Daily Political Media Summary: 10 September 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy
Industrial action:
Trade unions have warned of a “winter of discontent” in Scotland as council workers, court and Crown Office staff prepare to go on strike later this month demanding increased wages to take account of rising inflation. (Scotsman page 1, Hamish Macdonell in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Mirror page 6, Courier page 11)

TUC conference: The Chancellor yesterday called for pay restrained at the TUC conference in Brighton warning that above-inflation rises could spark a damaging inflationary spiral. Harriet Harman is expected to say to the conference today that social class is still the most important dividing line in British society. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 2, Ian Bell in the Herald, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Macer Hall in the Express, Times page 21, Mail page 2, Guardian page 12, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 11, FT page 2, P&J page 10)

Immigration: The Migration Advisory Committee report shows that Scottish firms have almost three times as many vacancies for skilled workers compared with companies in England. (Scotsman page 7, Ross Lydall in the Scotsman, Herald page 4, Sun page 6, Mail page 10, Guardian page 3)

Energy grid: Dr Keith Maclean, head of sustainable development at Scottish and Southern Energy said yesterday that Scotland’s renewable targets would not be met unless the “woeful” energy grid system is improved. (Scotsmanpage 8)

Energy saving vs windfall tax: The Prime Minister is expected to announce today that 11 million homes are to be given help to reduce their energy bills under a £1 billion package largely funded by utility companies. However the package is unlikely to satisfy a number of Labour MPs and unions who are demanding a windfall tax on energy companies to help families with bills this winter. (Times page 3, Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 2, FT page 2)

Scottish Futures Trust: Andrew Gordon, chief executive of the Canmore Partnership, yesterday told a Holyrood committee that if the SNP were confident in their preferred method for funding projects they would allow rival bids offering alternative methods. He went on to argue that there was no proof that the Scottish Futures Trust would be any cheaper than PPP or PFI. John Swinney is expected to announce today detailed proposals for the Scottish Futures Trust. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 32)

Manufacturing: Figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that UK manufacturing output fell by 0.2% in July. (Herald page 28, FT page 2, P&J page 20)

Crime
Criminals on construction sites:
The Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill yesterday suggested that some prisoners would be better used to work on building sites rather than clogging up prisons. The construction industry accused the minister of insulting their trade. (Scotsman page 5, Courier page 8)

Knife crime: John Muir, the father of a man stabbed to death in a random attack, yesterday presented a petition to MSPs calling for mandatory jail sentences for anyone caught carrying knifes. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 11, Mirror page 6, Mail page 4, Record page 4, Telegraph page 14, Courier page 9, P&J page 9)

Anger at sentence: A solicitor who hid a camera in a ladies toilet cubicle and filmed female staff was given three years probation yesterday after a sheriff said his actions were so clumsy the female staff should have spotted them. The comments and sentence provoked criticism from Conservative MSP Liz Smith. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 7, Sun page 1, Mail page 29, Record page 27, Telegraph page 11, Courier page 1)

Police pensions: Kenny MacAskill has claimed that Holyrood has had to find £32m to fund a new police and firefighters’ pension deal because Scotland received no money from Westminster to match the English agreement. (Herald page 6, Mail page 15, Courier page 9, P&J page 11)

Youth crime: Figures published by the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration show that the number of children classed as “beyond control” has increased from 4,183 in 2003/04 to 5,603 in 2006/7. (Mail page 1)

Transport
Forth crossing: John Swinney has pledged to investigate the costs of a new Forth Bridge after being asked by Green MSP Patrick Harvie if it was going to be the most expensive bridge “in human history”. (Scotsman page 13, Express page 8, P&J page 9)

Aberdeen by-pass: At the first day of the public inquiry into the proposed Aberdeen by-pass it was claimed that the two local authorities funding the project were only told of the proposed route two weeks before the official announcement by ministers. (Herald page 8, P&J page 1)

Education
Class sizes: The Scottish Conservatives yesterday claimed that the SNP’s class size target was illegal and unworkable. The party published information showing that the only class size minimum enshrined in law was the 30-pupil limit and 21 out of the 32 single outcome agreements between local authorities and the Scottish Government included no agreement on class size limits. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 5, Sun page 2, Times page 14, Mail page 15, Record page 12, Telegraph page 13,Courier page 6, P&J page 13)

Health
GP opening hours:
Over half of Scotland’s GP practices are committed to extending their opening hours according to the Scottish Government. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 9, Mail page 6, Record page 2, Courier page 9, P&J page 17)

Politics
England subsidising Scotland?: The Taxpayers Alliance has alleged that Scotland has been subsidised by £1,644 per person per year for the past 20 years by English taxpayers (Scotsman page 16, Express page 27, P&J page 8)

Scottish Labour leadership: Hamish Macdonell in the Scotsman (page 22) examines each of the contenders for the Scottish Labour leadership and argues that whoever wins they have to be ready to take on Alex Salmond. The result is expected to be announced at the weekend.

New Labour: Whitehall sources last night denied that Gordon Brown was ditching the New Labour model after the Prime Minister declared it was “time to adapt and rethink New Labour policy”. Simon Heffer in the Telegraph (page 20) argues that the Prime Minister is bad news for the Labour Party as well as for the UK. (Herald page 1, Express page 2, Mail page 2, Telegraph page 10, Courier page 2, P&J page 5)

Independence and the Conservatives: Allan Massie in the Mail (page 12) comments on the recent opinion poll which suggested support for independence would increase if the Conservatives won the next general election.

The new Tories?: The Guardian (page 14) evaluates Conservative party thinking in 10 main areas and rates how progressive the “new Tories” really are.

Calman Commission: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph (page 14) comments on the Calman Commission.