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Daily Political Media Summary: 20 August 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 20 April 2009

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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.

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Economy

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Quantitative Easing: Bank of England governor Mervyn King wanted to pump more cash into the economy ahead of this month\’s decision to boost money supply by £50 billion, it has been revealed. The decision to increase QE by £50 billion was passed after six members voted in favour, but Mr King and the dissenters argued there was less harm in boosting money supply by too much than there would be by too little. The minutes, published yesterday, also show the Bank\’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was unanimous in voting to keep interest rates at their historic low of 0.5 per cent. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 32, Telegraph page B1, Guardian page 8, FT page 1)

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Diageo: Hopes of keeping Johnnie Walker jobs in Kilmarnock suffered a new blow last night as a rescue plan conceded it would cost Diageo tens of millions of pounds to reverse its proposals – and that it would still lead to the loss of hundreds of jobs. The report, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, is understood to have concluded it would cost the drinks giant some £60 million to stay in Kilmarnock, rather than close the plant and move operations to Leven in Fife. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 28, Times page 5)

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Crime

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Lockerbie: Kenny MacAskill will today announce that the Lockerbie bomber is to be released from prison and allowed to go home to Libya on compassionate grounds. It is reported that the Justice Secretary has made his decision and will announce it to the world at a 1pm press conference. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 5, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, FT page 1, STV, BBC)

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Health

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NHS: David Cameron will affirm the Conservative Party’s commitment to the NHS in a keynote speech today, after one of his shadow health ministers was found to have links to private healthcare. The Tory leader will tell a London audience that his party is wholly committed to the NHS despite his shadow health minister Lord McColl being a paid consultant for Endeavour Health, which offers a rival service to the NHS to beat patient queues. (Scotsman page 12, Times page 21)

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Liver Cancer: Liver cancer has tripled over the past 30 years with experts blaming the UK\’s drinking culture and rising obesity rates for the increase. Figures released today by Cancer Research UK (CRUK) show that in 1975 there were 865 cases of cancer originating in the liver but by 2006 this had risen to 3,108. Primary liver cancer has been rare in the UK and the western world accounting for 1.09 per cent of all cancers. (Scotsman page 20)

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Education

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Networking: In a survey of Scottish graduates, 62 per cent said they valued the contacts made at university at least as highly as their degree. In the survey, for student accommodation company Unite, 42 per cent of those questioned said a university friend got them a job interview or introduced them to a potential employer.  Almost a third, 31 per cent, landed a job because of a university friend or contact and 78 per cent claimed a helping hand from friends boosted their initial salary by up to £10,000. (Scotsman page 11)

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Glasgow Head of Education: The head of education for Scotland\’s largest local authority has stepped down unexpectedly from her post citing the "financial challenges" facing the council. Margaret Doran, director of children and families for Glasgow City Council, is leaving the £120,000-a-year job at the end of next week. Officials said the arrangement was a "redundancy retiral" that would give her an undisclosed lump sum payment and allow her to draw her pension. (Herald page 1)

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Politics

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Scotland’s Foreign Relations: The Scottish Government has been under pressure in the past week from the Obama administration, leading US senators and victims’ relatives to keep the Lockerbie bomber in jail.  There is a fear that the Megrahi decision may upset Scotland’s future relations with the US. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 4, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph page 6, BBC)

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Housing Repossessions: The Scottish Government is facing demands to ascertain how many homes are being repossessed north of the Border after it emerged no separate figures are collated for Scotland. Labour\’s housing spokeswoman Cathy Jamieson has claimed it will be almost impossible to tackle one of the worst side effects of recession with no Scottish information available. She has written to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon demanding the Scottish Government starts to collate figures as only UK-wide statistics exist. (Scotsman page 17)

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MPs’ Salaries: Conservative MP Sir Patrick Cormack, who stood to be Commons Speaker, said MPs should receive a massive increase in salary – from £64,766 to more than £130,000 – in return for scrapping the controversial second homes allowance. In a submission to the Committee on Standards in Public Life, which is conducting an inquiry into the allowances system, he acknowledged the proposal could be seen as \’\’politically unacceptable\’\’. Another Tory, Douglas Hogg, whose expenses submission famously included the cost of clearing the moat at his country home, has also called for MPs to be given a six-figure salary plus expenses. (Telegraph page 10, Press and Journal page 8, FT page 2)

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