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Daily Political Media Summary 12 January 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 12 January 2009

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All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is blue and underlined.

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Economy

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Brown’s £500m plan: People unemployed for more than six months will be guaranteed more intensive and personalised support to find work. Gordon Brown and other UK ministers will announce “golden hellos” worth up to £2500 for employers to recruit and train the long-term unemployed. (Times page 1, FT page 1, Guardian page 1)

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Graduate Jobs:  A slump in graduate jobs is threatening hopes of recovery and ‘hobbling Scotland’s economy for an entire generation’ it has been claimed. (Scotsman page 1)

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Public Services: Scotland is on course to become the world’s third most state-dependent country, with only Cuba and Iraq spending more taxpayers’ money on public services states a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). (Sunday Times page 1, Times page 7)

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Financial Services: The Scottish economy is coming under increasing pressure with figures published today showing that output is declining at a record rate and the financial services industry is preparing to axe 15,000 British jobs in the next three months. (Herald page 1)

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Crime

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Court Appearances: Strathclyde  officers had to go to court following 91,613 citations in 2008, but only had to give evidence in 4442 cases, fewer  than 5 percent. (Sunday Post page 1)

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Life Sentence: The number of prisoners released early from life sentences has increased in the past decade, figures released by the Parole Board for Scotland revealed yesterday. (Herald page 9, Daily Express page 3)

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Transport 

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Forth Road Bridge: The UK Government is to challenge SNP ministers over the decision to back a cut-price Forth road bridge, in a move set to intensify the bitter row over the £2.3 billion crossing. Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy will try to broker a deal between the UK and Scottish Governments later this month over the funding. (Scotland on Sunday  page 1, Scotsman page 8, Sunday Herald page 15 , Herald page 6, Times page 7, Daily Telegraph page 11, Press and Journal page 9)

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Airlines: Scotland’s main airports have lost almost 500,000 passengers in just 10 months, highlighting a major dent in the Scottish economy. (Herald page 1)

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Health

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Hospital Beds:  Cathy Jamieson, Labour’s health spokeswoman, claimed the SNP Government had presided over a decline of 100 in the number of hospital beds in Scotland, and claimed complacency left Scotland more exposed to a winter crisis. (Scotsman page 9)

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Politics

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Spending Plans:  The Labour party claimed the SNP was out of touch and presiding over a huge expansion of red tape after a major rise in administration costs was identified in the Scottish Government’s spending plans. (Scotsman page 8, Press and Journal page 9, Courier page 8)

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Royal Mail: Labour politicians in the House of Commons move to fight the UK Government’s plans to sell parts of the Royal Mail. (Scotland on Sunday page 3)

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Budget: Scotland could endure almost two years in recession, Finance Secretary John Swinney admitted over the weekend.  The SNP budget sparked a row after it emerged ministers were hiking spending on administration by three times the rate of inflation while demanding savings from councils, quangos and the NHS. (Sunday Herald page 13)

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Homecoming Scotland: Fresh criticism of the Homecoming campaign emerged as Ministers gave the troubled campaign a £500,000 bail-out. (Sunday Herald page 23, Herald page 7)