Scottish news bulletin: 2nd December 2008

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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.

Data courtesy of Reform Scotland

Economy

VAT: Comment on consumers’ shopping habits as the reduction in VAT came into force yesterday. (Scotsman page 1, Martyn Mclaughlin in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Marianne Taylor in the Herald, Guardian page 8, Telegraph page 8)

Interest rates: Figures released yesterday showed that the value of new mortgages being offered fell by two thirds in October, increasing pressure on the Bank of England to cut interest rates further. (Scotsman page 6, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Mail page 2, P&J page 12, FT page 1)

Home reports: The Burning Issue in the Scotsman (page 23) is between SNP MSP Stuart McMillan, who backs the introduction of home reports, and Tory MSP David McLetchie, who is against.

Scottish tax cuts: Jeremy Purvis in the Scotsman (page 28) argues that the Scottish economy is in need of tax cuts.

RBS: Further coverage of RBS’s decision to give struggling homeowners a period of six months grace before launching repossession action. (Herald page 4, Sun page 2, Guardian page 25, Express page 4, Record page 2, Telegraph page 8, P&J page 12)

Recession: Further comment on the economic slowdown. (Alf Young in the Herald, Alan Duncan in the FT)

Crime

Luxury prison cells: Opposition politicians have complained that conditions at the new maximum security prison in West Lothian are too luxurious with every cell having digital flat screen TVs. (Express page 2, Record page 21)

Transport

Scotland’s transport network: The Scottish Chambers of Commerce has said that Scotland’s “dilapidated” transport network is costing the economy billions of pounds a year and inhibiting investment. (Herald page 6, Telegraph page 11)

Scotrail: Last night a call for the axing of First ScotRail’s rail franchise, following a damning report from Audit Scotland, was rejected. (Sun page 6, P&J page 15)

Health

Cervical Cancer: Poor women are twice as likely to develop cervical cancer than those who are better off, according to a study by the National Cancer Intelligence Network. (P&J page 5)

Local Government

Council tax freeze: Angus Macleod in the Times (page 23) comments on the dispute between councils and the Scottish Government over funding to provide a freeze in next year’s council tax.

Politics

Damian Green: Further coverage following the Conservative MP’s arrest last week.

The civil servant accused of leaking the documents to the MP has said he acted in the public interest. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Guardian page 7, Iain Dale in the Guardian, Mirror page 6, Times page 5, Rachel Sylvester in the Times, Mail page 6, Record page 6, Telegraph page 1, Andrew Gimson in the Telegraph, P&J page 10, Courier page 10, FT page 4, Philip Stephens in the FT)

Euro: The Government has denied suggestions that it is moving closer to scrapping the pound and joining the Euro. (Scotsman page 10, Sun page 2, Express page 1, Patrick O’Flynn in the Express, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph, P&J page 11, FT page 4)

Scotland’s Homecoming: Hamish Macdonell in the Scotsman (page 24) comments on the Scottish Government’s TV advert for Scotland’s Homecoming in 2009, which features a number of Scottish celebrities, and questions why it won’t be shown outside Scotland. Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph (page 10) comments that the year of homecoming should not become too party political.

Opinion poll: A poll carried out by ComRes for the Independent has closed the gap between Labour and the Conservatives to 1% - with Labour on 36% and the Conservatives on 37%. The Lib Dems were on 17% and others on 10%. (Herald page 6, Mirror page 6, Record page 6, Telegraph page 1)

Welfare reform: The Government is expected to announce further welfare reforms so that lone parents with a child over the age of one will have to prepare themselves for work or face sanctions. (Guardian page 1, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, Mirror page 6, Telegraph page 1)

Calman Commission: The Calman Commission’s interim report is due out today and is expected to outline a number of questions about devolution which need to be answered. (Telegraph page 10)

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.

www.reformscotland.com

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