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Daily Political Media Summary: 20 March 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 20 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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Dunfermline Building Society:  The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has been urged by both MPs and MSPs to intervene in order to secure the future of Scotland’s largest building society, Dunfermline.  The calls follow the revelation that the building society is set to report record losses in the coming fortnight. (Scotsman page1, page 2, page 27, Herald page 35, page 36, Times page 54) 

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Sir Fred Goodwin: A senior figure at RBS has come under attack from MPs following his suggestion that Sir Fred Goodwin, the disgraced former chief executive of RBS, would be judged more kindly by history. (Scotsman page 6, page7, Herald page 6, The Times page 19, The Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Express page 5, Daily Mail page 4, The Sun page 4, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mirror page 6) 

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Edinburgh Festival: The internet and phone banking arm of the former HBOS, Intelligent Finance, have withdrawn their backing to sponsor the prestigious ‘Perrier’ award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  This decision marks the first major sponsorship blow for Edinburgh’s festivals in the wake of the continued economic downturn. (Scotsman page 11)

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BAA: The final report by the Competition Commission into BAA said that the company’s near monopoly in Scotland must come to an end within two years. However, it is expected that BAA will appeal the compulsory sale of either Edinburgh or Glasgow airport.  (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 4, page 18, FT page 4, page 10, The Guardian page 32, The Daily Telegraph page B3, The Press and Journal page 10, The Courier page 9, The Daily Express page 19, Daily Mail page 31, page 89, The Sun page 18, Daily Record page 4) 

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Recession Policy Responses: Bill Jamieson comments on the need for appropriate policy responses to the problems emerging from the continued economic down turn. He also mentions Reform Scotland’s first annual dinner held earlier in the week. (Scotsman page 26)

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FirstGroup: Aberdeen-based transport giant FirstGroup have announced a £200million cost-cutting programme which is set to see the loss of 3,500 jobs throughout the company. (Scotsman page 33, Herald page 33, FT page 18, The Press and Journal page 18) 

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Scottish Property Market: The estate agency Savills suggested yesterday that they expected house prices to continue falling throughout 2009, but that ‘a considerable increase’ in cash-rich non-Scottish buyers could boost the Scottish market as foreign investors exploit the weaker pound to purchase premium properties at favourable prices. (Scotsman page 35, Herald page 3)

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Scottish Oil Companies: Hamish Rutherford offers an analysis in the Scotsman of the recent takeover bids for two of Scotland’s oil companies. (Scotsman page 38) 

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Crime

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Prisoner’s Dispute: The Scottish Government have revealed that they are considering plans to recoup losses from prisoners who have already won compensation by charging for ‘room and board’. However, one of Scotland’s top QCs has warned that moves to prevent further losses could end up costing the taxpayer even more money. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 1, page 2, The Times page 10, The Press and Journal page 1, The Daily Express page 2, Daily Mail page 4)

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Special Prosecutors: It has emerged that Ministers are considering the introduction of special crime prosecutors to target the assets of criminal bosses.  Scottish Government officials are due to visit Ireland within the next month to see if a similar scheme could be introduced in Scotland. (Scotsman page 21) 

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Policing Reform: The head of Scotland’s policing watchdog, Paddy Tomkins, has called for a radical restructuring of Scotland’s policing. He has suggested the amalgamation of Scotland’s eight current forces into a single force to be led by one commissioner or chief constable. (Herald page 1, page 18, Scotsman page 27)

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Transport  

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Edinburgh Trams: Moves to appoint an independent adjudicator to settle the dispute surrounding the Edinburgh Trams project, are expected to get underway today. (Scotsman page 3, Daily Mail page 27) 

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Education

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Curriculum Reform: The Scottish Government’s head of education, Phillip Rycroft, has said that changes to the Scottish curriculum, due in 2010, had to be just right, but admitted that ‘we are not there yet’. (TESS page 1, page 6, page 22)

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Politics

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Scotland’s Debt: The First Minister, Alex Salmond, has conceded for the first time in the economic downturn that Scotland may have to eventually play its part in paying off Britain’s recession debt. However, he once again attacked Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray over the UK Government’s alleged plans to cut £500million from the Scottish Budget.  The SNP have stressed that these issues will dominate the 2010 general and 2011 Holyrood elections. (Scotsman page 10) 

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Wallace Mercer: The First Minister, Alex Salmond, last night apologised for an attack on the late Wallace Mercer in which he belittled the former Chairman’s record at Hearts FC and criticised his personal politics. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 72)