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Daily Political Media Summary: 29 July 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy
Plastic bags: Supermarkets have been told to cut the number of plastic bags they give to customers by 70% by the spring or face government legislation banning free bags. (Mail page 1)

Housing Market: Firms working in the housing industry are beginning to lay off staff as a result of the credit crunch. Moreover, there are plans being discussed to sell thousands of unsold homes to housing associations to let out to rent. (Herald pages 1, 13 and 14)

Paper Mill Closure: John Swinney the Minister responsible for Finance and Growth, has stated that he and the government wish to support a paper mill in north-east Fife that has been put into liquidation. The announcement comes after talks with both the administrator KPMG and with other MSPs and MPs. (Courier and Advertiser page 11)

Banking: Tesco has announced it has the opportunity to buy out RBS from their personal finance venture for £950m. Tesco has stated that RBS’s desire for capital amidst the credit crunch must have been a factor. Meanwhile, shares in HBOS fell 7% yesterday amidst general banking sector weaknesses. HBOS shares finished at 22.75p yesterday, the biggest loser of all of Britain’s banks. (Herald page 32)

Energy Policy: Alf Young in the Herald discusses the need for the UK to have a coherent energy strategy, especially on oil.

Mortgage Agency: Sir James Crosby, given the task of solving the UKs current mortgage problems, will today report to Alistair Darling the Chancellor that creating a US style mortgage agency is not the answer. (The Times page 41, FT page 1)

Housing Changes: The housing market is to be shaken up by the Holyrood government this month when they announce changes made to the way land is available for building on. The Tories have however claimed it will lead to a ‘two-tier housing market’. (Courier and Advertiser page 9)

Royal Mail: Consumers believe the Royal Mail has either stayed the same or got worse over the course of the last two years. A survey by Ipsos Mori revealed that 42% of participants thought that levels were about where they were two years ago, while 43% thought that the service had declined in standards. (Herald page 5)

Crime
Junior ASBOs: Antisocial behaviour orders for under 16s could be dropped according to Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing. Only 14 such ASBOs have been imposed since their introduction four years ago at a cost of £500,000 each. (Scotsman page 6, Courier and Advertiser page 9)

Fraud: The credit crunch has been blamed for a huge upsurge in levels of fraud. Levels have risen by 50% for the first half of the year, with figures showing some £630m being lost. In Scotland there has been 12 prominent fraud cases involving over £22m brought to court for the first half of this year, compared to just 7 for the same period last year. (Herald page 2, Scotsman page 10)

Sex offenders: The cost of monitoring sex offenders has risen to more than £10m a year, an increase in £2m in the past year. (Mail page 6)

Transport
Trams: There was confusion in Edinburgh yesterday after Shandwick Place at the west end was reopened, but only to buses, taxis and bicycles. Cars are still banned causing some confusion to motorists. (Herald page 11)

Parking Tickets: Glasgow City Council is preparing to write of around £4m (60,000 tickets) worth of uncollected parking tickets. It comes after Edinburgh City Council wrote of around £6.5m worth of tickets. (Herald page 8)

Education
Education Choices: Charities are today voicing concerns over pupils with special needs being able to choose which school they wish to go to. Education boards also have stressed that there is not the resources available to supplement additional children. (Herald page 19)

Health
Hospital acquired infections: An investigation by the Sun (page 4 and 5) reveals that 867 people were killed by C.diff or MRSA in Scottish hospitals between 2000 and 2006.

Nurse Shortages: There has been a drop of almost a third in the number of school nurses between 2005 and 2007, leading to fears that Scotland’s largest inoculation programme against cervical cancer could be affected. (Daily Express page 4)

Local Government
Aberdeen City chief executive: A shortlist of five candidates for the position of Chief Executive at Aberdeen City Council was agreed yesterday. (P&J page 7)

Aberdeenshire councillor: Councillor Paul Johnston from Aberdeenshire Council could face disqualification following his accusation that Aberdeenshire Council had offered Donald Trump a £5m sweetener. (P&J page 7)

Local Income Tax: The leader of Glasgow City Council, Steven Purcell has written to the main contenders of the Scottish Labour leadership election asking them to hold their position on opposing a local income tax to replace the council tax. (Herald page 6)

Politics
Gordon Brown: Gordon Prentice, Labour MP for Pendle, has said the Prime Minister was a liability and has called for Labour to elect a new leader. David Milliband and Alan Johnson are being urged to forge a dream ticket to replace Gordon Brown. (Scotsman page 8, Sun page 12, Mail page 8, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian and page 12, Daily Record page 2, Macer Hall in the Daily Mail, Rachel Sylvester and Peter Riddell in the Times and pages 1 and 3, Herald page 1, FT page 2, Philip Stephens in the FT, Boris Johnson in the Telegraph, P&J page 5)

SNP/Torys: Both the SNP and the Torys rejected claims last night that they were in a secret pact which would see the Nats drop their pledge of independence in return for more devolved powers to Holyrood from a David Cameron government. (Herald page 6)

SNP: Douglas Fraser in the Herald writes that now is the time for the SNP to be mapping out its plans for the 2011 elections, and asks what the future may hold for Scotland’s minority government?

Recycling: The Scottish Government is considering legislation to make it illegal not to have recycling facilities in workplaces and public areas. (Scotsman page 14, Mail page 17, P&J page 12)

Scottish Labour leadership contest: Further comment and analysis on the race to replace Wendy Alexander as leader of the Scottish Labour party. (David Maddox in the Scotsman, Sun page 2, Mail page 8, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 10, The Times page 5, Courier and Advertiser pages 1, 11 and 12, Herald pages 6 and 14, Telegraph page 6, P&J page 9)

Left wing politics: Gerry Hassan in the Scotsman (page 28) questions whether there is still a place for the political left in 21st century politics.

MPs Expenses: The Committee on Standards in Public Life today gave MPs 12 months to clean up their act with regards to their controversial expenses system. (Courier and Advertiser page 3, Herald page 6)