unit pricing, but deaths nevertheless remain significantly lower than figures from the early 2000s. (Mail page 2, Scotsman page 9, Express page 9, Record page 10, Herald page 11, Times page 17)

Teen suicide: A teenager in Scotland took their own life every five days in 2015, in a total figure equal to 2014. However, suicide in 15 to 24 year olds has dropped by 17.8% since 2013. (Record page 10)

 

Education

Staff shortage: A spokesman from the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition has called the 13% drop in numbers of Additional Support Needs teachers since 2010 ‘deeply worrying’, as the number of pupils diagnosed with issues such as autism or dyslexia is rising. The Scottish Government has argued that pupils are now supported by a wider range of staff under their policy of inclusion into mainstream education. (Herald page 10, Scotsman page 18)

 

Crime

Police Reform: Two days after former SNP leader Gordon Wilson called for ‘root and branch’ reform of Police Scotland, Chief Constable Sir Stephen House and Scottish Police Authority chairman Vic Emery have released a joint statement defending Police Scotland. Alison McInnes of the Scottish Lib Dems called the joint action ‘staggering’, as ‘the primary responsibility of the SPA chairman is to hold the Chief Constable to account’. (Telegraph page 1, National page 3, Scotsman page 10)

 

Transport

Speed Camera: A speed camera near Nelson Mandela Place in Glasgow may be Scotland’s most lucrative traffic enforcer, after collecting £2 million in fines since its instalment last year. The money will go to the city council’s transport fund, and has also deterred thousands of drivers from the previously congested area. (Mail page 11, Scotsman page 16)