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Businesses to take action 'when vote outcome is known'

Craig Anderson, senior business partner at KPMG in Scotland, said:

It is clear that the business community is still seeking to have concerns allayed as we move closer to September 18.

Our research suggests that most businesses probably do not feel sufficiently informed to make appropriate long-term plans, with any action likely to be taken only when the outcome is known.

– Craig Anderson, KPMG

85% of Scottish firms haven't planned for Yes vote

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond will be hoping the businesses' guesses are wrong.
Scottish first minister Alex Salmond will be hoping the businesses' guesses are wrong. Credit: PA

More than eight out of ten businesses in Scotland do not yet have plans in place to deal with the result of the referendum if the country votes for independence, a new survey has revealed.

Almost 84% of Scottish firms that were questioned in the latest KPMG Business Instincts Survey said they had not yet considered a continuity plan for how to deal with changes if there is a Yes vote on September 18.

Issues such as potential changes to the tax regime if Scotland left the UK, the impact of any change in currency and the impact trade with the rest of the UK are businesses' main concerns, according to the survey.

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Billy Bragg helps overturn ban on guitars in prisons

Protest singer Billy Bragg has helped reverse a government ban on steel-strung guitars in prison.

The activist joined politicians and fellow musicians, including former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, calling for inmates to be granted use of guitars with steel strings as well as nylon.

Billy Bragg says guitars can aid the rehabilitation of prisoners.
Billy Bragg says guitars can aid the rehabilitation of prisoners. Credit: Empics

Bragg, who started the Jail Guitar Doors initiative in 2007 as means of helping prisoner rehabilitation through sourcing guitars for prisons, said: "As an incentive to engage in rehabilitation, individual access to steel-strung guitars can really help the atmosphere on a prison wing."

Labour MP Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West), who also supported the campaign, said: "This is a victory for common sense and I'm pleased after months of campaigning the UK Government has listened.

"If we want to reduce reoffending we need to support purposeful activities like learning to play an instrument."

Overseas-only job adverts could be banned

The Government is consulting on plans to ban overseas-only advertising of jobs, by legally requiring employment agencies to seek applicants for posts in Britain.

Theresa May says reforms will make Britain "less attractive" for those coming for the "wrong reasons".
Theresa May says reforms will make Britain "less attractive" for those coming for the "wrong reasons". Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

New plans to restrict the number of JobCentre Plus vacancies automatically advertised on an EU-wide employment portal will also be floated.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants, but tough on those who abuse it or flout the law.

"The Immigration Act is a landmark piece of legislation that will make Britain a less attractive place for those who come here for the wrong reasons, and allow us to remove more people when they have no right to remain."

Labour: David Cameron has failed on immigration

David Cameron has failed to fulfil his promise to get net migration down to tens of thousands, the shadow Home Secretary has said.

Yvette Cooper says Labour has been calling for tougher restrictions for 18 months.
Yvette Cooper says Labour has been calling for tougher restrictions for 18 months. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Speaking following the Prime Minister's announcement of fresh curbs on benefits for migrants, Yvette Cooper said Labour called for tougher benefit restrictions nearly 18 months ago.

"We need less talk from the Prime Minister on immigration and more action," she said.

"The Government should get a grip and finally implement Labour's proposals to stop the undercutting of wages and jobs for local workers by the exploitation of low-skilled migrant labour, including banning recruitment agencies that only hire foreign workers and pressing for stronger controls in Europe."

Read: Cameron to limit migrant benefits to three months

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Lord Coe 'pulls out' of race to chair BBC Trust

Sebastian Coe has signalled he has pulled out of the race to become the next chairman of the BBC Trust.

Seb Coe suggested he doesn't have the "capacity" to chair the BBC Trust.
Seb Coe suggested he doesn't have the "capacity" to chair the BBC Trust. Credit: PA

The London 2012 supremo, who is chairman of the British Olympic Association, was at one point the Government's preferred candidate for the role but told the Daily Mail he did not have the "capacity" for the job.

He said: "I did allow my name to go forward to give myself time to properly analyse whether I had enough time to do the job to the best of my abilities.

"On reflection, I haven't the capacity and I now want to concentrate on my current commitments and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) election."

Other names mentioned in relation to the role at the BBC's governing body include Dame Marjorie Scardino, the former chief executive of the company behind the Financial Times, and Channel 4 chairman Lord Burns.

Labour 'run in a totally dysfunctional way'

Damian McBride, who was forced to resign as former prime minister Gordon Brown's adviser in 2009 after being linked to a plot to smear Tory MPs on a gossip website, said:

Labour currently has no clear idea who its target audience is, no positive messages to communicate to anyone about why they should vote for the party, no policies which will persuade them, and is being run in a totally dysfunctional way.

– Damian McBride

The former spin doctor urged Labour to acknowledge its mistakes in government and to better communicate a coherent plan for the country. He wrote:

If Labour currently has central, underlying messages that it is trying to communicate to the electorate about itself, its policies, and its leader, the best you could say at present is that it's not quite coming across.

If the message is 'We're not the Tories or the Lib Dems, and you hate them', that may work up to a point, but it won't do much for those people who would happily express their antipathy by voting for Ukip or just staying at home, let alone those who hate Labour as well.

– Damian McBride

McBride: Labour policies 'are a steaming pile of fudge'

Ed Balls and Ed Miliband come under attack from Gordon Brown's former adviser.
Ed Balls and Ed Miliband come under attack from Gordon Brown's former adviser. Credit: PA

The Labour Party is being run in a "totally dysfunctional" way with policies that amount to "a great steaming pile of fudge", according to a former party spin doctor.

In an apparent attack on Ed Miliband's leadership, Damian McBride warned that the party has a problem in communicating positive messages to voters and that its policies either do not stand up to scrutiny or "go unnoticed in the pub".

In an updated version of his memoirs, serialised in the Daily Mail, Mr McBride said Mr Miliband should position himself as an outsider like Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage rather than an establishment politician directed by PR advisers.

PM: You can't come to UK to get something for nothing

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, David Cameron said:

We changed the rules so that no-one can come to this country and expect to get out-of-work benefits immediately; they must wait at least three months.

And we are announcing today that we are cutting the time people can claim these benefits for.

It used to be that European jobseekers could claim JSA (jobseeker's allowance) or child benefit for a maximum of six months before their benefits would be cut off, unless they had very clear job prospects... we will be reducing that cut-off point to three months, saying very clearly: you cannot expect to come to Britain and get something for nothing.

Taken together, this is about building a different kind of Britain - a country that is not a soft touch, but a place to play your part; a nation where those who work hard can get on.

– David Cameron
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