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Daily Political Media Summary: 15 May 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

Inflation: A cut in interest rates was all but ruled out by Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, who said that the outlook for inflation in the UK had “deteriorated markedly” and it was likely that households would face a further squeeze. The Bank’s quarterly inflation report has suggested that inflation will rise to 3.7% this year. (Telegraph page 1, Scotsman page 45 , Courier page 7, Herald page 1 and page 32, Alf Young in the Herald, Guardian page 28, Telegraph page B1, Daily Mirror page 11, FT page 1, Times page 1, Daily Mail page 1, Alex Brummer in the Mail, Stephen Glover in the Mail)

Public sector fraud: An investigation by Audit Scotland has uncovered nearly £10million which has been paid out by public sector bodies as a result of fraud, overpayment or errors, including 186 pensions being paid where someone was dead. (Scotsman page 20, P&J page 10, Herald page 11, Sun page 12, Times page 23, Express page 15, Daily Mail page 19)

Unemployment: Unemployment in Scotland fell in April, down to 73,000, despite an increase in UK unemployment, though different definitions of unemployment have led to different reports in a number of the papers. (P&J page 19, Herald page 29, Guardian page 28, FT page 4)

House prices: Despite the economic outlook, house prices in Scotland rose by 2.3% between February and April 2008. However experts at Lloyds TSB said that the rate of increase is slowing. (P&J page 13, Courier page 8, Express page 1)

Scottish Gas: Gas installation firms are to have a crisis meeting with Scottish Gas over the firm’s failure to pay the installation firms for work carried out under the Scottish Government’s central heating scheme. (Herald page 9)

Royal Mail: Postcomm, the postal services regulator, is calling for a radical shake up at Royal Mail, including access to private capital, as the best way of securing the universal service to all homes. (Guardian page 32, Telegraph page 11, FT page 6, Daily Mail page 8)

Tax exodus: Compass Group is the latest company revealed to be considering relocating its headquarters overseas due to the UK’s tax environment. (Express page 50)

Crime

Terror legislation: The UK Government is facing defeat over its counter terrorism measures to increase the length of time someone can be imprisoned without charge from 28 days to 42 days. The Prime Minister is determined to press ahead with the move despite growing opposition from Labour backbenchers. (Scotsman page 2, Guardian page 9)

Transport

Aberdeen airport: BAA has announced that 280,700 travellers used Aberdeen airport during April, up 1.6% on April 2007. (P&J page 4)

Education

PE targets: The Scottish Government was accused of causing confusion over its target of 2 hours of PE for all school pupils when Schools Minister, Maureen Watt, said the quota could be delivered outside the normal school day and could include pupils walking to and from school. (Telegraph page 13)

Health

Sunbed legislation: MSPs in the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee claimed that guidance covering the regulation of tanning salons was “absolutely useless”; with four out of five salons falling short of safety guidance and UV levels exceeding the maximum British standard. The issue is being considered as part of the Public Health (Scotland) Bill. (Scotsman page 24, Courier page 3, Daily Record page 28)

Passion fruit: Scientists believe that passion fruit may help find a cure for asthma. (Scotsman page 21, Daily Mirror page 4, Express page 16)

MRSA: The Scottish NHS could face lawsuits for millions in compensation from individuals who have contracted the hospital acquired infection MRSA following Judge Lady Clark’s decision to allow a number of damages actions to proceed yesterday. (Scotsman page 15, P&J page 7, Herald page 10, Times page 33, Daily Mail page 19)

Free personal care for the elderly: Labour at Holyrood are refusing to join other Scottish parties in calling for a re-instatement of attendance allowance in Scotland which was withheld following the introduction of free personal care. (Herald page 7)

Local Government

Donald Trump: Donald Trump has reportedly made his first concession on his planning application for the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire which would revise the layout of the championship golf course which is to be built on part of a site of special scientific interest. (SSSI). (Scotsman page 14, Courier page 3, Herald page 12, Telegraph page 13, Express page 31, Daily Mail page 21)

Aberdeen City Council: Following a two day investigation into the running of Aberdeen City Council, Kate Dean, Lib Dem Leader of the Council, is facing calls for her to resign. The Chief Executive of Aberdeen City, Douglas Paterson, has decided to leave by taking early retirement. (P&J page 1)

Politics

Gordon Brown: Further comment and analysis on the political outlook for Gordon Brown and the Labour party. (George Kerevan in the Scotsman, Guardian page 18, John Harris in the Guardian, Edmund Conway in the Telegraph, Anatole Kaletsky in the Times)

Constitutional Convention: The recent changes in the Labour party’s policy on an independence referendum has led to the Green Party calling for a revival of the Constitutional Convention, the body which created the blueprint for the Scottish Parliament, to bring together the number of reviews currently looking into Scotland’s constitutional arrangements. (Scotsman page 16)

Labour and the independent referendum: Further comment and analysis on the Labour Party’s position on an independence referendum. (P&J page 11, Courier page 2, Michael Settle in the Herald, Telegraph page 14, Mirror page 6, Daily Mail page 2, Times page 4, Express page 13, Daily Record page 10)

Independence: Comment and analysis on the likelihood and effect of Scottish independence. (Herald page 17, Harry Reid in the FT )

Plans for government: Yesterday Alex Salmond at Holyrood and Gordon Brown at Westminster both laid out the plans for what their respective governments in the coming year. At Westminster bills are expected on banking reform, a savings bill which will establish a national savings scheme, citizenship and immigration bills and a welfare bill to get people off benefits. At Holyrood Alex Salmond announced plans for an annual £3million Saltire prize to reward innovation, making Stirling University a university of sporting excellence and publishing all government documents before they are requested under Freedom of Information laws. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 12, P&J page 14, Courier page 9, Guardian page 1 and page 6, Telegraph page 4, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Daily Mirror page 10, FT page 3, Times page 4 and page 6, Express page 4 and 8, Daily Record page 10, Daily Mail page 10)