Scottish News Bulletin: 15th December 2008
All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.
UK economy: Further coverage and comment on the economic down turn. John Major yesterday blamed Gordon Brown for the economic train wreck facing the UK and for failing to predict savers from falls in interest rates. The former Prime Minister also predicted an avalanche of job losses next year. (Scotsman page 10, William Rees-Mogg in the Times, Telegraph page 4, Janet Daley in the Telegraph, P&J page 5, Sun page 2, Mail page 8, Iain Macwhirter in the Sunday Herald)
Public sector pensions: According to the CBI gold-plated public sector pension schemes have run up liabilities of nearly £1 trillion, which the business organisation claims private sector workers will have to pay for. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 26, Courier page 9, Times page 36, Telegraph page 4, Sun page 2, page 9, Mail page 2, Guardian page 28, FT page 2, Express page 27)
Construction industry: The Scottish Building Federation has warned that massive public sector building projects could be put at risk if the construction industry continues to decline. Figures published today show that 20,000 jobs have been lost from the industry in 2008. (Scotsman page 25, Times page 5, P&J page 16)
Minimum wage: Official figures show that nearly 3,400 Scots were paid less than the minimum wage in 2007-08. (Record page 8)
House prices: Barclays chief executive John Varlet has said that house prices are likely to fall by a further 15% next year. (Telegraph page 1)
Unemployment: Unemployment is expected to break through the 2 million barrier this week for the first time since Labour came to power. (Scotland on Sunday page 1)
Prison: A greater proportion of Scots are sent to prison than any other country in Europe according to the Council of Europe. (Herald page 2)
Methadone: Research from Glasgow University's Centre for Drug Misuse suggests that people on methadone programmes still take heroine and committed crimes to pay for the habit. (Herald page 8, P&J page 9, Sun page 2, Express page 4, Sunday Herald page 7, Scotland on Sunday page 5)
Low risk offenders: Kenny MacAskill is expected to announce this week that thousands of criminals currently jailed for up to six months will be given community sentences instead of prison under new Scottish Government plans. (Sunday Times page 6, Scotland on Sunday page 1)
West coast main line: Train journeys between London and Scotland will be up to 50 minutes quicker following completion of the west coast main line upgrade. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 11, Record page 2, P&J page 5, Mirror page 9, Express page 6)
Paying for transport projects: John Swinney has claimed that school and hospital building projects are under threat unless Westminster helps pay for transport projects. (Mail page 2, Sunday Herald page 1)
Private school fees:
Leading Scottish private schools yesterday unveiled radical changes to their fees structures in a bid to open their doors to more pupils from less-wealthy backgrounds in order to try and retain their charitable status. (Herald page 1, Andrew Denholm in the Herald)
International league tables: Jenny Hjul in the Sunday Times (page 22) comments on a n international study of attainment in maths and science has shown Scotland falling behind other countries in these two subject areas.
Winter cuts: Labour has claimed that the NHS in Scotland is more exposed to a winter crisis than at any time over the past decade because of cuts being demanded by the Scottish Government. (Herald page 4)
Absenteeism: Staff absenteeism cost the NHS in Scotland £222million last year. (Sunday Post page 1)
Local concordat: Kerry Gill in the Express (page 12) comments on problems in the concordat between local authorities and the Scottish Government.
Nuclear power: The SNP's Council of Economic Advisers has said that nuclear power should be seriously considered as an option to meet the target of cutting carbon emissions. (Times page 13)
Holyrood powers: Iain Gray has asked Professor Arthur Midwinter to write a paper for the Labour party on the scope for using tax powers to make Holyrood more accountable. While Allan Massie in the Sunday Times suggests that the economic down turn has highlighted how limited MSP's powers are. The Church of Scotland is backing moves to give Holyrood greater powers.
(Sunday Herald page 15, Sunday Times page 18, Scotland on Sunday page 8)