Daily Political Media Summary: 13 May 2009

Daily Political Media Summary: 13 May 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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Unemployment: Unemployment in Scotland rose by more than 20,000 in the first three months of the year as the recession tightened its grip. That equated to some 220 job losses a day (Scotsman page 2, P&J page 10, Herald page 2).

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Energy Potential: First Minister Alex Salmond comments in the Scotsman on Scotland’s energy-rich potential and how it has the ability and expertise to lead the way in technologies that could revolutionise the way we generate power (Scotsman page 28).

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Crime

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Pilots: Pilot schemes designed to break the link between crime and drug abuse are to be wound up after they were found to be an expensive failure. The pilot schemes were designed to test all people arrested for drugs, with those testing positive then being encouraged to engage with available treatment services. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill yesterday announced that the pilots had ‘failed to meet expectations’ (Scotsman page 8).

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Transport 

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Train Reservations: National Express East Coast, one of the main Scotland-London train operators, has incurred the wrath of ministers by charging passengers to reserve seats. The move was also condemned by passenger watchdogs and experts, who said it would harm the image of the rail industry by introducing airline style ‘hidden charges’ (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 11).

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Health

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Swine Flu: A Scottish primary school has been shut for a week after becoming caught up in the swine flu scare. The move was ordered by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon after it was revealed that a five year old boy form Greenock had been moved onto the ‘probable’ list of those who had contracted the new strain of flu (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 1, Times page 11, Guardian page 11).

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Malnutrition: Four times more people are dying from malnutrition in Scottish hospitals than in their English counterparts, according to new figures published today (Scotsman page 24, Telegraph page 14, Record page 2, Mail page 20, Express page 1).

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Education

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College Applications: The recession has caused the number of college applications to soar, forcing many institutions to turn away hundreds of prospective students (Scotsman page 15, Courier page 13, Herald page 5, Times page 9).

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Politics

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Expenses: Under-fire MPs face having to repay expense claims under a shake-up of their controversial second home allowance. Four years’ worth of receipts are set to be scrutinised by an independent review group as Gordon Brown last night admitted ‘extreme’ action was needed to restore public trust in politicians (Scotsman page 1, Scotsman page 26, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1).

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Commons Speaker: The pressure on Commons Speaker Michael Martin to stand down intensified after government ministers joined the call for him to quit. It came as a secret ballot of MPs, including frontbenchers from across the political divide, showed 85 percent want Mr Martin to stand down, according to PoliticsHome. (Scotsman page 6, Times page 7 , Telegraph page 23, Guardian page 7).

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Independence: An independent Scotland would face a budget deficit of 14% of Scottish ‘gross value added’ (GVA) this year if it received the bulk of North Sea oil revenues, according to analysis by the Financial Times (FT page 4).