Scottish news bulletin: 3rd March 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

HBOS: The former HBOS chief executive, Sir James Crosby, reportedly purchased an Edinburgh flat at a discounted price from the bank a month before being appointed as deputy head of the Financial Services Authority (Scotsman page 1).

Alistair Darling: The Chancellor said in an interview that the UK government must have the ‘humility’ to own up to mistakes made before the financial crisis. He also said that lessons about regulation had to be learned (Telegraph page 1, Mail page 2).

RBS: The new Chairman of RBS, Sir Philip Hampton, has been awarded £1.5m in share options in addition to his £750,000 salary (FT page 1).

Scottish jobs: The Ministry of Defence announced it was moving part of an aircraft carrier order to the Clyde, safeguarding 4000 jobs until 2015; Global Energy will create 400 new jobs in Aberdeen; and Tesco said it would employ 200 more staff to work in its finance arm in Edinburgh (Scotsman page 4).

Share prices: The FTSE 100 dropped more than 5% yesterday on the news that HSBC was seeking to raise £12.5bn from shareholders and that the American insurer AIG had posted the largest loss in corporate history (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 1, FT page 1, Guardian page 22).

Education

School stabbing: A 14-year-old boy was taken to hospital yesterday after being stabbed in class at Ayr Academy. Police said that another 14-year-old boy has been detained in connection with the incident (Times page 5, Record page 1, Scotsman page 11, Herald page 3).

Politics

Alcohol policy: The Scottish Government is likely to face a legal challenge to its plan to set a minimum price for alcohol on the grounds that it contravenes EU competition rules (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1, page 4, Times page 3, Telegraph page 1, P&J page 1).

Scottish civil service: Scottish civil servants could face an investigation into whether they are breaking political neutrality by working on the SNP’s plan for an independence referendum. The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, has been asked by Adam Ingram, an MP and former minister, to rule on whether this work breaches the civil service impartiality code (Telegraph page 1).

Sir Fred Goodwin: The Prime Minister and Home Secretary appeared to distance themselves from Harriet Harman’s comments that Sir Fred Goodwin should not expect to keep his entire pension. The City Minister, Lord Myners, was facing further questions about whether he sanctioned the pension arrangements (Herald page 2, Scotsman page 5, P&J page 8).

Creative Scotland: The Herald reports that the cost of setting up Scotland’s new integrated arts body has been put at around £4m. Mike Russell, the minister responsible, has promised that the money will not come from frontline budgets (Herald 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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