Daily Political Media Summary: 10 July 2009

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Media Summary: 10 July 2009

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.

Economy

Scottish skills: An action plan aimed at improving the skills and qualifications of the Scottish workforce is to be launched today. The plan has been put forward by the 25 skills councils that represent different industry. Jacqui Hepburn, director of the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils Scotland, stressed the importance of companies investing in skills, despite the economic crisis. (Scotsman page 21) 

Bank of England: Bank of England policymakers yesterday refused to pump extra cash into Britain\’s flagging economy, leaving analysts divided as to whether or not such a move will take place next month. The central bank took economists by surprise by keeping its quantitative easing programme unchanged at £125 billion. (Scotsman page 33, Herald page 34, FT page 1, Press and Journal page 10)

Reforming the Financial Markets: Peter Jones comments in the Scotsman on the UK Government’s recently published white paper on financial reform. (Scotsman page 34)

Diageo: Diageo sent two of its top executives to Scotland yesterday on an exercise in tough diplomacy, couching in sympathetic tones the clearest message yet that the drinks giant is convinced operations in Kilmarnock and at Port Dundas in Glasgow must close. (Herald page 6, Times page 9)

Ernst & Young: Ernst & Young has promoted two members of its Scottish-based financial services team to partner as it seeks to double the size of the practice over the next three years by targeting the fund management sector. (Herald page 33)

North Sea:  A report on the North Sea has shown that drilling activity has dropped by more than half since last year. Oil and gas industry specialists at Deloitte, the accountancy giant, found that there were just 15 exploration and appraisal wells drilled in the UK North Sea in the second quarter, down 57% on the same period last year. (Herald page 34)

Health

Swine Flu: The death toll from the swine flu virus has doubled in just three days to 14 the government said yesterday. The UK now has the third highest number of cases worldwide, after the US and Mexico. (Herald page 2, Times page 23, Courier page 1, Daily Express page 1)

Education

Curriculum for Excellence: Pressure was last night growing on the Scottish Government after a leading education figure joined mounting criticism of the new curriculum due in schools next year. Critics warned education secretary Fiona Hyslop that the Curriculum for Excellence was in "disarray" and demanded action before more children ended up struggling to read and write.(Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6, Times page 26)

Education Spending: SNP claims that education spending is “soaring” on its watch have provoked a chorus of protests, and brought to the surface simmering animosity between the Government and the largest education authority. Ken Cunningham, the leader of Scotland’s secondary head teachers, demanded a ‘serious investigation’ into why the figures do not ‘stack up’ between funding commitments and schools’ experience, which is of budget cuts. (TESS page 1)

Politics

Trident: Gordon Brown yesterday said Britain was ready to negotiate reductions to its Trident nuclear arsenal, as he responded to Barack Obama\’s call for a defence summit to be held in Washington next spring. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 1, Times page 43, Telegraph page 1, FT page 2)

Civil service shake-up: Two of the six senior civil servants who sit on the Strategic Board that runs the Scottish Government are to be replaced in the first major shake-up of St Andrews House since the SNP came into government. Sir John Elvidge, the Scottish permanent secretary, who chairs the Strategic Board, is replacing the directors in charge of climate change and education. (Scotsman page 24)