All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is highlighted and underlined. In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV news and Sky News.
Trident: The prospect of a post-election deal between Labour and the SNP has been dealt a serious blow after both parties have hardened their stances on the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent. Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed its removal was a ‘red line’ for her party, while Ed Miliband has sought to allay fears after being accused by Tory Defence Secretary Michael Fallon of “stabbing Britain in the back” in order to a deal with the SNP by scrapping the scheme. The Conservatives have committed to a like-for-like replacement. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 1, The Times page 2, The Financial Times page 2, The National page 4, Daily Express page 5, The Scottish Sun page 11, The Press and Journal page 11, The Courer page 20,The Scottish Daily Mail page 3)
Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman has called for nuance in public debate over the scheme’s renewal.
Full Fiscal Autonomy: According to Fiscal Affairs Scotland, full fiscal autonomy would leave the country £8 billion worse off this year, rising to £8.8 billion by 2020. Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has accused Nicola Sturgeon of a ‘stupid strategic error’ by supporting full fiscal autonomy. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 6, The National page 2, Daily Express page 5, The Courier page 20, The Guardian page 6)
Labour Party: Ed Miliband and Ed Balls are campaigning in Scotland to intensify their economic attack on the SNP. Based on research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Labour have criticised the SNP’s financial strategy which would leave Scotland with a £7.6 billion funding gap (Herald page 1, The Times page 8, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Scottish Sun page 11, The Scottish Daily Mail page 8)
Polls: A series of polls have shown that Labour have taken the lead over the Conservatives at a UK level. However, a YouGov poll for the Times has found SNP support at 49 per cent in Scotland, while Labour is on 25 percent, which would leave the party with just 4 seats in Scotland. (The Guardian page 1, The Times page 1, Daily Record page 6, The Scottish Daily Mail page 1)
Childcare: A report by the Family and Childcare Trust has found that Scottish parents are paying among the highest rates for childcare in Europe with ‘big gaps’ in provision, with only 15 per cent of local councils able to provide enough for parents who work full time. (Scotsman page 8)
Referendum: Kenny Farquharson in The Scotsman has criticised Nicola Sturgeon over her claim that ‘it is for the people’ to decide the timing of a second independence referendum. Alan Cochrane in The Daily Telegraph has commented that a second independence referendum for Scotland is likely. Nick Clegg has warned that the SNP leader’s refusal to rule this out reveals that her party had a ‘Maoist tendency’. (The Daily Telegraph page 6, Daily Record page 6, The Scottish Sun page 10)
Fracking: Anti-fracking campaigners have warned that local communities have been ‘stitched-up’ after a meeting Nicola Sturgeon reportedly held with the head of energy company Ineos. Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser has labelled a temporary ban on fracking as a ‘political fix’ until after the 2016 Holyrood election. The oil firm, UK Oil & Gas, has claimed to have found £3.9 trillion of oil in the south-east of England, sparking fears in the Scottish North Sea industry. (Herald page 2, The Times page 2, Daily Record page 8, The Scottish Sun page 2, The Guardian page 4, The Scottish Daily Mail page 20)
TV Debates: Alison Rowat in The Herald has commented on Nicola Sturgeon’s performance in the recent Scottish political TV debates.
Gender Equality: The First Minister has pledged that women will make up 50 per cent of board members by 2020. (The National page 6, Daily Express page 5, The Press and Journal page 12)
Police: A leading police officer has called for the Scottish Police Chief Constable, Sir Stephen House, to resign, criticising his ‘micromanager’ leadership style as outdated. (Daily Express page 2, The Courier page 8)
Prison numbers: New figures from the Scottish Prison service show that the number of criminals in prison has dropped, from a high of 8,420 in March 2012 to 7,505, their lowest levels since January 2008. (The Scottish Daily Mail page 19)
Universities: Admissions to Scottish universities by students from the rest of the UK have fallen by about 500 since the introduction of £9,000 tuition fees, leaving a £3.75 million funding gap. (Herald page 4)
Advertising deal: Edinburgh has been left out of a £3 million advertising campaign by Heathrow Airport to boost business in Britain’s cities, including £500,000 which has been given to Glasgow. (Scotsman page 15)