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Daily Political Media Summary: 6 November 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 6 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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Postal strikes:  An agreement between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has been reached to call off strike action in the run up to Christmas.  Fresh talks will take place in the New Year over Royal Mail’s modernisation plan. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Record page 2, Sun page 10, Telegraph page 1, Times page 11, Financial Times page 2)

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Scottish bank:  Alex Salmond has given his support to the idea of a consortium of businessman creating a Scottish-owned bank from the purchase of TSB from Lloyds, stating that this would a good thing for competition and for Scotland.  (Scotsman page 10)

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House prices: Scotland’s house prices have risen by approximately 6 per cent between July and September 2009, however sales are still lower than this time last year. The largest increase was seen in Perth and Kinross.  Edinburgh has also lost its lead in house prices with areas of Glasgow being more expensive.  (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 1, Press and Journal page 9)

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Car sales:  Car sales have increased in Scotland by 45 per cent in the last month which has been credited largely to the government’s scrappage scheme.  Scotland has shown higher sales and registration levels compared to the rest of the UK.  (Scotsman page 21)

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Edinburgh trams:  Business owners in Leith have warned that they may go out of business unless they receive some assistance over the festive period.  A group of small business representatives have criticised Edinburgh City Council although it is reported that some of their key demands have been met including work on Leith Walk closing in November.  (Scotsman page 25)

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Off licence jobs:  Almost 250 jobs are expected to be scrapped as administrators for First Quench off licence group have made more than 25 per cent of its workforce redundant.  The store closures will take place by the beginning of December.  (Herald page 2, Courier page 13, Press and Journal )

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North Sea oil:  Sir Ian Wood, a leading Scottish businessman has stated that the North Sea oil and gas industry would lead the UK out of recession if the government create a plan to maximise output of the estimated £800billion worth of oil and gas reserves.  (Press and Journal page 7

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Bank of England:  The effectiveness of the Bank of England’s plans to inject £25billion into the UK economy were in doubt last night as a report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has stated that Britain’s economic output has fallen by 0.6 per cent from September to October.  The report has led to conclusions that quantitative easing is not improving the economy.  (Daily Mail page 2, Financial Times page 1)

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Transport 

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National Express:    The charges imposed by National Express East Coast last year to reserve seats may be scrapped when the UK government takes over the franchise and renationalises the business on Friday November 13th.  The fee charged by the failed operator came under fire in May when it was introduced.  Services will continue as normal between Edinburgh and London. (Scotsman page 14, Daily Mail page 6, Daily Record page 6) 

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Perth bus firm:  Ochil Tours has gone into liquidation with workers told on Tuesday as they reported for work.  Workers and managers were reportedly given “no warning” over the sudden closure.  The company has been in operation since April 2008. (Press and Journal page 3)

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Health

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Swine flu:  A school in Dumfries and Galloway has been forced to send more than 160 pupils and 7 teachers home following displays of symptoms from the disease.  Another patient in Scotland has died after contracting the disease bringing Scotland’s death toll to 31.  (Scotsman page 11, Daily Record page 6, Daily Express page 2, Sun page 14)

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Crime

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Prisoner’s rehabilitation:   A scheme supported by the Scottish Government which allows ex-offenders to rehabilitate existing prisoners has increased the number of prisoners going into work or training after release and has been cited as a success.  The scheme helps prisoners gain advice on support and health after their release.  (Herald page 11)

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Police forces merger:  Scotland’s police watchdog has warned that police forces will need to take lessons from England and Wales in order to make savings during recession.  Police forces have been advised to merge together, possibly creating a national force.  (Scotsman page 12)

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Sex offenders:  Freed sex offenders may be forced to take a lie detector test to prove that they no longer represent a danger to society.  Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has stated that further consideration will be given before implementing the project in Scotland.  (Daily Telegraph page 9, Sun page 2)

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Education

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Teaching:  Head teaching has been described as a “lonely job” by more than 50 per cent of head teachers.  Very few teachers have been reported to aspire to the progression which could potentially create a crisis in the profession in terms of the numbers and quality of head teachers in Scotland.  (TESS)

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Politics

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Gordon Brown:  Gordon Brown is expected today to defend British military commitment in Afghanistan.  This comes as a recent poll has stated that three quarters of people asked believe that the UK should remove troops over the next year.  The number of British people who believe troops should be removed has increased following the murder of five British soldiers in Helmand by a police officer whom they were training.  (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 1, Press and Journal page 10, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 4)

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BNP:  Mainstream political parties are concerned that the BNP could win third place in the Glasgow North East by-election next week and they believe the party was boosted by leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on the BBC’s Question Time.  (Times page 5)

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David Cameron:  The Conservative Party Leader David Cameron has been criticised over his stance on regaining powers from Europe.  The party has been accused of isolating itself from the rest of Europe and critics have warned that a “renegotiation of institutions” would not take place.   (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, Guardian page 16)

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Minimum alcohol pricing:  The SNP only won a vote on its minimum pricing policy because of Labour’s “sitting on the fence”.  Both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have opposed the policy and the future of the policy now depends on Labour support.  Additional concerns have been raised that the policy would breach EU rules.  (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 6, Courier page 9, Press and Journal page 9, Daily Express page 2, Telegraph page 2)

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Parliament revamp: The Scottish Parliament’s website is to receive an £800,000 revamp using public money next September.  The improvements will make the site more user-friendly to people with disability and to those whose first language is not English.  The SNP has been criticised over this decision due to the costs involved.  (Scotsman page 12)

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St Andrew’s Day celebrations:  The SNP plans to hold the biggest ever St Andrew’s Day celebration to honour Scottish identity which has led to claims of a “sinister agenda”.  Criticisms of the day as being an exercise in “independence propaganda” costing £434,000 at a time when most people are concerned over jobs have been defended by the SNP.  (Scotsman page 11, Press and Journal page 13, Daily Mail page 19, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 6, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 2)

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G20:  The summit of the group of 20 nations will take place at St Andrews this weekend to discuss two main issues of climate change and future economic growth.  (Courier page 1)