Daily Political Media Summary: 8 August 2008

Economy

Royal Bank of Scotland: RBS have announced pre-tax losses of £691million during the first half of 2008, the second biggest loss in UK banking history, though less than many analysts had predicted (BBC News Online, Scotsman page 6).

Household survey: The 2007 Scottish Household survey shows that one in five Scottish households is living on less than £10,000 a year (Scotsman page 13, Record page 2, Herald page 2, Express page 21, P&J page 7, Courier page 7).

Stamp duty: The Chancellor pulled out of an interview with the BBC last night after being told he would be asked to clarify the Government’s position on stamp duty and whether there would be a break in the payments (Mail page 2, Express page 15, Telegraph page 4).

Oil fund: The First Minister outlines his vision for a Scottish Oil Fund (Express page 12).

Interest rates: The Bank of England held interest rates at 5% yesterday (Telegraph page B1, Richard Fletcher in the Telegraph, Courier page 2, FT page 3).

House prices: House prices fell by 11% between July 2007 and July 2008, according to the Halifax House Price Index, one of the biggest ever recorded year-on-year drops (FT page 1).

Crime

Prisoners free to wander: The Sun reports that a killer and a rapist, both serving life sentences, were allowed a day release from Shotts maximum security prison to wander the local village unsupervised whilst locals were unaware of their presence. (Sun page 1)

Weapons: Strathclyde police force has taken 2,752 lethal weapons of the streets in the past six months (Record page 10, Mail page 10, P&J page 8, Courier page 9).

Young offender rehabilitation: Strathclyde Police are piloting a scheme which offers young offenders incentives and support to change their behaviour instead of punishment (Herald page 1).

Education

Earlier exams: Schools which allow pupils to sit Standard Grade exams a year early, in S3 instead of S4, have reported an improvement in results for the least able pupils (TESS page 1).

Health

C Diff: An independent review into the Vale of Leven Hospital, where 55 patients were diagnosed with C Difficile between December and June, has strongly criticised facilities including a shortage of hand basins, beds crammed together and “shabby” conditions (Scotsman page 1, Sun page 20, Record page 2, Mail page 6, Express page 8, Times page 1, Herald page 1, P&J page 9, Telegraph page 6, Courier page 9).

Drug related deaths: 455 drug related deaths were recorded in 2007, more than double the figure from ten years ago (Scotsman page 15, Sun page 6, Record page 9, Express page 18, Herald page 10, P&J page 11, Telegraph page 6, Courier page 1).

Proof of age: Labour leadership contender Iain Gray is calling for the introduction of mandatory proof of age cards for purchasing alcohol (Sun page 2, Record page 2, Courier page 7).

Local Government

Local income tax: The SNP are considering a deal with the Liberal Democrats which could see every local authority in Scotland set its own local income tax level, rather than the centrally set 3p originally proposed by the Scottish Government (Scotsman page 8). Lib Dems in Scotland denied yesterday that they were considering softening their commitment to a local income tax following cautious comments about the policy from the party’s UK Treasury Spokesman (Herald page 6).

Glasgow Councillor: Councillor Jahangir Hanif from Glasgow City Council has been suspended from the SNP following revelations that he took five of his children to Kashmir to shoot AK-47 rifles (Scotsman page 14, Sun page 17, Record page 9, Mail page 25, Express page 5 Mirror page 9, Times page 3, Herald page 7, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Courier page 7).

Politics

Oath to the Queen: A group of 22 MPs from the three main UK political parties have started a campaign to scrap MPs’ oath of allegiance to the Queen (Mail page 1).

Labour Party woes: Further comment and speculation on the internal fighting within the Labour party (Melanie Philips in the Mail, Martin Kettle in the Guardian).

Scottish Labour party: Brian Wilson, a former Labour MP and UK Energy Minister, said that devolution had been a disaster for the party and dismissed the three contenders for the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party as “worthy but scarcely inspirational” (Express page 4, Times page 22, P&J page 8). Tom Harris MP argues against changing the status of the leader of Scottish Labour (Herald page 15).