BREXIT AND INDEPENDENCE
- Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, has said that Nicola Sturgeon’s hopes for a bespoke deal on Brexit will not happen, as there is no evidence to justify it.
- Michael Russell, Scotland’s Brexit minister, has warned of the growing likelihood that the UK’s devolved administrations will refuse to support Brexit being triggered following “difficult” talks in London.
- The UK Government has been accused of mounting a “power grab” after the Prime Minister refused to rule out blocking Scottish MPs from voting on parts of a key bill to implement Brexit.
Following Theresa May’s announcement that the UK will leave the single market Nicola Sturgeon claimed that indyref2 is “more likely.”
- The Welsh first minister and leader of Plaid Cymru are to launch their joint Brexit plan for Wales.
- The Fraser of Allander Institute has accused the Scottish Government of manipulating the figures in its budget to exaggerate the impact of Westminster cuts.
- Jeremy Corbyn also attacked the SNP budget accusing them of “devolving austerity and passing the buck” during his visit to Glasgow last week.
- The Scottish Greens are putting the SNP’s budget at risk by calling for a 60% tax on the rich.
- Edinburgh will become this first city in Scotland to introduce a “tourist tax” as early as April next year, if plans for a £1.5billion City Deal are given the go-ahead.
- The number of tourists visiting Scotland from Europe has dropped by 7% in the three months since the Brexit vote, according to the latest figures from the ONS.
- Instagram has now rolled out its live video and disappearing photos feature in the UK following its initial launch in the US last year. They also revealed that 150 million people use its Stories feature every day
- Unemployment in Scotland rose by 11,000 between September and November 2016 to 5.1%, which is 0.2% higher than the UK rate
The number of dairy farms in Scotland has decreased to its lowest number since records began in 1903, according to the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association.
- Holyrood energy minister Paul Wheelhouse has called on the UK Government to match Scotland’s “commitment to renewables”.
- Managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, Phil Verster, has resigned to take up a new post as director of East West Rail. The moves follows increasing pressure on ScotRail to improve services and news that the company will struggle to find the funds to help deliver the one month’s free travel for season ticket holders promised by the Scottish Government. Alex Hynes, who is currently managing director at Arriva Rail North, will replace him.
- Future Fit – The road ahead for Scottish manufacturing will be hosted by Scottish Enterprise in Edinburgh on Tuesday (24th).
Theresa May and Donald Trump will hold talks in the White House on Friday on issues such as trade and security, with the PM being one of the first foreign leaders to meet the US president since he took office.