Scotland

The papers: Fire station closure fears over £400m repair bill

Image caption A warning about fire station closures leads Thursday's Herald front page. The paper reveals a report from finance watchdog Audit Scotland painting a worst case scenario of stations closing and fire engines breaking down as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service reportedly attempts to bridge a £400m repairs backlog the body says is "insurmountable".
Image caption The Scotsman leads on the same report, saying that annual investment of £80.4m is needed to bring the national force's assets up to "satisfactory" standards. Alternatively £37.8m per year is required over the next decade just to ensure things don't deteriorate further.
Image caption The i continues coverage of the Fire Service funding story, but has Scottish Labour saying that "lives could be at risk" because of potential vehicle breakdowns and station closures.
Image caption The Daily Record front page features a story about police deploying a cardboard cut-out officer in response to complaints over speeding drivers. The paper says the cut-out "isn't pulling his weight", according to locals in Edinburgh.
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon defends the SNP's financial blueprint after left-wing critics in the Yes movement said its recommendations would lead to further years of austerity, according to The National. It says the first minister posted a series of tweets yesterday addressing the controversy sparked by last week's document by the Sustainable Growth Commission.
Image caption Energy prices make the front of the Scottish Daily Mail. The paper leads on SSE's decision to raise gas and electricity prices, claiming the move by the last of the "big six" suppliers prompted a call by consumer watchdogs for households to switch to cheaper, smaller firms.
Image caption The Scottish Daily Express says Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg is demanding Brussels "cease its efforts to frustrate Brexit". He is among the Brexiteers who think the UK could model its post-EU borders on Switzerland, the paper adds.
Image caption "You only live twice" is the headline on The Scottish Sun front page, on the story of exiled Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko. Ukrainian authorities staged his death as a way of foiling an alleged Russian assassination plot. The paper uses a photograph of the faked death scene.
Image caption The Daily Star carries the same headline - describing Arkady Babchencko's faked death as a James Bond-style plot. He caused a sensation by turning up alive, but faced awkward questions form his wife, reports the paper.
Image caption A government-backed review has highlighted the failure of some of Britain's biggest companies to promote women to their boardrooms, says the Daily Telegraph. Ministers condemned the "pitiful and patronising" excuses given by bosses, the paper reports.
Image caption The Times front page says France is blocking UK attempts to remain part of an EU security system that helps to identify foreign criminals. It claims the government wants a guarantee it can still access and share DNA, fingerprint and vehicle information after Brexit.
Image caption The Angus edition of The Courier writes that a woman - convicted of beheading a grandmother after breaking into her home - has written to the victim's family to ask for forgiveness. Angus woman Sandra Malcolm was murdered in South Africa in 2015.
Image caption An ice plant is at the centre of an upgrade to Macduff Harbour, according to the Press and Journal, which reports on a £400,000 upgrade of the fishing port.

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