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Daily Political Media Summary: 12 August 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy
Fixed rate mortgages: The Bank of England confirmed yesterday that fixed-rate mortgages had come down in price last month for the first time since February. (Scotsman page 10, Sun page 2, Daily Express pages 1 and 2)

Creative Scotland: The cost of creating Scotland’s new publicly funded arts agency Creative Scotland will cost more than £7m, more than 10 times the original estimate. Creative Scotland will be formed by the merger of Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council. (Times page 3)

Film-makers: Holywood actor Kevin McKidd, originally from Elgin, is calling for tax breaks for film makers to encourage them to make more movies in the Highlands and Islands. (Scotsman page 16, Daily Mail page 16, Herald page 3, P&J page 8)

Aberdeen Council: Cash strapped Aberdeen City Council has been forced to hire a financial ‘troubleshooter’ at a cost of almost £1,000 a day. (Daily Mail page 22)

Inflation Worries: Fears that inflation will hit 5% over the summer were heightened yesterday due to a surge in the cost of goods leaving factories. UK manufactured products rose by 10.2% from a year earlier, official figures revealed. Bill Emmott in the Guardian (page 26) argues that there is no problem with the capitalist system, only that householders have been affected by a rise in the rate of inflation. Nils Pratley, also of the Guardian (page 21) gives his observations. (The Times page 38, Daily Mail page 4)

House Sales: The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has announced a 43% drop in the number of homes sold in Scotland in July as compared with the previous month. (Daily Mail page 2)

Public Spending: Patrick O’Flynn in the Daily Express (page 12) comments on how Gordon Brown has used increased public spending to win support within the Labour party but at the expense of the economy.

Budget deficit: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman (page 29) comments that the government’s fiscal deficit is on course to reach £85billion by 2010/11.

Pensioners: According to official figures up to 700,000 pensioners are living in poverty because they are not claiming the benefits owed to them by the state. (Daily Mail page 28)

Crime
Police pensions: Strathclyde Police Board is considering a freeze on recruiting new officers as they are facing higher lump sum payouts for retiring officers at a cost of £25million. (Scotsman page 12)

Brits arrest abroad: The number of Brits being arrested overseas has increased greatly over the past year. In Spain the figure is up by a third and in France it is up by 42%. (Sun page 18, Daily Mail page 1, The Guardian page 7, Herald page 1, P&J page 15)

Early release: Following calls for fewer prisoners to be released early, Emma Christie in the P&J (page 10) investigates life behind bars in Craiginches Prison.

Nose biting case: A man who bit of his girlfriend’s nose in a drunken prank because he was bored has been spared jail on humanitarian grounds as he was in a wheelchair. (P&J page 6)

Transport
BAA monopoly: The Competition Commission has concluded that BAA’s monopoly in south east England and Scotland is harming competition and it is increasingly likely that the Spanish owned company will have to sell off some of the operations. (FT page1)

Education
Class sizes: Fiona MacLeod in the Scotsman (page 13) comments on difficulties faced by councils in meeting the SNP pledge to reduce class sizes.

Home Schooling: On the back of growing numbers of Scots children failing to achieve basic competency levels in maths, reading and writing, parents are increasingly looking to school their children at home. (Daily Express page 4)

Learning from failure: Gordon Cairns in the Herald (page 19) comments on the switch in schools from building self-esteem to teaching young people to learn from failure.

Foreign students: A pilot scheme to help make studying in Scotland a better experience for foreign students will be introduced at Abertay University. (P&J page 4

Health

Lung cancer case: NHS Grampian has issued an apology to Laurence Ball who was told by doctors he had lung cancer and had a lung needlessly removed. Three days after the operation Mr Ball was told that there was no trace of lung cancer in the removed lung. (Scotsman page 8, Record page 16, Daily Express page 7, Daily Mail page 5, Telegraph page 8, Courier page 9)

Politics
Labour infighting:
Further comment and analysis on the clash between David Miliband and Gordon Brown. (Gerry Hassan in the Scotsman, Daily Mail page 2)

Pay Rises: 26 inner-London MPs will have pay rises of 9.4%. The MPs include 13 members of the Government. The controversial pay rises will amount to around £6,000 each. Furthermore, 9 Scottish MPs yesterday admitted paying members of their families out of the public purse. (Daily Express page 6, Daily Mail page 28)

David Cameron: In the Guardian, John Kampfner examines the change in David Cameron’s, and the Tories, views on society.

Scottish labour leadership contest: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments on the debate over the power and autonomy of the Scottish Labour leader