Daily Political Media Summary: 10 February 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 10 February 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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Health of the Economy: Investment bank JP Morgan has claimed “the UK’s fiscal position is currently worse than observed around the IMF loan in 1976.” It also warned there could be a further fall in the value of the pound as investors reassessed the health of the economy. (Daily Telegraph page 8)

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 Quangos: Following publication of Reform Scotland’s report ‘Democratic Power’ yesterday which called for virtually all 115 quangos to be abolished with responsibilities either exercised directly by government or through organisations that are genuinely independent of government, Peter Jones in the Scotsman argues that rather than abolishing quangos, they should be strengthened.

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 Crime

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Community sentences: Official figures have revealed that a third of community sentences were breached last year. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 10, Daily Telegraph page 5, Courier page 10, Daily Express page 2, Press and Journal)

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 Terrorism: The Government’s terrorism watchdog will include the acquittal of Scotland’s first Islamic ‘terrorist’ in its annual review. The case has reportedly raised concerns about whether Section 57 of the Terrorism Act 2000 has tilted too far in favour of defendants in terrorist cases. (Times page 1 , Daily Telegraph page 14, Guardian page 6, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Daily Mail page 4, Daily Record page 1)

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 Single police force: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman argues in favour of a single police force for Scotland.

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 Prostitution Convictions: The Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee has voted to end the obstacles to convicted former prostitutes becoming teachers and working in professions that involve helping vulnerable groups. (Herald page 8)

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 Transport 

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Rail strike: ScotRail’s train conductors have voted to carry out three one day strikes on 20 February, 1 March and 13 March, the latter being the day of the Scotland versus England rugby game at Murrayfield. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 5, Daily Mail page 13, Daily Record page 2)

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 Glasgow Airport Rail Link:  Patrick Harvie, transport committee convenor, has accused Secretary John Swinney of “serious omissions” in the evidence he gave concerning the Garl project’s funding after it emerged Network Rail had offered to use its own borrowing powers to reinstate the project. (Herald page 4)

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 Health

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GPs: BMA Scotland has said that the Scottish Government’s plans to base funding to GPs on the results of a patient survey could see many practices ending up with less money and worse access. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 9, Courier page 8)

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 Multiple Sclerosis: Pregnant women can reduce the risks of their baby developing MS in later life by drinking milk and having relatively high intakes of Vitamin D, according to research at Harvard School of Public Health. An international conference hosted by MSPs has been organised to discuss the links between Vitamin D and MS after a successful petition by schoolboy Ryan McLaughlin. (Herald page 8, Times page 17)

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 Obesity: More than 2,000 people claim benefits because they are too overweight to find a job. This is almost double the number claiming obesity-related disability benefits when Labour came to power. (Daily Telegraph page 6, Daily Mail page 11)

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 Education

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University Places: The University of Aberdeen has reported receiving more than seven applications for each university place, an increase of 32 per cent compared with 2009. Other universities reported increases of up to 78 per cent following warnings that thousands of school leavers could miss out on a place. (Daily Telegraph page 1)

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 Graduate Tax: The new convenor of Universities Scotland, Bernard King, has called for Scottish graduates to be taxed throughout their working lives to help fund higher education. (Herald page 1)

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 Local Government

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Housing: The Scottish Government has announced additional funding of £25 million for new council houses. (Scotsman page 12, Press and Journal)

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 Glasgow bins: Unions are warning of strike ballots over new staff contracts introduced in Glasgow Council’s new initiative to collect bins at the weekend. (Herald page 3)

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 Politics

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Referendum on voting reform: Yesterday MPs voted in favour of holding a referendum over whether the first-past-the-post voting system should be replaced. Foreign Secretary David Miliband is calling for more extensive action in a “reset referendum” on all aspects of British politics. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 2, Financial Times page 2, Guardian page 14)

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 David Cameron: Ahead of the Scottish Conservatives’ one-day-conference, David Cameron has accused Alex Salmond of “taking people for fools” in painting a utopian picture of an independent Scotland while promising the Tories would treat Scotland with “respect” if elected. (Herald page 1, Courier page 1, Daily Mail page 1)

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 Labour phone calls: The Information Commissioner ruled yesterday that Labour breached privacy rules by making unsolicited automated phone calls to half a million people without their consent. (Scotsman page 23, Guardian page 4, Times)

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 Lunchgate’: The SNP candidate, Osama Saeed, who stood to benefit from the lunches with the First Minister that were auctioned, has defended the fundraising scheme. (Scotsman page 26)

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