Scottish news bulletin: 2nd March 2009

  • Reform Scotland
  • 2 March 2009

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.


Unemployment: A further 320,000 jobs are set to be lost during the coming 3 months as companies respond to the recession. Business advisors BDO Stoy Hayward also said that companies are streamlining to cope with the downturn in the economy. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 26, Press and Journal page 15)

Retirement Age: Scottish workers face having to work much longer than workers in the rest of the UK, with the prospect of a retirement age above 70 to help to meet the growing cost of public sector pensions. (Sunday Times page B2)

Glasgow Financial Jobs: Glasgow is poised to create 5000 financial sector jobs over the next two years, repairing some of the damage done to the Scottish banking system, according to the International Financial Services District. (Herald page 26)

Scottish Hotel Industry: Hotels in Scotland have seen a slump in occupancy rates more severe than anywhere else in the UK, the number of occupied rooms in Scotland fell by 4.1%. This is mirrored in the Scottish tourism industry in general as people visiting Scotland’s most popular tourist attractions also slumped. (Scotsman page 1)

HBOS documents: The UK Government is coming under pressure from all parties to release all the documents relating to the Lloyds TSB/HBOS merger, amid calls for transparency. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 6)

Scottish manufacturing: Orders in Scotland’s manufacturing industry are at their lowest level for 8 years, a sharp 48% decrease in orders taken in the past 3 months marks the third quarter in which order books have been hit. (Scotsman page 27, Courier page 7)

HSBC: HSBC has finally succumbed to the downturn, embarking on a £12bn cash call and slashing its dividend to bolster capital being eaten away by its troubled US arm. The Chief Executive is expected to wave his bonus in an effort to contribute to their cash raising efforts, the largest of any bank undertaken without the taxpayer. (Guardian page 28-29, Times page 38, Press and Journal page 15)

Pay Freeze: Millions of private sector workers face a pay freeze or cuts because of the economic crisis, while employees in the public sector are enjoying pay rises. (Sunday Times page 1)


Knife Crime: The tougher approach to the prosecution of knife crime is paying dividends according to a senior law officer. More than 600 people have been prosecuted with a majority being refused bail and receiving a prison sentence, this is said to have translated to fewer occurrences. (Herald page 5, Press and Journal page 9)

Gangs in Scotland: Police are planning to map gangs across Scotland over the next four weeks as part of a nationwide crackdown on youth disorder. All eight forces will carry out the scheme so that they can collate the data and figure out how best to tackle the problem. (Herald page 10)

Criminal Age of Responsibility: The criminal age of responsibility is to be raised from 8 to 12 under new plans which will be unveiled within days. The increase will bring Scotland into line with the rest of Europe and is welcomed by police. (Scotsman page 13, Press and Journal page 7, Courier page 1, Scotland on Sunday page 2)


New Forth Crossing: The UK Treasury and Scottish Government will meet this week to negotiate funding for the new Forth road bridge. Both sides appear to be as far apart as ever, as the Scottish Government wants the Treasury to bring forward money to pay for the development, while the Treasury has suggested that the Scottish Government keep the savings made in the next few years to fund the bridge. (Herald
page 8)

Edinburgh Trams: The firm at the centre of Edinburgh’s tram dispute is to make further demands for more money. After the halting progress on the exploratory testing of ground on Princes Street it has emerged that this testing has revealed that more work would need to be completed at additional cost. (Scotsman page 9)

Roads: Multimillion pound road projects in the Highlands will be on hold until at least 2017, the Scottish Government has revealed. (Press and Journal page 7)

Local Government

Destination Edinburgh Marketing Alliance: Edinburgh City Council announced that it will withdraw its annual £500,000 funding to Visit Scotland and go it alone with a Destination Edinburgh Marketing Alliance, unless the agency can prove that they are generating revenue for the capital. The move comes less than two weeks after Shetland made the decision to use its £400,000 to promote the islands separate from the centralised Visit Scotland programme. (Herald page 8, Scotsman page 5)


Stem Cell Research: Scottish scientists have made a breakthrough in ethical research by moving a step closer to the creation of stem cell treatments without using embryos. The development could curb the controversial harvesting of embryos and lead to revolutionary medical advances. (Herald page 2, Scotsman page 19, Guardian page 3)

C-Diff: American and Australian scientists have discovered that the treatments used for the deadly C-Diff hospital bug have been focusing on the wrong illness. This revelation has changed what is important to consider when fighting the bug. (Herald page 2, Scotsman page 13, Press and Journal page 11)

Cold medicine: Parents are being warned not to give their children over-the-counter cough and cold medicine as evidence has shown that they do not work and may even be harmful, according to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. (Herald
page 9, Scotsman page 10, Press and Journal page 11, Courier page 11)


Public Private Partnerships: School sports pitches have been sacrificed by schools participating in the controversial private public partnerships funding scheme. The outcome has been described as a national scandal, as Scottish school children already take part in less physical education than those in any other part of the developed world . (Herald page 1)

School Dinners: 75% of Scottish primary schools are breaking new laws on healthy eating just months after they were introduced. Despite stringent Government guidelines being introduced to help curb childhood obesity, the majority of schools are still failing to offer adequately nutritious menus. (Scotland on Sunday page 9)


Emergency EU Meeting: Gordon Brown has joined other EU members for talks regarding the economy due to fears that national protectionism will scupper the recovery. Eastern European countries have warned of a wave of potentially five million unemployed people migrating westwards unless radical action is taken to bail them out. (Herald page 6, Guardian page 21, Times page 1, David Charter in Times, Press and Journal page 5, Courier page 14)

Sir Fred Goodwin: The UK Government has warned that Sir Fred Goodwin should not rely on receiving his £693,000-a-year pension. Ms. Harman stated that all steps would be taken if he did not do the honourable thing, including changing the law. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 6, Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman, Times page 3, Press and Journal page 5, Courier page 1)

Economic Advisor: New concerns over the suitability of the First Minister’s economic advisors have been raised after it was revealed that his company is registered in a tax haven. Toscafund a £3.5bn hedge fund is registered in the Cayman Islands and is therefore not liable to pay tax to the UK treasury. (Herald page 7, Times page 5)

Royal Mail: Scottish MPs have been urged to join the opposition to the Government’s plans for the part privatisation of Royal Mail. The Prime Minister and Business Secretary are forging ahead with plans to sell 30% of Royal Mail to a private firm; the plans would also allow for further privatisation of up to 49.9% without fresh legislation. (Herald page 8, Scotsman page 19, Guardian page 4, Press and Journal page 9, Courier page 11)

Scotland’s Independence Vote: The new constitution minister has challenged other parties to allow a free vote on an independence referendum. Mr. Russell said it was “basic democracy” for the people of Scotland to be asked their views. (Herald page 8, Scotsman page 16, Courier page 7, Telegraph page 1)

New Alcohol Legislation: The radical plans to transform Scotland’s alcohol and sentencing laws have been condemned by MSPs of all parties including the SNP’s student wing. The government’s new alcohol framework which includes an increase in the purchasing age and a minimum pricing policy is set to be announced today and could be fast-tracked through Parliament in as little as six months. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Herald page 8, Scotsman page 8, Times page 9, Press and Journal page 8)

Cronyism: One of Scotland’s biggest quangos is reportedly at the centre of a cronyism row after it appointed Scottish Labour’s former general secretary to a newly created post. City Building, an off shoot of Glasgow City Council, recruited Lesley Quinn late last year as its first business development manager. (Sunday Herald page 8)

Reform Scotland is an independent, non-party think tank that aims to set out a better way to deliver increased economic prosperity and more effective public services based on the traditional Scottish principles of limited government, diversity and personal responsibility.