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Daily Political Media Summary: 7th August 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. .

Economy
Stamp duty: George Kerevan in the Scotsman (page 24) argues that providing a break in stamp duty will not help the housing market as the real problem is the lack of available mortgages.

Rise in borrowing: More than a third of Scottish firms have reported a rise in their cost of borrowing since the credit crunch began according to Siemens Financial Services. (Scotsman page 30)

IMF: The International Monetary Fund has warned that the UK has “little scope” to ease an economic slow down with interest rate cuts as it wrestles with inflation. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is expected to announce its latest decision on interest rates later today. (FT page 2, Scotsman page 33, Times page 36, Guardian page 24, Telegraph page B1, Alf Young in the Herald)

Oil economy: A report published by the Centre for Public Policy for the Regions warns that the Scottish economy could be left vulnerable if it relies too heavily on oil revenues. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 13, Express page 6, Courier page 7, P&J page 1)

Long term sick: According to a report commissioned by the Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell, six out of ten sickness benefit claimants could return to work. (Mail page 2)

Scots’ food prices: Scots’ grocery bills have increased to record levels and last month rose ten times faster than the rest of the UK according to the Shop Price Index. (Mail page 4)

Crime
Open prisons:
Following recent cases of prisoners going on the run from the open estate, the number of criminals allowed into open prisons in Scotland has dropped by nearly a third. (Scotsman page 1)

DNA database: Further coverage of the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police Force’s call for a DNA database of the whole population. (Telegraph page 1)

Transport
Edinburgh trams:
Despite initially opposing the re-introduction of trams in Edinburgh, the SNP has said that it might support the expansion of the network to include more lines. (Scotsman page 14)

Sunday sailing: Yesterday Caledonian MacBrayne ruled out further Sunday sailings to the Western Isles following campaigns against the sailings. (Express page 26, P&J page 10)

Borders rail link: The Scottish Government yesterday unveiled a five-year timetable to restore the Waverley line to the Scottish Borders at a cost of £300m. (Herald page 1)

Education
Extra Tuition: Andy Kerr, contender to replace Wendy Alexander as leader of the Scottish Labour party, has called for children struggling with the transition between primary and secondary school to receive free extra tuition. (Sun page 2, Courier page 3)

Health
NHS hygiene:
Nicola Sturgeon has said new standards on the use of NHS uniforms are being examined following concerns about poor hygiene levels. (Herald page 6)

Local Government
Local income tax: The UK Liberal Democrats are planning to soften their support for replacing the council tax with a local income tax. The party has been aware of the problems the SNP has faced trying to introduce the policy in Scotland. (Guardian page 11)

Aberdeen City: Robert Coomber, a former London local government chief executive has been appointed interim Chief Executive of Aberdeen City Council to help it out of its current financial crisis. (P&J page 7)

Politics
Internal Labour party problems:
Further comment and analysis following revelations that David Miliband is already choosing his first cabinet as part of his plans to replace Gordon Brown. (Express page 2, Mail page 12, Seumas Milne in the Guardian, Mirror page 6, Telegraph page 2, Courier page 11, P&J page 11)

Lib Dem leadership: Former Lib Dem Leader Ming Campbell has backed Tavish Scott in the Scottish leadership election to replace Nicol Stephen. (Sun page 2, Express page 8, Mail page 2, Times page 16, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Courier page 6, Herald page 6, P&J page 9)

Scottish football on TV: SNP MSP Stuart McMillan has attacked the BBC for snubbing Scottish football fans after the company failed to secure a deal to show Scotland’s international home games. The Scottish Football Association instead secured a £60m deal with Sky Sports giving them exclusive coverage of the games between 2010 and 2014. (Herald page 5, Express page 6, P&J page 10, Record page 1, Mail page 21, Times page 5, Mirror page 7, Courier page 3)

Scottish Labour: Jim Devine MP has backed Andy Kerr’s vision of an enhanced role for the leader of the Scottish Labour MSP within the wider Labour party. (Herald page 6)

Family Fortnight: Mary Riddell in the Telegraph (page 18) comments on the Conservatives’ plans for a ‘family fortnight’.

Downing Street TV: Gordon Brown is to launch his own TV channel – Number10TV – in a bid to aide his poll ratings. (FT page 1)