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Daily Political Media Summary: Wednesday 29th October 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy
Banking Crisis:
Further coverage of the recession has been published today. Gordon Brown also spoke out claiming that the $250Billion fund available to the IMF may not be enough to bail out economies in recession and called on China and oil-rich Gulf states to contribute significantly. (George Kerevan in The Scotsman, The P & J page 8, The Courier and Advertiser page 14, FT page 2, Larry Elliot in the Guardian, The Sun page 2, The Daily Express page 7, George Osborne in The Daily Telegraph) 

HBOS merger: Following a meeting in London yesterday, Alex Salmond was left with no assurance that a merger between HBOS and Lloyds TSB would not result in the loss of roughly 17000 Scottish jobs. There is also rising speculation that the deal is under threat from rival buyers interested in an HBOS insurance firm and an asset management business meaning that potentially they would not need the merger. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 1, The P & J page 8, The Courier and Advertiser page 14, The Sun page 2, The Daily Express page 7, The Times page 11, The Daily Telegraph page 9, Alan Cochrane in The Daily Telegraph)

North Sea Oil: Oil platforms in the North Sea are reported to be in poor physical condition leading to concerns over employee safety. However, it is feared that some companies may not invest in improving the facilities due to the drop in oil prices which yesterday stood at $63 a barrel. (The Herald page 1)

Repossessions: The number of repossessions across the UK has reached 120 per day according to the Financial Services Authority yesterday. (The Scotsman page 5, The P & J page 8)

BP Profits: BP has seen a rise in profits that is 148% above those of the same period last year. The performance prompted calls for price controls and a windfall tax and Gordon Brown urged companies seeing a fall in the price of oil to pass this onto customers. (The P & J page 5, The Courier and Advertiser page 9, The Daily Express page 7)

Renewable power: 1.5Million homes in Scotland are now able to be powered with renewable energy following the opening of two new wind farms in south-west Scotland. (The Courier and Advertiser page 3)

Small business contracts: Public sector contracts will be opened up to small businesses ministers will announce today. Alex Salmond supported this move and claimed that business rates are being cut for 165000 small businesses across Scotland also. (Daily Mail page 10)

Crime
Sex offenders:
Official figures show that in the last five years, 221 prisoners released from Scottish jails have gone without a treatment programme designed to help prevent them from reoffending. One reason given for this has been the problem of overcrowding. (The Herald page 5)

Transport
Bus strike:
Pay talks between the Stagecoach Bluebird bus company and the Unite union broke down yesterday meaning that five days of strike action will begin tomorrow in the north-east and Highland region. (P & J page 10)

Health
NHS dentists:
The number of Scots registered with an NHS dentist is at an all-time high. However there are disparities between regions as the report showed that this number was only 38.3% in NHS Grampian but 70.7% in Greater Glasgow and Clyde. (The Herald page 9)

Local Government
Planning process:
Local authorities were yesterday promised more freedom to enhance the speed and efficiency of the planning system. (The Herald page 6, The Courier and Advertiser page 9)

Golf Resort: The Aberdeenshire councillor, Martin Ford, whose casting vote managed to block Donald Trump’s plans to build a £1Billion golf resort as they stood has now written a letter asking that if permission is granted for the project, that it be on a far reduced scale. (The P & J page 4)

Politics
BBC complaints:
Gordon Brown yesterday condemned two BBC presenters over a pre-recorded stunt aired on Russell Brand’s Radio 2 show. The Prime Minister deemed it unacceptable and calls have been made to have the contracts of both Brand and Jonathan Ross terminated. (The Herald page 3, The Scotsman page 3, The Courier and Advertiser page 10, The Guardian page 3, The Sun page 1, The Daily Express page 7, The Daily Mirror page 1, Daily Mail page 4, Daily Record page 1, The Times page 1, The Daily Telegraph page 1)

Charity football match: A football match held for charity between a group of MSPs and leading sports journalists had to be cut short after the two sides began quarrelling. (The Herald page 3, The Scotsman page 3, The P & J page 1, The Courier and Advertiser page 1 and page 10, The Sun page 1, The Daily Express page 5, Daily Record page 1, The Times page 22, The Daily Telegraph page 1)

Glenrothes by-election: Further campaigning has been taking place in the constituency with Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister’s wife, making another visit to the area yesterday. Bookmakers William Hill also claim that Labour are beginning to draw even with SNP in the odds of winning the by-election. The Liberal Democrats meanwhile are trying to strengthen their campaign by appealing to voters still undecided and there is discussion on SNP council policies. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 28, The P & J page 10, Daily Mail page 16, Daily Record page 1)