Daily Political Media Summary: 3 August 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 3 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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Tesco Jobs: The personal finance arm of supermarket giant Tesco is on the verge of closing a deal to set up a large insurance office in Glasgow that will create more than 800 jobs. (Sunday Herald page 1, Scotsman page 13, Herald page 11)

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Scottish Bank Lending: Scottish bankers have hit back at Chancellor Alistair Darling\’s recent complaints about their failure to lend to businesses by insisting they are doing all that is reasonable. (Sunday Herald page 49)

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Recession: Scotland is proving more resilient to the effects of the recession than most other parts of Britain, a new survey suggests. The poll of more than 5,000 people across the UK by the market researcher Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) found Scots are most likely to adopt a positive attitude towards financial hardship. Elsewhere, it is reported that an increasing number of small and medium-sized UK manufacturers expect a return to growth over the next quarter, signalling the worst of the recession may be starting to lift. (Sunday Times page 5, Herald page 25)

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Diageo: The Scottish Government’s plan to overturn Diageo’s decision to axe up to 900 staff in Kilmarnock and Glasgow will still result in about 500 job cuts. (Sunday Times page B3)

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Public Sector Jobs: The SNP Government will have to cut a raft of public sector jobs to cope with the recession, one of Alex Salmond\’s key economic advisers warned last night. Professor John Kay has said Alex Salmond and his Finance Secretary John Swinney will have to take some deeply unpopular decisions after the General Election if they are to achieve long-term economic stability. Elsewhere, David Cameron has warned that he cannot rule out tax increases and severe public spending cuts if the Conservatives win the next General Election.  (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Herald page 1, Financial Times page 2, Daily Telegraph page 4)

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Transport  

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Edinburgh Trams: Edinburgh City Council will shortly admit that it needs contingency plans to cover the cost of the tram network in response to growing signs that it will break its £545 million budget. Officials are expected to publish a paper ahead of a full council meeting reflecting findings from consultancy DTZ that they can no longer rely on previous plans to raise the bulk of their £45m contribution from the private sector. (Sunday Herald page 51)

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Local Government

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Edinburgh Refuse: Edinburgh City Council have insisted the rubbish-strewn scenes that have blighted the city centre for several weeks will be swept away, as its contingency plans for cleaning up the city in preparation for the festival season got under way. The bin chaos is set to spread across the country as Unions said Glasgow council workers, including street sweepers, roads and park staff, would go out on indefinite strike on 10 August. (Sunday Herald page 16, Scotland on Sunday page 9, Sunday Post page 3, Herald page 12, Scotsman page 13, Daily Express page 20, STV)

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Health

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Toxic Pesticides: Almost half of the fresh fruit and vegetables sold across the UK is contaminated with toxic pesticides, according to the latest scientific surveys for the government. Nearly every orange, 94% of pineapples and 90% of pears sampled were laced with traces of chemicals that are used to kill bugs. (Sunday Herald page 1, Herald page 4)

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Education

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University Places: Teenagers receiving top exam marks this week could find themselves unable to win a university place as the recession creates intense competition for courses, experts have warned. A dearth of jobs caused by the recession has seen the number applying for a college or university place rise. (Scotland on Sunday page 5, Herald page 7)

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Glasgow: According to the latest survey of student finance, Brighton, Liverpool, Glasgow, Reading and Manchester are rated top in terms of the most cost-effective places in Britain to study at university. A higher proportion of students in Glasgow have a part-time job during term time and work longer hours than those at other university towns across the country. (Scotsman page 13, Times page 1)

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Politics

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Election Polls: Scottish Labour is clinging on to a marginal lead in Scotland ahead of the next general election, as a new analysis of voting intentions suggests that SNP hopes of claiming 20 seats across the country will be dashed. Polling company ComRes studied all the unpublished Scottish data from UK polls in June and July and found that Labour is just ahead of the SNP, with 32 per cent of the vote, next to the SNP\’s 30 per cent. (Scotsman page 1)

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Alex Salmond: The First Minister is under pressure to quit as an MP following claims his dual role at Westminster and Holyrood will cost taxpayers at least £145,000. Research commissioned by the Conservatives shows that, since 2007, Alex Salmond has qualified for an additional £81,000 by being an MP as well as an MSP. An SNP spokesman responded by commenting that Tory MPs so badly embroiled in the Westminster expenses scandal that they will not be allowed to re-stand at the next general election will gain a combined £2million by remaining in their positions, instead of resigning when the scandal broke.  (Sunday Times page 1, Times page 8, Press and Journal page 7, Daily Telegraph page 9, Sun page 2)

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Strathclyde Police Authority: Scotland’s largest police force is facing a near £35 million black hole in its budget and a "dire financial situation" over the next four years which could severely affect frontline services. The budget crisis could threaten to undermine the Scottish Government’s ambition to have more frontline officers on the streets. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 8, Times page 1, Daily Express page 5, Sun page 25, BBC, STV)

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Alcohol Licensing Law: Licensing chiefs have called for a controversial new law on alcohol sales to be entirely scrapped amid growing warnings from shop owners that they are being overwhelmed in bureaucratic chaos. (Scotland on Sunday page 7)

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Fire Safe Cigarettes: Fire brigade chiefs have thrown their weight behind a campaign to introduce "fire safe" cigarettes. SNP MSP Stewart Maxwell wants Scotland to become the first country in Europe to introduce the cigarettes, which go out quickly if unattended, by law. (Scotland on Sunday page 10, Sunday Post page 15, Herald page 11, Daily Express page 15, STV)