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Daily Political Media Summary: 22 October 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 22 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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Economic recovery: The number of Scots declared bankrupt has decreased by 8% during the second quarter of the year, a sharp reversal to the previous trend, suggesting the economy may be on the road to recovery. Fergus Ewing, Minister for Community Safety, pledged that ministers would do “absolutely everything we can to support Scottish businesses and families during these tough times.” (Herald Page 2)

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Homecoming: Creditors owed £300,000 in the wake of the huge losses run up by organisers of Homecoming’s clan gathering are unlikely to see any of their money. The marketing body set to inherit the debt to companies involved in the centrepiece of the Scottish Government’s year of Homecoming in Edinburgh will almost certainly be unable to pay them. (Scotsman Page 8)

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Tourism: Plans are being prepared to establish Scotland’s first canoe trail along the 62 mile length of the Caledonian Canal. The new Great Glen Canoe Trail will capitalise on the exponential growth of the sport currently estimated to increase 25% year-on-year. This will increase the economic importance of the canal which currently contributes an estimated 14% of tourism spend in the Highlands. (Herald Page 7)

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Transport 

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Gatwick: The break-up of Britain’s biggest airport owner took a dramatic lurch yesterday with the sale of Gatwick to the GIP consortium that owns London City Airport. The decision by BAA to sell Britain’s second largest airport for £1.51bn is likely to hasten the forced sale of Stansted, followed by Edinburgh or Glasgow airport. (Herald Page 4, Daily Telegraph Page B1, Financial Times Page 19)

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Local Government

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Council tax rise: Edinburgh residents face a 3% council tax rise in 2011-2012 as the city grapples with an unprecedented cash crisis. An Edinburgh City Council report suggests the tax hike is just one of the measures required to deal with the £247m black hole in the local authority’s finances. (Scotsman Page 21)

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Council pay freeze: A Labour MSP has hit back at his critics on Fife Council who attacked him for calling on the authority’s top earning officials to accept a pay freeze. (Courier Page 3)

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Health

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Health boards: Two health boards have been told to apologize after failing to provide proper care and treatment to a man who died after a haemorrhage. NHS 24 and the man’s local health Board, Greater Glasgow and Clyde were criticised and told to review procedures. (Herald Page 3, Times Page 30)

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Population: Scotland’s population will hit a record high within three years, according to recent predictions. By 2012 the population will exceed the current record of 5.25m in 1974 and within 25 years the number of people aged 75 and over will almost double. (Scotsman Page 15, Herald Page 1, Press & Journal Page 8)

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Swine flu: Scotland’s chief medical officer Harry Burns said it is possible that after administration of the H1N1 vaccine to all priority groups, including at-risk patients and NHS staff, the rest of the population could be offered the jab which would help to avoid a third wave of the pandemic. (Scotsman Page 4, Herald Page 7, Times Page 16, Press & Journal Page 5)

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Elderly: Elderly patients receive worse health care because the NHS discriminates against them the Health Secretary Andy Burnham will say today. (Daily Telegraph Page 1)

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Education

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Student loans: Scottish Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop faced calls to cut short her holiday last night as a row broke out over how best to allocate £30m of support to students. A meeting between the government, the National Union of Students (NUS) and opposition politicians ended up in stalemate after MS. Hyslop’s stand-in Keith Brown refused to consider proposals brought forward by student leaders on how best to distribute the money, (Scotsman Page 12)

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Rural schools: Rural primary schools in the Arbroath area will not be closed as a part of a shake-up of education in the town. (Press & Journal Page 3)

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University admissions: The number of Scots accepted by Scottish higher education institutions increased by 6% in 2009, a dramatic rise compared to previous years. Education experts say a lack of jobs for school leavers might explain the increase. (Scotsman Page 13, Courier Page 13)

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Politics

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BNP: Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy warned Scots not to be complacent about the rise of the British National Party, as he pointed to significant increase in support for the racist party, not just in England but also in Scotland. Mr. Murphy was speaking on the eve of tonight’s contentious Question Time debate being screened by the BBC, which will feature BNP leader Nick Griffin. The Scottish Government has intervened in the BNP row attacking the BBC for ‘bending over backwards’ to accommodate the BNP. (Scotsman Page 1, Herald Page 6, Times Page 1, Guardian Page 1, Courier Page 7)

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Postal Strike: Postal services across Britain will be crippled for two days from today after Royal Mail staff decided to strike, with unions blaming Business Secretary Lord Mendelson for the dispute. Mr. Ward the Communications Workers Union (CWU) deputy general-secretary said, “The real truth behind the dispute is that Lord Mendelson clearly feels it is payback time because we defeated him on privatisation.” (Scotsman Page 6, Herald Page 1, Daily Telegraph Page 12, Times Page 8, Press & Journal Page 1, Guardian Page 11, Financial Times Page 4, Courier Page 1)