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Daily Political Media Summary: 4 May 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 4 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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Trump Course: Work to turn the spectacular stretch of dunes at the Menie estate into what Donald Trump claims will be the world’s greatest golf course might not begin until early next year. (Scotsman page 9)

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 SMEs: Small retailers across Scotland are buckling under the pressure of the business rates system thanks to an anomaly that treats then the same as large chains. The Scottish Government is now under pressure to reform its flagship policy to ease the rates bill for the small firms that already fighting a firm battle against a combination of the recession and the rise of supermarkets. (Herald page 24)

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 Crime

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Public display of knives: A proposed ban on the public display of knives and swords to help cut crime has been quietly dropped by the Scottish Government. The ban would have stopped shops such as Glasgow’s famous Victor Morris store from filling their windows with potentially lethal hunting, military and fantasy knives. (Sunday Herald page 9, Sunday Times page 7, Scotsman page 18)

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 Short term sentences: Government claims that scrapping short jail terms will cut costs and end overcrowding have been criticised by the prison chiefs, who say it will do neither. (Sunday Times page 14, Herald page 6, Courier page 3)

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 Disclosures: Parents are to be given the right to know whether someone who has regular contact with their child is a sex offender, the Scottish Government announced yesterday. The new scheme will allow parents or guardians to ask the police where a new partner or another child with easy access to their child has convictions for child offences. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 11, Courier page 3)

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 Transport 

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Scottish Ferry Network: Scotland’s ferry network is facing major problems over the next five years as ministers grapple with the enormous capital cost of replacing ageing vessels while trying to work with a stringent budget. (The Herald page 1)

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 Health

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Swine Flu: A new case of swine flu in Scotland under investigation as the spread of the virus continues at home and abroad has been confirmed. Health Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the case brings the number in Scotland to four. (Sunday Herald page 1, page 10, Scotland on Sunday page 1, Scotsman page 4, Herald page 23, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 1, Guardian page 9)

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 Politics

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No Confidence Vote: In another round of Labour infighting, a former Labour Cabinet minister is planning to force a Commons vote of no confidence in Gordon Brown by pushing for a delay in the introduction of the new 50p higher tax rate until after the next general election. (Sunday Herald page 1, page 6, Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Times page 6, Guardian page 1)

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 50p rate: Alex Salmond’s top economic advisor, Sir George Mathewson, says that he ‘is not convinced that this {50p income tax rate} policy will yield more revenue than we are currently receiving. The comments put Mathewson on the same side as the SNP Government’s opponents on the issue. (Sunday Herald page 15)

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 Poll deficit: The SNP holds a substantial lead over Labour in voting intentions for the Scottish Parliament elections, according to an opinion poll. Alex Salmond’s party is 12 points ahead of its fiercest rivals in the constituency vote for Holyrood, while registering a 10% lead in the regional list section. (Sunday Herald page 15)

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 Royal Mail: Gordon Brown was preparing for a third climb down Saturday night as the government signalled full-scale retreat over plans to privatise the Royal Mail. Following last week’s defeat over the Gurkhas and MPs’ expenses, allies of the prime minister said that the controversial scheme to sell off part of the postal service would be ‘kicked into the very long grass’. (Sunday Times page 1, Herald page 6, FT page 3)

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 Calman Commission: Gillian Bowditch writes in the Sunday Times on Sir Kenneth Calman and his upcoming report due this summer in which Calman will make recommendations on expanding powers at Holyrood. (Sunday Times page 5)

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 10th anniversary of devolution: Alex Salmond has declared that Scotland is ‘two-thirds’ of the way down the road to independence, hailing the ‘extraordinary’ progress made by the SNP since devolution. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Scotsman page 6, page 14, Herald page 6, page 12, Courier page 3)

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