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Daily Political Media Summary: 23 September 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 23 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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Recession:  Scotland’s status as a global finance centre has tumbled in the wake of the credit crunch. Both Glasgow and Edinburgh have dropped significantly down the Global Finance Centres Index, which rates cities on their attractiveness and competitiveness in the finance sector. (Scotsman page 15)

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 Banking Duopoly: Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group have been accused of running a “duopoly” in the small business lending market north of the Border. (Scotsman page B1, Herald page 24, Press and Journal page 20, Courier page 6)

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 Green Energy: Scotland could see tens of thousands of jobs being created under plans to invest in green technology, Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said yesterday. She said the employment boom would take place within five years through the development of new ways to tackle pollution, manage waste and reduce carbon. Hailing the potential of a new strategy to provide more coherent public sector support for companies working on green technologies, the minister said the opportunities were “immense.” (Scotsman page 17, Press and Journal page 17, Courier page 6)

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 STV: STV is being sued for £38 million by ITV in a dispute over the Scottish broadcaster\’s decision to drop shows such as The Bill and Wuthering Heights.(Scotsman page 9, Herald page 1, Times page 12, Daily Telegraph page 12)

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 Crime

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Drink-Related Violence: £400,000 of new funding to help tackle alcohol-fuelled violence was announced yesterday by the Scottish Government. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 4).

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 Organised Crime: Ministers have been warned Scotland could be open to organised criminal gangs, drug smugglers and illegal immigration if a plan to slash policing in west-coast ports goes ahead. (Scotsman page 11).

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 Transport 

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Forth Bridge: The new Forth bridge remains on track to be completed by 2016 after two attempts to delay it were rejected. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 6)

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 Rail Link: Labour has accused the SNP of hypocrisy after unearthing publicity material in which the SNP claimed it was committed to the Glasgow airport rail link when discussions on scrapping it supposedly started last spring. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6)

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 Edinburgh Trams: The city council revealed that nearly twice as many underground pipes and cables as expected have had to be moved from Edinburgh\’s streets to make way for the trams, totalling nearly 30 miles, but tram chiefs said they still hope this utility diversion work would be finished in November, almost a year late. (Scotsman page 13)

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 Local Government

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Public-Sector Services: West Lothian Council has secured a historic first and millions of pounds in savings with a groundbreaking move that sees all public-sector services housed under one roof. (Herald)  

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 Health

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Epilepsy Drugs: The use of anti-epileptic drugs in pregnancy might increase the risk of complications according to a study that has found that three drugs used as standard in the UK might increase the likelihood of conditions such as pre-eclampsia. (Scotsman page 13)

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 Tobacco Display Ban: The Scottish Government’s Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill will be discussed by MSPs tomorrow, featuring debate on the promotional retail display of tobacco and a ban on cigarette vending machines that is intended to benefit the young. (Scotsman page 28, Herald)

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 Education

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Class Sizes: The Scottish Government will today effectively abandon its election pledge for maximum class sizes of 18 when it announces a new legal limit of 25. In a keynote speech, education secretary Fiona Hyslop will say that a new statutory maximum of 25 pupils will be introduced. Current regulations put 30 as the maximum per class. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Courier page 10, BBC, Times page 13)

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 Exam Results: The gap between the best and worst performing local authorities in school examinations is widening, according to statistics published by the Scottish Government. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 9)

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 Politics

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Lib Dem MSPs: The Liberal Democrat leadership has warned its own MSPs not to discuss their views on an independence referendum with the press amid claims that a growing number support the idea. The party\’s 16 MSPs were e-mailed by chief whip Mike Rumbles yesterday and told not to speak to the media about their views until they had first cleared them with headquarters. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Times page 3, Daily Telegraph page 2)

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 Lockerbie: The release of the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds is to be investigated by a Holyrood committee. This announcement comes after Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill took the controversial decision last month to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, who is suffering from terminal cancer. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 5, Press and Journal page 16, Courier page 9, BBC, STV, Times page 4)

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 Public Bodies: Proposals to give ministers more powers over public bodies have been fiercely criticised at Holyrood. The criticism came from a legal expert who said provisions in legislation proposed by the Scottish Government were a constitutional step too far. (Scotsman page 12)

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 NATO Summit: Hard-line protesters planning to mount a major protest at a NATO summit in Scotland\’s capital have launched a DIY-guide to sabotaging the event. (Scotsman page 14)

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 Military Hero: The latest British soldier killed in Afghanistan had received one of the nation\’s highest awards for gallantry. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 8, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, STV)

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 Trident: Gordon Brown will today signal his readiness to scale back Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent as part of an international deal to cut the world’s nuclear arsenal. The Prime Minister is expected to tell world leaders meeting this week at the United Nations in New York that he is prepared to consider cutting the UK’s fleet of Trident missile-carrying submarines from four to three. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 1, Press and Journal page 8, Courier page 12, BBC, STV, Times page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Financial Times page 1)