Daily Political Media Summary: 25 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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RBS: RBS is to pay out £1.3 billion in bonuses despite announcing losses of £3.6 billion.  Chief Executive Stephen Hester has waived his own bonus but said the bank must give competitive bonuses to keep its key staff. (BBC, Scotsman page 8, Guardian page 25, Nils Pratley in the Guardian, P&J page 8, FT page 1, STV, Express page 5, Mail page 1)

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Economic recovery at risk: A report by the Fraser of Allander Institute has said that even if Scotland emerges from the recession in the coming months, the combination of the country’s high level of public sector employment and the coming public sector recession, as well as the refusal of the banks to lend money to businesses could see Scotland sink back into recession. (Scotsman page 4, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Herald page 34, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 1)

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Centrica: British Gas’ parent company Centrica has announced a 58% increase in profits. (Scotsman page 7, BBC)

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Crime

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Drugs in prisons: Last year wardens made 1,829 drug seizures in jails and young offenders institutions in Scotland. (Express page 2, Record page 2)

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Health

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Obesity: Labour has criticised the Scottish Government’s obesity reduction strategy for failing to include a firm commitment on physical education for school pupils. (Scotsman page 21)

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Education

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Parents subsidising state schools: A survey carried out by the Scottish Parent teacher Council shows that an average of £10 per pupil is being injected into the school system each year by parent councils with overall donations totalling £6.5million last year. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 3, Courier page 6, Courier page 21)

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Local Government

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Council budgets: Audit Scotland has said that the Scottish Government’s target of 2% efficiency savings across the public sector will not be enough to deal with falling budgets while Paul Brewer from PricewaterhouseCoopers has said that councils need to reduce costs by around 25% over the next few years.  The falling budges could put one in eight council jobs under threat. (Herald page 1, Courier page 6)

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The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (Solace) believes that ministers and councillors will need to re-think policy prioritises as a result of financial shortfalls.  This could see the public having to pay for some services that are currently free of charge. (Scotsman page 1)

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Children in care: The number of children in care has reached its highest level for 30 years. (Scotsman page 22, Sun page 2, Record page 6)

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Politics

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Nicola Sturgeon: The Deputy First Minister yesterday gave a statement to parliament in which she apologised for suggesting a convicted fraudster should be spared jail.  She said “I assisted a constituent in good faith and for what I considered the right reasons, but in doing so I did get some things wrong, and for that I am sorry.” (Scotsman page 1, Tom Peterkin in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Brian Currie in the Herald, Sun page 2, P&J page 1, Courier page 1, Times page 3, Telegraph page 6 , Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Express page 7, Mail page 1, Record page 2)

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Brown & Darling: The Prime Minister and the Chancellor put on a show of unity at Prime Minister’s questions yesterday following Alistair Darling’s interview on Tuesday when he accused Downing Street of briefing against him in 2008. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Sun page 4, Guardian page 14, P&J page 5, Courier page 2, FT page 2, Times page 12, Mirror page 15,Telegraph page 4, Express page 5, Mail page 10, Record page 8)

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Anne Johnstone in the Herald comments on the allegations of bullying by Gordon Brown.

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Brown & Blair: The latest revelations form Andrew Rawnsley’s book, ‘The end of the party’, suggest that Gordon Brown repeatedly shouted at Tony Blair “you ruined my life” in the final confrontation which forced Tony Blair to agree to announce when he was standing down as Prime Minister. (Guardian page 1)

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Religion and politics: Following the Scottish Secretary’s speech on faith and politics, the Rev Ian Galloway, convenor of the Church of Scotland’s church and society council, has said “no party has a monopoly on faith.” (Scotsman page 8, George Kerevan in the Scotsman, Cardinal Keith O’Brien in the Mail, Record page 8)

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Union fears for shipbuilding: Shipbuilding trade union leaders fear that a Conservative government will jeopardise the future of the whole industry after they received no clear assurance from Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox that the Tories would maintain the £4 billion contract to build two aircraft carriers. (Herald page 2)

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Lunchgate: Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have been cleared of any wrong doing by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner over the allegations of cash-for-access. (Herald page 7, P&J page 9, Courier page 9)