Scottish news bulletin: 24th February 2009

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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.

Economy

RBS: Shares in RBS rose yesterday after its chief executive proposed a radical restructuring of the bank which would see it split into a “good bank” and a “bad bank”. There was speculation that this could provide a model for other crisis-hit banks. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 32, Times page 8, P&J page 10).

Lloyds Banking Group: The Chancellor is reportedly preparing to drop the £480m interest charge on a taxpayer-funded loan in order to ease pressure on the bank (FT page 1).

Crime

Rape Trial: A woman who was placed overnight in jail for running out of court while giving evidence in a rape trial has called for the judge who presided over the case to be sacked. Ann Robertson was arrested for failing to provide testimony (Scotsman page 16).

Transport

Edinburgh Trams: The completion date for the tram project could be delayed by up to 70 weeks due to delays in moving underground pipes and cables. It is also reported that costs could increase significantly on the second phase of the network (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 7, Times page 18, Telegraph page 2).

Health

Blood Inquiry: There were calls for the expansion of the Scottish inquiry into why contaminated blood products were given to thousands of NHS patients after the publication of a separate inquiry in England. Currently the inquiry does not have the power to compel witnesses to give evidence (Herald page 6).

Politics

First Minister in Washington DC: Alex Salmond became the first Scottish First Minister to meet the US Secretary of State yesterday. He had a 25-minute meeting with Mrs Clinton to discuss the environment and the Saltire prize (Scotsman page 8, Times page 8, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 1, Herald page 1).

Power lines: The former chairman of Scottish Power has called for the Scottish Government to consider an alternative plan to upgrade the power line from Beauly to Denny, which would avoid placing cables in the Great Glen (Scotsman page 19).

Royal Mail: The Business Department has released a letter from the Chairman of the Royal Mail pension fund to Lord Mandelson which warned that staff may lose up to half of their entitlement if the part privatisation does not go ahead. Over 100 Labour MPs have signed a motion saying they are opposed to the plan (Guardian page 2, Herald page 1, Times page 1).

Glenrothes electoral register: The Electoral Commission has expressed concern that the record of those who voted in last year’s Glenrothes by-election has been lost. However, it said that the election was generally run well (Herald page 10).

Opinion poll: A new Guardian/ICM poll finds that only 28% of voters think Gordon Brown is the leader most likely to attract support for Labour at the next election; 63% think Labour would do better with another leader. The poll gives the Conservatives a 12-point lead over Labour (Guardian page 1).

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.

www.reformscotland.com

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