Scottish Political Insider – Friday 19 January 2018

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 19 January 2018

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 19 January 2018

Heavy snow drifted across Scotland this week and helped cool the already Arctic atmosphere between the SNP and Labour over a rare Labour procedural no confidence vote at the end of an initial debate on the Scottish Budget.  The level of noisy hostility from the SNP was perhaps a small clue that Scottish Labour had scored a rare point against the auld enemy, even if the tactic itself was doomed to failure.

We saw the first opinion poll of 2018, suggesting that the SNP has a 12-point lead over the closest opposition party, the Conservatives, according to YouGov. It also shows a sharp decline in Labour support since last year’s snap Westminster election. The poll, reported in The Times, found that 38% of Scots would vote for the SNP in a Holyrood election, compared to 26% for the Tories and 23% for Labour. Detailed Holyrood voting intentions for the constituency vote: SNP 38; Con 26; Lab 23; Lib Dem 7; Green 3.

Brexit again, and Scotland’s economy could be £12.7bn a year worse off under a hard Brexit, according to new analysis by the Scottish Government. The figure is contained in a new paper on the impact of UK withdrawal from the European Union.  It calculates the cost to Scotland of the UK leaving the single market with or without a trade deal. The Scottish government document, titled Scotland’s Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment, considers three potential outcomes for Scotland’s economy when Britain exits the EU in March 2019.

There was a small crumb of good news this week, however.  The Scottish economy grew by 0.2% during the third quarter of last year, according to new official figures published on Wednesday. Between July and September, services grew by 0.2%, while production was up by 1.2%. However, construction was down for a seventh quarter in a row, with a 2.9% fall. Equivalent UK growth during the third quarter was 0.4%. On an annual basis, the Scottish economy grew by 0.6%, compared with 1.7% for the UK as a whole.

The Finance and Constitution Committee has initiated an inquiry into the UK Government’s Trade Bill. The Scottish Government lodged a Legislative Consent Motion on the Bill in December and the Committee expects to begin considering the legislation in early March. A call for evidence has been launched and submissions are being accepted until Friday 23 February.

And finally … spare a thought for Labour MP Hugh Gaffney, first elected last June, who told a BBC reporter that some Tory MPs had been mocking his Scottish accent.  Known as a bit of a rough diamond at Westminster, Mr Gaffney has kindly offered a tour of the more salubrious nightspots of his Coatbridge constituency to any persistent offenders….

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie McLauchlan on 07734 932578 or julie.mclauchlan@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk

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