0131 524 9500 | info@reformscotland.com

Daily Political Media Summary: 18 August 2009

Reform Scotland

\r\n

Daily Political Media Summary: 18 August 2009

\r\n

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.

\r\n

Economy

\r\n

Japanese economy: Japan emerged from recession in the three months to June with 0.9% quarter-on-quarter growth, joining France, Germany, and Hong Kong in recovery territory, official data showed yesterday. The UK remained mired in recession in the three months to June 30 with a further 0.8% fall in gross domestic product, data showed last month. (Herald page 14, Guardian page 26)

\r\n

Stock markets: Stock markets around the globe fell sharply yesterday, shrugging off news that Japan had emerged from recession, amid renewed worries over global economic prospects. The UK\’s FTSE-100 index of leading shares took its cumulative losses in the space of two sessions to more than 110 points. Having shed 41.49 points on Friday from Thursday\’s 10-month closing high of 4755.46 points, the FTSE-100 yesterday tumbled a further 68.96 points or nearly 1.5% to 4645.01.(Herald page 14, Telegraph page B1, FT page 1)

\r\n

State benefits: Think tank Policy Exchange has forecast that official figures due out later this month will put the total number of those on benefits to 6 million for the first time. The group made its projection on the basis of Department of Work and Pensions benefits data. (Telegraph page 1)

\r\n

Executive pay: A high-pay commission which would scale back the "excessive" salaries and bonuses enjoyed by top executives should be set up by the government, campaigners said yesterday. The campaign, led by the centre-left pressure group, Compass, blames "out-of-control rewards" for promoting risk- taking which brought the economy close to collapse. (Scotsman page 3, Telegraph page B1)

\r\n

Energy centre: First Minister Alex Salmond has announced a £2.6 million funding boost for the new Scottish European Green Energy Centre in Aberdeen, aimed at establishing the city as a major hub for research into wave, tidal and wind power. The centre, officially opened by Mr Salmond yesterday, will benefit from £1.6m support from the European Regional Development Fund and £1m from the Scottish Government. (Scotsman page 10)

\r\n

Public sector: The UK public sector is facing a period of austerity that will last possibly for as long as a decade, as governments struggles to bring the public finances under control. Government figures show that from 2011 on we will face one of the tightest public spending squeezes in the post-war era. Jenny Stewart comments in the Scotsman. (Scotsman page 26)

\r\n

Crime

\r\n

Lockerbie: The Lockerbie bomber has been sending his possessions home for the past six weeks; it has been claimed, fuelling accusations that the decision to release him is a "done deal". The revelation has increased pressure on justice secretary Kenny MacAskill, with opposition politicians criticising his "inept" handling of the case. However, calls from Labour and the Liberal Democrats for parliament to be recalled over the issue were last night rejected by Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson, who said the decision on Megrahi was for ministers alone to make. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 2, Telegraph page 8, Times page 3, Guardian page 9, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1)

\r\n

Transport 

\r\n

High speed rail: Environmentalists, business groups and passengers yesterday welcomed news of a £1bn boost to train services in the Central Belt, after a funding plan was in place to deliver electrification of 350km of track and cut fastest journey times between Glasgow and Edinburgh to 35 minutes. (Herald page 3)

\r\n

Local Government

\r\n

World Heritage: A world heritage site "tsar" is to be created in the wake of a report by UNESCO amid concerns that the historic heart of the capital is under threat from large-scale developments. The City of Edinburgh Council is expected to unveil the high-profile appointment within weeks to avoid future conflicts with conservation bodies and campaign groups. The post holder is expected to have a key role in mapping out the future shape of the city, balancing demands to generate economic development with protecting the capital\’s heritage. (Scotsman page 7)

\r\n

Health

\r\n

Swine Flu vaccine: Almost a third of nurses will refuse the offer of immunisation against swine flu because they have fears about the vaccine\’s safety, according to a new survey. The apparent reluctance to be among the first to receive the new vaccine emerged in a survey of 1,500 nurses carried out by the weekly Nursing Times. Overall, 30% of respondents to the magazine\’s online questionnaire replied \’no\’ when asked if they would seek to be immunised when the vaccine became available; only 37% said \’yes\’, while a further 33% remained answered \’maybe\’. (Guardian page 7)

\r\n

Alcohol promotions: City licensing chiefs want to outlaw off-sales alcohol promotions at shops and supermarkets in the Scottish capital. Industry figures, however, say Edinburgh Licensing Board is wrongly interpretating new legislation which comes in to effect within days and accuse it of "making up law on the hoof". Controversially, the board is proposing to prohibit retailers from offering any alcoholic product as part of a multi-buy promotion. (Herald page 1)

\r\n

Politics

\r\n

Lockerbie: The Lockerbie bombing media circus has exposed the SNP’s unease with big decisions on the world stage. Three journalists from the Telegraph, the Times and the Scotsman comment. (Alan Cochrane, Magnus Linklater, David Maddox)

\r\n

NHS: David Cameron is planning to take a "major gamble" with the NHS by "turning Britain\’s best loved institution into the world\’s biggest quango", the health secretary, Andy Burnham, warns today. In an attempt to maintain the pressure on Cameron, after a high-profile Tory MEP described the NHS as a "60-year mistake", Burnham declares that the Tories would also take the health service backwards by abandoning national targets. (Guardian page 1)

\r\n