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Daily Political Media Summary: 15 January 2010

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.

 

Economy

Conservative spending plans: Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, has said that a Conservative Government would start cutting spending immediately after taking office.  He identified cuts including spending on advertising and consultants, tax credits for families earning more than £50,000 and child trust funds for better off families. (Scotsman page 16, Times page 17, Mail page 10, Telegraph page 1)

 

Power line: Campaigners against the Beauly to Denny power line are to meet a senior QC in the next few days to discuss the possibility of a judicial review of the decision to go ahead with the line. (Scotsman page 7)

 

Banking system: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman argues that entrepreneurialism and a transformed banking sector will rescue the economy.

 

Wind Farm: Five years after its application, ministers have approved plans for the first large-scale wind farm for the Western Isles, despite almost 4,000 objections and a public inquiry.  33 massive turbines will have the capacity to generate electricity for 55,000 homes. Campaigners argue the project, proposed to be constructed almost entirely on peatland habitats, will be detrimental (Express page 2)

 

Labour Jobs Guarantee: Gordon Brown has told ministers to produce a radical election manifesto offering a “jobs guarantee” for the 2.5 million unemployed people in Britain. The measure would assure government-funded training or a work placement to any person claiming jobseeker’s allowance for more than two years, while those who refused the offer would receive a benefit cut. (Times page 17)

 

Deficit: Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg says in the FT politicians must set out their plans for tackling the deficit.

 

Family Budgets: The average household is spending just £471 a week on all general living costs, the lowest figure in a decade (Mail, page 15)

 

Economy: The credit crunch is the fault of a spending binge that stretches back to 2002 says Jeff Randall in the Telegraph.

 

Local Government

Right to buy: Yesterday the Scottish Government launched a new Housing Bill which will end new council tenants’ right to buy their home. (Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 15, Record page 2, Times page 15, Press and Journal page 1, Mail page 43, Courier page 10, Telegraph page 10)

 

Crime

Women prisoners: The Scottish Government is expected to unveil an £800,000 package of measures aimed at reducing the number of women in jail today, including an improved focus on mental health and childcare requirements. (Herald page 1)

 

Health

Minimum alcohol pricing: Gordon Brown has ruled out any attempt to introduce minimum alcohol pricing across the UK – backing the stance taken by Iain Gray at Holyrood. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 7, Press & Journal page 12, Telegraph page 16)

 

Education

Parental fight for school: Parents of Ciara McGearey, 13, who is severely disabled and blind, are in a battle with Edinburgh Council, which is refusing to pay for Ciara to attend the Royal Blind School. (Scotsman page 20, Herald page 5)

 

Scots Literacy: Holyrood has been told that a fifth of Scots have difficulty reading. The finding, by the Literacy Commission, comes as Edinburgh councillors face budget cuts up to £90 million and campaigners warn officials propose a 6.5 per cent cut in funds for community learning and development. (Times page 5)

 

Politics

Devolution: According to a poll by the Scottish Centre for Social Research a majority of Scots believe that key decisions on tax and welfare should be devolved to Holyrood. (Scotsman page 6, Times page 15, Mail page 2)

 

Holyrood running costs: £23m was spent on wages and pensions for the 506 staff employed by the Scottish Parliament in 2008-09. (Scotsman page 15, Times page 15, Sun, page 4, Mail page 2, Courier page 3, Telegraph page 1)

 

Michael Russell: Further coverage of the police investigation into whether emails sent by the Education Minister’s former aide and blogger Mark MacLachlan could be interpreted as blackmail. (Scotsman page 16, Express page 15)

 

Scots: Nearly two-thirds of the Scottish public do not consider Scots to be a real language according to a poll by TNS-BMRB, though 85% say they use Scots some of the time. (Scotsman page 24, Herald page 4, Angus Macleod in Times, Times page 29, Mail, page 15)

 

Nick Clegg on the Union: The Lib Dem leader has warned that there is a threat to the future of the Union between Scotland and England if the Conservatives win the general election. (Herald page 7)

 

Scottish Conservatives: Alan Cochrane claims, in the Telegraph, it’s time for the Scottish Tories to change.

 

TV Election Debates: Gordon Brown’s insistence on ‘themed’ televised election debates could be a turn–off for viewers according to critics. (Telegraph page 1)