Daily Political Media Summary: 30 March 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 30 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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Chancellor’s debate: The state of Britain’s public finances was the main issue at last night’s chancellor’s debate between Alistair Darling, George Osborne, and Vince Cable.  Mr Darling stressed that spending cuts introduced too soon will endanger economic recovery whilst Mr Osborne repeated the Tories’ stance that cuts must occur as soon as possible.  Mr Cable accused both of vagueness as to where the axe would fall before producing a list of programmes he would cut or see trimmed back.  All were in agreement when asked whether Britain was in for more severe cuts than those experienced under Margaret Thatcher.    (Herald page 2, P&J page 5, Courier page 10, Telegraph page 4, Guardian page 4, Record page 2, Mirror page 6, Terry Murden in The Scotsman)

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Mr Osborne repeated his pledge to reverse Labour’s planned increase in National Insurance contributions but was criticised by Mr Cable for his “schoolboy economics”.  Mr Darling portrayed the tax cut as an “irresponsible risk”.  (Scotsman page 5, Times page 1, Guardian page 1, Mail page 6)

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Mr Darling was forced to admit Labour’s so-called “death tax” would not be included in the White Paper on social care due to be released today.  The party had intended for the policy to help pay for elderly care in England.  (Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 1, FT page 1)

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Green energy complex: Aberdeenshire is set to benefit from plans to build a new green energy plant that will provide a £60 million boost to the local economy and could employ over 400 people.  (Scotsman page 12, P&J page 7)

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Crime

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Knife crime: Hospital admissions following knife attacks rose by 20% last year.  There have been calls for pilot programmes in Glasgow, Fife, Edinburgh, and Lanarkshire–where victims provide information to the police on where the attack took place as they come into A&E–to be rolled out nationwide.  (Scotsman page 21)

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Transport 

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BA strikes: The Unite union has said it will place a 2% levy on its own branches for the next three months in the hopes of raising £700,000 to support striking cabin crew.  (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 4, P&J page 10, Courier page 14, Times page 11, Guardian page 8, Sun page 25)

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Highland Airways: Highland councils continue to look for new operators to take over routes from collapsed airline Highland Airways.  (Scotsman page 20)

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Edinburgh trams: A series of travel restrictions stemming from the tram works are due to be lifted next month until a construction dispute is settled.  (Scotsman page 24)

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Education

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Teaching shake-up: Education secretary Mike Russell will today announce plans to introduce new literacy and numeracy units which will be built into English and maths courses between S1 and S4.  The government wants to reinforce the importance of teaching English and maths in early secondary school years.  (Herald page 1)

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Health

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Nurses training: According to a new survey by the Royal College of Nursing, 49% of nurses in Scotland said they have been unable to gain access to mandatory training.  (Herald page 10)

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Politics

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Scottish finances: Alex Salmond will be meeting with Alistair Darling, George Osborne and Vince Cable in London over the next two days in order to seek guarantees Scotland’s budget will not be cut as well as present a list of SNP demands should the election produce a hung parliament.  (Herald page 2, Courier page 9)

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New expenses rules: The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has issued new regulations regarding MPs expenses.  Members will no longer be able to claim expenses for a second home although they will still be able to employ family members.  (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 6, P&J page 1, Courier page 1, Telegraph page 2, FT page 3, Times page 9, Guardian page 13, Mirror page 19, Sun page 2, Mail page 1)

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Election poll: A new ComRes poll released last night indicates the Conservatives hold a seven point lead over Labour but would still be 31 seats short of an overall majority.  (P&J page 5)

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Holyrood maintenance: A contract worth £7 million has been awarded to Aberdeen-based Trac International to maintain the Scottish parliament building over the next seven years.  (P&J page 9)