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Daily Political Media Summary: 14 July 2009

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Media Summary: 14 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

Diageo: Scottish Enterprise is poised to take on outside help as part of efforts to save hundreds of whisky industry jobs. The economic development agency said a decision will be made today to appoint consultants to carry out an independent review of Diageo\’s closure proposals. (Scotsman page 10)

Sale of Banks: Ministers have been warned not to rush into a politically motivated sale of taxpayers\’ £65 billion shareholding in Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland ahead of the general election. The warning came from the main opposition parties, as an annual report from the bailed out banks\’ watchdog was published. UK Financial Investments (UKFI) said it could take years to sell the government’s entire stake in the two banks. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 28)

Scottish newspapers: The Scottish and UK Governments have been urged to do "everything in their power" to safeguard the future of the country\’s newspaper industry. The plea came from MPs on the Scottish affairs committee, who have been examining the current pressures facing the sector. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 2, Courier page 6, FT page 2)

Retirement age: Ministers are planning to scrap the current retirement age in a move to allow workers to stay in their jobs after they turn 65, but which will also raise the threshold at which pensions can be claimed. A review of the so-called default retirement age, which allows employers to force staff to step down, is to be brought forward by a year to 2010 in response to the "changing demographic and economic circumstances." (Herald page 1, Telegraph page 11, Press and Journal page 9)

Sterling: Sterling fell to a five-week low against the euro yesterday as the pound came under broad selling pressure from investors concerned that the UK recession will continue on for many more months.(Herald page 23)

Crime

Community Orders: The Scottish government has no idea how many community service orders are completed by offenders, it emerged yesterday. Kenny MacAskill, the SNP Justice Secretary, admitted that the government did not have a record of how many orders were completed. “The information requested is not held centrally,” he said. (Times page 10)

Health

Swine Flu: A six-year-old girl and a GP have died after contracting swine flu, it was announced yesterday. The total number of deaths in the UK linked to the H1N1 virus has now risen to 17, including two in Scotland. Yesterday, Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland was playing a leading international role in the fight against the flu pandemic as she praised NHS staff. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 6, Times page 3, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 10, Guardian page 8)

Politics

By-election candidate: The SNP last night denied that its campaign to win Glasgow North East was in meltdown as the party started the process of trying to find a new candidate. David Kerr, a former BBC journalist, is now the favourite to become the party\’s candidate after James Dornan, stepped down just days after being selected. (Scotsman page 8, Telegraph page 2)

Greener Scotland: Scotland could scrap its fossil fuel power plants and still more than meet all its electricity demands from renewable sources by 2030, according to a major new study. The bold new report, titled Power of Scotland Renewed, claims to show for the first time how the nation could completely do away with coal and nuclear generators while comfortably providing for its needs using renewable technology. (Herald page 4)

Crofter reform bill: The Scottish Government\’s draft crofting reform bill suffered a significant blow yesterday when the crofters\’ representative body, the Scottish Crofting Foundation, criticised it as being "oppressive" and out of balance. (Herald page 4)

Impeachment expenses: Alex Salmond\’s use of taxpayers\’ money in a bid to force Tony Blair from office over Iraq is to be investigated by a Westminster watchdog, it was disclosed last night. John Lyon, the standards commissioner, has accepted a complaint from Labour peer Lord Foulkes, who accused the First Minister of "outrageous" behaviour. (Herald page 5, Times page 10, Courier page 10, Press and Journal page 9)