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Daily Political Media Summary: 4 June 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

Job losses: Computer chip company, Freescale has admitted that having failed to sell their factory in East Kilbride, it is likely that more than 800 jobs will be lost. (Scotsman page 5, Daily Record page 6)

Home loans: Scotland has seen a 20% drop in the number of new home loans according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 9, Daily Express page 2, Daily Mail page 15, Courier page 3, Daily Record page 35, Times page 19)

Bank of England deputy: George Kerevan in the Scotsman (page 31) comments on the disagreement between Mervyn King and Alistair Darling over the appointment of the Bank of England’s new deputy governor.

Ryanair: Michael O’Leary, chief executive of budget airline Ryanair yesterday predicted there would be a “bloodbath” in the airline industry if the price of oil continued to rise. O’Leary announced that Ryanair could only hope to break even next year as high prices continue to hit the business. He did however predict that this could be good for Ryanair as it would force competitors out of business. (Sun page 40, Herald page 25, Herald page 3)

RBS: Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland rose 8.3% yesterday, as optimism grew about its position in the banking sector and the success of its recent rights issue. This was in stark contrast to the fate of HBOS, whose shares fell sharply due to continued, fears about the state of the UK mortgage market. (Herald page 27)

Oil revenue: Alan Massie in the Daily Mail (page 16) comments on Alex Salmond’s attempt to get Scotland 10% of the estimated £4-5billion windfall the First Minister expects the Treasury to receive due to high oil prices.

Tax exile: Smiths Group is the latest company warning that it will move its headquarters overseas if the Government presses ahead with its proposed changes to the corporate tax regime and foreign earnings. (Telegraph B1)

Crime

Police retirement problems: Michael Howie in the Scotsman (page 9) comments on the demographic time bomb facing the police as an increasing number of officers prepare to retire over the next few years.

Prison numbers: The number of offenders sent to prison in Scotland has reached an all time high. In 2006-07 there were just under 18,200 cases where the court imposed a custodial sentence, a 9% increase on the previous year. (Scotsman page 13, P&J page 8, Telegraph page 16, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Daily Record page 12, Times page 9)

Cocaine: The number of seizures of cocaine in Scotland has increased by 50% in two years. Gordon Meldrum of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency said the figures suggested an increase in both supply and demand of the drug. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 9, Daily Express page 4, Daily Mail page 6, P&J page 7, Daily Record page 2, Mirror page 18)

Dungavel: Alex Salmond is in talks with Westminster about closing the Dungavel immigration detention centre. (Scotsman page 18)

Court appearances: The number of suspects appearing in Scottish courts has rise sharply to the highest level in 10 year. According to a new report, 153,900 people appeared in court in the period 2006/07, a 5% increase in the previous year. (Sun page 2)

Peterhead jail: An announcement is expected today to confirm that a new multimillion pound super-jail will be built in the grounds of ageing Peterhead Prison. (P&J page 1)

Transport

Integrated travel ticket: A smartcard ticketing system which will allow people to travel on buses, trains and ferries throughout Scotland on one integrated travel ticket will be in operation in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The scheme will be modelled on London’s Oyster card system. (Herald page 8)

Disabled parking: Drivers who abuse Scotland’s disabled parking bays will be fined under laws laid out in a new private members bill. The bill introduced by Labour MSP Jackie Baillie would give councils and police forces power to punish anyone not displaying a disabled permit. (Herald page 8, Daily Express page 6, Courier page 3, Daily Record page 20)

Road charging: The Liberal Democrats yesterday unveiled a proposal to charge motorists 8p per kilometre to use Britain’s busiest motorways and trunk roads. The scheme announced by leader Nick Clegg would potentially rise to 12p for the most polluting cars, whilst the most efficient cars would pay nothing. (Herald page 6)

Rosyth Ferry: Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson yesterday said that the Scottish Government had engaged with every operator they could to find a replacement ferry company for the Rosyth to Zeebruggee link but there had been no significant development yet. (P&J page 4, Courier page 9)

Education

St Andrews University: Dr Louise Richardson has become the first female principle of one of Scotland’s ancient universities. She is currently executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advance Study at Harvard, but will take up the post of Principle of St Andrews in January. (Scotsman page 7, Daily Mail page 22, Courier page 9)

Teachers strike threat: Teaching union the EIS has threatened strike action yesterday in protest at the Scottish government’s education policy, which it branded a “shambles.” The action was threatened as anger grew over budget cuts and the slow progress in the reduction of class sizes. (Sun page 4, Daily Express page 4, Daily Mail page 1, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 1)

Maths and science concerns: Leading scientists yesterday attacked the proposed changes to the way maths and science is taught in Scottish schools. The Royal Society of Edinburgh expressed concerns at what it saw as “a lack of focus on individual subject disciplines.” It also claimed the plans ignored “fundamental scientific and mathematical principles.” (Herald page 1-2)

Health

Patient recovery: A ‘pioneering’ technique of speeding up the recovery of knee and hip replacement patients has been hailed as a success by a Scottish hospital. The so called Caledonia technique has been adapted by Scottish surgeons at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank. (Herald page 4)

Dental clinic: A newly upgraded dental clinic, which aims to help children with some of the worst oral hygiene in Scotland, opened in Glasgow yesterday. (Herald page 4)

Health board elections: Plans to allow members of the public to elect members to Scotland’s health boards were greeted with a mixed reaction yesterday. (Herald page 4)

X-ray investigation: An investigation was launched yesterday in to the work of a hospital radiologist in Scotland after concerns were raised over his interpretation on X-rays. Herald page 1)

Politics

British day: Immigration Minister Liam Byrne yesterday suggested that the August bank holiday should be a day to celebrate Britishness. However the SNP have pointed out that the August Bank holiday in Scotland falls on 4th August, as opposed to the 25th of August else where in the UK, meaning Scotland would be left out of the celebrations. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 6, Daily Mail page 6, P&J page 13, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph)

Terror detention: Former Conservative Home Office minister Ann Widdecombe has said she will support the government’s move to extend the length of time terror suspects can be held without charge from 28 to 42 days. Widdecombe claimed that “in an emergency, you have to sacrifice a certain amount of civil liberties.” (Sun page 6, Ian Bell in the Herald, Daily Mail page 20, Telegraph page 12, FT page 2, Mirror page 10, Times page 16, Guardian page 6, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian)

Labour finances: Veteran Labour MP Austin Mitchell has objected to a 2% levy on the salary of Labour MPs as a way of lifting the party out of its financial crisis. The £2,200 compulsory donation is double what MPs used to pay. (Herald page 6)

English question: Rebel Labour MP Frank Field has claimed that devolution and the so called ‘English question’ could lead to the collapse of the Labour Party. Field labelled the devolution settlement with Scotland, which is widely resented by English voters as “one of the festering sores in English politics.” (Daily Express page 7, Times page 19)

House of Lords: The House of Lords is to spend £100 million on new offices opposite Parliament, complete with a wine cellar and art store. (Times page 6)