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Daily Political Media Summary: 8 July 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

Food Prices: The UK Government yesterday warned that affordable food prices can no longer be taken for granted. The warning comes in the wake of a rising world population and the scarcity of natural resources in some areas of the planet. (Scotsman page 6)

Offshore Energy: The Scottish and Irish governments are working in conjunction with the Northern Irish Executive to plan a feasibility study into offshore energy. Energy Minister Jim Mather met with his Irish counterparts in Glasgow to discuss mutual energy interests. (Press and Journal page 9, Herald page 6)

UK Recession: The British Chamber of Commerce yesterday reported that there was a serious threat of recession in the UK, as they told of a deterioration in both the manufacturing and services sectors, and also tough times for the service companies within Scotland. (Herald page 34, Sun page 8, Daily Mail page 6, FT page 3, The Times page 37, the Guardian page 1)

Athletes Village: A search has commenced for a partner to help build the athletes village in time for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014. The announcement has been welcomed by the construction industry amid fears they may have to lay off staff in the wake of the ensuing decline in the housing market. (Herald page 11)

Economy Depressing Voters: Philip Stephens writing in the FT writes that voters are becoming increasingly depressed by the black economic forecasts and that Gordon Brown will have a tough time changing voter’s perceptions.

Transport

Scotrail: Scotrail was one of only seven rail operators to report rising customer satisfaction levels yesterday. The rail operator boasted a 5% rise in satisfaction levels compared to spring 2007. (Herald page 11)

Crime

Operation Eden: A police operation in Glenrothes, titled ‘Operation Eden’, has been hailed a success after seminars held by the police with 2,500 school children helped to reduce youth related problems in the town by 75%. (Courier and Advertiser pages 1, 2 and 12)

Violence Reduction: St. Andrew’s University has attracted Professor Peter Donnelly, formerly deputy chief medical officer in Scotland to take up a new chair and lead research into national violence reduction strategies. (Courier and Advertiser page 10, Herald page 7)

Health

NHS Funding: Dr. Hamish Meldrum of the British Medical Association has said England should follow Scotland’s lead and scrap the use of the private sector within the NHS. (Scotsman page 8)

GPs: The Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon will today announce that a loophole allowing private companies to run GP practices in Scotland will be closed. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 7)

C Diff: Relatives of those who have died from the clostridium difficile infection in the Vale of Leven hospital are to take action against the health board NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley. 18 deaths have been linked to the bug. The news comes in the wake of scientists at Edinburgh University announcing they are close to completion of a superbug scanner that will aid in detecting lethal bacteria found in hospitals. (Herald page 7, Daily Telegraph page 14)

Baby Units Shortage: The Patients Information Centre Scotland has written to the Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon to ask why a mother from Buckie had to travel 200 miles to give birth to her premature child. The 18 year old mother had to travel to Glasgow after it was found the nearest specialist unit in Aberdeen was full. (Press and Journal page 3)

Local Government

Aberdeen Council: As accountants attempt to balance the books at crisis torn Aberdeen City Council it was feared this morning that over 1,000 jobs may be in jeopardy. The Council faces budget cuts of more than £27m. (Press and Journal page 7, Courier and Advertiser page 10, Herald page 6, Sun page 4)

Post Office Closures: Community organisations in Angus are hopeful that they can save their local Post Offices after 42 were proposed for closure. (Press and Journal page 6)

Politics

Social rather than economic: Rachel Sylvester’s article in the Times suggests that it will not just be economic factors that sway voters in the next election but also social issues. She further argues that David Cameron has encroached on natural Labour territory by picking up on these issues.

Blair and Salmond: In the Daily Mail, Tom Gallagher writes that Tony Blair would be proud of the moral vision that Alex Salmond now promotes within Scotland.

Liberal Democrats: It was confirmed yesterday that there will be at east three contenders for the Liberal Democrat leadership contest after it was announced that Tavish Scott and Ross Finnie will join Mike Rumbles in the contest to succeed Nicol Stephen. (Scotsman page 13, Press and Journal page 9, Courier and Advertiser page 1, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 2, Daily Telegraph page 8)

Glasgow East: David Cameron in Glasgow yesterday campaigning as part of the Glasgow East by-election has stated that anyone caught with a knife should be sent to prison. Alex Salmond has been talking up his party’s chances of winning the by-election stating that he predicted a “political earthquake.” Labour meanwhile, have selected Margaret Curran as their candidate and she immediately began her campaign by challenging SNP candidate John Mason to a live TV debate. (Scotsman page 14, Press and Journal pages 1 and 5, Courier and Advertiser page 9, Herald page 6 and 1, Sun page 6 and 7, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mail page 8, Daily Mirror page 10 and 11, Daily Express page 4, The Times pages 1,2, 6 and 7, the Daily Telegraph page 1,8, 21, Polly Toynbee and page 4)