New Education Minister: raising standards

Her choice of Education Minister will be a defining element of Nicola Sturgeon’s likely cabinet reshuffle and of her first full five-year term as First Minister. The agenda could not be tougher or more complex – and the selection of the minister and team full of pitfalls. Here are a few pointers – and runners and riders.

Swinney frets – or frits – about SRIT

The row over a 1p rise in income tax or SRIT has for once put the SNP and Scottish Government on the back foot. And that’s before increases in tax allowances kick in. This leaves local services painfully exposed – with worse to come. Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney need to revise their sums.

Sauce for the goose?

The Scottish Government has put the squeeze on spending and staffing levels within some public services. But not others. The agency handling student support, for instance, has had a big boost in staff – unknown to the public and, it seems, MSPs.