Daily Political Media Summary: Tuesday 27 May 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

100% Mortgage: An initiative being launched today will see the implementation of the only 100% mortgage for first time buyers to allow them to establish themselves on the property ladder. The scheme has been established by the Edinburgh Solicitors Property centre in conjunction with the Bank of Ireland (Scotsman page 31)

CBI warns of Higher Costs and Lower Profits: Profitability within consumer-facing industries is set to fall, leading to lower profits for businesses such as restaurants, cinemas and gyms according to the CBI. (Scotsman page 30)

Local Income Tax ‘illegal’: Professor Chris Himsworth of Edinburgh University has stated that the introduction of a local income tax in Scotland would be in contravention of the European Charter of Local Self-government. (Scotsman page 13)

Chinese Target North Sea Operator: The Chinese Oil Firm CNOOC is said to be in talks with Talisman Energy over possible investment opportunities in the North Sea. (Press and Journal page 16)

Carbon Trading: The environmental audit commission has said plans for a type of individual carbon trading should be pursued by parliament. (Press and Journal page 11)

Mortgage payments: New data published by Standard & Poor shows that more than a fifth of UK Homebuyers who have a chequered credit history have fallen behind on their mortgage repayments and there has been a significant rise in delinquencies in the first three months of 2008. (FT page 1)

Cutting taxes: Labour MP Denis MacShane comments in the Telegraph (page 22) that they way to deal with the current economic climate is to cut taxes and reduce spending. Mr MacShane argues that the left can also be tax cutters by pointing to the Atlee government which cut taxes and that “Labour should not be frightened of being a party that leaves more money in the pockets of hard-working individuals”.

Crime

Prison Policy: Scotland locks up a higher percentage of shoplifters than sex offenders it has been claimed today (The Herald, opinion page 10).

Review of police posts: A “Best Value Review of Our People” has been carried out be Tayside Police and identified 83 posts which could be civilianised which could potentially free up police time allowing more time for patrol. (Courier page 11)

Transport

Fly Globespan: The budget airline is to be prosecuted for operating a flight with an unserviceable engine pressure gauge. (The Herald, page 4)

Cars Seized: Nearly 900 cars have been seized by police in a bid to cut the death toll on the roads. Most of the 867 cars seized were uninsured, while some were for anti-social behaviour legislation. (Press and Journal page 7)

Ballinluig flyover: The £15m upgrade to the Ballinluig junction of the A9, a notorious accident blackspot, was officially opened yesterday by Finance Secretary John Swinney. (Courier page 10)

Education

Students Endowment Fees: Students may face additional backdated interest payments as well as an immediate £2200 graduate endowment fee that they were previously told they would not have to pay until the end of their studies. (The Herald, page 4, Scotsman page 11, Press and Journal page 9, Telegraph page 12, Sun page 2, Times page 4, Courier page 7)

Boot Camp for Youngsters: The Conservatives at Westminster have outlined plans to send jobless youngsters to boot camp. The move would see under-21’s out of work for more than 3 months being sent on intensive work related activity. (Scotsman, page 11)

Health

Health Compensation: Dr John Garner writing in the Scotsman (page 35) has stressed that a new and fairer method of compensation needs to be established that particularly supports all birth injured children, not just those that can prove that a health professional is at fault.

RBS Gift Scanner: The Royal Bank of Scotland has gifted £4m to NHS Lothian to buy a scanner used in the treatment of heart disease and cancer. However, staff for the Bank will utilise approximately 25% of the scanners capabilities. It has given rise to fears over the introduction of a two-tier NHS. (Scotsman page25 and 7, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mail page 9, Daily Express page 5, Times page 8)

Drug combination: GPs across Fife are being urged to ask patients whether they use alcohol or illegal drugs before prescribing certain tranquillisers following the death of four men in Fife in the space of a week who are believed to have died as a result of a lethal combination of illegal drugs and tranquillisers. (Courier page 1)

Donations with ‘Strings’: Donations to the NHS complete with ‘strings’ may become increasingly common due to the stringent constraints the NHS works under. (Scotsman, page 7)

Politics

Labour Party: Further comment and analysis about the state of the Labour party, including speculation that Ministers expect the Prime Minister to wait until the last possible date, summer 2010, before calling the next election hoping that Labour can recover its position. Phil Collins, an ally of Tony Blair, has said that Labour is undergoing a “tragedy”. (Daily Express page 2, Philip Stephens in the FT, Guardian page 2, Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the Guardian)

Referendum Warning: The Electoral Commission has warned that if there were to be a referendum on Scottish independence there is a likelihood of large amounts of money allowing one side to dominate the campaign. (The Herald page 1 and 6, opinion page 10)

Scottish Conservative Conference: Following the Scottish Tory Conference in Ayr last week Douglas Fraser writing in The Herald (page 11) argues David Cameron has turned up the political pressure at Holyrood by his defence of the Union and his ‘progressive’ vision of the future, while Hamish Macdonell in the Scotsman (page 24) asks how many MPs the Conservatives can realistically target in Scotland for the next General Election. David Mundell too, has claimed that the SNP have been too ‘negative’ in their response to David Cameron’s call for respect between the two administrations. (The Herald page 6, Press and Journal page 9)

Can Brown win the next Election: The Scotsman (page 23) asks Mike Weir of the SNP, and Nigel Griffiths of Labour whether Labour can win the next General Election under Gordon Brown’s stewardship.

MPs to Award Expenses: Due to the embarrassment caused by revealing details of their accounts, MPs may seek to award themselves annual expenses amounting to £23,000 to cover the cost of their second homes. (Scotsman page 5, Times page 1)

Gordon Brown’s Image: The Scotsman (page 6) asks the views of six experts to decide on whether Gordon Brown needs to change his image in order to succeed at the polls.

Labour revolt over Tax Hikes: 30 Labour backbenchers have signed a Commons motion asking the Chancellor to rethink plans for big increases in vehicle excise duty on cars with higher emissions. (Scotsman page 6, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mirror page 1 and 6, Press and Journal page 1 and 7, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Express page 1, FT page 2, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 2, Sun page 2, Courier page 2)