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Daily Political Media Summary: 12 October 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 12 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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Economic Recovery: Scotland’s economic recovery is being doubted as an influential report warns private sector firms have been lowering prices to stimulate growth. Economists argue that while the economy may have moved out of recession, economic conditions remain uncertain, new contracts have been won on the back of heavy discounting which cannot continue indefinitely. (Scotsman Page 2, Press and Journal Page 15, BBC) 

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Recession Derailing Green Efforts: An influential report warns the recession is threatening to derail efforts to tackle climate change. A decline in energy use as a result of the recession has created a false sense that progress is being made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Scotsman Page 6, Guardian Page 1) 

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Scotland and China: First Minister Alex Salmond will stress today that Scotland’s ties with China have been strengthened by the purchase of cashmere producer Todd & Duncan. The Scottish government has made moves to tighten its ties with the Far East this year and believes the £6.1 million buy-out by Ningxia Zhongyin, which secured 200 jobs at the factory is proof its policy is reaping rewards. (Courier Page 1) 

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Crime

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Prison Riot: Prisoners rioted for six hours at Scotland’s newest jail (HMP Addiewell) yesterday, leaving four staff injured and a female guard having to be taken to hospital. (Scotsman Page 9) 

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Transport 

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Road Pricing: The Committee on Climate Change is urging the UK Government to enforce higher taxes for motorists in the form of a national road-pricing system to cut carbon emissions. The speed limit on all motorways should be strictly enforced and possibly reduced to 60mph to help meet the government’s legally binding carbon reduction targets. (Times Page 18)

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Forth Crossing: The head of the Scottish Parliament’s Transport Committee has said he is “immensely ­sceptical” about the figures produced by the Scottish government agency Transport Scotland for the ­proposed Forth Replacement Crossing.  Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Green Party MSP, said the committee, of which he is the convener, would take a leading role in scrutinising the so-far unexplained additional costs of the bridge. He said these endangered ­Scotland’s entire transport ­infrastructure programme. (Sunday Herald page 52) 

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Health

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Swine Flu: Scotland’s swine flu death toll has reached 12 after it was confirmed yesterday that two more men have died from the virus. The Scottish Government said the victims, 42 year-old from Glasgow and a 75 year-old from Grampian, both had underlying health conditions. (Herald Page 1, Times Page 20, Scotsman Page 11, Press and Journal Page 9, Courier Page 9, BBC, STV) 

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Megrahi: Officials are refusing to publish up-to-date medical reports about the health of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi. The reports, compiled by Megrahi\’s Libyan doctors, have been handed to East Renfrewshire Council as part of regular assessments the local authority is making on the bomber following his release on licence. The council\’s criminal justice social work team is in charge of monitoring Megrahi from his home in Tripoli and could, if the medical reports show an improvement in his health, ask him to return to jail. (Scotland on Sunday page 12) 

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Abuse of Elderly: Scotland’s elderly are suffering record levels of abuse, with hundreds of complaints against care services, according to new figures obtained yesterday. Last year there were 275 abuse and neglect complaints against care homes stemming from issues relating to treatment, privacy and dignity, continence care, nutrition and medication. (Herald Page 1) 

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Politics

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MPs’ Expenses: An influential parliamentarian signalled a fight back yesterday against demands by auditors that MPs pay back their expenses, warning that it would be ‘unfair’ to apply tough new rules retrospectively. Sir Stuart Bell, said it could block the independent watchdog’s requests for repayments. Tensions escalated yesterday following a disclosure that more than half the 645 MPs could be made to pay back cash. (Scotsman Page 1, Times Page 1, Daily Telegraph Page 1, Guardian Page 1)

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Foreign Landowners: Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson is calling for a new policy which could ban foreigners from buying land in Scotland or force anyone wishing to buy an estate to commit to living in he country for most of the year. (Press and Journal Page 7) 

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Military Bases: An independent Scotland would allow English military forces to be based north of the border after a UK split, says the SNP\’s defence spokesman. Angus Robertson MP will tell the party conference in Inverness that the two newly separated nations would remain "friends and allies", so it would be "perfectly possible" to "share basing, procurement and training facilities with the rest of the present UK", even after Scotland had become a sovereign state. These proposals have been dismissed by Des Browne, a former secretary of state. The Labour MP said “(SNP MP) Angus Robertson’s latest proposals appear to have been made up on the back of an envelope, but they reveal just how little the SNP understand about defence.” (Scotsman Page 8, Times Page 8, Daily Telegraph Page 1, Press & Journal Page 1, Courier Page 7, Scotland on Sunday page 1) 

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Sale of State Assets: The PM is to mark the first day of the new political term by detailing an asset sale worth £16bn, in what the Liberal Democrats have called the “largest sell-off since the 1980’s privatisations.” Gordon Brown will attempt to leap ahead of the Tories in the numbers game and increase the credibility of his government\’s plan to get the public debt and deficit down – with public borrowing a record £175bn next year – by putting flesh on the bones of an already stated aim to raise money through sales. (Daily Telegraph Page 2, Courier Page 10, Press and Journal Page, Financial Times Page 2, Scotsman Page 4, Herald Page 1) 

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SNP and Tories: Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray has warned a vote for the SNP will be a vote for the Conservatives, after First Minister Alex Salmond suggested that his party could prop up a minority Tory administration on an issue-by-issue basis. Mr Gray seized on remarks by Mr Salmond that the SNP could hold the balance of power at the general election, and it would be a "good time to maximise Scotland\’s influence". Ahead of the SNP\’s conference this Thursday, Mr Salmond had said Scots would like the idea of "the Westminster Parliament being hung by a Scottish rope". Mr Salmond also vowed to act responsibly in the event of a hung parliament. (Scotland on Sunday page 10, Sunday Times page 5, Sunday Herald page 3, Scotsman Page 8)

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Nuclear Waste: Environmental campaigners have accused the SNP of turning Scotland into the world’s “nuclear dustbin”. The allegations come as it’s been reported that more than 600 tonnes of foreign nuclear waste is to be kept in Scotland despite repeated promises by governments and the nuclear industry that it would be sent back to the countries from which it came. The Scottish Government has reportedly secretly proposed storing the waste at the Dounreay nuclear plant in Caithness. Moreover, under a “swap scheme”, waste from Cumbria, which has been stored in a different form, will be returned instead. Anti-nuclear campaigners have responded by accusing the SNP of breaking its promises to prevent Scotland from becoming the world’s “nuclear dustbin”. (Sunday Herald page 5)