Daily Political Media Summary 3 February 2010

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Media Summary: 3 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.

Economy

RBS Bonuses: Royal Bank of Scotland bosses are facing criticism from senior Scottish politicians over their decision to continue with plans to award bonuses in the form of shares that can be converted to cash after 12 weeks. (Scotsman page 7, Daily Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal, Daily Express page 10)

Petrol Stations: The Retail Motor Industry Federation has warned that 300 petrol stations in Scotland could close and cost 1,500 jobs if business rates increase by up to 450 per cent, which is expected under the tax assessors’ new rates set by data from England and Wales. (Scotsman page 25, Press and Journal page 1)

Public Sector Jobs: The number of workers employed by the public sector has risen by almost 170,000 over the past decade, indicating that 64% of new jobs in Scotland during that time were created by the state and almost one in three Scots has a taxpayer funded job. (Herald page 4)

Crime

Police Cuts:  Senior police officers warn that crime rates will rise and phone calls will go unanswered if the 12 per cent cuts from 2011 go ahead. A Scottish Police Federation report revealed forces are already dealing with an overall loss of about £11 million following the SNP’s concordant with Scotland’s councils in 2008. (Herald page 1)

Local Government

Building development:  Edinburgh City Council will announce a £35 million redevelopment project to transform the former Royal High School on Calton Hill into a “world class hotel.” The Council will continue to own the building and lease it out on a long-term basis. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 7, Press and Journal page 7, Courier page 3, Daily Express page 9) 

Health

Antibiotics: Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon told a conference of specialists in Edinburgh that without proper controls, the use of antibiotics could lead to the development of more superbugs like MRSA and Clostridium Difficile. (Scotsman page 14, Courier page 6)

Hepatitis C: The Hepatitis C Trust have warned that for every one of the 1,700 diagnosed cases of hepatitis C each year in Scotland, there are an equal amount that go undiagnosed. (Scotsman page 17) 

Politics

Budget: The £35 billion budget looks likely to be approved in Holyrood today after a series of last-minute deals between the SNP and opposition parties, including £20 million additional funding for extra college places and £10 million to support businesses. Finance Secretary John Swinney has an additional £58.5 million to spend due to a rise in Scotland’s share in UK spending and will be used to finance pandemic flu care and housing and regeneration. John Swinney also bowed to Conservative demands to publish detailed breakdowns of all government spending over £25,000. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 8, Daily Telegraph page 1, Times page 12, Press and Journal page 9, Courier page 6, Daily Record page 4) 

Sick Kids Friends Foundation:  Health chiefs are being urged to investigate the “New Pyjamas” fundraising drive of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation after it emerged the charity spent £500,000 on a campaign that has only raised £60,000 out of its target £15 million. The campaign director has been suspended and the chairman has resigned but the Office of the Scottish Charity regulator has yet to confirm if there will be an investigation. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 1, Daily Express page 9) 

End of Life Care Bill: Holyrood has been accused of “dirty tricks” over the handling of Margo MacDonald’s End of Life Care Bill, after it sent the bill to a one-off committee of to the more experienced committees of health or justice. (Herald page 2, Press and Journal page 11)

UK Voting Reform: Gordon Brown has said he wants to push through a law introducing a referendum on changing the electoral system to an ‘Alternative Vote’ system. He has been accused of playing pre-election politics, and trying to out-flank the Conservatives on voting reform ahead of the campaign. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Daily Telegraph page 5, Times page 12, Guardian page 10, Financial Times page 2, Daily Mail page 17)