Browse content similar to 03/12/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
tuning may mean large-scale clinical trials are not always
On Newsnight Scotland tonight, the stand-off between the arts
community and the top arts administrator comes to a head. The
chief executive of Creative Scotland falls on his sword after
months of pressure. Also tonight, the former bosses of
HBOS come under scrutiny at the parliamentary commission. Remember
HBOS? And what is in store for Scotland
in the chancellor's autumn statement this week?
Good evening. The curtain has come down for the man in charge of
Creative Scotland, the country's arts funding body. After months of
intense criticism, much of it from some of Scotland's best-known
artists, Andrew Dixon quit as chief executive. He says he is
disappointed not to have gained their respect and support.
The arts community just did not like what Creative Scotland did or
how it was run. It did not like how it funded them and it did not like
how it spoke to them. Andrew Dixon probably did not like some of
Scotland's most high-profile writers and artists and what they
have to say about Creative Scotland. Just pack their bags and go. We
would be glad to see the back of them. Thankfully, I don't need any
funding and have never asked for it. Enough was enough for Mr Dixon. In
today's statement, he says he is Andrew Dixon had already conceded
that Creative Scotland had to do better. We need to not just work
through the intermediary agencies that we are funding to support
artists, so we are putting in place measures to do that. We have had a
very good dialogue over the theatre review. A lot of people are
engaging without consultation process. We will do the same with
dance, visual arts and crafts. too late. Who will now fill the
Creative Scotland hot seat, and what a challenge as well they face?
I am now joined in the studio by Phil Miller, the Herald's arts
correspondent. What is going on here? There is a lot of talk of
bureaucracy. What has been going on at Creative Scotland? It has been
going on for more than a year and has finally reached a head. The
decisive point was the letter sent by 100 artists to create of
Scotland in October. Now the chief Executive has fallen on his sword.
This week, we have an important board meeting. They will have to
take measures to internally reform Creative Scotland to make sure that
all the concerns that have been expressed over the year are somehow
responded to satisfactorily. Otherwise, this will go on for
months. Where did the criticism come from? Was in the change from a
regular stream of funding to lottery funding which seemed to
burden artists with complicated applications? That was part of it.
That was sparked off earlier this year. But it is more than that, and
it is just more than one man, Andrew Dixon, resigning. It is the
structure and the body itself that people have problems with. It is a
hybrid of the Scottish Arts Council and it was put together two years
ago with other additional responsibilities for the creative
industries. It has never felt or sounded right to many artists.
say it is more than one man. Do you think other heads will have to
roll? I would not want to name any. But this week, there has been an
internal report by one of the board members, and I think they will look
seriously at the structure of the body and there will be some
personnel changes. You mentioned the chairman. Does the arts world
have confidence in him? Many in the arts world distrust bankers anyway.
The opinion on him is mixed so far. This is his first big job in the
arts world. This week is the litmus test. If nothing convincing comes
out of this board meeting, there will be more hours in the future.
Are we always going to have tensions between the funder and the
people looking for funds? There will always be tensions because
there is a limited amount of money. But this year has been a disaster.
The story has been of Creative Scotland and what a mess it has
seemed to be making. The story should be about artists. In the
future, you would hope the funding body would be in the background.
The artists were complaining that they were not being listened to. Do
you think the chairman will take that on board and try to make that
change? You would hope so. It was a big thing happening today, with
Andrew Dixon resigning. You would hope that all the controversies,
particularly over that artists' letter, would lead to some change.
If there is not change this week, the arguments will get greater.
Four years on from the bruising banking crash, it seems that
reparations are being made. Icelandic banks repaid large debts
to Scottish councils in the past week and RBS could pay dividends
soon. But some old wounds have been reopened. This afternoon, the
parliamentary committee investigating the disastrous
collapse of HBOS, Halifax Bank of Scotland, questioned the competency
of two former chief executives. It is four years since the Bank of
Scotland came close to being no more. HBOS, the group created by
the merger or of the Halifax and the Bank of Scotland, once seemed
like a marriage made in heaven, the fifth force in British banking.
Instead, at the height of the banking crisis, HBOS was on the
brink of collapse. Lloyds TSB, then the taxpayer, came to the rescue.
Today, the two men who led HBOS were called to explain publicly
what went wrong. First up, Sir James Crosby, in charge until 2006.
He was not in for an easy ride. am very sorry for what happened at
the bank. What are your apologising for exactly, the mistakes of the
bank for which you were partly responsible? I am apologising for
the fact that I played a major part in building a business that
subsequently failed. I was not there for the last few years. But
it would be wrong for me to do so associate myself from what happened
in the end. HBOS stood accused of expanding too aggressively, and
some of its corporate lending practices were criticised. With the
benefit of hindsight, was this competent lending? If by competent
lending, we are accepting the right balance with the benefit of
hindsight between risk and reward, then no. So it was incompetent
lending? By that definition. It is your definition. I would not
describe it as incompetent, because it was done by individuals who were
well-intentioned and acting in good faith at the time. With the benefit
of hindsight, I would not use that language to describe it, but...
Everybody watching this will be wondering whether you are clear
that incompetent lending was made by your bank in this period. Do you
want to have another go? I think it is self-evident that the level of
impairments in the corporate bank could not be explained solely by
the financial crisis. I was clear about that in my evidence. Then it
was the turn of his successor and protege, Andy Hornby. The future
Archbishop of Canterbury had a question. I dealt with the Bank of
Scotland back in the '80s. They were not very prone to take in
risks. It was getting blood out of a stone to get them to part with
their precious money. What changed? Was that to do with bringing in a
sales culture after the merger? don't think so, because HBOS was an
amalgam of a very different cultures. The near collapse of HBOS
is sometimes overshadowed now by the crisis which engulfed its
Edinburgh rival, Royal Bank of Scotland, around the same time. The
aim of this inquiry is to help a piece together what happened and
see how to prevent a repeat in the future.
I am joined now from our Edinburgh studio by Ray Perman, a financial
journalist who this year wrote Hubris: How HBOS Wrecked the Best
Bank in Britain. The Best Bank, of course, being the
Bank of Scotland. Leicester got on the 20 macro the future Archbishop
made that the Bank of Scotland was enjoyably boring, he said at one
point. We tend to forget how secure an institution it was. We do. It
was part of the firmament of Scotland for 300 years. During that
period that the future Archbishop was talking about, the Bank of
Scotland was described by the Financial Times in really
congratulatory terms as the most boring bank in Britain. Boring
because it did all the right things and produced record profits year
after year, but at the same time was very prudent and solid.
have followed this story closely over the years. Former Chief exec
James Crosby apologised for the first time today. He stepped down a
couple of years before the crash, but how responsible for it is he?
James Crosby's departure from HBOS was a shock to everybody. He was
not even 50 at the time, and he left at a time when it appeared to
be doing well. Share price was at its peak, and he just went. Two
years later, the whole thing was in tears. People wonder whether he got
out in time. So far, he has escaped most of the scrutiny. He was not
called in front of the select committee when it called in Sir
Fred could win for some ritual humiliation. He was not named and
shamed by the FSA. Today it really was his comeuppance. I was
surprised at how aggressive the parliamentary commission was when
it went for him. Andy Hornby was up as well. He said the group had been
stressed tested. But he said there was no way they could predict what
was going to happen. He said even the wholesale financial markets in
the 1930s had not faced the same pressures. Yes, Hornby, like many
of the other directors of the bank who had been before the commission
before this, have clung to what Lord Turnbull, the chairman of the
HBOS panel in the parliamentary commission has described as the
innocent victim defence. It was not us, we were running a perfectly
good bank and then the world crisis came and we were swept away. It is
clear that the commission have no truck with that. HBOS ran up
colossal loans, �45 billion had to be written off. That debt alone
would have sunk the bank, regardless of the credit crunch. So
Hornby is clinging to their defence Do you think there is a collective
amnesia regarding HBOS? RBS seems to have been left carrying the can?
They may have been an knee-jerk of people, but 40,000 people lost
their jobs. Also, two million small shareholders lost their investments
and many of those also employees and saving through the Bank's share
ownership scheme. They lost their investment. The taxpayer paid 20
billion to save this bank and we have not got it back yet. If you
are in a pension scheme and they have invested in HBOS, you have
lost part of your pension. This really matters and there hasn't
been an adequate, official explanation for what went wrong.
The whole point of the Commission is try to learn from our mistakes.
Are we learning from mistakes, even as we speak now? The Commission has
made it clear we are not learning enough. Bankers have not changed
their ways in the fashion people had hoped. The Commission hopes to
get its report out by Christmas. I would be surprised if it just
rested there. I think the parliamentarians, particularly MPs,
will be pushing hard for real changes to come from this, in the
way banks behave and also for people to be brought to book over
the HBOS collapse. Now, the Chancellor's autumn statement comes
on Wednesday, so the usual string of special pleading, requests and
warnings have been hitting the politicians' inboxes. This year
there's a feeling Mr Osborne is going to be faced with some choices
which are even harder than usual, as the economy stubbornly refuses
to offer much response to the government's medicine. David
Henderson reports. Then it is eight months since the Chancellor set out
his Budget and amid austerity and recession, it wasn't easy.
What was billed as a budget for working families is remembered best
by some for the other headlines, the pasty tax and the granny tax.
After the pain, there has been some game. The UK came out of a double-
dip recession with growth at 1% from July to September.
Unemployment began to fall. Are these the green shoots of recovery?
Compared to the UK as a whole, Scotland's economy has had its ups
and downs. Unemployment is on the rise, retail sales figures are
disappointingly low. And the gross figures won't be confirmed until
January, but it seems through most of this year, Scotland's economy
has contracted. So what should the Chancellor do? He has been urged to
find money for this sort of thing - investments in infrastructure as a
way to kick-start the economy. believe that some methods need to
be made at the moment to stimulate demand. That means ensuring we do
have improved capital spend, both at a UK and Scottish level and also
tackle some of the taxes that are having a negative impact on
Scottish business. How can the Chancellor spent more or to borrow
to boost growth when the markets are wanting to cut the deficit? He
would want to ensure every penny counts since not all spending has
the same impact. What are the top priorities? Broadband
infrastructure, road and rail and airport infrastructure, improving
productivity in Scotland. If we are going to increase the long stern --
long-term growth of the economy, growth is another key element.
changes to passenger duty could be on the cards as a way of giving
business a lift. There is a more pressing issue for the Chancellor,
for motorists the price of fuel is a constant irritant. In June,
George Osborne, postponed A3 pence per litre rise in fuel duty until
next month. With the deadline looming, will he use his Autumn
Statement to delay it further? would like to see a continuation of
these 3p Fuel cut for over a year. He has postponed it twice and we
would like to see him postpone it a third time. At this time, three
pence extra would be bad for the Scottish economy. So Chancellor
also looks set to turn on the gas with a strategy that will give it a
greater role in fulfilling our energy needs. This power station in
East Lothian and runs on coal and is said to be replaced by gas
turbines, something similar could happen elsewhere. But where does
that leave renewable energy? place to invest money in the energy
sector is in renewables, particularly in Scotland we have a
bright future in renewables. Anything that challenges that by
directing money somewhere else of giving companies incentive to go
for gas instead of renewables, is to our detriment. It will mean
increasing carbon emissions instead of reducing them. All in all, some
tough choices for George Osborne, and if economic growth is projected
to remain low, he might have to face more drastic measures, still.
David Henderson reporting. And we'll have a full report and
reactions to the autumn statement in an extended programme on
Wednesday night. Now a quick look at tomorrow's