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Government & public affairs pages

Government & public affairs pages

Hugh Dougherty: We will all be the losers if we keep on attacking council staff

IF EVER there was a time to speak up for councils, it's now. There may be cuts ahead, but in the continuing chilly economic climate it's councils that will, as always, have to take the strain of homelessness, people's money troubles and the resulting blows, stresses and strains on family and home life that inevitably impact on schools, housing and social work services.

David Scott: After the big freeze, parties warm to local tax rethink

A DEBATE is now under way on whether the Scottish Parliament should have extra tax powers. In recent weeks, the discussion has changed from whether Scotland should have greater financial autonomy to how much fiscal freedom it should be given.

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Conservative MEP calls for greater parity in representation at European Parliament

THE Maltese are ten times more influential at the heart of the Europe Union than the British, a Scottish MEP has claimed.

New measurement tool will help to improve services

WITH cuts of £6 billion announced by the coalition government, and the prospect of further financial pain in the pipeline, Britain is entering a new era of austerity.

David Lee: Persuasion not coercion will nudge public conscience

THE Prince of Wales outlined the importance of straightforward messages to get the public involved in tackling climate change at a recent conference at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Warning youth schemes will be hit if access to European Social Fund is withdrawn

MOVES to ban voluntary organisations from applying for £56.7 million in European funding have been met with anger and warnings that programmes to help young people into work may be harmed.

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar, but who will make use of it all?

JIM Brown is a man in search of an answer to a very difficult question. The problem is that no-one is quite sure what that question is.

Robert Seaton: Offshore renewables have nothing to fear in new marine laws

CONCERNS have recently been expressed that the implementation of the new marine acts could dash hopes of Scotland becoming a leader in renewable energy.

With cuts in the neighbourhood who are you going to call?

IT IS based in the largest call centre in North America and takes more than 1.7 million calls each year. It can handle queries in 179 languages and is advertised on bright yellow bumper stickers plastered on taxis throughout New York.

Robert McLaughlin: Whether we have PR or not, e-voting can boost participation

THE recent election has brought into sharp focus the process of voting and in particular the possible change in the voting system after a proposed referendum.

Report says public sector needs to raise its financial game to cope with spending cuts

THE public sector will struggle to implement spending cuts announced by the government unless it raises its game, according to a new report.

Christine O'Neill: Setting fixed terms for Westminster not as simple as it seems

ON THE face of it, the new government's proposal for fixed-term parliaments might be seen as Westminster simply following the lead of its younger Holyrood cousin.

Borders is praised for its 'strong leadership'

THE "strong leadership" of Scottish Borders Council has been praised by Audit Scotland in a glowing report that also commended its improving education and social work services.

More time changing lives, less time filling out forms

THE work of charities is often characterised by another word beginning with "ch" – churn. This refers to the amount of time spent in identifying potential funding, preparing grant applications and filling in feedback forms. This "churn" eats hugely into the hours spent on a charity's central purpose – doing the job it was set up to do.

Emma Reid: It doesn't pay to break the rules on political donations

THE sensitive topic of donations to political parties can be headline news all year round, not least at the time of a general election.

Survey reveals an improvement in image of Scots social services

THE image of social work in Scotland has received a boost, after a survey revealed more Scots felt positive about services in the past year.

Danny Wootton: An ecosystem that nurtures innovation is key to future competition

ACCEPTED wisdom says budget cuts in public spending are inevitable, but it is also a fact we need to protect a fragile economic recovery.

Summit seeks more land for movement that is certain to grow

INCREASING the number of allotments in Scotland was the topic on the agenda of the first Growing Spaces summit held in Falkland House in Fife this week.

Counting the cost of caring for our ageing population

THE ever-increasing demand on care services, coupled with the impending squeeze on public spending, is predicted to lead to an unbridgeable gap in provision opening up in Scotland.

Alex Orr: Suspend your disbelief and accept a hung parliament can work

MUCH has been made of the dangers posed by a hung parliament to the UK's fragile economic recovery.

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