Daily Political Media Summary: 28 April 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions

Economy

Grangemouth refinery: The 48 hour strike by 1,200 workers over pensions at Grangemouth refinery started yesterday. Relations between Ineos bosses and the Unite union have shown little sign of hope amid rumours of further walkouts. With no end in sight overseas fuel is being shipped in to Scotland to help combat panic buying. The strike has also led to the closure of the Forties pipeline which supplies a third of North Sea oil to the shore. Gordon Brown and Alex Salmond are expected to hold their first face to face talks today to discuss the crisis. (Scotsman page 1, John Sturrock in the Scotsman, P&J page 1, Herald page 1, Iain Macwhirter in the Herald page 15, Daily Express page 1, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mail page 1, Financial Times page 2, The Times page 1, William Rees-Mogg in The Times, Sun page 8, Guardian page 6, Daily Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Daily Telegraph, Philip Johnston in the Daily Telegraph)

Scottish Enterprise: Jack Perry, the Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise, has set out the three year business plan for the newly slimmed down body. According to the plans the quango will focus on enterprise, innovation and investment with an emphasis on Scotland’s high growth companies and priority industries. (Jack Perry in the Scotsman, Herald page 30)

Supermarkets: The headquarters of Britain’s four biggest supermarkets have been raided by officials from the Office of Fair Trading following allegations of price fixing. (Herald page 3, Daily Mail page 10, Financial Times page 1)

Increase in Barnett: Figures published by the Treasury show that Scotland’s relative share of identifiable public expenditure has increased over the past four years. (Herald page 2)

Scottish housing market: According to property consultants Knight Frank, the Scottish housing market is defying the UK trend with prices rising by 13% last year adding £17,000 to the average cost of a home. (Daily Mail page 7)

Minimum wage: David Yeandle, Deputy Director of the EEF has called for the minimum wage to be tied to movements in basic pay to prevent ministers manipulating the low pay rate in order to resolve political difficulties (Financial Times page 2)

Lower £: Roger Bootle, Managing Director of Capital Economics, writes in the Telegraph (page 82) of the benefits of a lower exchange rate to help the UK in the current financial crisis.

Crime

Victims’ say in court: The Scottish Government announced yesterday that from next April victims’ statements will be introduced in to the High Courts and in cases before a Sheriff and jury. (P&J page 9, Herald page 6)

Freeing police time: The Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, has been pushing the UK Government to allow vehicle inspectors to have the power to make roadside checks without being accompanied by the police. A legal anomaly means that in England and Wales there is no need for a police officer to be present alongside inspectors from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency for roadside checks, but in Scotland, there must be a police presence. (Herald page 6)

Children’s’ courts: A pilot in the Borders is close to being approved which would allow children who commit minor crimes to be sentenced by fellow children. (Daily Express page 6)

Pregnant prisoner: A female inmate at Cornton Vale who was admitted to hospital after serious complications in her pregnancy was shackled to a security officer on a meter-long chain while she slept, showered and used the toilet. (Guardian page 9)

Transport

Cycling & Walking: A coalition of health, transport and leisure groups has called on the Scottish Government to invest 10% of the transport budget on cycling and walking initiatives. (Herald page 4)

Health

Care in old age: According to Age Concern, eight in ten people are “very concerned” about the quality of care they will receive when the get old and 40% are not confident that they will be treated with dignity or respect. (Herald page 4)

Sexual health: Professor Phil Hanlon, the expert who led the drive to improve Scotland’s sexual health, said yesterday that the previous Scottish administration deliberately closed down the debate because of disagreements from the Catholic Church. (Herald page 1)

Obesity: Health Boards have had to spend £6million on specialist equipment, such as reinforced beds and operating tables, suitable for obese patients. (Daily Express page 28)

MRSA: The latest bulleting from Health Protection Scotland has shown there has been “no statistical improvement” in eradicating cases of MRSA in the past five years, despite high profile campaigns to combat the spread of the disease in hospitals. (Daily Mail page 2)

60th birthday of NHS: Katie Grant writes in the Daily Mail (page 14) about the approaching 60th anniversary of the creation of the NHS. She comments on the need for an element of realism about the limits of the NHS to be injected into the debate.

Cancer: Melanie Reid in The Times (page 22 and 23) interviews Jim Cassidy, Head of the Beatson Oncology laboratories in Glasgow. Professor Cassidy outlines the studies he is involved in to help combat cancer in Scotland

Local Government

Spying councils: Scottish councils are using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, and act passed in 2000 to fight terrorism, to track people accused of housing benefit fraud, selling cigarettes to children and environmental health offences. The revelations have led to calls for a review of the Act. (Scotsman page 15)

Lewis wind farm: The House of Lords Economic Affairs committee is considering investigating the reasons behind the Scottish Government’s refusal for Europe’s largest wind farm to be installed on Lewis. The investigation would form part of their examination into renewable energy. (P&J page 6)

Politics

Blair – Brown can’t beat Cameron: Labour ministers have been rallying round the Prime Minister following revelations from Lord Levy suggesting that Tony Blair had little faith that Gordon Brown could beat David Cameron in an election. (P&J page 5, Scotsman page 2, Herald page 6, Daily Express page 15, Financial Times page 2, The Times page 4, Guardian page 4, Jackie Ashley in the Guardian, Daily Telegraph page 1, Janet Daley in the Daily Telegraph)

Thatcher tried to prevent devolution: David Torrance writes in the Scotsman (page 6) that Mrs Thatcher wanted to prevent Scottish devolution in the 1979 referendum by allowing the English to vote in the referendum.

Irvine Laidlaw: The Conservative peer and party donor has admitted to being a sex addict. (Scotsman page 10, P&J page 1, Herald page 3, Daily Express page 7, Daily Record page 15, Daily Mail page 19, The Timespage 21, Daily Telegraph page 2)

Lib Dems “should do better”: Vince Cable, the Lib Dem Deputy Leader, yesterday said that with all the problems facing Gordon Brown the Lib Dems should be doing better. (Herald page 7)