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Daily Political Media Summary: 5 May 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

100% loans: Nationwide, the UK’s second biggest mortgage lender has said that 100% mortgage loans are unlikely to return. (FT page 1)

Quality of life: A Bank of Scotland report measuring Scotland’s nine predominantly rural areas found Aberdeenshire had the best quality of life. (Daily Mail page 28, Courier page 8, P&J page 6)

Inheritance: The average inheritance has more than doubled in 6 years as a result of the housing boom. (Daily Mail page 10)

Energy: The Times (page 40 and 41) interviews Wulf Bernotat, Chief Executive of E.ON, who argues that the UK needs to adapt to a future with a mix of energy sources, including nuclear and renewable. Neville Cobb from Ernst & Young’s Scotland Renewables Board comments on the need for investment in renewable energy in the P&J (Energy page 11).

Credit Crunch: Further comment and analysis on the economic slowdown. (Anatole Kaletsky in the Times)

Unpaid pensions: Up to 500,000 women who took time off work to bring up children are in line for £1billion in unpaid state pension benefits. (Times page 4)

Interest rates: Concerns about inflation mean that it is unlikely that the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will cut interest rates this week. (Courier page 12, P&J page 16)

Crime

Spousal evidence: The Scottish Government intend to repeal legislation which currently allows a spouse or civil partner to refuse to give evidence against their other half if that person is to stand trial, except where one half of the couple has been the victim of a crime committed by the other half. (Daily Record page 2, Scotsman page 8, Courier page 9, Daily Mail page 22, P&J page 11, Sun page 18, Daily Express page 7)

Scottish police forces: Stephen House, Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police Force, has called for greater collaboration between Scotland’s eight police forces to cut costs and improve services. (Herald page 2)

Open prisons: A leaked email between staff at Castle Huntly open prison near Dundee showed that staff at the prison were concerned about the lax security regime at the prison and the number of dangerous prisoners sent to the open prison. However the number of prisoners absconding from open prisons has fallen following the introduction of greater sentencing powers given to Sheriffs. (P&J page 1, Daily Mail page 6, Courier page 8, Sun page 2)

Organised Crime: The Institute for the Study of Serious Organised Crime is to be established and will be dedicated to locating criminal gangs and helping police understand how they operate. (Daily Record page 2, P&J page 9, Courier page 9, Sun page 2)

Transport

Highland’s & Island’s airports: The number of passengers flying in and out of airports in the Highlands and Islands last year reached an all time high at 1,270,023. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 8, Courier page 8, P&J page 4)

Petrol tax: The Prime Minister is being pressured to scrap a 2p planned tax rise on petrol (P&J page 1)

Education

Home education: The number of children withdrawn from school and schooled at home has almost doubled in five years from 352 to 632. Scottish home education charity Schoolhouse has said an increase in bullying is partly to blame for the increasing figures. (Scotsman page 13, P&J page 6)

Scottish baccalaureate: John Howie in the Herald (page 13) comments on the Scottish Government’s proposed changes to the Scottish examinations system and his recommendation in 1992 for a Scottish baccalaureate.

St Ninian’s: The Times (page 22 and 23) interviews John Docherty, Headmaster at St Ninian’s in Giffnock. The Roman Catholic school recently received Scotland’s best ever report for a secondary school from school inspectors.

Health

Cancer trials: Professor Sir David Lane has said that clinical trials of new cancer treatments, which could save the lives of 7,000 a year, could begin in “four to five years”. (Herald page 9, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 2)

St Margaret’s Hospice: Helen Puttick in the Herald (page 11) reports on a campaign to save St Margaret’s Hospice, run by the Sisters of Charity in Clydebank, from closure following NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s decision to stop sending patients to the hospice.

Polypill: Scientists claim to have produced a ‘polypill’, which contains 5 ingredients and tackles a number of common problems including cholesterol, heart disease and blood pressure. It is hoped that the pill could be on the market within 5 years and may cost as little as £1 a day. (Daily Mail page 19)

Local Government

Mayors: Tim Hames in the Times (page 19) comments that every city should have directly elected mayors.

Politics

Labour U-turn on independence referendum: Wendy Alexander, leader of the Labour party in Scotland, has said that her party is now open to the idea of a referendum on independence, believing it would be defeated and removed from the political debate for a generation. Yesterday Ms Alexander said “I don’t fear the verdict of the Scottish people – bring it on” (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, P&J page 10, Daily Mail page 2, Times page 1, Daily Record page 1, Courier page 3, Sun page 2, Daily Express page 2, Telegraph page 12)

Labour fight back: Following Labour’s poor performance in Thursday’s local elections, Gordon Brown yesterday sought to re-connect with the British public. In a number of TV interviews the Prime Minister admitted mistakes over the timing of the general election and the 10p tax rate. Labour backbench MPs have allegedly given Mr Brown a year to get back on track. A number of commentators also comment on the pressure now on David Cameron to produce detailed policies.(Guardian page 1, Jackie Ashley in the Guardian, P&Jpage 5, Scotsman page 2, Sun page 12, Daily Record page 2, Herald page 6, Mirror page 10 and 11, FT page 1, Daily Mail page 10, Times page 6, Courier page 1, Daily Express page 6, Leo McKinstry in the Express, Telegraph page 1, Janet Daley in the Telegraph)

Salmond & Cameron: Hamish Macdonnell in the Scotsman (page 10 and 11) comments about David Cameron and Alex Salmond’s common enemy in Labour and how the two men and their parties could work together.

Salmond & Boris: Alex Salmond has written to the new Mayor of London, Boris Johnson suggesting that the two cooperate on areas of interest. (Herald page 6, Daily Express page 2, Times page 20)

Peers say devolution damaged the union: A poll of members of the House of Lords carried out by Dods polling suggested that four out of five peers believe that devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has damaged the Union. (P&J page 10)