Daily Political Media Summary: 26 September 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. 

Economy
HBOS:
Professor Gavin McCrone, one of Scotland’s top economists has warned that disgruntled HBOS shareholders might be able to take action against the FSA if the takeover deal goes through. (Scotsman page 6, Gavin McCrone in the Scotsman, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Peter Jones in the Scotsman)

Home reports: Members of the Scottish Law Agents’ Society are expected to vote today against plans to introduce home reports in December arguing the reports will “destroy” the property market in Scotland. (Scotsman page 13, P&J page 7, Courier page 3, Express page 4, Sun page 2)

Bradford & Bingley: Bradford & Bingley yesterday announced it was axing the last of its branch-based mortgage advisers in an effort to survive the credit crunch. The move is likely to cost 370 jobs. (Herald page 32, Times page 63, Telegraph B3, Guardian page 35, Express page 4, Mail page 20)

Gas & electricity: A report from Energyhelpline.com has suggested that gas and electricity prices may increase by another 15%. While figures released by the National Grid suggest that loosing even one of the UK’s 38 biggest power plants during a period of peak demand this winter could cripple parts of the country. (Telegraph page 2, Mail page 1)

Church of England: The Church of England has been accused of hypocrisy over short selling. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, had said it was right to ban short selling, however hedge funds have pointed out that the church has aided short selling by lending stock and had invested £13m in Man Group, a large hedge fund manager. (FT page 1)

Better off on benefits: Figures published by the UK Government yesterday indicate that some people are better off on benefits than in work as they can lose as much as £1.20 in benefits for every £1 they earn. (Express page 1)

Northern Rock: Richard Branson in the Mail (page 36) explains why he thinks politicians should never be allowed to run businesses and why he believed the decision to nationalise Northern Rock will come back to haunt the government.

Crime
Prison overcrowding: A fraudster avoided being sent to jail yesterday because the Sheriff told him there was no room left in Scotland’s overcrowded jails. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 3, Mirror page 19, Telegraph page 1, P&J page 1, Courier page 7, Express page 5, Mail page 5, Record page 15, Sun page 1)

Education
Private pupils: Pupil numbers at Scotland’s independent schools have fallen for the first time in four years with experts blaming the effects of the credit crunch. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 5)

Health
Life expectancy:
Scottish life expectancy is increasing but remains only slightly higher than some of the poorest countries of Eastern Europe according to figures released by the Scottish Government. (Herald page 1, P&J page 9, Courier page 6, Express page 6)

Alcohol: Research has revealed that alcohol sales in Scotland are one-fifth higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK with average Scottish adults drinking 20% more pure alcohol per year than adults in England and Wales. (Herald page 9, Mail page 8)

Local Government
Local income tax: Iain Gray yesterday said that the proposed local income tax would damage Scotland’s chances of retaining jobs and headquarters functions in the Lloyds TSB takeover of HBOS. (Scotsman page 6, Times page 13, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, P&J page 12, Sun page 2)

Industrial action: Council workers are expected to carry out another 24hours of industrial action in a dispute over pay on Monday 6th October. (Scotsman page 18, P&J page 8, Express page 13)

Politics
Lib Dem phone calls: The Lib Dems have been ordered to stop making unsolicited automated phone calls to voters or face prosecution after being found to have breached privacy rules. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 6, Guardian page 19, Courier page 9, FT page 4, Record page 4)

Catholics on the throne: Constitutional reforms are being drawn up by Westminster to scrap the Act of Settlement and end the ban on Catholics taking the thrown. The reforms would also end the male precedence over women for the thrown. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6, Express page 7)

Glenrothes by-election: Magnus Linklater in the Times (page 16) looks at Labour’s chances of winning the Glenrothes by-election.

Gordon Brown: Martin Kettle in the Guardian (page 43) comments on Gordon Brown’s party conference.

Broken society: David Edgar in the Guardian (page 42) comments that if British society is indeed broken, it was the Conservatives who broke it.

Tories in Scotland: Kerry Gill in the Express (page 10) comments on the Conservative party’s position in Scotland.