Daily Political Media Summary: 31 July 2009

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Media Summary: 31 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

Dunfermline Building Society: Savers in Dunfermline Building Society were kept in the dark over its risky position as the Financial Services Authority failed to give adequate supervision, MPs said yesterday. The damning verdict was delivered by the Scottish Affairs Committee, which chastised the regulatory watchdog for not giving Dunfermline warnings about its high-risk commercial lending portfolio. Analysis by Bill Jamieson in The Scotsman. (Scotsman page 9, Bill Jamieson, Herald page 13, Financial Times page 2, Times page 8, Daily Telegraph page 8, B1, Guardian page 24, Press and Journal page 5, Courier page 3, Daily Mail page 5, Sun page 2, BBC)

MGt Job Cuts: A digital and media call centre in the Prime Minister\’s Fife constituency has cut 65 jobs following the loss of a major contract with the Irish sports broadcaster Setanta. (Scotsman page 33)

British Sky Broadcasting: BSkyB yesterday raised the prospect of further expansion in Scotland after attracting customers at its fastest rate for five years. The satellite broadcasting giant has defied the recession to increase customers by 462,000 over the past 12 months. (Scotsman page 39, Financial Times page 17, Times page 47, Daily Telegraph B3, Daily Mail page 85)

Diageo: The Daily Record claims that Diageo’s vow to create 400 Scots jobs at the same time as axing 900 workers was a "con trick" as staff who uproot their families from Ayrshire, or commute 200 miles a day, face being put on short-term contracts. Under Diageo\’s plans, many of those who get jobs at Leven will only get a six or nine-month contract. (Daily Record page 4)

Crime

Assisted Suicide: The law prohibiting assisted suicide is set to be clarified after a woman with multiple sclerosis won a landmark victory that will allow her husband to help her end her life. Although Scotland\’s Lord Advocate is not bound by the Law Lords\’ decision, a spokesman for the Crown Office said: "We will, of course, be considering carefully what the House of Lords has said.” A campaign to allow Scotland to become the first place in Britain to legalise assisted suicide has been given fresh impetus following the ruling. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 2, Times page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, Press and Journal page 13, Courier page 15, Daily Mirror page 17, Daily Record page 6, Daily Express page 19, Daily Mail page 1, Sun page 29, BBC)

Low-level Offenders: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has insisted there are better ways of dealing with minor offenders than sending them to prison. Mr MacAskill has repeatedly spoken out against the use of short-term jail sentences as a punishment for less serious crimes. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 8, Press and Journal page 9, Courier page 9, STV)

Transport 

ScotRail: Fines imposed on First ScotRail for failing quality standards have nearly trebled this year to almost £940,000. The biggest deterioration was in the state of train seats, the condition of station seats and shelters and the amount of graffiti at stations, according to the Scottish Government\’s Transport Scotland agency. The biggest improvements were in train graffiti and station security. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 1, Daily Mail page 2)

Local Government

Edinburgh Refuse: Union leaders refused to call off their bitter dispute with council chiefs last night after the latest round of talks to end a six-week deadlock broke down. A fresh round of negotiations is to be held next week after a showdown between the officials leading the industrial action and senior councillors. (Scotsman page 2, Daily Mail page 34)

Health

Swine Flu: More than 4,000 people have contracted swine flu in the past week in Scotland, health officials said yesterday. The rate of GP consultations for flu-like symptoms has increased slightly over the past week to 55 from 47 per 100,000, official figures showed. Elsewhere, it is claimed we are experiencing a temporary lull in the pandemic. (Scotsman page 23, Herald page 5, Guardian page 6, Press and Journal page 17, Daily Mirror page 10, Daily Record page 7, Daily Express page 6, STV)

Education

A Curriculum for Excellence: A dearth of leaders in schools could condemn ‘A Curriculum for Excellence’ to failure, one of Scotland’s most influential education directors has warned. Aberdeenshire’s Bruce Robertson praised Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop for her role in bringing about curricular reform, when he spoke to the international summer school on school leadership in Edinburgh this week. It was time, he made clear, for schools to stop making excuses and take responsibility for ACfE. (TESS page 1)

Politics

SNP’s Income: The SNP\’s growing finances were revealed yesterday in new figures that show its core income has nearly doubled in six years. Annual accounts for 2008 show that the party pulled in nearly £1.8 million in 2008. In 2002, another year when party funding was not inflated by an election campaign, its income was only £970,000. Donations to Scottish Labour fell by almost 90 per cent in just one year. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 8)

Oil Fund: The Scottish Government has accused Westminster of wasting billions of pounds in North Sea revenues, as it stepped up calls for an oil fund. Finance Secretary John Swinney said the fund would secure billions of pounds of benefits for Scotland. But Labour have insisted it would lead to cuts in public services. (Scotsman page 21, Herald page 8, Daily Telegraph page 11, Press and Journal page 13, Courier page 13, STV)

Energy Efficiency: Tens of thousands of households are to be offered advice on how to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, under a £15 million scheme announced yesterday. The Scottish Government-funded scheme will benefit up to 96,000 homes initially, and could then be rolled out to other areas over the next few years. (Scotsman page 25, Herald page 14, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 11)

Scottish Land Fund: Labour has called on the SNP to revive the Scottish Land Fund with an injection of £10 million to help rural and Highland communities continue to buy land. The call from Sarah Boyack, the Scottish Labour Party’s environment spokeswoman, follows growing concerns that a lack of cash and the ending of the fund will undermine the aspirations of many rural communities to buy land. (Times page 8)