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Daily Political Media Summary: 13 October 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 13 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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Public Spending: Scotland could be hit disproportionately by public sector cuts as experts give a grim warning of the impact of cost cutting measures on services. Consultants PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) insist urgent reforms are needed now to avoid more "draconian" cuts in future. However, the Government has hit back, saying Scotland is well placed to ride out the recession. A report from PWC sets out a number of options to tackle the UK\’s financial woes. It says if politicians decide to avoid tax rises, they\’ll need to slash public spending by 23 per cent. (STV, Scotsman B5, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 10)

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 Youth Unemployment: Youth unemployment in Scotland is at its highest level since devolution and has risen 75 per cent in just two years. The number of young people claiming jobseeker\’s allowance has more than doubled in some parts of Scotland, figures suggest.   STUC General secretary Grahame Smith said the costs to society of dealing with youth unemployment would be huge. (Herald page 2, BBC)

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 Recession: The UK FTSE-100 closed at a 12-month high on the eve of the first anniversary of the government’s giant bail-out of the banking sector as a key survey by the British Chambers of Commerce puts Britain “on the brink of recovery.” (Herald page 28)

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 RBS and Lloyds: The taxpayer is sitting on a £4.6 billion loss on investments in Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds banking group exactly a year after the Government announced a massive bail-out plan. (Herald page 25)

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 Postal Strike:  The threatened postal strike could cost the economy £1.5 billion, with online retailers expected to be hardest hit, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. (Scotsman page 12, Financial Times page 5)

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 House Prices: House prices are continuing to rise in Scotland according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, but the increase is at a slower rate than in previous months. (Scotsman page 19, Courier page 3, Press and Journal page 10)

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 Co-operative: Britain’s biggest mutual the Co-operative Group attracted a further 300,000 members in the first half of the year, bringing its total to 4.5 million, including 500,000 Scots, who now lay claim to a share of the group’s profits. (Scotsman B4, Herald page 26, Press and Journal page 18, Times page 45)

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 Crime

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Prison Riot: Police have launched an investigation into the riot at Addiewell Prison during which 30 offenders allegedly beat staff with mop handles. The prisoners at the privatised jail in West Lothian attacked staff following reports that a prisoner had been beaten by a prison officer: the incident took over six hours to bring under control. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 5, Courier page 3)

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 Elderly Abuse: Elderly people across Scotland are now being placed on “at risk “registers because of neglect and abuse fears. Local authorities are creating these lists, similar to those for vulnerable children, amid growing concerns and evidence of maltreatment by relatives, professionals and friends. (Herald page 1)

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 Transport

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Train Safety: Train drivers are threatening a 20mph go-slow at all open level crossings in Scotland because of safety fears following last month’s fatal crash. This follows a British Transport Police crackdown on motorists who run red lights on crossings in the Highlands. (Scotsman page 24)

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 Education

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Tuition Fees: James Mitchell, one of Scotland’s leading academics, has called for the Scottish Government to reverse its policy of scrapping tuition fees for students north of the Border. He criticised MSPs and university administrators for failing to take a lead over the loss of fees as a source of income. (Scotsman page 13)

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 University Partnerships: Universities in Scotland have signed an agreement to work closely with their counterparts in India in efforts to create joint degrees, student exchanges and joint research projects. (Scotsman page 18)

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 Health

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Swine Flu: Nicola Sturgeon has said that Scotland is preparing for the first phase of H1N1 vaccination programmes due to start later this month.  This follows the latest two deaths caused by H1N1 that raises the Scottish total to 14 people. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 1, Courier page 9)

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 Politics

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MPs’ Expenses: Gordon Brown has been ordered to pay back taxpayers more than £12,000 as the expenses scandal enters its second phase with MPs facing demands to refund the taxpayer sums that could total hundreds of thousands of pounds. Several MPs are threatening legal action after being asked to pay back more than expected due to Sir Thomas Legg’s investigation and David Cameron has announced that Tory MPs will face a ban if they fail to repay their expenses. In Scotland, First Minister Alex Salmond and four SNP MPs have to repay more than £4,000 in over-claimed expenses.

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 (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Press and Journal page 5, Times page 1, Daily Express page 8, Daily Mail page 1, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, BBC, STV, Financial Times page 2)

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 Devolution: A new book by academics Ronald MacDonald and Paul Hallwood argues that giving Scotland full control over all taxes raised north of the Border could strengthen the Union between Scotland and England by combating the growing hostility in the south and so resulting in a more settled relationship. (Times page 5)

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 Megrahi:  Foreign Secretary David Miliband has insisted that British interests would have been badly damaged if Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi had been allowed to die in a Scottish jail. In a statement that brought the British Government close to a formal endorsement of the release of the Lockerbie bomber, David Miliband argued that while it was a Scottish decision, the UK had a responsibility to consider the consequences of the decision. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 5, Press and Journal page 9, Times page 16, Guardian page 12)

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 MSP Travel: A delegation of MSPs have begun a £40,000 two-week visit to Australia and New Zealand. The MSPs will hold a number of meetings to promote the work of the Scottish Parliament as well as looking to learn from more established parliaments. (Scotsman page 11, Herald)