Saturday, 13 January 2018

20th UK Energy Minister Appointed in Just 20 Years

UK Government Defined by Instability and Indecision

The UK government has appointed the 20th Energy Minister in just 20 years – showing complete indifference towards jobs in a vital business sector for Scotland.

The SNP has criticised Theresa May for playing “musical chairs” and not giving due priority to the role of Energy Minister, now occupied by Claire Perry after the latest botched Cabinet reshuffle – putting the energy industry back to square one with no clues as to what the UK government will do next.

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said:

“No sooner has the Tory energy minster got his feet under the desk, he’s been shoved out the revolving door by Theresa May and replaced by yet another new face.

“When our oil and gas industry needs stability from Westminster all they’re getting is more turmoil. Over the past 20 years, there have 20 different government energy chiefs, showing successive Westminster governments just don’t care.

“For those in the energy industry that need support, this reshuffle looks more like another round of musical chairs.

“In the North Sea oil and gas sector, in renewables and throughout the energy supply chain, people are craving consistency – yet it is clear that the Tories cannot provide this from Westminster.

“If Theresa May and the Tories continue to insist on making a mess of energy policy, it becomes ever clearer why Scotland needs to have full powers over this vital industry. It’s simply too important for us not to.”

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Scotland 'Has Much to Offer' on Foreign Affairs and Conflict Resolution

SNP Reach Out to UK Government to Explore New Cross-Nations Approach

The SNP’s Westminster Foreign Affairs spokesperson has written to both the UK’s Foreign Secretary and the Scottish Government’s External Affairs Minister, seeking a meeting to explore ways the UK can better support devolved nations on foreign affairs and conflict resolution.

With concerns growing over the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Yemen, the refugee crisis in Syria and the ongoing challenges on climate justice, the SNP has said that now is the time to explore the role that devolved administrations can play in areas of mutual interest overseas.

In a letter to the UK’s Boris Johnson and Scotland’s Fiona Hyslop, Stephen Gethins MP echoed remarks made by the chief executive of Beyond Borders Scotland, Mark Muller Stuart QC, in a recent speech on ‘Using Culture and Scotland’s Soft Power to Help to Resolve Conflict in the 21st Century,’ commenting that Scotland’s distinct identity and international initiatives offer an opportunity to highlight new relationships and to present a new image internationally.

Mark Muller Stuart QC - a UN diplomat who has appeared before various bodies, including the UN, EU and the Council of Europe - said that the devolved settlement within the UK is an example of “how smaller nations within larger states can transition towards greater democracy in a peaceful and consensual manner,” and that on the international stage other countries will be able to take lessons from the de-centralisation of power – citing the 2012 Edinburgh Agreement as a key example of how governments can work together and create a platform for dialogue.

The SNP Scottish Government has consistently stepped up efforts on global issues, including through welcoming the 2,000th Syrian refugee to Scotland through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme (SVPRP) - three years ahead of schedule.

Stephen Gethins MP, the SNP’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, said:

"The UK in the past, and to this day, continues to play an influential role in conflicts and crises around the world - from Syria and Yemen, to humanitarian disasters such as Hurricane Irma, as well as climate justice challenges.

“There is a real opportunity, as was raised by Mark Muller Stuart QC - who holds a wealth of experience on conflict resolution - in his speech to look at how the influence held by nations like Scotland, and where the lessons of devolution can play a relevant role in addressing regional conflicts and crises.

“I echo his remarks that Scotland has ‘undertaken one of the most recent radical constitutional journeys of any modern nation in Europe and has much to offer the international community in terms of conflict resolution’ – the UK government must surely now recognise the greater role that Scotland can play on the international stage.

“That is why, with parliament set to reconvene this week, I have written to both the UK’s Foreign Secretary and the Scottish Government’s Minister for External Affairs seeking a meeting to explore if there are ways that the UK can better support devolved nations working in areas of mutual interest overseas."

Monday, 1 January 2018

Year of Young People 2018 Set to Begin

Scotland is set to celebrate a global first in 2018 with the Year of Young People. And in another first,the Year has been developed for young people, by young people who will now play a central role in delivering the programme of events that aims to create new opportunities for our young people locally and nationally whilst showcasing their talents and achievements to the world.
The Year will support the SNP Scottish Government’s ambition of making Scotland the best place to grow up, and in order to properly address the issues facing young people, the key themes and outcomes for the Year were determined by young people themselves.

In government, the SNP has protected and expanded the Education Maintenance Allowance, which has been scrapped south of the border; expanded the target number of Modern Apprenticeship programmes to 30,000 new starts; abolished university tuition fees while the Tories increased them to £27,750; and the latest Labour Market statistics reveal that Scottish youth unemployment is at its lowest on record, significantly lower than the UK’s, and youth employment is 4.7% higher in Scotland.

Commenting, SNP MSP Rona Mackay said:

“Scotland’s Year of the Young People will be a fantastic opportunity to put the needs, views and interests of young people at the heart of government activity and to focus on creating a better Scotland for our young people to grow up in.

“In government, the SNP’s £750 million Attainment Scotland Fund has already helped to hire 506 new teachers and we have scrapped tuition fees, ensuring that 2017 saw the highest ever number of Scottish residents and the highest ever number of students from the most deprived areas going to university in Scotland.

“But the Tories’ destructive welfare policies have slashed housing benefits for young people, pushed child poverty rates up by 30% and they are shamefully forcing young people to live on poverty pay by refusing to support a national living wage for under 25s.The SNP has called for a fair and equal minimum wage - protected rights in the workplace and votes at 16 in all elections and SNP MPs will support a ban on exploitative zero-hour contracts.

"I look forward to using the Year of Young People as a positive platform to help ensure we are getting it right for every young person in Scotland."

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Scottish Tories "Failing to Stand Up for Scotland"

Tory MPs Accused of Breaking Election Vow to Constituents

The SNP has said that Scottish Tory MPs have “repeatedly broken their vow to stand up for Scotland” in the six months since the general election.

SNP Westminster Deputy Leader, Kirsty Blackman, accused the 13 Scottish Tory MPs of “failing to stand up for their constituents” and “putting the narrow interests of the Tory party ahead of the jobs, incomes, and livelihoods of the Scottish people” in a series of parliamentary votes and debates.

In June, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson pledged: "I'm going to make sure that along with the 13 MPs we're sending to Westminster, we put Scotland's case forcefully and make sure that we deliver for Scotland, and make sure that the union delivers for Scotland too. I want to ensure that we can look again at issues like Brexit, which we know we are now going to have to get cross-party support for – and move to a consensus within the country."

The SNP has pointed to eight times that the Scottish Tories have betrayed that pledge, including by – supporting cuts to Scotland’s budget, driving Scottish families into poverty with austerity measures, voting for a power grab from the Scottish Parliament, voting against single market and customs union membership, opposing a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal, opposing a halt to universal credit, opposing justice for Scotland’s WASPI women, and breaking their promise to secure Barnett consequentials from the £1billion DUP deal.

Commenting, Kirsty Blackman MP said:

“The Scottish Tories have repeatedly broken their vow to stand up for Scotland – putting the narrow interests of their party ahead of the jobs, incomes, and livelihoods of their constituents.

“Far from fighting Scotland’s corner, they have rubber-stamped every single damaging Tory policy – from cuts to Scotland’s budget, to continued austerity, and Theresa May’s plans for an extreme Brexit.

“While SNP MPs have consistently defended Scotland’s interests, Tory MPs have shown they are incapable – and thanks to their failings Scottish families and public services are losing out.

“It is no wonder that the Scottish Tories are sliding in the polls when their austerity cuts have driven many families into poverty, debt and destitution, and when their plan to drag Scotland out of the single market and customs union will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“At this crucial time, with the countdown to Brexit ever closer, Scotland needs strong voices that will stand up for our national interests, and that is what the SNP will continue to provide.”
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