9am Briefing: 300,000 Scots public sector workers on strike

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MORE than 300,000 public sector workers were expected to be on strike across Scotland today in the biggest day of strike action in decades.

Schools, transport, hospitals and courts were all due to be affected by the UK-wide protest against pension changes which will see workers work longer and pay more for often worse pensions.

David Watson, Unison organiser for Scotland, said “just about everyone” would be affected by the day of action.

Most schools were expected to be closed and thousands of patients have had hospital appointments cancelled as about 50,000 health staff take part in the strike.

Unions promised to provide “life and limb” cover and keep emergency services working.

* EDINBURGH is to be one of the UK’s ten “super- connected cities” with extra-fast broadband.

Chancellor George Osborne used his autumn statement yesterday to announce a £100 million UK-wide fund to provide 80-100 megabits per second broadband and city-wide high-speed mobile connectivity.

It is aimed at boosting economic growth and will be aimed at small businesses in particular, but residents are also expected to benefit.

With such high-speed broadband, downloading a music album is said to take five seconds, a TV show 30 seconds and a film about two minutes.

Edinburgh, London, Cardiff and Belfast are included automatically in the ten cities, but a competition will be held to choose the other six.

Then all of them will have to draw up proposals and bid for their share of the cash.

* CARDINAL Keith O’Brien was addressing a rally outside the Scottish Parliament today to protest against proposed changes to the law which would legalise same-sex marriage.

Former SNP leader Gordon Wilson and Ann Allen of the Church of Scotland were also due to speak at the Scotland For Marriage event.

The Scottish Government launched a consultation in September asking if marriage in Scotland should be allowed for gay people through a civil or religious ceremony.

The rally will launch a petition, calling for a referendum on the issue and expressing concerns about the wider implications of redefining marriage.

* ALEX Salmond has said he is “certain” that Scotland will become an independent country.

On an appearance on the BBC’s One Show the First Minister discussed plans for independence in front of a Britain-wide audience.

When asked what he thinks the outcome of a referendum will be, Mr Salmond said: “Scotland will become an independent country, I’m absolutely certain of that.”