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The Pagoda Perspective 20.03.2017

20th March 2017

BREXIT/INDEPENDENCE

  • First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has lodged the motion for tomorrow’s Scotland’s Choice A combination of SNP and Green MSPs are expected to vote it through on Wednesday, triggering an official demand from Ms Sturgeon to Theresa May for another independence vote.
  • Prime Minister, Theresa May, will trigger Article 50 on Wednesday 29 March, formally notifying the European Union of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the European Union.
  • During her Spring Conference speech in Aberdeen this weekend, Nicola Sturgeon reiterated that that the Scottish Parliament will continue to pursue a second referendum, qualifying that she was open to negations on timing, “within reason”.
  • Nicola Sturgeon also said keeping the pound will be a “starting point” for an independent Scotland.
  • Ruth Davidson still claims the majority of Scots do not want a second independence referendum, and urged voters and media not to confuse the views of the SNP with the views of Scotland.
  • The Scottish Labour party has published a report on the impact of a “decade of division” caused by the independence debate. This report includes figures on health, education, local government and oil revenues.
  • Gordon Brown’s “third option” for Scotland’s future, handing Holyrood more powers following Brexit, was rejected by Angus Robertson of the SNP, claiming: “the Labour party is not in a position to deliver a pizza at the moment”.

SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY CONFERENCE

  • The constitution theme continued throughout the conference, with Derek Mackay urging campaigners to consider why the electorate voted no last time. Shona Robison highlighted the challenges faced by the NHS should EU nationals not be guaranteed residency post-Brexit.

EDUCATION

  • During SNP Conference, John Swinney announced that the number of school-based foundation apprenticeships for young people would be increased from 351 to 5,000 by 2020. This formed part of a wider speech on the Scottish Government’s efforts to maximise the opportunities available to young people whatever their socio-economic background.
  • The general secretary of EIS Scotland, Larry Flanagan, has urged the Scottish Government to take action and end its “love affair” with Nordic education.

TRANSPORT

  • New research published today by the Rail Delivery Group has highlighted the scale of Britain’s ‘rail boom’. The figures show nearly 1,300 extra trains a day will run by 2021 – including more than 230 in Scotland.
  • More Scots are making the switch to electric vehicles, new figures The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reports a jump of more than 80 per cent in the number of pure electric vehicles (EVs) taking to the road since last February.

FOOD AND DRINK

  • Exports from Scotland’s food and drink sector have hit a record high of £5.5bn. The strong sales performance of seafood and whisky helped exports increase by 8% (£421m) in 2016.

ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY

  • BP has begun talks with Ineos over the sale of the Forties Pipeline System (FPS), the North Sea’s largest pipeline. The FPS supports over 300 jobs in Scotland and transports around 40% of the UKs oil production.

COMING UP

  • Kezia Dugdale will give a briefing on Scotland’s constitutional future later today in London.
  • Theresa May is to visit Wales this week as part of a tour of the devolved nations ahead of triggering Article 50.