Scottish News Bulletin: 16th December 2008


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.


Sterling: The pound fell to another new low against the euro yesterday, at one point falling below the 90 cent mark, though closed at 1.1196 euros. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 32)

Madoff fraud: RBS could lose up to £400million following the collapse of the Madoff Hedge fund and the arrest of Bernard Madoff for allegations of fraud involving up to $50billion. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, Alf Young in the Herald, Sun page 12, Express page 1, Times page 6, David Wighton in the Times, Mail page 6, Alex Brummer in the Mail, Record page 1, Mirror page 8, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 6, P&J page 1, Courier page 1, FT page 1)

Energy prices: Energy companies are facing increased government pressure to pass on cuts in prices to domestic customers. (Scotsman page 10, Hamish Macdonell in the Scotsman, Express page 4)

Economic crisis: David Cameron yesterday called for an investigation into the causes of the financial crisis insisting that City executives should be prosecuted for any criminal wrongdoing, while Tessa Jowell has said that the British economy is facing the worst recession in its history. (Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Express page 9, Telegraph page 4, Guardian page 4, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, P&J page 5, Courier page 11, FT page 2)


Forth Road Bridge:
Bridge officials are considering whether they can delay the replacement of worn-out carriageway extension joints until a new crossing opens in 2016 to avoid major traffic disruption. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 11, P&J page 1, Courier page 9)

Glasgow to London: Alistair Dalton in the Scotsman (page 13) comments on the faster train service from Scotland on the west coast main line.
The new upgrade was brought to a halt on yesterday on its first day of the new timetable when a £2 fuse blew. (Mail page 4, Record page 12)


Student support: The SNP has been attacked for failing to deliver its election manifesto pledge of replacing the student loans system with means-tested grants. (Herald page 1, Record page 2, Telegraph page 6, P&J page 15, Courier page 6)

Private schools: The head of Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow has argued that the rules that the school needs to abide by to retain charitable status would force the school to offer places to fewer children from poorer backgrounds. (Times page 8)


Health inequalities: Lindsay Moss in the Scotsman (page 38) reports on the Scottish Government’s plan to eradicate health inequalities.

Wind turbines: NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde has revealed plans to put six wind turbines on top of Inverclyde Royal hospital. (Herald page 4)

White coats: Doctors in Scotland will be banned from wearing white coats or ties under new uniform rules to be announced today in order to help reduce the risk of hospital acquired infections. (Sun page 1)

Elected health boards: The Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee has given only conditional backing to the Scottish Government’s proposal of elected health boards. The committee said that while there was a need to improve public accountability, the results of pilot schemes should be compared with other schemes. (Times page 8, Mail page 17)


Royal Mail: An independent study into the future of the Royal Mail is expected to call for a radical shake-up of the service, with possibly a large stake sold to a foreign company. (Scotsman page 7, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, P&J page 10, FT page 2)

Public sector pensions: A blunder has meant that thousands of people in receipt of public sector pensions have been overpaid for years.
The government has said it will not “claw back” the overpayments immediately but individuals would be forced to accept lower payments in the future. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 6, Mail page 1, Record page 6, Guardian page 1, FT page 1)

Early election?: Speculation over the possibility of an early general election continues after Labour peer Lord Sainsbury donated £500,000 to the party. (Herald page 6, Peter Riddell in the Times, Mail page 2)

Lord Mandelson: Rachel Sylvester in the Times (page 27) suggests that Peter Mandelson has been repositioning himself since his return to government as a close ally of the Prime Minister.

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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