Daily Political Media Summary: 11 June 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 11 June 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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Savings: One of Scotland’s leading public finance experts has said that Scotland needs to start saving like England. Jenny Stewart, head of public sector for leading accountancy firm KPMG, made her comments after Holyrood’s finance committee reported hard times ahead for the Scottish budget. Ms Stewart said there was scope for the Scottish Government and the public sector in Scotland to cut out several layers of management. (Scotsman page 6)

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 Tesco: Scotland’s financial services industry received a boost yesterday as Tesco\’s personal finance division opened its new headquarters and signalled its intention to expand into mortgages and corporate banking. (Scotsman page 25, Herald page 32, Times page 20)

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 Economic growth: The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has claimed that Britain has weathered the worst of the recession and was showing the first signs of a return to economic growth. Official government statistics also revealed a month on month increase in manufacturing output for the first time in more than a year. (Press and Journal page 1, Guardian page 24, FT page 2)

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 Crime

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Overcrowding: Scottish jails are at a ‘moment of destiny’ that will result in a big rise in crime unless urgent steps are taken to tackle overcrowding, according to the outgoing chief inspector of prisons in Scotland Dr Andrew McLellan. He has joined justice secretary Kenny MacAskill and the head of the Scottish Prison service in calling for a massive reduction in the number of short-term jail sentences. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 4, Time page 9)

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 Health

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Swine Flu: The number of people infected with swine flu in Scotland rose to more than 300 yesterday, with the largest daily increase in cases since the outbreak began. The Scottish Government said there had been 47 new confirmed cases, taking the number of people infected to 311. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1, Press and Journal page 10, Courier page 11, Daily Mail page 4)

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 Trans Fats: Scotland could become the first part of the UK to ban harmful trans fats, after Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpson launched a private member’s bill to outlaw these fats. Launching a consultation on the bill yesterday, Dr Simpson said his proposals would reduce the number of Scots dying every year from heart disease. (Scotsman page 14, Times page 18, Courier page 9, Daily Mail page 1)

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 Politics

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Calman Commission: It is reported that the Calman Commission will propose the biggest change to the way Scotland is governed since devolution, with the recommendation Holyrood takes control of a large part of the country’s income tax. It is claimed that the main recommendation from the Calman Commission is to hand over half the income tax raised in Scotland to the Scottish Government. Three of Scotland’s experts on tax, financial and constitutional law from legal firm Brodies, including Reform Scotland Trustee Isobel d’Inverno; have suggested solutions to the financial problem at the heart of devolution. (Scotsman page 1, page 41)

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 Constitutional reform: The Prime Minister wants to give constituents the power to recall and expel rogue MPs found guilty of gross misconduct, and he has also pledged to expedite a bill to establish an independent watchdog for parliament and a code of conduct for MPs before the autumn. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, Courier page 13)

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 General election: An attempt by the SNP to dissolve parliament and spark a general election in the wake of the public furore over MPs’ expenses was thwarted last night. During a debate which was attended by First Minister Alex Salmond, SNP Westminster group leader Angus Robertson accused Labour of running scared after last week’s trouncing in the European and English council elections. (Scotsman page 5, Press and Journal page 11)

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 Scottish Futures Trust: Critics have hit out at the £4.5 million bill for a Scottish Government quango which has yet to achieve anything. The Scottish Futures Trust was set up by SNP ministers to build and fund infrastructure projects but so far it has provided advice to only 13 projects and had built nothing. (Scotsman page 15)

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 Spending cuts: The Conservatives would seek cuts of 10 percent from most Whitehall departments according to Andrew Lansley, a key ally of David Cameron.  This led to accusations they would reduce services and provoked a row in the Commons, with Gordon Brown seizing on Mr Lansley’s remarks to claim that basic services would be badly affected under a Tory government.  (Times page 1, Telegraph page 2, Guardian page 8, FT page 2, Daily Mail page 6)

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