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24/03/14 13:25

Media Briefing - Monday 24 March 2014

Media Briefing by a Scottish Government Spokesperson - Monday 24 March 2014

The Scottish Government Spokesperson (SGS) welcomed journalists to the briefing and ran through the day's key events:

The Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, is in Cardiff delivering the Wales Governance Centre annual lecture.

Education Secretary Mike Russell is in New Zealand, leading a UK delegation to the International Summit on the Teaching Profession where he will make a joint address with Larry Flanagan of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS). The annual summit brings together education ministers and national teacher trade union leaders from 13 states including the USA, Germany, Japan, Denmark and Sweden. The Cabinet Secretary will also undertake a series of school and university visits.

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, is in Brussels where he will meet with the DEFRA Farming Minister George Eustice, and call for clarity over a higher rate of coupled support in Scotland.

The SGS then ran through key events for the rest of the week.

Asked whether Keith Brown’s speech on Monday is on independence, the SGS noted that it was an annual trade union conference and that Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont was also speaking at it. The SGS confirmed that lines may go out after Mr Brown’s speech, possibly from Special Advisers.

When asked if Tuesday’s launch of the Second Hand Smoking campaign was related to recent media coverage of a study on the effects of passive smoking, the SGS confirmed that it was a separate, public information campaign. The impact of this awareness-raising campaign, developed with COSLA, the NHS and several charities, would be considered and evaluated before any possible future legislation was considered. The SGS confirmed further detail was available from the Communications Healthier desk.

The SGS confirmed that Alasdair Allan was meeting with pupils to discuss curriculum for excellence and the new exams on Wednesday. She noted that further details were available from the Communications Smarter desk.

The SGS said the Communications Greener desk would confirm whether the 2013 Birds of Prey Persecution Hotspot Maps related to deaths or prosecutions.

The SGS confirmed that the Responsible Dog Ownership Summit on Thursday was being hosted by Kenny MacAskill, with the SSPCA and local authorities. Richard Lochhead will also be giving a speech on micro-chipping at the event. Further details could be sought from the Communications Safer & Stronger desk.