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The Pagoda Perspective

21st August 2017

BREXIT

POLITICS

  • The Electoral Reform Society estimates that 1.8 million Scottish votes were “wasted” in June’s election, as 66.4% of votes did not go towards electing an MP under the FPTP system.
  • The Scottish Liberal Democrats are prepared to make a deal to keep the SNP in power, even if it requires the party to drop its opposition to air passenger taxes.
  • Nicola Sturgeon has said she would not choose the same name for her party if she were able to turn back the clock. The SNP leader admitted the word “national” could be “hugely problematic”.

HEALTH

  • Nearly 10,000 parents have signed up to receive a baby box and more than 500 have been delivered in the first week of the scheme, the Scottish Government has revealed.

ECONOMY

  • A Scottish Parliament report has found smaller firms face particularly high business rates, sparking calls for the system to be overhauled.
  • The latest How Scotland Lives analysis by the Bank of Scotland shows Scottish families are saving around £3000 a year through childcare by relatives.

EDUCATION

  • New figures obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats reveal that the number of “super-sized” Scottish primary school classes has risen by more than a third. Classes with 30 or more children increased by 36% between 2012 and 2016.
  • The Scottish Conservatives have encouraged the Scottish Government to follow the example of UK-funded schemes which use volunteers to provide extra tuition to pupils from poorer families.
  • Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has said offering free tuition fees for higher education in Scotland is “clearly” not sustainable.

ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY

  • The launch of the new Rural Energy Challenge Fund could have a significant effect on local communities says Local Energy Scotland, providing opportunity for farmers, land managers and small business owners.

TRANSPORT

  • Scotland-London passengers switching from plane to train have saved the equivalent of two years’ carbon dioxide emissions from traffic on the M8 between Edinburgh and Glasgow, a report from Transform Scotland has revealed.
  • Edinburgh airport has begun work on an £80m extension to its terminal building. The investment will help cope with the expected 3.5m rise in annual passenger numbers to 16.5m by 2020.

COMING UP

  • The latest Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures are expected to indicate that the deficit between taxes accrued and public spending has increased when published this week.