0131 524 9500 | info@reformscotland.com

Daily Political Media Summary: 17th July 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

HBOS job cuts but figures show unemployment in Scotland down: up to 650 jobs are being cut at Halifax bank of Scotland as part of plans to merge two of its business banking divisions The announcement comes as a HBOS shares fell 2% yesterday and are now 7.5% below the subscription price offered as part of the rights issue. (Herald page 1, Courier page 13, Daily Express page 4, Scotsman page 1, Record page 2, FT page 1, P&J page 5, Record page 2)

Equitable Life Scandal: A damning report that accuses the government and the financial Services authority of ten charges of maladministration and for failing for more than a decade to regulate the equitable Life Assurance Society has called for hundreds of thousands of policyholders to be compensated. (Herald page 1, Daily Mail page 24, FT page 1, P&J page 12, Times page 3, David Wighton in the Times, Telegraph page 1, Damian Reece in the Telegraph, Sun page 2)

Sharpest rise in number claiming unemployment: the economic crises is affecting jobs with the sharpest rise in the number claiming unemployment benefit for 16 years. (Daily Mail page27)

More evidence of economy slowing: the twin problems of a broadly based slowing down in the economy and rising price inflation have resulted in the sense of an economic slowdown being much more evident than three months ago according to the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Business survey results for the second quarter of the year. (Courier page 11, Scotsman page30)

Nationwide cuts mortgage rate again: the UK’s biggest building society yesterday cut its mortgage rates for the second time in two weeks following a fall in the cost of wholesale funding. (Herald page 2)

Fuel duty freeze: Fife and Tayside roadside haulage chiefs yesterday dismissed the government’s postponement of October’s 2p a litre increase on fuel duty and have called for more drastic cuts in taxation. (Courier page 1, P&J page 5, Times page 1, Mirror page 9, Record page 6, Guardian page 2, Sun page 2, Herald page 1, Courier page 2, Daily Express page 1, Daily Mail page 14, Courier page 14)

Bank charges: Britain’s competition watchdog yesterday said it would consider regulating the market in personal bank accounts if banks do not make their charges and interest rates clearer. (Herald page 2)

New tidal energy plan: tidal energy production could replace nuclear research to support the economy in a remote part of the highlands, the Scottish government said yesterday. (Herald page 11)

Crime

Heroin problems in Dundee: Police in Dundee have promised 24-hour patrols to tackle the city’s heroin problem. (P&J page 1)

Bobbies on the beat: a return to traditional bobbies on the beat has slashed alcohol fuelled youth crime. (Daily Mail page 4)

Transport

Glasgow Airport: Scottish long haul travel will be revolutionised as the number of intercontinental routes continue to rise. Improvements at Glasgow Airport could pave the way for non-stop flights to western Australia within the next few years. (Herald page 10)

Rosyth to Zeebrugge ferry: the MEP who revealed any future Rosyth to Zeebrugge service would be eligible for a 30% European subsidy has now revealed the funding will arrive too late for Superfast’s replacement. (Courier page 13)

Education

Scots University growth lags behind rest of UK: union leaders have expressed concern after figures revealed the growth in university applications was lower in Scotland than other parts of the UK. (Herald page 2)

95% of graduates in Scotland are in work or further study: The vast majority of recent university graduates have found employment or gone on to further sstudy, according to official figures. (Herald page 5)

Health

Staff shortages closes hospital A&E seven times in a month: the £12.5m Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer has been forced to repeatedly shut down accident and emergency facilities due to staffing problems. (Herald page 5, Daily Mail page 18)

Cancer survival: According to a global study into cancer survival published today, the UK lags behind most of the rest of the world, with the study rating the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and France as having the best survival rates. (Guardian page 2)

Local Government

SNP’s local income tax: The SNP’s plans for a new local income tax were yesterday branded “bad business sense” by the body that represents small firms. (Herald page 6, Daily mail page 19, Times page 8)

Aberdeen council’s cuts double to £50m: fears were expressed yesterday that Aberdeen city council could face bankruptcy after it was revealed that it could have to make savings of £50m. (Herald page 9, Courier page 13, Scotsman page 15 ,P&J page 7, Sun page 4)
Strike fears in Scotland: strikes are set to hit services across Scotland, it was revealed yesterday as, as hundreds of thousands of local government workers south of the border entered a second day of action. (Herald page 11, Courier page 11, Daily Express page 8)

Politics

Tory tax plans: Iain Martin in the Telegraph (page 23) criticises the Conservatives for refusing to accept that a radical rethink on tax and spending is needed.

Asbestos scare: Visitors to the Houses of Parliament as well as MPs and staff are at risk of exposure to a dangerous form of asbestos fibres according to a safety report. (Guardian page 3)

Commonwealth Games: the First Minister, Alex Salmond, campaigning ahead of next Thursday’s by-election demanded the return of £150m diverted from funding sport in Scotland to the London Olympics. (Daily Express page 4)

Gordon Brown: Gerry Hassan comments in the Scotsman (page 28) on Gordon Brown’s position in politics, he argues that after thirty years of going with the flow, he has ended up being politically marooned.

MP’s expenses: MP’s have voted to replace the controversial “John lewis list” of expenses which allowed them to claim up to £24,060 a year to furnish their London or constituency homes. (Herald page 6, Daily Express page 2, Daily Mail page 12, Scotsman page 9, FT page 3, P&J page 5, Mirror page 4, Record page 2)

Glasgow East by-election: further coverage of the by-election, candidates clashed publicly last night when the SNP’s John Mason repeated a claim that there was little difference between the Labour and the Tories. (Herald page 6, Daily Mail page page 4, Scotsman page 17 ) Also further comment in the Scotsman’s editorial (page 25)