The Pagoda Perspective 06.03.2017

Brexit / Independence

  • The House of Lords last Thursday defeated the government over guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens in the UK.
  • Holyrood’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee has published its report on determining Scotland’s future relationship with the EU, calling for a bespoke Scottish solution to Brexit.
  • At the Scottish Conservative Party Conference, the Prime Minister said that she was “determined” to ensure that “we leave the EU as one United Kingdom and prosper outside the EU as one United Kingdom”. Prior to the conference, she had criticised the SNP government for having “tunnel vision” over a second Scottish independence referendum.
  • The Constitutional Research Council (CRC) has claimed that Unionist business leaders are “queuing up” to donate six-figure sums to keep the UK united.

Scottish Conservative Party Conference

  • Speaking at the party’s conference this weekend, Ruth Davidson warned the First Minister she will pay “a heavy price” if the SNP pushes for a second referendum.
  • The party announced it will conduct a “root and branch” review of education in Scotland.
  • Ruth Davidson declared in her concluding speech that her party will no longer “shy away” from areas such as Glasgow, and is prepared to be the next governing party at Holyrood.

UK Politics

  • A new YouGov poll has found the majority of Brits believe it is unlikely Jeremy Corbyn will lead Labour at the next general election. In a recent survey of Labour members, 50% indicated Corbyn should no longer be leader by then.

Transport

  • Industry sources say ScotRail has “no specific plans” to continue vintage steam journeys. The popular tourist experiences returned in 2015 with much fanfare, but now face the axe due to unprofitability.
  • Alastair Dalton, the UK head of Abellio, ScotRail’s parent company, has stepped in to provide interim cover to replace outgoing Managing Director, Phil Verster.

Economy

  • Two of Scotland’s largest fund management companies, Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management, have agreed a merger worth £11bn, which could cause a backlash at Holyrood over potential job losses.
  • A new survey by the Bank of Scotland has found that the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ has lent 29% more over the last year, with the average ‘loan’ reaching £4,000 per year.

Health

  • Experts have suggested that social inequality caused by poverty is responsible for life expectancy in Scotland failing to increase for the first time in more than 150 years.

Environment / Energy

  • Wind turbines generated enough energy to cover two-thirds of Scotland’s total electricity consumption in February according to figures published by WeatherEnergy.

Media

  • STV has announced its annual financial results, which shows a continued shift from broadcast dependence. The total share of non-broadcast earnings has risen from 11% to 23%.
  • Snap, the owner of picture messaging app Snapchat, floated on the US stock market last Thursday. Despite never having made a profit, the business was valued at £24bn.

Coming Up

  • UK Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver the last ever Spring Budget on Wednesday, with the main event then moving to the autumn. Expectations have been set low, but this “dull budget” could have real consequences for personal finances.
  • The Scottish Liberal Democrat conference will take place this weekend, Friday 10 — Saturday 11 March, in Perth.
  • The Scottish Green Party is also preparing for its conference this Saturday 11 March, in Glasgow.
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