Scottish news bulletin: 26th November 2008


Data courtesy of Reform Scotland

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.


Pre-budget report: The Institute of Fiscal Studies has backed claims made by the Lib Dems and Conservatives that people earning as little as £20,000 a year, below the UK average, would be worse off under the proposals in the pre-budget report due to the increase in National Insurance.

A leaked document has also suggested that the Chancellor considered raising VAT to 18.5%. (Scotsman page 8, Peter Jones in the Scotsman, Ross Lydall in the Scotsman, George Kerevan in the Scotsman, The Sun page 2, Ian Bell in The Herald, Daily Mail page 10, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Mirror page 9, Daily express page 12, Daily Express page 4, FT page 15, FT page 1, Andrew Pierce in The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Guardian page 35, The Guardian page 1)

Whisky: An increase by 8% in excise duty for spirits has meant that there would be an average increase of 29p per bottle of whisky claim the Scotch Whisky Association.

However, Alistair Darling is expected today to lessen the effect that increases will have, admitting that it was never intended to have a negative impact on the whisky industry. (The Herald page 6, Daily Mail page 11, Daily Express page 12, The Courier & Advertiser page 9, The P & J page 1)

Banking crisis: Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, has said that some banks may need further government bail-outs and more may need to be nationalised as banks are still not passing on the cuts in interest rates to their customers. (Scotsman page 11, The Herald page B1, The Herald page 1, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mail page 11, The Times page 3, Daily Mirror page 9, FT page 1, The Daily Telegraph page 4, The Courier & Advertiser page 10, The Courier & Advertiser page 1, The P & J page 12, The Guardian page 7)

Scottish Executive cut: Alistair Darling dismissed complaints from the Scottish Executive last night over a 2010 budget cut of up to £500million.

Mr Darling stated that First Minister Alex Salmond must be efficient in his spending in light of the budget cut and pointed out that there is currently double the sum that Donald Dewer’s administration had available 8 years ago. (Daily Mail page 11)

OECD forecast: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development announced yesterday that the UK will shrink by 1.1% next year followed by a sharp rise in unemployment.

They also added that it may be late in 2009 before economic output begins to rise again.
(The Herald page B1, The Guardian page 8)


Age of criminal responsibility: The Lord Advocate has called for the age of criminal responsibility in Scotland to be raised from eight. (Scotsman page 6, Daily Record page 2, The Times page 5, The Courier & Advertiser page 9, The P & J page 14)

Domestic abuse: There has been a 14% increase in the number of reported cases of domestic abuse in Scotland over the last four years. (Scotsman page 16, The Herald Focus page 1, Daily Mail page 17, The Times page 5)


Incompetent teachers: Hugh Reilly in the Scotsman (page 43) comments on the new procedures which allow teachers found of incompetence to be struck of by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.
This follows the news that a primary school teacher from the Stirling council area admitted incompetence and was subsequently dropped from a list of supply staff. (Daily Record page 27, Daily Express page 7, The Courier & Advertiser page 6)

EU students: Rising numbers of students from the EU are apparently moving to Scotland to study because they are entitled to free tuition whereas those from as close as England are still required to pay. (Daily Mail page 19)


STDs: Official statistics have shown an increase in the number of sexually transmitted diseases in young women in Scotland. (Scotsman page 13, The Sun page 6, Daily Mail page 8, The Courier & Advertiser page 9, The P & J page 7)

Delayed hospital discharge: The ‘blocking’ of beds by patients in Scottish hospitals is becoming an increasing problem after figures emerged showing that 92 patients were still in hospital at the end of October - more than 6 weeks after they were deemed fit to be discharged. (The Courier & Advertiser page 7)

Local Government

Local income tax: The Scottish Conservatives have claimed that under the revised economic forecast set out by the Chancellor, the introduction of a local income tax in place of the current council tax could leave a funding gap of almost £1.5billion.
(The Sun page 2, Daily Record page 2, The P & J page 12, Scotsman page 9)

Council payout: Glasgow City Council has decided to give £13million of back pay held by them over a wage dispute with unions despite the fact that only two out of three major unions have not accepted the deal. Other councils are expected to follow but the initial pay-out should affect the 26000 workers. (The Herald page 12)


Carbon emissions: An independent advisory body, the Sustainable Development Commission Scotland, has warned that there is a considerable gap between the Scottish government’s commitment to cutting carbon emissions and the actual scale of the problem. (The Herald page 6)

ID cards: Foreign nationals were yesterday issued with the first ID cards resulting in protests outside of the Home Office Immigration Centre in Glasgow as well as other cities around the UK.
Initially the cards will only be issued to those from outside of the European Economic Area but the government expects to have issued cards to 90% of all foreign nationals by 2016.
(The Herald page 6, FT page 6)

Conservative apology: Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley yesterday apologised after making comments on the potential health benefits a recession could have for the nation. (Daily Record page 2)

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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