Scottish news bulletin: 15th 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.

HBOS: Up to 10,000 staff in Bank of Scotland’s corporate banking division will miss out on tens of millions of pounds in performance related pay outs, as the company is to cut bonuses for the first time in its history. A further comment by Bill Jamieson is in the Scotsman. (Scotsman page 1, page 4)

Mortgages: Banking giant HSBC has launched a mortgage with a record low rate of 3 percent. The deal will only be available to people who have a 40 per cent deposit and qualify to be a HSBC Premier customer. (Scotsman page 6, Daily Mail page 29)

State bank: Peter MacMahon comments on the UK Government’s rescue plan for banks. (Scotsman page 31, FT page 2)

Credit: Lending business organisations gave a guarded response yesterday to the UK Government’s £11bn loan guarantee package with criticism that it did not go far enough to help businesses starved of credit. (Guardian page 23, page 30)

Revenue and Customs: The Revenue and Customs agency has been condemned in a scathing report by the Parliamentary Ombudsman for maladministration that left businessman Edward Fowler’s business in ruins. (Herald page 2, Press and Journal page 11, Daily Record page 15, Daily Express page 5)

Crime

Lockerbie: Official talks are being held in secret which could result in the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al Megrahi, being sent back to Libya under a diplomatic deal. (Herald page 1)

Transport

Airlines: Edinburgh has eclipsed Prestwick as Ryanair’s busiest Scottish base with the announcement of 7 new routes, bringing the total to 30. (Scotsman page 3)

Local Government

Council Reform: Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell joins the council reform debate on reshaping Scotland by saying radical overhaul needs to occur to avoid further economic decline. (Herald page 6)

Education

Budget Freeze: Schools run by Glasgow City Council have been issued an unprecedented freeze on budgets for essential materials, staff training and supply teachers in an attempt to reduce the council’s £3m budget deficit. (Herald page 1)

Dyslexia: Labour MP Graham Stringer claimed that dyslexia is a ‘made-up malady to cover for bad teaching’. Dyslexia experts and charities have refuted this controversial claim and fear that this could mark the resurgence of dyslexia sufferers being branded as stupid or lazy. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 13, Telegraph page 12)

Scottish Qualifications Authority: Former First Minister Jack McConnell called for Graham Houston, the new head of the SQA, to stand down as he is an SNP politician and further accused the Scottish Government of cronyism. (Courier page 3, Times page 3)

Politics

Budget: Scottish Ministers enjoyed a comfortable victory at the first stage of the Budget bill last night, as only Liberal Democrats voted against the bill. Finance Secretary John Swinney appeared to accede to the Green party’s demand for £1 billion of free insulation for all houses over 10 years. (Herald page 10, Times page 3, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 9)

MSP Expenses: It is reported that MSP Bill Butler had an expense bill rejected by the Scottish Parliament after trying to get reimbursed for a £1 charity donation. It was just one of £1,000 worth of claims from MSPs rejected since May 2007 by Scottish Parliament authorities. (Scotsman page 3)

Royal Mail: Lord Mandelson told a meeting of 60 Labour MPs that the UK Government will press ahead with the part-privatisation of the Royal Mail. (Guardian page 12, Daily Mail page 13)

Homecoming: The First Minister stated yesterday that the Year of Homecoming would be a success and could help bring Scotland through the recession if the country supported the events over the next 12 months. (Herald page 12, Press and Journal page 8)

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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