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Daily Political Media Summary: 25 September 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 25 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 Enterprise: Bill Jamieson comments on the prospects for the Scottish economy and particularly jobs.  Despite claims that the recession may be coming to an end, unemployment is set to be the biggest concern in 2010 especially as Scottish employment is dependent on small and medium size enterprises and start-up rates are declining.  Scotland’s shrinking enterprise culture is blamed on the difficulty potential businesses have in setting up in Scotland. (Scotsman page 29) 

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Glasgow Airport Link: Discussions between leaders of Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government broke down yesterday as Alex Salmond reportedly told council leader Stephen Purcell to “”behave like a grown up”. The council has vowed to join opposition groups in fighting the scrapping of the rail link.  Mr Purcell has also accused Alex Salmond of being reluctant to endorse an EU loan required to refurbish Dalmarnock station, essential to the 2014 Commonwealth Games.  (Scotsman page 8 Herald page 4) 

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Recession: Chief economist for the Bank of England Spencer Dale has warned against believing too heavily in recent reports that the recession is over.  The banks Monetary Policy Committee is emphasising the reality of a slow recovery especially following the weakening of the pound against the Euro and the continuation of strict credit controls. Whilst the period of economic downturn may have ended, Mr Dale warned that families and businesses should not take “too much comfort” especially as unemployment may continue to rise. (Herald page 36, Telegraph page B1)

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Transport

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Edinburgh Trams:  Tickets to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party will be reduced by 25 per cent due to the ongoing tram work.  It is currently unknown how much of the city centre will be unavailable for use during the celebrations.  This will have consequences for the city’s tourist trade, however it has been suggested that the value of tickets will be increased to meet some of the shortfall. (Scotsman page 20)

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BAE Systems: BAE Systems have bought Glasgow’s Scotstoun and Govan shipyards outright and will return the Clyde yards to the pre-June 2008 position. (Herald page 36)

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High Speed Rail Link: Plans to create a high speed rail service from London to Scotland have been cited as ambitious.  Initial plans extend to the West Midlands, however High Speed Two (HS2), the company set up by the Government to plan high speed services, may extend plans to Scotland in stages to allow funding to be raised at each stage.    (Herald page 12 Herald page 1)

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Dundee Railway:  Network rail has dismissed £10 million plans to create a new railway however Councillor Ken Guild has advised that further negotiations will take place. (Courier page 1) 

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Health

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Scotland’s Life Expectancy:  Life expectancy has risen over the last ten years yet inequalities still exist between areas.   Despite the increase in life expectancy to 75 for men and 79.9 years for women, Scotland’s rate is lower than the western European average.  Additionally concerns have been raised over the rate at which Scotland is catching up to the rest of Europe and of the existing inequalities in certain areas, especially in Glasgow. (Scotsman page 21 Herald page 11 )

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Swine Flu: An estimated 7,000 Scottish people have contracted Swine flu in the last week with approximately 1,000 people catching the disease each day.  Infection rates will be used to determine the nature of the virus. One critically ill patient has been sent to England for treatment of the disease.  (Herald page 5, Press and Journal page 11 )

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Cervical Cancer: The Scottish Government is pleased with the number of schoolgirls being immunised against cervical cancer.  The national campaign targets teenage girls and seems to be most successful with girls still attending school with less take up in school leavers.  (Herald page 5)

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Tobacco Sales:  New legislation restricting the sale of tobacco to young people may be introduced following evidence on the number of children who take up smoking each year.  This has been welcomed by anti-smoking group Ash.  (Herald page 6) 

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Education

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Schools Debate: Education secretary Fiona Hyslop was criticised last night over the reduction in the number of school teachers in Scotland. Ms Hyslop remained silent during the debate and later left the chamber as her deputy Keith Brown took part in the discussion. This criticism comes on top of earlier pressure following the decision to introduce legislation to reduce class sizes to 25 in Primary 1 although the SNP manifesto promised to reduce classes to 18. (Scotsman page 14 Herald page 6 Times page 8, Tess page 1  Daily Telegraph page 8) 

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Stow College Travel Costs: Stow College has reportedly used £160,000 of public money to fund numerous international trips for senior staff and on some occasions, their families.  Principal Robert McGrory has defended the costs, stating that trips were for educational purposes including the recruitment of new students, despite the student body being made up of Scottish students.  (Herald page 7)

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Local Government

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Glasgow Budget Plans: Glasgow has already started making plans for the expected local government budget decreases by keeping the public and its workforce informed on how savings can be made and how revenue can be generated. (Herald page 4)

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Politics

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Gordon Brown:  Gordon Browns leadership style has been accused of lacking “razzmatazz” by Lord Mandelson.  However his stance on big issues has been defended by Lord Mandelson.  This admission follows reports that a request for a bilateral meeting between Gordon Brown and President Obama had been refused by the Obama administration. (Scotsman page 6)

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Tommy Sheridan:  Donald Findlay QC has been removed from Tommy Sheridan’s defence team and will be replaced by Maggie Scott QC who had previously led the appeal case on behalf of Adelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi.  (Herald page 1, Times page 17) 

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Government’s Handling of Armed Forces: General Andrew McKay, head of armed forces in Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland, has resigned over the UK’s commitment to the war in Afghanistan as well as dissatisfaction over lack of resources.  (Scotsman page 1)

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Scottish Broadcasting:  Alex Salmond has defended his plans for Scotland to have its own independent public service broadcaster.  The potential for jobs and revenue created by a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation has been used to defend these plans. (Herald page 6)

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STV:  STV will be removing English programmes such as The Bill, and replacing them with Scottish programmes in a move to make “STV more distinctive” to its Scottish viewers.  (Times page 59) 

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Baroness Vadera resignation:  Baroness Vardera, one of Gordon Browns key advisors, has resigned from the UK Government to take up a new role to coordinate cooperation among the G20.  Gordon Brown has stated that he has encouraged the move to ensure effective handover of the G20 Presidency.  (Times page 4) 

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Expenses:  The person who exposed the MPs’ expenses scandal acted out of anger over the Government’s failure to properly equip the Armed forces. (Daily Telegraph page 1)