Scotland

Scotland's papers: Exam passes 'horror show' and council tax rises

Image caption The Herald says that an official report has revealed a decline in the exam performance of school pupils. Analysis was posted on the government's website at 20:00 on Thursday revealing that the number of students achieving passes in core Higher subjects dropped significantly in 2019, in some cases by as much as 10%. The paper calls the publication of the information a "late-night horror show". The Scottish Conservatives criticised the government, accusing them of trying to "sneak out" the report.
Image caption Council tax in the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh could go up by 5%, the i reports. The paper says both local authorities are considering the plans alongside cuts to services. The front page warns other councils could follow suit in the coming weeks as Scotland's 32 local authorities will be agreeing their budgets ahead of the new financial year on 1 April.
Image caption Also focusing on the Glasgow City Council budget, the Glasgow Times says the council has approved £42m worth of savings. The rise has been set at 4.64% while Edinburgh's council agreed 4.79%. Councils across Scotland have the power to raise council tax by up to 4.8% this year.
Image caption The Edinburgh Evening News says a pensioner with a suspected broken hip lay waiting on his living room floor for five hours on an ambulance. The paper calls his wait "inhumane".
Image caption The Scottish Daily Mail claims that the details of thousands of Scots are being kept on a "Big Brother" police database despite not having committed any crime. The paper reports that officers are logging details of "non-crimes" like making offensive jokes on social media.
Image caption The Daily Record carries the story of a dad who lost part of his finger while trying to defend his son during a knife attack. He said he put his hand up to protect his son from the blade "as any father would do".
Image caption Former prime minister Gordon Brown is expected to warn on Friday that Scotland is at risk of becoming "one of the West's most divided countries". The Scotsman looks ahead to an address Mr Brown will make at a conference in Newcastle. He will say that divisions can only be healed by listening to demands for change.
Image caption Under the headline "Sturgeon gives cabinet 'bully' top job", the Daily Express says that the first minister has come under fire for handing more responsibility to "key lieutenant" Fergus Ewing, despite knowing that civil servants have complained about his behaviour. Mr Ewing "completely rejected" the claims. The SNP MSP is the rural economy secretary, with tourism now added to his brief.
Image caption The Daily Telegraph's Scottish edition reports that the Scottish Tories have "cried foul" at Boris Johnson's plans to curb migration. The Scottish Tory leader, Jackson Carlaw, is to raise the plans for a post-Brexit points-based system with the prime minister. The party has raised concerns that it could pose a "major threat" to farming, tourism and seafood processing in Scotland. Mr Carlaw said he hoped the final plans would be "appropriate to Scotland".
Image caption The National's front page also features the UK government's migration plans. The paper has spoken to the CEO of the Scottish Seafood Association - a Brexiteer - who has warned that the plans could be "catastrophic" for Scotland. His concern is that the salary threshold of £26,500 will stop workers being able to come to the UK.
Image caption The Scottish Sun front page reports that a Derek Connell, who killed his Scottish mum Kim Higginbotham and her husband in the US in 2016, spun the police "a web of deceit" in an attempt to "dodge justice".
Image caption The Press and Journal reports that a serial rapist has been jailed. A court heard he targeted sleeping women for 10 years across the Highlands and Aberdeen.
Image caption The Angus and Dundee edition of The Courier reports that the family of a woman who was treated by NHS Tayside say they want answers over her death. A 79-year-old woman was subjected to "exceptionally high risk" cancer surgery and a "litany of failures", the paper claims. The health board said it was "sincerely sorry" for the care it provided.
Image caption The Daily Star asks the Duke of Sussex a question on its front page. The paper says it has been 34 days since Harry and Meghan announced they wanted to step down as senior royals - but the public are "in the dark" over whether the royal couple have paid back the £2.4m it cost to renovate their home, Frogmore Cottage. The couple previously said they intend to pay it.

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