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Daily Political Media Summary: 9 October 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Reform Scotland
Power to Protect:
Coverage of Reform Scotland’s report, ‘Power to Protect’, which calls for greater accountability and transparency in the police, prosecution service and courts in order to bring about a sustained reduction in the level of crime. Specific proposals include the direct election of senior prosecutors and scrapping prison sentences of less than three months (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 11, Courier page 6, Daily Mail page 4, Times page 18, Express page 15, Telegraph page 16, P&J page 10).

Economy
Banking crisis and interest rates: Coverage and analysis of the British Government’s £500bn rescue package for banks. The Bank of England announced a 0.5% cut in interest rates in a co-ordinated move with other central banks. Jim Murphy the Scottish Secretary has invited Alex Salmond to a summit with businesses and trade unions to discuss what can be done to tackle the economic turmoil (Scotsman page 1, Bill Jamieson in Scotsman page 4, George Kerevan in Scotsman page 28, Herald page 1, Mail page 1, John MacLeod in the Mail page 17, Mirror page 1, Times page 1, David Wighton in the Times, Anatole Kaletsky in the Times, Angus Macleod in the Times, FT page 1, Gillan Tett in the FT, Telegraph page 1 and page 6, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Simon Heffer in the Telegraph, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, Guardian page 1, Nils Pratley in the Guardian, Will Hutton in the Guardian, Seumas Milne in the Guardian, P&J page 1 and page 5).

Deposits in Icelandic banks: Perth and Kinross Council confirmed that it had a short term investment of £1m in struggling Icelandic bank Glitnir. Local councils in England are urging the government to guarantee their deposits in Icelandic banks (Herald page 5).

Transport
Rail strike cancelled: Rail signallers in Scotland called off today’s planned 24-hour strike after an agreement was reached with Network Rail late last night (Herald page 2, Record page 12, Courier page 2, Scotsman page 15, P&J page 1).

Health
Hospital superbugs: The number of patients catching infections in Scottish hospital wards has fallen, but some hospitals are still failing to fully comply with hand-washing regulations (Herald page 7, Mail page 19, Sun page 2, Record page 10, Telegraph page 12, P&J page 7).

Local Government
Pay dispute:
One of the unions involved in the council workers’ pay dispute urged its members to reject the latest pay offer. GMB Scotland said that a 3% increase was too low (Herald page 2, Express page 2, Courier page 10, P&J page 9).

Free school meals: Pat Watters, head of local authority umbrella group COSLA, has urged councils to back the Scottish Government’s free school meals plan, warning that councils risk losing “trust and credibility” with ministers. 16 of Scotland’s 32 local councils say they cannot afford to implement the plan (Record page 2, Scotsman page 16).

Politics
Christopher Harvie:
SNP MSP Prof Christopher Harvie said yesterday that Blue Peter was “evil” and that the BBC and Ofcom were run by “metropolitan munchkins” (Record page 17, Express page 14, Sun page 23, Courier page 8, Times page 19, Telegraph page 14).

Scottish Broadcasting Commission: The Scottish Parliament yesterday passed a motion welcoming the final report of the Scottish Broadcasting Commission which recommended Scottish ministers should be given more responsibility for broadcasting, but did not call for it to be fully devolved. The Scottish Government will ask Westminster to back a £75m Scottish digital channel (Courier page 8, Herald page 4).

Ed Balls & Yvette Cooper: An investigation into MPs’ expenses has cleared Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper of breaking rules over money they claimed for a second home, but has recommended that the £24,000 allowance which can be claimed for a second home should be cut when MPs share the same accommodation in London (Guardian page 16, P&J page 11).