Scottish Government silent on pandemic handling criticism amid calls for Holyrood inquiry – The Scotsman

After the Supreme Court children’s rights debacle, how low will our politicians stoop? – The Scotsman

COP26 climate change summit: Why is Glasgow so lukewarm about its biggest ever event? – The Scotsman

Council tax ‘could rise by up to 5% every year over the next three years’ – The Scotsman

Nearly £250m needed to bring Police Scotland buildings up to scratch, force warns – The Scotsman

ScotRail ticket offices under threat to help fund staff pay increase – The Scotsman

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Some ScotRail ticket offices could be closed or downgraded to help fund a pay rise for its 5,300 staff, The Scotsman has learned.

Other options believed to be being considered are cutting catering on trains, which has only been partially reinstated after being suspended due to the Covid pandemic.

They come as ScotRail’s four unions today rejected a 2.2 per cent increase tied to efficiency savings.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) announced a strike ballot over pay on Wednesday.

Engineers in the Unite union started industrial action last Friday.

There was speculation that ticket offices under threat of closure could include Burntisland, Kinghorn and Cowdenbeath in Fife and Easterhouse in Glasgow.

Others could see their opening hours reduced, but staff would be redeployed as ScotRail has a no compulsory redundancies policy.

An industry source said ScotRail’s ticket offices had not been reviewed for at least 15 years and some were very little used.

They said the number of closures might be “very small”, perhaps as few as three.

In a report published in August, Professor Iain Docherty of the University of Stirling, the country’s leading transport academic, questioned “whether legacy business activities such as the provision of ticket offices is viable in future”.

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Glasgow is suffering because SNP council leader won’t stand up to Nicola Sturgeon – The Scotsman

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Home to around one-fifth of the nation’s population and sustaining hundreds of thousands of jobs, the city will shape Scotland’s economic performance in the years ahead.

This week, the 23rd annual State of the City Economy Conference will be held in Glasgow and hear about the opportunities for growth. The city has a chance to transform into a green powerhouse and take advantage of new industries such as digital tech.

We have the people and we have the talent. But this transformation will also require ambition for Glasgow. And that is sadly lacking in the current SNP administration in the City Chambers. With Susan Aitken in charge, we do not have a champion for our city.

Instead we have someone who refuses to take responsibility and blames the residents of Glasgow for its current challenges – wrapped up in rhetoric that would make Margaret Thatcher blush.

It’s just a “spruce up” that the city needs, she told STV in a car-crash interview. It’s “wee neds” to blame for the state of the city, she told the BBC in another attempt at deflection.

Rubbish piling up on the streets? People need to take more responsibility for cleanliness in their communities, according to Councillor Aitken. Every single time, whatever the problem, there is always someone else to blame for the SNP.

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NHS may need to cut all non-urgent care this winter, say unions – The Scotsman

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The health service is in “absolute crisis”, warned Unison, while the Royal College of Nursing said nurses were “crying on a daily basis” and frightened of the winter to come.

It comes as the first soldiers are set to begin driving ambulances this weekend, after a request for help from the Scottish Government.

Several health boards have already cancelled non-urgent surgeries, and in a statement on Friday NHS Grampian said it would be forced to prioritise the most sick children at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital over the weekend.

“This is the worst it’s ever been in the NHS,” said Willie Duffy, head of health at Unison.

“People are really struggling. They’re working extra shifts, they’re not getting any holidays, they’re having to stay on shift longer. There are real issues just now.”

Mr Duffy said he would write to the Scottish Government next week about the union’s concerns.

“It might be that we’re going to have to stop a lot of the [routine and elective] work that we do,” he said.

“I know that increases waiting times, but we’re struggling just now in terms of emergency stuff.

“They are going to have to really consider that as an option.”

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