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Daily Political Media Summary: 24 October 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy
Retail: The Office for National Statistics said yesterday that retail sales fell by 0.4% in September as consumer confidence faltered. Research conducted by Verdict also suggested that while consumers will spend more than ever this Christmas, the majority would go on food, which had risen dramatically in price. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 34, Guardian page 26, FT page 5, Times page 62, Mail page 2, Courier page 17)

Paper mill: Alex Salmond has vowed to “leave no stone unturned” in a fight to save 370 jobs at Inverurie paper mill. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 4, Express page 4, P&J page 7, Courier page 6)

HBOS: The UK Treasury indicated yesterday that it may consider injecting funds into an independent HBOS if the proposed takeover doesn’t go ahead. (Scotsman page 10, Peter Jones in the Scotsman)

Economic slowdown: Further comment and analysis on the economic slowdown and the policies being adopted by the Government to address the problem. In an interview with Progress Magazine Peter Mandelson has said that while the banking crisis may have started in America, banks in the UK had shown a “lack of prudence” and a “lack of proper risk management”. (Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Herald page 4, Eamonn Gallagher in the Herald, Alf Young in the Herald, Express page 6, FT page 1, Samuel Brittan in the FT, Times page 24, Edmund Conway in the Telegraph, Mirror page 14)

Mortgage protection: Alex Salmond has signalled that the Scottish Government will look at strengthening the law covering mortgage repossession in Scotland to ensure Scottish homeowners get the same protection as those in England and Wales. (Herald page 1, Express page 7, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 18, P&J page 5, Courier page 11)

Royal Mail: Royal Mail has seen its profits increase from £86m in the first six months of 2007 to £177m in the same period this year. Despite the increased profits Royal Mail is continuing with a programme of closing 188 post offices in Scotland. (Herald page 1, Guardian page 29, FT page 2, Times page 60, Mail page 4, Telegraph page 1, P&J page 12, Courier page 13, Record page 2)

State pension: Women who have not paid enough National Insurance to qualify for a full state pension are to be allowed to make one-off payments to bridge the gap. (Mail page 1)

Crime
Strathclyde police:
Strathclyde Police Force is set to loose almost 19,000 working days this year due to stress levels amongst officers. (Herald page 10, Mail page 12)

Transport
Speed cameras: Marianne Taylor and Catherine Fegan in the Herald (page 15) look at the use of average speed cameras on the A77 which have halved the death toll.

Petrol prices: Petrol prices are expected to drop below 90p a litre today, making unleaded petrol cheaper than at any time since spring 2007. However OPEC is considering restricting supply in order to increase profits. (Express page 1, Sun page 6, Telegraph page 1, Mirror page 15, P&J page 8)

School buses: Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson is to meet with Westminster officials to discuss the possibility of a Scottish pilot on a US style ban on drivers overtaking stationary school buses. (P&J page 1)

Education
Exams: Secondary head teachers are calling for pupils to sit exams in numeracy and literacy in primary seven. (TESS page 1)

Health
Ambulance service: The Scottish Ambulance Service is to introduce nine new motorcycle response units to cut through traffic and achieve a better response time. (Herald page 7)

Local Government
Pay deal:
Council leaders are today appealing to 200,000 council workers to accept a 2 year pay deal, which will see a 3% increase this year and a 2.5% increase next year. Unions are advising members to reject the deal. (Herald page 5, Express page 2, P&J page 9, Courier page 12)

Politics
Glenrothes by-election:
David Cameron joined the Conservatives candidate Maurice Golden on the campaign trail yesterday. The Tory leader said that Scotland could “stand alone”. The SNP is demanding an inquiry into comments made by a Labour press officer who suggested that members of the media might be “shot” if they got in the way of the Prime Minister’s wife when she was campaigning in Glenrothes. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 6, Express page 4, Sun page 2, Guardian page 1, Times page 5, Mail page 19, Telegraph page 12, P&J page 9, Courier page 1, Record page 2)

George Osborne: Further comment on the allegations surrounding George Osborne. A call for an inquiry into the allegation that the Shadow Chancellor sought party donations from a foreign businessman was rejected by the Electoral Commission. (Herald page 6, Martin Kettle in the Guardian, Times page 6, Peter Riddell in the Scotsman, David Wighton in the Times, Mail page 6, Telegraph page 4, Jeff Randall in the Telegraph, Mirror page 4, P&J page 11)