Daily Political Media Summary: 8 April 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 8 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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General Election

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Income Tax: Gordon Brown last night sought to regain the election initiative by pledging not to raise the basic rate of income tax in the next parliament, as opponents continued to taunt Labour over a planned increase in National Insurance. (Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 11, FT page 1, Daily Express page 4, Sun page 5) 

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Annabel Goldie: The Conservatives will today provide further evidence of their campaigning fire-power as Annabel Goldie takes to the air in an attempt to visit all their Scottish target seats in a day. Ms Goldie will use a helicopter to travel from Hawick in the south, Edinburgh in the east, Argyll in the west and Aberdeenshire in the north in a move echoing David Cameron\’s announcement that he had booked several aircrafts to transport him around the country. (Scotsman page 6, Times page 9, Magnus Linklater in Times page 9) 

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Battle lines: The General Election battle for Scotland is set to intensify in the next 48 hours with visits expected from the leaders of all three main UK parties. 

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Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat chief, will be the first to venture north of the Border to launch his party’s Scottish campaign this morning in Glasgow. He will be joined by one of his predecessors, Charles Kennedy, along with Tavish Scott, the leader of the Scottish Lib Dems. 

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As Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, and Iain Gray, the Labour leader at Holyrood, prepare to launch their party’s Scottish campaign in Stirling tomorrow, plans were being considered for Gordon Brown to take his leader’s tour to an as-yet-undisclosed location in Scotland this weekend. 

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Conservative HQ was pondering plans for David Cameron to come north, with a possible visit to Aberdeenshire tomorrow. (Herald page 1, STV) 

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Trust in politicians: An end to “the old politics” with a raft of radical constitutional reforms has been put forward by Gordon Brown in a bid to clean up Westminster and re-engage the public following the expenses scandal. The Prime Minister described Labour’s proposed package of measures as the “most comprehensive programme of constitutional reform for a century”. (Herald page 7, Times page 6, Guardian page 8) 

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David Cameron: David Cameron faces a knife-edge battle over the next four weeks to convert a 7 per cent opinion poll lead over Labour into an overall Commons majority.  A new Populus poll, the first to be undertaken entirely since the election was called, shows that the Conservative leader has still not convinced voters. (Times page 1, Guardian page 10_) 

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Economy

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Growth forecast: Britain will need "drastic" austerity measures to prevent public debt exploding out of control, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), has declared.

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Interest payments on the UK\’s public debt will double from 5pc of GDP to 10pc within a decade under the bank\’s "baseline scenario" before spiralling upwards to 27pc by 2040 – by far the highest among the OECD club of developed countries. Greece fares better, while Britain\’s interest burden is far worse than Italy\’s.  

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However, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicted annualised growth of 2% for the UK during the first three months of 2010 — behind Canada, the United States and France but ahead of Germany, Japan and Italy. (Telegraph page B1, Press and Journal page 13, Courier page 10, FT page 4, Daily Record page 4, Daily Mail page 2) 

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House prices: The average cost of a home rose 6.9pc from a year earlier to £168,521, the mortgage lending division of Lloyds Banking Group said in a statement. Prices increased 1.1pc from February, and are up 9.1pc from a trough in April 2009. Banks expect demand for mortgages will increase in the second quarter as interest in the housing market revives, a Bank of England survey last week showed. (Telegraph page 14) 

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Transport 

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SPT: The former head of a crisis-hit ­transport body is to receive a £60,000 payoff as the organisation attempts to draw a line under a damaging expenses scandal. Ron Culley, the £129,000-a-year head of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, resigned on health grounds in February having been at the centre of the SPT’s controversy over expenses and trips by 11 directors and executives over the past three years to destinations including China, India, Italy and the United States. SPT says the payoff “will save the public purse £20,000”, and is being made “in a manner that respects the employment rights of the chief executive”. (Herald page 1) 

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Health

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C Diff: The number of cases of C difficile being diagnosed in Scotland has fallen by almost half. The latest statistics reveal a 48% reduction in infections in the last quarter of 2009, while the number of people diagnosed with MRSA fell by 26%. (STV) 

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Politics

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Scottish Water: Ministers should remove Scottish Water from the public sector because they may soon be unable to afford the multi-million pound cost of repairing the country\’s antiquated network, a major independent report declares today. The paper by Centre for Public Policy for Regions says that keeping Scottish Water public is set to "act as a brake" on its ability to improve Scotland\’s supply system. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 4) 

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Tesco law: Thousands of lawyers have voted in a referendum on whether Scotland should introduce so-called “Tesco law”, with a very narrow margin in favour of the proposal. Following the biggest ever turnout in a Law Society referendum, 2,245 voted in favour of the introduction of alternative business structures (abs), as long as there are appropriate safeguards, while 2,221 voted against. (Herald page 5)

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