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Daily Political Media Summary: 10 March 2010

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Media Summary: 10 March 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

UK Trade: UK exports declined by 6.9 per cent in January, their biggest fall in three years. This hits hopes that a weak pound would spur Britain to an export-driven recovery. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 25, Courier page 15, Guardian page 24, Daily Telegraph page B1, Financial Times page 2)

Licensed Trade: The Scottish Licensed Trade Association has argued large supermarkets should pay similar business rates to pubs, clubs and hotels to level the playing field with small competitors and also contribute towards the social responsibility levy on the alcohol trade. (Herald page 10) 

Crime

Scottish Offenders:  The number of Scottish offenders sent to prison is at its highest level in decades. Statistics show the figure is up one per cent from last year and up by a fifth on 1999-2000 and represents almost 50 people sent to prison each day. However, further figures show that one in five crimes committed in Scotland last year was by an offender who had been freed on bail. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Record page 1, Daily Mail page 17, BBC)

Transport 

Edinburgh Trams: A section of the Edinburgh tram line that is currently under construction could be completed and opened by next year in time for the elections to help pro-tram councillors’ campaigns. (Scotsman page 6, BBC) 

Rail Strike: Network Rail has revealed that it has drawn up contingency plans to cope with a possible walkout by thousands of workers over Easter. The results of the union ballot are to be announced on Thursday and Friday. (Scotsman page 6, Courier page 14, Guardian page 6)   

Ferry Fares: Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said fares on ferry company, CalMac’s, Clyde and Hebrides routes would increase by a further two per cent on earlier rises in order to save routes from being axed. (Scotsman page 16, BBC) 

Health:

Nurse Scheme: The NHS Lothian has launched a family nurse partnership to help single mothers under the age of 19 in Scotland. The family nurses will visit the young mothers during their pregnancy and the first two years of the baby’s life. (Herald page 6) 

Local Government

Glasgow Games: Fresh concerns over the Glasgow Commonwealth games logo have been raised after it emerged the design had been used by the company for a different group three years ago. (Scotsman page 1) 

Royal Mile Shops: Edinburgh City Council has announced it will limit the number of “tartan tat” shops on the Royal Mile, in order to improve the retail on offer. (Herald page 3, Scotsman page 26) 

Education

Education Reform: Liz Smith, the Scottish Conservatives education spokeswoman, yesterday said that the current local authority monopoly on running state school should be broken, with independent educational trusts taking over new schools similar to the Swedish system. She ruled out, however, the idea of charging parents and said schools should be non-selective and run on a not-for-profit basis. (Herald page 6, Courier page 9, Times page 9, Daily Telegraph page 2, Press and Journal page 9) 

Politics

Asylum seekers: Glasgow North East Labour MP Willie Bain will today ask Gordon Brown to improve the way asylum seekers with mental health issues are handled by the authorities following the recent triple suicide in a Glasgow tower block. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 5, Courier page 7, STV) 

Strikes: MSPs took the day off from Parliament after many Labour MSPs refused to cross the picket line of striking civil servants. (Scotsman page 14, Courier page 7, Times page 3, Daily Telegraph page 10, Press and Journal page 8, Daily Mail page 1) 

Quango Investigation: Senior figures from the Water Industry Commission for Scotland will be questioned by Finance Secretary John Swinney following a wave of disclosures detailing extravagant expenses. (Herald page 1) 

Venezuela: Five MSPs have praised the ‘progressive’ achievements of Hugo Chavez and have urged Scotland to form closer links with Venezuela. (Scotsman page 3) 

Reform Scotland:

Vince Cable: Peter Jones of the Scotsman writes that Vince Cable’s speech at Reform Scotland’s dinner in Monday night impressed many of Scotland’s financial ‘movers and shakers’ in attendance. Dr. Cable suggested separating the retail and business banking from the “casino” investment banking operations. However, Jones notes this is still far from a comprehensive solution to tackle to root cause of the interconnectedness of the banking system. (Scotsman page 33)