Daily Political Media Summary: 27 August 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 27 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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Diageo: Union leaders have heaped further pressure on drinks giant Diageo with claims that 450,000 messages protesting against its closure plans had been sent to company shareholders. The drinks giant announced last month that it proposed cutting about 700 jobs at its Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock and 200 more in Glasgow. (Scotsman page 2, Telegraph page 2, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 14, STV, BBC)

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Jobless: The UK Government has been accused of "deserting" millions of people after official figures showed the number of households in the UK with no-one over the age of 16 working has increased by 240,000 in the past year to 3.3 million. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday revealed the number of working-age people in jobless households jumped by 500,000 to 4.8m in the year to June. (Scotsman page 18, Press and Journal page 2)

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Green Energy: Ministers "urgently" need to end the delay over constructing a proposed new power line to open a source of future wealth for Scotland from green energy, a group of scientific experts demanded yesterday. In a report commissioned by the Scottish Government, the experts said 12,000 jobs could be created in Scotland on the back of harnessing wave and wind power in Scotland\’s seas. The report also called on both UK and Scottish ministers to back the development of marine energy. (Scotsman page 19, Herald page 6)

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Sterling: Sterling found itself on the ropes again yesterday against the euro, as a strong reading of German business sentiment fuelled the view that the economic outlook might be brighter in the single currency bloc than in the UK. The single currency yesterday surged to a two-and-half-month high against sterling – vaulting through the 88p mark to an intra-day high of 88.07p. Sterling also found itself under pressure against the dollar. It was trading yesterday afternoon around $1.6220 – down about 1.4 cents on its close in London on Tuesday. (Herald page 29)

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Bonus Culture: The UK Government\’s top financial regulator last night backed radical plans for a multibillion-pound tax on banks as a way to tackle the City\’s persistent bonus culture. Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, warned bankers that he would support a new wave of taxes on the City to prevent excessive profiteering if they continue to take excessive risks. (Guardian page 1, FT page 1)

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Transport 

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High Speed Rail: New train stations would be built in Edinburgh and Glasgow city centres as part of a £34 billion, high-speed rail link taking passengers from Scotland to London in just over two hours. The project, which has a target completion date of 2030, aims to revolutionise UK travel, with trains that can travel at 200mph. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 14, Telegraph page 11, Guardian page 14, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 12, Daily Mirror page 23, STV)

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Local Government

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Equal Pay Claims: Scotland\’s largest local authority is to offer a controversial English lawyer £26m to settle thousands of outstanding equal pay cases brought by its workers. Glasgow City Council is set to ratify its position for negotiating with no-win no-fee lawyer Stefan Cross this Friday in an attempt to finally wash its hands of the equal pay issue, with the authority still facing claims from over 4,000 of Mr Cross\’s clients and 600 from trades unions. (Herald page 1)

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Health

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Drug-Related Deaths: Drug-related deaths have hit a record high in Scotland with fatalities rising by one-third last year and Dumbarton named as having the second-highest death rate in the UK. Research published by the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths at St George\’s, University of London, reveals that while the level of drug deaths in England and Wales has gone down, the growing figure in Scotland has led to an overall increase in drug deaths in the UK. Last year, there were 478 drug-related deaths in Scotland, a rise of 34 per cent on the 2007 figure, according to information supplied by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA). (Herald page 2)

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Politics

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Al Megrahi: It is reported that the medical advice that concluded the Lockerbie bomber had less than three months to live was given by a prison doctor and not a cancer specialist. Following mounting questions about how Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill arrived at his decision to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, a Scottish Government source admitted that the key advice was given by an ordinary GP who works as the Scottish Prison Service\’s primary care physician. (Scotsman page 6, Times page 11, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 6, Press and Journal page 13)

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