9am Briefing: Bank ATM crashes leaves customers without cash

BANK customers were left without cash this morning after a server error apparently crashed ATM and debit card transactions.

It is thought all Lloyds Banking Group customers were affected, and other banks may have been affected too.

Gail Norman, 30, a shop assistant from Bathgate, said: "I went to the cashpoint and it wouldn't let me withdraw any money, and then we tried to pay by card in a petrol station and it said the card was declined due to a server problem.

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"I called the helpline and they told me they've received 1000s of calls this morning all with the same story."

One Bank of Scotland agent said: "The ATM and debit card facilities aren't working at all. It's all banks that are affected, not just us."

No one from the Bank of Scotland was available for comment.

Rescue bid as swimmer swept out to sea

A RESCUE bid was launched last night to save two swimmers who were being swept out to sea.

North Berwick RNLI was called after the swimmers began drifting out towards Bass Rock at about 8:30pm. A party of 15 was attempting to swim a circuit from North Berwick to Craigleith Island. Thirteen made it back to shore safely and when the stricken pair failed to return a rescue operation began.

The two were quickly picked up by RNLI crews. They were both safe and well.

MSPs throw out lap dancing bars ban

A PROPOSED crackdown on lap dancing venues has been thrown out by MSPs despite winning the support of the government.

SNP backbencher Sandra White wanted to give local authorities the power to introduce a special licensing system which would allow them to ban strip clubs.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill gave his backing to the move, but Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Tories opposed it and the proposal was defeated by 76-45.

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The decision was welcomed today by campaigners against the crackdown including Sarah Vernon, a former dancer who has just completed a PhD in striptease and strip club culture in Scotland.

Lloyds to move jobs to Fife

LLOYDS Banking Group is set to move jobs out of Edinburgh to Fife, it has been reported.

The group is closing its 265 Halifax agencies and axing 650 more jobs in the UK, and while it maintains there will be no job cuts in Scotland the relocation to Rosyth and Dunfermline will be a blow to Capital workers.

The jobs being lost in Edinburgh are of no higher grade than those being created in Fife, and it has been reported that the cuts will come from its "group operations" and back office such as security, IT and contact centres.

Russell 'ducking loan questions'

FORMER Culture Minister Mike Russell was today accused of "ducking" the key questions over the controversial 180,000 secret loan he approved to bail out The Gathering.

Mr Russell made a statement to the Scottish Parliament yesterday following an Audit Scotland report into the two-day clan even - which ended up losing 516,000.

He told MSPs if the government had not provided the cash to the private company behind The Gathering, jobs would have been lost and Edinburgh would have missed out on an 8.8m boost.

MSPs questioned him on why he had not checked on the company's financial health and why other funding bodies were not told of the loan.

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Edinburgh Central Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said: "The Minister ducked the key questions raised in the Auditor General's report."

She said 103 businesses were still owed money by the company and some had had to make staff redundant.