Daily Political Media Summary: 31st July 2008


All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

British Gas: British Gas yesterday announced an increase of 35% in its gas prices and a 9% increase in electricity bills, prompting fears that inflation will break 5% within months. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Mail page 1, Record page 1, Sun page 4, Express page 1, Mirror page 8, Guardian page 1, Larry Elliot in the Guardian, FT page 1, P&J page 1, Courier page 1, Telegraph page 1)

Banking sector: Peter MacMahon in the Scotsman (page 31) comments on the long term consequences of the credit crunch on the banking sector.

Negative equity: 1.7million families will be facing negative equity in their homes by next year according to a report published yesterday by Standard & Poor’s. (Mail page 8, Guardian page 24, FT page 3, P&J page 12)

Housing market: Alf Young in the Herald (page 35) comments on what political parties are proposing to sort out the problems in the housing market.

Wind farms: David Bellamy has criticised the Scottish Government’s decision to approve the construction of the huge Clyde wind farm in South Lanarkshire, describing the project as “an enormous blot on the credibility of Scotland as a green place” (Times page 3)

Trade: Peter Mandelson in the Telegraph (page 23) comments on the Doha free trade talks and argues that the failure to reach a compromise and bring about an era of freer trade will hurt both rich and poor countries.

VAT: According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, raising VAT on everything that is currently exempt could raise enough money to increase benefits for poorer households and cut taxes by £11b. (Herald page 9)

Minimum wage: Legislation to be introduced at Westminster will mean that tips will no longer count towards the minimum wage. (Herald page 7)

War on drugs:
The UK Drug Policy Commission report published yesterday said that the UK’s £5.3b drugs market was proving “extremely resilient” to crackdowns by law enforcement agencies, despite millions of pounds being spent each year trying to tackle the problem. (Scotsman page 8) Neil McKegany in the Telegraph (page 22) argues that a hard hitting new policy to address drug abuse is needed before the problem gets any worse.

Knife crime: Details of anyone who buys a combat knife will be held on an official register under plans by the Scottish Government to fight knife crime. (Mirror page 18, P&J page 10, Courier page 9, Telegraph page 8, Herald page 9)

‘Dark side’ of the internet: A committee of MPs has called on the internet industry to do more to protect young people from the darker elements of the internet including content relating to violence, suicide and abuse. (Guardian page 4, Telegraph page 1)

New train journey: First Scotrail plans to introduce the first services on the Dunbar to Edinburgh line to meet rising demand from commuters in the East Lothian town. Currently commuters have to rely on infrequent cross border trains. (Scotsman page 14)

Child behaviour: Lindsay McIntosh in the Scotsman (page 22) investigates whether behaviour in schools is getting worse.

David Cameron yesterday called for parents to give small amounts of alcohol to children at home to teach them how to drink responsibly. (Mirror page 7)

David Miliband:
Following the Foreign Secretary’s comment piece in the Guardian yesterday, David Miliband denied he was campaigning for the leadership of the Labour party, but refused to rule himself out of any future contest. (Herald page 9, Scotsman page 10, Sun page 2, Express page 9, Mirror page 10, Mail page 6, Record page 2, Guardian page 1, Martin Kettle in the Guardian, FT page 1, P&J page 13, Times page 8, Peter Riddell in the Times, Camilla Cavendish in the Times, Courier page 2, Telegraph page 1, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, Andrew Pierce in the Telegraph)

Scottish Labour leadership battle: Margaret Curran, the MSP who lost the Glasgow East by-election has publicly backed Iain Gray to replace Wendy Alexander. Currently Cathy Jamieson has 10 nominations and Iain Gray has seven. Andy Kerr is expected to launch his bid today. Yesterday Cathy Jamieson got her campaign off to a bad start when she failed to turn up to meet reporters at her campaign event at Waverley Station. (Scotsman page 10, Express page 2, Courier page 9, Herald page 9, Telegraph page 14)

BBC fines: The BBC has been fined £400,000 by Ofcom for faking winners and misleading audiences in viewer competitions. The fine will be paid by license fee payers’ money. (Scotsman page 7, Sun page 12, Express page 35, Mirror page 13, Mail page 13, Record page 10, Guardian page 5, FT page 3, P&J page 5, Times page 10, Telegraph page 14)

SNP in debt: The SNP spent more than £1m more on campaigning last year compared to the Labour party. The level of the SNP’s expenditure exceeded the party’s income leaving it facing a deficit of £240,590. However the SNP revealed yesterday that membership has increased following their Glasgow East victory. (Herald page 8, Scotsman page 8, Express page 2, P&J page 5, Courier page 3)

Civil service strike: Thousands of Scottish Government civil servants are expected to go on strike today in a dispute over pay. (Scotsman page 14, P&J page 9, Telegraph page 14)

Census: The next census will give Scots the option of choosing between “Scottish” of “British” for national background, although their wont be an option for both. (Herald page 3)