The Queen was at Holyrood last weekend to address MSPs as part of celebrations to mark 20 years of the Scottish Parliament. Her Majesty said that in the last two decades it has been a pleasure to watch the Scottish Parliament “grow and prosper”.
Writing in The Scotsman this week, Perceptive’s political expert, Devin Scobie explained that since 1999, the country has had six First Ministers – including Jim Wallace, who covered twice for Donald Dewar whilst he was incapacitated. Some 330 people have sat as MSPs, and 16 or 17 have been there since the very start. A few lasted barely a few weeks; Labour’s Lesley Brennan was a North-east list MSP for just ten weeks in early 2016.
People are often still quick to criticise Holyrood but is has achieved much in 20 years. Scotland has had genuine economic growth over the years and the highest level of employment in the UK. Free personal care for our elderly and zero tuition fees are looked upon enviously by English MPs.
Perhaps the last words on Holyrood should go to Her Majesty herself, who concluded on Saturday that for most of this period this striking chamber has provided “a place to talk”. But of-course it must also be a place to listen – a place to hear views that inevitably may differ quite considerably, one from another – and a place to honour those views. Roll on July 2039!
Theresa May was in Scotland yesterday on her final visit as PM. She announced a review of UK government departments to make sure they work in the best interests of devolution, but Nicola Sturgeon predictably said that the review was “too little, too late” and would do nothing to prevent Scottish independence. In her speech, Mrs May told the two candidates vying to replace her as Prime Minister (in Scotland tonight for a members’ only hustings) that they must make strengthening the Union one of their top priorities. Mrs May also urged her successor to “think creatively” about how to ensure the UK stays together.
The final inquiry report of the Economy, Energy and Fair Work committee into the Construction Industry and the Scottish Economy was published this week. Several Perceptive clients including Construction Scotland and Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) submitted written evidence and three were invited to give oral evidence which formed a substantive part of the final report. The report concluded “A thriving construction sector is vital to our built environment and economy … The Scottish Government must continue to work together with industry to ensure that improvement is made in these key areas. Only with leadership, collaboration and cultural change, will the construction sector be able to realise its full potential contribution to Scotland’s economy.”
A link to the full report is available here: https://sp-bpr-en-prod-cdnep.azureedge.net/published/EEFW/2019/7/2/Under-Construction–Building-the-future-of-the-sector-in-Scotland/EJFWS052019R08.pdf
And finally … we were delighted to provide Parliamentary training this week with industry body, Homes for Scotland which recently unveiled its new branding, putting its aim of delivering more homes for Scotland front and centre. There is much backlash in public opinion about the development of new homes but the fact remains that Scotland remains in the grip of a desperate housing shortage.
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