Scots protest against Westminster financial cuts

MORE than 20,000 people marched through the centre of the Scottish capital to demonstrate against the financial cuts announced in Westminster this week.

The mass of demonstrators, made up of trade unionists, community activists and members of the public assembled on New Market Street, close to the City of Edinburgh Council offices on Saturday.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress marched behind the banner of their campaign ‘There’s a better way’ and voiced their opinion that the £81 billion cuts announced by George Osborne do not favour public sector workers and are not the best course of action for the long-term Scottish and UK economy.

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Scotland’s protest over Westminster cuts

MORE than 20,000 people marched through the centre of the Scottish capital to demonstrate against the financial cuts announced in Westminster this week.

The mass of demonstrators, made up of trade unionists, community activists and members of the public assembled on New Market Street, close to the City of Edinburgh Council offices yesterday (Sat).

The Scottish Trades Union Congress marched behind the banner of their campaign ‘There’s a better way’ and voiced their opinion that the £81 billion cuts announced by George Osborne do not favour public sector workers and are not the best course of action for the long-term Scottish and UK economy.

Scotland protests Westminster cuts

By Clare Carswell

MORE than 20,000 people marched through the centre of the Scottish capital to demonstrate against the financial cuts announced in Westminster this week.

The mass of demonstrators, made up of trade unionists, community activists and members of the public assembled on New Market Street, close to the City of Edinburgh Council offices this morning (Sat).

The Scottish Trades Union Congress marched behind the banner of their campaign ‘There’s a better way’ and voiced their opinion that the £81 billion cuts announced by George Osborne do not favour public sector workers and are not the best course of action for the long-term Scottish and UK economy.

The General Secretary of STUC, Grahame Smith, said: “We need to change policy.  We are on a disastrous course, disastrous for the economy, disastrous for the people of this country.  We need to have change.”

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Call for cull of fat cats to save council money

By Andrea McCallum

A LOCAL authority leader has called for the cull of council fat cats to help save money by the start of the new financial year.

Councillor Jenny Dawe ordered City of Edinburgh Council’s chief executive to look at cutting chief staff before April.

And six directors earning over £100,000 a year could be among the targets.

The council is hunting for savings as part of a £90 million cut over the next three years.

Councillor Dawe suggested merging departments and having both directors and senior managers take on more work.

She said: “I will put a motion to the (policy and strategy) committee asking the chief executive to report to the budget meeting of all ways of reducing costs and structures of senior management.

“Although we have taken some steps to reducing management layers and working more efficiently, we have not had a formal report and the chief executive will be asked to provide one.

“We have to look at all levels of staffing in the council and senior management levels need to be looked at as much as other layers of staff.

“Given age profiles, it may be that this can be delivered relatively quickly and we may be able to deliver savings for the next budget year.

“It is a case of looking at whether efficiencies can be made or potentially reducing numbers by combining departments.”

Tom Aitchison, council chief executive, is to report back on his findings by next month.

The city council has been slammed in the past for paying out enormous wage packets.

A recent analysis of salaries showed that 23 staff earn more than three times the average Edinburgh salary at £79, 248.

And seven of those earn six-figure sums – including Mr Aitchison who takes home over £150,000.

The six other directors – corporate, finance, services for communities, health and social care, and education and city development – are each paid over £105,000.

Trade unions urged caution when identifying ways to save money.

John Stevenson, president of Unison’s Edinburgh branch, said: “It is seductive to reduce the number of top earners and managers but there is a balance to be struck.

“For example, social work struggled for a number of years because there were not enough managers so those that there are can get bogged down in operational matters.

“We are happy to talk about any ideas that they have but we would caution that we wouldn’t want to end up with the organisation being under-managed.”

Holiday nightmare for travellers as flyglobespan goes bust

By Michael MacLeod

THOUSANDS of passengers and 600 staff were facing a nightmare last night after a Scots airline went bust.

Edinburgh based operator flyglobespan – which only days earlier predicted a bright future of expansion and new investment – was in talks with administrators PriceCooperWaterhouse.

Many staff had been told not to turn up for work today (Thursday), online bookings were no longer available and calls to desks in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen were left ringing unanswered.

Suppliers too were left in the dark while even airports themselves were unable to confirm what was happening.
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Boozed up firebug jailed over garage blaze

By Paul Thornton

A GARAGE manager who downed 20 pints in a nine-hour binge before torching the tyre-centre he ran has been jailed.01Colin McReadie

Colin McReadie, 22, caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage after he set fire to a Budget Tyre Centre in Edinburgh.

McReadie had recently been promoted to manager but claims he was struggling to deal with the responsibility of the job.

And after being told he was to have a meeting with bosses McReadie set light to the Piershill Place premises causing over £700,000 worth of damage.

Dozens of firefighters fought the inferno as highly flammable gas cylinders threatened to ignite and the garage was closed for weeks following the fire on September 29 last year.

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Classic cars lost in Government scrappage scheme

By Cara Sulieman

SCOTS are rushing to send their rare cars to the scrap-yard in order to take advantage of the Government’s scrappage scheme.

As every car traded in under the new scheme has to be destroyed, classic car enthusiasts are worried that some rarities will be lost forever.

Showrooms are seeing Morris Minors, Mercedes and Porches being driven into their dealership to be traded in for a shiny new fuel-efficient car with a substantial £2,000 discount.

And it is leading to some out-of-character behaviour from the usually ruthless car salesmen.

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