Daily Political Media Summary: 29 April 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 29 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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Budget 2009: Alistair Darling has insisted his optimistic forecast of a recovery to growth by the end of the year was correct, despite being critiqued by the International Monetary Fund. The Chancellor said he was aware of the IMF’s gloomier forecasts before delivering his Budget but insisted he was confident of growth by the end of the year, rising to 1.25 per cent next year. (Scotsman page 14, FT page 2)

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 Health

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Swine Flu: The number of people affected by the swine flu outbreak began to spiral last night, as it emerged that nine of those who had come into contact with the couple infected while on honeymoon in Mexico were showing symptoms. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon revealed 23 possible cases were being investigated in Scotland. The number is expected to rise. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1)

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 Education

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Research grant: Aberdeen University has been awarded a £12.4m grant to study how digital technology can transform rural communities, society and business. The sum over 5 years is the largest externally funded grant Aberdeen University has received and will create 60 new jobs and studentships. (Herald page 11)

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 Educational attainment: In a letter in the Scotsman, Archie Stirling comments on Reform Scotland’s latest bulletin on educational attainment. (Scotsman page 28)

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 Politics

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Holyrood’s tax revolution: Radical plans to give the Scottish government control of up to half the income tax raised in Scotland and most of the revenue from the North Sea oil and gas are being considered by economists advising the Calman Commission. If adopted by the Commission, the plan could spell an end to the controversial Barnett Formula. (Times page 1)

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 Population: Scotland’s population has risen to its highest level for nearly three decades, with migrants from Eastern Europe playing a significant role in changing demographics. The estimated population last June was 5,168,500; the highest figure since 1981. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 7)

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 Travel costs: First Minister Alex Salmond was last night criticised by Labour after it emerged that taxpayers were charged £60,000 in travel costs for 5 meetings for his Council of Economic Advisors. The members of the Council travel from all around the world to make these meetings. A spokesman for the Scottish Government said, “They are giving their time and expertise to help grow Scotland’s economy for no salary whatsoever”. (Herald page 6)