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Daily Political Media Summary: 6 April 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 6 April 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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Personal debt: The average British adult owes nearly £6,000 in non-mortgage related debt according to a survey carried out by lovemoney.com.  Edinburgh is the UK’s second most debt ridden city. (Scotsman page 22)

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Construction: The Scottish Government said yesterday that employment in construction fell by 12% last year. (Scotsman page 26, P&J page 7, Courier page 8)

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Public sector pensions: The Confederation of British Industry has renewed its call for the government to review public sector pensions which the business group says are unsustainable.  (Herald page 1, P&J page 8, Times page 38, Guardian page 22, FT page 4, Express page 1, Mail page 4)

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Scottish business shut downs: HM Revenue and Customs has won court orders to shut down 466 companies in Scotland in 2008 and 2009, nearly one every working day.  (Scotland on Sunday page 1)

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Health

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Methadone: A coalition of experts has defended the effectiveness of methadone as a substitute for heroin.  It comes as the director of the Centre for Drug Misuse Research at the University of Glasgow called for greater efforts to treat addicts through abstinence.  (Monday’s Scotsman page 1)

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C. diff death: NHS Tayside has closed a ward at the Perth Royal Infirmary after an elderly patient died after contracting the superbug Clostridium Difficile.  (Monday’s P&J page 1, Monday’s Courier page 1)

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Education

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Teachers moving to England: The number of Scottish teachers signing up with the General Teaching Council for England rose by 25% last year. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 4, Times page 11, Express page 2, Mail page 8)

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Teacher strikes: The National Union of Teachers has combined with the largest public sector union to hold simultaneous strike ballots if pay is frozen or pensions cut.  (Times page 11)

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In an editorial in Monday’s Scotsman, Education Secretary Michael Russell argues that local authorities and teachers need to be granted greater autonomy in the management of their schools in order to maximise educational achievement for Scottish students.

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Transport

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Tram tax: A tax on builders of developments within a 10-minute walk of tram stops in Edinburgh has raised only £12.5 million, short of its target of £23 million.  The tax is meant to help fund the construction of Edinburgh’s tram network.  (Herald page 2)

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Politics

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General election: Gordon Brown has announced that the general election will take place on 6 May. The parties have already started campaigning for the general election over the last few days with new campaign posters and stunts being unveiled.  (Scotsman page 1, State of the parties in the Scotsman, Allan Massie in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, P&J page 1, Telegraph page 1, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, Times page 1, John Curtice in the Times, Rachel Sylvester in the Times, Guardian page 1, Alastair Campbell in the Guardian, Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the Guardian, Julian Glover in Monday’s Guardian, FT page 1, Sun page 1, Express page 5, Leo McKinstry in Monday’s Express, Mail page 6, Chris Moncrieff in the Mail, Record page 6, Mirror page 4, Kenny Farquharson in Scotland on Sunday, Eddie Barnes in Scotland on Sunday, Sunday Times page 13)

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Lib Dems: Nick Clegg accused David Cameron of “treating people like fools” and said he feels the public have been “let down” by Labour as he launched one of his party’s election “battle buses” yesterday.  (P&J page 5, Telegraph page 7)

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National Insurance: Chancellor Alistair Darling has defended his plans to raise NI contributions 1% next year saying the rise won’t endanger job creation.  The Tories, meanwhile, continue to deny that they will raise VAT in order to fund their NI rate cut.  (Herald page 6, P&J page 5, Telegraph page 6, Boris Johnson in Monday’s Telegraph, Duncan Hamilton in Scotland on Sunday)

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Living wage: Labour plan to put the living wage policy at the centre of their election manifesto.  The policy would see public sector workers and private sector employees on government contracts in London earn a minimum of £7.60 per hour.  (Telegraph page 7)

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Marriage tax break: The Conservatives are putting the final touches on a £600 million tax break for married couples.  The plan focuses especially on the disadvantaged, with younger couples with small children likely to benefit the most from the move.  (Monday’s Telegraph page 4)

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Chris Grayling: The Tory shadow home secretary is facing calls for his sacking after he made comments to a meeting of the Centre for Policy Studies in which he said bed and breakfast owners should have the right to refuse gay couples accommodation.  (Monday’s Scotsman page 8 , Monday’s Record page 2)

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Scotland Week: Michael Russell has been criticised for using the tax-payer funded trip to the USA for Scotland Week to promote independence. (Scotsman page 10, P&J page 9, Courier page 8, Times page 15, Express page 8)

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Steven Purcell: The Crown Office has confirmed it is in talks with police about launching a criminal investigation of the former Glasgow council leader.  (Monday’s Herald page 2, Joan McAlpine in the Sunday Times)

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Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has renewed SNP calls for an independent inquiry into the downfall of Steven Purcell.  (Herald page 6, Herald page 6)

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Candidate resignation: Heather MacLeod, Conservative candidate for Glasgow South West, has quit the election race and likened the Scottish Tories to a “nest of vipers”.  (Monday’s Record page 2, Sunday Herald page 1)

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Labour passport warning: A warning from Labour that Scottish independence would mean passport controls on the border with England has been branded a “stunt” by the SNP.  (Monday’s Telegraph page 8)

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Outgoing MP pensions: MPs not standing at this general election are set to receive public pensions totalling £153 million.  (Monday’s Express page 1)

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\r\nQuango expenses: Finance Secretary John Swinney will ask all public sector organisations to cut down on their expenses arguing excessive spending has no place in this new age of public finance austerity.  (Sunday Times page 3)