Landmark rulings exempting several Fife tenants from the controversial bedroom tax could have huge repercussions for the UK housing industry, experts have warned. The decisions by a QC based on room size and usage will have local authorities and housing associations “quaking in their boots”. As Glenrothes man David Nelson celebrated the judgment that his spare room is too small to be considered a bedroom, Joe Halewood from housing consultancy HSM claimed social landlords were now “panicking like mad”. Mr Halewood, who runs the blog SPeye, said a number of English councils had been in touch with him to say they were considering pre-empting lengthy court battles. “Many social landlords have been in contact following the Fife decisions to say they are looking to see if they can unilaterally act to take a room under 70 square feet out of the equation,” he said. “Anyone with rent arrears as a result of the bedroom tax is having court cases adjourned if they have appealed and this can take four to seven months. “In the meantime, rent arrears are building up so it would save a lot of time and money for landlords to just remove the room themselves.” Mr Halewood, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the housing industry, was speaking following a seminal decision by Simon Collins QC that a room of less than 50 square feet cannot be considered a bedroom. He also ruled that a room measuring between 50 and 70 square feet can only be used by a child under the age of 10. Mr Nelson had appealed against Fife Council’s decision to cut his housing benefit by 14% because he had a spare room and was one of seven Fife tenants to take test cases to a tribunal. Another three, including Kirkcaldy woman Louise McLeary and Annie Harrower-Gray from Anstruther, were also successful on the grounds their spare rooms are being used for other purposes. Louise, who is blind, successfully argued that she needed a spare bedroom in her adapted home to house braille and other equipment. Mr Halewood said the ruling on room usage was perhaps even more significant than the one on size. “If all bedrooms under 70 square feet were taken out of the equation that would take 70,000 people out of bedroom tax,” he said, “However, of the 660,000 households affected by bedroom tax, 420,000 of them have a disabled resident and very many of them use their bedrooms for storing wheelchairs, defibrillators and the like. “The significance of the bedroom tax tribunal case in Fife cannot be underestimated (sic) and that is not hyperbole.” Meanwhile, a senior MSP has claimed the rulings could devalue social landlords’ housing stock. Alex Johnstone, the Scottish Conservatives’ welfare reform spokesman, said: “There is a potential twist to this in that David Nelson would have paid rent for the room which is no longer classed as a bedroom. “The issue here is whether people who pay rent on similar houses should now have their rent reduced as a result. “It’s one of those issues that will have social landlords quaking in their boots.” He added: “I suspect one of the reasons councils and social landlords were not keen to do this is it would devalue their stock.” For more coverage of the ‘bedroom tax’, see Thursday’s or try our digital edition.
Fife Council’s Lib Dem group leader has said he can’t see how Frank’s Law can be fully delivered in the current financial climate. Tay Bridgehead councillor Tim Brett said the predicted £300 million a year price tag is “very significant” and additional funding would have to be provided. He said it was with a heavy heart he admits it will be extremely difficult to implement Frank’s Law in Scotland unless full additional funding is provided. Health Secretary Shona Robison cited the £300m figure from work carried out by her officials and Stirling University’s Professor David Bell. Mr Brett said: “It can be very difficult to know when a person may die and therefore the current arrangements to say that people can receive free home care in their last six months of life is difficult if not impossible to implement.” He continued: “The other bigger issue for all of us is that while we would like to see Frank’s Law introduced, the fact remains that nearly all local authorities across Scotland are struggling to meet the needs of their populations at the present time.” Amanda’s husband Frank, former Dundee United and Manchester United star, was diagnosed with dementia at 59 and died shortly after his 65th birthday. The Kopel family paid thousands of pounds in care costs until just weeks before his death. The Courier has backed Amanda’s campaign, as have a number of footballing stars. Health Secretary Shona Robison said a decision on Frank’s Law could be made by the time parliament breaks up in March. Frank’s Law candidate Pat Kelly previously said the estimated £300m price tag should not be the project’s death knell. He said one person’s dignity “has no price tag” and that 1p on income tax could raise £330m. In response to Mr Brett’s comments, Mr Kelly added: “The Barnett consequentials means that £800 million will come to Scotland by Westminster, so perhaps some of that money can be ring-fenced for Frank’s Law. “That with the 1p in income tax shows there’s money there.”
Budget 2015: Oil and gas tax overhaul would not have been possible under independence, says Chancellor
Chancellor George Osborne has announced a £1.3 billion package of support for the oil and gas industry in his final Budget before the general election while saying an independent Scotland “would never have been able to afford” the measures. Among the measures he set out in his Budget speech is a cut in the supplementary charge on oil industry companies' profits from 30% to 20%, backdated to January. The move effectively reverses the hike in the 2011 Budget when oil prices were much higher. Mr Osborne said the UK Government will cut petroleum revenue tax from 50% to 35% next year, introduce a "simple and generous" tax allowance to stimulate investment in the North Sea from the start of April and boost offshore exploration by investing £20 million in new seismic surveys of the UK continental shelf. The package is expected to result in more than £4 billion of additional investment over the next five years and increase production by 15% by the end of the decade.More on Budget 2015 Chancellor claims tough decisions have worked The key points How they reacted How it affects Scotland Technologists pleased with focus on the ‘Internet of Things’ Osborne aims at ‘renegade nationalists’ during battle memorial announcement"It goes without saying an independent Scotland would never have been able to afford such a package of support," Mr Osborne said. The North Sea has been hammered by the plunging price of oil, with hundreds of job cuts announced in recent months and fears a drop in investment could lead to the accelerated decommissioning of oil fields. Scotland's Deputy First Minister John Swinney said it was a long overdue "U-turn". “Measures to safeguard the North Sea are a step in the right direction for our oil and gas sector," he said. "The Scottish Government has been calling for such measures, along with the industry, for some time. "Today’s measures are a glaring admission by the Chancellor that his policy for the North Sea has been wrong and the poor stewardship by the UK Government has had a detrimental impact on our oil and gas sector and the many people who work in the industry.For in-depth coverage of how the Budget will affect you, see Thursday's Courier"It has taken the Chancellor four years to admit the tax rise he implemented in 2011 was a mistake. A heavy price has been paid for this mismanagement. “Today I cautiously welcome the U-turn by the UK Government to take action on the future of the North Sea. We will study the proposals in detail. It is now essential that work is focused on boosting investment and growth in the North Sea sector.” Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: "The major package of investment in our oil and gas sector, including a new investment allowance, a 10% cut in the supplementary charge and a 15% cut in petroleum revenue tax, shows that the UK Government is determined to safeguard the future of this vital national asset and keep our economy on the road to recovery." Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: "The Chancellor has listened to the oil industry and come good on the pledge we made to help. "These tax breaks will aid investment and ensure a secure future for the North Sea. "Today's announcement won't be a cure for all of the North Sea's ills, but it's a strong start. "This is yet more proof that the North Sea is best served within the strength of the UK, which can deliver assistance a separate Scotland simply would not have been able to." Derek Leith, head of oil and gas taxation at Ernst and Young, said the package was "positive news" for the industry, with the reduction of petroleum revenue tax likely to boost more mature North Sea fields that have been taxed at a marginal rate of 81% despite falling production and rising costs. He said: "The UKCS (UK Continental Shelf) is a mature oil basin and, to remain capable of attracting international investment, it must have a very competitive tax regime. "The Government has taken a significant step towards creating such a regime today and industry will hope that further change will be forthcoming in the months ahead as industry, HMT and the new Oil and Gas Authority work together to ensure the longevity of a vital sector of the UK economy." The UK's biggest offshore trade union, Unite, said the industry must now end what it described as an "opportunistic assault" on North Sea jobs and conditions. Unite's Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: "We are clear that economic reform of the North Sea must go hand in hand with sustaining jobs and strengthening employment and workplace health safety rights. "What we cannot contemplate is a deregulated future for the North Sea - a race to the bottom on jobs and standards where workers will have to work longer for less. "Our challenge to the industry is this: You have got what you asked for, so stop attacking your workers' livelihoods and working conditions. "With their morale at rock bottom, the workforce needs this confirmed immediately." Industry body Oil and Gas UK hailed the package as "sensible and far-sighted". Chief executive Malcolm Webb, said: "Today's announcement lays the foundations for the regeneration of the UK North Sea. The industry itself must now build on this by delivering the cost and efficiency improvements required to secure its competitiveness. "These measures send exactly the right signal to investors. They properly reflect the needs of this maturing oil and gas province and will allow the UK to compete internationally for investment. "We also welcome the Government's support for exploration announced today. With exploration drilling having collapsed to levels last seen in the 1970s, the announcement of £20 million for the newly formed Oil and Gas Authority to commission seismic and other surveys on the UK continental shelf (UKCS) is a very positive step. "Along with substantial industry efforts to address its high cost base and the regulatory changes now in train to provide more robust stewardship, the foresight shown by the Chancellor in introducing these measures, will, we believe pay real long-term dividends for the UK economy." Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: "These measures were necessary to reflect the challenges facing the oil and gas sector in Scotland resulting from the prolonged low oil prices. "Together with a simplification of the tax allowance regime, this must be the start of a process to develop a strong and coherent fiscal plan for the North Sea that will help to ensure that Scotland and the UK continues to benefit from our natural resources in the long term." Derek Henderson, senior partner in Deloitte's Aberdeen office, said: "Today the Chancellor has recognised that immediate action was required to extend the life of the North Sea. "The changes announced are bold and a big step in the right direction. Without significant action, the consequences for future activity levels would have been severe. "This means at a time of low oil prices, high costs and challenging conditions, headline North Sea marginal rates now range between 50%-67.5%, instead of 62%-81% prior to last year's Autumn Statement." But environmental charity Friends of the Earth criticised the decision to introduce tax breaks for the oil and gas industry. Its senior economics campaigner David Powell said: "With growing calls to divest from fossil fuels, massive tax breaks aimed at squeezing more gas and oil out of the ground show how dangerously out of touch the Chancellor is on climate change. "The Chancellor should heed the Bank of England's warning about the threat climate change poses to our financial well-being by ditching support for gas and oil extraction - instead of propping it up. "Clean power and ending our fossil fuel addiction must be at the heart of energy and economic policy, not just a half-hearted sideshow."
Two social workers who say an inquiry report into allegations of child abuse on the British overseas territory of St Helena destroyed their professional reputations have taken legal action.Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama, who worked on St Helena and made cover-up allegations, have sued the Foreign Office and the senior barrister who led the inquiry.They say they “stand by the accuracy and honesty of their disclosures” and say conclusions were reached on the basis of an inquiry which was procedurally unfair.Lawyers representing ministers and inquiry chairman Sasha Wass QC dispute their claim and say the litigation should not proceed.A judge was on Friday considering issues in the case at a High Court hearing in London.Barrister Neil Sheldon, who is leading a legal team representing Foreign Office ministers, asked the judge, Master Victoria McCloud, to halt the litigation and dismiss the claim launched by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama.The inquiry had been set up by ministers following corruption and cover-up allegations which had been raised in newspaper articles and leaked documents and made by Ms Gannon and Martin Warsama.An inquiry report published in December 2015 concluded that: St Helena did not “attract sex tourism”; said allegations that the island in the South Atlantic was a “paedophiles’ paradise” were not true; reported “no corruption at all”; and found no evidence of any attempt by the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development, the St Helena government or police to cover up child abuse.The report said: “We stress that there was no ‘cover-up’ as alleged by Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, rather an ignorance of proper safeguarding procedure.”Nicholas Bowen QC, who represents Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama, told the judge the conclusions of the Wass Inquiry “destroyed” the professional reputations of his clients.He said the inquiry process was “procedurally” unfair and said Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama were entitled to “just satisfaction” for their loss.Ms Gannon and Mr Warsama say their claim should not be dismissed but say evidence should be analysed at a trial.
It was meant to describe the new President-elect of America but it feels particularly appropriate for Brexit Britain. Kudos to my cousin in any event, someone quite familiar with how large-scale finance works across countries given his job managing a huge project in Singapore, for coining the term "macho-economics". What does it mean? In short it highlights the absurdity of offering simple solutions to mighty difficult and multi-faceted problems. The Don’s are obvious. From promising to create 25 million jobs over 10 years and double economic growth to 4%, which hasn’t been seen since the Bill Clinton presidency in the 1990s, to slapping a 35% tariff on Mexican imports and a 45% tariff on products from China. No thoughts for the consequences, such as the potential economic collapse from implementing such policies. Instead the electorate is simply presented with “bad guys” to blame for the very real problems which hurt them every day. This handily brings us back to the reality of the UK leaving the European Union and how close to the mark the “project fear” arguments of the remain campaign were. Obviously we don’t actually know the answer to that question given we are still in the EU with Article 50 yet to be triggered. It is then that the proverbial will hit the fan but we do have some hints about how messy it will be. Let’s take Sir Howard Davies’s television interview as an example. Asked about whether or not banks will quit the UK and move to the likes of Ireland or mainland Europe if they are not given clarity over how Brexit will be negotiated, he said: “They are currently making contingency plans and once you’ve got a contingency plan - hey, there is a risk you might implement it one day.” Yes, it’s a maybe. Yes, it’s the chairman of RBS saying this. Yes, this means he is one of the “elites” we all love to hate. But is it not obvious he has a point? And is it not obvious that jobs would leave this country along with any financial services who decide they don’t want to stick around any longer? Perhaps threats from the banking sector further demonstrate why people are so disillusioned with the idea of globalisation. People have been left without a safety net and it is down in no small part to the attitudes and actions of companies such as RBS. That does not mean we should scoff at potential unemployment. Easy answers from demagogues help no one but those seeking power based on a tower of lies. That’s simple macho-economics. Let’s see how tough they’re feeling when reality hits home.
The man accused of murdering tragic Perthshire pensioner Jenny Methven claimed her son was responsible for her death despite his defence counsel admitting William Kean's DNA ''signature'' was all over the crime scene. The court was also shown a grisly video of the murder scene on the first day of Kean's trial at the High Court in Glasgow. Kean (46) denies murdering 80-year-old Mrs Methven at her home at Kildenny Farm Cottage in Forteviot in Perthshire on February 20 and has lodged a special defence of incrimination against Mrs Methven's son David Methven, or ''another or others unknown to whom David Methven was connected''. Kean, who appeared at the High Court in Glasgow wearing a dark blue suit yesterday, denies murdering Mrs Methven by repeatedly striking her head and body with a blunt instrument. He also denies cutting his own fingertips and palms to prevent police obtaining usable print samples to avoid detection, arrest and prosecution. Kean has also been charged with stealing £15,000 from Mrs Methven's Perthshire cottage on September 14 last year and of attempting to defeat the ends of justice between February 20 and March 28 this year by allegedly pouring bleach or a similar liquid on bloodstained trousers and cutting a pocket from them and concealing the trousers and pocket material in the eaves of a garage in Blairgowrie. He also denies these charges. He pled not guilty before a jury of nine women and six men on the first day of his trial yesterday. A joint minute of facts agreed by the defence and prosecution was read to the jury before the first witness was called. It stated that on February 20 Kean had touched the lower right arm of Mrs Methven. It has also been agreed that Kean was the owner of a pair of blue corduroy trousers that, when examined, were found to have quantity of Mrs Methven's blood on them. The minute also stated that a telephone taken from the kitchen of Mrs Methven's cottage had a bloody fingerprint of Kean's left forefinger on it. Additionally, it has been agreed that a glass found in a plastic tub next to the sink in the kitchen had been handled by Mr Kean on February 20, that he was the sole owner of a mobile phone whose number was read to the court and that on February 20 he has the sole use of a silver Peugeot 205 car whose registration number was read out to the court. The court later heard that Mrs Methven may have been struck repeatedly on the head while sitting on a chair in her kitchen before being shown a video of Mrs Methven's body lying on the floor of her blood-splattered kitchen. Near her body were two towels and on the back of a chair a fluorescent vest, all of which were saturated with blood. Scottish Police Service Authority forensic scientist Yvonne McLaren told prosecutor Alex Prentice QC that the splatter patterns and smear of blood found on the wall suggested Mrs Methven had been struck while sitting on a chair in her kitchen. ''The sizes, shapes and direction of the stains would indicate an area close to the wall and by the side - that's where the source of blood would have come from the create that splatter,'' said the witness. ''The blood and the impact of the smearing indicating a moving contact with wet blood.'' The video showed Mrs Methven wearing a jumper and trousers but only one shoe. Miss McLaren said spots of blood on her sock had fallen from above, indicating she would have been in a sitting position when they fell. The advocate depute asked Miss McLaren if the cut in the pocket of Kean's trousers referred to in the joint minute could have been made to conceal the handle of a blunt object like a hammer. Miss McLaren agreed that this was a possible reason for making the cut. She also said bleach had been poured on the trousers and it was impossible to say from which side Mrs Methven's blood had got onto them. She agreed that it was possible the blood had come from an object covered in wet blood that had been put into the pocket. The witness also said the blood splatter may have been minimised because a towel was wrapped round the 80-year-old's head when she was being attacked. Under cross-examination from defence counsel Brian McConnachie QC, Miss McLaren admitted that it was possible for the perpetrator of a crime to limit the DNA they may leave behind or other evidence such as fingerprints by wearing gloves or taking other precautionary measures. He then asked: ''If William Kean is the perpetrator he has left behind his fingerprint on a telephone, his DNA on a glass and his DNA on Mrs Methven's arm?'' Miss McLaren replied: ''Yes.'' He continued: ''One of the things that has been suggested to you is that the removal of part of the trouser pocket is to secrete a hammer,'' and she replied: ''Yes. It is a possibility.'' She also agreed when Mr McConnachie stated: ''The person who has gone to that trouble then effectively left their signature in the cottage.'' Mr McConnachie added: ''The premeditated plan seems to have run out at the point of wearing gloves,'' to which Miss McLaren again agreed. The defence QC said that pathologists said that Mrs Methven was struck 11 times and asked Miss McLaren if this would mean the perpetrator was covered with blood. She said experiments had shown that there is often less blood splatter than would be expected. Miss McLaren also told Mr McConnachie said that three blunt instruments - a miniature baseball bat, what she described as a ''hockey stick handle'' and a wooden pole, were found in two cars belonging to David Methven. However, she said there was no evidence to suggest these had any connection to Mrs Methven's death. Under re-examination Miss McLaren said that blood will only splatter if a blow is struck in an area where a previous strike had already broken the skin and caused bleeding. The trial before Lord Glennie continues.
For the first and only time in this General Election campaign the main party leaders have gone head-to-head in a live televised debate. After giving opening statements they face four questions from a studio audience of around 200 people in Salford over the course of the two-hour event. Each is being allowed to give an uninterrupted one-minute answer followed by 18 minutes of debate on each question, selected by an experienced editorial panel and which the leaders have not seen in advance. The seven contenders in the TV debate are - in podium order from left to right - the Green Party's Natalie Bennett, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, Ukip's Nigel Farage, Labour leader Ed Miliband, Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. Here are some of the key quotes from their responses. The leaders were first asked how they believed they would be able to keep their promises of eliminating the deficit without raising certain taxes or making vast cuts to vital public services. Mr Clegg said: "I think it is all about balance, isn't it? That's why I don't think you should be faced with the stark choice of either cutting too much ... or borrowing too much. "I think that is a dismal choice, borrowing too much or cutting too much. You need to reduce spending but you also need to make those with the broadest shoulders, the wealthiest, pay a bit more. "So the Liberal Democrat plan is a very simple one. We will cut less than the Conservatives and we will borrow less than Labour." Mr Cameron said: "We have got a plan which is working ... I think what is absolutely crucial here is recognising that what our plan involves is balance. "We are going to go on investing in the NHS every year as we have done under this government ... we are going to find savings of £1 out of every £100 that the government spends. We need to do that for two more years. "The alternative to that plan is actually putting up taxes and I don't want to do that. I think if we go back to the tax, the waste, the spending, all the things that got us into a mess in the first place, we wouldn't help working people, we would hurt working people." Ms Wood said: "We see no reason to put arbitrary deadlines on cutting the deficit. The austerity experiment has failed. "So much pain for so little gain. The banks have had a bailout, it's time now for the people to have a bailout and it's time for us to invest in public services and job creation." Mr Farage said the question was right, asking: "How can anyone believe these promises? "This coalition was put together to reduce the annual deficit to zero. That's why these two guys got together. "We need to make cuts and there are places we can start. We could easily cut £10 billion a year from the foreign aid budget. We could save another £10 billion a year by not paying over money to Brussels every single day. We could end vanity projects like HS2, that will only benefit a tiny number of people ... we could revisit the Barnett Formula." Mr Miliband said: "We will cut the deficit every year and we will balance the books. But we will do it in a fairer and a better way than has been tried for the last five years. "What we will do is first of all we will have fair taxes, so we will reverse the tax cut that he gave to millionaires ... secondly we will have common sense spending reductions. "So outside key areas like education and health, spending will fall. "Thirdly we will do something else because your living standards have fallen over the last five years and that hasn't just been bad for working people, it has also meant that government hasn't had the tax revenue coming in." Ms Bennett said her party was “offering the reversal of austerity, investingin your future”. “We need to raise taxes on those who are not currently paying their share,” she said. “Multinational companies in particular and rich individuals if they paid their share in the world’s sixth richest country, we can afford to have a decent society and afford to have decent public services.” Ms Sturgeon said the UK “should have modest spending increases over the next parliament” not cuts. “It will take slightly longer to eliminate the deficit but the deficit would continue to fall every year. “But crucially the alternative plan would mean we had resources to invest in infrastructure and skills and innovation.” That “must be better than a blind commitment to austerity that doesn’t take an account of the damage being done” she said. Party have said they are not going to ask therichest in society to make a single extra penny of contribution to balancing thebooks through the tax system”. “Just imagine, David Cameron, the chaos in people’s lives” if NHS and education spending was cut. Mr Cameron said the wealthy would be the target of a £5 billion crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion. He in turn put the spotlight on Mr Miliband, who he said “still thinks the last Labour government didn’t tax too much, borrow too much and spend too much”. “And if you don’t understand the mistakes of the past, you can’t provide the leadership of the future.” The Labour leader told the Prime Minister: “You haven’t acted on the tax havens, you haven’t acted on the hedge funds. “You have to ask yourself at home: why won’t David Cameron act on those hedge funds? They fund his party.” Mr Cameron said Labour wanted “to put up taxes and cut your pay”. “Going into your monthly payslip and taking your money out because he thinks he can spend that money better than you.” Ms Sturgeon said it was “really ironic hearing Nick Clegg and David Cameron arguing when they have been hand in glove imposing austerity on these people for the last five years”. As debate became increasingly fraught, Mr Farage shouted “What’s going onhere? Get real, please” and accused all his rivals of either ignoring the”massive problem” of the deficit or failing to deal with it in government. In debate on the NHS, Mr Farage clashed with Ms Wood over the issue of healthtourism. The Ukip leader said: “Here’s a fact, and I am sure the other people here will be mortified that I dare to talk about it. There are 7,000 diagnoses in this country every year for people who are HIV positive. It’s not a good place for any of them to be, I know. “Sixty per cent of them are not British nationals. They can come into Britain from anywhere in the world and get diagnosed with HIV and get the retro-viral drugs that cost up to £25,000 per year per patient. “I know there are some horrible things happening in many parts of the world, but what we need to do is put the NHS there for British people and families, who in many cases have paid into the system for decades.” Ms Wood responded: “This kind of scaremongering is dangerous, it divides communities and it creates stigma to people who are ill, and I think you ought to be ashamed of yourself.” Mr Farage replied: “Well, it’s true. I’m sorry, we’ve got to put our own people first.”
It's not even the end of January, but already 2018 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years for live music that Courier Country has experienced in a long time. Excitement reached fever pitch on Tuesday morning following a string of huge gig announcements, with music icons including Noel Gallagher and Lionel Richie confirming shows in the region. We've put together a list of the biggest acts heading our way in the coming months. This article will be updated as and when further acts are announced. Lionel Richie US singer Lionel Richie will perform to thousands of fans at McDairmid Park, Perth on June 3. Tickets for the gig will go on sale online at 10am on Friday, February 2. Richie is the biggest star to play the stadium since Elton John more than a decade ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqAvFx3NxUM https://twitter.com/LionelRichie/status/958249678314721280 Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67zX4oiXqqY The former Oasis man will be the headline act at the BBC's Biggest Weekend festival at Scone Palace on May 26. The guitarist and singer-songwriter, who penned some of the most famous songs of the 1990s, will perform with his High Flying Birds band. https://twitter.com/NoelGallagher/status/958254887866916864 Rita Ora Music superstar Rita Ora is another big name added to the Slessor Gardens concert list. She will play at Dundee's waterfront venue on Saturday July 28. Gary Barlow The Take That frontman is playing two gigs in Tayside this year, one at Perth Concert Hall on April 19 and another at Dundee's Caird Hal on April 20. Tickets for both gigs sold out rapidly. Status Quo Legendary British rock band Status Quo will be at Scone Palace as the headline act for the 2018 ReWind Festival in July. Bonnie Tyler, The Boomtown Rats and UB40 These are just a few of the other big name acts returning to Tayside for this year's Rewind Festival. Simple Minds and The Pretenders Scottish rock bands Simple Minds and The Pretenders will lead the line-up at Dundee's Slessor Gardens on September 9. Steps The pop group are coming to Slessor Gardens on June 22. They will be supported by fellow 90s bands Blue and Aqua. KT Tunstall The Fife musician is providing support to both Simple Minds and The Pretenders at Slessor Gardens on September 9, and to Gary Barlow at his local gigs in April. Belle and Sebastian The influential Scottish band will play Perth Concert Hall on Friday, March 23. Eddi Reader The Scots singer will play Perth Concert Hall on February 28. Leo Sayer The pop star will play at Rothes Halls, Glenrothes, on October 9. Suggs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc3AovUZgvo The Ska legend and Madness frontman is playing at Dunfermline's Alhambra Theatre on Wednesday, February 28. Erasure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x34icYC8zA0 The 1980s synthpop act are playing Dundee's Caird Hall in just a matter of days - on Friday, February 2. The Proclaimers The Scottish musical legends will play Dundee's Caird Hall on December 15. Could more great gigs be on the cards for Tayside and Fife? Dundonians were treated to three shows at Slessor Gardens in 2017 from UB40, Little Mix and Olly Murs, so we may well see some more big-name musicians making their way to the city in 2018. And MoFest is yet to announce its 2018 line-up after attracting The Beach Boys last year. Will Carnival 56 return? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29oN9VBXf_U Despite attracting thousands of music fans and earning several major award nominations, the future of Dundee's new music festival still remains unknown. Festival founder Craig Blyth has left the company that set up the popular event at Camperdown Park last year. However Dundee City Council has granted permission for it to run every year until 2021. In October last year an official festival spokeswoman said there had been “no confirmation” of the festival’s return, adding: “The debrief process is still under way”. Sir Rod Stewart to Dundee? No, we've not given up on Sir Rod coming to Dundee in 2018! The rocker is partnered with the Liz Hobbs Group, who are behind all of the hugely-successful 2017 Slessor Gardens concerts. Sir Rod came out as the overwhelming favourite in a Courier poll which asked locals who they would most like to see next at the waterfront music venue in 2018. And the Lizz Hobbs Group themselves haven't ruled it out. Sir Rod is not believed to have played in Dundee since the 1970s, despite a number of appearances elsewhere in Scotland. In this weekend's Courier, we speak to Simple Minds singer-songwriter Jim Kerr.
An Angus councillor has unearthed a fascinating insight into men’s views on the suffragists as the nation commemorated the centenary of some women winning the right to vote. Brenda Durno, SNP member for Arbroath and East Lunan, has been so inspired by an essay written by her great-grandmother in 1904, she is hoping to donate it to a museum in the north east. The amusing reflection was written in the Doric language by Isabella Moir, a 12-year-old pupil at Belhelvie School in Aberdeenshire. She was the eldest of 10 children and had two sisters and seven brothers. Councillor Durno said: “The celebration for the 100 years since women won the right to vote made me think of the essay. “My great grandmother was born in September 1892 and died in May 1992. “She latterly lived in Potterton with my aunt and uncle who ran the shop there and I found the essay when she died.” Mrs Durno chose to enter local politics in the footstep of her father, the SNP councillor Alex Shand, but admitted her great-grandmother was a Liberal supporter. “She was right into politics and was a great friend of Lord Tweedsmuir - the SNP wasn’t around then.” The essay relates to a conversation between a brother and sister as he reads a newspaper article on ‘The Suffragists’. As he works his way through the article, his views become apparent. He berates the efforts of the “limmers of suffragists” claiming “weemans place is at hame” It reads: “They canna mak an men their men’s sarks, keep a clean fireside an have a vote. “Gie then an inch an they wid tak an ill (mile).” The essay goes on to say there a was a time when women were happy “tae tak the chance o’ the first man that socht them, an thankful tae leave the voting an the rulin o the nation tae him”. It was on February 6, 1918 that women aged over 30, those who owned property or had a university education were granted the right to vote through the Representation of the People Act. Mrs Durno is hoping to donate the essay to a museum which specialises in the Doric and would welcome suggestions as to who to contact.
East Fife boss Willie Aitchison was left scratching his head by his side’s poor showing in their home defeat by Ayr. Aitchison watched his side ship goals to Michael Moffat and Scott McLaughlin while Michael Donald bagged a brace. Liam Buchanan’s penalty was the Fifers’ consolation. It was a frustrating 90 minutes for Aitchison who said he was left puzzled by the performance. He said: “We can’t go on the pitch for them, all we can do is coach them. The coaching and preparation for the game had been absolutely fantastic. “The boys were up for it but the simple fact is they just didn’t produce it on the day.” Craig Johnstone had fired inches wide for East Fife as the home side looked to make a positive start to the game. Ayr took the lead, though, when the Fifers gave the ball away just outside their own area and were punished by Donald who fired past Greg Paterson. East Fife struggled to get back into the game and it was soon 2-0 with the Methil men again guilty of slack defending. Moffat was allowed far too much time on the edge of the box and he punished Aitchison’s men by firing into the top corner. Bottom-of-the-table East Fife were gifted a chance to get back into the game on the stroke of half-time when Buchanan was bundled over inside the box by Martin Campbell, giving referee Iain Brines little option but to point to the spot. Buchanan stepped up to take the penalty and sent David Hutton the wrong way. Any hopes the Fifers had of getting themselves on level terms were dashed early in the second half when McLaughlin’s fine header looped over the head of Paterson. The game was wrapped up in the dying minutes when Donald tapped home from close range to complete the home side’s misery.