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Daily Political Media Summary: 16 June 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions

Economy

House crisis: Scottish house builders are ‘pleading’ for government help to rescue them from an impending downturn which is likely to cost 10,000 job losses within the industry in the current year. In addition, many house builders including Inverness based Tulloch are to offer “special financial deals” and incentives to customers. This comes as other builders offer to pay council tax bills and other perks such as digital TV for customers purchasing one of their properties. (Sunday Herald page 74, Scotsman page 25)

Economic growth: Economic growth will fall to its lowest level since 1992 next year according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Latest figure show that the UK economy is expected to grow by 1.3 percent in 2009. (Scotsman page 25, Guardian page 23, Times page 10, FT page 3, Telegraph page 1)

Scottish growth: The latest job growth figures have shown that Scotland is continuing to outperform the UK despite a small decline. Analysts conclude that this suggests Scotland may be “weathering the economic storms” better than the UK as a whole. (Scotsman page 27)

Tanker driver dispute: Talks have resumed between Unions and employers in an effort to end the four day strike by Shell tanker drivers. The strike over pay, which is now in its third day, has left some petrol stations with shortages as fears were raised about panic buying amongst motorists. The Unite Union has pledged to hold more strikes if the issue is not resolved. (Herald page 5, Daily Mirror page 4, Times page 5, P&J page 1, Express page 5, FT page 2, Mail page 8, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 4)

Financial regulation: The Chancellor is expected to use his Mansion House speech on Wednesday to signal that he has decided to make radical changes to the UK’s financial regulatory framework to take account of changing market conditions. (FT page 3)


Crime

Drink and drugs: New research has shown that Scots are twice as likely to kill themselves or someone else through drink and drugs than anywhere else in the UK. The report by the Scottish Government showed the depth of the problem and its relation to homicide and suicide. (Herald page 1, 4, Guardian page 7, Daily Mirror page 19, Express page 1, Mail page 2, P&J page 9)

Consultants targeted: Scotland’s leading crime agency, the Scottish Drug and Enforcement Agency is to target the so called “facilitators and consultants,” such as accountants and lawyers who work behind the scenes within organised criminal gangs. (Herald page 3)

Transport

Rail Fares: Rail passengers are being denied the cheapest rail fares due to hidden anomalies in fare structures. This is due to train operators not being legally obliged to reveal the cheapest fares to passengers. (Scotsman page 1, 4-5)

Average speed cameras: The Scottish Government is planning to introduce more average speed cameras, dubbed vultures for the way they scan the highways, after a dramatic decrease in road deaths on Scotland’s most notorious road. Figures have shown that since the cameras, which measure vehicles average speed between two sets of cameras, were installed on the A77 between Glasgow and Stranraer in July 2005 road deaths and accidents have halved. (Herald page 3, Daily Mail page 30, Express page 15)

Education 


St Andrews: In an interview with Andrew Denholm (Herald page 11) the departing principle of St Andrews University, Dr Brian Lang comments on the challenges facing such institutions in balancing the need to accept students from poorer backgrounds and not compromising on the standard of excellence.

Health

Alcohol sales: Ministers were warned yesterday not to send ‘mixed messages’ in their alcohol strategy. The strategy due to be released on Tuesday is expected to include an increase in the legal age to purchase alcohol from 18 to 21, but only in off-licences and supermarkets and not pubs and clubs. The proposal will also include minimum price structures for off-sales, which will ban buy one get one free and three for the price of two deals. (Scotsman page 6, Times page 3, Jason Allardyce in the Sunday Times, Express page 2, Sun page 1, P&J page 1, Telegraph page 10, Courier page 1, Daily Record page 1)

Politics

Wendy Alexander: Scottish Labour have accused the SNP of a “politically motivated smear campaign” against leader Wendy Alexander, after a confidential report by the Standards Commissioner Jim Dyer in to alleged illegal donations was leaked to the press. It is alleged that the report by Dyer will state that Alexander should have declared donations to her leadership campaign. Alexander could face a ban from parliament if a parliamentary committee accepts the reports findings (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 6, Sunday Herald page 1, 4, Times page 20, Express page 2, Sun page 2, Mail page 14, Daily Record page 2)

Labour infighting: Recently revealed files have shown the depths of Labour infighting over the policy of free personal care brought in by former First Minister Henry McLeish. The files revealed under Freedom of Information laws showed that the majority of McLeish’s cabinet colleagues opposed the policy under the belief that it would benefit the better-off. (Sunday Herald page 9)

Secret files: Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was facing further difficult questions last night after it emerged that a second set of controversial government papers were left on a train. This is the second such incident in a week. (Herald page 7, Mail page 2, P&J page 8, Telegraph page 2, Courier page 2, Daily Record page 2)

BBC: Further coverage of the debate for a Scottish six news programme (Ian MacWhirter in the Herald page 13, Ian Bell in the Sunday Herald, Tom Little in the Scotland on Sunday, Jenny Hjul in the Sunday Times)

EU: William Rees-Mogg writing in the Times (page 23) comments that the EU is more of a threat to British Freedoms than the so-called surveillance state.

David Davis: Labour rebels opposed to the 42 day terror detention have vowed to campaign for David Davis in the upcoming by-election in Haltemprice and Howden. (Daily Mail page 20, Kenny Farquharson in the Scotland on Sunday, Eddie Barnes in the Scotland on Sunday, Martin Ivens in the Sunday Times, Express page 2, FT page 2, P&J page 8, Telegraph page 4)

Scottish Conservatives: Brian Monteith in the Sunday Times (page 19) argues that the Scottish Conservatives need a new leader who could capitalise on the Cameron bounce in Scotland and mount a serious challenge to Labour and the SNP in Scotland at the next general election.

SNP MSP pay off: Joe Fitzpatrick has been reported to Holyrood’s standards Commissioner for failing to declare his £10,000 award for standing down as a councillor in 2007. (Daily Record page 2)