Scottish news bulletin: 5th 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

Sir Fred Goodwin: Sir Fred Goodwin’s pension could be decreased under existing laws because he was ‘negligent’ in his business dealings, MPs have been told. Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader said yesterday that a new law may not be needed to halt the payment of £703,000 annually to Sir Fred. (Scotsman page 12)

Borrowing Powers: Gordon Brown was reportedly not consulted by Scottish Labour leaders before they endorsed new financial powers for the Scottish Parliament, it emerged last night. George Kerevan comments on the need for said borrowing powers. (Scotsman page 5, George Kerevan)

Scottish Power: Entrepreneur Sir Tom Farmer has been appointed to the board of ScottishPower as its Spanish parent company, Iberdrola, moves to strengthen its position in Scotland. The appointment of Sir Tom, a prominent SNP donor, is reportedly a further sign that the Spanish want to build on their links with the SNP administration in Holyrood. (Scotsman page 33, Times page 25)

Crime

Knife Culture: An initiative aimed at stopping young people in Scotland from carrying knives was announced yesterday. The £500,000 ‘No Knives, Better Lives’ campaign was unveiled at a youth conference organised by the Scottish Government at Murrayfield, Edinburgh. (Scotsman page 22, Herald page 9, Press and Journal page 12, Courier page 3, Daily Mail page 19, Daily Express page 4)

Transport

Forth Road Bridge: Scottish ministers have dismissed a new £1billion offer from the Treasury to help fund the replacement Forth road bridge as containing no new money. Yvette Cooper, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, yesterday unveiled the package to Finance Secretary John Swinney, as she again rejected his plea to spread the cost of the £2.3 billion crossing over 20 years. (Scotsman page 2, Telegraph page 1, Times page 5, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, Daily Record page 3, Daily Express page 6)

Education

Postgraduates: Expansion of postgraduate places is the key to the future of Scotland’s universities, said Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop at Holyrood’s education committee yesterday. She also said that businesses should contribute financially to research, which would in turn boost the economy. (Scotsman page 14)

Politics

Referendum Vote: A referendum on Scottish independence appeared all but dead last night after the Labour Party announced it would oppose the SNP’s plans. With Liberal Democrats and Conservatives equally adamant they will also oppose the plans; the prospects of an independence poll seem to have disappeared for the current administration. (Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 2, Times page 5, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 12, Daily Mail page 19, Daily Express page 7)

Scottish Secretary: Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has reportedly accused the First Minister of resorting to attacks on the UK Government after seeing his status undermined with the realisation that an independent Scotland would have been unable to bail out the banks. Mr Murphy said “Too often the Scottish Government in general, and the First Minister in particular, are putting party before country.” (Scotsman page 5 )

US Visit: Gordon Brown reportedly gave the speech of his life yesterday on Capitol Hill, imploring the US to save the international community from the twin threats of climate change and protectionism. His warmly-received address to the US Congress gained him 19 standing ovations. (Herald page 1, FT page 2, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, Courier page 7, Times page 2 Daily Record page 8, Daily Mail page 6)

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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