Daily Political Media Summary: 13 January 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 13 January 2010

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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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Royal Bank of Scotland: Stephen Hester, chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, told MPs yesterday that the bank’s recovery was well ahead of schedule. Mr Hester warned, however, that RBS is likely to come under increasing political pressure as the General Election looms and argued he has no choice but to pay bonuses as RBS has become a “prisoner of the market.” (Scotsman page B1, Herald page 26, Daily Telegraph page B1, Press and Journal page 5, Courier page 15, Guardian page 1, Financial Times page 1, BBC)

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 Green banking: First Minister Alex Salmond has said Scotland’s financial sector has a "significant" role to play in the development of major green energy projects. He claimed the country\’s banks could help create a "virtuous circle" of investment in large infrastructure projects required to produce renewable energy. (Scotsman)

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 Health

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Alcohol Abuse: Alcohol abuse could be costing Scotland more than £3.5 billion a year, which is £900 for every adult in the country. Scotland’s biggest health board revealed it costs more than £34,000 to treat one person with a moderately severe alcohol-related head injury. Doctors, police and the Scottish Government have argued this is further evidence to support a minimum price for alcohol. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 11, Times page 3, Daily Telegraph page 10, Press and Journal page 7, Courier page 6, Daily Express page 4, Daily Mail page 4)

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 Leukaemia: Researchers at Birmingham University have found that a contraceptive pill taken in combination with a cholesterol-lowering drug could be safer and more effective than chemotherapy. (Scotsman page 7)

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 Health Quango: Jackie Baillie has called on Audit Scotland to examine the NHS Health Scotland decision to award a £300,000 contract to PR consultants to boost its visibility at Holyrood. (Scotsman page 2, Press and Journal page 13)

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 Transport

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Road Repairs: Motorists have been warned that the damage to Scotland’s roads from the recent freeze may take years to repair as a survey of local authorities revealed that councils have already spent most of their funds dealing with the winter weather. (Herald page 1)

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 Education

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Teacher wage freeze: Moray Council, one of the areas hardest hit by the recent bad weather, has said that teachers who did not make every effort to turn up for work during the big freeze should not be paid. The Council has been accused of being too “aggressive” towards hard working teachers, but the authority’s head of education argues that staff should make every effort to get to work and provide the service expected of them. (Scotsman page 6, Press and Journal)

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 University Funding: The Russell Group which represents the UK’s top 20 Universities has warned the UK Government that Britain’s reputation as a world leader in higher education could be damaged by funding reductions. Funding for Scottish Universities rose by 2 per cent in the last Scottish Parliamentary budget, but the English cuts could damage the nation’s reputation including Scotland’s. (Scotsman page 16, Daily Telegraph, Guardian page 4)

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 Politics

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Lockerbie Bomber: A disclosure before the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster yesterday revealed that the Foreign Office had conducted contingency strategy meetings with the Scottish Government, Libyan authorities and British embassy in Libya about the possible consequences of the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi. This raises questions about the UK Government’s attempts to distance itself from Mr Megrahi’s release. Scottish ministers argued the UK Government had all information possible and stood by their final decision to free Mr Megrahi. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 8, Times page 17, Daily Telegraph page 10, Press and Journal page 9, Courier page 11, Daily Express page 5, Daily Mail page 12)

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 Iraq war: Alastair Campbell has revealed to the Chilcot inquiry that Tony Blair sent private letters to President Bush pledging UK military action in the year leading up to the Iraq war. This has reignited claims that the former Prime Minister had made a decision to go to war long before MPs voted on it. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, Guardian page 1, Financial Times page 1, Daily Mail page 1)

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 MP Expenses: Dozens of MPs who admitted breaking expenses rules have had fast-tracked inquiries into their conduct and have been allowed to pay back money without their abuses being disclosed to the public. (Daily Telegraph page 1)

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