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Daily Political Media Summary: 18 June 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 18 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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Unemployment: Scotland’s jobless figure soared by almost a third in just three months, triple the increase recorded in England during the same period. Statistics revealed there are 176,000 unemployed people in Scotland. (Herald page 5, Times page 25, Guardian page 19, FT page 3, Press and Journal page 13)

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Recession: The Scottish economy remained mired in recession in the last three months, with only a fractional deceleration in the rate of decline, the latest quarterly business monitor from Lloyds TSB shows today. However, Professor Donald MacRae, chief economist at Lloyds TSB Scotland, is hopes that there could still be a return to economic growth by the end of 2009. Alf Young comments in the Herald. (Herald page 32, Alf Young, Press and Journal page 10)

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Crime

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Victims Fund: Victims of crime are to be given practical help in the aftermath of an attack, ranging from replacing locks damaged in a break-in to emergency dental work thanks to a fund launched with Scottish Government money. The Victims Fund, initially funded by a £30,000 government grant, will be run by Victim Support Scotland. (Scotsman page 22)

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 Transport 

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Road Repairs: Councils face a repair bill of up to £2 billion for Scotland’s crumbling road network after failing to tackle a backlog of serious maintenance and repairs affecting some 2000 miles of the trunk road network. The cost emerged after a nationwide survey of local authority- managed roads found the rate of deterioration had accelerated since 2004. (Herald page 1)

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 A9 Petition: The Scottish Government was under renewed pressure last night to announce a timetable for a £4billion upgrade of the A9 Inverness-Perth road, after the number of names on a petition calling for the 113-mile road to be dualled reached 8,000. (Press and Journal page 6)

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 Health

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NHS Hospitals: Junior doctors at a hospital have warned bosses that patients have been put at risk by understaffing and pressures to meet NHS targets. A group of 17 doctors from St John’s Hospital in Livingston felt so strongly about the shortages they wrote to NHS Lothian officials about the dangers allegedly posed to patients. (Scotsman page 9)

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 Swine Flu: The number of people in Scotland recorded as having swine flu has risen above 1,300. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 9)

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 Patient Rights Bill: Plans by the Scottish Government to enshrine in law the rights of patients could lead to a ‘confrontational or litigious’ approach that ‘could undermine the mutual nature of the NHS’, it has been claimed. (Herald page 12)

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 Education

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New Schools: The SNP Government has said it will not build a single new school during its four years in office, prompting accusations that ministers have failed Scottish schoolchildren. The admission was taken as evidence by the opposition that the SNP’s Scottish Futures Trust has been an expensive failure. However, up to 55 new primary and secondary schools are to be built by 2018 with a £1.25 billion funding scheme, the Scottish Government announced yesterday.  (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 7, Times page 9, Magnus Linklater, Press and Journal page 8, Courier page 1, STV online)

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 Politics

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North Sea Oil: Scotland would be £20 billion in the red even if it had retained all its oil money a new government report says. A Scotland Office paper published today shows North Sea oil revenue would not have plugged the gap between spending and tax raised. The paper says that if all the North Sea revenue had gone to Scotland, the country’s finances would have been in surplus in only 9 out of the past 27 years. The figures have been hotly disputed by the SNP. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 13, Press and Journal page 12, STV online)

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 Public Sector: The public sector in Scotland has grown by almost 50,000 jobs in the ten years since devolution, according to new figures. Peter MacMahon comments on the private and public sector imbalance. (Scotsman page 7, Peter MacMahon , Telegraph page 13)

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 Green Scotland: A delivery plan on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 has been drawn up by the Scottish Government. Ambitious aims include getting to the stage where nearly all electricity is provided by renewables, backed up by "clean" fossil fuel power stations. (Scotsman page 10)

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 Calman Commission: George Kerevan comments in the Scotsman on the Calman Commission’s final report, and how “the heart of the Calman proposal is really political and not financial.” (Scotsman page 28)

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 BNP: Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy today warned politicians in Scotland not to be complacent about the threat posed by the British National Party. The BNP attracted 27,000 votes in Scotland at the recent European elections, up from almost zero 10 years ago. (Herald page 6)

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