Daily Political Media Summary: 19th June 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

Inflation: In his Mansion House speech last night the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, said that the UK faced the greatest threat to the economy for two decades. The Chancellor used his speech to warn that wage rises must be kept in check to control inflation. (Scotsman page 6, Mirror page 6, Guardian page 2, Express page 4, FT page 1, Mail page 8, Alex Brummer in the Mail, Herald page 36, Sun page 2, P&J page 5, Telegraph page 2, Anatole Kaletsky in the Times)

Energy Bills: Households could be hit by a 40% increase in gas and electricity bill which will see the average bill rise to £1,467 a year – double the level at the start of 2006. (Scotsman page 6, Mirror page 6, Mail page 1, Telegraph page 2)

Bank of England shake up: The Chancellor proposes to create a “financial stability committee” in the Bank of England to address flaws exposed by the Northern Rock crisis, allowing them to be dealt with at an earlier stage. Sir John Gieve is reported to be stepping down as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England after criticism over his handling of Northern Rock. (FT page 2, TelegraphB1, Time page 42, Guardian page 30)

Manufacturers to raise prices again: Manufacturers are planning a further set of price rises in the latest warning signal about impending increases in inflation. ( Telegraph page B3)

Economic growth: The Fraser of Allander Institute has said that it its unlikely that Scottish economic growth will catch up with the rest of the UK by the Scottish Government’s target date of 2011. (Scotsman page 29, Herald page 35, Mail page 19, Sun page 2)

Crime

Sexual offences: A new Bill published at Holyrood yesterday proposes to overhaul the law of rape to include male rape and a definition of consent. The Bill also includes a raft of new offences covering areas such as sending sexually explicit emails, spiking drinks for the purpose of sex and clamping down on sex tourism with Scottish law enforcement agencies being empowered to investigate and prosecute any Scottish resident who has sex with a child overseas. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Mirror page 15, P&J page 12, Express page 17, Mail page 6, Sun page 16, Daily Record page 6, Telegraph page 13, Times page 14)

£10m bid to help child victims of abuse: A £10m drive to help child victims of domestic abuse was launched yesterday by the Scottish Government. ( Herald page 6)

Transport

Airline to islands cut due to fuel prices: Loganair, the airline which flies to some of the most remote communities in the country is preparing to cut some of its flights this summer because of the rise in fuel costs. ( Herald page 11)

Education

University moves to Cyberspace: Glasgow Caledonian university is entering the world of virtual reality by creating a replica campus online which allows students to attend tutorials over the internet. (Herald page 11)

Scottish Universities perform well: Scottish Universities, including Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews have performed well in new league tables. (Herald page 7)

Health

Vale of Leven Hospital: The hospital at the centre of the recent outbreak of Clostridium difficile had a catalogue of hygiene failures. The Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, said surveillance of the infection was inadequate and there had been a failure to alert staff to the large number of C difficile cases seen in its patients. An independent review has been launched into the outbreak. (Scotsman page 9, Courier page 9, Express page 6, Mail page 2, Sun page 4, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Times page 5)

Alcohol strategy: Further comment and analysis on the Scottish Government’s new alcohol strategy whilst the drinks trade has argued that the proposals would lead to reduced choice and higher prices for everyone. (Scotsman page 14, Ian McKerron in the Scotsman, Express page 5, Kerry Gill in the Express, P&J page 18, Daily Record page 2 )

Local Government 

Local income tax: The CBI has warned that the Scottsih Government’s plans for a local income tax would drive up inflation and scare of potential investors and workers from Scotland. (Scotsman page 31, Courier page 3P&J page 8, Express page 2, Mail page 19, Sun page 2, Daily Recordpage 12)

Politics

SNP looses vote on Bill: The Scottish Government lost its first piece of legislation yesterday when MSPs chose to vote against a Bill setting up new arts quango, Creative Scotland, Scotsman page 7, Herald page 8)

Taxes: Tim Montgomerie in the Telegraph (page 22) comments that the Conservatives should aim to become the party of the working class by pledging to cut taxation of low income workers, arguing 14 million people could be taken our of the tax system altogether at a cost of £44billion.

Voluntary sector fund: The Scottish Government launched a new £30m fund yesterday to support social enterprise firms across Scotland yesterday. (P&J page 7)

Breakaway of Shetland Islet: In two days time Stuart Hill will declare himself head of state of his tiny island-Forvik- off the coast of Shetland. (Guardian page 14)

New code for MSP’s opposed: Holyrood’s two former presiding officers are to be brought in to oversee the conduct of Scottish Government ministers, this falls short of opposition demands for an independent commissioner. (Courier page 6, Herald page 3, Sun page 2, P&J page 11, Daily Record page 2, Telegraph page 12, Times page 14)

GM Crops: Britain must reconsider growing genetically modified crops to help increase food yields, lower prices and enhance security of supply according to a senior UK Government minister. This controversial move will place Westminster at odds with anti-GM Holyrood. ( Herald page 1)

Cairn’s warns Salmond over oil prices: Scotland’s Office Minister David Cairns has warned SNP not to “rejoice” in high oil prices that are squeezing living standards. ( Herald page 8, P&J page 7)

London snubs Scots MEP’s campaign: The cross-party campaign to retain Scotland’s representation in the European Parliament has been snubbed by the UK government. ( Herald page 8)