Scottish news bulletin: 25th February 2009



Devolved financial powers: Scottish Labour and the Scottish National Party have both announced that they are in support of borrowing powers for Holyrood after Labour’s formal submission to the Calman Commission yesterday. It is now more likely that the Commission and the UK Government will also endorse the move towards greater devolution, although the Liberal Democrats, who are already in favour of greater financial powers, insist they will reject an independence referendum. (The Scotsman pages 1, page 4 and page 5, The Herald page 6, Robbie Dinwoodie in The Herald, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Times page 5, Peter Jones in The Times, The P & J page 9, The Courier and Advertiser page 6, The Daily Record page 2, The Daily Mail page 12)

£500bn bank plan: British Chancellor Alistair Darling was yesterday engaged in last-minute talks with RBS and Lloyds over a £500bn plan which is aimed at providing tens of billions of pounds in extra loans to homebuyers and small businesses whilst also protecting the taxpayer. (FT page 1, The Guardian page 26, The Daily Mail page 8, Daily Express page 15)

Housing development: Statistics released yesterday showed that fewer new homes are being privately built in Scotland than at any point in almost 25 years. (The Herald page 9, The Daily Mail page 18, Daily Express page 15)


DNA records: Any child who commits a violent or sexual assault and is subject to a Children’s Hearing, will have a DNA sample taken and kept for three years if the proposal is supported by MSPs. (The Scotsman page 8, The Herald page 3, The Times page 17, The Courier and Advertiser page 7)


Edinburgh tram works: City officials in Edinburgh in charge of the new tram project and responsible for the closure of Princes Street have ordered the construction firm to begin work, which is already one year behind schedule, or face legal action. Meanwhile, it is expected that officials will be asked to produce a dossier considering the costs of potentially cancelling the scheme. (The Scotsman page 7, The Herald page 9, Daily Express page 4)

Low-fuel car: Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have invented a car that uses half the fuel of a regular vehicle when driven around a city and produces 30% fewer carbon emissions. (The Scotsman page 21, The Herald page 14, The Times page 4)

Local Government

Festival fireworks pledge: Edinburgh International Festival organisers have promised that the annual fireworks show would go ahead this year despite the prospect of parts of the city centre being closed due to the tram works. (The Scotsman page 7)


Private GP ban: Scottish Government legislation which would ban private companies from running GP surgeries will be introduced to the Parliament today. It is expected to be published tomorrow and would also see tougher regulations on the sale of tobacco. (The Herald page 1, Marianne Taylor and Julia Horton in The Herald)

A&E waiting times: A failure by hospitals to hit December’s government targets in which 98% of Accident and Emergency patients should be treated and admitted or discharged within four hours, was due to the bad weather according to Health secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, yesterday. (The Scotsman page 6, The P & J page 6, The Courier and Advertiser page 7)

Alcohol-related conditions: New figures released show that the numbers of hospital patients being treated for alcohol-related conditions have reached an all-time high. (The Scotsman page 14, The Herald page 5, The P & J page 8, The Courier and Advertiser page 1, The Daily Record page 22, The Daily Mail page 30, The Sun page 6)

‘Bed-blocking’: Labour has criticised the Scottish Government over claims that the problem of ‘bed-blocking’ still exists within hospitals. Figures for January showed that 79 patients were still in hospital six weeks after being ready for discharge. (The Herald page 4)


Class sizes: A pledge by the SNP to reduce class sizes was criticised last night after it was claimed that numbers have not fallen, but in some local authorities, have actually risen. (The Scotsman page 6, The Herald page 1 and page 2, The P & J page 1, The Courier and Advertiser page 7, The Daily Record page 2)


Salmond speech: Annabel Goldie, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has criticised First Minister Alex Salmond, claiming that he abused his position on a trip to Washington DC where he gave a lecture on independence. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 5, The Daily Record page 2)


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