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Daily Political Media Summary: 20 October 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 20 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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Mortgages: The Financial Services Authority are proposing stricter mortgage guidelines, including inquiries into how much a potential borrower spends on alcohol, tobacco, clothing and footwear. These new rules would also put an end to so-called “liar loans”, or self-certification mortgages, where borrowers can access finance with very little proof of their earnings. (Scotsman page 6, Opinion page 28, Times page 17, Opinion page 30, Guardian page 13)

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Pension age: Business leaders have called for the lifting if the state pension age to 70 as part of a radical reform of both Government and private retirement benefit systems. (Herald page 1)

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Climate Change: The Royal Society of Edinburgh is launching a £90,000 inquiry into Scotland’s role in tackling climate change. The committee will be headed by Professor David Sugden of Edinburgh University. Professor Sudgen has said one of the aims of the inquiry is to figure out how to get the public actively involved in achieving a low-carbon economy. The results are expected to be presented in early 2011. (Scotsman page 5)

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Local Government

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Children’s Services: Children’s charity Barnardo’s has issued a report that suggests only four out of 32 Scottish councils have specific plans to deal with children whose parents are in prison, despite UK regulations that every council have plans in place. The charity has said children under these conditions are more likely to have mental health issues and behave antisocially. (Scotsman page 15)

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Health

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Midwives: Health chiefs in NHS Greater Glasgow were warned that midwives in the area were “burning out” because of under-staffing and mounting pressures on midwives. This complaint has come after a report by the Royal College of Nursing’s report that over half of the nurses in Scotland feel they are unable to provide the level of care they would like to give. (Scotsman page 10)

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Education

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University cuts: A Scottish University yesterday ruled out the immediate prospect of compulsory redundancies as part of cost-cutting measures but said future job cuts were still a possibility. Stirling University said a voluntary severance scheme announced in February to cut 140 jobs had been a success, with some 130 staff coming forward. However, although the measures have staved off a projected budget deficit of £4m, Neil Keeble, senior deputy principal, said compulsory redundancy “remained a final contingency”. (Herald page 4, BBC)

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Politics

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Glasgow East Election: Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife will take part in a Labour campaign in the Glasgow North-East by-election, his party have confirmed. The PM will offer his backing to local candidate Willie Bain, who is standing against an eclectic field of politicians including socialist Tommy Sheridan and John Smeaton, who hopes to capitalise on the reputation gained after his heroics during the Glasgow terror attacks. (Herald page 6, STV)

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Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has said Labour has learned its lesson from its defeat in last year’s Glasgow East by-election to the Nationalist party. (Scotsman page 6, Times page 15)

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Trident: The inquiry into the fishing disaster of the Trident got underway yesterday. Families of the lost fishermen have claimed that a previous inquiry which found that a large wave was responsible for the men’s deaths was falsified. The new inquiry is expected to last two weeks. (Scotsman page 7, Times page 13, Press and Journal page 12)

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Royal Mail: Talks last night between the Communication Workers Union and Royal Mail ended in stalemate. A Royal Mail representative has said it would only go to mediation if the planned strike was cancelled. (Scotsman page 8, Guardian page 9)

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Lockerbie evidence: An MSP claims a piece of evidence vital to the conviction of the Lockerbie bomber was taken from Scotland to Germany during the investigation. Nationalist MSP Christine Grahame claimed a fragment of the timer said to have detonated the 1988 Lockerbie bomb was taken to Munich for examination. (BBC, STV)

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TV Debate: The SNP has demanded that the BBC be impartial in its coverage of the upcoming TV debates. The party has alleged that the BBC faded down the volume of Alex Salmond’s conference speech during a live broadcast, and instead reported on the other party’s platforms. (Scotsman page 10)