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Daily Political Media Summary: 2 May 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is blue and underlined.

Economy

Business support for SNP: A survey of businessmen carried out by the Scotsman (page 1) showed 39% were more supportive of independence and 57% thought the SNP’s performance in government had been good or excellent.

Further unrest in oil industry: Workers at the Sullom Voe oil terminal in Shetland and the Kinneil gas separation plant at Grangemouth are considering industrial action over pay and shift benefits. (Herald page 2)

Grangemouth: Following last week’s industrial action, Peter Jones in the Scotsman (page 35) argues that Scotland can’t afford to be so reliant on one refinery.

Record number fight for equal pay: A record number of women in Scotland are fighting for equal pay and taking their cases to tribunals. The rise represents a 6-fold increase in two years. (Daily Mail page 20)

Bank of England too optimistic: Citigroup has criticised the Bank of England for being “self-congratulatory” about its efforts to ease problems in the banking sector and being “too sanguine” about the outlook. (Daily Mail page 2, FT page 3)

NIESR forecast: The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) yesterday predicted that while the UK economy will remain shaky, it should avoid recession as long as there is not another crisis like Northern Rock. (Guardian page 37)

Credit Crunch: Coverage on the outlook for the UK economy. (Alf Young in the Herald, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, Martin Wolf in the Financial Times)

Crime

Buying alcohol for under 18s: Labour MSPs have called for action to increase prosecutions against adults buying alcohol for children after it was revealed that only 83 adults were prosecuted last year for buying alcohol for under 18s. (Herald page 3, P&J page 13, Daily Record page 14)

Judicial Appointments: Alistair Bonnington, a solicitor advocate, comments in the Herald (page 15) on the Scottish system of appointing judges arguing it needs to be reformed, particularly to make it fairer to women.

Solicitors consider industrial action: Members of the Dundee Bar Association are to consider whether to follow their Glasgow counterparts and vote to strike over law reforms which they believe are based on the presumption of guilt rather than innocence. Glasgow Bar Association is striking on Tuesday (Courier page 11, Daily Record page 2)

Court TV: TV cameras will be allowed in court to film the ruling on Nat Fraser’s murder appeal. It is only the third time TV cameras have been allowed to film major criminal cases in Scotland. (Daily Record page 1, Daily Mail page 4)

Transport

Ferry subsidies: The European Commission yesterday assured the Scottish Government that an investigation into the ferry subsides should not threaten future services. (P&J page 6, Express page 2)

Air link to New York: From today Delta airlines will be offering the first non-stop air link from Edinburgh to JFK. (Daily Express page 66)

Education

Rural schools: The Scottish Government published a consultation yesterday on introducing a legislative presumption against closure of rural schools. Coverage in the Times and Courier quotes Reform Scotland’s response published yesterday arguing that the best way to protect schools was to give more power to parents. (Herald page 1& 13, Scotsman page 13, P&Jpage 8, Times page 2, Courier page 9, Daily Express page 29, Daily Mail page 26)

One plus: Charity One Plus, one of Scotland’s largest nursery and after school providers which went into liquidation with debts of £3.27million last year, lacked “adequate skills” among its board members to manage a multi-million pound business according to a report issued yesterday by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. (P&J page 4, Courier page 11, Daily Mail page 13)

Student debt: The First Minister was accused by the Lib Dems yesterday of inventing a consultation on student debt. The Lib Dem Leader, Nicol Stephen, quoted an answer from a freedom of information inquiry in parliament yesterday stating that the consultation would not be published until later this year, despite Alex Salmond claiming it was in the public domain. (Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Times page 2)

Health

Alzheimer drug: An appeal court in London ruled yesterday that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) should have released details of how it reached its decision that four Alzheimer drugs were not cost effective. Any change in guidance as a result of the judgement is likely to be adopted by the Scottish Medicines Consortium, which guides the use of medicines in Scotland. (Herald page 7, Daily Mail page 4, Sun page 47)

Local Government

Donald Trump: Lib Dem Councillor Martin Ford, who was sacked as chair of the Aberdeenshire Infrastructure Services Committee after using his casting vote to reject Donald Trump’s planning application for the Menie Estate, has accused Trump of trying to prevent him and three other Lib Dem councillors giving evidence to the public inquiry. (P&J page 1, Scotsman page 7, Herald page 9, Mirror page 8, Sun page 6,Courier page 10)

Councils face industrial action: Unite has sent out ballot papers to more than 2,500 council workers to vote on industrial action because craft workers, such as plumbers, electricians and plasterers were not being treated equally to other local authority workers (Scotsman page 22, Courier page 11)

Council housing: The Conservatives described the Scottish Government’s £25m package for new council homes as “peanuts” when compared to over £2billion of Treasury transfers which would be available if Scottish Council’s opted for stock transfer. (P&J page 11)

Aberdeen Council Leader: Councillor Kate Dean, Lib Dem Leader of Aberdeen City Council, is under fire for using public money to go to Texas as part of a “jolly” at a time when the City is facing huge cuts in public spending. (Daily Mail page 41)

John & Kirsty West: The Sun (page 12 & 13) has an interview with brother and sister John and Kirsty West, who at only 19 and 22, are Aberdeen City Council’s Deputy Lord Provost and Education spokesman.

Politics

Nicola Sturgeon: Comment on Nicola Sturgeon’s first performance at First Minister’s questions yesterday. (Ian Bell in the Herald, P&J page 8, Courier page 7, Daily Express page 4, Daily Mail page 31, Sun page 2, Magnus Linklater in the Times, Telegraph page 4)

SNP anniversary: Comment and reflection on the SNP’s first year in power. (Daily Record page 1)

Local elections in England and Wales: Yesterday’s council elections in England and Wales saw Labour losing 6 councils and falling to third place in the share of the vote, while the Conservatives picked up 8 councils. (Mirror page 6, Daily Mail page 6, FT page 2)