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Daily Political Media Summary: 19 March 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 19 March 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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Building Societies: One of Scotland’s oldest building societies, the Dunfermline, is on the brink of unveiling a significant financial loss, exposing another of the country’s great financial institutions to the threat of a takeover. (Scotsman page 1)

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 Public Sector: A growing divide is emerging between the growing public sector and struggling private sector, despite the major shifts in the Scottish labour market to help alleviate the worst effects of the recession, it emerged last night. Official statistics showed that the burgeoning public sector, combined with strong rural and energy industries has thrived during the recession, while private firms are continuing to cut back on pay and staff. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 5, Times page 1, Daily Mail page 6)

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 North Sea oil exploration: Malcolm Webb, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, the North Sea’s main trade organisation, will today warn an influential group of MPs that investment in Britain’s oil and gas fields could be cut in half in less than two years unless urgent action is taken by the UK Government to counter the impact of the global credit crunch. (Scotsman page 34)

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 Crime

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Minor criminals: Offenders across Scotland will be offered the chance to carry out unpaid work as an alternative to appearing in court, the Solicitor General has signalled. Offenders who accept fiscal work orders are not taken to court and do not receive a criminal record in the usual way. (Scotsman page 16)

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 1000 Police officers: The SNP is on track to meet its manifesto commitment of 1000 extra police officers by 2011, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill stated yesterday. (Herald page 10, Telegraph page 2, Courier page 7)

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 Transport 

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Edinburgh Trams: Negotiations on the stalled Edinburgh tram project are likely to extend into the weekend in a last-ditch bid to avoid going into formal adjudication. The dispute had seen the capital’s Princes Street closed for three weeks without any work taking place. (Herald page 8)

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 Politics

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Green Energy: Green energy, the creative industries and life sciences represent Scotland’s best hope of escaping the worst effects of the recession, Finance Secretary John Swinney said last night. (Scotsman page 8)

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 Cabinet Papers: The SNP has been accused of double standards and hypocrisy over freedom of information after the Scottish Government has reportedly insisted on keeping its Cabinet discussions secret. The Scottish Government turned down a request under freedom of information laws, for the release of Scottish Government Cabinet minutes from 10 February, when ministers decided to drop a bill to replace council tax with a local income tax. (Scotsman page 14)

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 MP Seat: Labour MSP Margaret Curran has stepped down from a senior party post to concentrate on ousting the SNP’s John Mason from the UK Parliament. (Herald page 10)

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 Nuclear: Labour leader Iain Gray hit out at the SNP Government yesterday over its opposition to new nuclear power stations. Mr Gray insisted the nuclear industry still had a ‘big role to play’ in the provision of electricity in Scotland. (Courier page 7)