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Daily Political Media Summary: 9 June 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

Debt law: A new law which promises to help thousands of Scots out of debt by simplifying the declaration of bankruptcy will fail to help those who most need it, according to Citizens Advice Scotland. (Scotsman page 12)

HBOS: The success of the rights issue by Royal Bank of Scotland is not automatically good news for its Scottish rival HBOS. According to city analysts, the differences between the two banks shareholders makes a direct ‘read-across difficult. (Scotsman page 26-27)

Donald Trump: Liz Cameron (Scotsman page 27) comments on Donald Trump’s visit to Scotland over his planned Aberdeenshire golf resort

Oil fund: Alex Salmond is to step up his pressure on Westminster to establish a long term oil fund to benefit Scotland. Salmond has argued that Scotland should get 10% of the alleged £4.4 billion the Treasury has made from increased oil prices. (P&J page 9, Times page 9, Herald page 2, Daily Mail page 2, Telegraph page 13)

North Sea cable: The SNP is planning an energy alliance with Norway which could see a £1bn power cable laid across the North Sea to export surplus green electricity to southern and central Europe. (Scotland on Sunday page 9)

Public sector pay: Following the breakdown of talks between unions and bosses last week about pay, civil servants are planning a Scotland only “summer of discontentment” with ballots over strike action expected to take place within a fortnight. (Sunday Herald page 5, Telegraph page 12)

Incapacity benefit: The number of people claiming incapacity benefit has increased by 800% since Labour came to power. (Daily Express page 1)

Corporation Tax: Large British companies pay more in Corporation Tax on the wealth they create then their competitors in Germany, France and Switzerland. (FT page 1)

Private sector: Scotland’s private sector economy shrunk by the largest margin for decades, after fears were raised that the high cost of oil could damage the global economy. (Herald page 1)

Economic outlook: Further comment and analysis about the slowdown in the UK economy. (David Smith in the Sunday Times, Larry Elliot in the Guardian, Roger Bootle in the Telegraph B2)

Bank of England: Charlie Bean, the Bank of England’s chief economist, is to become the bank’s new deputy governor. (Sunday Times B1, Telegraph B1)

Crime

Terror detention: A new poll has shown that the British public strongly supports the increase in detention without charge from 28 to 42 days, but does not give Prime Minister Gordon Brown credit for the idea. In a further blow to the PM the poll also showed that more people think David Cameron is tougher on terrorism. (Scotsman page 11, P&J page 5, Times page 11, Courier page 13, Herald page 6, 42 days: Kenny Farquharson in the Scotland on Sunday, FT page 2, Daily Mail page 5, Mirror page 4, Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 2)

Sex offenders: David Maddox in the Scotsman (page 11) comments on the Sexual Offences Bill due to come before Holyrood this week. Despite causing “furious debate” the legislation is “the most important piece of legislation the SNP has tackled to date.”

Civil court cost: The cost of going to civil court is “set to soar” under new government plans. The Scottish Court Service has announced that fees for accessing civil courts will rise by as much as 100%, due to the ending of subsidies. (Scotsman page 14)

Alcohol tax: Tax from alcohol sales should be used to treat Scotland’s 150,000 “hazardous drinkers” according to the Scottish Parliament’s own think tank. (Herald page 1-2)

Police station security: MSPs last night called for greater security at Scotland’s police stations after it emerged that a range of thefts had occurred, including a police car and drug money. (Sun page 1, 6-7)

Education

Children’s commissioner: Analysis by Hamish Macdonell (Scotsman page 18-19) on the report by Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner that is expected to claim that both parents and society has failed to combat core problems such as poverty, deprivation of healthcare and access to benefits. (Also see Times page 1, Herald page 8, Daily Express page 4, Guardian page 4)

Graduate endowment: Students faced with a demand for £2,200 to pay the one-off graduate endowment, will now be allowed to postpone the payment until the end of their studies. (Herald page 4)

Campus cops: Leading members of the EIS teachers union have voted ‘overwhelmingly’ for tougher limits on the powers of police officers stationed in Scotland’s schools, amid fears that teachers were being used as informers. (Scotsman page 1, 4-5, Herald page 1-2)


Health

Diabetes: Approximately 371,000 Scots are at risk of developing diabetes because of poor diet and obesity. According to new figures published by Diabetes UK an “explosion” of diabetes cases are expected by 2025, which in turn would put increased strain on the NHS. (Scotsman page 8, Sun page 2)

Shooting galleries: So-called shooting galleries where heroin addicts can go to “inject in a safe environment” should be set up across Scotland to deal with increased drug use according to a Holyrood think tank. (Scotsman page 9)

NHS scanners used by oil industry: CT scanners developed to diagnose diseases such as cancer are being hired to oil companies outside of normal hours to carry out geological research. The practice is earning hundreds of thousands of pounds for Health Boards who rent the equipment for a reported £400 per hour. (P&J page 11, Daily Express page 7, Sunday Times page 6)

Local Government

Scottish Councils: Joan McAlpine in the Sunday Times (Ecosse page 8) comments on the erosion of local democracy and the need to give scottish local authorities greater freedom which would help renew the link between councillors and the communities they represent.

Politics

TV documentary: A Channel 4 documentary that analyses Gordon Brown’s first year in power is due to be shown tonight, with input from a range of cabinet ministers who are “lining up to criticise Gordon Brown.” (Scotsman page 11)

ID cards: The introduction of ID cards could be used to mount surveillance operations against members of the public, the Westminster Home Affairs select committee has warned. (Scotsman page 7, Times page 11)

Tory sleaze: A number of senior Conservative MPs and MEPs are to face investigations over expenses and donations. The revelations forced the resignation of two MEPs, including leader Giles Chichester. (Sun page 2, P&J page 5, Libby Purves in the Times page 22, Courier page 3, Herald page 6, Daily Express page 4, FT page 2, Daily Mail page 10, Mirror page 8, Guardian page 13, Telegraph page 1)

Harman forced out of home: Campaigners from Fathers 4 Justice forced Deputy Labour Leader Harriet Harman form her home yesterday after they climbed on to the roof of the South London property and unfurled a banner in protest at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. (P&J page 5, Herald page 6, Daily Mail page 10, Mirror page 15)

Pressure on Salmond to step down as MP: There is growing pressure on Alex Salmond to “do a Boris” and step down as an MP. The Scottish Conservatives urged the First Minister to “follow the lead” of new London mayor Boris Johnson, who resigned as MP for Henley claiming the job was “simply too big” for him to remain as an MP. (P&J page 9)

Devolution: The Institute for Public Policy Research North has claimed that the way newspapers and broadcasters have operated post devolution has “polarised views between Scotland and England, leading to ignorance and hostility.” (Herald page 6)

English votes for English laws: The Conservatives at Westminster would ban Scottish MPs from voting on laws which only affect England. (Telegraph page 1)

UK referendum: Frank Field in the Sunday Times (page 19) argues that Westminster needs to stage a UK wide referendum on independence for Scotland and consider an English Parliament.