Daily Political Media Summary: 3 September 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy
UK housing recovery plan: Yesterday Gordon Brown announced a recovery package aimed at kick-starting the housing market. Proposals include scrapping stamp duty for a year on all properties costing up to £175,000. Other proposals were announced for England which includes allowing councils to take a share of mortgages at risk of default. (Herald page 1, Damien Henderson in the Herald, Scotsman page 4, Ross Lydall in the Scotsman, Sun page 7, Guardian page 6, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, Times page 18, Express page 4, Mirror page 13, Mail page 6, P&J page 1, Courier page 6, FT page 2, Telegraph page 1, Edmund Conway and Andrew Porter in the Telegraph)

Recession: The OECD has said that the UK will be the only one of the G7 nations to fall into recession this year. However according to the Bank of Scotland Index of Learning Indicators Scotland’s economic output will continue to rise until at least the first quarter of 2009. (Herald page 28, Sun page 2, Times page 3, Express page 4, P&J page 10, FT page 1, Telegraph page B1, Guardian page 1)

Edinburgh’s Housing market: House prices in Edinburgh recorded a year-on-year drop by 6.5% last month according to the ESPC. This is the first fall in Edinburgh’s housing market since 1971. (Scotsman page 1)

Currency: George Kerevan (page 31) comments on the recent fall in the value of the pound against the euro.

Hydro electric power: Energy Minister Jim Mather has said that a new generation of hydro-electric power could become a much more acceptable form of renewable energy given the way it can be “camouflaged”. (Herald page 6, Sun page 2)

Fiscal rules: John Kay in the FT (page 13) comments on the golden rule that expenditure should match tax receipts over an economic cycle.

Transport
Ferry: An announcement on a new operator for the Rosyth to Zeebrugge ferry service is expected to be made within the next few weeks. (Courier page 1)

Education
Lecturers: Fiona Macleod in the Scotsman (page 38) examines whether a McCrone style deal is the way forward for Scotland’s lecturers.

Health
Car parking charges: Hospital car parking charges are to be scrapped across Scotland, except at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Ninewells in Dundee due to the high costs of terminating the PFI contracts. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 9, Sun page 8, Times page 9, Express page 10, Mirror page 10, Mail page 2, Record page 1, P&J page 1, Courier page 1, Telegraph page 9)

Dental care: Hungarian dentists are to begin touring Scotland setting up surgeries in inflatable tents. (Express page 1)

Local Government
Industrial action:
John Swinney has said that councils can expect no extra resources in the face of strike action by local authority employees and has urged employers and the union Unison to return to the negotiating table. (Herald page 6, Express page 2, Courier page 9)

Politics
Programme for government:
The First Minister is expected to announce the Scottish Government’s legislative plans for the next year today. Alex Salmond is under pressure to clarify the government’s position on a local income tax within the statement. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, Mail page 15, Record page 2, Courier page 10)

Free vote on Wendy: Jack McConnell has called for MSPs to be given a free vote on whether or not to bar Wendy Alexander from Holyrood for one day. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 6, Courier page 3)

Calman Commission: The devolution commission is to stage its first public meetings next week. (Herald page 6)

Nick Clegg: Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is to become a father for the third time in February. (Sun page 2, Courier page 13)