Scottish news bulletin: 8th 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

HBOS: Lord Mandelson has been accused of attempting to bully the Merger Action Group challenging the Lloyds TSB takeover of HBOS. The Competition Appeal Tribunal will begin hearing the case brought by the group today. HBOS shareholders will vote on the takeover on Friday. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Mail page 4, Times page 1, Express page 2, Record page 10, P&J page 10, Sunday Times page 4, Sunday Herald page 1, Sunday Post page 1, Scotland on Sunday page 2)

Not-for-profit: Professor John Kay, one of the Scottish Government’s economic advisers has criticised the not-for-profit-distribution (NPD) being proposed by the SNP. (Scotsman page 13)

Small businesses
: The FSB has said that a poll of 5,000 of its members has shown that 30% had seen an increase in the cost of banking in the past two months despite major lenders pledging to give extra support to small businesses. (Scotsman page 25, Herald page 28, P&J page 10)

Home owners: The Scottish Government has announced an extra £5m for the Mortgage to Rent scheme to help those at risk of loosing their homes. (Herald page 6, Mail page 19, Courier page 1, Telegraph page 8, Sunday Herald page 16)

Recession: General comment and analysis on the economic down turn. (Iain Macwhirter in the Herald, Frank Field in the Guardian, Jackie Ashley in the Guardian, FT page 2, David Smith and Richard Woods in the Sunday Times, Iain Macwhirter in the Sunday Herald, Steven Vass in the Sunday Herald, Jeremy Watson in the Scotland on Sunday, Michael Gove in the Scotland on Sunday)

Private sector:The latest Purchasing Managers Index has suggested that the firms in all sectors are struggling with the economic down turn in Scotland gathering pace in November. (Herald page 28)

Company start-ups: Figures from Companies House suggest that company start-ups in the UK are at their lowest level since 2001. (FT page 1)

Crime

Domestic abuse: A new specialist police taskforce dedicated to tackling domestic abuse will be launched today. (Herald page 1, Courier page 3)

Transport

Forth crossing: Details of how the new Forth crossing is to be funded are to be disclosed by the Scottish Government this week. (Times page 6, Courier page 1, Scotland on Sunday page 11)

Education

Headteachers: The way headteachers are trained is to be given a radical shakeup in an attempt by the Scottish Government to address the shortage of headteachers in primary and secondary schools. (Herald page 2)

Teacher incompetence: Three more teachers in Scotland face being struck of for incompetence by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. (Mail page 18, Scotland on Sunday page 5, Margo Macdonald in the Sunday Post)

Health

NHS back pay: The Scottish Government has confirmed that 8,274 NHS staff are still to receive back pay owed to them under a new health service pay structure. (Scotsman page 6, Sun page 2, Record page 4)

Diabetes: Research by Diabetes UK suggests that youngsters with diabetes who live in the most deprived parts of Scotland may not manage their illness as their more affluent counterparts. (Herald page 4)

Alcohol: Gerry Braiden in the Herald (page 13) examines Kenny MacAskill's proposals for tackling Scotland's alcohol culture.

Nicola Sturgeon: Gillian Bowditch in the Sunday Times (Ecosse page 9) interviews Nicola Sturgeon.

Politics

Speaker: Pressure is mounting on the Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin, to stand down from his position after a poll suggested that one in three backbench MPs no longer have confidence in him following the Damian Green affair. Former Deputy Speaker, Lord Naesby said that the Speaker had made a very big mistake by failing to block the police raid. (Scotsman page 1, Ross Lydall in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Mirror page 6, Mail page 10, Allan Massie in the Mail, Times page 9, Express page 4, Record page 2, P&J page 8, Guardian page 6, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, FT page 2, Sunday Times page 1, James Cusick in the Sunday Herald, Matthew Paris in the Sunday Post, Scotland on Sunday page 3)

Welfare reform: Immigrants are to be banned from claiming state benefits and council housing for up to 10 years as part of new Government proposals. Other reforms will mean that welfare claimants will have to work or prepare for a job if they are to carry on receiving benefits.
(Sun page 1, Express page 1, Leo McKinstry in the Express, Record page 2, P&J page 5, Guardian page 2, Sunday Times page 1, Scotland on Sunday page 6, Gerald Warner in the Scotland on Sunday)

Human Rights Act: The Justice Secretary Jack Straw has said he plans to overhaul the Human Rights Act because it has become a charter for criminals. (Mail page 1)

Calman Commission: Further comment on the Calman Commission and the future of Scottish devolution. Former Deputy First Minister and member of the commission, Jim Wallace has said that Reform Scotland's conclusion in the report & Fiscal Powers; that each level of government in Scotland should be responsible for raising the bulk of the money which they are responsible for spending merits proper consideration. Tavish Scott has called for the Scottish Parliament to be given borrowing powers. (Times page 6, Joan McAlpine in the Sunday Times Ecosse, Scotland on Sunday page 3, Kenny Farquharson in the Scotland on Sunday)

Free football: Labour MSP Frank McAveety has called for the introduction of a national scheme to give children free admission to football matches. (Record page 4)

Conservatives: Max Hastings in the Guardian (page 31) comments on the challenges that would face the Conservatives if they win the next election.

BBC bias: Labour MSP George Foulkes has accused the BBC of bias towards the SNP. (Sunday Times page 2, George Foulkes in the Sunday Times)

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