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Daily Political Media Summary: 9th July 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Health

Sturgeon to cut private sector out of NHS: Coverage today of Nicola Sturgeon’s speech at the British medical Association’s national conference where she outlined plans to prevent private companies from bidding for GP contracts. (Scotsman page 1 , P&J page 11, Herald page 7) Also in (Scotsman page 4-5) Reform Scotland Director Geoff Mawdsley questions such a move and argues that there is plenty of evidence that NHS patients in Scotland would benefit from a wider variety of healthcare providers. “By preventing private-sector companies from even bidding for GP contracts, Nicola Sturgeon is closing off an option that could lead to major improvements.” The Scotsman editorial (page 25) accuses Nicola Sturgeon of being more at home with taking ideological stances than with dealing realistically with the pressing issues facing the NHS.

C. diff families demand meeting with Sturgeon: Yesterday seven families of those who died as a result of the bug demanded an immediate meeting with health secretary Nicola Sturgeon where they will repeat their calls for a public inquiry into the case. (Courier page 9, Herald page 12, Daily Mail page 1, Sun page 4)

Request for a ‘rethink’ on home care charging: Fife’s SNP-Lib Dem-led council has been urged to rethink its new home care charging policy by an opposition councillor. (Courier page 4)

Economy

£750bn oil reserves remain untapped under North Sea: A potential £750bn in unrecovered oil and gas reserves is in the North Sea, industry leaders said today- but warned that without new technology and investment from the government the reserves will never be uncovered. (Scotsman page 11, Financial Times page 4)

Equitable Life victims could claim billions: A damning report into the near collapse of Equitable Life will highlight failings by government regulators and pave the way for billions of pounds in compensation to be paid out of the public purse. (Telegraph page 1)

Scots house prices keep on growing but crunch looms: House prices in Scotland are continuing to grow but there is increasing evidence that the crunch is now hitting harder. (Herald page 3, Scotsman page 32)

SNP demands a share of North Sea tax windfall: The political battle over oil and gas revenue has reignited after the industry revealed that on the back of high prices it is expected to pour £6bn more than expected into Treasury coffers. (Herald page 1, Daily Express page 14)

Markets drive share prices into official ‘bear market territory’: Mounting fears of recession sent the FTSE100 tumbling 3% at one point yesterday, pushing the UK market below 5,385 and into bear territory. (Scotsman page 29, Herald page 26) Simon Jenkins (Guardian page 31) comments on the Footsie tumble)

Building company lays off 1100 workers: House building group Persimmon yesterday said it had laid off more than a fifth of its workforce since January as it faced up to the toughest conditions in the groups recent history. (Courier page 15, Herald page 25, Times page 39)

Crime

Politicians demand action as another serious offender goes on the run: Politicians called for an urgent review last night after a prisoner convicted of attempted murder absconded while on day release in Tayside. (P&J page 1)

Politics

Glasgow East by-election: Further coverage today of Glasgow East by-election, with the SNP accused of hypocrisy after its candidate launched a scathing attack on his labour party opponent for dual role as MP and MSP if she were to be elected, this attack was criticised as amounting to double standards, given that First Minster Alex Salmond is both MSP and MP . (Scotsmanpage 8 , P&J page 9, Courier page 6) Also further comment on Glasgow East by-election by Ruth Wishart (Herald page 13, Herald page 6, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mail page 17, Daily Express page 16, Sun page 2, Daily Telegraph page 11, Financial times page 2, Times page 3, Guardian page 7)

Ex-MI5 chief against 42-day detention move: Gordon Brown’s policy of extending pre-charge detention of terror suspects to 42 days suffered a serious blow last night when a former head of MI5 came out against the controversial proposal. (Herald page 6, Financial Times page 4, Times page 16, Guardian page 4)

Purvis ruled out of Lib Dem race: Liberal Democrat MSP Jeremy Purvis yesterday ruled himself out of the race to lead the party in Scotland.(P&J page 8, Courier page 3, Herald page 6)

Final pleas to stop post office closures: MSPs urged the post office to listen to the views of campaigners and customers who will be badly affected by controversial plans to shut 42 branches across the regions and fife. (P&J page 3)