Scottish news bulletin: 4th February 2009



GDP: Britain’s economy is set to contract this year at its sharpest rate in 60 years and will only see an insipid recovery in 2010, says the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. GDP is poised to contract a further 2.7 percent this year. (FT page 2)

Dyson jobs: A factory in Milngavie, Glasgow, which makes parts for Dyson cleaners, is due to relocate to Malaysia despite efforts by Unite to prevent this, causing a loss of 89 skilled jobs for the area. (The Scotsman page 10)

North Sea unemployment: A report published yesterday warns that the majority of the North Sea’s oil giants will be forced to cut jobs and the weakest of these are likely to go out of business as the recession hits the oil and gas industry. (The Scotsman page 10 & page 25, The P & J page 5)

Tourism grants: Tourist industry leaders at a conference in Musselburgh yesterday discussed plans that could see businesses focussed on tourism receiving up to £30,000 in order to develop new ways of attracting visitors. It was hoped that this could help increase Scotland’s profile as a tourist destination in light of the recession. (The Herald page 7, The Courier & Advertiser page 9)

Energy Bills: Energy bills in Britain are rising faster than almost anywhere in the west. A report from the OECD shows that gas and electricity bills in Britain are 12.1 percent higher than a year ago. (Telegraph page 8)

RBS: A radical shakeup of senior executives at Royal Bank of Scotland was brought a step closer yesterday by the surprise early departure of the bank’s chairman, Sir Tom McKillop. (Guardian page 24, FT page 19, Daily Express page 4)

‘Bad Bank’: Alistair Darling yesterday admitted taxpayers may have to buy toxic assets from Britain’s banks to help kick-start lending, which would add a ‘bad bank’ scheme to the UK government’s existing plans to insure banks against unexpected losses.(FT page 1)

Lloyds TSB: About 785 top managers from across Lloyds and HBOS must compete for slightly more than 400 roles in the new Lloyds banking group as it prepares to integrate its senior management teams. (FT page 19)


Speed detectors: The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland yesterday advised that Scotland’s eight forces should stop using their commonly-employed speed detection system (Vascar) due to problems concerning its reliability. (The Herald page 1 & page 3)


Rail Plans: More rail services should be included in a fast-track planning process, Holyrood’s economy committee yesterday urged the Scottish Government. (Scotsman page 3 & page 7)

Local Government

Glenrothes by-election register: SNP MSP for Central Fife, Tricia Marwick yesterday called for an independent enquiry into the loss of the register detailing those who voted in the Glenrothes by-election. It was apparently lost within days of being returned to the sheriff clerk in Kirkcaldy and an investigation by the Scottish Court Service is already underway. (The Herald page 6, The Courier & Advertiser page 1, The P & J page 15, Telegraph page 6, Guardian page 10, Daily Express page 8, Sun page 28)

Public Sector Pensions: Council tax payers in Scotland contributed on average £300 to local authority pensions and in total the taxpayer contribution has now reached nearly £600million a year. (Daily Mail page 1)

Fringe Enquiry: The management of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival were described as ‘weak’ yesterday in a report which looked into the ticket purchasing process following problems during the event last year. (The Times page 15)


Neuron research: Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have pioneered a technique which it is hoped could be used in the future to replace damaged nerve or muscle fibre through the use of micro-chips. (The Scotsman page 6)


Parent Power: Reform Scotland Director, Geoff Mawdsley, has a comment piece in The Scotsman on the Scottish education system. (The Scotsman page 28)

Work-related courses: From the next academic year onwards, the Scottish Funding Council is planning on offering additional funds to universities who want to increase the employability of graduates by expanding work-related learning. (The Herald page 1 & page 4)


SNP Budget: The Scottish Government was yesterday finally able to ensure its budget for the coming year after the SNP gained the support it needed from the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and independent MSP, Margo MacDonald. (The Scotsman page 8, The Herald page 1, The Times page 5, The Courier & Advertiser page 10, The P & J page 1, The Daily Telegraph page 2, Guardian page 9, Daily Express page 8, Sun page 2)

SNP call against nuclear weapons: Angus Robertson MP made calls at a conference in Edinburgh yesterday for Scotland to be rid of nuclear weapons. This came under criticism from Labour who claimed that Scotland would be left defenceless and continued that it could not afford to lose the 11,000 jobs that the Trident nuclear project on the Clyde provides. (The Scotsman page 15, The Courier & Advertiser page 3, The P & J page 9)

National Portrait Gallery makeover: The National Galleries of Scotland yesterday confirmed the plans of Edinburgh’s National Portrait Gallery to close in April for a three-year £17.4million refurbishment following the successful campaign to buy ‘Diana and Actaeon’. (The Scotsman page 16, The Herald page 9)


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