Government funding for Highland and Moray Colleges

A grant of £1.95million has been given to colleges in the Highlands and Moray to help tackle youth unemployment.

The funding is to be split between Moray College, North Highland College and Inverness College, which form part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The money, which comes from the European Social Fund, is the latest round of such funding, following the £5.3million announced in February to help aid economic growth. It will go towards funding training programmes and full time places in order to boost employability for young people in the area.

On a visit to Inverness College, the Minister for Youth Employment, Angela Constance said that not having training or education “can be highly damaging to the life chances of Scotland’s young people and can seriusly dent their ambitions.”

She stated that the Scottish Government has “guaranteed every 16-19-year-old a place in education or training” and that the funding will “build on that activity and help us nurture the potential of our young people, provide routes into work and harness their ability and creativity to contribute towards future economic growth.”

The December 2011 figures show that at the numbers of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance in Highlands, Moray, Argyll and Bute grew towards the end of last year, and was up to 7,500 by the start of 2012.

NUS Scotland president Liam Burns condems English tution fee plans

By Michael Heggie and Christopher Harress

NUS Scotland’s president Liam Burn has argued that Scottish students will suffer from Westminster tuition fee plans.

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Financial balls, but just what is administration?

By Christopher Hall

Dundee are in it, Liverpool just might be going into it and a number of other football clubs are cautiously striving to avoid it. But just what are the key factors of the phenomenon which is flaunted cautiously in board rooms of football clubs around the United Kingdom?

Administration.

The key points of this are not as complicated as one may think. The main reason for a club going into administration might be viewed by many fans as an utterly dark portion of a club’s existence, with chances of survival bleak. Many clubs, however, have been in and out of administration just as quickly throughout the years and to understand the fundamentals of the process would shed light on a truly fascinating phenomenon of modern football.

In simple terms it should be seen as a misdirection of the clubs finances. The common admission of problems, similiar to that of Dundee who recently published a bill of £365,000, is pressure from the tax man. The club then were revealed to have overall debts of around 2 million pounds and the administration proceedings were uncovered.

The next stage of the journey involves the appointment of the “administrator” who will oversee the club’s finances rather than the men in grey suits within the board room. They will look into minimising the club’s losses as well as striving to find a buyer (similiar to the Hicks/Gillett saga currently ongoing at Liverpool FC).

As Dundee football club Chairman Harry Maclean recently uncovered to the BBC, the administrators run and assess everything at the club, short of picking the team on a Saturday:

“Speculating on the amount of figures and players that would be leaving is a bit pointless at this time because there’s only one person that’ll know that and that’s the administrator.”

The administrator may also not be as sympathetic in terms of personal issues which arise, such as the unfortunate and real threat of redundancies. The authorities will do all they can to accrue as much of the lost finances as possible. Gordon Chisholm recently feel victim to this process, being removed from his post as part of the administration proceedings at Dundee FC:

Their’s boys getting laid off in their with mortgages, its a horrendous time. I’ve never been through been through anything like that in my life and I hope never to see it again

Finally, If the club is then deemed by administrators to be incapable of saviour, and finances spiral into irreparable levels, then the threat of liquidation (commonly known as a “winding up” order) becomes a very real possibility. The ins and outs of this process can be read in detail at the UK statute law website.

The threat of administration truly is a worrying time for any club. Only time will tell what fate has in store for clubs such as Dundee, Liverpool and Portsmouth. Perhaps the biggest nail in the coffin and realisation of crisis would materialise when clubs of substantial stature fall victim to the perils of a debt ridden management system.

Until then, clubs struggle on as football pulls itself out of the financial culmination of the last decade and beyond.

Scotland begins fundraising frenzy

Scotland is gearing up for what promises to be another record breaking Children in Need fundraising day on the 20th of November.

pudsey bear

After getting past the £2 million mark for the first time last year, efforts are being increased across the country to try to raise the money-making bar even higher.

The BBC’s charity is now in its 29th year and has raised over half a billion pounds for underprivileged children in the UK.

Every penny counts towards giving a child a better future, so whether you sit in a bath of baked beans to raise money, get your legs waxed or cycle over 10,000 miles like Mark Beaumont, every effort is appreciated by Pudsey bear and his team.

going through the pain barrier for Children in Need

“We are overwhelmed by the support of people right across the UK every year as we know that for many people these are difficult times,” said a spokesman.

“The generosity and commitment shown last year which helped us raise £36 million allowed us to make a difference in many young lives.

“We thank all of the people across the country who have organised or are participating in a fundraising event for your amazing efforts.”

Edinburgh student run charity, Children’s Holiday Venture received a £2000 grant from Children in Need in September of this year and are reaping the benefits now.

Claire Austin, the charity’s vice president was delighted to receive the funding: “It was a fantastic boost to get such a generous sum.

“It is really going a long way with helping the children as we help greater numbers in better ways.

“We all enjoy our regular swimming trips but we now have better opportunities to go on day trips which are more fun and educational.”

She added: “The work Children in Need do each year goes such a long way to helping so many charities like us around the UK and the support the receive from the public is fantastic.

“We can’t thank everyone who helps enough for their generous donations.”

The live telethon starts at 7 o’clock on BBC 1 so tune in for all sorts of fundraising fun.

If you want to get involved the check out http://www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey/news/map.shtml to find out what’s happening in your area.

Swapping cigarettes for courgettes… will Dundee’s new anti-smoking scheme work?

By Rebecca Jamieson

Would £150 encourage you to give up smoking for good? NHS Tayside hopes so.

They have just launched a pilot scheme in Dundee, which gives participants from disadvantaged areas £12.50 a week if they manage to stay off cigarettes. The money is credited onto an electronic card and can be spent at Asda on fresh fruit and vegetables only – not cigarettes or alcohol. Participants can stay on the scheme for up to 12 weeks, earning them a total of £150.

shona_robison1

Public Health Minister - Shona Robison

Minister for Public Health, Shona Robison, was in Dundee for the launch of the Quit4u scheme. She said “The most important thing anyone can do to improve their health is to quit smoking – it’s the biggest preventable cause of ill health and premature death in Scotland. This is an innovative project and I’ll be following the results with interest to see if lessons can be learned.”

Life expectancy in Dundee is among the lowest in Britain, according to Scottish Government figures. There are thought to be around 36,000 smokers in Dundee, around half of whom live in poverty. Paul Ballard, NHS Tayside’s Deputy Director of Public Health, says deprived areas are often the worst affected.

“We know that the highest smoking rates are still in our poorest and most deprived communities. This is simply because, on a day to day basis, for them quitting smoking is not the most important thing – the most important thing is actually putting food on the table. What Quit4u does is helps and supports them to put food on the table, so they can make quitting smoking a top priority.”

But will £12.50 a week really be enough to persuade smokers to give up? Granted the first 12 weeks of the scheme are an attractive proposition – they will receive the weekly ‘reward’ money, as well as the extra cash they have saved by no longer buying cigarettes. But concerns have been expressed about the long term success of the project.

Health spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, Ross Finnie, said “We welcome any initiative that helps people kick smoking1the habit. We do, however, have concerns over the exit strategy. Support must continue over the three months to ensure smokers who use the financial contribution as an incentive to quit do not light up when the money has dried up.”

NHS Tayside hopes up to 50% of smokers who join the scheme will be successful in their attempt to quit. At the end of the two year trial they will discover if that offer of £150 was as much of a lure as they had hoped.

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Financial News

By Vikki Graves

HSBC asks shareholders for £12.5bn

Chairman Stephen Green said the funds would be used to see the group through the current uncertain economic climate.

The news comes as HSBC announce pre-tax profits of £6.5bn for 2008, a 62% fall on the previous year.

There was a drop in share prices across the banking sector this afternoon, with HSBC shares down by as much as 19%.

Row over Sir Fred’s RBS pension continues

Pressure is still mounting on former Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Executive Sir Fred Goodwin to give up a large part of his £693,000 annual pension.

Deputy Labour Leader Harriet Harman has said that the government is prepared to take measures to prevent him from receiving the full amount.

Meanwhile, it has come to light that RBS are still paying for Sir Fred’s personal security costs, including CCTV and security staff at his home.

Tesco to create 200 jobs in Edinburgh

Tesco Personal Finance is expanding its banking operation in the capital.

The supermarket’s financial arm, which currently employs 250 staff will move to a new, larger headquarters in Haymarket within the next year.

Bank Of England Cut Interest Rates

The Bank of England have announced that they have cut interest rates by 1%.

This decision, made at noon, reduces the rate to 2% which is the lowest it has been since 1951.

In a poll by Reuters, 40 out of 62 financial experts asked, stated that they thought this was the step that the Bank of England should take.

This comes just one month after the interest rate was cut from 4.5% to 3% in order to help with the growing financial crisis which has led to unemployment rising, a downturn in mortgage lending and high street stores slashing prices in the hope of encouraging public spending.

Financial expert advisors Moneyfacts, say the latest cut will help out those with mortgages, estimating that most homeowners with a repayment mortgage of around £150,000, will save between £20-£75 a month.

Not all lenders are expected to pass on cuts, but Lloyds TSB have announced that they will be passing on reductions to their customers.

However homeowners with a tracker mortgage may not benefit from this cut as they involve tracking the Bank Rate.

This cut is another measure to help Britain fight the credit crunch, following on from yesterdays announcement that government have plans to help those facing home repossession to stall repayments on their mortgages for two years.

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