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Daily Political Media Summary: 18 February 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.

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Economy

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Unemployment: Scotland is losing jobs at the fastest rate in Western Europe.  Figures published by the Office of National Statistics yesterday showed that an extra 10,000 people in Scotland lost their jobs in the last quarter of 2009, though unemployment fell across the UK as a whole. (Scotsman page 4, Professor David Bell in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Sun page 17, Mail page 4, Record page 4, Express page 2, P&J page 5, FT page 2, Courier page 1, Telegraph page 1)

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Crime

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Knife crime: The Scottish Conservatives have put forward amendments to the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill going through parliament calling for anyone caught carrying a knife to receive a two year jail sentence. (Scotsman page 14, Mail page 10, Express page 28, Courier page 6, Telegraph page 12)

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Young offenders: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has said that new ways of tackling young offending are to be trialled in the Grampian area. (Herald page 10, Record page 2, P&J page 9, Courier page 7)

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Transport 

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SPT: Ron Culley, Chief Executive of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), resigned last night following a row over expenses for overseas trips.  (Herald page 1, Damien Henderson in the Herald)

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The SNP has called for SPT to publish travel expenses after it emerged that two senior executives were paid nearly £30,000 for using their own cars.  (Scotland page 13)

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Health

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Ambulance services: The strategic vision for the Scottish Ambulance Service over the next five years has suggested that more people should be treated at home by paramedics rather than taken to A&E. (Scotsman page 17, Courier page 5)

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Over 70,000 Scottish patients are diverted from NHS 24 to 99 staff annually because their condition is potentially serious, whereas around 10,000 people are referred from 999 staff to NHS 24. (Herald page 1)

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Obesity: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman argues that overeating needs to be demonised in the same was as smoking and drink driving.

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Local Government

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Shared services: Audit Scotland has called for Scottish local authorities to take urgent and radical action to make savings, including sharing more services. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 6, Times page 11, Mail page 19)

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Sickies’: The Accounts Commission for Scotland found that local authority staff in Scotland took an annual average of 12 and a half days of sick, more than twice the level in the private sector. (Express page 4, Kerry Gill in the Express)

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Education

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University funding: Anthony Cohen in the Scotsman says that greater funding is the key to university success.

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Politics

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Opinion poll: A YouGov poll carried out for the Sun has put the SNP and Scottish Conservatives on 21% with Labour on 37% and the Lib Dems on 15%.  Across the UK as a whole the Conservatives were on 39%, Labour on 30% and Lib Dems on 18%. (Sun page 1)

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National Trust for Scotland: Former Holyrood Presiding Officer George Reid, who is leading a review into the National Trust for Scotland, has said that the charity needs to do “less, but much better”. (Scotsman page 1, Times page 11)

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UK Cabinet tour: The Labour Cabinet has been accused of using its tour of the country to stage party events ahead of the election. (Times page 1, Mail page 6)

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MPs’ travel: Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Winterton has said that it is “infuriating” that MPs will be prevented from travelling first class. (Telegraph page 10)