In one of the most dramatic weeks yet in the long-running Brexit saga, MPs and peers have returned to Parliament shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that its suspension was unlawful. The PM has said he “profoundly disagreed” with Tuesday’s landmark ruling that his advice to the Queen to prorogue Parliament was illegal but he would respect it. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove said he would not criticise the court, but he “disagreed with their position”.
The SNP, whose high-profile QC MP Joanna Cherry led the Supreme Court challenge, has urged opposition parties to back a no confidence motion that could remove “zombie Prime Minister” Boris Johnson from office. But opposition parties are split over what to do if he refuses to quit. The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said a confidence vote could remove the PM and allow a general election to be held. Mr Blackford said a “caretaker” Prime Minister would need to be found if the motion of no confidence was successful – and did not rule out the possibility of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn filling the role until a general election was held.
Closer to home and Scotland’s main economic development agency says there has been a huge surge in requests from businesses asking for help to get ready for Brexit. Scottish Enterprise said visits to a website offering firms help with the cost of Brexit had risen by nearly 400%. The agency said requests for advice about currency changes and access to suppliers were also common. Linda Murray, head of strategy services, urged companies to “plan for the worst and hope for the best”.
This week also saw a new report from the Fraser of Allander Institute. Nine in ten businesses in Scotland expect Brexit to have an important, or very important, impact on them. Its Scottish Business Monitor indicates that 30% of all businesses are scaling back all new investment in the run-up to the UK leaving the EU. It found 71% of firms expected costs to increase over the next six months. But most said their long-term economic confidence remained high.
The David Hume Institute has published another new report on Scotland’s future workforce, labour supply and immigration. Wealth of the Nation: Who Will Do the Jobs? points out that EU migration to Scotland has masked underlying demographic trends of an ageing population and low birth rates. The report warns of a major impact for Scotland’s health and social care sector and urges caution on the pace by which technological transformations will fill the gap. The Institute suggests that male employment rates – particularly for older men – have the potential to be increased.
At Holyrood, the Scottish Government’s targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions have been strengthened, as MSPs voted to put down a “net-zero” target in law. The Climate Change Bill – which aims to have all emissions offset by 2045 – was passed by 113 votes to 0 at Holyrood. Ministers agreed to a Labour amendment to up the interim target, with members agreeing to target a 75% reduction by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the government was “putting in place the most stringent framework of statutory targets of any country in the world”.
Scottish government statistics showed that the supply of total new housing has increased by 15% over the last year, the sixth consecutive annual increased total housing supply and the highest annual figure since 2008/09. Homes for Scotland Chief Executive, Nicola Barclay called for Help to Buy to be extended until 2023 in line with England, housing policy to be aligned at national and local levels and grant funding levels for Registered Social Landlords to be shared beyond 2021.
Neil Bibby, West of Scotland MSP visited Lamont City Farm in Erskine following a much needed refurbishment by hub West Scotland and its supply chain partners. Part of the Helping Hands initiative, hub West Scotland and its partners carried out over £38,000 of work for the city farm which was selected in conjunction with Renfrewshire Council. The farm is run exclusively by volunteers and welcomes 10,000 visitors a year.
And finally, congratulations to client, Briar Homes which in its first year was shortlisted at last night’s Herald Property Awards. Perceptive is delighted to hand its Property Team of the Year crown won at last year’s Herald Property awards to client, Clyde Gateway which were also joint winners of Commercial Development of the Year for its Red Tree Magenta development at Shawfield in Rutherglen.
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