News from the BPA

BPA Policy Manager reports on the SNP Conference

Limited focus on transport and ports issues at SNP Conference

Following last weeks Conservatve party conference round up, BPA Policy Manager Mark Simmonds has been following the developments at the SNP Conference in Glasgow this week and reports the following:

‘The Scottish Nationalist Party met for their 83rd annual conference in Glasgow this week. The three day gathering was focussed as the Party sought to emphasise their record in Government and concentrate on ‘bread and butter’ issues like education rather than independence.

There was very little on trade or transport. Conference attendees had no transport-related motions to debate and the Minister for Transport and Islands, Humza Yousaf, did not mention ports or ferries in his address to conference. Even on the fringe, transport discussion was confined to debates on passenger rail, busses, and congestion.

Nicola Sturgeon’s speech was the focal point of conference, but again had little of interest for the industry. The First Minister attacked Theresa May’s Government and particularly the EU Withdrawal Bill, which the SNP see as a ‘power grab’, handing back control of fishing, the environment and other devolved powers.

Conference delegates backed a motion describing the “the UK Government’s pursuit of a hard Brexit” as a “risk to Scotland’s fisheries industries” and backed the Scottish Government’s call for a “seat at the negotiating table”.

On air quality, Glasgow was confirmed as the first of four Scottish cities to introduce a low emission zone, in this case by the end of next year. A consultation on how these zones will work is currently open until the end of November and the Scottish Ports Group will be responding.

Very loosely related there was a motion to repeal the Sovereign Grant Act 2011 and spend funds generated by the Crown Estate on the ‘public good’. Management of the Crown Estate’s assets in Scotland have recently been devolved and the long-term options for how these assets will be controlled are currently being considered by Scottish Ministers. We will look into what effect, if any, this development has on that process.’

BPA Policy Manger – Mark Simmonds