Scottish news bulletin: 12th March 2009

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All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is blue and underlined.

Crime

Prisoner’s compensation: The UK Government has signalled that it is prepared to make a deal with Scottish ministers to save taxpayers paying £50million in compensation to prisoners who may be able to claim human rights violations for having to slop out. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Daily Express page 4, Press and Journal page 9, Courier page 1)

Police officers record: 170 officers in Scotland have a criminal record, many of which were picked up while on duty. The crimes range from assault and perverting the course of justice to driving offences. It has also emerged that half the police forces which provided this information have not sacked a single officer with a criminal record. (Scotsman page 21, Daily Express page 1, Press and Journal page 7, Courier page 12)

Local Government

Equal pay: Future council tax freezes and front-line services are under threat as councils are still dragging their feet over implementing an equal pay agreement for staff, which could cost Scottish councils £1billion. (Scotsman page 12, Telegraph page 1, Daily Express page 10, Press and Journal page 12, Courier page 7)

Health

Scotland NHS: An innovative scheme which is already active in England and Wales could be given the go ahead in Scotland. This would get new medicines to patients under cut-price deals and money-back offers from drug companies. Campaigners welcomed the move as it should increase patients’ access to treatment otherwise too expensive for the NHS. (Scotsman page 7)

Waiting lists: Patients could face a significant increase in the time they have to wait for operations as a result of an extension of the EU Working Time directive which would limit the working hours of junior doctors to 48 hours a week, down from 56. (Telegraph page 1)

Politics

Scottish Parliament building: A new search has begun to find another quote for the Canongate wall on the Scottish Parliament building to commemorate the 10 years of devolution. (Scotsman page 3, Times page 3, Herald page 12, Press and Journal page 9, Courier page 7)

Calman Commission: The SNP have finally broken their boycott of the Calman Commission by making a submission calling for more borrowing powers to get Scotland out of the recession. This is part of an agreement to get the Liberal Democrats to vote for the budget. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 9, Press and Journal page 10, Courier page 6, Daily Mail page 4)

SNP schools: The SNP Government has passed the point where it is able to commission and build a new school before the next Holyrood election. This is a blow to the SNP who promised to match the Labour/Liberal Democrat Executive ‘brick for brick’. (Scotsman page 11)

VisitScotland: The head of the public tourism agency VisitScotland has defended a decision to spend £4million on its accommodation booking website, as MSPs are investigating the way money is spent. (Scotsman page 13, Courier)

Alistair Darling: The Chancellor has called for global consensus on dealing with the world recession as he tries to dismiss fears that leaders would fail to agree at the forthcoming G20 summit. Mr. Darling stated that all countries needed to agree on plans for monetary and fiscal stimulus. (Scotsman page 15)

Returning troops: Muslims in Scotland have condemned those who disrupted the homecoming parade in Luton; labelling them extremists. The Convener of the Muslim Council of Scotland stated that Islam for the UK, who organised the protest, does not speak for Muslims in Scotland. (Scotsman page 20, Guardian page 8, Daily Express page 15, Courier page 10, Daily Mail page 1)

Cut-price alcohol: The Scottish Government’s plans to ban cut-price drinks promotions will lead to a significant increase in revenue for the alcohol industry. The plans announced by the Scottish Government have created a storm of controversy, not least from the drinks industry. (Scotsman page 24, Times page 14, Telegraph page 8, Daily Express page 8, Press and Journal page 11)

Labour: Gordon Brown is preparing to tell the beleaguered Labour party that it may need to reinvent itself as a modern progressive movement modelled on Barack Obama’s election campaign. (Times page11)

GB football team 2012: Alex Salmond has condemned the suggestion that an all-English football team should represent Great Britain in the Olympics. Mr. Salmond suggested that all four home nations should be allowed to enter their own teams. (Scotsman
page 18)

Conservatives in the EU: David Cameron has been accused of putting the Conservatives on the lunatic fringe of the EU, after confirming that they would withdraw from the mainstream centre-right grouping, EPP. (Financial Times page 2, Courier page 11)

Reform Scotland is an independent, non-party think tank that aims to set out a better way to deliver increased economic prosperity and more effective public services based on the traditional Scottish principles of limited government, diversity and personal responsibility.

www.reformscotland.com

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