Daily Political Media Summary: 18 September 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 18 September 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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Scottish Budget: Finance Secretary John Swinney yesterday announced reductions in public spending in Scotland and heralded a new era of cutbacks. Delivering his draft budget for 2010-2011 in parliament, Mr Swinney unveiled a raft of cuts. For the first 10 years of devolution Scotland has enjoyed real term annual increases in cash of between 6% and 7%.  Finance Secretary John Swinney blamed the Chancellor for the first Scottish budget cut as he laid out his spending plans for next year, although Labour disputed his claim that the budget had been reduced.  Mr Swinney revealed that money within the direct control of the Scottish Government would fall by 0.9% from £29.535billion this year to £29.266.8billion next year. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, BBC, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1)

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Postal Strike: National strike action looks likely as the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has issued ballot papers on national industrial action following an ongoing dispute over pay and modernisation. Previous regional strike action has already disrupted deliveries.  Today Ayrshire services will be affected as action started at 10pm last night. Further action on Monday will also interrupt services in Glasgow and will have a negative impact on numerous businesses in the area. (Herald page 2)   

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Crime

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Rogue Taxi Firms: Rogue taxi firms will be removed from operation, according to Scotland’s justice secretary Kenny MacAskill as part of a larger operation to crack down on crime.  Legislation will be introduced to ensure taxi firms having to obtain licences for the first time to bring the industry under greater control in a bid to prevent private hire operators becoming a front for organized crime.  (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 13 

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Drugs in Prisons: Scotland’s Chief Inspector of Prisons has highlighted issues he will be concentrating on which include treatment of drug addicts and illegal drugs getting into prisons.  (BBC)

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Education

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Scottish Head Teachers: Scottish head teachers have been accused of being “too compliant”.  Neal McGowan, a former head teacher in Scotland, has stated that head teachers should follow the example of English head teachers and challenge decisions they disagree with.  (TESS page 3) 

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Probationary Teachers: Probationary teachers who are characterised as “poor” can have a negative effect on the entire school and should be discouraged by universities from entering the profession.  (Tess page 8)

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Local Government

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Edinburgh: Edinburgh’s ‘Design Tsar’ has criticised the leadership of the city council for restricting change within the capital.  The architect Sir Terry Farrell has criticised mistakes over the tram network and waterfront regeneration.  (Scotsman page 12 

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Moray Council: Moray Council have estimated the cost of recent flooding between £1.8m and £2.7m.  The flooding has left many residents homeless.  The costs of damage will be partially met by the Scottish Government.  Moray Council have applied for a capital grant to cover repair costs (BBC)

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North-East Councils: Finance Secretary John Swinney has rejected claims he plans to allocate an additional £3million to Aberdeen city and Aberdeenshire councils as part of the budget settlement. He dismissed comments made by the leader of Glasgow City Council Steven Purcell that he was handing over money referred to by the councillor as a North Sea capital oil fund and a “bribe” to voters in the SNP’s heartlands. (Press and Journal page 13)

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Health

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Swine Flu: In the past week, Swine Flu cases in Scotland have almost doubled and a ninth patient has died after contracting the disease.  Despite this, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has stressed that the majority of those suffering from the disease suffer very mild symptoms.  However, it was reported last week that one patient, who had previously suffered no other health problems, died having contracted the disease.  The increase in Swine flu cases to almost 6,200 means that Scotland now has more cases than England.  (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 1, Times page 12 

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Care Homes: Half of Scottish care homes are failing to adequately feed their residents in line with national standards of nutrition, according to the Care Commission.   The report follows a high number of complaints concerning the suitability and nutritional value of the food provided in care homes.  The Care Commission is now demanding that the Scottish Government commit to improving nutritional standards within Scotland’s care homes (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 13, Times page 23, STV 

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Youth Drinking: MSP Jeremy Purvis has stated that his own constituency in the Scottish Borders provides an example of “sensible alcohol consumption”.  Mr Purvis has commented that the Scottish Government must continue to monitor the issue, specifically youth drinking, especially in Glasgow.  (BBC

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Politics

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Carbon Budget: Scotland today unveiled the world\’s first "carbon budget" to link greenhouse gas emissions with government spending, revealing that its plans will emit the equivalent of four coal-fired power stations next year. The Scottish Government has estimated that its spending next year on £33bn worth of core services such as hospitals, schools, roads, local government and farming, will lead to the release of 11.5m tonnes of carbon dioxide. The "carbon budget" is being claimed as another world first by ministers in Edinburgh, after the Scottish Parliament set the first legally binding CO2 reductions target of 42 per cent by 2020 in a climate act in June. (Guardian page 14)

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MP’s Second Homes: Westminster has pledged to expose MPs who “flip” second homes as part of the commitment to preventing abuses of expenses claims.  Speaker John Bercow stated that the public would be able to access information on whether their MP has claimed second home allowance to boost expenses claims.  (Daily Telegraph page 1) 

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Scottish Six: STV today outlines proposals for a six o\’clock evening news programme covering local, national and international news from a Scottish perspective.  It would be broadcast in place of the ITN news from London and the local Scottish news programme currently shown before it.   The proposals last night triggered a similar row to that which greeted calls for the BBC to produce a so-called "Scottish Six". The Scottish Six was a hot topic in the early years of devolution, when Nationalists wanted Scotland to break away from a "London-centric" news agenda. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 7)

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Lockerbie: Lockerbie campaigners have written to the United Nations calling for a public inquiry into the disaster, it was disclosed yesterday. The letter has 19 names on it, including that of Dr Jim Swire, whose daughter, Flora, died in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, and was sent on Monday to the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. It sets out which areas the inquiry should cover, such as the investigation of the destruction of the plane, the fatal accident inquiry into the event in 1991, the subsequent trial of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi and al Amin Khalifa Fhimah in Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, as well as who should be called to give evidence. (Press and Journal page 13)