Scotland’s papers: Rail strike ‘stalemate’ and pensions increase

The Times Scotland
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The fallout following the first day of the biggest rail strikes in decades leads many of Wednesday’s front pages. The Times Scotland reports that the prime minister is ready for a strike “stalemate” to “last months”, believing the government must win its battle with rail unions. Boris Johnson fears that giving in to wage demands would lead to 1970s-style inflation, while the RMT union says it is prepared for a war of attrition, the paper reports.

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The Scotsman reports that ScotRail has been forced to cancel hundreds of more trains on Wednesday and Friday because of the knock-on effects of the Network Rail signallers strikes this week.

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The Scottish Daily Express notes that the leader of the RMT has blamed the PM for the wrong dispute between unions and the government. The paper blames Mick Lynch of leading “class war” revenge after he criticized Boris Johnson and blamed “old Etonians speaking Latin and Greek” for the strike action.

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At least 25 Labor MPs ignored a warning from the party’s leadership by joining strikers at picket lines on Tuesday, the Scottish Daily Mail reports. It also carries a photo of Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar meeting striking rail workers outside Waverley station in Edinburgh.

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“Stopped in its tracks” is the headline of The Scottish Sun. The paper says many commuters opted to work from home to avoid the crippling service shortages, while early morning rush-hour traffic was busier than normal on motorways.

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The Daily Record says the Tories have been accused of lying after blaming union chiefs for the rail dispute.

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The first three days of planned rail workers strike action could cost the economy £50m, according to the Daily Star of Scotland.

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Meanwhile, a plan by the government to break rail strikes is in doubt, according to the i. The paper says it understands a change in law to introduce minimum service levels that would take about six months to get through Parliament but ministers are determined to press ahead to limit the impact of future industrial action in other sectors.

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State pensions and benefits are set to rise in line with double-digit inflation, the Telegraph reports, despite the government telling rail workers to accept cuts. The paper says the Treasury confirmed on Tuesday that the pension triple-lock would be reinstated after it was paused during the Covid pandemic – taking the annual pay-out to beyond £10,000.

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“Gold age pensions” declares the Metro, which notes the rise was promised on the same day the government pay rise “restraint” from rail workers who walked out over an offered 3%.

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SNP ministers have been warned that £1.3bn of public funds could be diverted from frontline services under ambitious plans to set up a National Care Service, according to The Herald. The paper says the health secretary has insisted that the social care overhaul will be “the most ambitious reform of public services” since the NHS was established after the Second World War.

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Nicola Sturgeon will set out the Scottish government’s “route map” to a second independence referendum next week, reports The National. The paper says she will make a ministerial statement to Holyrood on the plans on Tuesday, 28 June at 14:20, with a question and answer slot from MSPs to follow.

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The Press and Journal reports that Highland Council’s licensing committee has agreed to an emergency review of taxi fares. The paper says the request came from dozens of taxi firms operating across the region who say they’re struggling with increased costs and driver shortages.

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A huge expansion of free street theater and entertainment at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is to be rolled out this year in a bid to ensure a better spread of crowds across the city centre, says the Edinburgh Evening News. The paper says an official Fringe walking route will also be created between the Royal Mile and the St James Quarter, via The Mound, Princes Street Gardens and St Andrew Square, to help ease congestion and festival encourage goers to visit different locations.

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The Courier leads with the news that a horse had to be put to sleep after it was found in a “skeletal” state near a remote Perthshire farmhouse. The paper says the horse called Destiny fell seriously ill after being left to eat deadly dry sugar beet. SSPCA inspectors found another horse starving in the same field near Methven. The owner appeared at Perth Sheriff Court on Tuesday and admitted causing both horses unnecessary suffering.

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A man is to stand trial accused of leaving another man seriously injured by assaulting him with an onion, according to the Evening Express. The paper says Oussama Idrissi allegedly assaulted the man by throwing an onion at him, which struck him on the head.

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An Angus woman whose battle with Parkinson’s disease prevents her from attending big concerts says it would be a dream come true to meet her idol Beyoncé at one of the star’s upcoming reported “intimate” UK gigs, says the Evening Telegraph. Gwen Denholm, 55, tells the paper her love of the star’s music saved her life during a mental health battle.

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