Daily Political Media Summary: 2 March 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 2 March 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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Pound: Fears of a hung parliament following recent polls showing the Conservatives with a narrower lead over Labour were said to be to blame for the pound falling to a nine-month low of 1.478 against the dollar yesterday as well as 1.09 against the euro, though  the currency made up some ground before the markets closed. (Scotsman, P&J page 1, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 2, FT page 1, Mirror page 2, Express page 1)

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Debt: In a speech to the City of London yesterday Lord Mandelson said that the UK was now in “significant debt” despite unprecedented government intervention pulling a spiraling private economy "back from the brink”. (Scotsman)

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Crime

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Civilian investigations: A successful pilot programme in Falkirk utilising citizens to investigate less serious, high-volume crimes like housebreaking and vandalism, will be expanded to include murders and sex offences and adopted across central Scotland.  The programme is meant to free police officers to investigate more serious offenses and carry out patrols.  (Herald page 1)

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Jail terms: Aileen Campbell, SNP MSP for the South of Scotland, introduced an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill which would force courts to consider the impact a parent’s jail term will have on their children when sentencing offenders.  (Herald page 9)

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Transport 

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RMT strikes: Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson will meet with representatives of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) in order to help resolve a dispute regarding driver-only operations on a new east-west rail line.  (Herald page 2, P&J page 7)

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Local Government

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Glasgow council resignation: Steven Purcell, leader of the Glasgow City council, will step down for personal reasons today.  He blamed the stress of the SPT scandal and preparations for the Commonwealth Games as reason for his departure.  The resignation may dampen speculation that he will seek a Labour seat at Holyrood in 2011.  (Herald page 1)

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Health

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Obesity: A Scottish Government initiative launched by Public Health Minister Shona Robison aims to use the ‘inspirational effect’ of the 2014 Commonwealth Games to urge adults in Scotland to exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week as a way to combat obesity.  (P&J page 6, Courier page 9)

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Education

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Science education: Education Secretary Mike Russell launched an action plan that aims to see more pupils taking science courses, increase the take-up for a new science baccalaureate, and improve pass rates for science and engineering exams.  The plan is in response to a 2008 international survey which found Scotland lagging behind other major industrial nations.  (Herald page 6, Courier page 3)

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Politics

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Tax powers for Holyrood: Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has said that giving greater financial powers to the Scottish Parliament would help to grow the economy.  His announcement came as a study for the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), showed that 40 per cent of English people believe Scotland gets more than its fair share of Treasury funding. (Scotsman, Herald page 11, P&J page 8, Mail page 11)

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Lord Ashcroft: Lord Ashcroft, who has donated more than £5 million to the Conservative Party since 2000, admitted yesterday that he has non-domicile status for tax purposes. (Scotsman, Herald page 4, P&J page 8, Courier page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, FT page 3, Record page 2, Mirror page 1)

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Labour Party:  Liam Byrne, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said yesterday that voters were “taking a second look at Labour" as the British economy begins to improve. (Scotsman)

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Scottish poll: A new poll of Scottish voters shows Labour with a two point advantage over the SNP, 34% to 32%.  The SNP say this is a breakthrough for the party as it represents the strongest position they have ever been in before a general election.  (Herald page 4)