Daily Political Media Summary: 13 November 2008


All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. 



Recession & unemployment: According to the Fraser of Allander Institute, Scotland will be harder hit by the recession than other parts of the UK with up to 120,000 jobs lost over the next two years.  The comments come on the back of new unemployment figures which show joblessness in Scotland increasing by 13,000 between July and September. Across the UK as a whole unemployment now stands at 1.82million, the highest level since 1997. (Herald page 1 and page 15, Sun page 2, Times page 1, Peter Jones in the Times, Mail page 8, Express page 7, Record page 2, FT page 3 and page 13, Courier page 1, P&J page 10, Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 1 and page 5, Alistair Osborne in the Telegraph)


Interest rates: There is speculation that interest rates could be cut to zero after Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, warned that the economy could contract by 2% next year and he would cut the official cost of borrowing to “whatever level is necessary” to boost confidence. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 35, Mirror page 14, Times page 6, David Wighton in the Times, Mail page 2, FT page 1, Courier page 10, P&J page 10, Guardian page 4, Telegraph B1)


Credit crunch: Further comment and analysis on the economic downturn as a whole. (Anatole Kaletsky in the Times, John Major in the Times)


HBOS: An Edinburgh Council report has warned of “significant repercussions” for Edinburgh from a restructuring of the financial sector following the credit crunch and further warns that the takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB carried “significant risk” for jobs and growth in the capital. (Scotsman page 1)


Underwater power link: Alex Slamond has set out his vision for a massive underwater energy grid in the North Sea which would link Scotland with five European countries. (Scotsman page 8)



Private prison: Scotland’s only private prison has abandoned plans to extend the prison to provide an additional 250 places for Scotland’s overcrowded prison estate after being told that the plans stood no chance of gaining ministerial approval because of the SNP’s opposition to privately run prisons. (Scotsman page 6, Burning Issue in the Scotsman)


Attacks on workers: Unison Scotland has called for urgent action to tackle the growing number of violent incidents against public service staff. (Herald page 9, Mail page 14)



Free school meals: Officials from four Scottish councils yesterday told the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee that free school meals for 5 to 7 year olds cannot be afforded without diverting money from other education services. (Herald page 6, Courier page 8, Telegraph page 12)


Learning difficulties: One in six school children in Scotland have some form of learning difficulty according to the charity Mindroom. (Mail page 6, Record page 20, Courier page 14, P&J page 13)



Alcohol: Professor Sir John Crofton in the Scotsman (page 22) comments on what is needed to tackle Scotland’s problem with alcohol abuse.


Methadone: Scotland’s annual bill for the heroine substitute methadone was more than £25m according to figures released in a written parliamentary answer yesterday. (Herald page 9, Sun page 6, Mail page 35, Express page 2, Courier page 11, P&J page 7)


Local Government

Pay deal: The majority of council workers in Scotland defied their union leaders and have voted to accept a two year pay deal.  The agreement effectively ends a series of strikes which had disrupted council services. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 2, Sun page 2, Times page 10, Mail page 7, Record page 10, Courier page 1, P&J page 12)


Aberdeen City Council: Aberdeen City Council is proposing cuts of £60m in services over the next two years.  The proposals will likely lead to the loss of 400 jobs in the year ahead. (Herald page 3, P&J page 6)



Calman Commission: Ross Lydall in the Scotsman (page 38) comments on Westminster’s submission to the Calman Commission.


Tory MEP: Former Conservative chief whip in the European Parliament, Den Dover, is being expelled from the party after he was required to pay back expenses of an estimated £500,000. (Herald page 3, Sun page 2, FT page 2, P&J page 5, Guardian page 9, Telegraph page 16)


Political football: Alex Salmond has rejected a Fifa pledge that a British Olympic football team would not threaten the future of the Scotland national side. (Herald page 5, Express page 8, Courier page 11. P&J page 13, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph)


George Osborne: Iain Martin in the Telegraph (page 24) comments that David Cameron should move George Osborne from the post of Shadow Chancellor.