Scottish news bulletin: 20 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.


National Debt: In the nine months leading up to January, public borrowing grew to a record £67.2bn. UK government statisticians have recalculated Britain’s national debt at £1.5 trillion following the part-privatisation of Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds banking group. The CBI accused the prime minister, Gordon Brown, of lacking a coherent economic recovery strategy (Scotsman page 1, page 4, Herald page 1, Courier page 13, P&J page 15, Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 7, Daily Mail page 1, Daily Record page 2)

Baxters: Chairman and chief executive of the Baxters Group, Audrey Baxter, has been reported to have been paid half a million pounds, a pay increase of 15 per cent, despite the recently announced drop in Baxters pre-tax profits of 96 per cent. (Scotsman page 31, Herald page 35, P&J page 20)

Job Losses: 2500 jobs have been lost following the closure of Stylo, Barratts and Priceless shoe stores. Meanwhile the closure of 37 OSC stores and 8 Qube stores has resulted in a cut of 438 jobs across the UK. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 4, Courier page 3, FT page 16, P&J page 15)

RBS: Senior RBS staff have expressed anger at what they believe to be a 10 per cent pay cut, following the abolition of a profit share scheme RBS ran for 11 years (Scotsman page 16)

Stagecoach: Brian Souter, chief executive of Perth based transport group Stagecoach, has taken personal control of South West Trains, Britain’s largest commuter train network. The news follows the announcement that Ian Dobbs, the chief executive of the rail division, will be leaving at the end of the month. (Scotsman page 29,
Herald page 36, P&J page 20)

Life Technologies:: 60 jobs will be created following the expansion of Life Technologies at Inchinnan Business Park in Renfrew. (Herald page 35)


Witness Protection: Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, will outline plans at a conference today that will see judges being granted new powers, allowing witnesses to give evidence anonymously. The move is expected to be included in the forthcoming Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill next month. (Scotsman page 6, page 25)

Strathclyde Police: Allegations of bullying and harassment by some of the biggest names in the Scottish leisure industry have been made to Strathclyde police. A joint letter was sent to Strathclyde chief constable, Stephen House, on behalf of the Scottish Late-night Operators Association. (Herald page 1, page 7)


Edinburgh Trams: Business leaders in Edinburgh have urged the continued use of the city centre despite the prospect of huge disruption, following the installation of the new tram system along Princes Street. (Scotsman page 15)

Local Government

Shopping Development Council officials in Edinburgh have given the go ahead for an £850 million development intended to replace the existing St James Centre with the new St James Quarter, a mixed use development of shopping, restaurants, homes and offices (Scotsman page 18)


Budget Controls: A committee of MSPs has called for better progress in the tracking of major public building projects as they have expressed concern that too many of them are failing to be delivered on budget, and on time. (Herald page 8)

Rail services: Scotland’s top civil servants enjoy travelling First Class by rail and have clocked up a bill of almost £3 million in fares since 2005. (Daily Express page 9)

Culture: Alan Cochrane comments on the new Culture Minister, Mike Russell, and his role in the arts and the independence referendum. (Daily Telegraph page 5)

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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