Daily Political Media Summary: 12 June 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

Unemployment: Unemployment in Scotland was down 20,000 between February and April compared to last year. This was in contrast to the UK as a whole where unemployment saw its biggest increase in almost two years to 1.64million. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 31, Courier page 10, Times page 20, P&J page 20, Guardian page 29, FT page 4)

HMRC job losses: 700 jobs in HM Revenue and Customs in Scotland are under threat from a nationwide review of operations. Small centres in 18 locations outside main towns are expected to be shut. (Herald page 1, Courier page 1, P&J page 7, Express page 4)

Job creation in Dunblane: Gladman Developments have been given the go-ahead to start work on a £17million business park in Dunblane which could create 900 new jobs. (P&J page 3)

Interest rates: Sir Fred Goodwin, Chief Executive at RBS, warned yesterday that UK base rates were likely to increase, despite falling house prices due to concerns about inflation. (Herald page 32). Alf Young in the Herald (page 29) also comments on the balance between economic slowdown and inflation.

Corporate sector: Brian Coulton, Head of Global Economics at Fitch Ratings yesterday told a global banking conference in London that the UK could not rely on the corporate sector to keep the economy growing as consumer demand melts away. (Herald page 29)

Corporation tax: Jonathan Guthrie in the FT (page 13) comments on the need for a reduction and simplification of business taxes.

Oil: Anatole Kaletsky in the Times (page 26) argues that the ever increasing price of oil means that world political leaders need to come together and come up with an alternative plan which doesn’t leave the price up to world markets.

Tankers strike: Tanker drivers for Shell, who are due to go on strike from Friday over pay, plan to cut off supplies from major oil refineries in an attempt to escalate the dispute. There are some reports of petrol forecourts running dry as drivers panic buy due to the impending strike. (Mail page 8, Guardian page 7, Express page 5, FT page 2)

House prices: The average Scottish home has fallen by £10,000 in value in less than a year according to a report from property valuation website zoopla.co.uk. (Mail page 1)

Crime

42 Day detention: Gordon Brown secured a narrow victory last night in the vote over extending the time limit for holding terror suspects without charge from 28 days to 42 days. 36 Labour MPs rebelled, which would have been enough to cause defeat, however backing from nine Democratic Unionist MPs, Tory Ann Widdecombe and UKIP MP Bob Spink gave the government a majority with 315 votes to 306. (Scotsman page 1, John Scott in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Courier page 2, Daily Record page 2, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, Sun page 1, Mirror page 7, P&J page 1, Daily Mail page 6, Guardian page 1, Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian, Express page 2, FT page 2)

Glasgow: Following recent murders in Glasgow Gerry Hassan in the Scotsman (page 28) comments on the need for the authorities to be more open and honest about the problems in the city so that solutions can be developed.

Transport

Airport passengers: Scottish airports saw an increase by 500,000 in the number of passengers in the past year. International passengers to and from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen grew by 6.7% to 8.7million in the 12 months to May 2008 according to BAA. (Express page 15)

Health

Vale of Leven Hospital: A re-examination into hospital procedures at the Vale of Leven in West Dunbartonshire has been triggered following the deaths of eight people from the superbug Clostridium difficile (C diff) between December 2007 and June 2008. The bug was also found to have contributed to deaths in eight additional cases. (Scotsman page 6, Courier page 7, Daily Record page 12, Herald page 1, Times page 13, Telegraph page 13, Sun page 13, Mirror page 26, P&J page 9, Mail page 4)

Assisted suicide: The High Court yesterday decided to allow an MS sufferer to seek clarification of the law of assisted suicide. Debbie Purdy is accusing the Director of Public Prosecutions of unlawfully failing to publish details of his policy and in what circumstances people might be prosecuted if they help a loved one die. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 4)

Local Government

Trump application: Iain Webster, a financial expert hired by the Trump organisation, yesterday told the public inquiry into the planning application for the Menie Estate that company would have to spend £600 million on the development over six years before receiving any income in return and profit would only be made if the project included the proposed 500 luxury homes. (P&J page 1 & 14, Herald page 8, Scotsman page 8, Courier page 6, Telegraph page 13, Sun page 34)

Local government concordat: Scottish Government ministers and council leaders held their first annual summit yesterday. Following the meeting Alex Salmond said he wanted to write a new Scottish constitution enshrining the role of councils. (Herald page 6, P&J page 9, Telegraph page 10, Guardian page 13)

Politics

Al-Qaeda papers: A senior intelligence official has been suspended after leaving secret documents relating to al-Qaeda on a train. (Scotsman page 9, Courier page 8, Herald page 7, P&J page 5, Guardian page 2, Express page 2)

BBC news coverage: A review for the BBC Trust has said that the corporation’s political coverage is biased in favour of stories about England with too much emphasis on Westminster. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 12, Daily Record page 4, Times page 3, Tim Luckhurst in the Times, Telegraph page 1, P&J page 9, Guardian page 11, Express page 10)

Brown’s personality: George Kerevan in the Scotsman (page 24) argues that Labour is not falling in the opinion polls because of the Prime Minister’s personality, rather the New Labour coalition of voters that Tony Blair brought together is falling apart.

Calman Commission: Sir Kenneth Calman yesterday told the Scottish Affairs Committee that the commission on Scottish devolution would not “rubber stamp” a “pre-determined agenda”. (Herald page 6)

Public sector reform: Iain Martin in the Telegraph (page 25) argues that the purpose and role of the public sector needs a radical re-think.

Islamic Scotland: Two Muslim extremists wanted to set up a secret Islamic state in a remote part of Scotland to train terrorists. (Express page 1)