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Daily Political Media Summary: 3 November 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 3 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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Bank Shake Ups: It has been announced that RBS is planning to cut 3,700 jobs in branches across the UK. Jobs in Scotland are expected to be disproportionately affected, as most RBS branches are located here. Chancellor Alistair Darling is expected to inject a further £25billion into RBS and £5billion into Lloyds, on top of the £37billion put into the banks last year to stop them from collapsing. This means that the government’s stake in RBS will rise from 70 per cent to 84 per cent. (Scotsman page 1, Opinion page 32, Herald page 1, Analysis page 2, Daily Telegraph page 1, Times page 46, Guardian page 2, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Financial Times page 1, Daily Record page 1, Daily Express page 1, Daily Scottish Mail page 1, Scottish Sun page 1, BBC, STV)

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Lloyds: Ben Thomson, one of Scotland’s leading investment bankers, has stated an interest in purchasing the TSB from Lloyds and creating an independent Scottish bank. (Scotsman page 4, Analysis page 4)

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Lloyds TSB Foundation: Chief executive of Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, Mary Craig, said it missed out on £2million after being excluded from Lloyds Banking Group’s initial rights issue. Ms Craig said that the foundation has written more than 30 letters to the bank asking why it had been excluded. (Scotsman page 5)

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Recession: The Royal Registers of Scotland is predicting an £86million loss over the next five years due to a drop in revenue caused by the downturn in house sales. The five-year deficit is £25million higher than previously anticipated and will be covered by dipping into the organisation’s reserves of £122.5million. (Scotsman page 22)

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Crime

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Organised Crime: Strathclyde Police have seized an estimated £7.9million worth of drugs, 82 guns, 19 imitation firearms, and £295,000 in cash as part of the Break the Circle of Violence campaign. Strathclyde Police also apprehended 134 people with alleged links to serious organised crime. The operation took place during September and October, in co-operation with the UK Border Agency, Security Industry Authority, Department of Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs, and Local Authority Licensing Departments. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 4)

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Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has pledged to do whatever it takes to close gaps in legislation which gangsters use to hide assets from police. Currently, criminals are using pre-paid, stored value cards such as Oyster cards and gift cards to hide money away. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, officers can seize cash exceeding £1,000 from those involved in crime but money on stored cards is excluded. (Herald page 1)

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Transport 

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Borders Railway: The Borders railway construction is to be delayed, despite promises that it would begin before the Scottish election in 2011. The £295million project is now expected to begin in autumn 2011 and end in 2014. Transport Scotland said the diversion of pipes and cables from the route would begin in “early 2010”, triggering legislation that requires the project’s completion once started. (Scotsman page 23, Opinion page 32, Herald page 8, BBC)

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Health

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NHS: The Scottish Patients’ Association (SPA) has said that Scottish patients are afraid to complain about the care they receive for fear of repercussions. The group has said that patients are beginning to feel that “enough is enough” and are beginning to voice their concerns. The charity is hosting a conference this week with various organisations to highlight the concerns of patients in Scotland. (Scotsman page 6)

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Home Fires: A report commissioned by the Scottish Government has found that Scots are twice as likely to die in a fire as the rest of the people living in the UK. The study found that some of the major factors in the number of house fires included smoking, alcohol, deprivation, and living alone. The report was instigated following a 62 per cent rise in the number of people killed in Scotland by fire between 2006-07 and 2007-08. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 10, Daily Telegraph page 9)

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Stress: The Scottish Government has taken steps to combat stress after it was reported that three-quarters of Scottish people feel stress, but only one-quarter feel comfortable to talk about it. The campaign – Steps for Stress – is urging people to recognize the signs of stress and to seek help. (Scotsman page 20, Herald page 12)

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Education

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Bullying: The Scottish Government-funded anti-bullying service Respectme has said that more needs to be done in Scotland’s schools to tackle bullying. The group has said that all schools record instances of bullying but less than half of Scotland’s 32 authorities collate the figures to establish trends and whether policies to tackle the issues are working. The group has recommended that councils develop sophisticated reporting systems to allow bullying to be assessed. (Herald page 1)

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School Closures: The North Lanarkshire council is planning to close four schools which are running at between 33 and 70 per cent of their capacity. The move, which would save about £900,000 annually, is running into opposition from some residents and politicians, who are opposed to the closures. (Herald page 8)

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Politics

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Glasgow By-Election: SNP candidate David Kerr was accused of “two-faced politics” by his Labour opposition when a previous election pamphlet listed his birthplace as Cumbernauld when he was actually born in Dennistoun. Mr Kerr blamed the error on an “over-enthusiastic leaflet writer”. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 6, , Daily Telegraph page 8, Times page 10)

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Royal Mail: The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is taking legal action against Royal Mail for hiring 30,000 interim staff whilst it is on strike. The Royal Mail has denied the 30,000 workers are being used to break the series of postal strikes; rather they are dealing with the backlog as well as preparing for the Christmas rush. (Scotsman page 10, Press and Journal page 5)

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Glasgow Airport Rail Link: Glasgow City Council members have accused ministers of not playing fair after the council paid millions of pounds in advance for the cash-strapped M74 project, only to have the GARL axed. The council said it brought forward £33million more than had been requested toward the M74 project to ensure that the construction of the GARL began on time. (Scotsman page 13)

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Devolution: Talks between Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy and House of Commons Speaker John Bercow on procedures to improve devolution are to begin in London today. (Herald page 6)