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Daily Political Media Summary:18 May 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 18 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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Lloyds Banking Group: Sir Victor Blank yesterday announced that he is stepping down as chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, as the first major boardroom casualty of the bank’s £7.7 billion takeover of HBOS. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1, Times page 3, Telegraph B3, Guardian page 23, FT page 1, Press and Journal page 11)

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 Public Sector pay rises: Top Scottish public sector executives and their staffs have enjoyed pay rises well in excess of the national average over the past five years, according to new research by the Sunday Herald. Geoff Mawdsley, director of Reform Scotland, called for an audit of all Scottish quangos ‘as a matter of urgency’ in response to the findings. (Sunday Herald page 52)

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 Unions clash: John Swinney showed yesterday he is prepared for a long-running battle with the unions when he called for public sector pay rises to be limited to 1.5 percent. Mr Swinney has issued new guidelines which will affect Scotland’s 143 quangos and another 40 public bodies. (Scotsman page 2)

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 Future Jobs Fund: Scotland’s voluntary sector has launched a bid to land nearly £50million of public funding they say will create jobs for 7500 unemployed young people. The Future Jobs fund was announced in last month’s Budget and aims to create jobs for people aged 18-24 who are in danger of long term unemployment. (Scotsman page 10)

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 Risk and regulation: Charlie McCreevy, the European Commissioner for internal market and services, urged European finance ministers not to pander to populism in their response to the financial and banking crisis at Reform Scotland’s spring conference last week. (Sunday Times Business page 1, Sunday Herald page 42, Scotland on Sunday Business page 7)

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 Crime

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Delayed trials: Hundreds of high court cases are being significantly delayed despite recent reforms to the system which were supposed to have solved the problem. Senior advocates say it is now impossible to get trials to start within the statutory time limit and that victims and innocent suspects are being forced to wait to long for justice. (Herald page 1)

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 Health

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Swine flu: A boy of three is the latest person in Scotland to contract the swine flu virus, health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday. The latest confirmed case brings the total confirmed cases in Scotland to nine and the numbers in the UK to 102. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 11, Press and Journal page 7)

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 Private Firms:  A row over using private centres to help cut NHS waiting times has deepened after a report by academics found the Scottish Regional Treatment Centre, a company running the only such facility in Scotland, may have been paid up to £3million for patients who did not receive treatment. (Herald page 9)

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 Education

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New curriculum: The Scottish Government is facing a possible rebellion from teachers over the controversial new school curriculum. Members of EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching union, are being urged to ‘boycott’ the Curriculum for Excellence unless more resources are given to teachers to introduce the reforms. (Herald page 1)

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 Politics

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Grilling: David Cameron has challenged Alex Salmond to agree to an annual grilling by MPs under a Conservative government. The First Minister would be asked to appear at least once a year before a cross-party Westminster committee to discuss policy and spending decisions affecting Scotland. (Sunday Herald page 21)

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 Commons Speaker: Commons Speaker Michael Martin’s future was hanging by a thread last night as one of his supporters said he could quit his post this week. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg broke with convention yesterday and became the first party leader to call for the Speaker to quit. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, page 7, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, FT page 1, Daily Express page 4)

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 Expenses: MSPs, including six of Alex Salmond’s ministers, are refusing to say if they will hand back almost £2million of profits tied up in their taxpayer funded second homes. (Telegraph page 9, Press and Journal page 12, Daily Express page 4)

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