0131 524 9500 | info@reformscotland.com

Daily Political Media Summary: 30 October 2009

Reform Scotland

\r\n

Daily Political Media Summary: 30 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

Lloyds: Lloyds may be forced to sell its 185 branches in Scotland if EU regulators conclude that the bank has gained an unfair advantage over competitors following its bail out in 2008 by the UK government.  Scottish consumers could have the choice of a new high street bank, which could potentially be owned by Tesco Finance, Virgin Money or Spanish bank BBVA.   (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1)

\r\n

Coffee shops:  the growth of coffee shops in the last year has been attributed to consumers finding cheaper ways of eating out and business networking to reduce the costs of more traditional business meals.  Edinburgh has the largest number of independent and chain coffee shops outside the city of London.  Coffee shops have a history of success during recession with chains such as Starbucks increasing trade during the last recession.  (Scotsman page 3)

\r\n

Threshers:  Approximately 1,000 Scottish jobs are under threat after the drinks chain First Quench Retailing, which owns Threshers, Haddows and Wine Rack, went into administration.  Administrators KPMG have stated that they will try to preserve as many jobs as possible.  (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 2, Times page 15) 

\r\n

Postal strike:  Talks between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have remained deadlocked as a fresh wave of strikes is taking place from yesterday until Saturday.  Reports of further talks – which neither side, will confirm – held last night may determine whether further action will be taken.  The CWU is also currently considering whether to take legal action over Royal Mail’s employment of 3000 temporary workers. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 2, Times page 1, Financial Times page 3, Press and Journal page 12, Guardian page 20)

\r\n

BBC: Over one hundred top management jobs are to be cut by the BBC in a cost cutting exercise aimed at saving £20million.  The BBC Trust has also agreed to create a new pay strategy for senior positions and will extend the existing pay freeze.  The changes will affect director general Mark Thompson’s pay. (Scotsman page 24, Guardian page 15, Courier page 11, Herald page 3)

\r\n

Crime

\r\n

Paedophile ring:   Scotland’s eight police forces will adopt a major initiative, along with other agencies, to crack down on paedophilia by electronically tracking those who download indecent images of children and who take part in chat rooms to groom young people.  This follows the recent conviction of members of a paedophile ring at the High Court in Edinburgh.  Operation Alba is open ended with no time frame or cost restrictions.  (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 1, Daily Telegraph page 8, BBC, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 5, STV)

\r\n

Transport 

\r\n

Rail link:  The RAC has warned against UK government Ministers spending £27million on a high speed rail link between Scotland and England citing lack of environmental benefit.  Ministers hope that the link will discourage people from using cars and aeroplanes however the RAC has advised that environmental benefits will not outweigh costs. (Scotsman page 23, Herald)

\r\n

Health

\r\n

Swine flu:  With the recent increase in Scottish people contracting swine flu to 19,200, more people are receiving treatment.  Last week, a further 9 people have died from the disease which is the most fatalities in one week and brings the total death toll to 26.  Scotland now has extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) required to treat the disease whereas previously patients were referred to Leicester.  (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 12)

\r\n

Alcohol price hikes:  Research carried out by the Royal Edinburgh and Queen Margaret University has stated that low priced alcohol is a factor in the volume of alcohol consumption and that increasing average prices will reduce consumption in Scotland’s heaviest drinkers thereby improving their health. (Scotsman page 21)

\r\n

Smoking: Research carried out by the British Medical Journal has found that Scottish women are failing to reveal that they are smoking during pregnancy meaning that figures are underestimated by 17%.  Failure to report means that smoking cessation services are not being offered.  (Scotsman page 21)

\r\n

Education

\r\n

Assessment: Research carried out with Scottish councils has confirmed that only formally examined skills have been focused on. Teachers have often overlooked the main objectives of the Curriculum for Excellence which includes creating confident individuals, effective contributors, responsible citizens and successful learners.  Most councils cited lack of progress on awaiting direction from the Scottish Government.  (TESS page 1)

\r\n

Local Government

\r\n

Glasgow:  Barrowfield and Parkhead East are officially named as the most deprived areas in Scotland where residents are most likely to be affected by crime and unemployment, despite the recent regeneration project on the area. (Herald page 8, Times page 19)

\r\n

Politics

\r\n

SNP:  The SNP have been accused by Labour of staging a walkout from the debate at the Glasgow City Council chambers to avoid defending the Scottish Government’s decision to axe the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL).  The SNP have stated that the reason for their walkout was Labour’s decision to block debate on organised crime.  (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 6)

\r\n

Lockerbie: US Ambassador Louis Susman has claimed that if America had known that Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi would be released early on compassionate grounds, they would have attempted to extradite him before his release to try him in the US.  (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 5, Daily Telegraph page 1)

\r\n

EU Presidency:  Tony Blair’s chances of becoming the EU’s first sitting president may have declined despite backing from Gordon Brown.  The European Socialist group as well as centre-right leaders of the EU have stated that they do not support Mr Blair.  (Herald page 6, Guardian page 1)