Newspapers may not be the setters of public opinion they once were, but you can still tell something about a government’s condition from the way the front pages treat its set pieces.

The SNP is in trouble. Its budget may have passed its final Holyrood vote this week, but the contents have pleased no one. Spending cuts across the board as well as tax rises have left anti-poverty campaigners complaining that not enough is being done to help those in the greatest need, while business speaks of damage to enterprise and prosperity. Cheerleaders are thin on the ground – professor Stephen Sinclair, who chairs the government’s own Poverty and Inequality Commission, issued a stark warning that the decisions being taken could “move Scotland further from where we need to be to reduce poverty”.

The Daily Record remains a reliable bellwether of mainstream opinion, and has in the past shown some sympathy towards the SNP’s actions to tackle poverty. This week, however, its budget front page, with the headline “Homes Under the Hammer”, zeroed in on a £196m cut to funding for affordable housing as new figures revealed homelessness at record levels. This was accompanied by a highly critical editorial. Other newspapers were equally scathing of what they labelled the “axe and tax” budget.

Want to see more SNP fails? – Health Matters

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