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Daily Political Media Summary: 25 November 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 25 November 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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Scottish Bank Bail-outs: Taxpayers were kept in the dark for almost a year about £62 billion in emergency loans given to Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) to stop them from going under. The Bank of England insisted there had been a need for secrecy to ensure there was no Northern Rock-style run on the bank, but the revelation has raised questions about whether taxpayers’ money was used to prop up other faltering banks. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 28, Times page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Press and  Journal page 11, Financial Times page 1, Guardian page 28, Daily Mail page 8, BBC)

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 Overdraft Court Case: Millions of bank customers hoping to be refunded overdraft charges have been dealt a major blow by the Supreme Court judgement overturning earlier court rulings that allowed the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the fairness of charges for unauthorised overdrafts. (Scotsman, BBC, STV,)

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 Transport 

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Parking Fines: The Taxpayers’ Alliance is arguing against the lucrative incomes local councils make from parking fines that have made motorists “cash cows” after it was revealed that almost £900,000 was being made a day through fines, despite this figure being down from the previous year. (Scotsman page 15, Daily Express)

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 Speed Limits: Campaigners have urged MSPs to cut speed limits to 20mph on residential streets to encourage more people to cycle. (Scotsman page 25)

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 Local Government

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Refuse Collection: Residents in Glasgow claim they are living in “Victorian conditions” as a result of wildcat strikes by refuse collectors. Thousands of households in Glasgow have seen rubbish uncollected for as long as four weeks and rat sightings in the rubbish have prompted hundreds of complaints to Glasgow City Council. (Scotsman page 5)

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 Health

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Salt Warning: Scientists have said that just one teaspoon of salt less each day could save four million lives a year. Results published in the British Medical Journal say almost three million deaths from heart disease could be prevented and two million stroke deaths could be avoided. Salt intake in Scotland is higher than anywhere else in the UK. (Scotsman page 8, Daily Express page 1, Daily Mail, BBC) 

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MMR: Parents will have no choice but to give their children the MMR jab after the world’s only manufacturer of the single mumps vaccine, Merck, stopped production. It is estimated that 2,500 Scottish children are at risk after their parents opted to pay for a course of single mumps, measles and rubella vaccines which they now cannot complete. (Scotsman page 9)

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 New Mothers: An online survey of more than 3,500 women found that more than one in three new mothers are left alone and worried during labour or shortly after giving birth. 30 per cent received no antenatal classes through the NHS and 43 per cent did not have access to a midwife while they were on a postnatal ward. (Scotsman page 12)

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 Syphilis: Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise in Scotland, with cases of syphilis hitting their highest level in almost 60 years according to a report on Scotland’s sexual health. (Scotsman page 23, Daily Telegraph page 16, Press and Journal page 9)

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 Crime

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Domestic Abuse: The number of repeat victims of domestic abuse in Scotland soared by almost 40 per cent last year, amid a general rise in domestic violence. The figures come days after it was revealed that just one in ten people charged with domestic violence was jailed in Scotland last year. The sharp rise in overall domestic abuse incidents last year also saw more than half of the female victims being turned away from secure refuges. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 1, Daily Telegraph page 4, Courier page 11, Press and Journal page 8)

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 Education

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School-Leavers: The proportion of school-leavers going straight into a job has fallen from one-quarter to one-fifth in the last year with two thirds of school-leavers now going to university or college. However, figures also show one in nine school-leavers left school and started claiming benefit. (Herald page 4, Courier page 3, Daily Mail page 17, BBC)

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 Politics

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Free Elderly Care: The cost of providing free care to the elderly in Scotland increased by 11 per cent last year, according to new Scottish Government figures, this means an overall increase of 70 per cent over 6 years. The increase to £358 million has raised further questions about the burden to the taxpayer created by one of the flagship policies of devolution in the past decade and comes at a time when plans south of the border include a means-tested system which would help only the most needy. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1, Times page 8, Courier page 6, BBC)

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 Independence: The Scottish Government is facing renewed calls to drop its £9 million referendum bill after a YouGov poll revealed that just 29 per cent of the population wanted separation, the lowest level since the SNP won power in 2007. (Scotsman page 10, Times page 5, Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Express page 12)

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 Devolution: Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has said Scotland is to get more tax-raising powers under a radical shake-up of devolution. Powers to ban airguns and set drink-drive and speed limits could also be handed from Westminster to Scotland. Mr Murphy is due to make a statement at Westminster later setting out Labour\’s response to the cross-party Calman Commission on devolution. (BBC, STV)

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 Homecoming:  The organisers of Scotland’s Year of Homecoming have hailed the initiative as a huge success and called for a repeat effort despite admitting the number of overseas visitors had slumped this year. Despite the controversy surrounding the event, the head of the Scottish tourism body said the initiative had helped protect tourism from the recession. (Scotsman page 19, Herald page 5, Daily Telegraph page 4)

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