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Daily Political Media Summary: 3 June 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 3 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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AEGON: The financial services sector in Scotland took another blow as the Dutch-owned insurance provider AEGON announced plans to close its UK risk division, cutting almost 150 jobs at its UK headquarters in Edinburgh. (Scotsman page 33, Herald page 26)

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Crime

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Mapping criminals: The results of the biggest intelligence-gathering operation ever carried out by Scottish police have revealed that Scotland has some 367 serious crime networks involving almost 4000 individuals. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1, Times page 15)

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 Open Jail: First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday defended the use of open prisons and insisted scrapping the controversial jails would make Scotland less safe. The SNP Government has come under opposition attack on the issue after the two escapes that took place from Castle Huntly open jail. (Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 8)

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 Health

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Swine Flu: A Scottish man has become the first person to become critically ill due to the swine flu. He is one of two new critical cases being treated in intensive care at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. (Scotsman page 7)

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 Education

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Universities: Scottish Universities have published a plan to help fight the recession by discounting fees on postgraduate programs and helping businesses to become more profitable. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 8)

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 Stow funding claims: Funding chiefs are to contact all 43 Scottish colleges to highlight “lessons that can be learned” after the revelation that Stow College contracted a private company to deliver a class for a portion of the taxpayer funding it received for that class. (Herald page 8)

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 Politics

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Resignations in Labour Party: Several cabinet members and MPs resigned yesterday over the expenses scandal. Jacqui Smith announced that she was resigning as Home Secretary – the first Cabinet member to resign over the expenses scandal. Children’s minister Beverly Hughes and Cabinet Office minister Tom Watson revealed that they are also leaving their positions. Coupled with resignations by David Chaytor and Patricia Hewitt and the barring of Ian Gibson, Margaret Moran and Elliot Morley from standing for the Labour party at the next election, the Cabinet resignations have caused speculation about Gordon Brown’s authority days before the European election. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Guardian page 1, FT page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Daily Mail page 11, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1)

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 Calman Commission: In a long awaited report, the Calman Commission will call for a new financial set-up which will make MSPs more accountable – but could see Scotland’s budget severely reduced. Holyrood’s borrowing and taxation powers will be a central issue in the report. (Scotsman page 2)

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 SNP forces vote: The SNP announced last night that it will force a Commons vote next week, calling for the Westminster Parliament to be dissolved and the Prime Minister to hold a General Election. (Herald page 6)

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 Labour: In a change from Britain’s traditional voting patterns, Labour is expected to lose out as more MEPs are elected from the Green party, as well as UKIP and the British National Party in the upcoming European elections. Labour may potentially lose one of the two seats it holds in Scotland. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6)

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 Scottish MEPs: As Scotland prepares to go to the polls in the European Parliament elections, the TaxPayers’ Alliance has claimed the country’s MEPs have not been providing value for money. Scottish MEPs have been criticised for their work effort in a new report, which the Scottish Labour Party has said is the product of a ‘shadowy right-wing campaign group’. (Courier page 6)