Daily Political Media Summary: 25 September 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy
EDF nuclear deal: EDF has agreed a £12.5bn deal to buy British Energy and build four new nuclear reactors in the UK. Concerns have been raised about competition in the British Energy market as EDF already generates 6% of Britain’s electricity and has 8 million customers. EDF is committed to retaining British Energy’s East Kilbride office. (Herald page 1, Times page 18, Carl Mortished in Times page 19, Guardian page 18).

Scottish tourism: Visitor numbers at Scotland’s historic attractions fell by 10% this summer (Herald page 2).

HBOS takeover: The Holyrood consensus on the future of HBOS appeared to have broken down yesterday as opposition parties attacked the First Minister’s claims that an independent Scotland could have saved the bank from a takeover (Times page 2, Herald page 7, Telegraph page 1, P&J page 9). Meanwhile a former head of treasury at Deutsche Bank has criticised Lloyds TSB’s takeover offer (Scotsman page 1). Alex von Ungern-Sternberg argues in the Scotsman (page 26) that the deal ‘makes no sense’ for HBOS shareholders and that the ‘problem can be fixed without a merger’.

Scottish economy: The Lloyds TSB Business Monitor report predicts a 28% fall in turnover for Scottish businesses in the next six months. It expects reduced growth for 2008 and says economic difficulties are likely to continue well into next year (Times page 1, Scotsman page 27, P&J page 1).

Banking crisis: Coverage and analysis of the US Treasury Secretary’s proposals to bail out banks (Anatole Kaletsky in the Times, Peter MacMahon in the Scotsman, Guardian page 28, FT page 1).

Transport
London train service: A new rail operator has applied to run a non-stop four hour Edinburgh to London train service. Platinum plans to compete with airlines for business passengers (Scotsman page 7).

Education
Teachers’ retirement: Ministers are to consider expanding a scheme which makes it easier for older teachers to retire early. The Education Secretary said this could create vacancies for unemployed newly-qualified teachers. Delegates at the Scottish Learning Festival conference expressed concern about teachers experiencing ‘burn out’ at the end of their careers (Herald page 11).

Class sizes: The Education Secretary criticised Labour-run Glasgow City Council for refusing to meet the Scottish Government’s targets for a reduction in class sizes (Herald page 11).

Local Government
Strike: The unions Unison, GMB and Unite are planning further strikes following yesterday’s action by 150,000 Scottish council workers. The unions have rejected councils’ 2.5% pay offer and are demanding 5% (Herald page 2, Scotsman page 10, Times page 17, Courier page 6, Express page 15).

Politics
Ruth Kelly’s resignation: Coverage of Ruth Kelly’s surprise resignation and the implications for the Prime Minister’s future (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 8, Times page 6, Guardian page 8).

Catholic succession: Downing Street has drawn up plans to end the 300-year-old exclusion of Catholics from the throne (Guardian page 1).