This week’s political highlights
Fiona Hyslop and Nicola Sturgeon travelled south to France and England respectively in the SNP’s latest ‘EU Referendum result’ tour, with both continuing to make their feelings on Scotland’s EU position clear. Elsewhere, Theresa May put pen to paper in an exclusive article for Holyrood magazine while the Labour Party met for its annual conference. While the party continues to tear itself apart from the inside, reforms to give Scottish Labour more autonomy were announced, with greater detail included below. More on these stories and others, including the latest Scottish Housing Survey are included within this week’s Scottish Political Insider.
Housing and Construction News
Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown announced that the construction contractor for the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route project, AWPR Construction Joint Venture, is to help deliver the Prince’s Trust ‘Get into Civil Engineering’ programme. Elsewhere, the latest Scottish Household Survey showed 14 per cent of all households rented their property, compared to 5 per cent in 1999. Andy Wightman MSP, Housing spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said: “These figures show how dysfunctional our housing supply has become. Far too many people are being forced into renting due to unaffordable property prices and a lack of genuine housing tenure.”
The start of the week saw External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop meet the French Government’s Minister of State for European Affairs Harlem Désir. Scotland’s position on the EU referendum result was made clear. The theme was further evident as the week progressed with Nicola Sturgeon speaking at the Institute of Directors’ Annual Convention in the Royal Albert Hall. She called on the UK Government to step in and prevent a “race to the bottom” in the wake of the referendum result. Meanwhile, writing in Holyrood magazine, Theresa May argued her Government “will engage fully with and are willing to listen to options from the Scottish Government as we formulate our negotiating position for leaving the EU.”
Reforms to give the Scottish Labour Party greater powers were approved at the Party’s annual conference. Newly (re) elected UK leader Jeremy Corbyn had earlier said that the plans to give Scottish Labour greater autonomy and a seat on the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) were to be approved. What he didn’t add was ‘whether he, or left wingers in the party like it or not’. Kezia Dugdale will take up the NEC position herself, a decision which Mr Corbyn had told BBC Scotland on Monday that he would be “very happy” about. This move angered many of the Party’s left with Vince Mills of The Campaign for Socialism arguing that “placing someone on the NEC is an exercise in patronage not democracy.” Despite the best efforts of the Labour leader, he is finding it difficult to water down Scottish Labour’s autonomy. Elsewhere at the conference, Labour’s shadow Brexit minister Emily Thornberry claimed she would be happy to speak to the SNP about how best to keep the UK in the EU, a move which may yet ruffle the feathers of supporters north of the border.
Finally, not only do many Scots rate their neighbourhood as a good place to live, many also have strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood. The findings were announced in the Scottish Government’s Scottish Household Survey. Elsewhere, it was announced new business hubs will be delivered in four local communities, thanks to the Local Economic Development fund.
Lead committee to report by 30 October 2016
First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber and Upper Tribunal for Scotland (Composition) Regulations 2016.
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