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Daily Political Media Summary: 22 April 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions

Economy

Grangemouth strike: Acas, the consolidation and arbitration service, is holding talks today between officials from the Unite union and bosses from Ineos, owners of the Grangemouth oil refinery, in an attempt to prevent the proposed 48hour strike, involving up to 1,200 workers, on Sunday from going ahead. (Scotsman page 1, 4 & 5, P&J page 1 & 7, Herald page 2, Courier page 1, Daily Record page 1, 11 & 12, Daily Express page 1& 5, Sun page 9, Daily Mail page 1&4, The Times page 8, Daily Telegraph page 1)

Labour rebellion over 10p tax rate: 40 Labour MPs have signed an amendment motion lodged by former welfare minister Frank Field last night challenging the Government’s decision to scrap the 10p tax rate. The amendment would delay the removal of the 10p tax rate until measures had been introduced to compensate those who would lose out. The motion will be debated in the House of Commons next week. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 1, Courier page 1 & 12, Sun page 2 & leader, Daily Mail page 9, Guardian page 1, Daily Express page 8 & 12, Daily Record page 2, Financial Times page 2, The Times page 6, Daily Telegraph page 1)

Chancellor to meet Council of Mortgage Lenders: Alistair Darling will meet with the Council of Mortgage Lenders today to urge them to pass on rates cuts to customers. The meeting comes on the back of the Government’s decision yesterday to approve a £50billon deal for banks which will allow then to swap their mortgage debt for more reliable government bonds. (Herald page 31, Alf Young in the Herald, Daily Record page 6, Scotsman page 8, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Financial Times page 1, P&J page 5, Courier page 2, Sun page 4, Daily Telegraph page 1 and 2, Daily Mail page 19 & 66, Sam Fleming in the Daily Mail, The Times page 2 , Eamonn Butler in the Times, Guardian page 2 & 23)

UK economic slowdown: Alan Harden, Chief Executive of Alliance Trust said that the UK faced an even more acute economic slowdown than the US. (Herald page 29)

Scottish Futures Trust: Hamish Macdonell in the Scotsman (page 28) and Douglas Fraser in the Herald (page 13) comment on the Scottish Government’s alternative to PFI, the Scottish Future Trust, suggesting that the way forward for the new funding mechanism is far from clear.

Workshy Scots: An investigation in the Sun (page 24 and 25) found that Scots were shunning menial jobs forcing firms to rely on migrant workers.

Crime

Police right to strike: The Police Federation conference in Peebles this week will debate in secret a motion calling for the right to strike. (Herald page 1)

Chief Constable John Vine: The Chief Constable of Tayside is to take up a new role as Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency from July. (Courier page 11, Herald page 2)

Muslim police association: Muslim Police officers in Strathclyde are setting up a special group to represent their faith within Strathclyde pPOlice Forceand advise senior staff on cultural and religious sensitivities. (Herald page 2)

Local Government

Lewis wind farm: The Energy Minister, Jim Mather, rejected proposals for an 181-turbine development on Lewis yesterday saying it was incompatible with European law. However he insisted the Scottish Government was still on course to meet its renewable energy targets. (P&J page 8, Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1 & 11, Daily Express page 6, Courier page 8, Sun page 2, Daily Mail page 31, Daily Telegraph page 6, Daily Record page 22, The Times page 4, Magnus Linklater in The Times, Guardian page 11)

Transport

Rail franchise: When he spoke to the STUC conference yesterday, Finance Secretary, John Swinney, tried to calm unions who were angry over the Scottish Government’s decision to extend First Scotrail’s deal to run the railways to 2014. (P&J page 9, Herald page 6, Daily Express page 2)

BAA: The Competition Commission is expected to criticise BAA in a report today over its near monopoly over key airports including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Heathrow and Gatwick. (The Times page 1 & 43, Daily Mail page 24, Financial Times page 1, Guardian page 26)

Education

Maths taught in French: Cheryl Caira writes in the Herald (page 15) about the Early Primary Partial Immersion experiment in bilingual education being used in an Aberdeen primary school.

Three Rs: The Daily Mail (page 62) reports that in a study of 900 Scots in their 30s, 39% of men and 36% of women have literacy ability at a level likely to affecttheir employment opportunities and life chances.

Residential care workers: The Herald (page 16) reports that only one in three residential care workers have the qualifications demanded by the job.

Politics

STUC conference: Gordon Brown stressed to the STUC conference in Inverness yesterday the benefits of solidarity – both between Labour and the unions and between different parts of the UK. Alex Salmond and Wendy Alexander will appear at the conference today. (Scotsman page 20, P&J page 9, Herald page 31, Daily Express page 8, The Times page 8)

Equality and Human Rights Commission: Trevor Phillips, Chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has suggested that immigrants should be sent to Scotland because they would have less of an impact on health and education services. (Daily Express page 2)

Opinion poll: A UK-wide ICM poll carried out over the weekend shows the Conservatives down three points to 39% with Labour on 34% (up 5%) and Lib Dems on 19% (down 2%). (Guardian page 1)

SNP conference: Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph (page 8) about Alex Salmond’s speech to the SNP Spring conference at the weekend and the First Minister’s target to win 20 MPs at the next general election.