{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"news","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/joy-for-iranian-artist-as-edinburgh-festival-visa-ban-is-overturned-1-4515546","id":"1.4515546","articleHeadline": "Joy for Iranian artist as Edinburgh Festival visa ban is overturned","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501173400286 ,"articleLead": "An Iranian illustrator denied a visa to appear at the Edinburgh Festival will be able to take part after the decision was overturned.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515545.1501157136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Iranian illustrator Ehsan Abdollahi was turned down for a visa to attend the Edinburgh Festival earlier this month."} ,"articleBody": "

Ehsan Abdollahi was forced to pull out of several events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival after being barred from entering the UK.

But the rejection of his visa by the British embassy in Dubai has been over-turned following an outcry on social media, protests by his publisher and organisers of the festival, and lobbying by the Scottish and UK governments.

Abdollahi said he was “lost for the words” by the Home Office u-turn, adding: “I experienced the solidarity and kindness of people who gave their support.”

Book festival director Nick Barley had warned that British culture would be damaged if event organisers were unable to bring international authors into the country. He had described Abdollahi, 37, a lecturer at the Tehran University of Art, as “a highly respected, award-winning Iranian illustrator of kids’ books.”

Abdollahi secured funding to cover the costs of his visit, but was told he had not shown he would be able support himself during his visit, or had shown “sufficient incentive” to return to Iran after the festival.

Delaram Ghanimifard, co-founder of Abdollahi’s publisher Tiny Owl, said: “We’re delighted that the embassy has overturned their decision to grant Ehsan Abdollahi’s visa.

“This is a real testament to the support Ehsan has received over the last week. We hope that for us, and for other publishers, this will set a precedent for artists wanting to come to the UK in the future.

“Stories help us understand different cultures and people as well as find our own similarities with them. Through meeting the artists that create these stories, children’s own literary and imaginative landscape grows and a greater understanding between cultures is developed.”

Mr Barley said: “I am absolutely thrilled for Ehsan Abdollahi and for all the people who will now be able to meet him in Edinburgh. But more fundamentally I’m relieved an artist has been granted permission to travel to the UK from Iran and talk about his work at the festival. Now, more than ever, we need to hear people like Ehsan talking about their ideas.”

Edinburgh MP Deidre Brock, who was among those to campaign for a rethink, called for a “root and branch review” of the visa system in the wake of the case.

She said: “People should not have to go through this kind of stressful process just to take part in our international festivals. The support for this campaign was heartwarming and the result sends a message that Edinburgh continues to welcome the world in August.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515545.1501157136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515545.1501157136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Iranian illustrator Ehsan Abdollahi was turned down for a visa to attend the Edinburgh Festival earlier this month.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Iranian illustrator Ehsan Abdollahi was turned down for a visa to attend the Edinburgh Festival earlier this month.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515545.1501157136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/theresa-may-says-tories-have-come-a-long-way-on-gay-rights-1-4516075","id":"1.4516075","articleHeadline": "Theresa May says Tories have ‘come a long way’ on gay rights","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501220231000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May acknowledged that people may be sceptical about the Tory record on gay rights, but insisted that both she and the party had “come a long way” on the issue.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4516074.1501220211!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May acknowledged that people may be sceptical about the Tory record on gay rights, but insisted that both she and the party had "come a long way" on the issue. Picture; PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The Prime Minister said she was proud of the role the Conservatives had played in tackling discrimination in recent years but acknowledged “where we have been wrong on these issues in the past”.

In comments to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, which partially decriminalised homosexuality in England and Wales, Mrs May said there was “much more to do” to achieve equality.

Mrs May was joined by former UK prime ministers and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in writing comment pieces for PinkNews to mark the anniversary of the 1967 Act.

Mr Corbyn urged the Prime Minister to stand up to US president Donald Trump – who on Wednesday said he wants transgender people banned from serving in the US military – on LGBT issues.

Mrs May said: “I am proud of the role my party has played in recent years in advocating a Britain which seeks to end discrimination on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity, but I acknowledge where we have been wrong on these issues in the past.

“There will justifiably be scepticism about the positions taken and votes cast down through the years by the Conservative Party, and by me, compared to where we are now.

“But like the country we serve, my party and I have come a long way.”

Mr Corbyn said: “In America, the Trump presidency has incited hatred and discrimination against LGBT people. Trump opposes gay marriage and his vice-president, Mike Pence, enacted a religious freedom bill which legalised discrimination against LGBT people.

“Other world leaders have been unequivocal with the US president but not Theresa May, who has failed to challenge this in the strongest terms.

“I am a great believer that through dialogue we can open minds, unite people, and change the world.”

The Prime Minister has also faced criticism over her pact at Westminster with the Democratic Unionist Party, which opposes gay marriage.

Her predecessor David Cameron said one of his “proudest achievements” in office was the Same Sex Marriage Act which legalised gay weddings in England and Wales.

“Marriage is a great institution and I have long believed that it should be there for everybody; it now is and Britain led the way,” he said.

Labour former prime minister Tony Blair said: “We have come a long way over the last 50 years and it’s right to celebrate, but while there are still challenges, such as pupils subject to homophobic and transphobic bullying or LGBT people having to think twice about even holding their ­partner’s hand walking down the street, there is still further to go.”

Sir John Major warned that “bigotry” still existed in society, as shown by the Brexit arguments over immigration, but “most people today – and especially the young – have moved on from the social prejudices of earlier generations”.

He said: “Bigotry hasn’t gone: witness the shameful hostility that was whipped up ­during the Brexit campaign – raising irrational fears about the effect of immigration. But, overall, such sentiments are generally in retreat and out of time.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4516074.1501220211!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4516074.1501220211!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May acknowledged that people may be sceptical about the Tory record on gay rights, but insisted that both she and the party had "come a long way" on the issue. Picture; PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May acknowledged that people may be sceptical about the Tory record on gay rights, but insisted that both she and the party had "come a long way" on the issue. Picture; PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4516074.1501220211!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brian-wilson-a-salute-to-lord-mccluskey-1-4515876","id":"1.4515876","articleHeadline": "Brian Wilson: A salute to Lord McCluskey","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501218000000 ,"articleLead": "

I first met John McCluskey 40-odd years ago when he represented local objectors at the Drumbuie public inquiry – an epic exercise in determining whether a crofting village should be wiped out in the short-term interests of building concrete oil platforms.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515875.1501176648!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lord McCluskey prevented Holyrood getting the power to sack judges"} ,"articleBody": "

Month after month, evidence was heard in the unlikely setting of the Balmacara Hotel lounge. Apart from reporting the issue at stake, a privilege offered by this spectacle was to witness the greatest legal minds of their generation at work – John McCluskey, James Mackay, Donald Ross, James Clyde – all before they had Lordly handles attached to their jugs.

Maybe it was because of where my sympathies lay but, even in that company, John stood out, his legal incisiveness adorned by elegance of language, capacity for humour and a gentle air of great humanity. These impressions were never contradicted in our encounters thereafter; if I had the misfortune to appear before a High Court judge, I wanted it to be Lord McCluskey.

He could also, of course, be a hard man when circumstances demanded. I was reminiscing this week with Tony Higgins, who used to run the Scottish Professional Footballers Association. John was a great football man and, for many years, sat on various quasi-judicial panels thrown up by the Scottish game. At one time there was a Transfers Tribunal which adjudicated on the value of players.

John was presiding over a session at which the chairman of a Scottish football club was demanding a valuation of £500,000 on a prize asset. The tribunal halved that figure. When John intimated their decision, the aggrieved chairman barged out, casting a fierce glare in his direction. John murmured to Tony: “The last time a man looked at me like that, I sent him down for 30 years.”

Reading the obituaries, I was interested in John defining his greatest achievement as stopping the Scotland Act of 1998 giving Holyrood the power to sack judges, on the vote of MSPs. This seemed remarkable on several counts, not least that the option was advanced in the first place. Today, we associate politicians sacking judges with Poland and Turkey and it is generally thought to be a bad thing.

The reminder that political liberals who were at the heart of planning devolution should have proposed such a power seems strange. I can only think it must have reflected an optimism of the age. In the imaginings of its architects, the Scottish Parliament was to be different, consensual, filled with reasonable people, elected by proportional representation, taking bipartisan decisions around their hemispheric chamber. Judges would have no reason to be concerned.

Some of us did not require the benefit of hindsight to think all of that highly unlikely, but what few would have predicted is the extent to which the accretion of power towards the centre, as close to ministerial control as possible, would become the defining characteristic of Edinburgh governance. The combination of institutional empire-building and the Nationalist belief in everything being organised on a Scotland-wide basis as part of their entitled fiefdom has proved powerful. Judges would have had to ca’ canny, like so many others.

I looked back to John’s speech in the House of Lords when he effectively killed off the plan. “If pressed,” he said, “I could give examples in my lifetime of judges who have been appointed to the bench who should not have been appointed and would not have been appointed but for political and cronyist influences.” He did not wish to see this carried over into the new regime, far less extended by giving politicians the right also to remove judges. He elaborated: “We must avoid the danger that judges can be removed from office by politicians. Judges who can be so removed cannot be independent because independence in practice means freedom from government pressure, freedom from populist pressure and freedom from political pressure. It means that we, the judges, do not have to look over our shoulders at what others are saying about the kind of decisions we take.”

Not only were these words self-evidently wise but also, by implication, prescient about how devolution would work out. How many in Scotland today are constantly looking over their shoulders for fear of incurring political displeasure? How many quangos, advocacy groups and third sector organisations which once fought their corners vocally and were expected to do so are now extremely wary of upsetting the puffed-up rulers who control both appointments and purse-strings?

If there is any upside from the travails of Police Scotland and the cowed, non-barking dog that is the Scottish Police Authority, it lies in the way they have given centralisation of the justice system, unhealthily close to ministerial control, an extremely bad name. Never allowing Scotland’s politicians to forget that separation of powers within the legal system is an essential democratic safeguard, rather than an optional inconvenience, would be a decent memorial to Lord McCluskey.

He was a defender of the House of Lords, where he was an active member for 40 years. This certainly had nothing to do with social status but reflected his respect for the expertise it contained and the quality of debate which was possible – not least when it involved highly significant issues about the evolution of the legal system. The question arises – where could such debate take place in Scotland? The procedures of Holyrood scarcely encourage it, even where the expertise exists.

As much as I oppose the House of Lords as currently constituted, I support the existence of a second chamber where speeches are not read from prepared scripts or confined to five minutes. Until Scotland provides such a forum we must rely on whatever channels are available to help safeguard us from bad legislation and meddling with our legal system that have not been thought through beyond the populist premises which appeal to politicians.

It’s worth remembering that in one of his last public interventions, Lord McCluskey torpedoed just such a plan by applying a rigorous critique to the idea of abolishing the corroboration principle within the finely tuned Scottish legal system.

Now that he is gone, who will fire such missiles without fear or favour? In today’s Scotland, there are not many obvious candidates.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515875.1501176648!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515875.1501176648!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lord McCluskey prevented Holyrood getting the power to sack judges","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lord McCluskey prevented Holyrood getting the power to sack judges","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515875.1501176648!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/joyce-mcmillan-tragic-betrayal-of-our-future-generations-1-4515943","id":"1.4515943","articleHeadline": "Joyce McMillan: Tragic betrayal of our future generations","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501218000000 ,"articleLead": "

It was on an April day in 2010 that Gordon Brown – Labour leader, Prime Minister, and one of the most brilliant statesmen of his generation -–met his political nemesis. Her name was Gillian Duffy, and the place was a street in Rochdale, where she was a long-standing Labour supporter. Asked about her concerns, Mrs Duffy talked about the number of EU workers arriving in her community, taking jobs and resources – as she saw it – from local people.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515942.1501185935!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gordon Brown meets his political nemesis Gillian Duffy in Rochdale and the rest is history."} ,"articleBody": "

Gordon Brown nodded, and argued back a little; but later, in his car – with a microphone left open – he was heard to describe Mrs Duffy as a “bigoted woman”. There is footage of him sitting in a radio studio as the tape was played back to him; and as the brilliant American commentator Jon Stewart put it, viewers could almost see his political soul leaving his body, as the scratchy recording played out.

It was a defining moment in British politics, of course; the moment when the yawning gap between “elite” opinion on immigration, and the views of some of Britain’s most hard-pressed communities, became clear. And from that moment, British politicians of most parties have been running terrified of their own armies of Gillian Duffys, deeply opposed to immigration; so much so that they are willing to embrace the general belief at Westminster that if there is one area of Brexit negotiations on which they cannot afford to compromise, it is the end of freedom of movement between the UK and the European Union, as of March 2019.

Yet for all the force of the Duffy moment, the sheer difficulty now being experienced by both leading UK parties in framing an immigration policy for the Brexit age suggests that this is not a simple story about an out-of-touch elite bowing to the wisdom of the people. That there was strong anti-immigration feeling involved in the Brexit vote is beyond doubt, although it was far from being the only factor.

Yet survey after survey has shown that the beliefs of British voters about immigration – from the proportion of the British population born elsewhere, to the contribution made by migrants when they get here – are massively wide of the mark, doubtless because of a 40-year campaign of shrill disinformation by some British media organisations; and that on this issue at least, the Leave vote was based more on myth than on reality, and on a misdiagnosis of the real causes of misery in the communities concerned. Those real causes are well known, of course; the deliberate winding-down of Britain’s industrial base and the well-paid, unionised jobs that went with it, chronic underinvestment in the regions hardest hit by de-industrialisation, and – once the EU expanded to the east – an absolute failure by successive British government to take their own employment law seriously, and to prevent cowboy employers from exploiting those newcomers as cheap labour. Even if we fully recognise that problem, though, we are still left with a situation where politicians seem torn between complying with the perceived political imperative to end freedom of movement, and acknowledging the massive and essential role played by most EU workers in our society.

So at the moment, some UK government ministers seem determined that all freedom of movement will cease in March 2019, while others are desperately making soothing noises about long transition periods. Over on the Labour side, the confusion is even greater, as the leadership seems at one moment to reject the single market and the customs union altogether, and at the next starts to nuance its position again.

And in Scotland, the SNP government – presiding over a nation with a relatively small and ageing population – has taken a commendably strong pro-EU and pro-immigration stance; but can hardly get the words out of its mouth before someone points out that large numbers of Scots, too, have now come to share the UK-wide prejudice against immigration to which all politicians are now supposed to defer.

This is, in other words, the kind of chaos that results when politicians start to make policy in response to populist myth, rather than to the reality of the society they represent; a similar disarray currently surrounds the repeal of Obamacare in the US.

And behind all this sound and fury, meanwhile, there are a growing number of real human tragedies that no-one in the upper echelons of Britain’s two main parties seems to have the courage to name, never mind to prevent.

The first is the tragedy of the hundreds of thousands of valued EU workers who are now, in many cases, making plans to leave, such is the uncertainty they face; the health workers, care workers and young entrepreneurs who have become part of the lifeblood of our economy and our communities.

The second is the tragedy of the 48 per cent, those 16 million people across Britain who never wanted to leave the EU at all, and are now obliged to live through the multiple disruptions of Brexit without either government or opposition willing to stand up for our views and our culture.

And finally, there is the tragedy of the future generations who would have voted Remain by a vast majority, and whose entire future will now be darkened by this ill-fated decision.

To anyone with any heart, vision, or sense of history, the very phrase “the end of freedom of movement between the UK and the European Union” should sound like a knell, marking the end of an era when the young people of Britain and Europe could come and go as they pleased, living, studying, loving and working without thought of borders, visas, and “leave to remain”. And as we try to navigate the sheer self-inflicted mess of these years, it’s surely their future that should be our highest priority; while we seek to heal the neglected social and economic pain that led to this crisis, to limit the damage done, and to re-create for the next generation the hard-won sense of freedom that could once be taken for granted, but will now have to be painstakingly rebuilt, decision by decision, treaty by treaty, year by year.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JOYCE McMILLAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515942.1501185935!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515942.1501185935!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gordon Brown meets his political nemesis Gillian Duffy in Rochdale and the rest is history.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gordon Brown meets his political nemesis Gillian Duffy in Rochdale and the rest is history.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515942.1501185935!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/police-scotland-chief-won-t-be-suspended-over-alleged-bullying-1-4514972","id":"1.4514972","articleHeadline": "Police Scotland chief ‘won’t be suspended’ over alleged bullying","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501175361000 ,"articleLead": "

The chief constable of Police Scotland is facing a high-level investigation over allegations of bullying, but won’t be suspended despite calls to step aside.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514971.1501135567!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chief Constable Phil Gormley. \\nPicture: Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

A force watchdog has a launched a gross misconduct probe after claims were lodged against Phil Gormley, but the ranking authority says a suspension is ‘not appropriate’.

It is understood the allegations were made by another Police Scotland officer.

The powerful Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) will now investigate and pass on its findings to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), which has the power to launch a misconduct hearing.

In a statement released last night, Mr Gormley said: “I can confirm that today I was informed by the PIRC that I am the subject of a conduct investigation.

“I am cooperating fully with the PIRC and will provide all necessary assistance to bring this matter to a timely and satisfactory conclusion. In fairness to others who may be involved, it is not appropriate for me to comment further at this time.

“I would like to stress that I remain focussed on leading Police Scotland, ensuring that we continue to serve and protect the people of this country.”

The Pirc defines gross misconduct as “a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour, as detailed in Schedule 1 of the 2013 Regulations, which is so serious that dismissal may be justified”.

The standards cover: honesty and integrity; authority, respect and courtesy; equality and diversity; use of force; orders and instructions; duties and responsibilities; confidentiality; fitness for duty; and discreditable conduct and challenging and reporting improper conduct.

Deputy Chair of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) Nicola Marchant said: “Following confirmation yesterday that the PIRC will carry out an investigation into allegations about the Chief Constable referred to them by the SPA Chief Executive, the SPA Board today convened a meeting with the CEO to consider the question of whether any measures, such as a suspension, are required.

“At this stage, and having carefully considered and balanced the various investigatory and public interest criteria within the regulations, the SPA takes the view that a suspension is not appropriate. As with any process of this nature, that is an issue we will keep under review.

“While complaints and conduct issues relating to senior officers are handled within a clear set of guidelines and procedures, the circumstances behind each case are different and so therefore should any consideration of whether a period of suspension is appropriate.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Angus Howarth"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514971.1501135567!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514971.1501135567!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chief Constable Phil Gormley. \\nPicture: Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chief Constable Phil Gormley. \\nPicture: Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514971.1501135567!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/celtic-to-donate-10k-to-charity-in-memory-of-bradley-lowery-1-4515782","id":"1.4515782","articleHeadline": "Celtic to donate £10k to charity in memory of Bradley Lowery","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501168673000 ,"articleLead": "

Celtic’s official charitable arm is set to donate £10,000 to the foundation set up by the family of Bradley Lowery, who died aged just six after a high-profile battle with a rare cancer.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4497957.1499440501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bradley Lowery meets Sunderland's Jermain Defoe at the Stadium of Light. Picture; PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Brendan Rodgers’ side travel to the home of Lowery’s beloved Sunderland this Saturday for a friendly, and the Celtic FC Foundation will hand over a cheque to help the work of the recently formed Bradley Lowery Foundation.

Bradley’s fight inspired millions around the globe after his turn as a mascot at the Stadium of Light, and his heartwarming bond with Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe was said to strengthen the youngster, even after the news that treatment of his neuroblastoma wouldn’t work.

Defoe, now at Bournemouth, was said to have been absolutely devastated by the youngster’s death at home earlier this month.

The Bradley’s fight charity raised hundreds of thousands of pounds, firstly for treatment in America, and then to help other youngsters suffering from illness.

Lowery’s parents, who recently said that they are taking time out from their endeavours after setting up the charity, want money raised to help fund treatments that are not available on the NHS currently.

Celtic confirmed in a statement that their gesture will take place this weekend.

Executive Peter Lawwell said: “We are very aware of just how special Bradley was, of course to his family but also to the wider Sunderland AFC community.

“He had such a close affinity with the club and I am sure that, together with Bradley’s family, so many supporters and others connected to the club will feel such a great sense of loss.

“Football, however, can be an amazing force for good. Through Celtic FC Foundation, the club along with our supporters work tirelessly to make a positive difference to the lives of others.

“Celtic has always had charity at its core and we felt it important, as we visit Sunderland, that we stand together with Bradley’s family and support their work which will be carried out in memory of their wonderful son who fought so bravely against illness.”

Tony Hamilton, Chief Executive of Celtic FC Foundation added: “The circumstances around this presentation are genuinely tragic and any parent’s worst fear.

“Through the fundraising efforts of many people associated with the club we are able to contribute in a small way, so that the next family affected by this terrible disease may have a different journey.

“We hope that the Bradley Lowery Foundation is a great success and we are sure it will be a fitting and long-lasting tribute to him.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Angus Howarth"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4497957.1499440501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4497957.1499440501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bradley Lowery meets Sunderland's Jermain Defoe at the Stadium of Light. Picture; PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bradley Lowery meets Sunderland's Jermain Defoe at the Stadium of Light. Picture; PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4497957.1499440501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/financial/bank-of-scotland-owner-stung-by-ppi-and-mortgage-costs-1-4515132","id":"1.4515132","articleHeadline": "Bank of Scotland owner stung by PPI and mortgage costs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501156583000 ,"articleLead": "

Lloyds Banking Group has taken a £1.6 billion hit to cover ballooning compensation costs linked to the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) and to resolve its mistreatment of mortgage customers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515131.1501138011!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Despite the hit, Lloyds saw its first-half profits rise. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The Bank of Scotland owner said its PPI costs for the six months to 30 June swelled to £1.05 billion, having earmarked £350 million for claims in the first quarter, and provisioned for another £700m in the second quarter.

The group said it will help cover a jump in PPI claims from around 7,700 a week to 9,000 through to the claim deadline set for the end of August 2019, but brings its total bill for PPI misselling to more than £18bn.

• READ MORE: Taxpayer bails out of Lloyds after nine years

Chief financial officer George Culmer said it was “disappointing to be having to do it again” but did not take a further rise off the table.

“It will depend upon where those future volumes go,” he said.

Lloyds has also agreed to compensate about 590,000 mistreated mortgage customers, some of whom were mistakenly charged unaffordable fees after falling behind on payments between 2009 and 2016.

The Financial Conduct Authority said Lloyds expects to shell out £283m as part of the redress scheme, prompting the bank to set aside a further £155m in the half year to June 30.

Arrears repayment costs were bundled into a £540m provision meant to cover additional conduct issues including alleged mis-selling of packaged bank accounts.

Results today showed that Lloyds’ underlying profits rose 8 per cent to £4.5bn for the first six months of the year, with total income 4 per cent higher at £9.3bn.

Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio, who earlier this year was the subject of speculation over a possible move to rival HSBC, also pledged his continuing commitment to the group, saying: “I enjoy the job. I like the people here at Lloyds. I have no intention of going anywhere.”

It was the first set of results to be released by the bank since it was returned to private hands earlier this year.

Despite the PPI and mortgage arrears hit, statutory pre-tax profits grew 4 per cent to £2.5bn, and the group – which also owns Scottish Widows and Halifax – said its interim dividend would increase 18 per cent to 1p a share.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Horta-Osorio said the hike in its payout to shareholders was “in line with our progressive and sustainable dividend policy”.

Against the backdrop of additional provisions for PPI mis-selling and redress for mortgage customers, he said: “When issues arise we have to take care of them”.

But he pointed out that it was impossible to draw a complete line under redress, comparing mis-selling and sometimes inappropriate behaviour to bad debts. “There will always be redress costs, just like impairment losses. In the retail business there will be mistakes that will be made.”

Horta-Osorio said that uncertainty remains over the ongoing EU exit negotiations, adding that he did not expect any outcome to be much clearer much before the 2019 deadline.

He also said that Lloyds wants to expand in the motor finance sector because its market share of 14 per cent was lower than its general retail financed market share of 21 per cent.

Lloyds – which rescued HBOS at the height of the financial crisis – is still in the process of paying victims of fraud at the hands of HBOS Reading staff between 2003 and 2007, having set aside £100m in the first quarter to deal with those compensation costs.

The corrupt financiers were jailed earlier this year for the £245m loans scam.

Lloyds is also set to fork out a further £200m to cover the rising costs of setting up its ring-fenced retail bank, meant to meet new UK rules designed to shield households and firms in the event of another banking crisis. Its ring-fenced operations are still set to open in 2019, Lloyds said.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Laith Khalaf said: “Overall this is a strong set of numbers from Lloyds, blighted, but not overshadowed, by misconduct costs.”

He added: “The bank’s fortunes are heavily reliant on the UK economy, which still hangs in the balance as we leave the European Union, though even if we are entering a period of economic weakness, Lloyds is at least doing so from a position of strength.”

Culmer said the group’s net interest margin – the difference between what it pays on deposits and charges on loans – would be about 2.85 per cent in the second half, up from 2.82 per cent for the first six months.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kalyeena Makortoff and Martin Flanagan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515131.1501138011!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515131.1501138011!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Despite the hit, Lloyds saw its first-half profits rise. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Despite the hit, Lloyds saw its first-half profits rise. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515131.1501138011!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/free-movement-from-uk-to-eu-will-end-in-march-2019-1-4515487","id":"1.4515487","articleHeadline": "Free movement from UK to EU will end in March 2019","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501154770000 ,"articleLead": "

Free movement will end when Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019, the Immigration Minister has said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515486.1501155788!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brandon Lewis (left) said free movement of labour would end as of March 2019"} ,"articleBody": "

Brandon Lewis said freedom of movement was one of the “core principles” of the EU, and that a new immigration system would be in place when Britain formally departs the union - two years after Article 50 was triggered.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Free movement of labour ends when we leave the European Union in the spring of 2019 - we’re very clear about that.”

Asked why free trade and single market access would not also end then, Mr Lewis said: “There’s a period of negotiation we’re going through with the European Union at the moment, but we’re very clear that free movement ends - it’s part of the core principles, the four key principles, of the European Union - when we leave.”

Pressed on whether it was a red line to end free movement in March 2019, he said: “It’s a simple matter of fact that the four key principles of the European Union include free movement - we won’t be a member of the European Union when we leave.”

His comments came after Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced she will commission the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to carry out a detailed analysis of the role of EU nationals in the UK economy and society.

Mr Lewis said: “There will be a new immigration system in place from the spring of 2019 and that will be outlined in the Immigration Bill that will go through Parliament next year.”

He also told the programme that it remained the Government’s “long-term aim” to bring immigration down to “sustainable levels”, but did not say when that would be achieved.

“(It is) our determination to see net migration fall to sustainable levels and we think that is around tens of thousands - it’s something we’ve had and continue to have as our long-term aim.”

Mr Lewis would not confirm if the target would be reached in this Parliament, and said: “If this was an easy thing to do we would have already done it.

“We cannot, people know, control our net migration levels fully until we leave the European Union.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Harriet Line"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515486.1501155788!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515486.1501155788!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Brandon Lewis (left) said free movement of labour would end as of March 2019","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brandon Lewis (left) said free movement of labour would end as of March 2019","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515486.1501155788!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/police-scotland-chief-constable-should-step-aside-1-4515410","id":"1.4515410","articleHeadline": "Police Scotland chief constable should ‘step aside’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501151588000 ,"articleLead": "

Police Scotland’s chief constable has been urged to step aside while an investigation into claims of gross misconduct takes place.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515409.1501151568!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Phil Gormley faces a high-level probe after a complaint was made by another Police Scotland officer. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament"} ,"articleBody": "

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said Phil Gormley should seek a leave of absence from the post while the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) looks into the allegation.

No information has been officially released regarding the nature of the complaint against him, but if a serious breach of standards is found, Mr Gormley could face dismissal.

Allegations surfaced last night that another senior Police Scotland officer has accused Mr Gormley of bullying.

READ MORE: Police Scotland chief faces allegations of bullying

The chief constable said: “I am co-operating fully with the Pirc and will provide all necessary assistance to bring this matter to a timely and satisfactory conclusion.

“In fairness to others who may be involved, it is not appropriate for me to comment further at this time.

“I would like to stress that I remain focused on leading Police Scotland, ensuring that we continue to serve and protect the people of this country.”

However, Mr Rennie said that in order for the investigation to be conducted effectively, Mr Gormley should temporarily step aside.

“These allegations of gross misconduct are incredibly serious and require a thorough and prompt investigation,” he said.

“For that investigation to be conducted effectively, it will be necessary for the chief constable to seek leave of absence from his post. Any leave of absence should not imply acceptance of guilt.

“Previous cases in Scotland and other parts of the UK have set a precedent, where the person who has been under investigation has temporarily stepped aside.”

Scottish Labour justice spokeswoman Claire Baker said: “All allegations must be fully investigated and I’d urge the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner to be as transparent as possible.

“With the most senior police officer under investigation, it is vital that whatever the outcome the public maintains confidence in Police Scotland.”

Green MSP John Finnie said: “Allegations of this nature can be damaging to public confidence in the police and it’s therefore vital that a thorough investigation is undertaken and the full findings are published.”

The investigation followed a referral to the Pirc by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

A spokesman for the Pirc said: “Following a referral by the SPA, the commissioner has assessed that the conduct which is the subject of the allegation would, if proved, amount to gross misconduct.

“Once the investigation is concluded, the commissioner must determine whether, in the investigator’s opinion, the senior officer has a case to answer in relation to the misconduct allegation.

“The commissioner must submit a report to the SPA containing a summary of the evidence and the investigator’s opinion on whether the allegation should be referred to a misconduct hearing.

“Where the authority determines that there is a case to answer for either misconduct or gross misconduct, it must refer the misconduct allegation to a misconduct hearing.

“As this is a live investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We note the Pirc investigation and that they will provide a report to the Scottish Police Authority.

“It would not be appropriate to comment on any current investigation.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RUSSELL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515409.1501151568!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515409.1501151568!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Phil Gormley faces a high-level probe after a complaint was made by another Police Scotland officer. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Phil Gormley faces a high-level probe after a complaint was made by another Police Scotland officer. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515409.1501151568!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/media-leisure/sky-profits-slip-on-higher-football-broadcasting-costs-1-4515300","id":"1.4515300","articleHeadline": "Sky profits slip on higher football broadcasting costs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501148225000 ,"articleLead": "

Sky has reported a fall in full-year profits after it was stung by an increase in the cost of broadcasting live English Premier League football.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515299.1501148445!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sky was stung by an increase in the cost of broadcasting live English Premier League matches. Picture: Sky/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The Game Of Thrones broadcaster saw operating profits slip 6 per cent to £1.4 billion in the year to 30 June after absorbing £629 million of costs linked to its deal to show England’s top-tier football.

Revenues climbed 5 per cent to £12.9bn over the period, despite Sky pointing to a weaker UK advertising market.

• READ MORE: Rupert Murdoch’s £11.7bn Sky bid set for further probe

The financial results came as it added 280,000 customers in the UK, including 35,000 in the fourth quarter.

Group chief executive Jeremy Darroch said the results underscored Sky’s “growth and development” and also announced plans to create 300 new technology roles.

He added: “Sky’s growth and development has continued to be strong in 2017. We are creating 300 new technology roles to further enhance our capability to deploy in and out-of-home streaming platforms.

“We enter 2017/18 in a strong position with significant growth potential. Despite the broader consumer environment remaining uncertain, we are confident of delivering on the plans we’ve laid out.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

The group is still the subject of a takeover attempt by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, which is attempting to acquire the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own in an £11.7bn deal.

Earlier this month, culture secretary Karen Bradley said she was “still minded” to refer the bid to the UK’s competition watchdog.

The minister said no final decision has been taken but, unless new evidence changes her mind in the coming weeks, she will refer the bid to the Competition & Markets Authority on “at least one ground” – that of media plurality.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ravender Sembhy"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515299.1501148445!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515299.1501148445!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sky was stung by an increase in the cost of broadcasting live English Premier League matches. Picture: Sky/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sky was stung by an increase in the cost of broadcasting live English Premier League matches. Picture: Sky/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515299.1501148445!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/aberdeen-and-edinburgh-to-be-hardest-hit-by-brexit-pain-1-4515008","id":"1.4515008","articleHeadline": "Aberdeen and Edinburgh to be hardest hit by Brexit pain","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501144599000 ,"articleLead": "

Aberdeen will be the UK’s worst affected city when it comes to the economic repercussions of Brexit, according to a new report analysing the impact of EU withdrawal.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515007.1501144579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aberdeen is to feel the most pain by Brexit. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Edinburgh will also among the cities hardest hit when the UK leaves the European Union.

Research by the Centre for Cities and the Centre for Economic Performance predicts that cities with large highly skilled service sectors will have the most to lose. Aberdeen came top and Edinburgh came sixth in a league table ranking UK cities who stand to struggle as a result of Brexit.

Regardless of whether there is a hard or soft Brexit, both Scottish cities were ranked one and six when it came to forecasts of the reduction in economic output as a result of leaving the bloc.

Aberdeen, the UK’s oil capital, is set to see economic output reduced by 3.7 per cent in the event of a hard Brexit.

As the sixth worst affected, Edinburgh would see a 2.7 per cent reduction in economic output for Scotland’s capital in the event of a hard Brexit.

Even if there were a soft Brexit with the UK retaining a free trade deal with the EU, Aberdeen would stay the worst affected with a decline of 2.1 per cent. Edinburgh would remain in sixth place with a decline of 1.4 per cent.

The study showed all British cities would see a fall in output as a result of the increase in trade costs.

The economic impact will be almost twice as big in the event of a ‘hard’ Brexit, which the research predicts will bring an average 2.3 per cent reduction in economic output across all UK cities – compared to a ‘soft’ Brexit, which will result in a 1.2 per cent decrease.

The report said economically vibrant cities in the south of England which would be most affected with Aberdeen and Edinburgh being exceptions that proved the rule.

Cities specialising n large knowledge-intensive sectors such as businesses and financial services, would be most affected by the increase in tariff and non-tariff barriers that Brexit could bring.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said the report bolstered his party’s case to abandon Brexit.

Mr Rennie said: “This report shows that a Brexit, whether soft, hard or even multi-coloured will have a significant negative impact on major cities across Scotland. With both the Scottish and UK economy in a fragile state we need to build that strength not take it away. Scotland’s biggest cities are shown here to be hit hard by any type of Brexit and the UK government cannot just waive these numbers away.”

A UK government spokesman said it was working on a trade deal to build on the strengths of all cities.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515007.1501144579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515007.1501144579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Aberdeen is to feel the most pain by Brexit. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aberdeen is to feel the most pain by Brexit. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515007.1501144579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/scottish-government-urged-to-ban-petrol-cars-by-2030-1-4515180","id":"1.4515180","articleHeadline": "Scottish Government urged to ban petrol cars by 2030","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501142882000 ,"articleLead": "

Widespread scepticism has greeted UK Government plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 over its cost and the need for more urgent action to curb vehicle emissions.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515179.1501142863!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Questions have been raised over whether electric and other low-emission vehicles would be as affordable as petrol cars in two decades' time"} ,"articleBody": "

The proposal came in response to a High Court deadline over how ministers would meet European Union limits on nitrogen dioxide pollution.

It is part of a package of measures to improve air quality in England, but the vehicle ban is also expected to cover Scotland, where air quality is devolved.

Motoring groups pointed to the potentially huge loss of tax revenue from engine bans, while environmental campaigners urged more action now.

There were also questions over whether electric and other zero-emission vehicles would be as affordable as petrol and electric cars in two decades’ time. Hybrid vehicles would also be covered by the ban.

The cost of providing enough re-charging points, and the ability of the national grid to cope with the extra demand for electricity are other concerns.

The UK Government proposal is similar to one announced by France. However, the Scottish Government claimed it was already ahead of the game.

In 2013, it announced “a key ambition is that by 2040 almost all new car sales will be near zero emission at the tailpipe and that by 2030 half of all fossil-fuelled vehicles will be phased-out of urban environments across Scotland.”

However, so far ministers have only announced a pilot low-emission zone, where the most polluting vehicles could be banned, in one city from next year. Both Glasgow and Edinburgh want to be chosen.

Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “No-one should be in any doubt about the Scottish Government’s determination to improve air quality and fight climate change.

“We want to achieve a dramatic increase in the percentage of ultra-low emission cars and vans on Scotland’s roads and it is encouraging to see the UK Government follow our lead. Our Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy sets out how we plan to ensure Scotland’s air quality is the best in Europe and work is already well underway to deliver Scotland’s first low emissions zone.

“Officials are studying the detail of the UK Government’s plans to phase out petrol and diesel cars and, crucially, what they mean for Scotland.”

WWF Scotland acting head of policy Gina Hanrahan called on Scottish ministers to commit to phase out such vehicles by 2030 in their forthcoming Climate Change bill.

She said: “Ending the dominance of fossil-fuel vehicles will reduce emissions, clean up our polluted air and tackle a public health crisis.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland also urged faster action.

Air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said: “Air pollution is a public health crisis which is killing thousands of people early every year, so a ban on sales of fossil-fuelled vehicles in 23 years time is simply not good enough.”

Environmental law firm ClientEarth, which took the UK Government to court to force action on air quality, said: “The 2040 diesel and petrol ban, while important, is a diversionary tactic and doesn’t deal with the public health emergency caused by illegally polluted air, now.”

Jim Holder, editorial director of What Car? magazine, said it would be “a tall order” to increase the market share of electrified vehicles from 4 per cent of new car sales today to 100 per cent in 2040.

A survey by insurer Aviva showed yesterday only 2 per cent of drivers planned to buy an electric car as their next vehicle.

Mr Holder said concerns over the charging infrastructure, the response of drivers to electric cars and the loss of billions of pounds of fuel duty meant “the risk is that this announcement creates more problems than it solves”.

AA spokesman Jack Cousens predicted the national grid would be under pressure to “cope with a mass switch-on after the evening rush hour”.

RAC spokesman Nick Lyes said: “The [UK] Government signalling the end of the sale of conventional petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 is a bold move, but the UK is nowhere near ready for such a sweeping shift to electric vehicles and a huge amount of work will need to be done.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALASTAIR DALTON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515179.1501142863!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515179.1501142863!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Questions have been raised over whether electric and other low-emission vehicles would be as affordable as petrol cars in two decades' time","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Questions have been raised over whether electric and other low-emission vehicles would be as affordable as petrol cars in two decades' time","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515179.1501142863!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/martin-flanagan-petrol-and-diesel-ban-could-use-some-help-1-4515157","id":"1.4515157","articleHeadline": "Martin Flanagan: Petrol and diesel ban could use some help","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501140795000 ,"articleLead": "

Where President Macron in France has led, the UK is following.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515156.1501140866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'The anti-petrol engine momentum must be worrying the oil majors,' writes Martin Flanagan. Picture: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The UK government’s pledge to ban new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040 shows that as far as pollution and global warming are concerned the direction of travel is correct. But environment secretary Michael Gove’s announcement is likely to prompt restrained plaudits.

• READ MORE: Ban can only work when electric cars finish their journey

Yes, long-term planning is necessary on vital issues (40,000 premature deaths are caused annually from air pollution), but we are still talking about a ban that is comfortably more than two decades away in the UK.

Admittedly, greener and less congested Norway has an easier task, but that country wants to reach the goal by an altogether more exciting deadline of 2025.

Even so, Frederik Dahlmann, assistant professor of global energy at Warwick Business School, makes a valid point in saying that the UK government’s move will also “give car buyers an incentive to consider the different types of engine options available in light of the long-term development of the market”.

He says: “With the rapid development and deployment of electric vehicle models, there is a good chance that apart from buyers of ‘collectors’ items’ and ‘classic cars’, demand will have largely shifted well before the deadline”.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Consumers can be quite canny in seeing the way the wind is blowing. Even so, the faster Gove’s department can move on shorter-term initiatives costing £200 million with local councils to ease the country’s vehicle-induced noxious fumes the more it will grab the public’s support.

As Gove says, this could include more work on bus fleet conversions and possible restrictions on drivers – although he is not a fan of the “blunt instrument” of charges – in particularly polluted areas.

Incidentally, the anti-petrol engine momentum must be worrying the oil majors, only now recovering from more than two years of lower prices. If the automotive industry can deliver the aspiration, then logic suggests oil demand will fall sharply in its train, alleviated partly by demand from airlines and wider industry.

Analytics business Wood Mackenzie reckons that by 2035 demand for diesel and petrol in the UK car industry will have fallen 40 per cent.

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "mflanagan@scotsman.com" ,"author": "Martin Flanagan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515156.1501140866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515156.1501140866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "'The anti-petrol engine momentum must be worrying the oil majors,' writes Martin Flanagan. Picture: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'The anti-petrol engine momentum must be worrying the oil majors,' writes Martin Flanagan. Picture: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515156.1501140866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/scottish-and-welsh-ministers-to-discuss-brexit-repeal-bill-1-4515141","id":"1.4515141","articleHeadline": "Scottish and Welsh ministers to discuss Brexit repeal bill","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501138568000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish and Welsh ministers will meet in Cardiff today to discuss their opposition to the Brexit repeal bill.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515140.1501138548!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotlands Brexit Minister Michael Russell will lead a team of Scottish Government representatives in Cardiff today"} ,"articleBody": "

The devolved administrations have said they cannot recommend that legislative consent is given to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill as it stands.

The legislation - designed to transpose EU law into British law so the same rules apply on the day of Brexit as the day before - will see EU responsibilities in devolved areas initially transferred to Westminster.

The Scottish and Welsh governments said it amounts to a power-grab, and must be amended to give certainty to businesses, citizens and to protect devolution.

Scotland’s Brexit Minister Michael Russell and Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford will be joined at the meeting by the Scottish Government’s Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC and the Welsh Government’s Counsel General Mick Antoniw.

It comes after Scottish First Minster Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones teamed up to oppose the Bill when it was published earlier this month.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Russell said: “The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is quite simply an attack on the hard-won powers of the Scottish Parliament and on the principles of devolution.

“We cannot and will not stand by and let powers in devolved areas be taken by the UK Government. The Bill must be changed to respect devolution and our parliament.

“I look forward to discussing how we can protect devolution with Professor Drakeford and our priorities for amending the Bill.”

Professor Drakeford said: “The Welsh Government’s position has always been that we agree there is a need for an orderly exit from the EU, but that it needs to be based a set of arrangements that gives certainty to businesses; to our communities and respects the devolution settlement.

“The EU Withdrawal Bill does absolutely none of those things as it is currently drafted and the UK Government cannot expect the support of the devolved administrations on that basis.”

The UK Government has said it intends to respect the devolution settlement as powers are returned from the EU under Brexit.

But it has said it is necessary to bring powers back to Westminster before devolving them in order to develop common frameworks and prevent trade barriers being created within the UK.

A UK Government spokesman said: “We have been clear that the Repeal Bill will not take away any decision-making powers from the devolved administrations immediately after exit.

“Instead, to protect the UK internal market, some decision-making powers being transferred into UK law will be held temporarily to allow intensive discussion and consultation with the devolved administrations.

“As the Secretary of State has made clear, it is our expectation that the outcome of this process will provide a significant increase in the decision-making power of each devolved administration and we are committed to positive and productive engagement with the Scottish Government.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Lynsey Bews"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515140.1501138548!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515140.1501138548!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotlands Brexit Minister Michael Russell will lead a team of Scottish Government representatives in Cardiff today","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotlands Brexit Minister Michael Russell will lead a team of Scottish Government representatives in Cardiff today","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515140.1501138548!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/markets-economy/weak-growth-to-continue-as-brexit-weighs-on-economy-1-4514220","id":"1.4514220","articleHeadline": "Weak growth to continue as Brexit weighs on economy","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501134175000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK’s weak start to the year is set to continue as Brexit uncertainty and a squeeze on household budgets takes their toll, economists have warned after latest quarterly GDP figures showed sluggish growth.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514219.1501058510!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The growth figure marks a slight improvement on the first quarter's reading of 0.2%. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

GDP growth of 0.3 per cent in April to June was marginally up on the 0.2 per cent seen in the first quarter, when inflation dealt a blow to consumer spending, but well down on the 0.7 per cent recorded in the last three months of 2016.

• READ MORE: Cheaper fuel helps drive inflation rate down to 2.6%

The initial estimate from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) covered the three months after Britain formally notified Brussels of its intention to leave the European Union in Theresa May’s Article 50 letter of 29 March.

The second-quarter performance was underpinned by the services sector, with output expanding by 0.5 per cent, up from 0.1 per cent for the quarter before driven largely driven by the retail and the film industry.

• READ MORE: Scotland’s economy: ‘remarkable’ growth for factory sector

However, the construction and manufacturing industries held back the economy, falling by 0.9 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively for the period.

Darren Morgan, ONS head of GDP, said the economy had experienced a “notable slowdown” in the first half of the year.

“While services such as retail and film production and distribution showed some improvement in the second quarter, a weaker performance from construction and manufacturing pulled down overall growth.”

Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s chief economist, said it expects growth to remain “lukewarm“ over the next couple of years.

“Providing businesses with certainty and stability has never been more important,” she said.

“A limited transition period as we leave the EU where the UK stays in the single market and a customs union until a final deal is in force, would help create a bridge to a new trading arrangement. It would give businesses the confidence they need to invest, expand and create jobs.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Sebastian Burnside, chief economist at RBS, said the figures showed how the squeeze on household budgets was already affecting the economy and “how much more is to come”.

“Families are finding inflation is eating into their income and the response from spending is starting to be seen. Output from the retail and leisure sector has barely grown at all in the last six months, whereas in the run up to Christmas it was expanding at around 6 per cent.

“It will take more than six months of restraint to restore sustainable growth however.”

The second-quarter estimate comes after a series of downgrades from economists who are anticipating GDP to slow in the coming years as Britain embarks on its EU divorce.

PwC expects GDP to grow by 1.5 per cent in 2017, revising down a previous estimate of 1.6 per cent growth.

Credit rating agency Moody’s has also warned that the UK economy could be tipped into recession if Britain fails to land a deal with the 27-nation bloc.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "businssdesk@scotsman.com" ,"author": "PERRY GOURLEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514219.1501058510!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514219.1501058510!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The growth figure marks a slight improvement on the first quarter's reading of 0.2%. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The growth figure marks a slight improvement on the first quarter's reading of 0.2%. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514219.1501058510!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/world/china-on-track-to-lead-the-world-in-organ-transplants-1-4514918","id":"1.4514918","articleHeadline": "China ‘on track to lead the world in organ transplants’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501131604000 ,"articleLead": "

China is on track to lead the world in organ transplant surgeries by 2020 following its abandonment of the controversial practice of using organs from executed prisoners.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514917.1501092665!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Chinese Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu is the chief architect of China's organ transplant program. Picture: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein"} ,"articleBody": "

Huang Jiefu, chairman of the China Organ Donation and Transplantation Committee, said voluntary civilian organ donations had risen from just 30 in 2010, the first year of a pilot programme, to more than 5,500 this year.

That will allow around 15,000 people to receive transplants this year, he said. The US currently leads the world in organ transplants, with about 28,000 people receiving them each year.

“We anticipate according to the speed of the development of the organ donation in China, the momentum, in the year 2020, China will become the number one country in the world to perform organ transplantation in an ethical way,” Mr Huang said.

China is seeking to expand the number of willing organ donors, but has run up against some cultural barriers.

Family members are still able to block a donation, even if the giver is willing, and Chinese are adverse to registering as donors by ticking a box on their drivers’ licences, considering it to be tempting fate.

Instead, authorities are partnering with AliBaba, China’s virtually ubiquitous online shopping and payment platform, to allow people to register in just ten seconds.

Mr Huang said more than 210,000 Chinese have expressed their willingness to become donors, although that’s a drop in the ocean compared to the country’s population of 1.37 billion.

More qualified transplant coordinators and doctors are also needed, along with improved connections between the 173 hospitals certified to perform such operations.

“It’s still a newborn baby, not yet a perfect system,” Mr Huang said.

He said China has adhered to a complete ban on the use of organs from executed 
prisoners that went into effect in 2015, although some in 
the field outside China have called for the country to allow independent scrutiny to ensure it is keeping to its pledge.

Critics have questioned China’s claims of reform and suggested that the World Health Organisation should be allowed to conduct surprise investigations and interview donor relatives. The UN health agency has no authority to enter countries without their permission.

Officials say China should not be singled out for such treatment while other countries are not.

China has also taken measures to stamp out organ trafficking and “transplant tourism,” including by limiting transplants to Chinese citizens.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Christopher Bodeen"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514917.1501092665!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514917.1501092665!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Chinese Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu is the chief architect of China's organ transplant program. Picture: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Chinese Vice Health Minister Huang Jiefu is the chief architect of China's organ transplant program. Picture: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514917.1501092665!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-government-failed-to-improve-education-say-critics-1-4515000","id":"1.4515000","articleHeadline": "Scottish Government failed to improve education, say critics","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501131604000 ,"articleLead": "

International experts appointed by John Swinney to boost Scotland’s education performance have warned against focussing too much on the Scottish Government’s schools reform and plans for more testing.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514997.1501102202!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Critics say the Scottish Government have failed to improve school performance. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

A four page report by the International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA) says there needs to be a “systematic, sequenced and selective plan” for literacy and numeracy.

Opposition politicians said the report confirmed that the Scottish Government had failed to deliver the improvements that the public expected in Scotland’s schools.

The ten person group, including experts from Canada and Malaysia, have been flown to Scotland for two trips at a cost of £60,000 since their appointment last year.

The report identified three priorities: improving teaching of specific subjects, developing leadership at all levels of the education system and ensuring collaboration takes place.

The report follows criticism of the Scottish Government’s stewardship of education after Scotland dropped down international league tables when it came to literacy and numeracy standards.

Parts of the report were seen as a criticism of the government’s plans to give more power to teachers and to impose more tests on children.

The ICEA advised “against becoming too focussed on changing the structure of the education system when, arguably, the more important aspects are the culture and capacity within the system.”

The council also warned there was “a risk” that education policy was moving away from the “whole child” approach of Curriculum for Excellence to “a more specific, measurable approach”.

Shadow Education Secretary Liz Smith said: “The long and short is the fact that the Curriculum for Excellence has, so far, failed to deliver the improvements in Scottish education that everyone wants to see.”

Labour’s education spokesman Iain Gray said: “John Swinney spent tens of thousands of pounds flying-in his council of international experts to produce a four-page report which confirms the growing concerns about the SNP’s stewardship of our schools.

“It’s quite clear that the experts are concerned about the literacy crisis in our schools and want ministers to urgently focus on improvements. Rather than introduce Thatcherite governance reforms in our schools, the experts are right to point out that capacity in the system is key..”

Lib Dem education spokesman Tavish Scott said: “It directly criticises the SNP’s dangerous focus on the restructuring of the education system and more testing of children.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We value the Council’s expertise, robust challenge and input into our policy thinking and our decision to further empower schools and teachers, took their advice into account alongside other evidence.

“Advice from the ICEA has been clear – to improve our education system we must tackle culture, capacity and structure.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514997.1501102202!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514997.1501102202!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Critics say the Scottish Government have failed to improve school performance. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Critics say the Scottish Government have failed to improve school performance. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514997.1501102202!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/failure-to-plan-long-term-has-led-to-nhs-staffing-crisis-1-4514984","id":"1.4514984","articleHeadline": "Failure to plan long-term has led to NHS staffing ‘crisis’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501131604000 ,"articleLead": "

A failure to plan for the long-term future of the NHS in Scotland has led to a staffing “crisis” as the service struggles to recuit senior medics and nurses, a report by the public spending watchdog has found.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514983.1501135170!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Failure to plan long-term has led to NHS staffing crisis. Picture: Jayne Wright"} ,"articleBody": "

Audit Scotland said one in five consultant posts are standing vacant at some health boards, while the impact of the ageing nursing workforce could leave the NHS 5,000 short in just five years’ time.

The watchdog said the Scottish Government and NHS boards have failed to plan for increasing demands on the service in the years ahead, with the current approach “confused” and split between different bodies.
Political opponents say the report is a “damning” indictment of the SNP’s government’s management of the NHS after a decade in power.

NHS staffing levels are currently at a record high having risen by 11 per cent in recent years to 139,400, while spending on NHS staff amounted to £6.5 billion last year.

But Audit Scotland warns of “urgent challenges” facing the workforce amid signs that services are under “increasing stress.”

Spending on agency staff has also more than doubled to £171.4 million in the past five years to deal with the impact of shortages.

Health Secretary Shona Robison is now being warned she must come up with answers.

Auditor General Caroline Gardner said: “The Scottish Government and NHS boards recognise the challenges, but urgently need to improve their understanding of future demand, staff projections and associated costs, and set out in detail how they plan to create a workforce that can meet the long-term health needs of the population.”

The struggle to recruit senior medics is at the heart of the current problems with more than 400 consultant posts unfilled, a vacancy rate of 7.4 per cent in March across Scotland. But the worst hit areas like the Western Isles and Dumfries and Galloway have vacancy rates of 20 per cent - and consultants can take up to ten years to train. Certain consultant specialities like dermatology, urology and acute medicine have vacancy rates of 15 per cent.

There is also a stark warning that more than a third of nurses and midwives are now aged over 50, with the number of newly qualified nurses available to replace them not keeping pace. New recruits to nursing actually fell 15 per cent in 2014-15 and then a further 7 per cent in 2015-16, with projections of a 9.6 per cent vacancy rate – meaning more than 5,000 nursing posts unfilled –by 2022.

Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of the British Medical Association in Scotland, said the report showed that workforce planning has not worked.

He added: “The high level of long-term vacancies is a clear sign that the Scottish Government is not getting to grips with the crisis in the recruitment and retention of NHS staff and action is needed now to make Scotland an attractive place for doctors to train and work.”

Theresa Fyffe, director of the Royal College of Nursing Scotland said there has been an absence long-term planning to meet demand.

“The result is that Scotland has too few nursing staff in post and too few nurses being trained,” she added.

“Staff across NHS Scotland are under enormous, unrelenting pressure to meet ever growing demand.

“The significant workforce challenges set out in the report must be addressed robustly, realistically and rapidly if patients are to get the care that they need.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “We’re committed to not only having the right number of staff, but also to ensure that we have the mix of skills in the right places.”

Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said the findings are “deeply concerning”.

He added: “Time and again we have seen warnings about long term workforce planning, and these figures show the situation is only getting worse.”

Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar said that the report is “absolutely damning.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT MACNAB"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514983.1501135170!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514983.1501135170!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Failure to plan long-term has led to NHS staffing crisis. Picture: Jayne Wright","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Failure to plan long-term has led to NHS staffing crisis. Picture: Jayne Wright","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514983.1501135170!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/scottish-government-plan-to-save-bees-and-butterflies-1-4514986","id":"1.4514986","articleHeadline": "Scottish Government plan to save bees and butterflies","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501131604000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish Government has launched a new strategy to protect native bees and butterflies to reverse massive declines in pollinating insects in Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514985.1501138681!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The government hope to save bees and butterflies with new plans. Picture: Frank Bienewald/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock"} ,"articleBody": "

The creatures aid plant reproduction by fertilising flowers as they flit from bloom to bloom harvesting nectar and pollen. In doing so they provide a crucial service not only to nature, but also to the agriculture industry.

It is estimated that 84 per cent of EU crops and 80 per cent of wild flowers rely on insect pollination.

But the latest surveys show numbers of these important species have crashed by 51 per cent since 1980.

The main threats come from intensive farming, habitat loss, use of pesticides and extreme weather conditions.

Scotland’s new 10-year plan calls for restoration and creation of flower-rich habitats, greater use of urban green space such as roof gardens, pollinator-friendly pest control and research into the impacts of climate change on bees and butterflies.

Launching the strategy, environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the government is “committed to making Scotland a more pollinator-friendly place”.

Conservationists have welcomed the move.

“Pollinators are a vital part of Scotland’s landscape,” said Bruce Wilson, senior policy officer for the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

“Many of our native wild flowers, shrubs and trees would be unable to exist without them.

“Bees and hoverflies also provide the backbone for much of Scotland’s agriculture, contributing around £43 million to the economy each year.”

He commended the aim to cut use of harmful chemicals, but called for an outright ban on neonicotinoids.

Buglife Scotland director Craig Macadam stressed that sufficient resources must be made available to “turn ambition into action”.

Gill Perkins, chief executive of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, described the strategy as “an excellent road map and inspiration to everyone to take positive action”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514985.1501138681!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514985.1501138681!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The government hope to save bees and butterflies with new plans. Picture: Frank Bienewald/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The government hope to save bees and butterflies with new plans. Picture: Frank Bienewald/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514985.1501138681!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/kenny-macaskill-action-is-needed-to-assuage-the-collective-pain-etched-deep-in-the-scottish-soul-1-4514545","id":"1.4514545","articleHeadline": "Kenny MacAskill: ‘Action is needed to assuage the collective pain etched deep in the Scottish soul’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501131600000 ,"articleLead": "

Last week I was in the Western Isles, the land of my father. There’s something mystical about the isles and they call out to those with roots there, as well as to others who discover them.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514544.1501075514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Clearances, emigration and visions of destitution are etched in the collective history of the Scots. Picture: Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

Like many, my father was born there but brought up elsewhere. However, it was the island he considered he came from, not the village in the shadow of a central Scotland pit that he grew up in.

In that he wasn’t alone, as the islands, as with other rural parts of Scotland, catch hold of their emigrant sons and daughters; and keep hold of their descendants. Whether they now live in a tenement flat in a city or a house in a small town, the call of the land is heard and more often heeded than ignored.

There’s a pride in the natural beauty of both mainland and island Scotland but also a deep-rooted pain felt in its history.

The land issue is burned deep in the soul of every Scot, an innate belief that an injustice occurred and that what was our ancestors’ birthright was stolen from them. The look-but-don’t-touch situation that existed in many parts of Scotland enraged those who wanted to wander the lands of their forebears, but were excluded.

Salt was rubbed in the wound when many of those lording over their manor or estate were absentee landlords with either little relationship with the land or dubious title to it. Robber barons, as the late great Tom Johnston described them, and as the Green MSP Andy Wightman has written, the poor had no lawyers.

Compounding that was the knowledge that some were cleared from their native land and forced to find shelter across the seas. It’s been written about extensively and eloquently from John Prebble to Jim Hunter and still angers to this day. The visions of destitution and pain are etched in the collective history of the Scots. It has affected other nations as emigrant Scots have carried it with them to their new homes.

John McKenzie, the radical lands minister in New Zealand at the end of the 19th century, broke up large estates to form that nation of small farmers that in many ways still exists today.

That was done largely down to the misery he had seen inflicted when growing up in Alness and streams of Highlanders cleared from Sutherland made their way to the coast, to depart from the land of their birth. He vowed to ensure that those sins wouldn’t be inflicted in his new home.

Many of the wild glens we see now were far from wildernesses in previous times. But the people and their cattle were moved for sheep or sporting estates, and the very nature of the terrain has changed.

It may be years ago, but the hurt is felt down through the generations and injustices continue, as young people are unable to obtain a house in their native village, never mind land on the ground they’ve grown up upon. Some of it is historical fact, other aspects are mythology, but all create a cocktail that is imbibed by most Scots and leaves a bitter taste to this day.

Scotland isn’t alone in that collective history that can become partly mythology. And while some aspects rightly needed challenged or corrected, the story is important all the same.

The Irish have the great famine and their forced emigration, especially to the USA. Generations have seared in their very soul as a consequence. It partly defines their relationship with Britain, given the deliberate cruelty of it, even if it was more due to incompetence than deliberate policy. But, it also drives huge contributions to famines elsewhere around the globe, from generations who’ve never known hunger but feel it gnawing in their genes.

The USA has the frontier spirit. It’s imbued by all irrespective of where the new immigrants have come from or when they arrived. Generations that blazed a trail or rode in a wagon moulded a society and left a legacy that lingers to this day, in 
attitudes to guns and the welfare state.

I recall the village my grandparents grew up in, which was next to some of the best salmon waters in Europe and yet access was denied as they neither had title to the lands they’d grown up in or the wherewithal to meet the significant charges imposed by latter day owners.

Lewis became the fiefdom of James Matheson, who had made his money in the Far East and partly through opium. As Justice Secretary, I recall meeting my Chinese counterpart and both apologising for Matheson’s actions and noting that if it occurred today, the land would be confiscated under Proceeds of Crime legislation. Instead families were cleared and the land has been sold on many times since.

The Land Raiders that sought to fight back are now at long last remembered with memorials. But the bitterness remains. I recall my grandmother, a very kind and Christian lady, being scathing about those who owned the land and waters that she and her people were restricted from.

Of course, progress has been made in access and credit goes to several recent administrations of different political hues. But it’s both long overdue and still doesn’t go far enough. When the Scottish Parliament reconvenes after the summer recess it will continue what seems almost a perennial debate about how to try and right that wrong, when so many years have passed and so many different owners have acquired the land.

It’s complex as the land has been sold on, and the world in which we live has changed. But, further action is needed to assuage the collective pain and repay a historic debt etched deep in the Scottish soul.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "KENNY MACASKILL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514544.1501075514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514544.1501075514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Clearances, emigration and visions of destitution are etched in the collective history of the Scots. Picture: Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Clearances, emigration and visions of destitution are etched in the collective history of the Scots. Picture: Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514544.1501075514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/bill-jamieson-leadership-needed-to-win-battle-of-brexit-1-4514910","id":"1.4514910","articleHeadline": "Bill Jamieson: Leadership needed to win Battle of Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501131600000 ,"articleLead": "

The new film telling the story of the Dunkirk retreat has one strand that should be a lesson for the present day, writes Bill Jamieson

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514909.1501091796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dunkirk has been a hit at the box office. Picture: Warner Bros"} ,"articleBody": "

What is it that can turn defeat into national inspiration, and a disaster into a source of pride? Those flocking to see Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster film Dunkirk have these questions emphatically answered in a production hailed by critics and that has already grossed more than $113 million world-wide.

Its evocation of bravery, heroism, and the rallying of dozens of little boats to an apocalyptic rescue operation marks one of the most pivotal moments in our national story.

But the narrative could equally have been told as an unalloyed military catastrophe: an expeditionary force bombed and strafed into a chaotic retreat on the beaches of Dunkirk and driven into the sea. Belgium had collapsed, France routed and the Western front was in total disarray. No amount of glamour can conceal the humiliating failure of the UK’s first major engagement against a superior and rampant German military machine.

Thousands were to lose their lives in the retreat to Dunkirk and on its beaches. So what turned this disaster into a cause of pride and a national rallying point – one from which ultimate victory was to be secured? Desperate heroism played a huge part. So, too, did the arrival of ships that rallied to help rescue thousands of troops from certain death.

But the pivotal element was leadership and the ability of Winston Churchill to have some of the most inspirational speeches in the English language.

Not all are sure of the ‘moral’ of Dunkirk, or that the film’s depiction is as clear and authentic. Christopher Nolan went to considerable trouble to recreate the evacuation of Dunkirk as accurately as possible. But laughably, the film critic of USA Today took issue with its lack of diversity and equality because only two women are featured and there are no lead actors of colour.

How much better it would have been, perhaps, had it featured Clare Balding in football shorts clutching a microphone, or a group of fist-bumping rappers sharing their experiences with Oprah Winfrey. That America did not enter the war until late 1941 and newsreel footage at the time showed rescuers and rescued as almost universally male may be condemned as a terrible insult to diversity, but historical fact nonetheless.

More seriously, the BBC Radio 4 Today programme item on the film queried whether it might carry a veiled warning about Brexit and indeed whether it was unfair to the French. Did Dunkirk unfairly sideline the contribution of the French resistance? Might not the film be playing to a Brexit escapist mythology: that “we’re never better than when we stand alone”?

But like the British Expeditionary Force, Brexit ministers, outnumbered and out-classed, are being forced into humiliating retreat. The pound is battered, the economy buckling, business investment sinking and living standards headed down.

There is one element at least where such a parallel is true: the lack of national leadership that explains why the government is failing to win the war of hearts and minds on Brexit.

In truth, there are grounds for taking a less defeatist view. Employment is now at an all-time high, while unemployment has fallen.

This week brought news that car giant BMW is to build a fully electric version of the Mini in the UK. It said it had “neither sought nor received” any reassurances from the UK on post-Brexit trading arrangements. And there have been reports that Toyota agreed to invest in the UK after receiving a letter reassuring the Japanese carmaker over post-Brexit arrangements.

Amazon revealed it was doubling the number of R&D specialists it is looking to recruit in London and EasyJet announced it is seeking 1,200 new cabin crew - its largest ever single recruitment drive - of whom half will be based at Gatwick Airport. All positive news and a further vote of confidence in the British economy.

Meanwhile, the latest quarterly CBI Industrial Trends Survey this week reveals that production among UK manufacturers grew at the fastest pace since January 1995 in the three months to July.

The survey of 397 manufacturers also found that employee headcount increased at the fastest rate for three years and that hiring intentions for the coming quarter also improved. Optimism rose marginally in the three months to July, while export optimism for the year ahead rose at a slower, but still healthy pace.

Domestic orders expanded at a strong pace, similar to the rate in the previous quarter, and growth in export orders also remained brisk, despite slowing somewhat.

Output growth is expected to continue to grow strongly in the quarter ahead and manufacturers are upbeat about prospects for overall demand. Domestic orders are expected to continue growing strongly, while expectations for growth in export orders improved to a four-decade high.

Nor has Scotland missed out on better than feared news – or news “despite Brexit” as the BBC might prefer to phrase it.

There was the 0.8 per cent GDP growth recorded for the first quarter of the year – against widespread forecasts that Scotland would slide into recession.

July, in the words of economist Tony Mackay, has been an “encouraging month for the Scottish economy, with many more positive developments than negative ones”.

The good news included a further 800 fall in the number of people unemployed; new shipbuilding orders for Royal Navy vessels; AGO to create 470 call centre jobs in East Kilbride; and a 7.7 per cent increase in passenger numbers at the three main airports. Other good news included a £3 million expansion by RR Spink in Arbroath, Barrhead Travel creating 45 jobs in Glasgow, Smart Vehicle Solutions creating 40 jobs in Livingston and Orion Group of Inverness winning multi-million pound overseas contract.

Of particular interest is news that Scottish law firm Morton Fraser has linked a rise in annual revenues to the Brexit referendum.

It said this week “Brexit positives” had led to “a notable increase” in corporate and property transactions. It also benefited from overseas investors looking to take advantage of the drop in value of sterling. The company said the year had been “punctuated by several positive outcomes from the Brexit referendum, including a notable increase in corporate and property transactions in Scotland”.

So much for “despite Brexit”.

And the latest Scottish Chambers of Commerce survey findings for the second quarter revealed “a broadly positive story in terms of business performance across most sectors”. Neil Amner, chair of the SCC’s economic advisory group, said performance in the construction sector has improved since the beginning of the year… Manufacturing businesses have again reported strong results, with evidence of a sharp increase in export revenues, possibly as a result of the exchange rate.

“The tourism sector is also looking well set for the summer, whilst key indicators in the financial and business services sector, such as profitability and employment, have returned to their best levels for over two years.”

It’s not all good news, of course, but neither is it a one-way walk down Doom Street. What we lack most is belief – and, as Dunkirk vividly showed, a national leadership capable of providing it.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BILL JAMIESON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514909.1501091796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514909.1501091796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dunkirk has been a hit at the box office. Picture: Warner Bros","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dunkirk has been a hit at the box office. Picture: Warner Bros","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514909.1501091796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/tom-peterkin-mason-s-knack-for-squabbles-obscures-real-debate-1-4514976","id":"1.4514976","articleHeadline": "Tom Peterkin: Mason’s knack for squabbles obscures real debate","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501131600000 ,"articleLead": "

Views of the SNP’s John Mason attract controversy but they bring heat where there should be light, writes Tom Peterkin

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514974.1501100697!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "There have been concerns that Police Scotland officers may lack the expertise to deal with the specific challenges posed by policing the rail network. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The SNP’s John Mason has yet again demonstrated that he has a gift – if that’s the right word – for rubbing people up the wrong way.

As reported in these pages yesterday, the SNP MSP for Glasgow Shettleston has clashed with the British Transport Police Federation (BTPF) over one of the Scottish Government’s key policies.

Mr Mason irritated the BTPF chairman Nigel Goodband by suggesting the federation was more interested in empire building than public safety when it came to its opposition to the government’s plans to merge the British Transport Police (BTP) with Police Scotland.

The spat had its origins in a letter written by Mr Goodband and sent to all MSPs in which the BTPF chairman argued that the merger plans would have a negative impact on public safety.

Mr Mason responded by writing an email which displayed his flair for putting his size 12s in it – a talent which makes for entertaining newspaper copy but must be becoming a little tiring as far as his SNP bosses are concerned.

Questioning the BTPF’s motive for opposing the merger, Mr Mason wrote to Mr Goodband saying: “You claim public safety is your main concern. I am not convinced. I think there is a desire on the part of a BTP and the BTPF to have its own little empire.”

Unsurprisingly, Mr Mason’s observation drew a rather frosty response from Mr Goodband. As the chairman of the organisation representing 2,500 officers policing the UK’s railways, Mr Goodband was unhappy at the suggestion that safety was not at the heart of everything his organisation does.

“To question our motives is simply distasteful,” the BTPF chairman wrote to Mr Mason. “Earlier this month as highlight in my correspondence to Ministers, it was our brave colleagues in BTP who were first responders to the destructive attacks in Manchester, many saving lives. It was a BTP officer who bravely took on three terrorists in horrific attacks at London Bridge.”

That Mr Mason should find himself at the centre of controversy has become par for the course for the stormy petrel of SNP politics.

This, after all, is a man who forced an apology out of Nicola Sturgeon after he suggested the IRA could be considered freedom fighters when the deaths of three Scottish soldiers at the hands of the terrorists were being discussed on Twitter.

This latest spat involving Mr Mason should not overshadow the substantive issue – the merits or otherwise of the Scottish Government’s plans to merge BTP Scotland with Police Scotland.

As a doughty – if clumsy – defender of the government’s position, Mr Mason believes a merger is “common sense” with the public expecting a “joined up” police force.

Others, however, may see the irony in an SNP politician accusing the BTP and BTPF of empire building in light of this merger proposal.

There has also been the Scottish Government’s centralising police reforms that led to the creation of Police Scotland. That particular piece of empire building has been far from an unalloyed success, with the single force coming under fire for a host of controversies.

These have included the deployment of armed officers, concerns about a lack of public accountability, and the control room blunders that led to a car containing a dead couple lying undetected by the M9.

With the Scottish Government pressing ahead with its merger plans via the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill, there is all the more reason to listen to the notes of caution being sounded by the BTPF.

In his letter to MSPs, Mr Goodband made clear his opposition to the proposal and set out his reservations. He warned of an “exodus” of officers from BTP Scotland because of what they saw as the risks to their jobs, pay and pensions.

“As predicted, officers are already seeking transfers, or are leaving policing – taking considerable years of knowledge and experience with them – because of continued uncertainty around what the future holds for them,” Mr Goodband wrote.

Furthermore, Mr Goodband anticipates “teething problems” which will affect policing of the railways. “The railway network can ill-afford to have a lower standard of security and protection at a time when the threat from terrorism remains severe,” he told MSPs.

BTP officers on the ground are concerned that Police Scotland officers may lack the expertise to deal with the unique challenges posed by policing the rail network.

There are also concerns, expressed by Mr Goodband, that Police Scotland officers are unable to enter certain “critical” areas of the railway infrastructure because of a lack of training.

Mr Goodband summed up, saying: “It remains the view of British Transport Federation that this bill should be suspended until there is certainty on what the future looks like and the cost to deliver the integration and subsequent training is known in full. It is our opinion that the security of passengers and rail staff is being risked in pursuit of rushed and ill-considered legislation.”

Clearly there are those who are in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school of thought.

Mr Mason is not one of them. He believes there is good reason to question the motives of those opposing the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill. The flip-side is that there appear very sound reasons for questioning the motives of the Scottish Government.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514974.1501100697!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514974.1501100697!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "There have been concerns that Police Scotland officers may lack the expertise to deal with the specific challenges posed by policing the rail network. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "There have been concerns that Police Scotland officers may lack the expertise to deal with the specific challenges posed by policing the rail network. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514974.1501100697!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/kevan-christie-minimum-pricing-is-all-about-public-health-v-big-business-1-4514978","id":"1.4514978","articleHeadline": "Kevan Christie: Minimum pricing is all about public health v big business","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501131600000 ,"articleLead": "

The ongoing row over a minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol in Scotland has been ramped up this week with a two-day hearing at the UK Supreme Court focusing minds on the impact of a ruling due out by the end of the year.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514977.1501100751!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Minimum pricing's positive effect on health will far outweight any negative effect experienced by the average consumer and producers, says Kevan Christie. Picture: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

On one side we have the Scottish Government and a plethora of medical professions telling us that a decision in their favour which would mean no alcohol could be sold in Scotland at less than 50p per unit would save lives.

Against this is the Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) acting on behalf of global alcohol producers, who have stalled MUP for five years and counting – since the Scottish Parliament passed it into law in 2012.

Their representative Aidan O’Neill QC argued that to deal with the problem of one per cent of harmful drinkers in poverty the Scottish Government has produced a measure that will impact on all drinkers.

Inevitably, the discussion has become political with accusations of ‘nannyism’ being flung in the direction of the SNP and ludicrous claims of drinkers’ human rights being violated.

However, despite all this bluster - and I would claim the SWA are ahead so far given that they’ve managed to tie all of this up through the courts for five years – it really comes down to public health versus big business.

The problem of cheap alcohol is doing terrible damage to the most vulnerable drinkers and their families. Cheap cider and vodka have taken a heavy toll with Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) noting that in the five years since the implementation of the Scottish MUP law was stalled, approximately 5,700 heavy drinkers have died as a result of alcohol-related causes.

We know who they are, mostly men in their early fifties with the tail-enders of Generation X, those born between 1960 and 1980, ensuring a steady supply of problem drinkers will be knocking on death’s door for years to come.

Analysis out earlier this week showed the risk of drug-related deaths increased in Scotland in the 1990s for this demographic, especially within deprived areas. NHS Scotland and the University of Glasgow found the hypothesis that economic and policy decisions during the 1980s created a backdrop of income inequality and resulted in a delayed negative health impact. This analysis was on drugs, but I would wager similar work on alcohol would arrive at the same results.

Look past Generation X, and the younger people’s drinking habits tell a different story - they like hipster gins and craft beers - that it’s not all about how much you imbibe. In this climate cheap cider and vodka will disappear like bad 1970s sausages, if MUP is introduced.

So, the debate about minimum pricing isn’t really about the working couple who like a glass of wine between them, or the project manager who buys four cans from the supermarket and thinks the cheap French beer is ‘surprisingly good’, or the pensioner whose weekly bottle of whisky will go up.

No, it’s about the most helpless in Scottish society, the people who have been neglected for years – the ones who really can’t help themselves.

The people who support MUP know what they’re talking about - many have been on the frontline in the battle to rid the nation of our booze curse.

Don’t worry, the Scotch whisky industry contributing almost £5bn a year to the UK economy will survive a ruling that goes against them.

The guy who buys two bottles of cheap cider a day then drinks it in the park might not.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "KEVAN CHRISTIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514977.1501100751!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514977.1501100751!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Minimum pricing's positive effect on health will far outweight any negative effect experienced by the average consumer and producers, says Kevan Christie. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Minimum pricing's positive effect on health will far outweight any negative effect experienced by the average consumer and producers, says Kevan Christie. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514977.1501100751!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/markets-economy/employers-must-do-more-to-support-growing-number-of-older-workers-1-4514680","id":"1.4514680","articleHeadline": "Employers must do more to support growing number of older workers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501131600000 ,"articleLead": "

Businesses in Scotland must do more to support older workers who choose to remain employment past retirement age, unions and charities have warned.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514679.1501139929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "More than 90,000 Scots are now working past pensionable age, more than double the number in 2004. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Demographic changes, pension reforms and changing attitudes to the benefits of work have all contributed to push the number of Scots aged over 65 still in employment to a record high. More than 90,000 are still working past the age they can receive the state pension - double the figure in 2004.

By 2020 one in three workers across the UK will be over 50. In the Scottish public sector the biggest and fastest-growing group of workers are in the 50-59 age band, figures from Unison revealed.

Rather than view this as a threat, employers should focus on the economic and social benefits of an older workforce, the managing director of Scotland’s leading national authority on older people and ageing said.

“It is vital that there is more support for older employees in Scotland’s workplaces, and great advantages for employers who seize this agenda,” Brian Sloan of Age Scotland said.

“With an ageing population and increases in the state pension age, more people will be working longer.

“Over 90,000 people over 65 are now in employment in Scotland, double the number in 2004. Population projections suggest that the number of people above state pension age in Scotland may increase by nearly 30 per cent by 2040, but the working age population by only one per cent.

“For these and many other reasons there is an economic and social imperative to provide more support to older workers, but also huge opportunities as well. Harnessing and valuing the skills and experiences of older workers is not only good for them but their employers too.

“That is why Age Scotland is working with a wide range of employers to ensure they can better support their older employees.”

Dave Watson, head of policy and public affairs at UNISON Scotland, said few employers currently had a strategy for dealing with an ageing workforce.

Writing in The Scotsman, he said: “As with society as a whole, the workplace can be ageist, too willing to write off older workers. Despite age discrimination laws, too many employers and managers have an unconscious bias against older workers. We see this in attitudes to training and development, and promotion opportunities.

“Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) Scotland director John McGurk speaks of the “demographic dividend” rather than “demographic time bomb”.

“One million unemployed 50-64 year olds want to work across the UK – they would bring much-needed skills to the workplace.”

Watson continued: “There is an outdated economic myth that the size of the labour market is fixed. If older workers don’t retire, this will somehow limit the opportunities for younger workers. Migration has shown how these workers not only plug gaps in the workforce, they stimulate economic growth.

“The same is true of older workers. It has been estimated that if unemployed older workers returned to the workplace, it would add £88bn to the UK’s economy.

“As the workforce gets older there is an increasing likelihood of burnout due to physical and emotional stress. Workplaces need to be redesigned to reflect age factors. For example, the number of people with dementia is forecast to increase to over 1 million by 2025 and 2 million by 2051. It is estimated that 18 per cent already continue to work after diagnosis, creating a new workplace safety issue few employers are even recognising.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514679.1501139929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514679.1501139929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "More than 90,000 Scots are now working past pensionable age, more than double the number in 2004. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "More than 90,000 Scots are now working past pensionable age, more than double the number in 2004. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514679.1501139929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/leader-comment-ban-can-only-work-when-electric-cars-finish-their-journey-1-4514980","id":"1.4514980","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Ban can only work when electric cars finish their journey","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501102800000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK government’s clear air strategy, which incorporates a plan to ban new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, has been criticised by environmental groups for not going far enough or fast enough.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514979.1501100858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Charging points for electric cars are on the increase, but the process will take considerably longer than filling up at the petrol station. Picture: Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

A cleaner environment, at the earliest opportunity, is an objective we all share, and a transport system which isn’t run on fossil fuels is getting closer. But instead of being too little, and taking too long, it is more realistic to say that the strategy timetable looks ambitious.

Vehicle technology is moving at speed, with driverless cars apparently just around the corner. However, to wean ourselves off petrol and diesel cars, we need the electric vehicle to perform at a level that is a long way out of its reach at present.

The two key issues are the availability of charging points, and the mileage of a fully charged battery. It is quite possible, and within the government’s power, to pepper the land with charging points over the next twenty years, although the amount of time to charge a battery will also be a significant factor. Filling up at a petrol station takes five minutes at a pump, whereas connecting at a charging point is going to take considerably longer.

But the bigger challenge is the 
distance that an electric car can 
cover. There has to be a step-change in the potential mileage of an electric car over the next two decades before a ban on petrol and diesel cars is either practical or viable, because the current capacity of around 100 miles would rule out road travel for any journey of significant distance – or at least, ensure that the journey took considerably longer, as time is built in for recharging en route.

Environmentalists may argue that this will encourage car users to switch to public transport, but this would only be an option if the rail network was far more comprehensive than it is at the moment, particularly in Scotland.

The electric car faces an additional challenge north of the border, where car use beyond the central belt is essential if rural communities are to be maintained, and distances travelled just to get to the nearest town are often significantly longer than an urban commute.

It is possible that the 2040 target will not be met, or has to be revised. That would only be sensible, if the pace of technology made the intention undeliverable. Our mobility cannot be taken backwards in a flawed attempt to take society forwards.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514979.1501100858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514979.1501100858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Charging points for electric cars are on the increase, but the process will take considerably longer than filling up at the petrol station. Picture: Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Charging points for electric cars are on the increase, but the process will take considerably longer than filling up at the petrol station. Picture: Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514979.1501100858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}