Scottish news bulletin: 21st November 2008

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Data courtesy of Reform Scotland

Fiscal Powers: Reform Scotland yesterday published its fifth report, ‘Fiscal Powers’, which called for Scotland to be given the power to raise the money it spends and have its own Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. (Scotsman page 6, Record page 2, Herald page 6, Mail page 8, Sun page 2, Times page 31, Courier page 12)

Economy

Retail: High street shares have defied predictions of a pre-Christmas slump with £5.3bn a week being taken in October, though the British Retail Consortium said the figures failed to convey how tough things were for both traders and shoppers. (Scotsman page 6,Herald page 5)

HBOS & RBS: Further coverage of HBOS and RBS as Sir Fred Goodwin stands downs as RBS chief executive and Sir Peter Burt and Sir George Mathewson are set to end their battle to keep HBOS independent. (Scotsman page 1, Peter Jones in the Scotsman, Record page 2, Herald page 33 and page 1, Times page 53 and page 11, Guardian page 37, Express page 10 and page 2, Courier page 1, Telegraph Business page 1, Sun page 2)

Recession: Further comment and analysis on the economic slowdown. (John Swinney in the Scotsman, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Guardian page 43, P&J page 8, FT page 4 and page 1, Telegraph Business page 1, Jeff Randal in the Telegraph)

Mortgage Debt: A survey of estate agents has suggested that more than one in five homes on the market are up for sale because their owners cannot afford the mortgage repayments. (Times page 1)

Petrol Prices: The RAC has predicted that the price of petrol will fall by 7 pence a litre before Christmas after the price of a barrel dropped below the $50 mark. (Guardian page 33, Express page 1, P&J page 8)

Public Sector Jobs: An extra 50,000 civil servants will have been recruited in the last six months despite the economic situation. The Centre for Economic and Business Research predicts that in 300,000 private sector jobs will have been lost in the same period. (Telegraph page 1)

Taxes: John Swinney has called on Alistair Darling to cut taxes and increase spending in his pre-budget report, while the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable has said anything less than a £30bn injection of spending and tax cuts would smack of “tokenism” (Courier page 12, Herald page 6)

Crime

Speeding: Following a consultation by the Department for Transport the Government has put forward proposals wherein drivers will gain six points on their license if caught speeding excessively. The government is also looking into plans to cut the drink drive limit. They further pledge to get tough on drivers under the influence of drugs. (Record page 2, Herald page 1, Guardian page 4, Telegraph page 27, Sun page 2)

Criminal assets seized: Almost £3m of property and possessions have been seized from dangerous crime lords in Tayside under the Proceeds of Crime Act. (P&J page 4)

Education

Continuing Professional Development: CDP is being wiped out in schools as the budgets are slashed by local authorities. This is despite wide consensus that it is a very important programme. (Times Educational Supplement page 1,)

Health

C difficile outbreak: The Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon was accused by opposition parties of being the only obstacle into a public inquiry into C difficile deaths in Scotland. (Scotsman page 7, Record page 2, Courier page 6, Telegraph page 14, Sun page 2, Times page 31)

Politics

Local News: MSPs from all parties are backing a motion aimed at getting the BBC to scrap plans for local news websites which it is feared may damage local newspapers. (Herald page 8,)

Clean Fuel Plant: A 2bn pound power station is being planned which could have the potential to provide electricity for two million homes in Scotland. It will be powered by both clean coal and biomass fuel. (Herald page 1,)

Failure of Banks: The Chancellor Alistair Darling is reportedly so exasperated by the failure of banks to lend to small business struggling in the slow down that he is looking at changing the law to force the banks into action. (Mail page 1,)

State act as Banks: Shadow chancellor George Osborne called on the government to act as a bank lending directly to business if banks continue to fail in lending. (FT page 2,)

Quangos: The Scottish Government has been criticised for offering the head of a new quango, Skills Development Scotland, £10,000 a month. (Sun page 2)

Comment on Pre Budget Report: Samuel Brittan in FT

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.

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