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08/01/14 15:31

Media Briefing - Wednesday 8 January 2014

Media Briefing by a Scottish Government Spokesperson - Wednesday 8 January 2014

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

The First Minister (FM) is attending an event at Heriot Watt University about detailing the number of planned jobs funded, created and safeguarded through Regional Selective Assistance (RSA). The FM will confirm Scotland has surpassed last year’s total of planned jobs announced so far.

Finance Secretary John Swinney will take part in a Scottish Government debate this afternoon on Scotland’s economy. He will be looking at where the Scottish economy is currently, how the UK economy is fairing and the support to the economy that is made available through transformational childcare policies.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse will make a statement on severe winter weather and Scotland’s response.

Transport Minister Keith Brown is announcing funding for a new cycle path from Strathyre to Kingshouse.

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing this morning attended the launch of VisitScotland’s Homecoming 2014 television advert. This is to draw attention to the range of events and opportunities that will be available throughout 2014, both for staycationers and for visitors from outside Scotland.

The SGS drew attention to a news release handed to the journalists highlighting Minister for Science Dr Alasdair Allan announcing £240,000 of funding for Talking Science grants. This will provide science opportunities outside the main centres of population, particularly rural Scotland where you don’t have access to science centres, and hopes to inspire more people to get involved in science following the success of Professor Peter Higgs.

When asked about calls for a ‘truce’ in referendum campaigning during the Commonwealth Games, the SGS said that the Commonwealth Games is about sport and that mirrors the position of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee. He said discussion and debate around Scotland’s constitutional future would continue, but emphasised the Games being about sport. When asked about a possible moratorium, the SGS re-iterated that there would be continued discussion giving the timing of the Games in the run up to the referendum.

The SGS was then asked if there was any more details on visits to towns and cities to discuss Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to an Independent Scotland. The SGS said he would ask communications colleagues on the First Minister’s desk to forward them on when available.

When asked about what Mr Swinney would be saying in his speech later today, the SGS said the mainlines would be around Scotland’s current economic performance, the UK’s current economic performance and concerns around where growth is coming from. There will also be something around specific opportunities for Scotland including the transformational approach to childcare to create opportunities to bring women into the workforce and other opportunities within the sector.