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10/09/13 11:40

Media Briefing - Tuesday 10 September 2013

Post Cabinet media briefing by a Scottish Government spokesperson (SGS) and the First Minister’s Special Adviser (FMSA) – Tuesday 10 September 2013

The Scottish Government spokesperson (SGS) welcomed journalists to the briefing and confirmed the Scottish Government’s budget had been signed off at Cabinet and Finance Secretary John Swinney would make a statement to Parliament tomorrow. The SGS then briefed journalists about Mr Swinney’s visit to the construction site of the Queensferry Crossing and how the project had achieved savings of £145 million, demonstrating the effectiveness of the project’s delivery and management.

Journalists were informed that the Deputy First Minister (DFM) was not at Cabinet as she was giving a speech to the Road Haulage Association making the point that decisions made in Scotland are delivering better outcomes in relation to major transport infrastructure projects and supporting Scotland’s economy.

The SGS said Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead updated Cabinet on Food and Drink statistics showing the target of £12.5 billion turnover by 2011 was achieved six years early and, as a result, a new target of £16.5 billion by 2017 has been set. There was recognition across Cabinet of the excellent work going on in the industry.

The First Minister’s Special Adviser (FMSA) added that recently released UK wide export figures highlighted that Scotland was the only country in the UK to see an increase in the value of its exports in the year till June 2013, up 4.1% to £18.9 billion. He noted this was very strong in comparison to the UK figures as a whole which fell by 0.1%. When asked by a journalist if those export figures excluded the UK, the FMSA confirmed this was the case.

The SGS briefed journalists that the First Minister (FM) would announce the next programme of themed years – 2015 will be the Year of Food and Drink, 2016 will be the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, 2017 will be the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, and 2018 will be the Year of Young People. The SGS said themed years were developed following the first year of Homecoming in 2009 to promote and give future profile to Scotland’s tourism offering.

Journalists were then told Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop would speak in a debate that afternoon to announce funding for a number of historic buildings. The SGS confirmed this was for the repair of buildings.

When asked by a journalist if the £145 million savings from the Queensferry Crossing were over a number of years, both the SGS and FMSA advised that this was over the whole cost of construction.