This week’s Scottish political news has been dominated by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, followed by the appointment of junior Ministers. We have attached a separate one pager on the new Cabinet appointments for further information. Elsewhere, ongoing debate surrounding the EU referendum continued to play out on the digital and print news platforms. Scotland’s very own constitutional debate also hit the headlines this week with the Scottish Secretary David Mundell claiming that there is no mandate for a second independence referendum.
In housing and construction, findings from a Home Office report found that 77,000 incidents of online crime took place against construction premises last year. More on these and other stories are included within this week’s report.
Housing and Construction News
New Scottish Housing Minister appointed
Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart has been appointed as Scotland’s new Housing Minister. Mr Stewart also has responsibility for Local Government, and will report into Cabinet Secretary Angela Constance MSP. He is a former Finance Convener on Aberdeen City Council and in the last Parliament was Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Regeneration Committee.
Other parties will announce their housing shadows in the coming days.
Home Office statistics reveal that online crimes affected 15 per cent of construction business premises last year
Findings from the latest Home Office ‘crime against businesses’ survey illustrated that there were 77,000 incidents of online crime against construction premises last year. In an article published by Scottish Construction Now, it was also noted that only three per cent of instances were reported to the police. Jim Burberry, partner and member of RSM’s Real Estate and Construction team in Scotland, said: “The data highlights that many incidences of online crimes against construction premises are largely going unreported. Cybercrime is a growing threat for the Scottish construction sector, which employs around 187,000 skilled workers, and the increased prevalence in attacks across the UK makes it a growing risk.”
General political news
Scotland’s new Cabinet announced on Wednesday 18 May 2016
After days of speculation, Nicola Sturgeon announced details of the new Scottish Cabinet and junior ministerial team:
- The previous Transport Secretary Derek Mackay was promoted to Finance Secretary
- Keith Brown to Economy Secretary (retaining Infrastructure as well)
- Deputy First Minister John Swinney became the new Education Secretary. This high profile appointment reflected the importance that the new Scottish Government are placing on education generally
- Shona Robison remained in her position as the Health Secretary
- Michael Matheson kept his role as Cabinet Secretary for Justice
- Angela Constance moved to become the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities
- Fiona Hyslop remains the Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Secretary role
- Roseanna Cunningham becomes Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform
- Fergus Ewing becomes the Rural Economy and Connectivity Secretary.
Nicola Sturgeon is (re) confirmed as Scotland’s First Minister
Prior to the Cabinet changes, Tuesday saw MSPs elect SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister. Prior to the vote on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon called on MSPs from all parties to support her nomination. She said the SNP had won an “overwhelming mandate to govern”, and that she had a “mandate to continue as first minister”. Following the news that her party had failed to gain a Parliamentary majority, winning 63 of 129 possible seats, the SNP also confirmed that it would form a minority government.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell claims there is no mandate for a second independence referendum
In a speech given in Edinburgh this week, Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, claimed there is “no mandate” for a second referendum on independence. Mr Mundell said: “My position is quite clear, and the prime minister’s position is quite clear, that there is no mandate for a second referendum in the SNP manifesto. The votes that many people cast in Scotland’s election were votes to ensure that the SNP government did not have a majority and were not in a position to seek to take forward a second referendum. If the first minister is listening to the people of Scotland, she will stop talking about a second referendum and get on with governing Scotland.” The SNP were quick to respond to the comments made. John Swinney said the SNP would not “quietly forget” that the Conservative Government is “betraying promises” to the people of Scotland. What we can expect is the constitutional debate to ramp up in the build-up and proceeding the EU referendum.
EU Referendum – weekly update
- Boris Johnson is taken to task by the European Council president Donald Tusk over his comparison of the EU to Hitler
- Nigel Farage claims that a narrow ‘Remain’ win in the EU Referendum could lead to second referendum
- Prime Minister David Cameron warns that the poorest and most vulnerable people in the UK would be hit hardest by the economic consequences of leaving the EU
- Leaving the EU could put jobs within Scotland’s financial sector at risk, Harriet Baldwin MP, the economic secretary to the Treasury, claimed this week during a visit to Edinburgh
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