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Summary

  1. Crime in Scotland 'at lowest level' in 40 years
  2. Health secretary to make Holyrood statement on C. diff inquiry
  3. Renewed call for North Sea tax break
  4. Candidates set out income tax positions
  5. Submarines to move to Faslane

Live Reporting

By Thomas McGuigan and Graham Fraser

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

Graham Fraser

BBC Scotland

Thanks for all your comments on today's Scotland Live blog.

Join us again for the latest news, sport, weather and travel from 08:00 tomorrow.

Good night.

Mailman delivers

Commonwealth boxing champ Charlie Flynn hits home the Christmas posting message from the mailroom.

More on Reporting Scotland tonight at 18:30.

Charlie Flynn
BBC

Update - A75 crash

Five people have been taken to hospital following the one-vehicle crash on the A75.

Emergency services were called to the scene about one mile from Annan at 15:30.

All five were taken to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, and the road is closed with diversions in place.

Witness denies murder

A man who told a murder trial that his friend confessed to killing a woman and stabbing her partner in their home has denied carrying out the attack himself.

Isabelle Sanders
BBC - police handout

Ross Arthurs, 28, was asked if he had stabbed Isabelle Sanders, 51, and attacked Norman Busby, 86, at the couple's home in Crookston, Glasgow.

He told the High Court in Glasgow: "Absolutely not".

Accused Paul McManus, 19, denies carrying out the attacks and has blamed Mr Arthurs and Christopher O'Reilly.

Salmond's future

Coming up on BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive - What next for Alex Salmond?

Considering the unanswered question of the former first minister standing for election at Westminster, Kevin Keane reports from the Gordon constituency in Aberdeenshire.

Listen to the report from around 17:35.

Drop in young smokers 'encouraging'

Smoking figures published today show a further drop in young people smoking in Scotland.

Dr James Cant, head of British Lung Foundation in Scotland, told BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive this is "very, very encouraging."

smoking
SPL

He said the biggest challenge remains in the 16 -24 category.

Dr Cant said he believed plain packaging would help further as Scotland aims to become

a 'smoke free country.'

Sandwiches off the menu

Sandwiches have been taken off the menu at all Aberdeen schools.

sandwiches
BBC

The city council said the decision was partly down to seasonal changes in the meals being offered to pupils and staff, and also down to forthcoming changes in food labelling legislation.

It said parents can still provide their children with sandwiches as part of a packed lunch.

The Unite union said sandwiches remained available for staff working at the authority's headquarters.

Crash closes A75 near Annan

A serious one-vehicle crash has shut the A75 near Annan with drivers asked to avoid the area if possible.

Police said emergency services had been called to the scene of the accident at about 15:30.

No details of the number of people involved have so far been released.

Police said diversions had been put in place and advised any drivers in the area to allow extra time for their journeys.

Denayer: 'Celtic can win Europa League'

Chris McLaughlin

BBC Sport

Jason Denayer believes Celtic are capable of winning the Europa League - if the squad is firing all cylinders.

Jason Denayer
SNS

Assistant manager John Collins has cautioned that there is a long way to go to reach that level.

But defender Denayer said: "I think we can reach the final or semi-final. It depends who we play. But, if we play 100%, we can win this tournament."

Three women and a...

Deputy Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw has made light of the gender balance among Scotland's party leaders.

Jackson Carlaw
BBC

Watch what he said in the Scottish parliament.

Fog affects Inverness flights

Thick fog has been affecting some flights to and from Inverness Airport.

Two from Manchester earlier today had to be diverted to Aberdeen because of the weather conditions.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial) has been advising passengers to check with their airlines for flight details.

Foggy conditions are expected to linger until Thursday morning.

Mother's anguish

A mother who lost her son in an East Lothian car crash has spoken of her heartbreak on the anniversary of his death.

Andrea Kelly and her son David
Andrea Kelly

Andrea Kelly, 40, said she missed her son, David Armstrong, 15, so much it was "starting to take its toll" on her.

Ms Kelly spoke as she prepared for a memorial event to mark the crash in Tyninghame on 25 November 2013.

The crash claimed the lives of her son, David, and friends Joshua Stewart, 16, and Jenna Barbour, 18.

Baillie shows emotion over C.diff

Labour's spokesperson for health Jackie Baillie held back tears in the Scottish parliament when speaking about C.diff victims.

Ms Baillie was contributing after the health secretary Shona Robison delivered a statement on the five-year

Vale of Leven inquiry which heavily criticised Scotland's largest health board.

Jackie Baillie
BBC

Ms Baillie told MSPs she could not help but feel that 'justice has not been done' with regards to compensation for the victims.

The health secretary said there were detailed, confidential discussions continuing between families and the health board on compensation and she had advised the health board to be 'helpful'.

Brown: 'Blame the players'

Former Rangers coach John Brown says it is the players and not manager Ally McCoist who should be taking the brunt of criticism from supporters.

Ally McCoist
SNS

But he believes McCoist has shown before he can overcome the abuse from a section of fans to succeed at Ibrox.

Rangers fell nine points behind Hearts after losing 2-0 to the Scottish Championship leaders at the weekend.

"Ally's got he strongest squad in the division and it's up to the players to step up to the mark," said Brown.

Debate needed on class time

Suggestions of a Scotland-wide debate on local authorities reducing pupils' time in class have been welcomed by a parent council leader.

Young pupil
PA

Highland Council has delayed a plan to cut the time pupils in primaries 4 to 7 spend in class by 30 minutes-a-day.

It said it was responding to public concerns and also wanted to allow for a national debate on the matter.

Anne McMichael, co-chairperson of Avoch Primary Parent Council, said a broader discussion was needed.

Man jailed for abusing women

A man who admitted abusing and assaulting several women has been jailed for more than four years.

Gary Mitchell
Alan Richardson

Gary Mitchell, 45, subjected four women to abuse, including strangling his ex-wife to the extent that he "endangered her life".

He went on to deliberately cause her to crash her car and threatened his other victims with violence.

Mitchell repeatedly followed three of the women around Glenrothes, Fife, and continually contacted them.

Police cuts

Scotland's top police officer has said force support staff face further job cuts next year.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House said he was confident of making a target to save £1.1bn by 2026.

Sir Stephen House gave evidence to MSPs, along with the new justice secretary, Michael Matheson
PA

But he warned the path ahead was "not smooth" and said every area, apart from police officer numbers, would be considered in the drive for savings.

About 2,000 civilian staff have been cut through voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes since 2009.

Jervis confident for Staggies

Jake Jervis insists losing to St Johnstone will not derail Ross County's revival as they prepare to head to Perth again on Scottish Cup duty.

Jake Jervis
SNS

County claimed four of the eight points they have earned this term in the three games before last Saturday's 2-1 defeat in Perth.

Jervis reckons the Staggies are still full of belief. "We've kept our confidence and you could see at Kilmarnock (where Country won 3-0) how confident the team were,"

Jervis told BBC Scotland.

Farah returns to Scotland

Daily Record

Mo Farah returns to Scotland as Great Edinburgh XCountry lands the biggest name

http://bit.ly/1vJfcEv

Mo Farah
AP

New homes at 'three-year high'

The number of new homes built in Scotland has reached its highest level for more than three years, according to new figures.

Official statistics showed that 4,583 homes across all sectors were completed between April and June this year.

Building site
BBC

This was the highest quarterly figure since 2010, and 29% higher than in the same quarter last year.

This brought the number of completions for the year to the end of June to 15,824, up by 15% on the previous year.

SSE's 'failed' power test

Energy firm SSE has declined to comment on reports that its Peterhead power plant, which is contracted to help guard against blackouts this winter, failed to generate power during a test run.

According to Utility Week, Peterhead failed the test run on Thursday.

Peterhead Power Station at night
Iain Smith

An SSE spokeswoman told BBC Scotland: "For commercial reasons we are not commenting on the proving run at this stage but we will be issuing a statement later this week."

New deal for Cowan

London Irish back-row forward Blair Cowan has signed a new deal keeping him at the Premiership club until 2018.

Blair Cowan
Getty Images

The 28-year-old openside flanker has made 32 appearances for the Exiles since joining in March 2013, scoring seven tries.

Cowan made his Scotland debut on their tour to North America last summer and he has six caps in total.

Loch death 'not suspicious'

Police investigating the death of a man whose body was found in a loch have said there doesn't appear to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

The body of the 73-year-old has been found in a popular leisure park in South Lanarkshire.

James Hamilton Heritage Park in Stewartfield,East Kilbride
Google

Emergency services were called to James Hamilton Heritage Park, in the Stewartfield area of East Kilbride, at about 08:10.

A post mortem examination will be held in due course and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.

Rapist jailed for three years

A man who raped a woman after he stopped her leaving a house in Glasgow has been jailed for three years.

Robert Moyes, 33, attacked the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in the city's Carntyne area on 9 March.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how he forced her to have sex after she tried to leave his company.

Have you seen this man?

Police investigating a sex attack in Glasgow city centre have released a CCTV image of a man they want to trace.

sexual assault
BBC - police handout

The victim was sexually assaulted in Hutcheson Street, in the Merchant City area, at about 02:35 on 13 July.

The man is described as white, 5ft 8in to 5ft 10in tall, of medium build, with sandy coloured hair and glasses. He was wearing a shirt and hooded top.

Police Scotland have not specified whether the victim of the sexual assault was a man or woman.

Arrest in Stephen McGinlay case

A 30-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the death of Stephen McGinlay (pictured) following an assault in Glasgow last month.

Twenty-six-year-old Mr McGinlay was attacked, along with a friend, near a library on St George's Road at 17:50 on Thursday 2 October.

Stephen McGinlay
BBC - police handout

Mr McGinlay was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary but later died.

Buchanan Street 'most expensive outside London'

Glasgow's Buchanan Street is the most expensive UK shopping destination outside London, according to a report.

Buchanan Street
David Cameron

Research by real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield suggested it can command a rental of nearly £1,900 per sq m.

That outstrips Princes Street in Edinburgh (£1,406), Market Street, Manchester (£1,372) and Briggate, Leeds (£1,208).

Rapist attacked again while on licence

A convicted rapist has been jailed for 12 years after attempting to rape a 64-year-old woman in her home while out on licence from his previous jail term.

James Haran, 48, was convicted of attacking the frail widow at her house in Drumchapel, Glasgow, on 7 April.

In 2002, he was jailed for eight years and given a four-year supervision order for rape and attempted rape.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Kenneth Maciver told Haran he was "clearly a dangerous sexual predator".

Man jailed over party row blaze

A man who set fire to a block of flats in East Ayrshire following a row over his dog has been jailed for 12 years.

Alexander Gay, 45, was convicted of attempting to murder six people over the incident in Mauchline on 1 January.

His trial heard how Gay set petrol alight in the close stairs after his pet was banned from a New Year party because a guest was allergic to dogs.

One guest suffered burns and lost his sight. Another died days later from a heart attack.

Glasgow murderer jailed

A man who attacked a stranger and left him dying in a Glasgow street has been jailed for life for murder.

Luke Quinn, 33, knocked Simon Richardson to the ground and stamped on him in Wellington Street in December last year.

The 45-year-old, from Paisley in Renfrewshire, later died in hospital.

Quinn, from Busby, claimed diminished responsibility due to Asperger syndrome, but a jury convicted him of murder. He was told he must serve a minimum of 14 years in jail.

Council cuts

Dumfries and Galloway Council is meeting to discuss savings options that could see up to 84 learning support posts lost.

The authority is looking to cut more than £2m from the budget for pupils needing additional assistance.

Its education committee is considering two options which could see between 52 and 84 posts go over three years.

The council wants a "streamlined and improved service" but the move has been opposed by the EIS teaching union.

Taxi drivers - Get Involved

Text using 80295

Dave not Allan the taxi driver: I'm an Edinburgh taxi driver and sometimes you take the wrong route. If you consider going from A to B, then plan the route in reverse, you inevitably go a different way depending on the time of day and traffic conditions. Also, there is a £250 fine for taxis that smell of smoke that's never been enforced.

Ciaran in Alva: I was a volunteer driver at Glasgow 2014 and had people in the back tell me which way to go. Back seat drivers exist everywhere!!

Edinburgh house fire

A man has been taken to hospital following a fire at a property in Edinburgh.

Sydney Park, Edinburgh
Google

More than a dozen firefighters rescued the man from a bungalow in Sydney Park just after 08:30.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has launched an investigation into the blaze, which started in the bungalow's kitchen.

Emergency services were called by a neighbour and the man was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after breaking the door down.

Come Fly With Me...

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) will launch a new service between Edinburgh and Copenhagen in March 2015.

Scandinavian Airlines
Reuters

The new link will be joined - on 29 March - by the return of services to Oslo and Stockholm.

Flights between Edinburgh and Copenhagen will fly five times per week and will then increase to daily between 29 June and 9 August.

They will then switch to six times per week until the end of October.

Taxi drivers - Your Views

Text using 80295

Anon: I am a taxi driver in Stirling and the abuse that is dished out to drivers at the weekends is dreadful. I myself have been spat on, grabbed by the throat while driving and various forms of threats. I wish people would realise that we taxi drivers are trying to earn a wage and make sure that the public get home safely.

Jim, Bishopton: I picked up a large family at Glasgow Airport. They had to take 2 cars. The father moaned all the way that I was taking the long way, unlike the the other driver. I told him that when we got there I wouldn't charge if I was dearer. I was over a £1 less. He was most unhappy. Me smiling like a Cheshire cat didn't help.

Bed blocking

The number of patients having to wait longer than the target time to be discharged from hospital has risen again,

figures show.

hospital generic
Science Photo Library

In October, 321 patients were delayed for more than four weeks after they were ready to go home.

The issue, known as bed blocking, has left people stuck in hospital while waiting for care and support arrangements to be put in place.

John Beattie

BBC Scotland

Looking for tales of taxi journeys and drivers that can be broadcast. Getting some very interesting texts on 80295 from taxi drivers, seems some of the abuse they get is horrendous, text in anonymously with story.

John Beattie
BBC

Listen live to the programme

here.

Crime at 'lowest level' for 40 years

The level of recorded crime in Scotland has reached its lowest level in 40 years, falling by 1% in the last year.

police officers
BBC

Official statistics also showed a 10% reduction in violent crime between 2013-14, with the number of homicides halved over seven years.

The crime clear up rate of nearly 52% is the highest since comparable records began in 1976.

However, the number of recorded sex crimes has seen a rise of 12% since 2013.

Ryder Cup legacy

Organisers of the 2014 Ryder Cup say the Gleneagles tournament has left a "strong economic and tourism legacy".

Ryder Cup
Reuters

Ryder Cup Europe paid tribute to the local community as the final pieces of tournament infrastructure were removed from the Perthshire golf resort.

The event team hailed "significant investment, tourism and education initiatives all providing a major economic boost to the area".

Murphy's tax plan

James Cook

Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

Scottish Labour leadership candidate Jim Murphy is supporting full devolution of income tax powers and a 50% tax rate for the rich.