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Daily Political Media Summary: 21 October 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 21 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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Bank Bonuses: The Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, has criticised news that City financers are set to receive £6 billion in new-year bonuses, a 50 per cent increase on last year,  and “the business as usual” culture in Britain’s banks. He hit out at the lack of reform and warned against a return to the big bonus culture that has been blamed for threatening the safety of the financial system. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 51, Daily Telegraph, Guardian page 24, Financial Times page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Daily Express page 8)

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 Public Finances: The public finances suffered their worst six months on record between April and September according to official data, with the government borrowing more than double than in the same period last year as tax revenues come under pressure. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has said families will face a 7p increase in income tax and have to pay VAT on previously exempt goods such as basic food and books if the government budget is to be balanced. (Herald page 21, Daily Telegraph page 1)

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 Dunfermline Building Society:  The Financial Services Authority yesterday rejected the conclusions of a Scottish Parliament report that it “had failed to provide the necessary level of supervision” and was to blame for the collapse of Dunfermline Building society earlier this year. (Scotsman B1, Herald, Courier page 9, Press and Journal page 9, Daily Mail page 26)

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 Royal Mail: The Royal Mail has lost an £8 million Scottish Government contract in a hammer blow revealed just before threatened walkouts tomorrow and Friday. (Press and Journal page 1)

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 Lloyds Charity cuts: Lloyds Banking Group is to meet senior politicians, John Swinney and Iain Gray, in a bid to heal the damaging rift with its charitable arm that could cost Scottish charities millions of pounds. (Scotsman page 8)

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 Glasgow retail: Some of the biggest UK high street names are opposing the approval of a £1.2 million retail and leisure development at Glasgow Harbour, arguing it will drive down city centre trade but the City Council says it is satisfied that any impact on trade would be minimal. (Herald page 1)

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 Local Government

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Pay offs:  The head of education for Glasgow City Council, who stepped down unexpectedly from her post, has walked away with a quarter of a million pounds. Teachers’ leaders have reacted to the “extravagant” nature of the pay off. (Herald page 10)

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 Crime

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Crime prosecution: A bench of seven appeal court judges began hearing a test case for the ruling of whether suspects should have a solicitor present during police interviews. This ruling will have huge implications for the Scottish justice system and could see hundreds of convicted criminals freed. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 4, Daily Telegraph page 11, Courier page 1)

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 Jurors: A leading criminal QC has called for new rules to be introduced in Scottish Courts to prevent what he calls “googling jurors”, where jurors are searching the internet in an attempt to find out more about the cases they are sitting on. (Scotsman page 15, Times page 3, Daily Telegraph page 11)

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Health

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Swine Flu: Experts say that Scotland is entering a key moment in tackling the swine flu pandemic as vaccination jabs start today, but come too late for Scotland’s sixteenth death from the H1N1 virus. Priority groups including pregnant women, those with chronic illness and NHS staff are the first to get the vaccination. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 8, Courier page 1)

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 Stem-cell breakthrough:  Scottish scientists have, for the first time, managed to turn adult skin cells into liver cells in a breakthrough that could revolutionise treatments for liver disease. (Scotsman page 16)

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 Dummies: Children who still use dummies after the age of three risk speech problems according to research published today. (Scotsman page 20, Herald page 11, Daily Telegraph page 4)

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 IVF: Couples waiting for IVF treatment face a “postcode lottery” with waiting times ranging from six months to three years depending on the health board area. The Scottish Government said there was a huge demand for the treatment and some health boards still needed to make progress. (Scotsman page 23, Herald, Times page 11, Daily Telegraph page 9, Courier page 9, Daily Express page 7)

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 New research shows that women who drink just two glasses of wine a week significantly cut their chance of successful IVF treatment, with doctors urging women who are trying to conceive to give up alcohol altogether. (Herald page 2, Guardian page 11, Press and Journal page 5, Daily Mail page 24)

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 Education     

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School catchment area: Families who live in a disputed catchment area in Glasgow for one of Scotland’s top performing secondary schools have joined forces to fight proposals to exclude them from the school. (Herald page 2)

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 Transport

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Trains: The £9 billion upgrade of the west coast main line appears to be finally paying off as Virgin Trains recorded its best punctuality since taking over the Glasgow-London franchise. (Scotsman page 17)

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 Politics

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Glasgow by-election: Prime Minister Gordon Brown will travel to Scotland to campaign in the Glasgow North east by-election despite previously insisting that convention prevented prime ministers appearing in such contests. No date for the visit has been set yet, although it is understood that it may be planned to coincide with the G20 meeting of finance ministers in St Andrews on 7 November. (Scotsman page 10, Daily Telegraph page 4, Press and Journal page 9)

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 Conservatives: David Cameron is to override his party’s policy against all-women short-lists in a last-minute attempt to boost the number of Conservative women in Parliament after the next election. (Herald page 6, Times page 22, Daily Telegraph page 4, Guardian page 14, Financial Times page 2, Press and Journal page 11, Daily Mail page 10)

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 BNP: British National Party leader Nick Griffin compared UK Generals to Nazi war criminals after they accused his party of hijacking military symbols. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Times page 7, Daily Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 6, Courier page 9, Press and Journal page 5, Daily Mail page 1, Daily Mirror page 1)

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 MP Expenses: Downing Street played down a report that Gordon Brown is planning to offer MPs £3,000 wage rise in order to buy off back-bench rebellion over expenses. (Scotsman page 9, Daily Telegraph page 1)

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