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The higher personal allowance provides a new opportunity for married couples. Picture: Getty

Evan Duffus: This is the year to beat the taxman

BUDGET changes that took effect last week offer welcome opportunities to keep hold of more of your income, writes Evan Duffus

Sam Stanton shows his frustration during Hibs 2-0 home defeat by Aberdeen last Monday. Picture: SNS

Aidan Smith: Pat Fenlon can feel smug

IN THE bars around Easter Road, as they wait for the moment when they can properly judge Terry Butcher, the fans have been killing time by assessing and re-assessing the work of his predecessors, with some surprising outcomes.

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Ian Bradley. Picture: Contributed

Ian Bradley: Kirk strength heals referendum split

THE church’s neutral stance puts it in a good position to act as an instrument of healing, says Rev Ian Bradley

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First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Jane Barlow

Matt Qvortrup: History tells sceptics Yes can win

THE assumption that the undecided vote against change is empirically incorrect, says Matt Qvortrup

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Peaches Geldofs short life was constantly scrutinised by the media.  Photograph: Rex Features

Dani Garavelli: Peaches Geldof’s children

SHE must have wondered if she was predestined to live a short, chaotic life, says Dani Garavelli

Euan McColm. Picture: Contributed

Euan McColm: Nationalists will change next year

HAVING reached this crucial stage, the SNP stands on the brink of two very different futures, says Euan McColm

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MSP Angela Constance and MSP Shona Robison during the SNP Conference. Picture: PA Wire

Leaders: SNP targets converts|Compassion benefits

AT THE moment there are two key groups of Scottish voters who, according to the polls, will decide the outcome of the independence referendum in five months’ time. Both those groups were directly targeted by Alex Salmond yesterday when he gave a clever and generally well-judged speech to the SNP’s spring conference in Aberdeen, the final formal meeting of the party before the historic vote thisautumn.

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Lord Digby Jones would have a hard time fixing the Co-op in his TV show.  Photograph: Getty

Terry Murden: Double trouble for Digby

THERE is a new business troubleshooter on the box. Lord Jones of Birmingham, better known as Digby, presents the updated version of the 1990s Troubleshooter show that featured Sir John Harvey-Jones.

Lagarde at the IMF has urged more QE, but Draghi at the ECB continues to hold back. Picture: Getty

Bill Jamieson: The IMF’s magic wand not for Europe

No convincing strategy for QE withdrawal has yet been put forward says Bill Jamieson

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Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism campaign is on the Power List. Photograph: Ken McKay/Rex

Celebrating women who make a difference

AN ANTI-RACISM campaigner; an NHS reformer; and a scientist specialising in genetics and cancer research.

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Picture: PA

Leaders: Loose talk may cost No votes

AMID the often arcane debate surrounding the economics of independence, there is one question capable of catching the attention of even the most uninterested and jaded voter – what currency will I have in my pocket after independence?

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Jeff Salway. Picture: Jane Barlow

Decisive action needed to ease suffering of savers

THE events set in motion over the last two weeks of March 2014 will reverberate for years to come.

Bill Jamieson

Bill Jamieson: independence could shatter our glass menagerie

THE play that propelled Tennessee Williams to fame was The Glass Menagerie. Its title has puzzled for generations. The cabinet collection of a young girl’s glass animals seemed little more than a stage prop: always there, but the drama hardly seemed to involve them much. This fragility was the prism through which we viewed the rough and brittle world of Williams’ characters.

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Claire Black. Picture: Jane Barlow

Claire Black: Mum’s the word at Mother’s Day

CONSUMERIST con, saccharine celebration or a genuine opportunity to show your mum how much you love her? Truthfully, I am undecided.

Graeme Pearson. Picture: David Moir

DRUMLANRIG: Road that led to transport minister

OVER the years, Holyrood observers have learned much about Stewart Stevenson’s youthful precocity.

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow. Picture: AP

Dani Garavelli: Break-up made in heaven

WE REALLY shouldn’t laugh. Then again, how can we help ourselves? If ever there was a couple whose very existence seemed designed to render us helpless with mirth it is Chris “the virgin choirboy” Martin and Gwyneth “I would rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin” Paltrow.

Carly Booth launches a drive off the 18th tee at St Andrews. Picture: Getty

Dani Garavelli: Fight against bigotry goes on

IT’S 101 years since the all-male Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews was forced to insure the Old Course for £1,000 and draft in 200 guards to protect it from women’s rights activists who were waging war against the country’s sporting facilities.

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Margaret Thatcher in Leith during a pre-General Election tour in May 1979. Picture: TSPL

Andrew Wilson: ambition not apologies needed from Tories

ONCE upon a time, the Conservative party got MPs elected in Scotland. Once upon a long time ago, they even got them in Glasgow. Well, the last time was 1979, when Sir Tam Galbraith won the Hillhead seat. When he died in 1982 he was succeeded by Roy Jenkins for the SDP and Glasgow never returned a Tory to Westminster again.

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Picture: AP

Alison Doig: Storm clouds over climate change

RECORD weather has been happening a lot recently. This winter was the wettest in the UK since national records began; the first decade of the 21st century was the warmest recorded; Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. It is no coincidence that last year we breathed the highest levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for 800,000 years.

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