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11/03/14 17:48

Media Briefing - Tuesday March 11, 2014

Post Cabinet Media Briefing by the First Minister’s Official Spokesperson (FMOS) and the First Minister’s Special Adviser (FMSA): March 11, 2014.

The FMOS and FMSA welcomed journalists to the post-cabinet briefing.

The FMSA highlighted to journalists information showing Scotland is among the top global economies in the world. The latest figures up to March 7, 2014 show Scotland is ranked as the 14th wealthiest nation per head within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ahead of the UK in 18th. The FMSA said Finance Secretary John Swinney had complemented the work by the Financial Times which ranked Scotland as the 19th wealthiest nation in the world, compared to the UK in 23rd place and highlighted this comes after ratings agency Standard and Poor’s had confirmed an independent Scotland would qualify for its “highest economic assessment.” The FMOS said these comments were ahead of Mr Swinney’s speech to Edinburgh University later where he would lay out more of the context of the economic benefits of independence.

Asked if the figures were from the Scottish Government, the FMSA confirmed it was Scottish Government analysis based on widely available comparative figures for other international countries from the OECD. The FMSA said it was a demonstration of the fact Scotland is a wealthy and productive country with a wealthy and diverse productive economy, more than capable of being an independent country.

The journalists then asked if the analysis showed where the rest of the UK (rUK) post-independence would be. The FMSA said the figures were given as UK rather than rUK.

The FMSA said Cabinet discussed Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead’s Parliamentary statement later this afternoon on the incident at the Vulcan Nuclear Testing Facility at Dounreay. The FMSA added that minutes from the quarterly meetings of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group in 2012 show that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told the group that it was “business as usual” and there was “nothing to report”.

When asked why the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) didn’t inform the Scottish Government, the FMSA said very few individuals at SEPA were informed by the MoD on the basis that they were not to pass that on any further. Journalists then asked if the Greener Communications desk would have copies of the statement and were told they would be distributed to them.

The FMOS then drew attention to the demand for copies of Scotland’s Future with over 100,000 copies being ordered, either in print copy or online. She advised that the Scottish Government had also published the costs involved, and indicated that interest remains high for people to see the document both online and in print.