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22/04/14 16:49

Media Briefing - Tuesday 22 April 2014

The FMSA and SGOS welcomed journalists to the briefing.

The FMSA said that Cabinet had been given a brief update on the recent major power outage across parts of the North of Scotland. The FMSA said that Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney would be providing an update on this to Parliament later in the day via a Topical Question in the Chamber. Details on the reasons behind the outage and the response from various agencies to the incident will be provided.

Cabinet was updated ahead of a debate on Scotland’s future in the EU, scheduled for later in the day. This will be led by the Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs Fiona Hyslop and will give an overview of Scotland’s future in the EU, making the point that the Scottish Government see this as being a full and equal member of the EU.

The First Minister formally welcomed Angela Constance and Shona Robison to Cabinet for the first time as full members.

The First Minister will deliver a speech in Carlisle on St George's Day – details on when and where this is taking place have been issued to journalists. The speech will focus on Scotland’s continuing relationship with England and future cross-border links following independence. It will be very firmly focussed on the social union aspects of the post-independence relationship the SG envisages.

The SGOS updated journalists on a news release relating to Ryder Cup tickets. 5,000 tickets will be going towards good causes. Scotland, as the host nation, has received an allocation of 7,000 tickets and 5,000 of these will be going to junior club golfers and veterans.

The SGOS also highlighted a news release, which has already been issued under embargo, ahead of tomorrow’s debate on fuel poverty led by Housing Minister Margaret Burgess. Scotland’s most vulnerable households will be hit hardest by the UK Government’s proposed changes to the energy company obligation. This comes following the conclusion of the consultation on this last week.

Asked if the update regarding the power outage in the North of Scotland would provide full details on the cause, the FMSA said that as much detail as is available will be relayed to Parliament. Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGORR) meetings were held while the incident was on-going last week.

Asked about whether there was any Cabinet discussion on the CBI, the FMSA said that Cabinet had received an update regarding the number of organisations that had left the CBI. There was no substantial discussion on this matter beyond the numbers.

Asked about how some universities can consider themselves obliged to leave the CBI while others do not, the FMSA said that while universities may receive public funding, they are not public bodies as such, and each must make their own decision in terms of how to respond to this.

Asked if there had been any further developments regarding Highlands and Islands Enterprise in relation to this issue, the FMOS said that he was not aware of any.