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Daily Political Media Summary: 24 February 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 24 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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UK getting poorer: The Conservatives at Westminster are expected to unveil figures today showing that people in the UK are poorer today than they were at the time of the last general election in 2005. (Scotsman page 2, Guardian page 14, Daily Mail page 2) 

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Lloyds Charitable Foundation: Lloyds Banking Group is attempting to sever its relationship with its charitable foundation in Scotland after the foundation refused to agree to new terms for the level of funding it receives. (Herald page 3, Press and Journal page 11, Times page 12, BBC) 

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Transport 

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Train Strikes: The Scottish Government has approved controversial staffing arrangements on a new train service that have triggered a series of Scottish rail strikes and aggravated relations with the RMT Union. (Herald page 4) 

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Bus Scheme: The Scottish Government is trying to cap the costs of its concessionary bus scheme by reducing reimbursement rates after warnings that it would exceed £200million a year. (Herald page 9) 

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Crime

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Murder: More than half of all murders committed in Scotland involve a sharp instrument according to official figures released yesterday. (Scotsman page 10, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Herald page 7, Daily Telegraph page 13, Press and Journal page 1, Daily Express page 4) 

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Health

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Obesity: A group of health experts advising the NHS in Scotland are supporting gastric band surgery for extremely obese teenagers on the NHS.  Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments that the state should not dictate what we eat, rather greater personal responsibility is required. Ian Bell of the Herald calls for a ban on fast foods, arguing obesity is as dangerous as other restricted products, like alcohol and cigarettes. (Herald page 1, page 13)

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Liver Disease: Record numbers of Scots are suffering from chronic liver disease with the number trebling in the past 15 years due to alcohol abuse. SNP Minsters blame the increase on the growing affordability of alcohol over the past three decades. (Daily Telegraph page 8, Herald page 8, Press and Journal page 8, Courier page 8, Times page 23, Daily Express)

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Education

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Writing and reading standards: Figures published by the Scottish Government yesterday highlighted that two-thirds of 13-year-olds are failing to meet expected standards for writing while 60% fail to meet the expected standard for reading. (Scotsman page 6, Hugh Reilly in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Courier page 1, Times page 3, Daily Mail page 1, Daily Express page 5)

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Reform for schools: In a keynote speech yesterday Scottish Education Secretary, Michael Russell, said he would give a “fair hearing” to every suggestion made by councils on alternative ways to control schools and promised not to dismiss the idea of removing schools completely from council control. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 2, Daily Telegraph page 1)

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Politics

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Politics and religion: In response to a speech Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy was making yesterday highlighting the importance of faith and family, Cardinal Keith O’Brien said that Labour and Gordon Brown have consistently undermined religious freedoms and condemned the party for an “unrelenting attack on family values”. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Mail page 4, Daily Express page 1, BBC)

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Family Support Services: The Scottish Government funded group, Parenting Across Scotland is seeking assurances from politicians that family support services will be retained for families struggling in the recession. (Herald page 8)

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Nicola Sturgeon: The Deputy First Minister is expected to make a statement to Holyrood today in which she will justify sending a letter to court asking for her constituent Abdul Rauf, a convicted fraudster, to be spared a jail sentence. (Scotsman page 4, Michael Kelly in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Times page 8, BBC, STV)

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Labour bullying row: Sarah Brown yesterday spoke in defence of her husband over the allegations of bullying. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 6, Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Record page 6)

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Alistair Darling: Alistair Darling said he was briefed against by Downing Street advisers after his controversial interview in 2008 when he claimed the recession would be the worst in 60 years. Gordon Brown has denied ordering any briefing against the chancellor. (Scotsman page 9, Times page 24, Daily Mail page 12, BBC, STV)

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Phone Hackings: Rupert Murdoch’s News International could face a judicial inquiry after a critical parliamentary report accuses senior executives of its top selling newspaper of concealing the truth about the extent of illegal phone hacking by its journalists. (Guardian page 1, Financial Times page 4, BBC)