{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"uk","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/eu-stands-firm-on-brexit-deadline-as-irish-border-remains-unsolved-1-4622732","id":"1.4622732","articleHeadline": "EU stands firm on Brexit deadline as Irish border remains unsolved","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511552236000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May has been given 10 days to offer further concessions on issues including the Brexit divorce bill and the complex matter of the Northern Irish border if she wants European Union leaders to agree to trade talks.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622731.1511552249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May shakes hands with Donald Tusk on the sidelines of an Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels. Picture: Christian Hartmann/AP"} ,"articleBody": "

The Prime Minister hopes a crunch summit in Brussels next month will give the green light to move on to the next stage of the Brexit process, covering future trading arrangements and a possible implementation period to avoid a cliff-edge for businesses.

Talks on trade will not be allowed to begin until European Union leaders are satisfied that “sufficient progress” has been made on the first round of issues being discussed including the divorce bill the UK will pay to Brussels and the Northern Irish border.

After talks with the Prime Minister, European Council president Donald Tusk said it was “possible” sufficient progress could be made at the December summit but remained a “huge challenge”.

“We need to see progress from UK within 10 days on all issues, including on Ireland,” he said.

Theresa May acknowledged there were still issues to be resolved as she emerged from talks in Brussels with key players including Mr Tusk and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

She also held talks with Danish premier Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Belgium’s Charles Michel, and Lithuania’s Saulius Skvernelis in the margins of a summit aimed at extending EU cooperation with eastern European states.

As she left a gathering in Brussels, Mrs May said: “There are still issues across the various matters we are negotiating on to be resolved but there has been a very positive atmosphere in the talks and a genuine feeling that we want to move forward together.”

On the border issue, Mrs May is coming under intense pressure from Dublin for fresh assurances that there will be no “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warning that deadlock in Brexit negotiations cannot be broken until the issue is resolved.

The Prime Minister insisted “we have the same desire - we want to ensure that movement of people and trade across that border can carry on as now”.

Earlier, Downing Street backed away from suggestions that Northern Ireland’s continued membership of the EU customs union could be up for negotiation in Brexit talks.

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier had a meeting with the Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney in the margins of the Brussels summit.

He said there was “strong solidarity” with Ireland, adding that “Irish issues are EU issues”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PARIS GOURTSOYANNIS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622731.1511552249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622731.1511552249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May shakes hands with Donald Tusk on the sidelines of an Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels. Picture: Christian Hartmann/AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May shakes hands with Donald Tusk on the sidelines of an Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels. Picture: Christian Hartmann/AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622731.1511552249!/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/oxford-circus-and-bond-st-stations-reopen-after-police-incident-1-4622648","id":"1.4622648","articleHeadline": "Oxford Circus and Bond St stations reopen after police incident","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511548057000 ,"articleLead": "

There was no evidence of shots being fired or any casualties on London’s busiest shopping street despite widespread panic, police have said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622668.1511544484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Armed police patrol near Oxford street as they respond to an incident in central London. Picture: Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

There was a “significant level of panic” on Oxford Street and at Oxford Circus tube station as witnesses reported they heard gunfire.

But after armed police responded to the area which was packed with Black Friday shoppers and rush-hour commuters, they announced nothing had been found and the Tube station has re-opened. One woman suffered minor injuries in the crush as the station was evacuated.

In a statement British Transport Police said: “At 4.37pm this afternoon, officers were called to Oxford Circus station following reports of gunfire on the westbound Central Line platform.

“Passengers at the station then self-evacuated the station onto Oxford Circus and Regent Street area of London.

“This caused a significant level of panic which resulted in numerous calls from members of the public reporting gunfire.

“Officers responded in line with our procedures of a terrorist incident; this included armed officers from British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police. A full and methodical search of the station and Oxford Street was conducted by officers.

“At this stage, we are examining the circumstances of the incident which resulted in the station being evacuated.

“During the station evacuation, one woman is believed to have sustained a minor injury.”

BBC producer Helen Bushby, who was shopping in the area, said: “I was just walking down from the BBC towards the tube and there was a mass stampede away from the tube as fast as they could.

“They were crying, they were screaming, they were dropping their shopping bags. It was a very panicked scene.

“People said they heard a gunshot and panic was just spreading.”

Video posted to Twitter showed police shouting “get inside somewhere” as they escorted people away from Oxford Street.

Footage also showed people calmly filing out of the tube station as an automated message urged passions to “leave the station immediately”.

Video posted to Twitter later showed people walking away from the station.

Greg Owen, 37, from London, said: “I was next to the tube station and everyone started screaming and shouting and then a flood of people came up the stairs.”

And a witness who only wanted to be known as Emma said: “There were shots fired on Oxford Street and then armed police ran into me and my friend.

“Armed Police were running up Argyll Street and now we’re locked in French Connection.”

One woman named Maaiysa, a journalist for TRT, tweeted that she heard ‘’gunshots’’ as well as screams and sirens from her office near Oxford Circus, and posted video of people running away from the station.

‘’Never seen such panic. People flooded into our offices, looking for shelter, shaking,’’ she wrote.

Pop singer Olly Murs was among those caught up in the incident in a department store on Oxford Street.

In a series of tweets from his @ollyoffical account, the former X Factor contestant wrote: “F*** everyone get out of @Selfridges now gun shots!! I’m inside

“Really not sure what’s happened! I’m in the back office... but people screaming and running towards exits!

“Evacuating store now!!! F*** heart is pounding”

People were seen running away from Oxford Circus station in tears.

A huge cordon was put in place straddling some of the capital’s busiest shopping streets, which was being expanded as the situation developed, while shops on Oxford Street and Regent Street were also being evacuated.

A witness at DataXu on Ramillies Street, just off Oxford Street,said several of her colleagues could hear what sounded like a shot being fired.

She told the Press Association: “People have just been running past, the police have been moving away towards Tottenham Court Road.

“People here (colleagues) said they thought they heard a shot - one shot, or a bang.”

A woman, in her 20s from Birmingham, who was visiting her brother, said she was just off Oxford Street when the incident happened - getting split up from her brother in the melee.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “I was with my brother on Argyll Street, suddenly there were lots of people panicking - it was just running and panicking.

“This was at around 5pm. I got split up from my brother and he is now in a shop somewhere on Argyll Street.”

British Transport Police said: “At this stage, we have received one report of a woman sustaining a minor injury when leaving Oxford Circus station. There are no other reported casualties.”

Both Oxford Circus and Bond Street Tube stations are closed.

London Fire Brigade said three fire engines and 15 firefighters at the scene.

An eyewitness overlooking the Tube station from his office told BBC 5 live said: “I can see about 17 police cars, lots of normal police officers, almost like an army of them.

“I can see a number of police officers with machine guns. They came racing up in a very fast car and ran down into Oxford Circus Tube.

“Now it is calming down a bit. The police presence is heavy here. It was amazing to see the super quick response.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622668.1511544484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622668.1511544484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Armed police patrol near Oxford street as they respond to an incident in central London. Picture: Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Armed police patrol near Oxford street as they respond to an incident in central London. Picture: Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622668.1511544484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622669.1511544487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622669.1511544487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The scene outside the London Palladium after Oxford Circus station in London was evacuated because of an "incident". Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The scene outside the London Palladium after Oxford Circus station in London was evacuated because of an "incident". Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622669.1511544487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622670.1511544488!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622670.1511544488!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Police set up a cordon outside Oxford Circus underground station. Picture: Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Police set up a cordon outside Oxford Circus underground station. Picture: Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622670.1511544488!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4622671.1511544491!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4622671.1511544491!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "An armed policeman runs down Oxford Street in central London. Picture: Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An armed policeman runs down Oxford Street in central London. Picture: Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4622671.1511544491!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/anne-gray-no-brexit-deal-is-worst-scenario-for-our-farmers-1-4621146","id":"1.4621146","articleHeadline": "Anne Gray: No Brexit deal is worst scenario for our farmers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511508171000 ,"articleLead": "

It wasn’t long after last summer’s EU referendum that the phrase Brexit means Brexit swiftly entered the general lexicon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621145.1511435240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Anne Gray, Senior Policy Officer (Land Use & Environment) at Scottish Land & Estates"} ,"articleBody": "

Whilst this sentiment received a mixed reaction from voters, in one sense it did provide a degree of impetus to business – including the Scottish farming sector – that it quickly needed to get ready for the realities of the post-EU world.

Now, just over 16 months from the Brexit vote and as talks continue on a departure deal, the term “no deal is better than a bad deal” is the one that circulates with more regularity – and makes food producers sit up and take notice.

Three different post-Brexit scenarios for agricultural commodity price and production have been highlighted in a recent report by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Belfast and University of Missouri.

The report was commissioned by the four agriculture departments in the UK and it looked at consequences for everyday food items such as beef, pork, lamb, poultry, bread, cereals, milk and other dairy products, and of course our beer and whisky trade which relies to a large extent on homegrown barley.

The three scenarios it ­considered were a free trade deal with the EU, World Trade Organisation Most Favoured Nation tariffs and trade liberalisation, so reducing import tariffs to a minimum.

It is clear from the research that, for stability’s sake, a deal is preferable. The UK consumer would be likely to see some increase in prices, but within a level that is probably tolerable for most households – between 0 and 3 per cent.

At Scottish Land & Estates we have said that farming needs to change, to be more focussed on the market and less so on public subsidy, but that it needs time and support to make this change. A deal we believe would be one of the things that would allow measured change to happen, rather than a cliff-edge.

The WTO tariff scenario, on the other hand, shows both price increases and decreases. The increases range between 15 and 30 per cent for products such as beef, pork and dairy. Since we know price is the key determinant in food choices, increases are very unlikely to be tolerated by the consumer. The items that come down in price include lamb, wheat and barley, and they do so because these are products we ­produce more of than we need for domestic consumption. It is believed that if tariffs are too high to make export sensible, then our own domestic market would be flooded with what would otherwise go abroad and the price would consequently be reduced.

In time it is likely that production would adjust where it can. For Scottish farmers ­however, with much of our land only suitable for sheep production, change within farming may not be possible and the harsh reality may be that our farmers are forced to do something else with their land – or go out of business.

The third scenario is that the UK government cuts tariffs substantially and allows cheap food imports. There are reasons why this may happen such as a wider trade deal that brings benefits overall to the economy but sees farming ­sacrificed, or because it is ­preferable for the consumer than price hikes under WTO rules. However, it is difficult to see how any farmer but the very specialist, high end ­producers could prosper.

Given the three structures outlined above, Scottish Land & Estates is urging the government to recognise that a deal offers stability and time for Scottish farming to evolve to the new post-EU landscape.

We recognise that talks in Brussels cannot be conducted of the needs of just one sector but it is vital for Scottish agriculture that the immediate and potentially harsher consequences of ‘no deal’ are recognised. Some may argue that no deal is ­better than a bad deal but for Scotland’s rural economy there will need to be significant work from government to cushion the change if such a scenario comes to pass.

Anne Gray, senior policy ­officer (Land Use & Environment) at Scottish Land & Estates.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621145.1511435240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621145.1511435240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Anne Gray, Senior Policy Officer (Land Use & Environment) at Scottish Land & Estates","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Anne Gray, Senior Policy Officer (Land Use & Environment) at Scottish Land & Estates","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621145.1511435240!/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/philip-gane-planting-the-seed-of-inner-city-farming-1-4621150","id":"1.4621150","articleHeadline": "Philip Gane: Planting the seed of inner-city farming","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511507118000 ,"articleLead": "

Our agricultural sector is under pressure like ­never before. Charged with meeting ever-growing demand, agriculture has had to diversify and adapt at an astonishing rate.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621148.1511435316!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Philip Gane is Capital Projects Manager at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee."} ,"articleBody": "

To achieve this, research and innovation must play a significant role in supporting the world’s most important industry. Countries successful in translating ­science excellence through to industrial application will not only secure food supply chains against climate change but also attract inward investment opportunities.

There is a prime example of this in Tayside in the Advanced Plant Growth Centre (APGC) being developed at the James Hutton Institute at Invergowrie, near Dundee. The investment required is £28 million and it is currently under consideration as part of the Tay Cities Deal – a partnership between local, ­Scottish and UK governments and the private, academic and voluntary sectors which seek to create a smarter, fairer and more prosperous Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perth & Kinross.

With a return on investment of £11.70 for every £1 invested and £463 million in economic added value, APGC will have a significant economic impact and an estimated 800 full-time equivalent jobs to the entire UK food and drink supply chain.

With cutting-edge research facilities, the centre will also boost Tayside’s already world-leading reputation in plant and crop science.

One of the main reasons for hosting this highly specialised and unique development is the Institute’s partnership with Intelligent Growth Solutions, a Scottish-based company developing vertical farming technology. Intelligent Growth Solutions’ almost-complete demonstration facility at our site will showcase the benefits of vertical farming. With a fully-controlled environment using highly-efficient LED lighting it will have the ability for automated control and harvesting.

The technology will be taken one step further by the APGC, providing even more opportunities for UK growers to produce out of season crops, enable novel research, and deliver new plant varieties quickly and economically. It will have the ability to develop crops to cope with climate change, resist pests and ­diseases and reduce the need for agro-chemicals and energy-wasting heated glasshouses, bring down post-harvest crop losses, and improve the quality and range of food and drink available.

Investing in these innovative solutions presents a huge opportunity to address some of the major challenges that we face.

Today’s reality is that we live in a world with a growing population (estimated to reach 10 billion by 2050) increased demands on land use, climate change and, as a result, extreme weather conditions. The APGC, working with a range of industry stakeholders, national and international governments, as well as other academic research organisations, can begin to tackle some of these issues related to food security. The APGC will take advantage of new and emerging technologies to turn the most unlikely facility into an urban farm where fruit and veg can be grown without natural sunlight, very little water and be protected from extreme weather. Three-quarters of the world’s extremely poor populations base their livelihoods on agriculture. Improved crops developed at the APGC will make it possible for these people to move on from subsistence farming, creating jobs for young rural farmers, reducing conflict over natural resources and developing more resilient livelihoods.

The APGC will bring greater sustainability not only to Tayside but Scotland’s food and drink industry; its largest manufacturing sector with 47,000 people, equating to 19 per cent of all manufacturing jobs.

By combining its strengths in crops, soils and land use and environmental research, the James Hutton Institute makes a major contribution to the understanding of key global issues and developing effective technological and management solutions. APGC potentially offers a silver bullet against some of the increasing challenges facing agriculture and food production. For more information visit www.hutton.ac.uk.

Philip Gane is capital projects manager at the James Hutton Institute.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621148.1511435316!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621148.1511435316!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Philip Gane is Capital Projects Manager at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Philip Gane is Capital Projects Manager at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621148.1511435316!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621149.1511435318!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621149.1511435318!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Vertical farming under LED lights","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Vertical farming under LED lights","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621149.1511435318!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/andrea-nicholas-tourism-businesses-giving-the-green-light-to-reducing-their-carbon-footprint-1-4621155","id":"1.4621155","articleHeadline": "Andrea Nicholas: Tourism businesses giving the green light to reducing their carbon footprint","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511506822000 ,"articleLead": "

As consumers become more aware of ­environmental issues, demand for ‘green’ products and services is increasing, including within the tourism ­industry, and it is recognised as such by the United Nations, which has named 2017 as the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621154.1511435479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jon Proctor and Andrea Nicholas"} ,"articleBody": "

The recent Stop, Think, Discuss, research results showed that 66 per cent of respondents said sustainability is an important factor when choosing a resort. This increased to 90 per cent for European consumers.

Tourism businesses recognise the need for change. In the last two decades, more than 5,000 businesses have been awarded a Green Tourism assessment and in the last five years there has been an increase of 30 per cent in UK businesses reducing environmental impacts.

So, what is perceived as sustainable? It isn’t simply carbon footprint, even though this is important. Consumers appreciate businesses that care for their staff and community. Our Green Tourism accreditation assures customers that our award holders take extra measures to invest in people and their area. This isn’t always financial; it can include actively encouraging guests to participate in local cultural and natural attractions. This can boast local economies but also ­protect traditions that would otherwise be at risk of dying out.

By having a symbol of accreditation, customers can have confidence in their chosen accommodation. It helps them make informed decisions based on their ethical beliefs. Carbon footprint is important to many, and we are seeing more and more ­interest from customers wanting to ‘do their bit’ for the planet. As much as 30 per cent of someone’s annual carbon footprint can come from a ­holiday – for example a family holiday to Majorca creates two tonnes of CO2. Staying in the UK is an easy and significant way to reduce your carbon footprint as well as supporting outstanding businesses and attractions.

Added together with a local resort that sources local produce and your contribution to lowering your own carbon footprint becomes even greater. If that property also, for example, uses alternative energy sources it gets even more beneficial for our environment. You really can make a difference! The more people that get behind this movement, the bigger the difference we can make – and we really don’t need to compromise our standards. There are many amazing Green Tourism properties in the UK and their numbers are growing.

With this increasing demand expected to continue we are encouraging tourism businesses to seek a review for our accreditation. We are offering a free Green Check with one of our assessors until the end of January and can offer guidance and discuss what we know about this industry – that consumers, particularly Generation Y, are motivated by ­ethical consumption. We can certainly back that up by the experiences of those who currently hold a Green Tourism award.

There really is a very positive future for this industry. Only this month, Green Tourism achieved a world first for an accreditation programme – being Highly Commended at the World Travel Market (WTM) Responsible Tourism Awards 2017. This surely illustrates how the sustainable market is leading the way. Find out more at www.green-tourism.com.

Andrea Nicholas from Green Tourism.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621154.1511435479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621154.1511435479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jon Proctor and Andrea Nicholas","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jon Proctor and Andrea Nicholas","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621154.1511435479!/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/uk/scot-patients-wait-extra-months-for-urgent-cancer-care-1-4621903","id":"1.4621903","articleHeadline": "Scot patients wait extra months for ‘urgent’ cancer care","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511503256000 ,"articleLead": "

Cancer patients in every part of the country are being forced to wait months longer for vital care, despite receiving urgent referrals from doctors.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621902.1511471546!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A patient was forced wait 315 days for vital cancer treatment to begin."} ,"articleBody": "

Research by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed that, this year, a patient in Glasgow was forced to wait 315 days for treatment to begin.

This represents the second biggest wait since 2010 and underlines the challenges currently facing Scotland’s hospitals in the face of staff shortages.

Under Scottish Government targets, cancer patients urgently referred should begin their treatment within 62 days.

The longest waits across the country where uncovered by shadow health secretary Miles Briggs through a parliamentary question.

It showed in 2017, that on top of the wait in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, someone in the Western Isles waited 275 days.

Other health boards like Forth Valley (209 days), Highland (202 days) and Lanarkshire (195 days) also recorded lengthy individual waits.

Colin Graham, chief executive of Cancer Support Scotland, said: “The government has claimed that Scotland provides world-leading cancer care but cancer targets have been missed for four years.

“The key question is not how much money is being devoted to cancer care but how and where it is being spent and why so many NHS boards are failing to meet the prescribed targets.”

The highest wait recorded since 2010 was five years ago, when a cancer patient was forced to wait 399 days for treatment.

Mr Briggs said: “This isn’t just a one-off case of a patient having to wait hundreds of days because of a freak set of circumstances. Every year patients across Scotland are facing unacceptable delays for vital treatment. If a cancer patient is urgently referred by a doctor, they should not have to wait longer than the 62-day target timeframe.

“If anything, with so much at stake, they should be seen to even more quickly. This is just another damning statistic which exposes the SNP’s shambolic running of the NHS.

“If the Scottish Government is serious about helping those who need it most, it would sort this situation out as a matter of urgency.”

To support improvement, the Scottish Government have pledged an additional £4 million to support immediate improvements in capacity for diagnostic scopes, imaging and outpatient appointments for suspected cancer patients.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Early detection and treatment of all cancers is crucial, which is why we have set robust standards, and it may be that some cases are delayed for clinical reasons.

“Once a decision to treat has been made, the average wait for cancer treatment is currently six days.

“However, to ensure waiting times are as short as possible in all cases we have set up a cancer performance delivery group to focus on driving forward improvements in waiting times for diagnosis and treatment for cancer patients.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "KEVAN CHRISTIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621902.1511471546!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621902.1511471546!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A patient was forced wait 315 days for vital cancer treatment to begin.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A patient was forced wait 315 days for vital cancer treatment to begin.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621902.1511471546!/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/conservatives-continue-to-dominate-political-donations-1-4621302","id":"1.4621302","articleHeadline": "Conservatives continue to dominate political donations","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511439845000 ,"articleLead": "

The Conservatives remain by far the wealthiest of the UK’s political parties in terms of donations, new figures have revealed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614230.1511439652!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

Despite losing her majority at June’s snap general election, Theresa May’s party pulled in £3,701,470 from donors between 1 July and 30 September 2017 – the first quarterly reporting period after the Westminster poll.

The figure represents more than half the total amount donated to seven parties.

Donations to Labour totalled £1,739,580 and the Libs Dem received £610,444. The SNP received £44,039 - all from a single donor - ahead of UKIP, who declared £35,640.

Trade union Unite was the largest single donor, handing Jeremy Corbyn’s party £1m.

Michael Davis, a South African-born former mining executive, gave the Conservatives £536,000 in the same period.

The figures were published today by the Electoral Commission and cover the third quarter of 2017.

Bob Posner, director of political finance and regulation at the commission, said: “This data is hugely important in ensuring that our political finance system is as transparent as possible across the whole of the UK. We are extremely disappointed that we are unable to provide the public with the information they expected on how political parties in Northern Ireland are funded. The continuing secrecy only serves to undermine trust and confidence amongst the public in the democratic process.

“The commission urges the UK Government without delay to bring forward the legislation that it has already announced, for parliament to approve. This would allow us to publish donations and loans to Northern Ireland parties as soon as possible.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614230.1511439652!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.png","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614230.1511439652!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614230.1511439652!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.png","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/future-scotland/tech/clampdown-on-broadband-firms-advertising-speeds-unavailable-to-most-1-4620760","id":"1.4620760","articleHeadline": "Clampdown on broadband firms advertising speeds unavailable to most","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511435569000 ,"articleLead": "

Broadband firms will no longer be able to claim higher internet speeds which are actually unavailable to the vast majority of customers following a major shake up of how telecoms firms will be allowed to advertise.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4620759.1511435581!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Two in five people suffer from a slow internet connection"} ,"articleBody": "

Advertising authorities said that numerical speed claims in broadband ads should be based on the download speed available to at least 50 per cent of customers at peak time and described in ads as “average”. This marks a change from the current position that advertised “up to” speeds should be available to at least 10 per cent of customers.

A recent report from the Post Office revealed that two in five broadband customers suffer from a slow internet connection, 38 per cent have had their connection drop at random times and around a fifth experience a poor Wi-Fi connection in certain rooms of their homes.

The guidance, laid out by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) – the body that writes and maintains the UK’s advertising codes – said that the new guidance would come into force on 23 May 2018 after a six-month implementation period.

Shahriar Coupal, director of CAP, said: “There are a lot of factors that affect the broadband speed a customer is going to get in their own home; from technology to geography, to how a household uses broadband. While we know these factors mean some people will get significantly slower speeds than others; when it comes to broadband ads, our new standards will give consumers a better understanding of the broadband speeds offered by different providers when deciding to switch providers.

The body said that consumers may currently interpret a range publicised by broadband companies as the speed they are likely to get individually, as opposed to the range that they generally are likely to get.

Richard Neudegg, head of regulation expert at uSwitch.com, said: “Currently 90 per cent of broadband customers can be left disappointed by a service that will seemingly fall short of the speed they’ve seen advertised.

“Whilst this change might reduce the number of consumers that feel let down, the reality is that a national advert can never accurately communicate broadband speeds because speeds are so specific to your individual property.”

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said: “We’ve been backing this change, which will help close the gap between what broadband shoppers expect and what they actually receive.

“Similarly, we’re improving the information people get before taking out a broadband contract.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JANE BRADLEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4620759.1511435581!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4620759.1511435581!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Two in five people suffer from a slow internet connection","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Two in five people suffer from a slow internet connection","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4620759.1511435581!/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/sport/football/teams/rangers/ex-rangers-flop-joey-barton-received-record-i-m-a-celebrity-offer-1-4621098","id":"1.4621098","articleHeadline": "Ex-Rangers flop Joey Barton received record I’m A Celebrity offer","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511432453000 ,"articleLead": "

Ex-Rangers midfielder Joey Barton was turned down the chance appear on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, according to the Scottish Sun.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621097.1511432643!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Joey Barton was offered half a million pounds. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Should Rangers bring Carlos Pena back in from the cold?

The 35-year-old was offered £500,000, more than any other contestant on the show’s run, but refused to do it for any less than double that amount.

Barton has been out of football since receiving a ban for betting offences in April of this year. He has recently been working as a pundit on TalkSport.

Producers thought they could tempt Barton with a lucrative offer, having feared boxer Amir Khan may pull out, but in the end the ex-Manchester City star knocked them back.

READ MORE - Paris St-Germain 7-1 Celtic: How the Celtic players rated

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CRAIG FORBES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621097.1511432643!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621097.1511432643!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Joey Barton was offered half a million pounds. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Joey Barton was offered half a million pounds. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621097.1511432643!/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/peter-rice-families-will-suffer-after-decision-to-freeze-alcohol-duty-1-4621051","id":"1.4621051","articleHeadline": "Peter Rice: Families will suffer after decision to freeze alcohol duty","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511431308000 ,"articleLead": "

Today’s Budget showed the many Scottish organisations who developed and supported the policy of minimum unit pricing for alcohol were right not to look to the UK government for meaningful, substantial action on the price of alcohol.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621050.1511431322!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond decided to freeze alcohol duty"} ,"articleBody": "

Alcohol duties are expected by HM Treasury to rise in line with prices each year. The Chancellor’s decision to freeze alcohol duty is effectively a cut and one that will cost the government £1.2 billion in revenue needed for health care, education and other public services over the next five years.

More importantly, when alcohol prices fall, people drink more and many drinkers and their families will suffer as a result.

This analysis is now well accepted in Scotland. Scottish politicians of all stripes accept we need effective regulation of alcohol price to prevent the excess of ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ practices, which the supermarkets introduced from the mid-1990s at great cost to the health of Scots, in particular those on low incomes.

Those of us involved in campaigning on minimum unit pricing were strongly focused on white ciders.

Frontline doctors, like myself, saw the harm these products caused to patients and their families. Their cheapness made it easy for heavy drinkers to increase their consumption even further and the already slippery slope became steeper and more hazardous.

I, with others, campaigned at the UK level for action to change the minimal tax on strong cider, but the Chancellor’s promise of action turned out to be a minor tweak with tax bands that will do little to curb these dangerous products.

So thank heavens for minimum unit pricing, which will be introduced in Scotland on 1 May. This will control the price of the cheapest, most harmful products – something yesterday’s Budget failed to do.

Alcohol causes a lot of harm and the industry should pay its way.

With MUP, Scotland will avoid the worst of the health impacts of this Budget, but the rest of the UK will see rising rates of liver disease and alcohol related cancers. That is a tragedy.

l Dr Peter Rice is chair of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP)

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4621050.1511431322!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4621050.1511431322!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond decided to freeze alcohol duty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond decided to freeze alcohol duty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4621050.1511431322!/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-how-we-the-public-can-help-over-stretched-gps-1-4620734","id":"1.4620734","articleHeadline": "Kevan Christie: How we the public can help over-stretched GPs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511416800000 ,"articleLead": "

A series of trial projects throughout the country which will see patients referred by GPs’ receptionists to NHS 24, which will then decide whether they can see a doctor, has been met with public fury.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4620733.1511380884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "There has been concern that the worried well could be taking up time better spent with the genuinely ill"} ,"articleBody": "

A series of trial projects throughout the country which will see patients referred by GPs’ receptionists to NHS 24, which will then decide whether they can see a doctor, has been met with public fury.

This was always going to be a hard-sell for the Scottish Government and the NHS in Scotland.

Those phoning the local doctor will initially be at the mercy of the receptionist who can either grant permission for a same-day appointment or contact the call handlers at the NHS 24 “In-Hours GP Triage” programme.

From there, the call handlers – with input from clinicians – will decide what the best course of action to take is, either arranging an appointment if the patient’s problem is deemed worthy enough of a GP’s attention or deciding the person need only see a pharmacist.

A third option is to point then in the direction of the NHS webchat service and self-help guides.

The general thinking behind this, and the way it’s been spun, is that local doctors will have the opportunity to have more face-to-face time with their patients – the “genuine” ones – now that the timewasters and “worried well” have been fobbed off with a leaflet and others who are unwell, but not seriously, have been redicted to the chemist.

READ MORE: NHS 24 to decide if you’re sick enough to see a doctor

As part of the service, NHS 24 “promise” to call back every patient who has phoned their GP in the morning by 1.30pm to tell them if their bid to see a doctor has been successful.

So, it’s maybe a bit like the plumber telling you he’ll be there in the afternoon to fix that leaky tap.

There is a concern that vulnerable patients and those without the internet could suffer and choose not to engage with this process.

The benefits of seeing someone who is medically qualified eye-to-eye cannot be ignored, particularly as patients can sometimes have a more serious, underlying problem than they realise. Older people in particular value facetime with their local doctor.

The trials come at a time when there are huge pressures on general practice and the thinking behind the idea ties in with the Scottish Government’s multi-disciplinary approach to healthcare, in which a patient can be treated by any number of a wide-range of medical professionals from nurses to physiotherapists in their local area.

The worry is that this initiative, built around a “transformation” of primary care, is nothing more than an excuse not to provide GPs with the funding and support it really needs.

In terms of the ongoing GP recruitment crisis, it doesn’t take a cynical journalist to work out that cutting down on the number of appointments will help medical surgeries struggling to cope with a lack of staff and relying on locum doctors.

However, the initial trial for the GP triage project at a practice in Forth Valley was deemed to be “highly successful”, according to Dr Laura Ryan, the medical director of NHS 24.

And some people have apparently found it is easier to get a doctor’s appointment using NHS 24, than when taking their chances with the local practice’s booking system.

Certainly if it works – and it’s a big if – it will see pharmacists and other perfectly capable health professionals taking on a wider role in providing care.

The key to all of this, like most of the developments in the health service at the moment, is to change public thinking around the levels of service they expect from their GP.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kevan Christie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4620733.1511380884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4620733.1511380884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "There has been concern that the worried well could be taking up time better spent with the genuinely ill","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "There has been concern that the worried well could be taking up time better spent with the genuinely ill","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4620733.1511380884!/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/analysis-obr-forecast-downgrade-spells-bad-news-for-the-uk-s-finances-1-4620740","id":"1.4620740","articleHeadline": "Analysis: OBR forecast downgrade spells bad news for the UK’s finances","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511381302000 ,"articleLead": "

Pain for the UK economy means difficulty for Scotland’s public finances, writes John McLaren

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4619728.1511381315!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Philip Hammond slashed growth forecasts. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Yesterday’s Budget pronouncements summed up to bad news with respect to the long-term state of the UK’s – and by implication Scotland’s – public finances.

The key change was the decision by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to downgrade forecasts for the growth in UK productivity.

This is important as productivity growth – the rate at which the level of output associated with one hour of work increases – is the bedrock for growth in living standards and so too in growth in real wages.

In general, employees are unlikely to be paid more if they not producing more. In the past labour productivity grew by about 2 per cent a year, which meant real wages could do likewise. However, since 2008 and the Great Recession, productivity has flatlined, as have real wages.

READ MORE: Tax break for faltering North Sea oil industry

The OBR has consistently assumed there would be a bounce back in productivity growth to something like pre-recession levels, but this has failed to emerge. As a result, the OBR have finally decided to reduce their productivity forecasts down from an annual growth rate of 1.8 per cent, just a little below the pre-recession long-term trend of 2.1 per cent, to around 1 per cent. That is a huge change. It translates into an increase in government borrowing of over £25 billion by 2020.

On the public sector side, slower productivity and GDP growth will lead to a lower tax take and so lower government revenues, which in turn will worsen the fiscal balance and result in less scope for raising spending on public services. On the private sector side, slower productivity growth will lead to slow-to-no real wage growth, so the squeezed provision of public sector services will be accompanied by a little in the way of improving living standards.

The ultimate impact of this change, in terms of the future of public spending, is that once the Budget gets back into balance, still planned for the mid 2020s, the ‘new normal’ will involve slower growth in spending on public services than had hitherto been anticipated.

Some of the Chancellor’s major announcements involved ways of trying to improve productivity, but these are long-term measures that will take time to work, if they work at all. One of the biggest concerns over productivity is our poor understanding of why it has crashed and of how to reboot it.

All of this puts further pressure on the Scottish Government if it wants to help alleviate some long-term squeeze on public spending.

John McLaren is a political economist whose published work covers a wide range of macro and micro economic issues

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JOHN McLAREN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4619728.1511381315!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4619728.1511381315!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Philip Hammond slashed growth forecasts. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Philip Hammond slashed growth forecasts. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4619728.1511381315!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5654901395001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/sketch-jokes-were-even-found-on-phil-s-budget-spreadsheet-1-4620703","id":"1.4620703","articleHeadline": "Sketch: Jokes were even found on Phil’s Budget spreadsheet","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511377537000 ,"articleLead": "

Spreadsheet Phil could have been forgiven for feeling the weight of the world – or at the very least the weight of 27 other EU member states – on his shoulders when he delivered his budget.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4620702.1511376986!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Philip Hammond poses for pictures with the Budget Box. Picture: AFP/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

With Theresa May’s grip on Downing Street looking shakier than ever and Brexit negotiations mired in bad-tempered complexity, all eyes were on the Chancellor.

Was he capable of producing a budget free from the sort of disaster that could undermine Mrs May and derail further the UK’s less than orderly exit from the EU?

If he was feeling the pressure, Philip Hammond didn’t show it. But maybe that was because the Remainer in him wouldn’t mind a bit of bungled Brexit.Sounding assured, the Chancellor spoke with such aplomb that there must have been a few Tories wondering what a good Prime Minister he would make.

But despite reports of a rift with Mrs May over the budget’s contents, the Chancellor and Prime Minister seemed to have papered over the cracks.

Indeed, it was as if they were in cahoots when the Prime Minister appeared in on the act when he made his first joke. Referring to the coughing fit that dogged Mrs May’s speech at the Tory conference, he motioned towards a glass of water.

“I did take the precaution of asking my right honourable friend to bring a packet of cough sweets just in case,” he said. Bang on cue Mrs May produced a packet of lozenges. The next victim of Mr Hammond’s “wit” was Michael Gove, whose use of “long economicky words” at Cabinet has led to suspicions he’s after the Chancellor’s job.

“This is the bit with the long economicky words in it,” said Hammond with a glint in his eye as he unleashed some impenetrable terminology that even Mr Gove might struggle to understand. Then it was time to consult his spreadsheet. Somewhat surprisingly amongst the morass of numbers lurked some more jokes – a number of which actually raised a laugh.

Demonstrating an enviable knowledge of popular culture, Mr Hammond referred to ‘Top Gear’ and Jeremy Clarkson’s dislike of the driverless vehicles being championed by the Government.

“I know that Jeremy Clarkson doesn’t like them, but there are many good reasons to pursue this technology.... sorry Jeremy but definitely not the first time you’ve been snubbed by Hammond and May”, he said.

Attacking Labour’s economic plans, he joked that there would be “plenty of others joining Kezia Dugdale in saying ‘I’m Labour, get me out of here’.” It proved impossible to resist a dig at Scotland’s best known reality TV star.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4620702.1511376986!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4620702.1511376986!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Philip Hammond poses for pictures with the Budget Box. Picture: AFP/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Philip Hammond poses for pictures with the Budget Box. Picture: AFP/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4620702.1511376986!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5654901395001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/budget-2017-call-for-income-tax-rise-in-scotland-to-be-ditched-1-4620498","id":"1.4620498","articleHeadline": "Budget 2017: Call for income tax rise in Scotland to be ditched","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511376848000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon is facing calls to ditch the prospect of income tax hikes in Scotland next after more than £180 million of extra cash for was handed to Scotland in Philip Hammond’s Budget.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4597002.1511376292!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The First Minister has been urged to abandon 'wreckless' plans to put up income taxes. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

It will mean an additional £180 million in revenue cash for the Scottish Government next year alone, although the First Minister accused the Chancellor of “smoke and mirrors”, insisting the Holyrood budget is still going down.

Plans to offload Royal Bank of Scotland back into the public sector were also unveiled by Philip Hammond on Wednesday, with taxpayers facing a £26 billion loss on their bailout of the Edinburgh-based giant a decade ago.

A series of tax-cutting measures were at the heart of yesterday’s Budget, but they won’t all apply to Scots. Middle earners south of the border will benefit from a rise in the Higher rate income tax threshold, which the SNP is not extending in Scotland, and first time buyers in England and will also escape stamp duty.

READ MORE: Budget 2017: Key points at a glance

But Scots will benefit from a rise in the personal allowance which goes up from £11,500 to £11,850.

The controversial £40 million VAT bill faced by Police Scotland was also abolished by Mr Hammond, while whisky duty was frozen and fresh support unveiled to support decommissioning in the oil and gas industry.

The First Minister said on Wednesday that more than half of the £2 billion Scottish package (£1.1 billion) - spanning the next three years - is in “financial transactions” which will have to be repaid to the Treasury.

The rest - about £900 million - is also split between 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21.

The extra money in revenue funding which Ms Sturgeon will be free to spend next year amounts to £183 million of so called “Barnett consequentials.”

Tory leader Ruth Davidson said the First Minister should now abandon “reckless” plans to put up incomes next year.

“SNP ministers must look again at their reckless plans to raise income tax in Scotland,” Ms Davidson said.

“As a result of the Chancellor’s decisions today they are getting £2 billion extra funding to help meet their own spending commitments.

“With income tax and stamp duty being cut south of the border, there is a growing tax gap between people in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.

“The SNP can’t keep hitting Scots in the pocket – and need to hold off further tax rises in the Holyrood budget next month. The case for raiding the pay packets of ordinary Scottish families has collapsed.

READ MORE: What does the budget mean for Scotland?

Ms Sturgeon has set out a range of proposals which ministers are considering for income tax hikes under Holyrood’s new fiscal powers. They would generate between £80-£290 million in extra cash, depending on the scenario which is favoured by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay when he sets out his Scottish Budget next month.

The First Minister described the “financial transaction” funding yesterday on Twitter as “money that can be used for limited purposes only and has to be repaid.”

It has previously been used for the Help to Buy Scotland mortgage support scheme and the Scottish Investment Bank.

“Taking account of today’s announced changes, next year’s (2018/19) @scotgov revenue budget still facing real terms CUT of £239 million - imposed by the UK government,” Ms Sturgeon added.

The Scottish Government says its budget from Westminster was already facing a cut of about £420 million in 2018/19, meaning the extra £183 million will take this reduction to about £239 million, as set out by the First Minister.

Ms Sturgeon added that “not an extra penny” had been provided by the Chancellor to lift the cap on public sector pay increases.

She has already pledged the Scottish Government will end the 1% cap on wage rises that has been imposed on public workers.

The headline announcement in the Budget was the abolition of stamp duty for first time property buyers on homes worth up to £300,000.

However this will not apply in Scotland, where ministers have introduced the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax - which applies a levy of 2% on property sales between £145,000 and £250,000, with this rising to 5% from £250,000 and £325,000.

Ms Davidson said it would “make a massive difference” if Scottish Finance Secretary Derek McKay followed the Chancellor’s lead in next month’s Holyrood budget.

The threshold for paying the Higher rate income tax of 40 pence has been frozen in Scotland at £43,000 while rising this year to £45,000 south of the border, an effective tax cut for English middle earners. Mr Hammond yesterday announced this will go up to £46,350 south of the border as part of a gradual shift towards £50,000. Ms Sturgeon has blocked this in Scotland claiming it would be wrong to cut taxes for higher earners at a time of ongoing austerity.

The controversial £40 million annual VAT charge on Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, which no other UK force faces, This was imposed when the new forces were established four years ago because they were deemed to be “national” organisations by the tax authorities.

Mr Hammond insisted SNP ministers had always been aware the new organisations would be subject to the charge.

“The SNP knew the rules, they knew the consequences of introducing these bodies and they ploughed ahead anyway,” he told the House of Commons.

But he said the 13 Scottish Conservative MPs elected in June had persuaded him that “the Scottish people should not lose out because of the obstinacy of the SNP government”.

But Scotland’s Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said the move was “well overdue.”

He added; “The UK Government must now pay back the £140 million of VAT they have already taken. The realty of today’s budget is that Scotland continues to be hit by UK austerity.”

But Mr Mackay, who will set out his own budget on December 14, said Mr Hammond’s announcements for Scotland were “disappointing”. He contrasted it with the £1 billion given to the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland for supporting the Tory minority government at Westminster.

Scottish ministers also say that despite a commitment of over £300million of resource funding for the NHS in England this year, Scotland will receive only £8m in consequentials in 2018-19 due to UK cuts elsewhere.

The Chancellor revealed that the UK Government would begin formal negotiations for a Borderlands Growth Deal, aimed at strengthening links between the North of England and south of Scotland. Once agreed, this deal will support local priorities and bolster the region’s economy. Support will also continue for the Tay Cities and Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Deals announced at Autumn Statement 2016.

Scottish charities will also reap the rewards of more than £3.3 million of LIBOR funding raised from fines levied on banks. In addition to this, the UK Government will provide £2.2 million to support improvements to the Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Edinburgh.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT MACNAB"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4597002.1511376292!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4597002.1511376292!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The First Minister has been urged to abandon 'wreckless' plans to put up income taxes. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The First Minister has been urged to abandon 'wreckless' plans to put up income taxes. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4597002.1511376292!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5654901395001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/philip-hammond-accused-of-rbs-fire-sale-to-pay-for-brexit-1-4620663","id":"1.4620663","articleHeadline": "Philip Hammond accused of RBS fire sale to pay for Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511376743000 ,"articleLead": "

Philip Hammond has been accused of mounting a “fire sale” of RBS shares to pay for Brexit preparations and investment aimed at shoring up the UK’s flagging economic growth.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4594289.1511376757!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The government will start selling its shares in RBS by March 2019"} ,"articleBody": "

The Treasury revealed plans to raise £15 billion by selling off two thirds of its stake in the bailed-out bank, despite RBS’ share price sitting at half value the government paid.

Revenue from the sell-off represents almost two-thirds of a £25 billion stimulus package announced by the Chancellor, as he loosened the purse strings to combat gloomy economic data showing Brexit will wipe a quarter off growth rates over the next five years.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said it was the wrong time for a “fire sale” of the public’s share in RBS, and former business secretary Sir Vince Cable called the move “rather desperate”.

It comes just eight months after the government said it was too soon to sell off more shares in the bank because RBS was still dealing with “legacy issues”.

READ MORE: Call for income tax rise in Scotland to be ditched

The bank headquartered in Edinburgh is awaiting a multi-billion dollar fine from US regulators over mis-selling of payment protection insurance, and is fighting claims that a business restructuring division exploited its own clients to asset-strip their companies.

Shares will start being offloaded by March 2019. At current prices, the government would make a £26bn loss on its 71% shareholding. In April, Mr Hammond told MPs that he had to “live in the real world” and that fair value “could well be below what the previous government paid”.

At the March budget, the Treasury stated that “the need to resolve legacy issues makes it uncertain as to when [sales] will occur.” Wednesday’s budget document states: “RBS has made significant progress on resolving its legacy issues and refocusing on serving British businesses and consumers.”

In his budget speech, the Chancellor insisted the UK economy was strong and would “confound those who seek to talk it down”.

But Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said the downgrading of growth forecasts meant the UK economy would be £65bn smaller by 2020 compared with expectations in 2016.

Mr Hammond told MPs he would use the “fiscal headroom” he gave himself by not paying off the UK’s debt until the middle of the next decade to invest in trying to boost productivity.

He put aside £3 billion to pay for physical infrastructure at the border, pleasing Leave-supporting backbenchers in his own party who had accused the Chancellor of refusing to plan for a no-deal scenario.

There was a major announcement for millennials struggling to get on the property market as the the Conservatives try to win back young voters from Labour, with the Chancellor abolishing stamp duty in England and Wales for first time buyers on house purchases up to £300,000.

However, the OBR said the move would simply push up house prices, with current owners expected to pocket double the value of the stamp duty relief on the sale price of their property.

Control of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax is devolved to Scotland, where first time buyers making an offer on a £200,000 property will now pay £1,100 more tax than south of the border. Ruth Davidson and several Scottish Tory MPs called on SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay to consider adopting the measure when he delivers his budget next month.

Mr Hammond bowed to pressure from across the political spectrum to ease the hardship faced by some of the poorest families because of the government’s reforms to benefits.

The Chancellor said waiting times for initial payments of Universal Credit would be cut from six weeks to five, and £1.5bn invested so that new claimants can get an advance on the next month’s benefit within five days of making a request.

The repayment period for advances will also be extended from six to 12 months. Further detail of changes to the controversial reform will be revealed on Thursday.

“Universal Credit delivers a modern welfare system, where work always pays and people are supported to earn,” Mr Hammond said.

“But I recognise the genuine concerns on both sides of the House about the operational delivery of this benefit.”

Unions accused the Chancellor of “letting down” millions of public sector workers in England and Wales, with no commitment to lift the pay cap in the budget.

Mr Hammond said NHS staff would only get a pay rise if productivity improved before the next round of pay reviews in spring and summer, and there was no offer at all for council workers, civil servants and teachers.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PARIS GOURTSOYANNIS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4594289.1511376757!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4594289.1511376757!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The government will start selling its shares in RBS by March 2019","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The government will start selling its shares in RBS by March 2019","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4594289.1511376757!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5654901395001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/budget-2017-what-does-the-budget-mean-for-scotland-1-4620574","id":"1.4620574","articleHeadline": "Budget 2017: What does the budget mean for Scotland?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511370857000 ,"articleLead": "

Philip Hammond has made his budget speech in the House of Commons. Now the analysis of what it really means can begin.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4620572.1511370871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond. Picture: PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

For Scotland, there were a number of headline points as the UK Government delivered its first major financial statement since the snap general election in June.

That vote may have cost the Conservatives their majority and severely weakened Theresa May’s credibility, but it also led to a larger Scottish Tory presence on the green benches.

Those new Conservative MPs are already claiming credit for one major budget concession.

The headlines

Scotland is to receive an “extra” £2bn in funding, spread over the next four years.

But Nicola Sturgeon seized on the chancellor’s announcement, accusing him of a ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach to funding.

READ MORE: Chancellor touts ‘extra funding’ for Scotland in Budget

According to the SNP, the £2bn won’t prevent the Scottish Government being on the receiving end of a real terms reduction in funding through the bloc grant.

Moves to alleviate pressure on the still-struggling North Sea oil industry were universally welcomed, but heavily trailed and thus hardly surprising.

So too, was the announcement that Scotland’s fire and police services would, from next year, be exempt from VAT payments – but there could yet be a row over that decision.

Credit where it’s maybe due

The VAT decision was as predictable as the reaction to it, the SNP saying it isn’t enough, and the Conservatives claiming credit for forcing the Chancellor’s hand.

Philip Hammond noted from the despatch box that he was now getting his ‘ear bent’ by the 13 Conservatives from north of the border.

Ruth Davidson and her colleagues were quick to paint this as a sign that their more collegiate style of requesting giveaways from the Chancellor is more effective than an SNP approach they would categorise as petulant.

Ross Thomson, one of the new breed of MPs, said the budget showed that the Scottish Conservatives were ‘delivering for Scotland’.

READ MORE: Call for Income Tax rise to be ditched

The SNP, for their part, highlight dozens of instances of requesting that the VAT be waived, and are already accusing the delighted Tories of claiming unfair credit for the move.

There are risks for both parties in this row – the SNP won’t wish to seem churlish about an outcome they ultimately desired, and the Conservatives can only gloat for so long until it appears unseemly.

A banana skin?

Perhaps one of the most significant decisions in the budget, in terms of Scottish political debate, is one that doesn’t actually apply to the country.

Mr Hammond announced, to some surprise, that Stamp Duty would be waived for first time buyers purchasing a house costing £300,000 or under.

This will save aspiring homeowners several thousand pounds, although the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) warned it could lead to a rise in house prices.

A broadly similar tax in Scotland, Land and Buildings Transactions Tax (LBTT), has come under scrutiny since the Holyrood Elections of last year.

Ruth Davidson raised the issue of LBTT at First Minister’s Questions, after a report indicated a slowdown in certain sales as a result of its introduction.

The Scottish Conservatives are already calling for Finance Secretary Derek Mackay to follow the Chancellor’s lead and aid first-time buyers in Scotland.

It has already been pointed out that the move could make a house in Scotland around £3,000 more expensive for first-time buyers than an equivalent property in England.

With a minority government reliant on opposition support to pass a budget, the SNP could find themselves under significant pressure to cut LBTT for first-time buyers.

One set-piece political event has concluded today, but the consequences will be felt in Scotland all the way to the Scottish budget on December 14, and far beyond.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ROSS McCAFFERTY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4620572.1511370871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4620572.1511370871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond. Picture: PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond. Picture: PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4620572.1511370871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5654901395001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/b-m-apologise-over-product-which-mum-claims-ruins-christmas-magic-1-4620230","id":"1.4620230","articleHeadline": "B&M apologise over product which mum claims ‘ruins Christmas magic’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511355520000 ,"articleLead": "

B&M has apologised after a furious mum accused the store of almost ruining Christmas for her children with one of its products.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4620228.1511353977!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "B&M have apologised over the product."} ,"articleBody": "

Emma Mander, 34, took to Facebook after spotting a ‘Santa’s Reply Letter Pack’ at B&M’s till with the header ‘Letter from Santa’ at the top.

The furious mum said she was with her youngest child in the store when she noticed the letter and claimed that it breaks the ‘unwritten Santa code’.

She said that the placement of the card could ‘ruin the magic of Christmas’ and would have led to some difficult questions if one of her three children had spotted it.

Posting on Facebook she said: “Why did you think 1. It was acceptable to sell these in the first place (do it online maybe?) and 2.To put them right at the till so that parents can’t avoid with their kids?!

“I’m just glad I didn’t have my older two with me, who I’m trying desperately to keep believing in the magic of Christmas ... and Santa ... “

If they’d have seen something clearly labelled “Santa’s Reply Letter” there would have been all sorts of questions ... why do they sell these in B&M Mum?

“Doesn’t Santa have them typed up in the North Pole Mum? Are all the letters I’ve had just bought from a shop Mum?!

“Yours, A disgruntled Xmas Ninja Mum of a very inquisitive, still believes but Inspector Clouseau type almost 8 year Old, a full believing 6 year Old (and a baby that was with me, who can’t read yet so luckily has no idea)”

She added: “Parents avoid B&M when kids are in tow just in case!!.” The letter has Santa’s ‘address’ printed on the top right hand side of the page and a badge which reads ‘Santa’s Little Helper’.

The text reads: “Dear.... As it’s nearly Christmas I thought I’d write to let you know that as you have been good this year, your name is on my present list, here in the North Pole.

“I will bring you lots of gifts and leave them next to your tree. “Just you wait and see! Have a Merry Christmas. Lots of love from Santa.”

B&M have now apologised to the mother for the card and said they would be reviewing its position of the product in its stores.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4620228.1511353977!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4620228.1511353977!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "B&M have apologised over the product.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "B&M have apologised over the product.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4620228.1511353977!/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/uuganaa-ramsay-equality-and-fairness-people-with-disability-are-being-judged-before-they-are-even-born-1-4619107","id":"1.4619107","articleHeadline": "Uuganaa Ramsay: Equality and fairness? People with disability are being judged before they are even born","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511334035000 ,"articleLead": "

I work with young people with learning difficulties and ­disabilities as part of my job as a career coach, advising and ­supporting them through career planning.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4619105.1511262053!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mrs. Uuganaa Ramsay is a guest writer for the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics and an award-winning author, campaigner and advocate."} ,"articleBody": "

From applying to college and any employment opportunities, it is clear that many applicants feel ­discrimination. That is even before the interview stage, before coming face to face with the interviewer, and not having been given the chance to show how ­capable they are, how wonderful their personalities are.

More organisations should seek to access the support available to increase diversity and develop ­inclusive working environments, helping to bridge skills gaps and ­harness different experiences, backgrounds and approaches. A diverse workforce is a more creative and innovative workforce.

In this context, I feel that the ­proposed, new Non-Invasive Prenatal Tests for Down’s ­syndrome ­mirrors existing discrimination in society. People with an extra chromosome are already written off.

As we discuss this new screening test I have concerns, not only as a career coach, but also as a mother and also as someone who campaigns for equality, human rights and ­justice.

With the existing tests, more than 90 per cent of babies with Down’s syndrome are aborted before birth in Scotland.

But how can we make things equal and fair when society already accepts that before birth we are not equal? This attitude is programming ­individuals in society to see disabled people differently and influencing decisions about equal opportunities, and thereby screening takes place with respect to college, training and job applications.

At a time when we want to be seen to value diversity, we seem to be ­ignoring it in antenatal clinics, where a social model of Downs syndrome is being overshadowed by the ­medical one.

With the new screening tests the decisions to abort are likely to increase. I am not saying ­people should not have the tests. We chose to have a test for our youngest child, who was born after our late son ­Billy. We needed to know and be ­prepared.

What is important is that ­parents should be given balanced ­information about life with a child with Down’s syndrome. Information that is in line with UK and international disability guidelines and ­legislation while reminding us that we are more than the sum of our parts.

Surely, employers, training and opportunity providers need to know what incentives, funding and support is out there before closing their doors to disabled people and people with additional support needs.

When introducing new scientific tests, we need to be aware that they are carrying many messages to ­society.

This is the issue which concerns the Don’t Screen Us out campaign, which is campaigning to ensure that any future screening for Down’s ­syndrome conforms to the ethics with which a country is bound.

The consequences of screening remaining unfettered by ethics will have a profound long-term effect on the population of the Down’s ­syndrome community and how ­society accepts disability.

Uuganaa Ramsay is a guest writer for the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics and an award-winning author, campaigner and advocate.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4619105.1511262053!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4619105.1511262053!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mrs. Uuganaa Ramsay is a guest writer for the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics and an award-winning author, campaigner and advocate.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mrs. Uuganaa Ramsay is a guest writer for the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics and an award-winning author, campaigner and advocate.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4619105.1511262053!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4619106.1511262055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4619106.1511262055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "More than 90 per cent of babies with Down's syndrome are aborted in Scotland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "More than 90 per cent of babies with Down's syndrome are aborted in Scotland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4619106.1511262055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/james-cant-we-re-saving-more-babies-with-heart-defects-thanks-to-pioneering-work-1-4619110","id":"1.4619110","articleHeadline": "James Cant: We’re saving more babies with heart defects thanks to pioneering work","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511334024000 ,"articleLead": "

One of the most important parts of my role at ­British Heart Foundation Scotland is meeting the people whose lives we’re trying to improve – those directly ­affected by heart disease and their ­families.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4619108.1511262234!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cohen Taylor had surgery to correct a heart defect"} ,"articleBody": "

It’s particularly moving to spend time with families whose children have been affected by congenital heart disease. Their bravery and determination is both inspiring and ­humbling.

Congenital heart disease is an abnormality of the heart that ­develops in the womb and there is a range of different conditions.

Sometimes a congenital heart ­condition is picked up during ­pregnancy, but often it’s not discovered until after birth. Some children don’t need any treatment, while ­others may need medication, heart surgery or other procedures.

What should be the happiest time of their lives can become frightening and upsetting for new parents. Imagine you’ve just met your long-awaited baby, only to discover that they have a potentially life-threatening heart condition that could require major surgery.

It’s not surprising that parents tell us they can feel overwhelmed by a range of emotions, including anger, disappointment, fear and guilt.

Each year, 300 babies in Scotland are diagnosed with a heart defect. Behind every statistic is a child and a family facing the unknown. Last summer, this was the situation the Taylor family found themselves in. When their son Cohen was born, he seemed perfectly healthy. But at his eight week check-up, their GP detected a heart murmur.

Doctors at the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh found Cohen had coarctation of the aorta (narrowing of the aorta which stops the blood from circulating normally in the lower half of the body) and two holes in his heart.

Cohen had open heart surgery a week later in Glasgow to remove the narrowed part of the aorta and repair the holes in his heart. It was a hugely worrying time for his parents, but he recovered well and should grow up to lead a normal adult life.

The ground-breaking surgery that helps children like Cohen has only come about in recent times. In the 1950s, around eight out of ten babies born with a complex congenital heart condition died before their first birthday.

Today, thanks to advances in treatment and care, eight out of ten babies with congenital heart disease grow up to be adults. That’s a remarkable turnaround.

That’s why the BHF is committed to funding more research into ­congenital heart disease. We’re ­currently investing over £11 million in 23 research projects across the UK.

In the 1970s, the pioneering heart surgeon, BHF Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, developed a revolutionary surgical technique to correct a defect where a baby’s major blood vessels are attached to the wrong chambers of the heart – his ‘switch’ ­technique is still used by surgeons worldwide.

BHF Professor Robert Anderson helped to improve treatment by carefully mapping the anatomy of heart defects. BHF-funded research transformed the replacement of faulty heart valves in children. Instead of traumatic open heart ­surgery, a much quicker and less stressful technique was developed.

This track record gives us confidence that BHF-funded research can continue to drive forward new discoveries in congenital heart ­disease. We have scientists investigating how the heart develops in the embryo, others working to identify genes that could cause some heart defects, and studying stem cell development to understand how heart cells form. Computer simulations are being used to help plan personalised treatments for children, and new ways to protect their heart muscle during open heart surgery are being developed. We’re also looking at what we need to do for adults who have grown up with congenital heart disease.

This is a fairly new and growing area of research – what future challenges might child heart patients face as adults, how can we predict them and what support will they need? After his treatment, Cohen’s dad Martin told us, “we were delighted with the support we got from the BHF and we’d like to do whatever we can to raise awareness of the need for more research”.

While there are still families like the Taylors facing this situation, and while we have the support of donors across Scotland who fund our work, we’ll keep fighting to improve the lives of children born with heart disease. Find out more at www.bhf.org.uk/congenital

James Cant, director, BHF Scotland.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4619108.1511262234!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4619108.1511262234!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Cohen Taylor had surgery to correct a heart defect","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cohen Taylor had surgery to correct a heart defect","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4619108.1511262234!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4619109.1511262235!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4619109.1511262235!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "James Cant, Director, BHF Scotland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James Cant, Director, BHF Scotland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4619109.1511262235!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/top-tips-for-shoppers-ahead-of-black-friday-1-4619059","id":"1.4619059","articleHeadline": "Top tips for shoppers ahead of Black Friday","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511283744000 ,"articleLead": "

Black Friday began in Britain around ten years ago, when internet giant Amazon brought the phenomenon from the United States.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618783.1511283758!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "UK consumers will spend an average of �300 on Black Friday, following the US retail trend. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Coming the day after the American holiday of Thanksgiving, when many Americans have a day off work, it has traditionally marked the start of the Christmas shopping period since the 1950s.

While many retailers in the UK have jumped on the bandwagon, seeing it as a chance to rake in extra cash and lure in shoppers, negative publicity such as riots in some stores, as customers fight over discount electrical goods, has prompted some to pull out.

Two years ago, Asda said it would not take part in the sale and it is not clear whether it is likely to make a return this year. Also opting out was Ikea, Next and Homebase.

READ MORE: Shoppers to spend £300 on Black Friday deals

However, others are expanding the concept further. Perhaps looking to mix it up, this year, Amazon extended its “Black Friday” deal period from one to ten days for the first time. Other major brands due to take part include the Disney store, Argos, Boots and New Look. Even hotel chains are getting in on the act, with Mercure and Novotel Hotels offering 30 per cent off stays booked over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, while Pets at Home has also slashed prices on some animal accessories.

However, while headline bargains appear to be great deals for shoppers, many consumer experts have warned that they are not necessarily all they seem.

An investigation this week by Which? found that six in 10 of last year’s Black Friday deals were cheaper or the same price at other times of year. Shoppers should “look at the price, not the ‘saving’,” it warned.

While time is key in nabbing the best bargains, shoppers shouldn’t impulse buy.

READ MORE: Are Black Friday deals always what they seem?

Having a list ready of the things you actually need and would buy anyway will help curb any unnecessary purchases.

Checking out whether any other vouchers - such as free delivery - are available at stores you plan to shop in ahead of time can save you money on the day. Meanwhile, starting early is also a good idea, with many of the best buys likely to be sold out on Friday morning.

Security experts warn that any websites which do not have encryption - shown y the https address and the green lock at the top of the page, should not be used.

“If a website isn’t encrypting their website in 2017, let alone their payment processing page, then they cannot be trusted to handle your credit card information properly either,” said Travis Smith, principal security researcher at Tripwire.

Historians believe the term Black Friday originally referred to the traffic chaos which ensued when people were travelling home after Thanksgiving and stopping in shopping malls and town centres to pick up Christmas gifts on the way.

Of course, in the UK, there is no such reason for this day to be the first shopping day - most people are not on holiday - however, as with many cultural approriations, the tradition has been adopted from the US.

The more modern idea of Cyber Monday - the day after Black Friday weekend when people turn to online shopping - has, of course, developed in recent times, and shoppers can find plenty of deals online.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4618783.1511283758!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618783.1511283758!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "UK consumers will spend an average of �300 on Black Friday, following the US retail trend. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "UK consumers will spend an average of �300 on Black Friday, following the US retail trend. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4618783.1511283758!/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/lauren-brown-you-re-hired-apprentices-are-the-new-university-graduates-1-4618096","id":"1.4618096","articleHeadline": "Lauren Brown: You’re hired! Apprentices are the new university graduates","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511247645000 ,"articleLead": "

It is hard to believe that the first of our ‘new millennials’ – children born from 2000 onwards – are now entering their final years of secondary school, ­contemplating higher education, or taking the first steps on the employment ladder. The transformation in 17 years, and particularly the ­rapidity at which technology has affected our lives, appears to have ­happened in the blink of an eye.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618095.1511173809!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lauren Brown, Project Manager Developing the Young Workforce, West Lothian"} ,"articleBody": "

Yet, this is just one indicator of the rapid pace at which the world is changing. Indeed, we could not have anticipated the extent to which digital career paths would have expanded – from app developers to social media executives – and this is a trend that is set to continue.

According to Skills Development Scotland, two out of three children starting primary school will have jobs that don’t exist today. For young people who are considering their future career options, it must be quite exciting to know they might have the option of working in a dynamic new profession.

However, for parents and carers trying their hardest to support and advise their children into the right career options, how do they go about best preparing their children for jobs that haven’t been created yet?

Global professional services firm EY recently conducted a UK survey and found that “parents in Scotland are amongst the most cautious when talking to their child about careers, with 46 per cent saying they don’t want to advise the wrong thing”.

With so many options on offer (compared to the “traditional” pathways that were previously available), it can be a daunting prospect for ­parents and guardians to provide the right career guidance.

Yet, parental influence is crucial. Research has shown that a huge 80.75 per cent of school/college ­students say their parents help them make key career decisions. Therefore, it is vital for parents to be aware of the range of pathways that their children could pursue.

Many pupils will be keen on ­university and for many vocations this is absolutely the right route. However, with the world of work evolving at such an incredible pace, it is just as important for parents to discuss the alternatives, to ensure that young people have all the ­information to make the decision that is right for them.

This is certainly not to say that ­university is not a worthwhile option. However, amongst many other ­factors, influences at policy level are driving a step change in both education and the world of work.

The Scottish Government’s Developing the Young Workforce ­programme aims to reduce youth unemployment by 40 per cent by 2021, with regional DYW teams working throughout Scotland to drive increased employer involvement in schools and to encourage access to more vocational options during the senior phase of secondary school.

Furthermore, the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in Scotland is seeing more employers shift towards work-based learning, which will open doors to new opportunities for young people that could set them up in a career for life.

In this changing landscape, it is increasingly important for young people, parents, employers and educators to understand how much apprenticeships have diversified in recent years. The traditional perception of apprenticeships has been that they are limited to trades, yet many are surprised to learn that there are over 80 Modern Apprenticeship frameworks including financial ­services, healthcare and IT.

Another common misconception is that choosing between university and an apprenticeship means ­sacrificing the achievement of a degree level qualification. However, with the introduction of Graduate Level Apprenticeships in Scotland, there is now the opportunity to work, get paid and achieve a degree.

According to research done by notgoingtouni.co.uk, apprentices have the potential to earn almost £4000 more than graduates per year in their first job and 33 per cent of those who graduated from university wished they’d embarked on an apprenticeship, compared to only 8 per cent of the respondents who completed an apprenticeship who wished they had taken a degree. Not surprisingly, avoiding the debt that can go with going to university was a top factor.

Of course, every situation is ­individual and unique. However, parental influence is key in ensuring young people develop the right skills to succeed in the working world.

Everything from supporting them to make the most of their work placement to exploring part-time jobs or volunteering, from exploring vocational opportunities to ­taking part in ‘bring a child to work day’, can all develop crucial skills that will help young people to thrive.

Lauren Brown, project manager Developing the Young Workforce, West Lothian.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4618095.1511173809!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618095.1511173809!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lauren Brown, Project Manager Developing the Young Workforce, West Lothian","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lauren Brown, Project Manager Developing the Young Workforce, West Lothian","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4618095.1511173809!/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/lifestyle/video-who-are-scotland-s-biggest-landowners-1-4584170","id":"1.4584170","articleHeadline": "Video: Who are Scotland’s biggest landowners?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511190471000 ,"articleLead": "

One half of Scottish private land belongs to group of just 432 owners. Do Eigg and Ulva hold the keys to community ownership?

" ,"articleBody": "

This week, Nicola Sturgeon used her SNP Party Conference speech to announce the island of Ulva was granted permission to bring their island into community ownership, granting them first refusal on the purchase.

The North West Mull Community Trust were approved to bid for the 4,500-acre island off the coast of Mull, 20 years after Eigg islanders successfully bought out their own community.

Around 50 per cent of Scotland belongs to 432 owners, perhaps painting the picture of the most uneven distribution of land ownership anywhere in the western world.

Just 16 of that number own 10 per cent of the country, according to research by activist and Green party MSP Andy Wightman.

READ MORE: Andy Wightman on land reform: Who owns the Palace of Holyroodhouse?

Scotland has 144 estates larger than 10,000 acres. Many are owned by Earls and Dukes, charities and trusts. Balmoral is owned by the Queen and some are still owned by the descendants of ancient Scottish clans, but at the top of the table a handful own more than 1 million acres between them.

Richard Scott, The Duke of Buccleuch, is thought to be Scotland’s largest private land owner with just shy of 220,000 acres around the country across spread across a handful of estates.

Hot on his heels is Danish fashion mogul Anders Holch Povlsen, whose Scottish land purchase of the 42,000-acre Glenfeshie estate in 2006 was the first of many investments. Today, he’s estimated to own 218,000 acres at 11 estates across the country.

Of course, these numbers might be outdated or inaccurate. One persistent problem that exists is the absence of a complete land registry, something the Scottish government has slowly been moving towards during their Holyrood leadership.

Conservation charities and trusts can be included in the 432 parties who own half of Scotland’s land, with the likes of John Muir Trust, The National Trust of Scotland and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) all caring after between 60,000 and 192,000 acres.

Even, Anders Holch Povlsen hopes his land investments can lead to the re-wilding of Scotland’s rural landscape.

In June 2013, Alex Salmond’s government pledged to transfer one million acres of private into community ownership by 2020.

As of 2016, half a million acres are already in community ownership, That milestone was reached in 2015 after 13 years of campaigning by crofters on the isle of Lewis, securing a deal that would cover 11 townships on the 28,000-acre estate.

Should the government meet their seven-figure target, it will still leave close to 95 per cent of Scotland privately owned.

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 and the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 were the first inroads the SNP government has made to land reform, with particular emphasis on community ownership.

Nationwide land reform is an ambitious plan set in motion by the nationalist government. Both landowners and communities will be watching on to see if it bares fruit.

READ MORE: Martyn McLaughlin: The game’s a bogey for the jewel in Trump’s golf empire

" ,"byline": {"email": "tony.mcguire@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Tony McGuire"} ,"topImages": [ ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1507728562613"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/jacobite-leader-in-fight-over-battlefield-roundabout-plan-1-4574629","id":"1.4574629","articleHeadline": "Jacobite leader in fight over battlefield roundabout plan","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511190264000 ,"articleLead": "

A move to “reclaim” land where Jacobite soldiers are believed to be buried has begun after developers turned the site into a roundabout.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4574628.1506791840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hanging Tree at Clifton in Cumbria, where a dozen Scots supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie died. Photograph: John Black"} ,"articleBody": "

Historian John Black set up a crowdfunding page after the land below the Rebel Tree in Clifton, Cumbria, where around a dozen Scots were killed in the last Jacobite battle on English soil, became a roundabout at the entrance to a luxury housing development. According to one interpretation, the song The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond is about these very soldiers.

The tree is where the Jacobites were reportedly hanged following the Battle of Clifton on 18 December, 1745, is now at the centre of the roundabout entry to The Oaks, a Story Homes development. Black, from Helensburgh, has called the move a desecration of a war grave.

He is now appealing for Scots and the Scottish diaspora to support his campaign to buy back the land around tree from the developers.

Black is also calling for a Scottish Government agency, such as Historic Environment Scotland, to put up official signage detailing the history, given a recent surge of interest from fans of the television series Outlander.

Set in the Jacobite era, Outlander has sparked renewed curiosity about battle sites featured in the programme and is behind a growth in visitors to Scotland from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“Story Homes have put three wooden posts on the roundabout with a brief background to the battle and the Jacobites and named one of their streets Jacobite Gardens. But they don’t mentioned any of it in their sales literature. Nor is there any acknowledgement from any official Scottish organisation,” said Black, leader of the Scottish Jacobite Party who stood as an Independent at the 2013 Dunfermline by-election.

“Ideally I’d like to raise enough money to buy back and bulldoze the luxury homes and turn the site into a battlefield memorial.

“At the very least there should be an appropriate sign compiled by an authoritative historian. This is a Scottish war grave and needs to be respected. It shouldn’t be used as a centre-piece to an upmarket housing estate.

He added: “It used to be a quiet place for reflection which all the clan people visited. That is the sort of dignified atmosphere I’d like to recreate.”

Historian Christopher Duffy in his book The ’45 quoted an account by Jacobite chief Cluny of MacPherson given in the aftermath of the Duke of Cumberland’s occupation of Clifton.

Duffy writes: “Cluny Macpherson notes that one sergeant and 12 of his men lost their lives, and the five Jacobite dead who are buried at the southern edge of the village by the ‘Rebel Tree’ are almost certainly members of his clan.

“A number of the bodies were discovered by ‘some frolicsome soldiers’ who ‘dug a deep hole in the ground, and put one of them into it with his feet downwards, and so filled the earth about his body that nothing but his head and shoulders were above the earth, and in that position left him.”

Professor James Hunter, emeritus professor of history at the University of the Highland and Islands, said: “The folk who are campaigning should get in touch with Historic Environment Scotland and see if they can get something done.”

Wardell Armstrong Archaeology carried out a dig of the site near the tree in January 2016, prior to planning application for the housing development being submitted to Eden Council

However, although trenches were dug within 100 yards of the tree and battle artefacts were found, archaeologists were not allowed to dig close to the tree because it has a protection order.

Frank Giecco, the company’s technical director for northern operations, said: “There may well be bodies under the tree, but is impossible to prove without excavation. Because the tree is under protection we can’t go anywhere near.

“If there are bodies under the tree, they are now protected under it.”

Adam McNally, land manager for Story Homes, said: “The site is called the Oaks, after the large oak tree, also known as ‘The Rebel Tree’, which forms a striking entrance to our development.

“It is said this tree marks the graves of Jacobites killed in a skirmish of 1745 between the English forces of the Duke of Cumberland and the regiment that served Bonnie Prince Charlie. We have sensitively designed the development to protect the tree and erected interpretation boards with approval from the local bodies.”

A spokesman for Historic Environment Scotland said the site was outwith their remit but staff would be happy to advise on wording for a sign marking the history.

“If the campaigner wants to install any kind of memorial then it will be up to them and the local authority to decide on what form that might take.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SHN Ross"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4574628.1506791840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4574628.1506791840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Hanging Tree at Clifton in Cumbria, where a dozen Scots supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie died. Photograph: John Black","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hanging Tree at Clifton in Cumbria, where a dozen Scots supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie died. Photograph: John Black","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4574628.1506791840!/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/uk/scots-scientists-make-leaps-in-mad-cow-disease-research-1-4617819","id":"1.4617819","articleHeadline": "Scots scientists make leaps in mad cow disease research","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511157637000 ,"articleLead": "

Scientists at a Scottish University have developed a new system to study Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the laboratory, paving the way for research to find treatments for the fatal brain disorder.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4617818.1511123664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scots scientists have made a breakthrought in Mad Cow Disease research. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The team have devised a method of studying the abnormal proteins responsible for the disease - called prions - in specialised brain cells grown from stem cells.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a human disease similar to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in cows and Chronic Wasting Disease in deer.

The most common form of prion disease in people is sporadic CJD, which occurs spontaneously in the population. Around one in a million people in the UK are affected each year.

A different form of the disease - known as variant CJD - can be acquired by consuming contaminated meat from animals with prion disease, this is the origin of the human form of so-called mad cow disease.

The disease has claimed 229 lives since it was first identified 20 years ago - of which 177 were from the UK - and it remains very rare, the university said.

However, it has been estimated that as many as one in 2,000 people in the UK could be carrying infectious prions without showing any symptoms.

Dr James Alibhai, of the National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was first reported almost 100 years ago but remains a universally fatal disease.

“We still have little understanding of what triggers the condition and how it is spread.

“Our study reports the first physiologically relevant model for studying human prion diseases in the lab. We hope it will lead to discovery of the key molecular and pathogenic events of prion disease, which could reveal new opportunities for treatments and facilitate drug screening.”

The research also demonstrates the potential of human stem-cell derived astrocytes to notably reduce, and in many instances replace, animal studies of human prion disease.

The team says this could make a significant contribution to lowering the number of animals used in research.

Prion diseases cause brain damage that worsens rapidly over time and are invariably fatal.

Scottish engineer Grant Goodwin from Hamilton, became one of the first people in the world to be diagnosed with vCJD strain in September 2008. He died four months later aged 30.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4617818.1511123664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4617818.1511123664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scots scientists have made a breakthrought in Mad Cow Disease research. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scots scientists have made a breakthrought in Mad Cow Disease research. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4617818.1511123664!/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/uk/charity-calls-for-action-to-cut-number-of-road-casualties-1-4617825","id":"1.4617825","articleHeadline": "Charity calls for action to cut number of road casualties","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511157621000 ,"articleLead": "

A road safety charity is calling for action to cut speeding after figures showed more than 9,700 people were injured and 159 killed on Scottish roads in the year to June.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4617824.1511124330!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Brake is making the call as part of Road Safety Week after other Scottish Government figures, published earlier in the year, showed a 14 per cent rise in road deaths in Scotland during 2016 compared with 2015.

There were 191 fatalities on the country’s roads in 2016, 23 (or 14 per cent) more than the previous year.

New analysis by Brake found that exceeding the speed limit was a major factor in 291 crashes in Scotland last year, a rise of over a quarter (26 per cent since 2013.

Travelling too fast for the prevailing conditions contributed to 510 crashes during 2016, Brake said.

Provisional statistics from the Department for Transport found that 9,705 people were injured and 159 were killed in crashes on Scottish roads in the year to June 2017.

The charity is now calling for the introduction of a default 20mph limit in all built-up areas, increased police enforcement and Intelligent Speed Adaptation, which helps drivers stay within the speed limit, to be fitted as standard to all new vehicles.

In September, the charity pledged its support for proposals put forward by Mark Ruskell MSP (Green) for a default 20mph limit in built-up areas in Scotland.

Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “Speeding remains a major problem, causing untold suffering to families up and down the country.

“Driving is unpredictable and if something unexpected happens on the road ahead, such as a child stepping out from between parked cars, it’s a driver’s speed that determines whether they can stop in time and, if they can’t, how hard they will hit.

“That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to ‘Speed Down Save Lives’ for Road Safety Week this year.

“We fully support Mark Ruskell’s proposed bill and want to see more urban areas going 20 right across the UK.

“Travelling at lower speeds drastically reduces the risk of death and serious injury and encourages more walking and cycling - relieving pressure on the NHS and other public services.”

Brake said travelling at higher speeds increases the distance it takes to stop in an emergency - both in terms of thinking and braking time - increasing the severity of any crash, the risk of loss of life and the extent of serious injury. Road Safety Week 2017 runs from November 20-26, with support from the Department for Transport and sponsors Aviva and BriteAngle. It aims to inspire schools, organisations and communities to take action on road safety.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4617824.1511124330!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4617824.1511124330!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4617824.1511124330!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}