The news is of newspapers falling off that ‘print cliff wall’ – certainly in Scotland. But ‘real’ journalism – perceptive and objective as well as investigative – is required as never before to subject politics and the state to proper scrutiny.
John Swinney is a Big Beast brought in by the First Minister to close the attainment gap in Scottish schools – or “fix” a failing system. Lots of ideas swirling around but a rather vague SNP manifesto – and no clear pointers to the way ahead.
The closure of 17 Edinburgh schools built under PFI contracts has become a big issue in the Holyrood elections. Here an expert goes behind the headlines to analyse the system of public/private co-financing as a whole – and the SG’s profit-capping model.
Nicola Sturgeon has called for an inquiry into the Edinburgh school closures and the PFI scheme behind it is under renewed scrutiny. Here Unison’s senior Scottish official, a long-time PFI/PPP opponent, looks at why things went so badly wrong.
Life outcomes increasingly depend on a postcode lottery. So Scotland needs to combine community and spatial planning so as to improve local people’s lives and tackle glaring inequalities.
Free childcare is a flagship SNP policy, with the First Minister promising to double the number of free hours if (when) she’s re-elected. But the current nursery system, public and private, is creaking and badly needs an overhaul, says the Fair Funding for our Kids campaign.
The SNP still calls its proposed Council Tax ‘reforms’ radical. But one of Scotland’s leading experts on local government finance disagrees profoundly. This is really about ruffling as few feathers as possible.
John Swinney, finance secretary, is about to borrow money to help finance new construction projects and stimulate growth and jobs just when the economy is turning down. It’s a sign of things to come as Holyrood gains more control over tax-and-spend.
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.
The Scottish Government has dismissed pressure from Labour to offset cuts in spending on local services with a 1p on the Scottish Rate of Income Tax. It rejects pressure from the Treasury to agree a fiscal framework it say will cost Scots billions. No detriment, it says: but at another’s expense?