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Daily Political Media Summary: 3 September 2009

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Media Summary: 3 September 2009

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.

Economy

Diageo: Diageo appeared to be in line for a major injection of public funds last night after John Swinney revealed the closure of its Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock would cost the local economy £15.5 million each year. The prospect of the Scottish Government offering a substantial amount of taxpayers\’ money to the drinks giant in an attempt to save hundreds of Diageo jobs came closer on the eve of a crucial meeting between the company and the finance secretary. (Scotsman page 8, Times page 12, Telegraph page 14, Courier page 1)

Murrayfield: Murrayfield Stadium profits from last year resulted in a boost to the country\’s economy of nearly £130 million. Edinburgh alone benefited to the tune of £72.9 million, according to figures published yesterday and welcomed by Jim Mather, the Scottish Government\’s minister for enterprise, energy and tourism. (Scotsman page 10)

Recovery: Chancellor Alistair Darling insisted last night that world governments need to keep spending to ensure recovery from the global economic crisis. He issued a stark warning to countries considering "exit strategies" from measures to stimulate their economies. (Scotsman page 11, Times page 3)

Licensing laws: The transition to Scotland\’s new licensing laws may have cost the country 2000 to 4000 jobs, trade lobbyists claim, with the tourist industry taking an irreparable dent. BII Scotland, whose membership includes rural pubs, hotels and licensed grocers, has accused the Scottish Government of "causing unemployment with bureaucracy". But health campaigners say that in the furore, put down to a powerful drinks industry, the benefits from the new regime are being lost, despite no other European nation having protection of health underpinning its licensing laws. (Herald page 4, Press and Journal page 11)

RBS: Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group fell yesterday as investors fretted about financial data and the possibility of more cash calls. Lloyds sank 6.6p or 6.2% to 99.41p, giving up two weeks worth of gains. This took it 11% below the 2009 peak of 111.34p it reached last week. RBS fell 2.2p or 4% to 53.5p while Barclays was also hit, giving up 10.9p or 3% to close at 359.05p. HSBC escaped relatively unscathed, shedding 3.6p or 0.6% to close at 640.3p. (Herald page 32)

Health

Food waste: Scottish households throw away 570,000 tonnes of food and drink every year. The majority is wasted needlessly and costs Scots £1 billion each year, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) Scotland. The quango studied the habits of 1,169 households, showing for the first time the scale of food and drink wasted. (Scotsman page 11)

Spina Bifida: Women are being urged to ensure they take the daily recommended intake of folic acid after figures showed the number of children born with spina bifida in Scotland is on course to double this year. The concerns come after statistics yesterday revealed that 15 children were born with the condition in the first six months of 2009 – the average number normally reached in a year. (Herald page 8, Times page 5)

Politics

Al-Megrahi: The Scottish Parliament last night delivered a message to the world that it did not agree with the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber. MSPs voted by 73 to 50 in favour of amendments criticising both the justice secretary Kenny MacAskill\’s decision and his handling of the matter. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, STV)

Debate: Alex Salmond is to demand a place in the TV debate featuring party leaders unveiled by Sky News yesterday. The SNP is to write to the satellite broadcaster to get a guarantee that he would have a podium place alongside the three UK parties. Sky announced yesterday that it would be holding the US-style debate, and warned it would "empty chair" any leader who refused to take part. Both David Cameron and Nick Clegg said immediately they would be attending, but Gordon Brown has yet to confirm his attendance. (Scotsman page 12)

Government spending: Government spending on roads, the economy and law and order could be slashed by up to 40 per cent in the coming decade, according to a report commissioned by Scotland\’s local authorities. The paper, presented to council chiefs, says £2.5 billion will be wiped off Scotland\’s £30bn budget by 2013, amounting to nearly 10p in every £1 spent. (Scotsman page 16)