0131 524 9500 | info@reformscotland.com

Daily Political Media Summary: 2 October 2009

Reform Scotland

\r\n

Daily Political Media Summary: 2 October 2009

\r\n

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.

\r\n

Economy

\r\n

BAE:  BAE Systems is at the centre of bribery allegations which threaten potential jobs on Clyde dockyards generated by major defence contracts. The Serious Fraud Office is investigating charges relating to “overseas corruption”.  BAE has denied reports that it has used bribery to secure contracts in South Africa, the Czech Republic and Romania among others.  (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 4, Times page 8).   

\r\n

Tips:  New legislation has been introduced to prevent owners of bars and restaurants using tips to make up the shortfall in pay to the minimum wage for staff.  The law is intended to promote fairness, however it has been claimed that it will cost the hospitality industry £100 million and “thousands of jobs” will be lost. (Scotsman page 21)

\r\n

House Prices:  House prices have risen for the last 5 consecutive months and are now comparable to prices from 12 months ago. Despite the rise, Nationwide have stated that this is unlikely to continue due to ongoing problems in the mortgage market and rising unemployment. (Herald)

\r\n

Crime

\r\n

Compensation to Abuse Victims:  Compensation is to be paid to at least 20 people who were abused as children in Merkland Children’s Home in Moffat, Dumfriesshire during the 1970s and 1980s.  An additional £400,000 will also be set aside by the council for any other victims who may come forward to report similar abuse. (Scotsman, page 1 Times page 27)

\r\n

Domestic Abuse:  Strathclyde Police have adopted a proactive approach to tackling domestic abuse by targeting the “most violent and prolific offenders”.  The move has created a two-thirds reduction in reported cases in the region.  The approach will be used this weekend to tackle the 30 per cent rise in Old Firm-related domestic abuse. However, Fife Council has reported that cases have doubled in the last 5 years with the majority of victims being women.  (Herald page 1 Courier page 2)

\r\n

Human Rights Case:  Scottish taxpayers’ money will be used to pay compensation to 3 criminals following their case against the Scottish prison system for the conditions they experienced whilst in solitary confinement.  Each will receive £2,100.  (Herald page 3, Courier page 6)

\r\n

Transport 

\r\n

Network Rail: A Network Rail employee who had to be cut free from his car after it was hit by a train has called for barriers to be installed at every level crossing.  Properties supervisor Graeme Macmillan said he believed the 23 crossings in Scotland which do not have barriers are "not safe".  His claims followed the deaths on Tuesday of three people at an un-gated crossing in Halkirk, Caithness. Network Rail said it "rejected utterly" Mr Macmillan\’s claims. (BBC)

\r\n

Local Government

\r\n

Donald Trump:  Councillors have rejected a call to rule out using Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) to move people from where Donald Trump plans to build his £1billion golf resort. The homes and land of four people are being targeted as part of the US tycoon\’s plans for Menie. Aberdeenshire Council decided it was inappropriate to reject the use of CPOs completely without a full report. (BBC, Press and Journal page 1, STV ,Scotsman page 3, Herald page 5, Times page 29)

\r\n

Edinburgh Ice Rink: It is reported that Edinburgh’s Christmas ice rink will be scaled back as the organiser tries to settle mounting debts caused by the rising costs of the venture and the city’s annual budget for festive celebrations is reduced.  (Scotsman page 23)

\r\n

Health

\r\n

Swine Flu: Scotland has lost a tenth victim to Swine flu and has reported that new cases have doubled in the last week to 13,800, approximately 2,000 per day.  As the winter approaches, experts warn that the number will continue to rise.  The main vaccine for the virus will continue to be made available to higher risk groups. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 1, Times Online, Courier page 1,Telegraph page 12, Press and Journal page 8, BBC )

\r\n

Scots Health: It has been reported that Scottish citizens should take more responsibility for their health to prevent a cash crisis within the NHS.  Measures include introducing technology for patients to monitor blood pressure to prevent emergencies, and more awareness of the potential effects in later life of smoking and drinking.  (Herald page 4)

\r\n

Education

\r\n

University Funding:  New plans outlined by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) are set to reduce funding provided to universities for teacher training, architecture and computing whilst other disciplines, such as social sciences and creative arts, will receive increased funding.  The plans have been criticised by university principals concerned that costs are being cut in areas which may be central to Scotland’s ability to recover from recession.  Scotland’s newest universities will see the majority of cuts whilst older universities such as Glasgow, Dundee, St Andrews and Edinburgh will see an increase in funds. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1)

\r\n

School Building:  Nicola Sturgeon was criticised by opposition parties at FMQs over the SNP’s commitment to funding of Scotland’s school buildings.  Labour Deputy Leader Johann Lamont questioned Ms Sturgeon on the revenue for new schools. Ms Sturgeon defended the number of schools built under the SNP and cited the biggest threat to funding was Labour dominated Glasgow City council and funding from Westminster.  (Scotsman page 14 Courier page 9)

\r\n

Assessment Guidance:  Education experts have criticised the new assessment guidance for the new curriculum as being confusing.  Interpretation of the language used in the guide has led to uncertainty over whether S4 pupils will be required to sit exams. (Tess page 1) 

\r\n

Politics

\r\n

Bill Speirs:  Many of Scotland’s key political figures paid tribute yesterday to the former General Secretary of the STUC Bill Speirs who died last week.  (Herald page 9)

\r\n

Sectarian Parades:  As part of a wider move to cut crime and reduce costs, Strathclyde Police are adopting plans to reduce the number of parades in the west of Scotland.  Costs to Strathclyde Police and councils of managing such events were estimated at £1.7million in 2008 and have led to calls that marches are excessive and disproportionate.  (Herald page 12)

\r\n

SNP and Royal Family: Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph on the relationship between the SNP leadership and the Royal family, despite the party’s substantial republican element. (Telegraph page 20)

\r\n

IMF: Britain was served notice by the International Monetary Fund today that reforms to healthcare and pensions will be needed to repair the long-term damage to public finances caused by the global recession. The IMF is in favour of higher government spending to support activity through the most serious downturn since the Second World War, but believes governments will have to take stringent steps to deal with their debt. Olivier Blanchard, the IMF\’s economic counsellor, said the UK and other countries running big deficits had to take measures which improved the medium-term sustainability of the debt. (Guardian page 1)

\r\n

David Cameron: Conservative Party leader David Cameron is to seek talks with First Minister Alex Salmond before the General Election. It is understood that Mr Cameron wants to improve Westminster relations with Holyrood should he become Prime Minister. (Sun page 1)