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Daily Political Media Summary: 15 July 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy
Renewables: The Scottish Government has proposed a Bill that will allow ‘presumption of use’ with regards to a planning regime for Scotland’s seas. The Government has said it will promote renewable energy without a threat to the environment. (Scotsman page 6)

Climate Change: A social anthropologist at Glasgow University has stated that the most effective way of dealing with climate change is to ration, in the same way as is done in times of war. Dr Justin Kenrick claims that Scots should sign up to ‘emissions rationing’ in order to become a zero-carbon community. (Scotsman page 16)

Credit Crunch: The UK Government has said that it may introduce measures to aid those who are struggling as a result of the credit crunch. Gordon Brown admitted that the Government has a ‘responsibility’ to help those who are finding the current economic conditions difficult. (Courier and Advertiser page 10)

Barnett: A special House of Lords select committee will be set up to investigate the Barnett formula and examine whether Scots are granted a larger share of money than they should be. The committee comes in the wake of claims that levels of cash to Scotland threaten the state of the Union. (Press and Journal page 7)

Mervyn King: Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, has turned down a £100,000 pay rise as he didn’t feel it was appropriate in the current economic climate. (Telegraph B1, Times page 34, FT page 4)

Trade unions: Companies wishing to win UK Government contracts will be told they must promote trade unions membership. (Times page 1)

Recession: There were continued fears that the UK was heading for a recession yesterday after UK producer prices soared for their fastest rate in 22 years and the price of a barrel of crude oil continued to move towards the $150 mark. Moreover, The Bank of England yesterday said that there was nothing it could do to alleviate the pain of rapidly rising prices. Governor Mervyn King said that living standards would continue to be squeezed by increases in inflation well into 2009. (Mail page 1, Herald page 33)

Crime
Sex offenders: More than 100 sex offenders have been freed early from Scottish prisons with officials admitting that there is now way of telling how many of the 113 released early since 2000 have gone on to re-offend. (Mail page 4)

Knife Crime: The Prime Minister has admitted that many people do not even feel safe in their own homes. The admission comes in the wake of two men being sentenced to a minimum of just 15 years and 10 years at Edinburgh High Court for the murder of John Jenkins. (Scotsman page 1, 4 and 5, Courier and Advertiser page 2)

Youth Crime: The Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill was yesterday warned that growing numbers of young people are arming themselves to go to school. The numbers are also increasingly involving young girls. Mr MacAskill has stated that he may be prepared to hand out tougher sentences to those convicted of knife crimes. (Sun page 2, Courier and Advertiser page 1 and 3, Press and Journal page 1 and 11, Herald page 1, Express page 13)

Civilian Police Staff: Daniel Donnelly in the Herald comments on the effectiveness of civilian investigative assistants in Central Scotland Police.

Dungavel: Detainees at Dungavel Detention Centre have been assaulted by staff, including being kicked and punched by staff at the centre. (Herald page 10)

Transport
Trump: Donald Trump is seeking to win the hearts of environmentalists with the pledge of a free electric car for everyone who buys one of his 500 new luxury homes that are to be built alongside the new championship golf courses. (Courier and Advertiser page 7, Press and Journal page 4, Herald page 5)

Health
Abortion Row: Gordon Brown has rejected criticisms from the Catholic Church over embryo and abortion research. Bishop Joseph Devine has claimed the Labour Government has ‘lost all its ethical credibility’ (Sun page 2, Courier and Advertiser page 7)

Ambulance Services: Labour MSP Lewis MacDonald has written to the Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon after concerns that a measure to merge the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) north-east, north and west divisions into one ‘super division’. Mr MacDonald is fearful of job cuts which may have a direct impact on patients. (Press and Journal page 13)

Alcohol Ban: The Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) has joined the ranks of 4,250 others in arguing against the SNP’s plans to ban under-21s from buying alcohol. The SYP have joined the Coalition Against Raising the Drinking Age in Scotland (CARDAS). (Press and Journal page 9)

Prescription Suicide: A GP has been accused in Court of prescribing a drug that would allow a patient to take her own life. Dr Iain Kerr is accused of prescribing sleeping pills to an 87 year old who was worried she was of becoming a burden on her family. (Herald page 1)

Local Government
Aberdeen city Council: Aberdeen City Council is beginning to show the strain of its £27m spending cuts, as large swathes of council owned land are going untended. 20 sites are shortly to be added to the 50 already on the list of not being mown. (Scotsman page 3)

Politics
Glasgow East: It was revealed last night that senior Cabinet Ministers have been making trips to Glasgow East unannounced, in order to avoid the press. Harriet Harman, Des Browne, Douglas Alexander and David Cairns have all visited the constituency in the last week, however all were kept out of the public domain. Hamish Macdonell writes in The Scotsman that the Catholic Church may not have the sway over voters in Glasgow east that it formerly had. Frances Curran of the Scottish Socialists has said she does not support the Nationalists policy of banning cut price alcohol. In the Herald, Colete Douglas Home states that if Labour fails to win the by-election it will be because they have failed to deliver prosperity in the area, while political and religious leaders are using the election to promote their own interests. (Scotsman page 15, Sun page 2, Herald page 6, Record page 2, Tom Gallagher in the Mail, Telegraph page 9, Times page 4)

Gordon Brown: Rachel Sylvester in the Times (page 21) comments that Gordon Brown is suffering from a lack of policy ideas.

Lords reform: Jack Straw yesterday mapped out plans for a wholly elected House of Lords, however no reforms will take place before the next general election. (FT page 6)