Scottish news bulletin: 31st 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

DBS: It has emerged that a consortium involving Scottish Friendly Assurance made an approach about a possible takeover of the Dunfermline Building Society a week ago. Scottish Friendly claims that despite several attempts to open negotiations it was not able to start talks until Sunday. Further details of DBS’s questionable investment decisions have also been revealed (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1). Alex Salmond claimed yesterday that it would have been cheaper to keep DBS going as an independent institution and that Nationwide, the buyer of the healthy parts of the business, had got “an incredibly good deal” (Herald page 4). Alan Cochrane comments on the failure of another Scottish financial institution (Telegraph page 2).

Power cut: A power cut in the west of Scotland last night caused serious transport problems as traffic lights on several roads in and around Glasgow were down during rush hour (Herald page 1).

Crime

Single police force: The debate about whether Scotland should have a single national police force continues: Paul Rooney, Convenor of Strathclyde Joint Police Board, has questioned whether small forces can provide a comprehensive service (Times page 5, Mail page 4).

Transport

Borders rail link: Building work on the new Borders rail link has been delayed again. The start of the search for a bidder is reportedly running five months late (Scotsman page 15).

Local Government

Pay: Culture and Sport Glasgow, the arm’s-length body which runs Glasgow City Council’s museums and leisure services, will freeze pay for its staff in 2010-11. The Council is also reportedly seeking the support of CoSLA to implement a pay freeze for all local authorities (Herald page 2).

Housing association: The dismantling of Glasgow Housing Association began yesterday as 1700 tenants were transferred to new local associations. Nicola Sturgeon, whose health portfolio includes responsibility for housing, signalled that she wanted to see further such transfers (Herald page 10).

Dundee Council: The SNP took control of Dundee Council for the first time last night. This was made possible by Labour Lord Provost John Letford’s decision to become an independent and vote with the SNP (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 9, P&J page 1, Courier page 1).

Politics

MPs’ expenses: The Prime Minister has written to the chairman of the Committee for Standards in Public Life to ask him to start and conclude his review into MPs' expenses earlier than planned. Mr Brown also asked the committee to consider scrapping the controversial second home allowance (Herald page 1, Guardian page 1, P&J page 8).

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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