Daily Political Media Summary: 16 May 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

Flexible working for parents: The Government at Westminster announced yesterday that the right to request flexible working arrangements is to be extended to 4.5million parents with children up to the age of 16. (Scotsman page 6, FT page 2, Telegraph page 4, Daily Mail page 24, Times page 27, Michael White in the Guardian)

Father who claimed he had 36 children jailed: Irvin Fraser, 30, from Aberdeen has been jailed for 13 months after falsely claiming he had 36 children and claiming £80,000 in child benefit. (Scotsman page 24, Sun page 17, Daily Record page 17, Mirror page 29, Times page 11)

Inflation: Further comment and analysis on the Bank of England’s forecast that inflation could grow to 3.7% this year. (Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Peter Jones in the Scotsman, Martin Wolf in the FT, Telegraph page B1, Jeff Randall in the Telegraph, Herald page 29, Times page 44, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian)

Bank swaps: The UK’s main banks are preparing to swap £80-£90billion in mortgage backed assets for Treasury bills with the Bank of England. The level is nearly twice as much as the central bank had originally envisaged when the scheme to help mortgage lenders was first announced. (FT page 1)

Crime

Rangers: The Prime Minister Gordon Brown has branded the Rangers fans who were involved in the violence in Manchester following the UEFA cup final a “disgrace” as well as questioning whether laws on drinking in public places need to be toughened up. Alex Salmond said the actions had “brought shame to club and country” and is calling for a full inquiry into the clash between Rangers fans and Manchester police. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Sun page 2, Daily Record page 8, P&J page 1, Daily Express page 1, Courier page 1, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Daily Mail page 4, Allan Massie in the Mail, Mirror page 4, Times page 1)

Detention without charge: The Prime Minister has sanctioned his Chief Whip, Geoff Hoon, to work alongside Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to come up with a new proposal on the extension of the length of time someone can be held without charge in order to prevent a potential defeat on the issue. (Guardian page 1)

Transport

Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail link: Further coverage on the re-opening of the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail link, 40 years after it closed, at a cost of £37million. (Daily Express page 24, Daily Mail page 43, Herald page 11)

Petrol duty: According to the British Chambers of Commerce, the Government has earned so much more in fuel tax due to increasing petrol prices that it could afford to drop its planned 2p increase in duty due to be introduced in October. (Daily Mail page 2)

Education

Attacks on teachers: A boy aged 8 has been charged with assaulting his teacher at Prestonpans Primary School in East Lothian. (Sun page 41, Daily Mail page 8)

Bullying of teachers: Ann Ballinger, President of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, will tell the union’s annual conference today that teachers are routinely bullied by headteachers and deputy heads. (Herald page 1, Daily Mail page 19)

PE in school: Further coverage of the Scottish Government’s policy of 2 hours of PE each week for school children and confusion as to whether that includes activity outside of school, such as walking to and from school. (Courier page 15, Herald page 6, TESS page 1)

Visually impaired pupils: According to the Royal National Institute for the Blind, government plans to provide educational material for visually impaired pupils via an online service are “sub-standard”. (TESS page 8)

Health

Free personal care for the elderly: The Scottish Government stated yesterday that it would force councils to deliver free personal care for the elderly. A vote in the Scottish Parliament agreed that councils should not try and charge for food preparation and agreed that the Scottish Government should demand Westminster re-instates £30million in attendance allowance benefits. (Scotsman page 2, Courier page 9, Daily Mail page 36, Times page 29)

Childhood obesity: According to the International Association for the Study of Obesity, children in Scotland are the second heaviest in Europe, with a third of children classed as overweight. (Daily Mail page 12)

Politics

Conservative donations: John Lyon, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner at Westminster has ruled that George Osborne and other members of the Shadow front bench should have declared funding to front bench members from Conservative Central Office, though he stated it would be unfair to criticise the individuals because the party had sought advice on the issue and had “acted in good faith”. (Scotsman page 2, Timespage 26, Guardian page2)

Labour and the union: Further coverage of the Labour Party’s stance on an independence referendum. (Scotsman page 12, P&J page 5)

Opinion poll on independence: A poll conducted by Scottish Opinion published yesterday shows that 43% of Scots would vote against independence, with 31% in favour and 26% undecided. (Herald page 6, Courier page 3, Daily Express page 2, Telegraph page 11, Daily Mail page 20, Times page 4)

Gordon Brown: During his monthly press conference yesterday the Prime Minister argued that he was the best person to lead the country through the current economic climate, despite a growing number of potential successors waiting in the wings. (Sun page 16, Daily Record page 16, P&J page 5, FT page 2, Herald page 6, Alf Young in the Herald, Telegraph page 4, John Kampfner in the Telegraph, Daily Mail page 10, Times page 27, Magnus Linklater in the Times, Guardian page 6)

Alex Salmond: The First Minister writes in the Daily Express (page 32 and 33) outlining what the SNP Government has achieved in its first year in office and what he plans for the next 12 months.

Alex Salmond and Ian Rankin: Author Ian Rankin in the Times (page 23) interviews the First Minister about his first year in office.