The requirement for the Scottish Parliament to consent to UK Government legislation affecting devolved areas should be embedded into law, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe Michael Russell MSP has said. In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Mr Russell called for parliamentary discussion on the best way forward. This follows the UK Government’s decision to push ahead with the EU Withdrawal Bill despite the Scottish Parliament refusing to consent to legislation that could see its powers frozen for up to seven years without agreement. Mr Russell also confirmed the Scottish Government will continue to identify and draft the legislation needed to prepare for Brexit, while making the case for Scotland to remain within the Single Market and Customs Union.
Please note there will be a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday 3 July on the motion: That this House has considered the implications for Scotland of leaving the EU. It will be led by Ayrshire (SNP) MP Patricia Gibson and doubtless will have extensive contributions across all four main parties.
A cross-party Holyrood committee has published a critical review of Scotland’s economic performance under the SNP administration and call for an urgent review of economic strategy. The Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee has unanimously agreed a report which recognises that economic growth in Scotland under the SNP is significantly below growth rates in the UK economy as a whole and is falling far behind historical growth rates in Scotland. The report “Scotland’s Economic Performance” also concludes that ”levels of GDP growth are marginal, productivity low and wages are stagnant’’.
The Holyrood Committee highlights that ‘’the future will be equally challenging given the independent Scottish Fiscal Commission’s revised forecast of lower tax revenues, of as much as £1.7 billion, and already low GDP growth has been revised downwards to less than 1%.’’ It recommends that in order to reverse the decline in Scotland’s economy “the Scottish Government must use all of the levers at its disposal to bring a sharper focus on growing the economy” starting by reviewing and updating the Economic Strategy “as a matter of urgency.’’
In related news, Scotland’s Chief Statistician published Scottish Annual Business Statistics 2016. GVA in the services sector was £49.8bn, compared to £12.7bn in manufacturing and £7.1bn in construction. Between 2015 and 2016, manufacturing GVA increased by £610m (5%) but there were reductions in a range of other sectors due to the downturn in the oil and gas industry.
And finally …we were delighted to welcome MSP Johann Lamont, who plans to stand as MP for Glasgow South, to Stratified Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre. SMS-IC brings together industry innovators, clinicians and world-class researchers together to work on precision medicine. Precision medicine ensures drugs arespecifically targeted to a person’s genetic makeup rather than a “one size fits all” approach. This helps get the right treatment to the right person at the right time, improving outcomes for patients and slashing the costs of ineffective treatments, saving lives and scarce NHS resources.
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