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Daily Political Media Summary: 23 April 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions

Economy

Biofuels: The Prime Minister said yesterday that he would reconsider how far the UK was prepared to signup to proposals for a tenfold increase in the use of biofuels by 2020 in response to concerns that the increase in biofuels was leading to global increases in the cost of food. (Scotsman page 1 )

10p tax: Yesterday the Chancellor promised Labour MPs that measures to compensate low-income households over the loss of the 10p tax rate would be introduced. It is hoped this will appease potential Labour rebels ahead of next Monday’s vote on the issue. (The Times page 28, Scotsman page 2, Sun page 2, Guardian page 1, Daily Mail page 8 & 9, Herald page 6, Ian Bell in the Herald, Courier page 11, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 16, P&J page 5, Daily Telegraph page 4, Graham Brady in Daily Telegraph, Financial Times page 2)

Economic slow down: Reports and comment in a number of papers about the global economic slow down. (Ian McConnell in the Herald, Irwin Stelzer in the Daily Telegraph, Martin Wolf in the Financial Times)

Grangemouth refinery: Talks will continue at Acas, the consolidation and arbitration service, today with the aim of halting the 48hour strike planned by workers for Sunday. At the end of yesterday’s talks Ineos, the owner of the refinery, announced it was suing the Unite union over defamatory statements it had made. The pending strike comes alongside increases in fuel prices. (Daily Record page 9, Scotsman page 2, George Kerevan in the Scotsman, P&J page 7, Herald page 7, The Times page 4, Courier page 1, Daily Mail page 4, Sun page 6)

Shell to axe Scottish jobs: Shell is expected to announce today that 300 jobs are to be cut from its workforce in Aberdeen. (P&J page 1)

Cost of borrowing: Mortgage lenders told the Chancellor yesterday that the cost of borrowing was likely to stay high. (Financial Times page 2, Herald page 4, Courier page 2, Daily Mail page 17, Daily Record page 2, P&J page 5)

Benefit fraud over 36 kids: A 30 year-old man from Aberdeen claimed £80,000 of benefits by claiming he had 36 children, when in fact he only had two. (Daily Record page 1, Daily Mail page 11, Daily Express page 7, Sun page 9, P&J page 1)

Scottish banknotes: Following Treasury proposals which threaten Scottish banknotes, the Daily Express (page 8 and leader) calls on the Chancellor to protect Scottish banknotes and give them the same legal status as English notes.

Crime

Police right to strike: At their annual conference in Peebles yesterday the Scottish Police Federation, which represents rank and file police officers, voted for the right to take industrial action with 53% of delegates in favour. Such a move would require a change in the law. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 2, The Times page 9, Courier page 10, Daily Telegraph page 13, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 2, Sun page 2, P&J page 7)

Crimes by women increasing: The Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini, said there has been an increase in the number of women committing violent offences on other women. (Scotsman page 24, Daily Record page 10, Herald page 1, Courier page 7, Daily Express page 11, Sun page 14, Daily Telegraph page 13)

Thin blue line: Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, has said that the days of the police existing solely to protect the public from criminals was over. Instead the police should be seen as a blue line woven into the fabric of our communities, not judged purely on the criminals they catch. (Daily Mail page 1)

Transport

BAA: Yesterday the Competition Commission delivered its interim report into BAA and reported that its monopoly may not be operating for the greater good. The commission will report in full in August with a list of recommendations for BAA, which may include the sale of some of BAA’s airports.(The Timespage 6 and leader, Daily Mail page 6, Herald page 11 and leader, P&J page 8, Scotsman page 10, Courier page 14, Daily Telegraph page 10, Financial Times page 3, Daily Record page 10, Guardian page 25, Daily Express page 22, Sun page 45)

Health

Hospital Building: At the STUC conference yesterday the First Minister announced Scotland’s biggest ever hospital building project. The New South Glasgow Hospitals complex is expected to provide 1,109 beds at a cost of £842million to the tax payer. (Herald page 8, Scotsman page 8, Courier page 3, Daily Record page 4, Daily Mail page 12, Guardian page 5, Sun page 2, P&J page 10, Daily Telegraph page 2)

MS: A research centre set up in Edinburgh thanks to a donation from JK Rowling has said that the effects of Multiple Sclerosis could be reversed within 15 years using stem-cell treatment. (Herald page 1)

Ambulance service: Unions have accused Ambulance chiefs of wanting to scrap 70 accident and emergency ambulances across Scotland and replace 15% of Scotland\’s 435 double-crewed ambulances with one man rapid response vehicles. (Herald page 3)

Education

S2 pupils can’t write properly: Figures released in answer to written questions lodged by the Scottish Conservatives highlight that almost half of Scottish S2 pupils can’t write properly and more than a third don’t reach the expected level in maths and reading. (Scotsman page 7 , Courier page 3, Daily Telegraph page 13)

New universities: Joan Stringer, Principal of Napier University, writes in the Scotsman (page 46 and 47) about the success of new universities.

Humanist Society: The Humanist Society of Scotland said yesterday that families who did not believe in God were being failed by the education system because lessons and events such as assemblies were aimed at those with a Christian faith. (Herald page 7)

Politics

Alexander and Salmond at STUC conference: The First Minister and Wendy Alexander both spoke at the STUC conference in Inverness yesterday (P&J page 10, Scotsman page 8 , Herald page 6, Daily Record page 4, Daily Express page 2, Courier page 10)

McConnell calls for Royal Commission: Former First Minister Jack McConnell has called for a Royal Commission made up of independent experts to be set up to look at the case for fiscal autonomy for Scotland. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 20 P&J page 9)

Rifkind calls for Grand Committee: In a speech to the Centre for Policy Studies this evening, former Scottish Secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, will provide more detail on his plans for an English Grand Committee. (Scotsmanpage 20)

Alex Salmond: Allan Massie comments in the Daily Mail (page 14) that although Alex Salmond is doing well at present, he need only look at Gordon Brown to realise how quickly a reputation can change.

St George\’s Day: Simon Heffer stands up for English nationalism in The Telegraph.

Team Scotland: Linda Fabiani, the Minister for Europe and External Affairs has called for a \’Team Scotland\’ approach to attract people to live, work and visit Scotland. The Scottish Government is also looking to use the British Council to promote Scotland\’s image abroad. (Courier page 9, Daily Telegraph page 7, Herald page 6)

Flags: The Saltire will fly above 10 Downing Street on St Andrew\’s day and other UK buildings throughout England are to be encouraged to follow suit as part of a review of state flag flying ordered by the Prime Minister. (Daily Record page 12)