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Daily Political Media Summary: 27 April 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 27 April 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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Tartan Tax cuts: One of Scotland’s richest men has urged Alex Salmond to rescue the economy by using Holyrood’s powers to cut income tax by up to 3p in the pound. Billionaire Sir Tom Hunter suggested the First Minister should create a tax haven in Scotland, which would generate millions of pounds in personal wealth and help drag the Scottish economy out of recession. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Tom Peterkin page 11)

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 Budget 2009: The managing director of the International Monetary Fund has raised doubts over the validity of Alistair Darling’s Budget forecasts, declaring that the figures may have been intentionally over-optimistic. (Telegraph Business p1)

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 Scottish Manufacturing: Scottish manufacturing will become a focus of a parliamentary inquiry as figures show Scotland’s share of world trade has plunged 75% since 1998. (Scotland on Sunday Business p3, Telegraph page 11)

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 Public Spending Plans: The SNP administration will not axe any of its expensive public spending plans because of the squeeze on the Scottish budget from Westminster, ministers insisted last night, although the Centre for Public Policy for Regions at Glasgow University has calculated the worst spending squeeze in decades will cut Scotland’s funding by more than £6 billion by 2013-14. That means spending will fall 2-3% each year in real terms. The CPPR will lay out its analysis to Holyrood’s finance committee on Tuesday. There is further discussion of how Scotland’s economy will be affected by public spending announcements in the Sunday Times which quotes Reform Scotland. (Scotsman page 10, Sunday Herald page 1, Times page 3, Sunday Times page 11)

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 SNP Support for 50% Tax Rate: CBI Scotland reportedly said Cabinet Secretary John Swinney’s backing of Labour’s U-turn on tax for high earners demonstrated that the SNP’s proclaimed support for enterprise was ‘only skin deep’. (Sunday Herald Business p52)

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 Crime

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Prison Overcrowding: Serious cracks have appeared in the SNP’s flagship plan to reduce crime and slash the prison population after a senior civil servant admitted judges were likely to ignore pleas to replace short prison sentences with new community orders. (Scotsman page 7, Telegraph page 1)

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 Health

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Global Flu Virus: The possible first signs of the swine flu epidemic have been seen in Scotland. Two Scots are in isolation undergoing tests for swine flu after the pair fell ill shortly upon returning from holiday in Mexico last Tuesday. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, Daily Record page 1)

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 Local Government

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Council reform: There is discussion about how councils might react to budgetary changes in the Sunday Herald which quotes Reform Scotland. (Sunday Herald page 46)

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 Education

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Glasgow School Closures: Just days after its decision to shut 20 primary schools and nurseries, Glasgow City Council said it could not rule out further school closures. Its plan to get rid of every dilapidated school in the city has cast a shadow over 34 more primary schools whose building the council currently grades either poor or bad. (Sunday Herald page 4, Herald page 10)

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 Student Hardship: In an open letter to Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop, student presidents from 20 Scottish colleges and 16 Scottish universities said SNP policies had not addressed long-standing issues of debt and hardship, despite the party’s manifesto promises. (Herald page 1)

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 Politics

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Vote on MPs’ Expenses: Gordon Brown’s backbenchers are set to pile more pressure on him this week with a disastrous Commons defeat over MP’s expenses. The PM is already struggling to move on from Labour’s Budget and the embarrassment of the email ‘smeargate’ affair earlier this month. (Scotland on Sunday page 1)

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 SNP Snub: The SNP has reportedly snubbed help from Treasury experts, who have offered to advise the Scottish Government on how to make more savings during the recession. Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy offered to lend Alex Salmond Treasury civil servants and advisors, after branding the SNP administration ‘the most inefficient in the UK’. Jim Murphy’s offer sparked yet another row between London and Edinburgh, which has further poisoned relations between Labour and SNP. (Scotland on Sunday page 2)

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 Baroness Thatcher: Baroness Thatcher has defended her record in Scotland, claiming she was right to introduce the poll tax and close loss-making industries to end the country’s dependency culture. Speaking before the 30th anniversary of her election as PM, she said she had no regrets about what she had done in Scotland. (Sunday Times page 1, Sunday Herald page 1, Record page 2)

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