Scottish news bulletin - 22nd April 2009
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.
Deflation: The cost of living in Britain has fallen into the negative territory for the first time in almost half a century. The Retail Price Index dropped to minus 0.4 percent in March, according to the Office of National Statistics. (Scotsman page 2, George Kerevan)
Budget 2009: Alistair Darling will today insist that Britain’s economic recovery will be every bit as sharp as its downturn, which has seen the country plummet into the worst recession since the Second World War. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, Times page 6, Guardian page 4, FT page 1, P&J page 5)
Bail-out Costs: Every British taxpayer faces a £7000 bill for losses associated with the financial crisis and the bail-out of the country’s banks, the International Monetary Fund said last night. Alistair Darling will admit that the UK Government is likely to lose about £60 billion from the rescue of British banks including the Royal Bank of Scotland and Northern Rock. (Daily Telegraph page 1)
Public Borrowing: Public borrowing increased to a record £90 billion in the last financial year according to figures from the Office of National Statistics. (Daily Telegraph page 7, Guardian page 6, FT page 1)
Scottish Investment Bank: The Scottish Government has earmarked £150 million to establish a Scottish Investment bank, First Minister Alex Salmond said yesterday at the STUC conference. (Courier page 6)
Pay outs: Police will be allowed to keep a share of the money seized from organised crime gangs under a scheme set to be unveiled within weeks. The move has been given the green light by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. (Scotsman page 10)
Court Time: The chair of the Scottish Police Federation which represents more than 15,000 rank and file officers, yesterday called for the Crown Office to pay for police time at court to curb the amount of time and money currently ‘wasted’. (Herald page 1)
Speed: Greater urgency is needed in cutting speed limits on rural roads to reduce the disproportionately high casualty tolls, ministers have announced. Rural roads account for some 60 percent of deaths across Britain, despite carrying only 40 percent of traffic. (Scotsman page 9)
Independent Schools: The number of primary pupils at Scotland’s independent schools has fallen, with education experts blaming the recession for the drop. The figures, released by the Scottish Government, mark the first time the number of children at fee-paying schools has fallen in Scotland since 2004. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 4, Times page 11)
Borrowing Powers: The Calman review is set to back greater autonomy for the Scottish Parliament. Borrowing Powers for Holyrood look set to be the main recommendation from the commission set up with Gordon Brown’s blessing to review devolution. (Times page 1)
Public Services: The First Minister reportedly used a visit to the Scottish Trades Union Congress in Perth to lambast the UK Government’s plans for country-wide efficiency savings, which are likely to mean cuts of £500 million a year in the Scottish block grant. The details of the efficiency savings are expected to be unveiled in the Budget today. (Scotsman page 7, Daily Telegraph page 1)
MP expenses reforms: Gordon Brown was facing a revolt last night over his pledge to clean up politics by replacing MPs’ housing allowance with a bonus just for turning up to work. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Guardian page 1, FT page 3, P&J 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.