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Daily Political Media Summary: 14 October 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 14 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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Charities: Lloyds Banking Group has announced it will drastically cut its Scottish charitable Foundation’s funding, worth at least £6 million a year, in the wake of the financial crisis. The move is a huge blow to the Scottish Third sector and has raised fears that some Scottish charities will face closure, job losses or a drastic scaling-down of their services. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 10, Times page 5, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 9)

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 Scottish Jobs: Scotland’s main economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, has been criticised for paying out more than £40 million in severance deals in the past four years – or an average of £115,000 for each of the 350 employees who have left the publicly-funded group. (Herald page 1)

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 Royal Bank of Scotland: RBS is launching a hotline to help small firms that have been turned down for credit and promises a “fair hearing” and “full reinvestigations” if it had turned down a previous application for credit. (Scotsman B1, Herald page 24, Press and Journal page 18)

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 Postal Strike: Postal workers’ leaders say they will have no option but to go on strike if progress is not made on their demands in the next few days, but the Royal Mail has urged the union to prove its good faith and withdraw the strike threat immediately. Business Secretary Lord Mandelson warned that a national postal strike would be a “suicidal act.” (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 11, Press and Journal page 10, Courier page 11, Times page 4)

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 Banking Bail-Outs: An independent Scotland should have let its ailing banks go bust rather than handing the responsibility for the mess to taxpayers, according to Professor John Kay who sits on Scotland’s Council of Economic Advisers. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 6)

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 Transport

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Tram Works: Bomb disposal units were called to Edinburgh Airport yesterday after shell casing was dug up on the tram line construction site just yards from the terminal. The airport is a former military airfield and unexploded bombs are a known hazard for the tram developers, however, this casing is not believed to have included explosive material and was removed and a controlled explosion was carried out. (Scotsman page 24)

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 Education

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School Catchments: Scotland’s top performing education authority is facing a fresh legal challenge in a long-running row over entry to one of its flagship schools – St Ninian’s High School in Eastwood – which is in a disputed catchment area. (Herald page 7)

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 Universities: Professor Anthony Cohen, former principal of Edinburgh Queen Margaret University, accused John Major’s government of perpetuating a “con trick” when they created a whole new raft of universities in 1992. He also called for a radical change in how universities are financed to prevent them from falling behind their English counterparts. (Scotsman page 16)

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 Health

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Elderly Deaths: A record increase in the number of winter deaths last year has sparked concerns that elderly people are not being properly protected from the cold. According to figures, in the four winter months of 2008-9 a total of 20,532 people died compared to 19,900 the year before. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 8, Courier page 3)

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 Home Care: Elderly people who need help to live at home are regularly suffering inadequate care, with strangers arriving to carry out personal tasks, late and missed appointments and problems caused by overworked or inexperienced staff. (Herald page 1)

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 Swine Flu: A leading boarding school for boys in Edinburgh has become the latest to be struck by an outbreak of swine flu, with 160 of its pupils and 10 staff contracting the H1N1virus. (Herald page 5)

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 Flying Doctors: The number of missions carried out by Scotland’s air ambulances has risen significantly in the past year putting increased pressure on the service, according to a new report. (Herald page 11)

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 Politics

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Scottish Independence: First Minister Alex Salmond has said that an independence referendum will be the dominant issue at the next Scottish Parliament election. He warned Unionists that even if the referendum was not passed by Holyrood early next year that it would be brought back to centre stage in the 2011 campaign. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 6)

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 Glasgow By-Election: Tommy Sheridan has asked voters to put him on a “short term contract” as MP for Glasgow North East, suggesting they can kick him out at the next election if he is not up to scratch. Beginning his campaign for the 12 November by-election, Mr Sheridan said voters could put him on probation until next year when he is expected in court to answer charges of perjury. (Scotsman page 24, Herald page 2, Daily Telegraph page 8, Courier page 8)

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 MPs’ Expenses: Furious MPs have threatened to veto demands that they repay their expenses, as party leaders urged them to pay up or face a ban on standing in the general election. Senior parliamentarians have told back-benchers that there could be a vote in the Commons to scupper the demands of the audit if Sir Thomas Legg does not back down. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 5, Financial Times page 4, Guardian page 4).  Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, has to pay back £710 for removing furniture from his rented flat in Dolphin Square in London to his home in Aberdeenshire following the audit of MPs’ expenses. (Times page 8, Daily Telegraph page 8)