Daily Political Media Summary: 15 July 2009

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Media Summary: 15 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: Diageo\’s plans to axe 900 jobs are "very damaging to the Scottish economy" Finance Secretary John Swinney said last night. He was speaking after hosting a summit in Edinburgh of council, union and government leaders, as well as MPs and MSPs, who are "absolutely united" in their determination to stop the proposals. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 3)

Spending constraints: Britain faces a decade of constrained spending, Lord Mandelson said yesterday, sending the starkest message to date about the scale of financial challenges facing the government. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 3, Telegraph page 1)

Interest rates: Interest rates are predicted to stay low well into 2010, after inflation fell below the government\’s target of 2 per cent. The prediction appears to be good news for struggling businesses, mortgage holders and borrowers, but has been described as bad for pensioners relying on savings, who are still facing an inflation-busting rise in the cost of living. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 25, Telegraph page 2, Times page 38)

Postal Strike: Strike action by postal workers across the east coast of Scotland will cause widespread disruption over the weekend. Thousands of postal workers are taking part in a 24-hour nationwide strike action on Friday, the latest in a worsening row over jobs, pay and services. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said more than 12,000 of its members would walk out. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 2, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 1, STV)

Goldman Sachs: The US bank reports $3.4bn in second quarter profit, double analysts\’ forecasts, and sets aside $6.6bn for pay and benefits. Bankers at Goldman Sachs are on track for average pay packets of more than $770,000 (£475,000) this year after the investment bank astonished Wall Street and the City with its results yesterday. (Times page 38)

Transport 

New Forth Bridge: Ministers were yesterday urged in the Commons to "stand firm" and resist Scottish demands for extra money for the new Forth Bridge. The Scottish Government is pressing ahead with plans to build the crossing but there are doubts over how the estimated £2.3 billion price will be met. (Scotsman page 20, Herald page 9)

Health

Swine flu: The UK government yesterday sought to reassure worried parents following the death of a six-year-old girl who contracted swine flu.  Westminster\’s Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, described the death as a "tragedy" but many children had suffered from swine flu and made a full recovery after the virus. (Scotsman page 16)

Heart disease: Younger Scots from deprived backgrounds are about six times more likely to die from heart disease than those who are better off, research revealed yesterday. A study found that smoking and unhealthy diets were major contributors to the prevalence of heart problems among people aged 35-44 from poorer areas. (Scotsman page 24)

Politics

UK Cabinet: Health minister Lord Ari Darzi last night became the latest member to quit the government. Lord Darzi announced he is quitting the role to focus on his clinical work and academic research. (Scotsman page 2, Telegraph page 2, Times page 8, Press and Journal page 12, STV)

Labour: Iain Gray, the Scottish Labour Leader, has ordered his party to step up attacks on Alex Salmond in the wake of a series of setbacks for the First Minister. Senior Labour strategists claim “the gloves are now off” as far as the First Minister is concerned in the run-up to the Glasgow North East by-election and next year\’s general election. (Times page 9)

BBC: More BBC programmes should be made in Scotland, and some news coverage is still too often "marginal and covered in insufficient depth", a key BBC report has found. Published on the same day as the corporation\’s annual report, the Audience Council released its own separate analysis of its broadcasting in Scotland. (Herald page 6)