Scottish news bulletin: 20th January 2009
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.
RBS: The collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s share price by 66 percent has led to a further value loss of £9 billion to the bank. The collapse of the share price followed the announcements by RBS of a £28 billion loss for 2008, the biggest single loss in UK corporate history. (Scotsman page 1, page 30, Herald page 1, page 5, Times page 1, Guardian page 1, FT page 1, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Daily Mail page 1, Daily Express page 1, The Sun page 4)
Economic Crisis: Gordon Brown dismissed fears yesterday that Britain was on the verge of bankruptcy and insisted that a radical plan to underwrite unlimited amounts of banks’ bad debts was crucial to shore up the wider economy. (Scotsman page 6, Guardian page 8, Courier page 9, Press and Journal page 5, Daily Record page 4, Daily Mirror page 1)
Sterling: Sterling tumbled to its lowest level against the dollar in seven-and-a-half years this morning, as traders digested the implications of the UK Government’s latest multibillion lifeline to the banking sector. The pound shed more than six cents in early trading to hit $1.3937, its weakest point since summer 2001.(Guardian online)
Drugs Crackdown: Hundreds of arrests have been made, millions of pounds worth of drugs seized and dozens of illegal guns confiscated in a series of co-ordinated police operations against organised crime in the last five months. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill welcomed the results of a progress report yesterday and pledged to continue to support bids to crack down on organised crime. (Herald page 11)
Edinburgh Trams: Edinburgh’s tram project has been delayed by an additional three months. It is reported that the first track will not be in place until well after Easter 2009. (Scotsman page 18)
Elgin Bypass: Hamish Macdonell comments in the Scotsman on the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, and the Elgin Bypass. ( page 24)
Dental Centres: Scotland is to receive 15 new dental practices in efforts to increase access to NHS services under plans announced yesterday. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon unveiled NHS boards’ proposals to spend £82 million on new facilities. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 12, Courier page 4)
Centre for Medical Research: A £23m Centre for Health Science was opened in Inverness by Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism yesterday. The facility is dedicated to medical research and development through collaboration between the public and private sectors. (Herald page 13)
Shrinking population: Scotland will become a ‘retirement home sitting on the edge of Europe’ unless radical measures are implemented to welcome new migrants, according to the head of Scotland’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Morag Alexander, EHRC’s commissioner, has called for a national debate on what needs to be done to encourage people to settle in Scotland. (Herald page 2)
Budget: The Budget Bill goes before the finance committee today, with MSPs examining the detail of the proposals for the next year. (Herald page 6)
Conservative Cabinet Reshuffle: Ex-chancellor Kenneth Clarke has been appointed Shadow Business Secretary in David Cameron’s Shadow Cabinet at Westminster. (Herald page 6, FT page 5, Telegraph page 8, Courier page 11, Press and Journal page 10, Daily Mirror page 4, the Sun page 2)
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.