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2 August 2016

Scotland "Left on the Outside Looking in" to UK Government's Economic Taskforce

The SNP has criticised the UK Government for failing to take Scotland’s unique economic interests into account – after new Tory Prime Minister Theresa May snubbed Scottish Secretary David Mundell by excluding him from a new economic taskforce with a remit to encourage economic growth across the UK.

The taskforce, consisting of more than 10 secretaries of state, has been launched by Ms May in an attempt to “drive growth up and down the country” – but with the UK Government’s man in Scotland conspicuous by his absence.

Questions have been raised at Mr Mundell’s omission from the taskforce given the current challenges facing Scotland’s oil and gas sector.

Separately, the Press and Journal reports widespread criticism of the decision to split responsibility for oil and gas between an unelected peer and a junior minister with no prior front bench experience.

Commenting, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“If David Mundell’s job as Scottish Secretary isn’t to be at the table when his colleagues are making decisions about UK wide economic policy then it’s not clear what his job actually is.

“The Tories can’t even claim that the interests of Scotland’s vital oil and gas industries will be represented by the UK Energy Secretary – as they have downgraded that post and divvied up responsibility between an unelected Lord and a newly appointed junior minister.

“The Scottish Government has made supporting the oil and gas industry during the current period of uncertainty an absolute priority. The SNP will support any measures from the UK Government that will do likewise, but despite raised expectations after a change of government at Westminster – it is already starting to feel like Scotland is being left on the outside looking in.”
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