Scottish Political Insider – Friday 16 February 2018

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 16 February 2018

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 16 February 2018

MSPs have had a relatively quiet week as Holyrood enjoyed the short February recess.  Chamber business resumes on Tuesday with a Scottish Government-led debate on the Scottish Rate Resolution.

Economic data is ‘the new gold, informing policy-making, influencing business decisions and affecting our pay and pensions’, and the Scottish Government must help the public and media better understand it, according to a report by the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee. Details: Economy committee report

The report – How to Make Data Count – follows a four-month inquiry by the committee, which saw a wide range of economic and business experts and organisations give evidence on the reliability of economic statistics used by the Scottish Government, media and others. The inquiry considered the ‘accuracy, utility and comprehensibility’ of Scottish economic statistics; and what data is required for ‘effective delivery and scrutiny of policy’.

Staying on business matters, and there was a little bit of positive business news this week as research by the Bank of Scotland suggested business confidence in Scotland is at its highest level in more than three years. Its monthly PMI survey found higher staffing levels and a return to growth in the private sector in January, compared with the previous month. In the service sector, employers reported that successful tendering had contributed to higher order intakes.

Edinburgh MP Tommy Sheppard is emerging as the favourite to replace Angus Robertson as the SNP’s Depute Leader, according to media reports. MSP James Dornan is currently the only candidate to have confirmed their intent to stand. Alongside Sheppard, there are several others said to be considering a run at the position including Hannah Bardell, Pete Wishart and Ivan McKee. Ian Blackford, Humza Yousaf and Alyn Smith have ruled themselves out.

And finally … spare a thought for Ruth Davidson who spent her recess visiting Afghanistan. The Scottish Conservative leader spent four days in Kabul at the invitation of the Dumfriesshire based HALO Trust – now the world’s largest humanitarian mine clearance operation. As well as seeing mine clearances in action, Ms Davidson met members of the Afghan government to discuss security and also spoke to female Afghan MPs to discuss women’s participation in politics.

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