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Daily Political Media Summary: 20 January 2010

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant article is blue and underlined. Apologies for the lack of page references today, this is because our papers were not delivered.

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Economy

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Unemployment:  The jobless total in the UK has fallen for the first time in almost two years and fewer people claimed jobseeker’s allowance.  However, the Scottish unemployment total has risen to over 200,000. (Herald, Telegraph, Times, BBC, STV)

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Inflation:  Interest rates may well go up as a response to the sudden rise in inflation which could mean a rise in monthly mortgage bills for many homeowners by the end of the year. However, the Governor of the Bank of England tried to ease some of these fears by saying that interest rates could remain at a record low for some time yet.  (Scotsman, Herald)

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Globespan:  It has emerged that the firm widely blamed for the collapse of Globespan owes almost £100 million to a host of creditors across Europe. (Scotsman)

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Scottish Tourism:  A new online campaign has been launched to boost tourism by encouraging people to ‘Bag Scotland’ following on from Munro Bagging and Castle Bagging. (Scotsman)

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Public Sector Pay:  The Scottish Conservatives are expected to call for a public sector pay freeze for those earning over £18,000.  Annabel Goldie will set out the plan in a speech this evening and this measure would be the price of Conservative support for an SNP Budget next year. (Herald, STV, Scotsman)

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Scottish Budget:  It is reported that the Labour Party will vote against the SNP’s budget because it doesn’t do enough to support jobs during the recession.  However, the budget, which John Swinney believes will meet the needs of the Scottish people, is still likely to pass its first hurdle with support from the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. (Scotsman, P&J, BBC, STV)

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Scottish House Prices:  A new study of property trends over the last half century has shown that property prices in Scotland have risen by the lowest average rate in the UK over the past 50 years. (Scotsman)

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Crime

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Organised Crime:  The police have launched a campaign to recruit teenagers as their ‘eyes and ears’ in the community in a bid to disrupt the activities of gangsters. (Scotsman)

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Police:  The Scottish Policing Performance Framework annual report says that fewer than half of people in Scotland have confidence in the police to prevent crime and only 55 per cent have faith in the police being able to catch criminals.  (Herald, P&J, BBC, STV)

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Health

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Scottish NHS:  A new study by the Nuffield Trust which examined poor health in different parts of the UK found that Scotland had the highest levels of poor health in the UK despite the greatest levels of spending and having more hospital doctors, GPs and nurses than elsewhere in the UK.  The study looked at the period before and after devolution, but only went up to 2006-07. An article by Helen Puttick in The Herald analyses the reasons for Scotland’s poorer relative performance. (Scotsman, Herald, Helen Puttick, P&J, BBC, STV)

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Education

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School Inspections:  The brother of a headteacher who killed herself following an inspection said such inspections were ‘extraordinarily stressful’ and should be scrapped after an inquiry cleared the council of any failings.  (Scotsman, Herald, P&J)

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Politics

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Independence Referendum:  The SNP has reportedly shelved its plan to publish its referendum bill to coincide with Burn’s Night.  The Scottish Government claimed this was because it was focussed on the budget at the moment, whereas opposition parties believed it was about keeping the referendum alive as an issue for the UK General Election. (Scotsman, P&J)