Scottish news bulletin: 6th 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.


Scottish Economic Crisis: Three of SNP’s largest backers have called for a meeting with the First Minister, Alex Salmond in order to voice their concerns over the continued economic downturn. (Scotsman page 1)

RBS Bonuses: Anger from many senior ministers, including the Prime Minister and Lord Mandelson, has been expressed over the reported pay of bonuses to senior RBS staff despite the bank’s continued financial problems. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 2, Times page 2, Telegraph page 10, Daily Record page 6, Daily Mirror page 15)

Baugur: A proposed sale of a 35 per cent stake in the House of Fraser may be put on hold after it has following recent troubles of current stake holder Baugur. (Scotsman page 13, Guardian page 33)

Scottish Insolvencies: There has been an almost 70 per cent over the past year in the number of Scottish companies being made insolvent. PriceWaterhouseCoopers have said financial services; construction and transport industries are amongst the hardest hit. (Scotsman page 30, Times page 8)

RBS Sales: The Royal Bank of Scotland has withdrawn the sale of its insurance arm as bids have failed to match the £6-7 million price tag. Chef Executive, Stephen Hester, yesterday declared that insurance assets remain a core part of the group’s future signalling a departure from the previous management’s strategy. (Scotsman page 30, Herald page 36)

Standard Life: Anne Gunther has announced her departure as chief executive of Edinburgh based bank Standard Life. This comes as a result of a complete restructuring of the business in respect of the collapsing mortgage market. Although Standard Life will remain a unique corporate entity the chief executive’s role will not be refilled, instead John Gill, the founding financial director, will assume responsibility for the bank’s governance. (Scotsman page 33)

Schering Plough: US pharmaceutical giant Schering Plough is to invest more than £20m in the Organon Biosciences plant in Newhouse Lanarkshire. John Swinney has described the move as a “welcome boost for Scotland’s life science-industry”. (Herald page 35)

Interest rates: Borrowing costs still have further to fall after the Bank of England cut UK interest rates by another half a percentage point to hit a 315-year low of 1 percent, economists forecast yesterday. (FT page 1, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 6, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mail page 1, Sun page 5 , Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 12

Royal Mail: Up to 16,000 Royal Mail workers may be axed in a huge cost-cutting plan. (Daily Mirror page 1)

High Street: The closure of 17 more Zavvi stores in the UK has resulted in the closure of the Aberdeen branch and the loss of 24 jobs. (Scotsman page 33, Herald page 6)

Local Government

Dumfries and Galloway: The chief executive of Dumfries and Galloway council, Phil Jones, has announced his early retirement. This follows Audit Scotland’s draft report listing failings on the part of the managerial and political leadership. (Herald page 7)


New MS Link: Multiple Sclerosis could be prevented through daily Vitamin D supplements, scientists have discovered. The news has momentous implications for Scotland, where the incidence of MS is amongst the highest in the world. (Times
page 11)


Stirling University: A centre for elite athletes has won a £1m grant from the Scottish Funding Council. The Winning Students scholarship led by the University of Stirling is aimed at future and present sports students believed to have the potential to reach the top of their sport. (Herald page 13)

Edinburgh Rector: George Galloway has withdrawn his candidacy for the post of rector at the University of Edinburgh citing pressures at work as the cause. (Times page 4, Scotsman
page 17)

Early Years Strategy: The Scottish Government has produced an “early years” framework which Ministers set out a new vision for youngsters. Labour has claimed that more needs to be done, accusing the government of failing to fund the policy and of cutting the number of nursery teachers. (Courier page 11)


Borrowing Powers: MSPs last night backed calls for the Scottish Government to have its own borrowing powers, following a motion by the Liberal Democrats fully backed by the SNP. (Herald page 10)

Public Sector: Despite the recent success of the approval of the SNP budget it has been suggested that apprehension within the business community has deepened over the scale and extent of the recession. Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman. ( page 24)

Voting Reform: Bank bench MPs debate the current voting system of proportional representation and its role in Scotland. (Scotsman page 15)

Public Buildings: Scottish Labour has reportedly said the value of public infrastructure projects being commissioned fell from £1.3 billion in 2007, to £303 million in 2008 under the SNP administration. (Telegraph
page 15)

Homecoming: Alex Salmond was reportedly at the centre of a new Homecoming propaganda row after it was revealed that new bus adverts for the tourism drive would only appear in Scotland. (Daily Express page 9, Courier page 11)

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.


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