Text pest Derek Mackay let scandal banker head £2bn fund without ‘proper scrutiny’ – Daily Record

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Shamed Derek Mackay allowed a controversial banker to be appointed head of a new £2billion government fund without ethics watchdog oversight.

The former Finance Minister personally approved an “unregulated” selection process that installed Willie Watt as chair of the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB), the Sunday Mail can reveal.

Watt has been appointed despite the firm he previously led being fined £8.6million in the UK and America over a conflict of interests scandal.

Benny Higgins meanwhile – the Government’s chief adviser to help set up the taxpayer-funded bank – was eviscerated in 2015 for spending £18,000 on taxis in eight months while CEO of Tesco Bank at a time the supermarket was firing frontline staff.

We have learned Scotland’s dedicated public appointment ombudsman had to stand aside from overseeing Watt’s appointment after Mackay – who was forced to resign after sending hundreds of inappropriate texts to a schoolboy – allowed Higgins to head an unregulated interview panel.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay has demanded an inquiry into the lack of public or parliamentary scrutiny.

He said: “The Scottish National Investment Bank has to start its life with the full confidence of the Scottish people. It shouldn’t repeat the discredited practices of the private banks that took our economy to the brink. I fear we’re seeing it do exactly that.

“The parliament’s committee system needs to scrutinise this organisation that will be responsible for hundreds of millions of public money.”

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Leaked SNP document dubbed ‘pathetic’ and ’embarrassing’ by critics – Daily Record

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The SNP has been accused of serving up a “pathetic” briefing parroting “scripted lines” to party MSPs on the ferries crisis.

In the document, leaked to the Record, the Nationalists went back sixteen years to point the finger at the Labour administration under Jack McConnell.

Labour MSP Neil Bibby said: “It is frankly embarrassing for the SNP MSPs expected to wheel out this nonsense in defence of the indefensible.”

The Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow was saved by the SNP Government in 2019 after collapsing into administration, but the rescue deal laid bare a number of issues which would cause multi-year delays to two key vessels under construction.

The decision of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) – the body tasked with procuring Scotland’s ferries – to invite four foreign yards to tender for two ferries to serve Islay and Jura also created huge anger last week.

Nicola Sturgeon’s Government has been dogged by criticism over Ferguson Marine and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has said she is “monitoring” the yard’s leadership.

The SNP has now been criticised for circulating what critics believe is a tame briefing to MSPs which does not criticise the Government.

Produced on September 17, researchers said the SNP Government had been clear with Ferguson’s management on the need to get the yard “into shape”.

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SNP official under investigation over ‘threatening phone call’ claim – Daily Record

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An SNP official is under investigation after claims he made a threatening phone call to a new business owner.

Ian McPherson, a staffer for Westminster MP Allan Dorans, admitted making a “terrible error of judgement” in his call to Ayr painter Craig Hainey.

It followed the opening of Mr Hainey’s new business in Ayr’s North Harbour, to which he had invited Tory MSP Sharon Dowey.

He then claims to have received a call from McPherson asking why Ayr MSP Siobhian Brown had not been asked along instead.

Mr Hainey, who has opened Pro Paints, claims McPherson warned him: “I hope this doesn’t affect your business”.

The SNP worker this week admitted making the call and said he had been “trying to clear up confusion between list MSPs and MSPs”.

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Scottish independence: Support for Yes drops if voters think it will cost them money – Daily Record

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Scots are far less likely to back independence if they believe it will cause public spending to drop, the introduction of a hard border, or the pound being replaced, a new poll has found.

A survey carried out by Survation on behalf of pro-UK campaign group Scotland in Union found that 50 per cent of those asked would be less likely to vote Yes in a referendum if it meant their personal income was reduced.

Respondents were given a number of scenarios around the question: ‘If you thought the following scenarios were likely to occur as a result of Scottish independence, would this make you more or less likely to vote for independence?’.

The introduction of a hard border between Scotland and England could dominate any future referendum campaign.

41 per cent of the people asked in the survey said they would be less likely to vote for independence, compared to 17 who would be more likely if border posts were put up.

If people knew that taxes would increase following independence then 45 per cent of the 1,040 people asked said they would be less likely to vote ‘Yes’, while 36 per cent said they would be neither more or less likely.

The Scotland in Union poll comes days after Nicola Sturgeon’s campaign to end the Union has received a boost.

A survey found a narrow majority in favour of Scottish independence.

The survey, by pollsters Opinium, asked 883 people how they would vote if the referendum question asked was ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’.

Once don’t knows were excluded from the total, 51% said they would vote Yes and 49% said they would vote No.

Here’s all you need to know about the Scotland in Union poll:

Hungry school children queue at Scots soup kitchen as they desperately seek dinner – Daily Record

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Hungry school pupils queued up for their dinner at a Scots soup kitchen, leaving the organisers “heartbroken.”

The two children, thought to be aged between seven and eight, were served at the Glasgow city centre soup kitchen on Tuesday night.

Run by Homeless Project Scotland, the service operates on Argyle Street and feeds hundreds of homeless people every week.

The two kids were brought there by their mum, and were said to be “excited” and “extremely grateful” for their food.

The heartbreaking scenes has prompted calls for urgent talks on child poverty.

Colin McInnes, who is the chairman at Homeless Project Scotland, said: “The queue was much bigger than normal on Tuesday night – there were around 130 people there.

“I started to see someone trying to push through the queue which obviously isn’t allowed to it caught our attention.

“It looked as though someone was trying to push their way down the middle.

A77 through South Ayrshire ‘not fit for purpose’ amid fresh calls for upgrade of network – Daily Record

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resh calls have been made to either ‘upgrade’ or ‘replace’ parts of the road network through Ayrshire.

The appeal follows the tragic deaths of a 78-year-old woman and a 57-year-old lorry driver in two separate incidents last Tuesday on the A714 and the A77.

Now the A77 Action Group is demanding that the Scottish Government bring Ayrshire’s trunk road network up to scratch.

Donald McHarrie, group coordinator, said: “Tuesday brought tragedy with two deaths, and total mayhem, to the A77 and the A714 Girvan to Newton Stewart road.

“The A77 and A714 were both blocked due to serious road traffic accidents. The A714 became blocked after the A77 traffic was diverted along it.

“The southern section of the A77 trunk road closely follows the route it did in 1776, so basically it’s an old droving track.

Letters to the press, 30/08/21: SNP’s hypocrisy over referendum, SNP will bankrupt Scotland, Mutual damage.

Ambulance bosses blame Covid delays after leaving elderly woman to lie in Ayr town centre for four HOURS – Daily Record

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An elderly woman was left lying on a busy town centre street for more than four hours while she waited for an ambulance.

Horrified members of the public rushed to the lady’s aid on Wednesday after her fall in Ayr’s Newmarket Street.

But despite suffering a head wound, she was forced to wait the entire afternoon for a mercy crew.

Shocked eyewitnesses told how it was left to the public to treat the woman while she endured her marathon wait.

Letters to the press, 27/08/21: Co-operation is not wanted, Where is all this money coming from?, RIP Greens

Child grooming crimes in Scotland rise by 80% in five years – Daily Record

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Between April 2020 and March 2021 there were 685 offences of indecent communications with a child in Scotland – a record high and a rise of 80% from the same period in 2015 to 2016.