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The Government is to pay the pounds 2.7m costs incurred by local authorities as a result of the Dunblane massacre, it was announced yesterday. Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth announced that the three councils affected would be fully reimbursed to meet extra policing, education and social work costs.

The full amount was being given in recognition of the "wholly exceptional" circumstances of the March tragedy when Thomas Hamilton shot dead 16 children and their teacher in the gymnasium of Dunblane Primary School.