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Daily Political Media Summary: 20 August 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy
Housebuilding: The Scottish Government yesterday announced an additional £100million for the housing industry. £60m of work earmarked for 2010 will brought forward whilst the government hopes to get local authorities to agree to bring forward £40m of work. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 6, Sun page 2, Times page 8, Express page 2, Mail page 10, P&J page 10, Courier page 10)

Retail: According to the Scottish Retail Consortium like-for-like sales in July grew by only 0.5%, though this was stronger than the UK as a whole which recorded a 0.9% decrease. (Scotsman page 28, Herald page 27, Mail page 15, P&J page 19)

Inflation: Timothy Besley, a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, has said that the Bank must not cut interest rates until inflation is under control. (Herald page 27, P&J page 19)

Recession: Howard Davies in the FT (page 11) comments on the politics of recessions.

Post offices: 26 post offices in Edinburgh, the Lothians and the south of Scotland are to be closed with a further 32 post offices replaced with “outreach services”. (P&J page 8, Courier page 3, Telegraph page 8)

Crime
Robber on the run:
A violent robber jailed for seven years has gone on the run from Noranside open prison in Angus. (Scotsman page 13, P&J page 3)

Lothian & Borders police: According to the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland, Lothian & Borders Police Force failed to follow up a significant number of complaints against officers, including allegations of criminal behaviour. (Herald page 5)

Court cases: Sheriff Lindsay Foulis yesterday questioned why two cases had been brought before the sheriff court – one in connection with a speck of ecstasy worth nothing and other for possession of one tablet of ecstasy worth £3. The Sheriff asked why such minor offences were not given fiscal fines. The story comes on the back of recent controversy over the use of fiscal fines for violent offenders. (Herald page 8, Sun page 24, P&J page 6)

Transport
Airports: The Competition Commission has called for a break up of BAA insisting that it sells two of the three airports in the South East of England and either Glasgow and Edinburgh. (Sun page 2, Jeff Randall in the Telegraph)

Education
Class sizes
: A mother yesterday won an a placing request appeal to sent her daughter to the primary school of her choice despite the fact that West Lothian Council has blocked the move claiming the class was full. However under the law the maximum class size is 30, with commentators saying this makes a mockery of the Scottish Government’s class sizes targets. (Herald page 1 )

Health
C diff outbreak:
A hospital ward at the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline was closed on Friday due to an outbreak of the C diff superbug. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 10)

Methadone: Lyndsay Moss in the Scotsman (page 9) questions the use of methadone in addressing drug abuse.

Cancer times: Cancer patients in Scotland are getting quicker access to treatment however the government target that by 2005, 95% of patients should be treated within 62 days of urgent referral is still not being achieved. (Herald page 10, Express page 4, Mail page 20, P&J page 7, Telegraph page 8)

Local Government
Industrial action:
200,000 local government workers are striking today in a dispute over a 2.5% pay increase over each of the next three years. Schools, libraries, bin collection and burials are among the services affected. (Scotsman page 8, Sun page 12, Mail page 2, P&J page 3, Courier page 4, Telegraph page 8)

Edinburgh heritage: The Head of UNESCO has warned that major developments in the Caltongate and Haymarket areas of Edinburgh should stop until an investigation into Edinburgh’s world heritage status is completed. (Scotsman page 3)

Politics
Glenrothes by-election:
Henry McLeish announced yesterday that he would not put his name forward to be the Labour candidate in the Glenrothes by-election. (Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Mail page 16, P&J page 11, Courier page 6, Telegraph page 13)

Lib Dems: The Scottish Lib Dems posted debts of almost £75,000 for 2007. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6, Express page 2, P&J page 9)

Festival of politics: Hamish Macdonell in the Scotsman (page 20) looks ahead to the festival of politics at the Scottish parliament.

Labour leadership contest: Further comment and analysis on the contest. Andy Kerr has said he is the only candidate who could take on Alex Salmond while Cathy Jamieson has said she will come up with an alternative to the council tax which allows Scotland to keep the current council tax benefit. (Record page 2, Angus Macleod in the Times, P&J page 10)

Cameron and Boris: Boris Johnson has referred to David Cameron’s claims that Britain was a “broken society” as “piffle”. (Sun page 2)

Political leadership: Irwin Stelzer in the Telegraph (page 21) comments on the various crises facing the UK from foreign affairs to economic downturn and asks whether Gordon Brown, David Miliband or David Cameron has what it takes to lead the country out of these problems.