Scottish news bulletin: 12th 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.

Economy

HBOS: HBOS shareholders meet in Birmingham today to vote on the bank’s proposed takeover by Lloyds TSB. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 36, P&J page 5, Times page 13)

Sterling: Yesterday the pound fell to a new against the Euro with £1 being worth E1.127 – the lowest exchange rate since the introduction of the Euro. (Scotsman page 5, Commentary Martin Vander Weyerin the Telegraph, Telegraph page 1, Sun page 2, Express page 10). Criticism from Germany: Peer Steinbrueck, the German finance minister, has accused Gordon Brown of "crass Keynesianism" and “policy failure” in his fiscal stimulus package. ( Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, P&J page 5, Martin Kettle in the Guardian page 43 and page 7, Express page 6, Rosemary Righter in the Times and page 20, Mail page 1)

Sun Microsystems: The electronics giant will axe over 100 jobs at its Scottish site in view of the economic downturn. (Scotsman page 5)

Factory Slump: Firms who own factories are predicting the biggest slump in output since 1980, 42% of businesses predict falling output in the next three months (Scotsman page 30, Herald page 36)

Crime

Sentencing commission: Judges have criticised the Scottish Government’s plans for a Sentencing Council, calling the model “unsatisfactory, unworkable and unacceptable” and are concerned that through the Council judges could become the subject of direction or supervision from government or MSPs. (Herald page 16, P&J page 12, Record page 6)

Glasgow gangs: A £5m scheme is being piloted in Glasgow based on "intervention" events trialled in American cities. The Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) aims to bring together rival gang members to explain a zero tolerance approach to future fighting and offer immediate access to an array of support services. (Herald page 1)

Mobile phones in prisons : A ban on mobile phones in prison came into effect yesterday. (Herald page 2, P&J page 8, Courier page 9)

Transport

Forth crossing: Further coverage of the new scaled down version of a new Forth crossing which was announced by the Scottish Government on Wednesday. (Hamish Macdonell in the Scotsman)

Education

Jordanhill: Jordanhill School in Glasgow has maintained its position as Scotland's best state school, after topping the exam performance league tables for the fifth year running. However there are concerns that league tables are failing to give the full picture of a schools worth. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 10, P&J page 10, Mail page 4)

School absence: Official statistics from the Scottish Government show that 45,000 pupils are absent from primary and secondary schools every day in Scotland including nearly 6000 playing truant and a further 2500 taking unauthorised holidays. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 13, Courier page 11, Express page 19, Times page 25)

Health

School Clinics: Health professionals will be sent to schools to hold clinics for vulnerable children and their parents in pilot schemes aimed at improving children’s health and wellbeing. (Herald page 16)

Local Government

Council budgets: Finance Secretary John Swinney yesterday announced a 5% increase in council funding, though admitted that the bulk of this increase would pay for specific pressures on council budgets. He also told MSPs that the Scottish Government would be making £70m available to authorities to freeze council tax charges in 2009-10. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 15, P&J page 8, Courier page 1, Sun page 2, Express page 1, Times page 25, Mail page 8)

Politics

Drink Drive Limit: First Minister Alex Salmond has called for the drink drive limit to be reduced in line with most other European countries to improve road safety. (Herald page 6, Courier page 3)

Census: The upcoming census for 2011 has been criticized by Conservatives for its tailoring to the SNPs “narrow agenda”: it does not allow Scots to describe themselves as both Scottish and British. (Telegraph page 12, Courier page 3, Sun page 26, Times page 27)

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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