Daily Politcal Media Summary: 23 October 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 23 October 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:  Britain’s economy has shown expansion for the first time since mid 2008.  The figures from the National Office of Statistics have lead to hopes of even a temporary move away from recession.  However the figures are overshadowed somewhat from the increasing government debt. (Scotsman page 8)

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Postal Strike:  A further three day postal strike next week is being threatened following a breakdown in talks between Royal Mail and Communication Workers Union (CWU).  However many within the 12000 staff who have take part in national strike action yesterday and today are beginning to question the effectiveness of the move.  Public support for striking postal workers seems to be in decline; however Leaders of the Unite union which represent managers have asked manager to refrain from covering deliveries during strike action, potentially creating larger backlogs.  Gordon Brown has urged both sides to continue talks. (Scotsman page 6, Guardian page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 18, Daily Telegraph page 1, Courier page 12, Press and Journal page 1, Financial Times page 3, Daily Express page 7, STV, BBC)

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Scottish jobs: Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has stated that if elected they would create jobs and enhance the Scottish economic recovery which he stated has declined under Labour leadership. Specifically he has stated that any new Scottish business will not pay any tax on the first ten jobs it creates.  Existing businesses will expect to see the tax system streamlined and the tax rate reduced. (Herald page 6)

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Scrappage scheme: Car sales are hoped to increase as the Government has extended the “cash for bangers” scheme to vehicles registered in February 2000.  Business Secretary Lord Mandelson has stated that the scheme is continuing to boost the market. (Courier page 11)

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Transport 

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Borders rail link: Scottish Border Council Leader David Parker has stated that the proposed £290milllion regional rail link may now be back on the agenda as finance hurdles involving PFI have been overcome. Mr Parker has now requested that Transport Scotland to invite applications to tender. (Herald page 12)

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Local Government

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Taxi firm:  Glasgow private hire firm has demanded an apology from Strathclyde police following a dispute over money laundering claims.  Strathclyde police contacted NHS Greater Glasgow advising them not to award the cab firm a patient transport contract costing £2million due to investigations into staff within the firm. (Herald page 5)

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Social enterprise: Perth and Kinross is enjoying a boost to their local economy due to recent investment in social enterprise.  Perth and Kinross Social Economy Partnership (SEP) found that social economy has a value of £55-£70 million employing almost 2000 workers with 3000 volunteers.  (Press and Journal page 3)

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Health

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Swine flu:  Scotland’s swine flu death toll has risen again in the last 24 hours as four more people have died following contracting the disease taking the total to 21. All four had underlying health conditions and include a 16 year old boy.  Additionally 108 more people were hospitalised last week.  In the UK  25% of patients are children.  Officials have stated that original estimates of 5000 of swine flu related deaths during the winter season may have been too high and expected deaths are predicted at approximately 100. (Scotsman page 4, Guardian page 8, Herald page 1, Times page 10, Times page 26, Daily Telegraph page 8, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 8, Daily Record page 4, Daily Express page 10, Daily Mirror page 6, STV)

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Pollution risk:  Research carried in Brazil finding a correlation between high levels of pollution caused by diesel exhaust particles and miscarriage could be applied to Glasgow. Glasgow is the third highest in the UK with pollution created by diesel emission.  Edinburgh and Aberdeen are also listed as problem areas.  (Herald page 9)

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Education

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Class sizes: Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop told the SNP annual conference in Inverness last week that class sizes were at the lowest level ever, and that £8.6 million had been made available to pay for 3,000 additional places for students in Scottish universities. (Tess page 6)

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Politics

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BNP: BNP Leader Nick Griffin last night defended himself against claims of Nazism and Holocaust denial stating that many previous statements were misquoted or that he had since changed his stance.  Hundreds of protesters sat outside the BBC Question Time studios.  On the show he was challenged on why he had met a leader of the Ku Klux Klan, which he cited as a non violent organisation, and his views of homosexuality.  (Scotsman page 1, Guardian page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Financial Times page 2, Daily Record page 1, Daily Mail page 1, Daily Express page 1, Scottish Daily Mirror page 1, Sun page 1, STV)

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MPs Expenses:  Taxpayer money will cover the £1million cost of auditing MP’s expenses carried out by Sir Thomas Legg.  Liberal Democrat Nick Harvey has also added that since April, 260 MPs have repaid a total of £637,000 in expenses.  (Scotsman page 6, Daily Telegraph page 4) 

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Alex Salmond:  Alex Salmond’s statement that the SNP will obtain 20 more seats have prompted claims by Shadow Chancellor George Osborne that Mr Salmond is “attention seeking” and that increased seats in Scotland would not lead to greater influence at Westminster.  (Scotsman page 13)

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Alcohol prices: The EU move to block initiatives to introduce a minimum price for alcohol has set back Alex Salmond’s hopes to introduce them in Scotland.  It is expected that the European Court will rule that minimum pricing is contradictory to EU law and not a necessary factor in protecting public health.  The drinks industry has welcomed the move whilst the Scottish Conservatives have stated that they hope this will end the SNP “obsession with blanket pricing.” (Times page 15, Press and Journal page 12)