Daily Political Media Summary: 10 June 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

Inflation: Fresh concerns were raised yesterday over the rising level of inflation, as factory gate prices rose at the fastest rate for over 20 years. This was largely due to the rising cost of oil, scrap metal and food. This further dashed hopes of interest rate cuts by the Bank of England. (Scotsman page 14, Times page 18, Guardian page 1)

Donald Trump: Billionaire US Tycoon Donald Trump flew in to Scotland yesterday in a bid to persuade the Scottish Government to back his proposed £1 billion golf resort in Aberdeenshire. Trump, accompanied by his sister, also visited the house his mother grew up in on the Isle of Lewis, Western Isles. (Scotsman page 1, 4-5, Daily Record page 7, Times page 4-5, Courier page 1,3, Sun page 21, Herald page 3, Telegraph page 5, P&J page 1, 7, 10, Daily Express page 3)

Housing market: The Royal Institution of Chartered Accountants yesterday warned the drop in activity in the housing market could ‘spill over’ in to weaker high street spending and job losses in the construction sector. (Guardian page 1)

Cost of living: Households were warned last night that the cost of living was set to increase yet again, as expectations rose over further increases in gas and electricity prices (Daily Express page 4)

Crime

Terror Detention: Plans to extend the time terror suspects can be held without charge was dealt a further blow last night when the Lord Advocate attacked the plans. Elish Angiolini claimed the extension from 28 to 42 days was “not supported by prosecution evidence.” (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, 3)

Cannabis: A leading Scottish think tank has claimed cannabis should be legalised and taxed as a way of “breaking the link with class A drugs.” The Scottish Futures Forum used the example of the Netherlands, where the drug is legal, to argue that such a move could help halve drug addiction in Scotland by 2025. The forum also recommended so called ‘shooting galleries’ as a safe place to take heroin. (Scotsman page 9, Daily Record page 4-5, Times page 16, Sun page 8-9, P&J page 1, 7, Daily Express page 6)

Early release: New rules aimed at vetting prisoners being released early could face legal challenges, according to Sheriff principal Gordon Nicholson. (Sun page 2, Daily Express page 2)

Jail Sentences: Scotland’s judges are handing shorter jail sentences to murders and sex offenders according to Scottish Government figures, leading to accusations that the Scottish justice system is ‘going soft’ on some of the most dangerous criminals. (Daily Mail page 1, 4)

Education

Graduate endowment: The Scottish Government was forced in to an embarrassing admission yesterday after it emerged that students had been given the wrong advice over immediate demands to pay their graduate endowment charge. Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop admitted that previous advice to take out a loan to cover the £2,229 charge would have been in breach of regulations. (Times page 11, Sun page 2)

Science: Only 6% of pupils in Scotland have an acceptable grasp of science when they leave primary school, according to a new report. The report by the Scottish Survey of Achievement also claimed no progress had been made in the subject in four years. (Scotsman page 12, Courier page 3)

Health

Organ donation: Scottish Government plans for presumed consent over organ donation appear to have been watered down after Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon showed signs she was unconvinced that the public were ready for such a change. (Times page 11)

Health expenditure: Scotland spent £400 per head more on health than any other UK country last year, according to a new report. Figures also showed that the gap between England and Scotland was widening amid fears of a backlash south of the border. (Herald page 1, Telegraph page 8)

Medical monitors: Researchers at Aberdeen University are hoping to develop vital mobile phone technology which could potentially monitor the vital signs of life of casualties in the Scottish hills. The £50,000 project aims to develop sign equipment which could stick to injured climbers like a patch. (Scotsman page 16)

Local Government

Congestion charging: Scotland’s two biggest cities yesterday ruled out introducing their own congestion charges, claiming measures such as car sharing and park and ride facilities would negate the need for a charging scheme. This came as Manchester announced it would introduce a congestion charge in 2013. (Herald page 7)

Politics

MPs Expenses: The Conservative Party chairman, Caroline Spelman may not now be investigated in to claims she paid her children’s nanny from her parliamentary expenses. This came after Westminster standards watchdog, John Lyon, said it would be “exceptional” for him to investigate something which occurred so long ago. The allegations date back to 1997. (Scotsman page 6, Daily Record page 2, Times page 9)

Gordon Brown: David Torrance writing in the Scotsman (page 28) comments on Gordon Brown’s leadership of the Labour Party and draws comparisons with Michael Foot’s leadership of the 1980s. This comes as latest poll ratings show the Prime Minister’s leadership standing has now fallen to the same level of stricken former Conservative Leader Iain Duncan-Smith. (Times page 1, Rachel Sylvester in the Times, Daily Mail page 2)