Scottish news bulletin: 2nd February 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.


Economic Crisis: Comments on the increasing economic crisis by Gavin McCrone in the Scotsman, Bill Jamieson in Scotsman, Times page 43)

Energy: The Scottish Government is laying the groundwork for economic recovery by investing in jobs in renewable green energy industries and research. John Swinney, The Finance Secretary, has reportedly pledged to create at least 16,000 ‘green’ jobs in Scotland over the next decade. (Herald page 6, Scotland on Sunday page 1)

Unemployment: Long-term unemployment is set to rocket with more than 300,000 people expected to join the ranks of those unemployed. (FT page 1)

Scottish Recession: Scotland’s most senior public health official, Dr Laurence Gruer, has warned that ‘humanity is on a path towards unprecedented catastrophe’ and the Scottish economy is sinking at a faster rate than at any time since the Great Depression. (Sunday Times page 5 )

HBOS employees: Union leaders are investigating the savings scheme at HBOS after staff savings, in the form of bank shares, worth millions of pounds were almost entirely wiped out. (Scotsman page 1)

Foreign workers: The UK Government has been accused of inflaming the anger over foreign workers after meeting with union leaders in a bid to defuse the escalating dispute. Protests are set to spread across Scotland and the UK, including demonstrations at Westminster and Holyrood. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 1 and page 8, Iain Macwhirter in Herald, Telegraph page 1 and page 8, Janet Daley in Telegraph, Times page 3, Press and Journal page 1, FT page 2, Daily Record page 6, Daily Mail page 6-7, Daily Mirror page 6, Daily Express page 1, Guardian page 1)


Children’s DNA: Thousands of children in Scotland face being treated as criminals for the rest of their life under proposals to extend the national DNA database. Currently children cannot have their fingerprints or DNA retained by the police if they are dealt with by the Children’s hearing system. (Scotsman page 37)

Prisons: The Scottish Government has been criticised for its failure to act on overcrowding in Scottish prisons, figures show that 6 prisons are operating above their assessed operational limit. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the problem built up under the eight years of Labour/Lib Dem government. (Herald page 11, Press and Journal page 7)


Snow: Heavy snow storms have caused chaos across Britain as some airports in London were forced to close due to the conditions. A number of train services were also delayed or cancelled, and blizzards have caused the closure of some roads. The snow storm which is creating the extreme weather in the south of England (up to 10 inches is forecast) is likely to sweep north in the coming days, potentially disrupting transport in Scotland. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 7, Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 6, Daily Mirror page 5)


Mental Health: Scotland faces a mental health epidemic cause by soaring house repossessions and evictions. The report comes as Citizens Advice Scotland reveals that the number of concerns about homelessness has doubled since 2000. (Herald page 10)

Superbug: A potentially more dangerous form of the C diff bug has been discovered in Scottish hospitals. The news has sparked calls for more action to combat hospital-acquired infections. (Scotland on Sunday page 9)


University principles: Some university principles in Scotland have accepted a near 10% pay increase at a time when higher education is dealing with the tightest financial settlement since devolution. ( Herald page 1, Andrew Denholm in Herald)

Crumbling Schools: 10,000 Scottish school children are being educated in crumbling and condemned state schools that will not be rebuilt for many years because of chronic cash shortages. More than 80 schools are in such an appalling state that they have been officially declared beyond economic repair. (Scotland on Sunday page 1)


Scottish budget: Alex Salmond is due to meet Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray for what is hoped will be the final step in securing support for the SNP budget, after the First Minister chaired an afternoon conference call with his fellow Cabinet Ministers on how to finesse the £33 billion package so that it attracts unanimous support from MSPs. Business leaders have called for a cross-party coalition, demanding a more consensual approach from all parties. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 6, Times page 5, Press and Journal page 11, Sunday Herald page 5, Sunday Times page 1, page 12, Tom Peterkin in Scotland on Sunday)

Parliament review: The Scottish parliament last year hired a management consultancy, Turner & Townsend, to review the operation of its senior management. However Holyrood chief executive Paul Grice has reportedly refused to publish the final report amidst speculation about its contents. (Sunday Herald page 15)

Challenge 21: The Scottish Labour Party issued a set of “workable” measures urged at curbing underage drinking, an alternative plan to the Scottish government’s plan to raise the drinking age to 21. This has been launched to try and build a “healthy culture” where youngsters expect to be challenged when buying alcohol. (Scotsman page 13 , Press and Journal page 9)

Coal: The head of the UK’s largest coal producer has said that a return to deep mining in Scotland is essential if the Scottish Government is going to stick to its commitment to coal-fired power stations. (Scotsman page 25, Erika Askeland in Scotsman)

People’s bank: Business secretary Lord Mandelson is backing plans to create a people’s bank to provide a full range of financial services and lending, using the Post Office’s 12,000 strong network. (Herald page 6, Telegraph page 2, Daily Mail page 3, Daily Express page 11)

Bio gas: Up to half of all the UK’s homes could be heated by gas made from waste food or sewage according to research for utility firm National Grid. This would help reach targets to source 15% of all energy from renewables by 2020. (Herald page 13, Press and Journal page 10)

Working Mothers: The increasing number of working mothers has contributed to the break-down of the family unit with a generation of children emotionally damaged, according to a report on childhood. (Telegraph page 1, Herald page 10, Scotsman page 6)

Cronyism: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has been called on to investigate a cronyism row over payments to consultants within his own department. (Sunday Herald page 4)

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.