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CBI: Yes vote will leave Scottish businesses worse off

A Yes vote in the independence referendum will be a disaster for Scottish businesses, the director general of the CBI has said.

Director General of the CBI John Cridland Credit: PA

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, John Cridland warned that independence could be "deeply damaging" for Scotland, putting investment, jobs and growth at risk.

"Firms in Scotland – and those in the rest of the UK – are telling me that a ‘Yes’ vote will leave Scottish businesses worse off, bringing needless hardship to millions of families.

"If Scotland votes ‘Yes’, a re-negotiation of its EU membership is on the cards, which could mean years of instability for companies, seriously affecting jobs and investment, as well as putting off international companies wishing to come to Britain."

Victims' chief questions reforms after Rotherham scandal

Victims' Commissioner Baroness Newlove has welcomed changes to the rights of victims of crime under new reforms proposed by the Government.

However, she said the Government needed to go further by allocating a dedicated "care manager" to individual victims, and questioned how legislation would have helped the victims of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal.

Baroness Newlove Credit: PA

"Recently, we've seen how the abuse of victims in Rotherham was covered up in such appalling ways. We heard how victims were treated with such prejudice that they were not believed by those who were there to protect them.

"I'd like to know how a Victims' Law would put a stop to this dismissive, ignorant and collusive behaviour".


Cameron warns Scotland 'leave and you will go forever'

David Cameron will launch a last-ditch bid to save the Union tomorrow after violent swings in the polls showed the referendum on Scottish independence heading for a dead heat.

Prime Minister David Cameron Credit: PA

In a speech in Scotland tomorrow Mr Cameron will warn voters that there will be “no way back” if they vote to leave the UK.

Going on the attack, he will abandon his “love-bombing” strategy of the past week and will warn: “If Scotland votes ‘yes’, the UK will split and we will go our separate ways for ever.”

On a trip to Aberdeen he will say: “We must be very clear that there’s no going back from this. No rerun. This is a once-and-for-all decision.”

Victims' rights reforms 'cobbled together'

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan MP has accused the Government of consistently "letting down" victims, despite the announcement of sweeping reforms.

Sadiq Khan, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice Credit: PA

"Slashing compensation for innocent victims of violent crime, leaving the position of Victims Commissioner vacant for almost a year and then making her part-time, wanting to knock half off prison sentences if criminals plead guilty, closing down rape centres and courts which make it more difficult for victims and witnesses to get justice, cutting resources for Victim Support and more", Mr Khan said.

"This announcement looks like it's been cobbled together on the back of an envelope, in the dying months of this Government".

Putting victims' rights in law 'sends clear message'

The chief executive of Victim Support has welcomed the suggestion that more effort will be made to help vulnerable witnesses give their evidence without having to be in the courtroom.

Children and other vulnerable victims and witnesses should not have to face the trauma of giving evidence in a court building, unless they choose to.

Putting victims' rights in law sends a clear message to police, prosecutors and the courts that addressing the needs of victims is central to their work - it cannot be an optional extra.

– Mark Castle, chief executive of Victim Support

Right of victims to confront offenders reforms unveiled

The right of victims of crime to directly confront the offenders who damaged their lives in court is to be enshrined in law, the Government said.

Publicly-funded lawyers are also to be barred from taking on serious sex offence cases unless they have undergone specialist training.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling Credit: PA

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said a reform package - including the creation of a Victims' Information Service - would ensure the "highest emphasis" is put on those who suffer at the hands of criminals.

Under a code introduced last year, victims are able to choose to explain to the court and offender how a crime has affected them by reading out a Victim Personal Statement which is taken into account by judges when determining the sentence.


Ukraine PM slams Russia as 'threat to global order'

Only membership of NATO would enable Ukraine to defend itself from external aggression, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said.

Speaking at a conference in Kiev attended by Ukrainian and European lawmakers and business leaders on Saturday, Yatseniuk made clear he did not view the ceasefire as the start of a sustainable peace process because of Putin's ambitions.

We are still in a stage of war and the key aggressor is the Russian Federation ... Putin wants another frozen conflict (in eastern Ukraine).

His goal is to take all of Ukraine ... Russia is a threat to the global order and to the security of the whole of Europe.

NATO in these particular circumstances is the only vehicle to protect Ukraine.

– Arseny Yatseniuk, Ukrainian Prime Minister

Scottish soldiers 'have died to keep the UK together'

A tiny minority has no right to decide the future of a nation that so many Scots have fought to defend, the former head of the Army has said.

Lord Dannatt is the former head of the British Army. Credit: PA

Lord Dannatt said more than 100 Scottish soldiers were killed fighting IRA terrorists who wanted to take Northern Ireland out of the UK, in an article for The Telegraph.

As an Englishman who is a quarter Welsh I fought alongside British Army colleagues, and buried too many, to ensure that the United Kingdom would remain the same today as it was yesterday, and we hoped would be the same tomorrow.

Scottish soldiers have fought over several centuries and in so many campaigns to preserve the territorial integrity of their country from external threat but in the Northern Ireland campaign more recently they fought against internal threat, but what about today?

– Lord Dannatt

Salmond targets undecided voters in final push

First Minister Alex Salmond has insisted the Yes campaign had the momentum to carry it to victory despite telecoms firms becoming the latest sector of the business community to spell out the potential costs to the country of leaving the United Kingdom.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond Credit: PA

In an interview with the Observer, Mr Salmond struck an upbeat note, saying he could still win over enough no voters: "All those who intend to vote no right now are simply deferred yeses.

"Referendums are very special occasions because every single vote counts. There are no such things as safe seats or marginal ones; none that take priority over others."

Darling: We will win because our returns are good

Alistair Darling all but declared victory for the no campaign ahead of Thursday's historic referendum on Scottish independence as an opinion poll showed Better Together had seized back the lead.

The Better Together leader Alistair Darling campaigning in Edinburgh Credit: PA

Mr Darling said his campaign's polling returns showed beyond doubt that Scotland would vote to reject breaking up the 300-year-old union, in an interview with the Observer who carried out the poll.

"We will win and I know that because I can see our returns," Darling, the head of Better Together, told journalists. "We will win, be in no doubt about it. I know, because I see them every day, our returns are good."

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