Scottish independence referendum: Experts examine the claims

With the debate on Scotland's future entering "referendum year", the "yes" and "no" sides are intensifying their campaigns.

But what are their messages and how are they being viewed, not only by each other, but by experts, commentators and academics?

Throughout the coming months, the BBC news website will be picking out statements from both sides of the debate and asking a panel of experts to analyse the claims.

Here, we look at some of the key messages in the UK government's series of papers arguing for the Union.

Currency
cash

UK government paper on Currency and Monetary Policy: "Scotland and the rest of the UK are economically well placed in the current UK arrangements. Independence would change this assessment, even if an independent Scotland were to remain part of a sterling currency zone. Fiscal independence would make the monetary policy of the Bank of England less well suited to Scottish economic conditions."

PRO-UNION: Better Together leader and former UK chancellor Alistair Darling, says: "A currency union can only work if you have increased economic and political union - the very thing that nationalism is dead against."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: John Swinney, Scottish finance secretary, says: "The benefits of a currency union are clear for both sides in terms of issues like promoting investment, eliminating transaction costs, reducing borrowing costs and facilitating the movement of labour and capital, and we welcome the governor's recognition of these benefits."

Start Quote

Angus Robertson

In a formal currency union the Bank of England would continue to deliver a single overall monetary policy”

End Quote

EXPERT - Angus Armstrong, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, says: "If Scotland becomes independent then the economies of Scotland and the rest of the UK are likely to diverge: for one thing, Scotland would become a large oil exporting nation and the rest of the UK would continue as an oil importer.

"In a formal currency union the Bank of England would continue to deliver a single overall monetary policy.

"Given that the rest of the UK would be ten times the size of Scotland, under any reasonable voting arrangement it is fairly clear to see in whose interests policy would be set. If an independent Scotland had its own currency there would be scope for setting its own policy."

line break
Business
City of London

UK government paper on Business and Microeconomic Framework: "Splitting the UK market, by introducing a border of whatever form, will introduce a barrier to the free flow of goods, capital and labour to the detriment of firms, workers and consumers in both states and risks making it more challenging to attract overseas investors."

PRO-UNION: UK Business Secretary Vince Cable, says: "Breaking up Scotland's most lucrative market would destabilise enterprise and potentially put growth and jobs at risk. My message to the Scottish business community is that we're stronger and more secure together."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE - Fergus Ewing, Scottish Enterprise Minister, says: "There is so much scaremongering going on that people are shutting off. We want businesses to succeed - we want regulation that is appropriate and not cumbersome."

Start Quote

David Gibbons-Wood

Predicting the winners and losers is not easy, but change would occur as Scotland, and the rest of the UK, became less integrated”

End Quote

EXPERT - David Gibbons-Wood, Robert Gordon University,says: "The UK is one of the most highly integrated economic unions in the world and the establishment of a border between Scotland and the rest of the UK could be criticised using basic economic theory.

"Splitting such an integrated market is generally perceived to be against the interest of consumers and against the economic consensus of the last 60 years. A set of border controls post yes is in neither sides interests, and no one is currently proposing a border in the sense of checkpoints.

"A border need not be physical, it could be based on differing regulations, differing income tax or more stringent labour laws. Any of these factors could create a differential between prices paid by someone in Newcastle relative to someone in Glasgow. Predicting the winners and losers is not easy, but change would occur as Scotland, and the rest of the UK, became less integrated. The first small signs of differing prices would come in the increase of postage costs from mail order companies or eBay traders based in England. Similarly, the existence of separate countries might make people view working north or south of the border as no longer viable. This may exacerbate skills shortages as labour markets become fragmented, but it depends upon the perceptions people have if there is a yes vote rather than any actual barriers.

"Border differences between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK, will be similar to those between Denmark and Germany if both nations remain part of the EU. A vote by the people of the rest of UK to leave the EU would make the debate about borders a central issue to Scotland's future economic wellbeing and connectivity. The danger for Scotland is that a democratically separate 'rest of the UK' outwith the EU might have very different policies on immigration and trade, resulting in significant border restrictions."

line break
Banking
RBS logo

UK government paper on Financial Services and Banking: "As part of the UK, firms and individuals benefit from a world-leading financial services sector and a large, integrated domestic market for financial services, with clear and effective arrangements for protecting consumers. This position would be put at risk if Scotland were to become independent."

PRO-UNION: Former Scottish secretary Michael Moore, says: "If you put a border in the middle of that market, if you introduce different tax and regulatory regimes, it's wishful thinking to think it's not going to have any effect on the range of products you and I can buy to protect our families and our futures."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: Deputy Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, says: "We see other small European countries that, right now, have mortgage rates lower than people get here in Scotland and it is also the case that increasingly we are looking at global action, European wide and and global-wide action, to make sure that we never experience again what the banking sector experienced some years ago."

Start Quote

Piotr Jaworski

The clarity of arrangements for protecting consumers should not be very different than the one which governs the UK market now”

End Quote

EXPERT - Piotr Jaworski, Edinburgh Napier University, says: "If Scotland becomes independent with its own separate financial services sector, the clarity of arrangements for protecting consumers should not be very different than the one which governs the UK market now. Assuming that Scotland will be aiming at the membership of the European Union such arrangements must be in line with the EU system, which does not leave much space for differentiations among the Member States or Candidate Countries.

"However, effectiveness of such arrangements depends on the size of the market behind it, which in the case of an independent Scotland will be much smaller. This is especially true in the case of administrative costs of such a system: it seems that on average they must be higher. On the other hand, leaving such costs aside and assuming that Scotland will aim at small and medium size banking serving mainly the domestic economy it should not matter too much. All of this is also true in the long term while as in the short term uncertainty, which must be attributed to the process of creating such a system, would adversely affect both efficiency and clarity."

line break
Science
Robot

UK government paper Science and Research: "The UK is ranked second only to the US in terms of world-class research, and the UK's share of the world's top 1% most cited publications is on an upward trend. If Scotland were to become independent, its continued success in these areas could not be guaranteed."

PRO-UNION: UK Universities Minister David Willetts, says: "British science across the UK is great. Edinburgh science is great, Glasgow science is great, all the other ones are as well. If the best you can say is you would strain every sinew to try to keep the same thing as you had pre-independence then the game hardly seems worth the effort - why not just stick with what you have got, which everyone says is working?"

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell, says: "We have more world-class universities per head of population than any other country and it is precisely because of that global excellence that in an independent Scotland will continue to attract valuable investment, research funding and students from around the globe."

Start Quote

Roger Cook

While the government paper is accurate to note that the relative apportionment to Scotland (roughly 10%) is higher than Scotland's share of GDP it should be noted that Scottish universities are much less dependent on this source of income than their English equivalents”

End Quote

EXPERT - Roger Cook, The Scotland Institute,says: "There is practically no evidence for this claim which really is little but an assertion. The bulk of research funding received by Scotland's universities is allocated by a fully devolved process as of now.

"To make sense of the government claim, first the ratio of non-Funding Council research income to total research income needs to be calculated. This means breaking the research funding down into the difference between that received from the relevant funding council and the amount of research funding received from all other sources (research councils, charities, industry etc).

"The existing research councils are constituted on a UK basis. They allocated £298m to Scotland and £2,977m to England for 2011/12. In other words, while the government paper is accurate to note that the relative apportionment to Scotland (roughly 10%) is higher than Scotland's share of GDP it should be noted that Scottish universities are much less dependent on this source of income than their English equivalents.

"There is no evidence that the SFC is planning to reduce the core research grants to Scottish universities. In the case of independence, it is possible that the current UK wide Research Council system would cease, it is equally possible that a joint system could be created. Even if all the current funding was lost from the Scottish sector, total research income per member of staff would remain above that in the rUK

"There is no reason to believe that the charitable sector funding for research in Scotland would be affected by independence. The government paper makes a series of strange claims, such as loss of NHS funded research, which takes no account of the reality that most NHS funded research in Scotland comes from the Scottish NHS; loss of EU funding for research, or of the loss of international networks when many academics work outside their country of origin already.

"The only valid claim in the paper is the loss of access to Research Council grants (depending on the post-independence arrangements). As noted this funding stream is less important for Scottish universities."

line break
Security
GCHQ

UK government paper on Security: "Police Scotland would lose automatic access to the capabilities and resources of MI5, SIS and GCHQ and the UK's wider intelligence analysis capabilities. An independent Scottish state would have to build up its own infrastructure because new capabilities would be required."

PRO-UNION: UK Home Secretary Theresa May, says: "I don't think it is possible to guarantee that the threat would diminish with a separate Scotland, but what would change would be the scale of capability that Scotland would have access to."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, says: "An independent Scotland will have first rate security arrangements to counter any threats we may face. And we will continue to work in very close collaboration with the rest of the UK and international partners on security and intelligence matters, which is in everyone's interests."

Start Quote

Bill Buchanan

No matter which way it goes, every nation, every region, every city and every organisation needs to understand where its key risks are around its infrastructure, and try to mitigate against these”

End Quote

EXPERT - Bill Buchanan, Edinburgh Napier Universitysays: "Scotland is a small nation, and, in an independent Scotland, it is likely to have a different threat profile than the UK generally. For us, the focus is likely to be in the protection of our key business sectors, such as oil and gas, the finance sector, education, and health and social care. It is most likely that our defences will focus on protecting citizen rights against threats, while trying to enable increased access to data, and providing citizens with more control over it. Through increased devolution, Scotland has made major strides towards this, in a way which the UK has tended to struggled with.

"No matter what happens, the nation is becoming increasingly dependent on its cyber infrastructure. This is highlighted by certain key internet routes from Scotland to the rest of the world. Any problems with these routes would have a major impact on both businesses and the public sector.

"Scotland mainly depends on its internet and wireless communication infrastructure on route that go through London. Any issues around power outages in London could cause significant problems in Scotland. No matter which way the vote goes, Scotland needs to understand its critical infrastructure and the routes for the provision of energy and internet connectivity.

"In conclusion, the ball has been rolling for a more developed information infrastructure in Scotland, and nothing should stop this. While the nation may lose out on the connections to the larger UK intelligence network, it could gain from a connection to a large international one. No matter which way it goes, every nation, every region, every city and every organisation needs to understand where its key risks are around its infrastructure, and try to mitigate against these.

"At present Scotland has an under-investment in its cyber defence, and no matter which way the country votes, there needs to be more funding around this by the Scottish government."

line break
Defence
Shipyards on Clyde

UK government paper on Defence: "Companies based in an independent Scottish state would no longer be eligible for contracts that the UK chose to place or compete domestically for national security reasons; and where they could continue to compete they would be pitching for business in a competitive international market dominated by major economic powers. Other than procurement activity undertaken during the World Wars, the UK has not had a complex warship built outside the UK since the start of the 20th century at least."

PRO-UNION: UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, says: "The debate on the future of defence in Scotland is too important to be ignored, or brushed under the carpet, or fobbed off with half-baked sound bite policies which are financially and strategically incoherent."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: Scottish government minister Keith Brown, says: "We would increase the number of defence jobs in Scotland, from around 11,000 to 15,000 and we believe that's the optimum number for the kind of things which we want to see a defence force in Scotland carry out - not illegal wars."

Start Quote

Phillips O'Brien

The final point that needs to be made about independence and shipbuilding is that if the union breaks up, the future of all future shipbuilding plans will come under review”

End Quote

EXPERT - Phillips O'Brien, University of Glasgow, says: "The real problem that an independent Scotland would have in securing warship building from the rest of the UK (rUK) is political. States overwhelmingly choose to build their warships in their own shipyards, even if the cost is considerably higher than that offered by outside companies. For many years the UK has shown a willingness to pay this domestic premium, only opting for outside construction - most famously in the case of the next generation of military fuel tankers now being built in Korea - when there was no British yard capable of doing the work.

"That being said, the recent decision to concentrate the shipbuilding of the new Type 26 frigates on the Clyde, while reducing the capabilities of Portsmouth, means that it is almost certain that Scotland would be able to build the new class of vessel at lower cost than anywhere in the rUK. It is therefore not inconceivable for an independent Scotland to secure some work building these vessels. However, to get the work, one assumes that an independent Scotland would have to place orders for the purchase of military equipment from the rUK for approximately the same amount. In other words, it is very difficult to imagine that the rUK, after Scotland decided to leave the Union, would then turn around and spend much money employing Scots, unless it received money for orders in return.

"The final point that needs to be made about independence and shipbuilding is that if the union breaks up, the future of all future shipbuilding plans will come under review. Right now the UK is still trying to maintain enough military force to justify its position as a global power with a seat on the UN Security Council. A diminished rUK, however, could opt for a much reduced global role with reduced capability. In that case, there simply might not be many ships built anywhere."

line break
European Union
EU flag

UK government paper on EU and International Issues: "Scotland will receive €228 million more in structural funds than if it were an independent state. On the Common Agricultural Policy, an independent Scottish state's receipts are uncertain and would depend on the terms of accession, which would have to be agreed by all 28 member states."

PRO-UNION: Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, says: "The bottom line is this - Scotland outside of the UK would have to negotiate its own way back into the European Union, and as such its terms of membership would be entirely different to those we currently enjoy."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: Deputy Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, says: "Nothing we propose changes the material conditions of any other member state - while they are so certain of complete success in their own ill-advised re-negotiations with the EU over proposals that will fundamentally change the provisions of treaties on which the entire EU, and its single market, rests."

Start Quote

Kirsteen Shields

Of greater significance is what lies beyond 2020”

End Quote

Expert - Kirsteen Shields, University of Dundee, says: "Expense to other member states in increasing CAP receipts to an independent Scotland may in time be offset by reduction in CAP receipts to the UK. Member States would likely be motivated to ensure that it would remain viable for Scotland to remain in the EU.

"The budget ceiling at issue relates to a six-year period only. Of greater significance is what lies beyond 2020. In that respect it is important to consider the budgetary implications for Scotland were it to remain in a UK which is severed from the EU or whether, in the long-term, it may be more advantageous for Scotland to be in the EU than in the UK."

line break
Fiscal policy
Bank of England building

UK government paper on Macroeconomic and Fiscal Performance: "A separate Scottish state would have to establish its own macroeconomic and institutional framework. Institutional and policy divergence between Scotland and the continuing UK would be likely to lead to a weakening of economic integration. And over the longer-term, some business networks might end as a result of economic, historical and cultural ties being weakened.

PRO-UNION: UK chancellor George Osborne, says:"Let's lay to rest some myths once and for all - independent countries of a similar size do not outperform Scotland."

PRO-INDEPENDENCE: Deputy Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says: "If you were sitting in Norway listening to George Osborne you would laugh at him, because they are a country of similar size to Scotland that is sitting right now on a £470bn oil fund for the future."

Start Quote

David Ulph

A separate Scottish state might choose to mimic some of the institutional framework in the rest of the UK (rUK) - e.g., competition framework - or pursue a very different competition policy”

End Quote

EXPERT - David Ulph, from the Social Institute for Research in Economics, says: "While it is true that a Scottish state would have to develop its own macroeconomic and institutional framework, what this statement seems to ignore is that Scotland already has a very different institutional framework from rest of UK - different legal system, education system, health system etc.

"A separate Scottish state might choose to mimic some of the institutional framework in the rest of the UK (rUK) - eg, competition framework - or pursue a very different competition policy. There is nothing inevitable about a widening divergence, this is to some extent a matter of policy choice.

"Almost by definition it is certainly true that the creation of a separate Scottish state would bring to an end the devolution of powers from UK to Scotland. But that doesn't mean that all devolution would end. There are interesting questions about devolution of powers within the rest of the UK, and devolution of tax and spending powers within Scotland to local authorities.

"While true that sharing of fiscal risks would be reduced there is nothing inevitable about not being able to coordinate policies and share costs. Note: Airbus provides example of coordination and sharing of costs across national boundaries.

"Finally, for reasons set out above, I don't think there is a lot one can learn from the literature of trade, labour and capital flows. Given the existing institutional divergences, are Scotland and the rest of the UK best thought of as two regions of a single country or as two otherwise similar regions in different countries?

"But one important point is that it is essential to distinguish trade flows from capital and labour flows. It makes a great deal of difference whether some goods or services are produced in rest of UK using capital and labour in rest of UK and then exported into Scotland, or whether there are flows of labour and capital into Scotland to facilitate local production to serve the domestic market. Institutional and other barriers may limit trade flows but encourage flows of labour and capital."

More on This Story

More Scotland politics stories

RSS

Scotland Live

  1.  
    11:54: The back pages

    Former Old Firm players give their big match predictions. Dundee United tell Burnley and Celtic they will have to increase their offers - of around £1.5m - substantially if they want to sign midfielder Stuart Armstrong.

    stuart armstrong

    And Hamilton defender Stephen Hendrie has agreed a deal with West Ham. It's all on the back pages of today's papers and you can read our full review here.

     
  2.  
    11:46: Missing woman found

    A 75-year-old woman missing from a nursing home in Midlothian has been found.

    Anne Cunningham, who has dementia, was reported missing from the care home in Lasswade at 20:00 yesterday.

     
  3.  
    11:44: Robbie Coltrane 'fine' after flight scare

    Actor Robbie Coltrane is "fine" after he was taken to hospital after falling ill on a flight to the US, his agent said.

    Robbie Coltrane

    Belinda Wright said the 64-year-old star, who played Hagrid in the hit films, was in a Florida hospital.

    She said: "The prognosis is that he is going to be fine"

     
  4.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk University or jobs - Your views

    David: I would agree that schools need to help those who do not want to go to uni. I went because it was expected of me, not because I wanted to or knew what I wanted to do. I ended up being miserable and left. There are skills I now know I would have benefited from back then that had nothing to do with uni but everything to do with getting a job.

    Kirsty: Glasgow secondary schools do a great deal to cater for all young people through apprenticeships, colleges, vocational training and university. They used to have schemes in place like EVIP, which was a vocational training programme, and there is a 16-plus service to help some young people find the right path for them.

    Caol: From my own personal experience, there is a very definite "splitting" of pupils who want to go to university and those who don't. Teachers love kids who go to university, further education is familiar to them whereas I felt as if my teachers weren't equipped enough to point the others in the right direction.

     
  5.  
    11:31: Out-of-hours medical review

    The Scottish government is to carry out a review of the way people access non-urgent medical care out of hours.

    Stethoscope

    Ten years ago, GPs stopped having to provide care in the evenings, at weekends and during holidays.

    The review will consider how best to provide out-of-hours care considering the growing challenge of an elderly population. Recommendations are expected by the end of the summer.

     
  6.  
    11:23: Name the planets Steven McKenzie BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter

    Scottish amateur astronomers hope to name alien planets known as exo worlds.

    Exo planets illustration

    Ayrshire Astronomical Society is one of 17 UK groups competing in the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) NameExoWorlds contest.

    Exo planets orbit distant stars and the IAU wants to find names for 305 which currently carry scientific designations such as GJ 832 b and CoRoT-1b.

    Graham Longbottom, president of Ayrshire Astronomical Society, said the group hoped to offer up names to planets orbiting stars visible from the northern hemisphere with the naked eye, or through binoculars.

     
  7.  
    11:17: The Big Debate Gordon Brewer BBC Scotland News

    I'm hosting the Big Debate from the Robert Burns Centre on the banks of the Nith in Dumfries this lunchtime on BBC Radio Scotland.

    I'll be joined by the David Mundell from the Scottish Conservatives, the SNP's Joan McAlpine, Labour's Russell Brown, David Coburn from UKIP, and Lee Medd who's programme controller of the local community radio station.

    The audience will be putting the questions to the panel on the week's big talking points, and you can listen from midday on BBC Radio Scotland.

     
  8.  
    11:08: Mortonhall settlement offers

    Families who have been affected by the so-called baby ashes scandal at Mortonhall Crematorium will be offered settlements of up to £4,000 by the City of Edinburgh Council.

    Mortonhall Crematorium

    The local authority has decided on the proposed settlement scheme with solicitors representing families.

    It provides for payments of between £1,000 and £4,000, along with legal expenses.

    Thompsons Solicitors, which represents 129 clients, helped develop the scheme.

     
  9.  
    11:04: Aircraft 'dramatic landing' The Scotsman

    A Ryanair jet was forced to make a dramatic landing at Edinburgh airport this morning just minutes into the flight.

    Passengers on the 8.05 to Dublin reported hearing a loud bang seconds after takeoff, before the captain veered sharply off course and piloted the plane back towards the runway - minus a wheel.

     
  10.  
    10:55: Brown: The world is watching

    Celtic captain Scott Brown has welcomed the League Cup semi-final meeting with Rangers for bringing the world's attention back to Scottish football.

    Celtic captain Scott Brown and Rangers' El Hadji Diouf

    It is the first derby between the sides for nearly three years, with Rangers now in the Scottish Championship.

    Brown is relishing the prospect of rekindling the Glasgow rivalry on Sunday.

    "It is good for Scottish football because everyone all over the world will be watching and hopefully we can put on a show for them," he said.

     
  11.  
    10:43: School for Glasgow 2014 site The Evening Times

    A new primary school is to be built in the heart of the Athletes' Village.

    One of the first pupils when it opens in 2018 could be little James Barrie who visited the site with his mum Margaret and four-year-old sister Maya.

    James, who is six-months-old, lives with his family in Shettleston which will come within the catchment area of the new primary.

     
  12.  
    @acciesfc Hamilton Accies

    We have signed 24 year old Italian defender Lucas Tagliapietra from Moldovan club Milsami Orhei. We await international clearance.

     
  13.  
    10:25: Scotch on the rocks? Douglas Fraser Business and economy editor, Scotland

    Why export worries are driving the whisky industry to drink.

    Douglas Fraser blogs.

     
  14.  
    Armed police - Your views

    Kenny, Motherwell: Police officers are getting younger, most of then already think they are in The Sweeney. I don't think giving such young people lethal weapons is the way to go.

    Pete, Auchtermuchty: What the eye doesn't see the heart does not grieve over. Let them carry concealed firearms.

    Ralph, Paisley: A compromise could be having firearms in a secure compartment in the patrol car to be used if required.

    B. Hunter, Penicuik: Terrorists have stated that they are going to target police officers, it is not fair to leave them defenceless.

    Mike, Dundee: We don't want to see this as an everyday experience, uncomfortable to say the least to citizenship. Encourages disaster!

     
  15.  
    10:13: Court closures

    Four sheriff courts in Scotland are to shut their doors today in the final phase of a programme of closures.

    Rothesay, Haddington, Stonehaven and Dingwall Sheriff Courts

    Haddington, Duns, Peebles and Dingwall are among seventeen sheriff and JP courts which have been axed in the last eighteen months to save money.

    The Scottish Courts Service says the closures are final. Campaigners in Haddington are holding a public meeting tonight to try and outline a plan to give their court a future.

     
  16.  
    Lights out BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    #glasgow traffic lights are off at DOBBIE'S LOAN / MILTON STREET / CANAL STREET

    Follow Police direction or avoid all together.

     
  17.  
    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk University or jobs - Get involved

    How well do schools cater for students who don't want to go to university? An educational charity says they could do a lot more to help students who want to pursue a more vocational career through apprenticeships.

    What do you think? Is too much focus being put on boosting the number of students who go to university rather than helping them find a job they enjoy. Or should we be pushing pupils to go as far in the education system as they can?

    Email us your views to newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk text us on 80295 or tweet @bbcscotlandnews

     
  18.  
    09:53: Woman with dementia missing

    Police in Midlothian say they are growing increasingly concerned for the welfare of a 75-year-old woman who has been reported missing in Lasswade.

    Anne Cunningham

    Anne Cunningham was last seen at Drummond Grange Nursing Home in Kevock Road, Lasswade last night at about 20:00. She "lives with the advance stages of dementia" according to police.

     
  19.  
    Motorway crash BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    #Perth - 1 lane clsd RTC #M90 N/B between J10 (Craigend) and Broxden Roundabout - Lane two (Of two) blocked. A support vehicle is en route

     
  20.  
    09:43: Window closes BBC Sport Scotland

    Dundee manager Paul Hartley has admitted that it is proving hard to strengthen his squad as the transfer window draws to a close.

    Paul Hartley

    Hartley is keen to add depth as the Dark Blues chase a top-six Scottish Premiership finish this season.

     
  21.  
    Kheredine Idessane BBC Scotland

    .@andy_murray coach @AmeMauresmo says media criticism didnt bother her, and hasnt deflected them from their path

     
  22.  
    09:23: Arrest after woman robbed of car

    A man has been arrested after a woman was attacked and robbed of her car in the Leith area of Edinburgh.

    The incident happened at about 11:30 on Wednesday when a man approached the 61-year-old woman in Jane Street and asked for directions. He assaulted her before driving her silver Honda Civic towards Leith Walk.

    Police said a 34-year-old had been charged and was expected to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court later today.

     
  23.  
    09:16: Business crime fighters Evening Telegraph

    A city business group has pledged to double the number of subscribers to crime-fighting tool DUNCAN.

    That is if Dundee City Council agrees to fund the scheme — which helps traders identify troublemakers — for another year, rather than axe it as part of budget cuts.

     
  24.  
    09:10: FBU demands urgent action BBC Radio Scotland

    Roddy Robertson from FBU Scotland tells Good Morning Scotland urgent action is needed after research by Stirling University says firefighters face an unacceptable level of risk. Over the past ten years, fourteen have died in the line of duty.

    Mr Robertson says: "After the 2002/2003 fire dispute we had we lost a number of, as we see it, structures, that bound together the fire service.

    Firefighters

    He says: "Things like standards, so breathing apparatus all the type of equipment we use, the type of fire engine we've got, type of equipment we have got on that fire engine.

    "We've seen a gradual but a diversion of type of equipment and training and it's not as joined up as used to be and when you don't have joined up training in an emergency situation, that's when you have problems."

    The Scottish Government says the number of lives lost to fire is the joint lowest in the last ten years and ministers will consider the findings of the report.

     
  25.  
    09:07: Apprenticeships: 'Very clear focus' BBC Radio Scotland

    Fair Work, Skills and Training Secretary Roseanna Cunningham tells Good Morning Scotland the Scottish government has a "very clear focus" on vocational education and is delivering "a very high number of modern apprenticeships year on year".

    Her comments came after an educational charity, the National Centre for Excellence, said half the people it surveyed here had said there weren't enough opportunities to do apprenticeships.

    Apprentice at work

    Ms Cunningham says 25,000 opportunities each year is the current target, with 13,000 achieved after the second quarter.

    She continues: "There needs to be a clear partnership between schools colleges and local employers. Each of those three parts of the system are extremely important, and they need to work together."

    We need to make sure opportunities are available across the wide spectrum not just university, she adds, although there are modern apprenticeships delivered at universities as well so its "not a case of either or".

     
  26.  
    #scotsnow #scotlandlive 09:05: Your Snow Pictures

    Devin Scobie sent this image of a snowy Balerno street this morning.

    snow in Balerno

    How does it look where you are?

    Email: newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk or tweet us using #Scotlandlive

     
  27.  
    @bbcbigdebate The Big Debate

    We're on the banks of the River Nith today for today's debate in snowy #Dumfries. Tune in at 12:00 on @BBCRadioScot

    River Nith
     
  28.  
    08:53: Armed police Morning Call BBC Radio Scotland

    Police Scotland has been criticised for the way it brought in its controversial policy allowing some armed officers to carry out routine duties.

    Are you concerned? Or is it a good thing to have officers ready to respond to the most serious incidents quickly?

    Call Kay on 0500 92 95 00.

    Text: 80295.

    email: morningcallscotland@bbc.co.uk or use http://www.facebook.com/bbcradioscotland or twitter @bbcradioscot.

     
  29.  
    08:45: Camp spirit BBC Sport Scotland

    Amelie Mauresmo praised the spirit in the Andy Murray camp after his dramatic win over Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open.

    Amelie Mauresmo

    Murray, seeded sixth, recovered from losing a tense first set to win in four and reach his eighth Grand Slam final.

     
  30.  
    @trafficscotland Traffic Scotland

    #A85 just South of Dunbeg is *closed* due a RTC. Police are on scene & we will update asap. #BeAware & avoid the area if you can. #StaySafe

     
  31.  
    08:35: Brown secures devolution debate

    The former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown has secured a further debate at Westminster on the promise of further powers for Scotland.

    Gordon Brown

    He is widely credited for helping to secure as part of the so-called "Vow" during the referendum.

    The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath will also use the occasion, next week, to condemn Conservative plans for English votes for English laws.

     
  32.  
    @trafficscotland Traffic Scotland

    #A9 Drumochter is partially blocked in both directions due to RTC with van. Traffic is busy but getting by & police are on the scene.

     
  33.  
    08:24: Marine protection fears

    Coastal communities around Scotland will be hit the hardest, if the Scottish government fails to manage Marine Protected Areas properly - according to a coalition of environment charities.

    Flame shells

    They've criticised government plans as too cautious, protecting only small patches of the seabed. Ministers says the conservation areas will help to enhance the marine environment. A public consultation is due to close on Monday.

     
  34.  
    08:17: Daily Record

    Old Firm wifebeaters are set to receive a police visit in a bid to stamp out violence sparked by Glasgow derby.

    Domestic violence

    Extra officers have been drafted in to target known offenders during Sunday's Old Firm match and the other semi-final between Aberdeen And Dundee United tomorrow.

     
  35.  
    BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    #FortAugustus #A82 RTC between Canal Side (Fort Augustus) and A887 (Invermoriston).

    Bout 1 1/2 miles N of Fort Augustus.

     
  36.  
    08:06: BBC Scotland Weather Latest

    A cold, icy start in places with frost away from the coast. A chilly day ahead with a good amount of dry and sunny weather for the Central Lowlands, east coast and south.

    For the Highlands, Northern Grampian and the Isles, frequent showers through the day. These are of rain or sleet to low levels, and of snow on high ground and high road routes. Winds remains strong in the north from a northerly direction.

    Highs this afternoon around 5 or 6 C - colder where there is snow on the ground.

     
  37.  
    07:59: Continental market suspended

    A continental market's licence to trade in Stranraer has been suspended.

    Stranraer

    The decision was made after a number of the market's traders set up in the town last July without booking in advance.

    Their position in Castle Square meant an event organised by Stranraer Music Town had to be cancelled.

     
  38.  
    07:53: End of poll tax debts approved in principle

    Plans to end the collection of poll tax debts in Scotland have been approved in principle by the Scottish Parliament.

    Poll tax

    The community charge debt bill was passed by 96 votes to 14, although it still faces two further stages of scrutiny before becoming law. Some councils are opposed to the legislation.

     
  39.  
    07:41: Scotland's papers

    Andy Murray's fiancée Kim Sears features on many of the front pages as he secured his place in the Australian Open final. What the papers say.

    PAPERS
     
  40.  
    07:34: More snow falls overnight

    Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland's North West Operating Company Representative, says: ''The North West and North East Trunk Roads have experienced intermittent snow showers throughout the night on most routes.

    A835 at Altguish near Garve in Highlands

    "Our winter teams have worked throughout the night and the Trunk Roads in North West and North East are clear and currently have no issues.

    ''We will continue to monitor weather conditions and patrol and treat routes as necessary throughout this period of winter weather. We encourage motorists to check travel updates before setting out, prepare for their journeys and drive with care as these wintery conditions are set to continue into next week."

     
  41.  
    newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk 07:27: Your Pictures

    Neil Cameron sent this image of a sunset on Loch Linnhe taken from Camusnagaul ferry.

    Sunset on Loch Linnhe

    Email your pictures to newsonlinescotland@bbc.co.uk

    You can also tell us what you think of the week's pictures on the BBC Scotland News facebook page.

     
  42.  
    07:18: BBC Scotland Travel Latest

    Roads: A77 Girvan road is described as "just passable" because of snow between Girvan and Stranraer; the road was closed from 9 last night till just after midnight.

    A risk of ice wherever there's been a bit of thaw, especially on side roads.

    Trains: No reported problems

    Ferries: Cal Mac- No sailings to and from Lewis-(Ullapool -Stornoway). Tomorrow's sailings are on amber alert.

    Northlink- Possible disruption between Aberdeen and Lerwick.

     
  43.  
    07:10: Firefighter deaths 'should have been prevented'

    The deaths of some firefighters in the UK since 2004 "could and should have been prevented", a report has said.

    Building on fire

    The report - commissioned by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) - looked into 14 deaths of firefighters in the last 10 years and warned "good practice" had sometimes been ignored.

    Research was carried out at the University of Stirling.

     
  44.  
    07:04: More snow and ice forecast

    The Met Office has issued yellow "be aware" warnings for snow and ice across Scotland this morning.

    Snowy composite

    The warnings will also remain in place for northern and western regions of the country for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

    Showers of sleet and hail are also expected, with between 1-3cm of further snow at lower levels.

    The A77 Girvan to Stranraer road was described as "just passable" due to snow.

     
  45.  
    07:00: Good morning Sandy Murray BBC Scotland news

    Hullo and welcome to Scotland Live on Friday.

    If you are driving anywhere this morning, leave enough time to clear your car windows. Like I should have done.

    Throughout the day, we will keep you up to date with the latest weather, travel, news and sport.

     

Features

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.