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Today’s headlines

28 August 2015

Scottish National Party calls for a devolved BBC

The Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has called for the BBC to be reorganised with a separate governance structure created for each of the devolved nations. Ms Sturgeon argued viewers north of the border were dissatisfied with the London-centric content currently available and that more distinctive broadcasting through a separate BBC Scotland TV channel and radio station may go some way to remedying this. The intervention from the first minister comes at an uncertain time for the BBC, with questions about the corporation’s future being asked as the Conservative government prepares to renew its Royal Charter. “A BBC that puts forward a bold proposal for Scotland, for the nations and regions, and for the UK, will have in us a strong and willing ally. A BBC that offers piecemeal solutions will fail to meet the demands or restore the trust of Scottish audiences,” said the first minister. More info.

Government to cut support for small-scale green power installations

The government has outlined proposals to significantly reduce the subsidies paid to businesses and home owners producing electricity from roof-top solar and small wind turbines from January 2016. The announcement follows a tough year for the renewable industry after a raft of government backed initiatives, including subsidies to on-shore wind generation and large-scale solar farms, had their funding significantly scaled back. According to the department for energy and climate change (DECC) the rapid uptake of technologies had placed considerable pressure on tariff budgets, whilst improvements in technology have seen the cost of production drop. “As costs continue to fall and we move towards sustainable electricity investment, it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies.” said a DECC spokesperson. More info.

Peter Mandelson: Corbyn victory would put Labour in ‘mortal danger’

Lord Mandelson, one of the principal architects of New Labour, has warned that a Jeremy Corbyn victory would place Labour in “mortal danger.” Mr Corbyn, the left-wing MP for Islington North, is currently the front runner in the contest after his campaign caught unexpected traction with his radical anti-austerity programme.  Policies such as printing money, state ownership of leading industries, quitting Nato and unilateral disarmament would make the party “unelectable,” the peer said. He also urged the party to stop belittling Labour’s record in government, “We have allowed our critics within the party to create a caricature of modernisation as sectarian creed alien to the party’s values.”  Lord Mandelson’s intervention follows that of other senior party figures including Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Lord Kinnock, who have all warned of the dangers of a Corbyn victory. More info.

 Net trade figures reveal growth in exports

Net trade made an unexpectedly big contribution to UK economic growth in the second quarter of the year, as the overall quarterly rate was confirmed at 0.7 per cent. According to the Office of National Statistics, exports grew by 3.9 per cent, defying survey data that had suggested exporters were struggling against the subdued overseas demand and the strength of the pound. Trade made a 1 percentage point contribution to overall growth – its most since 2011. The data will provide happy reading for the chancellor, George Osborne, who has made reducing Britain’s trade deficit one of his top economic priorities. George Buckley, chief UK economist at Deutsche Bank, said the details were “encouraging” but cautioned that the growth in exports might not last in the face of global economic uncertainties. More info.

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