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Daily Political Media Summary: 3 October 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy
Housing sector:
New figures published by the Nationwide show a 5% fall in house prices in Scotland over the last quarter. The drop is slightly steeper than the UK fall of 4.6%. The average price of a house in Scotland is now £141,657, 7.1% less than it was at the same time last year. The fall in house prices across the UK is reportedly putting greater pressure on the Bank of England to cut interest rates. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 6, Mail page 1 and page 12, Times page 23, Express page 7, Guardian page 1, FT page 2, P&J page 1, Telegraph page 4 and page 10, Jeff Randall in the Telegraph, Record page 1)

Economic crisis: Further coverage of the banking crisis and the debate over customers seeking safe havens for their savings. Northern Rock, where 100% of savings are backed by the government, yesterday shut its doors to new savers as it was in danger of breeching its limit of 1.5% of the savings market. (Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Peter Jones in the Scotsman, Alf Young in the Herald, Sun page 13, Andrew Alexander in the Mail, Times page 52, Express page 6, Mirror page 9, Guardian page 6, FT page 1 and page 4, Martin Wolf in the FT, John Monks in the FT, P&J page 12, Derek Lord in the P&J, Telegraph page 5)

European economies: Nick Clegg in the FT (page 17) argues that Europe needs to work together to solve the economic crisis.

HBOS: Further comment on the proposed Lloyds TSB takeover of HBOS. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 27)

Energy prices: Wholesale electricity prices have increased due to fears that supplies are low for this winter. (Express page 1, Telegraph page 14)

Transport
Forth Bridge:
Work on upgrading the Forth Bridge is expected to cost £13.7m, £5m more than expected. (Herald page 3, Courier page 1, Record page 25)

Education
Free school meals:
Yesterday the Scottish Government announced plans for every pupil in the first three years of primary school to receive free school meals. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 7, Andrew Denholm in the Scotsman, Sun page 2, Mail page 19, Times page 27, Express page 16, P&J page 9, Courier page 1, Telegraph page 12, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Record page 10, TESS page 3)

Nursery teachers: Ronnie Smith of the teaching Union EIS has claimed that Renfrewshire council wants to remove all teachers from nursery classes and close its nursery schools. (TESS page 1)

Health
Alcohol ban:
Yesterday the Scottish Government’s proposals to ban the sale of alcohol in shops to under 21s were defeated in parliament when 72 MSPs backed a Conservative motion rejecting the plans. 47 MSPs voted in favour of the proposals. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 12, Sun page 1, Mail page 4, Times page 9, Express page 2, Mirror page 31, Steve Mackenna in the Mirror, P&J page 1, Courier page 1,Telegraph page 13, Record page 4, Annie Brown in the Record)

Local Government
Industrial action:
Unions representing local authority employees yesterday called off next week’s strike action following a revised pay offer from Cosla. Instead of a 2.5% pay increase for each of the next three years, Cosla offered 3% in year one and 2.5% in year two. The strike action is now on hold until unions have had the chance to consult with their members. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 3, Mail page 4, Express page 4, P&J page 15, Courier page 11, Record page 2)

Local income tax: The prospect of a local income tax replacing the council tax increased yesterday after the first stage of a deal between the SNP and Liberal Democrats was agreed. The agreement would see councils to keep the money raised from their area from the local income tax. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 2, P&J page 14, Courier page 9, Telegraph page 13)

Politics
Cabinet reshuffle:
Gordon Brown is expected to carry out a reshuffle of his cabinet today following Ruth Kelly’s decision to stand down as Transport Secretary. Last night she revealed she is to leave Westminster altogether at the next election. There is also speculation over the future of the post of Secretary of State for Scotland. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Mail page 10, Times page 11, Guardian page 4, FT page 2, Courier page 2)

Ian Blair: Coverage of Ian Blair’s resignation as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1, Sun page 6, Mail page 6, Times page 1, Express page 24, Mirror page 4, Guardian page 1, FT page 3, P&J page 5, Courier page 2, Telegraph page 1, Record page 6)

Political leadership: Greg Rosen in the Scotsman (page 28) asks whether Gordon Brown or David Cameron is best placed to lead the country out of the current economic crisis. While Alan Sugar in the Sun (page 18) argues that David Cameron would not be a better Prime Minister than Gordon Brown.

Steve Hilton: The Telegraph (page 14) profiles Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s close political adviser.

Referendum: Cameron Fyfe, one of Scotland’s leading lawyers, is taking action to prevent the Scottish Parliament considering an independence referendum bill because it would be acting illegally. (Telegraph page 1)

Glenrothes by-election: Gordon Brown will travel to Glenrothes and campaign in the forthcoming by-election according to Labour sources. (Record page 4)