Scottish news bulletin: 9th January 2009

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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

Interest Rate: The interest rate has fallen to an all time low of 1.5 percent, which received mixed reviews from business and financial markets. (Scotsman page 1, page 25, Herald page 5, page 34, FT page 1, Times page 6, Daily Telegraph page 1, Courier page 1, Daily Express page 7, Sun page 13)

HBOS: HBOS pension fund trustees are dropping legal moves that could have delayed the bank’s takeover by Lloyd’s TSB. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 34, FT page 17)

Property Prices: Edinburgh property prices plummeted by 10% in the last quarter of 2008. The average selling price of a home is now less than £200,000. (Scotsman page 18)

Credit Shortage: Gordon Brown yesterday pledged action to unfreeze bank lending. The Prime Minister acknowledged the continuing credit squeeze was detrimental to the UK economy. (Herald page 1, FT page 4)

Sterling: The pound gained further ground compared with the euro yesterday moving to 1.12€, up 10 percent from its December low. (Daily Express page 7)

Crime

Short-term Prison Terms: The Scottish Government yesterday faced calls to abandon plans to phase out prison sentences of less than six months as MSPs prepare to debate the management of offenders. (Herald page 8)

Transport

Forth Road Bridge: The Conservative party said yesterday that Alex Salmond was more concerned with picking fights with Westminster than in finding the best way of financing the replacement Forth Road Bridge. ( page 11, Herald page 8, Times page 18, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 6)

Health

NHS Hospitals: Problems with the heating system in Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital have left wards without heating for months. The health board insisted the problem was sporadic, with engineers called out immediately to fix any problems when they have arisen. (Scotsman page 16)

Politics

Arts Merger:
The Scottish Government was accused of incompetence yesterday over the handling of the merger of the country’s main arts bodies, the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen. (Scotsman page 13)

Budget:
The SNP, Tories and Greens are close to a compromise which would see the Scottish Government’s budget approved. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 8, Times page 11, Telegraph page 12, Press and Journal page 9)

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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