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Daily Political Media Summary: 25 August 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 25 August 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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UK Banks: Mark Tennant, the incoming chairman of industry body Scottish Financial Enterprise, yesterday called for a ceasefire from critics of the major UK banks.  Although he did not defend "fatal" mistakes, such as the takeover of ABN Amro by Royal Bank of Scotland which caused the bank to be bailed out by the tax payer, he called for politicians, media and regulators to help nationalised banks "find their way forward" and bring banking "back to its roots". (Scotsman page 12)

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FTSE: Buoyed by upbeat comments over the weekend from Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, and a continuing wave of improving economic indicators, Asian markets led the rest of the world to gains.  In London the FTSE 100 climbed to its highest level since the beginning of October, closing up 0.9pc, or 45.34, at 4896.23. The index is now in the midst of its strongest summer run in 25 years, according to the Press Association, up 40pc since the lows of March. Yesterday\’s gains were led by bank and mining shares. (Telegraph page 1, FT page 28)

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New Town: Plans will be unveiled later for a project to create a new town in rural South Lanarkshire. About 20,000 people would live in the town, to be built on land near Lanark, and it was estimated that up to 8,000 jobs could be created. The town is designed to be a modern interpretation of the nearby world heritage village of New Lanark. (BBC)

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Local Government

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Cafe Culture: Business leaders in Edinburgh city centre are to mount a campaign to boost the city\’s alfresco culture by slashing red tape and cutting the costs of operating pavement café areas. The city council is to be lobbied to relax the rules over outdoor eating and drinking areas amid fears they are crippling businesses trying to encourage a more continental atmosphere. (Scotsman page 9)

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Education

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Landfill Schools: Campaigners fighting local authority plans to relocate two schools to a former landfill site have warned that the health of pupils is being put at risk. North Lanarkshire Council wants to build a new joint campus for St Ambrose High and Drumpark School on part of Drumpellier Country Park in Coatbridge, though it is contaminated and there is a risk of methane gas leaks. A planning application for the £40 million scheme is being considered by the council, but concerned parents and residents fear it is being pushed through with scant regard to children\’s welfare. (Scotsman page 10)

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Catchment Row: Hundreds more families may be caught up in a legal row over entry to a flagship school in Scotland\’s top-performing education authority. Yesterday, it was revealed that parents from a new housing development on the outskirts of Glasgow are taking legal action after East Renfrewshire Council said their homes were not in the catchment area. Now it has emerged that families from a total of 600 new homes built in the vicinity are also barred entry to St Ninian\’s High School in Eastwood, the country\’s top-performing Catholic secondary. (Herald page 6)

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Politics

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Kenny MacAskill: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill is set to survive the storm of controversy over the release of the Lockerbie bomber after it emerged that opposition parties had backed off from a vote of no confidence. MSPs have privately admitted they cannot agree on such a move, despite indications over the weekend that they might be willing to see the Scottish Government fall over the issue. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has remained silent on the issue, despite mounting pressure for him to speak. David Maddox comments in the Scotsman. (Scotsman page 1, page 24, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, Guardian page 6, FT page 1, Daily Mirror page 4, BBC)

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Diageo: Scottish politicians are being urged to steer clear of corporate hospitality invitations from Diageo for this weekend\’s Johnnie Walker golf championship at Gleneagles. Unite, the union which has launched a campaign to save 900 jobs across Diageo\’s Scottish-based operations, is furious that the drinks giant is sponsoring a prestigious sporting tournament while it considers significant changes to its Scottish operations. (Scotsman page 2)

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MPs Pay Rise: An inquiry into parliamentary expenses is under pressure from MPs clamouring for a pay rise, official documents show. The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life, headed by Sir Christopher Kelly, has been bombarded with complaints from MPs on the level of their salaries relative to other professionals. Labour MP and former Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said there were costs "uniquely associated with political life" that other people were "unlikely ever to face". And Labour former Home Secretary David Blunkett told the committee an MP\’s work effectively equated to two full-time jobs, adding: "Given that an MP\’s salary is just about the same as a deputy head in a reasonably-sized comprehensive school, it would be interesting to see how any individuals in that job could survive for long if they had to work in two schools in two different parts of the country." (Herald page 6)

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