Daily Political Media Summary: 25 April 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions 

Reform Scotland

Launch Party: The Financial Times (page 14) comments on Reform Scotland’s official launch last week and states that local government is the next subject to be covered by Scotland’s new independent think tank.

Economy

Grangemouth refinery:
BP the operator of the Forties pipeline, which carries a third of the UK’s oil production to the shore, has warned that the pipeline may have to close due to the planned strike at the Grangemouth refinery as it relies on Grangemouth for power. Such a move could cost the UK economy £50million a day. Yesterday the First Minister said that there were sufficient fuel stocks and encouraged people not to panic buy. (Scotsman page 1, Peter Jones in the Scotsman, Financial Times page 2, Herald page 1, P&J page 1 & 11, Daily Record page 2, Sun page 1, The Times page 6, Courier page 1 & 13, Guardian page 28, Daily Express page 5, Daily Mail page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph)

Bank charges: In his judgement in the test case brought by the OFT, seven banks and a building society, Mr Justice Andrew Smith announced yesterday that the Office of Fair Trading can rule on the fairness of overdraft charges banks have issued to their customers. (Financial Timespage 3, Scotsman page 15, Daily Telegraph page 1 ,Daily Record page 13, Herald page 7, P&J page 8, Courier page 11, Guardian page 4 & 30, Daily Mail page 8, The Times page 9)

Scottish Development International: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman (page 32) highlights that the position of head of Scottish Development International, the body charged with promoting Scotland abroad and encouraging inward investment has remained vacant for over a year.

Manufacturing: The CBI yesterday reported a net 5% increase in output volumes of manufacturing in Scotland during the three months to April – the first time the CBI survey had reported an increase since July 2007. (Herald page 33)

Low Pay Unit: The Scottish Low Pay Unit has been forced to close claiming it failed to get sufficient financial support from local authorities. (Herald page 6)

Wood Group: The Aberdeen energy-services company, Wood Group, is to join the FTSE 100 next month, replacing Scottish & Newcastle. (P&J page 12)

Credit crisis: A number of reports and comments in the papers discussing different elements of the global economic slowdown. (Alf Young in the Herald page 17, Financial Times page 2, Paul Myners in the FT, Daily Express page 7, Daily Mail page 19)

Fall-out from 10p tax rate: A number of papers comment on the political fallout from Labour’s scrapping of the 10p tax rate. (Daily Telegraph page 4, The Times page 1 & 26, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, Matthew Elliot in the Express)

Crime

Gang violence: It was reported yesterday that police have stopped and searched almost 7,500 suspected gang members in just four weeks as part of a nationwide crack down. (Sun page 6)

Transport

Princes Street to shut for 7 months: It emerged yesterday that Edinburgh’s Princes Street is to shut to all traffic for seven months from January 2009 so that work on reintroducing the trams can be carried out. (Scotsman page 21, Herald page 8, Courier page 9, Daily Mail page 28, The Times page 4)

Levenmouth rail link: The Scottish Parliament yesterday backed a campaign to re-open the Leven to Thornton rail link. (Courier page 4)

Air tax: Plans to overhaul tax paid by airline passengers could add £170 to the cost of a long haul flight for a family or four. (Daily Telegraph page 14)

Health

GPs reject industrial action: The British Medical Association’s Scottish local medical committee yesterday rejected taking industrial action over pay and conditions, but accused the Scottish Government of a “lack of will” to improve primary care. (Herald page 11, Scotsman page 5, Sun page 2, P&J page 12, Daily Record page 2, Courier page 9, Daily Express page 6, Daily Mail page 6)

Education

Standard Grades to be replaced: Yesterday the Scottish Government launched a consultation on replacing Standard Grades and Intermediate Exams with a new General Grade to be sat at the end of 4th year along with the introduction of compulsory Scottish Certificates of Literacy and Numeracy. (P&J page 13, Scotsman page 8, Fiona Hyslop in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Daily Record page 6, Daily Express page 4, Courier page 10, Daily Mail page 13, The Timespage 4, Daily Telegraph page 1)

University funding: The Scotsman (page 10 and 11) interviews Dr Brian Lang, Principal of St Andrews University about the funding of higher education.

Auschwitz: The Scottish Government is refusing to fund a scheme for school pupils to visit Nazi concentration camps to learn about the Holocaust. (Herald page 15)

School buildings: The Times Education Supplements Scotland (TESS) (page 1) outlines concerns over the SNP’s replacement of PPP and the consequence for school building projects.

Overton Primary: The TESS (page 7) highlights the innovative teaching methods being used to great success at Overton Primary in Greenock.

University and college efficiencies: The TESS (page 18) reports that Scotland’s further and higher education institutes together have to find £32million a year in efficiency savings until 2011.

Local Government

Donald Trump: The Scottish Government yesterday debated the Local Government Committee’s report into the handling of Donald Trump’s planning application for the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire. The report accused the First Minister of “exceptionally poor judgement” in his handling of the affair. (Scotsman page 2, P&J page 7, Courier page 6, Herald page 6, Daily Record page 4, Daily Mail page 2, The Times page 4)

Politics

Cybernats: Labour yesterday accused the SNP’s national conversation of being a “chatroom for cybernats” after it was suggested that as little as 1.5% of the Scottish population had logged onto the website. (Scotsman page 23)

Westminster poll: A YouGov poll for Westminster gives the Tories an 18-point lead over Labour, the party’s biggest in more than 20 years. The Conservatives were on 44% compared to Labour on 26%. (Daily Record page 2, Daily Mail page 10, Daily Telegraph page 1, Iain Dale in The Telegraph)

MPs employing family members: 106 MPs, including Cabinet members, have disclosed they employ members of their families. From August it will be compulsory for MPs to register such information. (Herald page 6, Sun page 2, P&J page 5, Courier page 2, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Telegraph page 1)