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Daily Political Media Summary: 18 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.

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Economy

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Unemployment: Scottish unemployment rose by 16,000 over the past three months, though figures across the UK as a whole fell by 33,000. (Scotsman page 6, Sun page 1, Times page 6, Express page 6, Herald page 6, Record page 2, Mail page 1, P&J page 11, Courier page 4, Telegraph page 4, FT page 1)

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Debt: Gavin McCrone in the Scotsman comments on the level of debt in the UK and states that to try and deal with it before the economic recovery is properly underway could prolong the recession.

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Crime

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Domestic abuse: A confidential helpline aimed at halting the rise in domestic abuse against men will be launched in Scotland next month. (Express page 25)

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Health

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Hospital hygiene: Susan Brimelow, Scotland’s first hospital inspector, has said she is disappointed by the poor standard of hygiene she has uncovered on NHS wards. (Herald page 1, Helen Puttick in the Herald)

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Alcohol pricing: John Beard, chief executive of Whyte & Mackay, has accused MSPs of weak questioning after he was re-called to Holyrood’s Health & Sport Committee over accusations he misled them over job losses if minimum pricing was introduced. (Herald page 6, Courier page 6)

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The OFT has warned that raising the price of alcohol could see an unprecedented increase in profits for the drinks trade which could lead to more being spent on marketing and ultimately more alcohol being consumed. (Mail page 12)

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Local government

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Public notices: Public notices will continue to appear in local newspapers after Scottish ministers dropped plans to allow councils to advertise on the internet. (Herald page 5, Scotsman page 22, P&J page 10, Courier page 8)

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Steven Purcell: The police have been asked to investigate alleged links between Steven Purcell, the former leader of Glasgow Council, and a notorious crime family.  Gordon Brown was brought into the row yesterday when asked in the House of Commons whether a Downing Street staffer took a conference call in July 2008 discussing the suitability of Steven Purcell. (Sun page 12, Herald page 1)

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Transport

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BA strikes: The influence the Unite union has over the Labour party was questioned yesterday when the Prime Minister refused to back staff who will cross the picket line in order to keep BA services operating this weekend. (Scotsman page 4, Sun page 2, Bill Leckie in the Sun, Times page 15, Express page 4, Record page 2, Mail page 1, Guardian page 4, Seumas Milne in the Guardian, P&J page 10, FT page 2)

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Ross Clark in the Express comments on the current strength of unions in the UK.

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Rail strikes: Talks between Network Rail and the Rail Maritime and Transport union will be held today to try and avert strike action. (Scotsman page 9)

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Politics

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Gordon Brown: The Prime Minister was forced to concede at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday that he had misled the official inquiry into the Iraq war by insisting that the defence budget had risen in real terms every year under Labour.  (Scotsman page 1, Times page 1, Express page 4, Mail page 10, Guardian page 7, P&J page 5, Telegraph page 4, FT page 2)

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The Prime Minister intends to hold small meetings in the living rooms of pillars of the community as part of Labour’s election strategy. (Guardian page 1)

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Budget: Anatole Kaletsky in the Times comments ahead of next week’s budget and says that for the Conservatives to win the general election they must be specific about what they will cut.

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Ministerial travel: New figures reveal that Scottish ministers used ministerial cars almost 650 times in five months and used the train only seven times in the same period. (Express page 2, Mail page 18)

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Nadine Norris MP & Esther Rantzen: There is an alleged plot between Tory MP Nadine Norris and close make friend Stephen Rhodes to stop Esther Rantzen being elected to parliament. (Telegraph page 1)