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Daily Political Media Summary : 24.07.2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is blue and underlined.

Economy
Scottish letting boom:
lettings in Scotland soared by 21% last quarter compared to the same period last year as people choose to rent rather than buy. (Sun page 33)

Northern Rock: Opposition politicians have attacked a £1.2million compensation deal for Gary Hoffman, the new Chief Executive of Northern Rock. The money is to compensate for his loss of earnings from Barclay’s incentive scheme, where he previously worked. (Scotsman page 10, Guardianpage 29)

M&S plastic bags: a ban on free plastic bags by Marks and Spencers has led to an 80% cut in the number handed out. (Daily Mail page 10)

Three way split on interest rates: Minutes from the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting in July showed that David Blanchflower was the only member to vote for a cut in interest rates while Timothy Besley argued for an increase. The majority voted to keep interest rates at 5%. (Scotsman page 31, Herald page 33, P&J page 10, FT page 4, Guardian page 2)

Energy laws: The UK has been accused of trying to water down new European regulations designed to boost the uptake of renewable energy. (Guardian page 1)

British energy takeover: EDF is edging closer to an £11billion takeover of British Gas. (Times page 42)

HBOS: Shares in HBOS soared by 17% yesterday amid rumours of a potential £15bn-plus bid from Spain\’s second-largest bank, BBVA (Guardian page 29)

Tax: Gordon brown will risk losing the support of union chiefs by snubbing their demands for huge tax increases for the rich. (Daily mail page 2)

Slowdown in Scottish growth: The Scottish economy grew by just 0.3% in the first quarter of 2008, providing the first evidence that the global credit crunch is affecting the rest of the economy. (Herald page 34 and page 1)

Treasury: Anatole Kaletsky argues in the Times (page 26) that abandoning Gordon’ brown’s “fiscal prudence” was a step in the right direction.

Crime
Young man stabbed:
a young dad was stabbed to death on the street in front of his pregnant girlfriend and two children in Edinburgh on Tuesday. (Daily Record page 6, Daily Mirror page 21, Daily Mail page 25, Scotsman page 6, Courier page 3, Times page 15)

Music piracy: A groundbreaking deal between the music industry and broadband providers aimed at tackling illegal music downloads is to be announced today. The provisions are expected to include warning letters being sent to individuals if they illegally download music in a three month trial. (FT page 1 )

Antisocial behaviour: Michael Howie in the Scotsman (page 15) questions how the SNP will address the problem of antisocial behaviour.

Fast track youth crime scheme: Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill has backed the extension of a new fast track youth crime scheme which claims to have reduced knife-carrying and vandalism. (Daily Express page 8)

Transport
Railway Crime:
network rail is investing in “diversionary” activities whereby they help fund projects such as the setting up of youth centres to encourage youngsters to stay away from the tracks and vandalism. (Herald page 15)

Health
Under 21 alcohol ban: a trial of Scottish ministers proposals to ban alcohol sales to under-21s has resulted in a 60% drop in anti-social behaviour. (Telegraph page 12, Courier page 1, P&J page 9 , Herald page 12)

Politics
Glasgow East:
Further coverage of the Westminster by-election taking place today in Glasgow East. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 6 and page 7, Telegraph page 4, Sun page 2 and 11, Times page 5, Daily Express page 2 and 12, Daily Record page 8, Daily Mirror page 15, Courier page 1, P&J page 9, FT page 2) Further comment from John MacLeod (Daily Mail page 5), Stuart Nicolson page 4, Anne Johnstone (Herald page 17) and the Herald editorial page 16)

Welfare reform: Chris Grayling in the Guardian (page 37) argues that Labour has lifted Conservative welfare reform policies but the government has failed to deal with halting social mobility and family breakdown.

General election: Roy Hattersley in the Guardian (page 35) believes that Labour can still win the next election and sets out how this could be achieved and Peter Riddell in the Times argues that labour’s policy forum in Warwick this weekend is a more important political test for Gordon Brown than Glasgow East (Times page 22). Also Benedict Brogan in the Daily Mail (page 14) argues that despite criticism at home, Gordon Brown shows “a striking capacity for achievement in international affairs.

Margaret Beckett: Margaret Beckett could return to the Cabinet in a reshuffle being planned by Gordon Brown for the autumn. (Times page 11

Torie and Ulster Unionists: The Conservative party is in talks with the Ulster Unionists about joining forces to create a new political movement in Northern Ireland. If an agreement is reached UUP MPs could serve as ministers in a Conservative government. (Scotsman page 8)

Gordon Brown: Gordon Brown has moved to stifle plotting by backbenchers by offering them private meetings to air their grievances. (Herald page 7)