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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-01162: Ash Denham (Edinburgh Eastern)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 30 June 2016

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will report on the outcome of the recent summit meeting of the British-Irish Council.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 5 July 2016

On 17 June 2016, the Scottish Government hosted the twenty sixth meeting of the British-Irish Council in Glasgow. The summit was attended by ministers from all eight Member Administrations and was chaired by the First Minister. Also attending for the Scottish Government was the Minister for Public Health and Sport and myself.

Coming the day after the tragic death of MP Jo Cox, the Council observed a minute silence and offered condolences to her family.

Recognising that a number of administrations have had elections this year Council Members took the opportunity to discuss their governments’ priorities. The First Minister highlighted the outcome of the EU Referendum as the most important issue facing Scotland, reiterating the Scottish Government’s position of wanting to remain within the EU and stressed the detrimental impact a leave vote would have on the Scottish economy. [As the First Minister said in her statement on 28 June, she remains closely in touch with the heads of other administrations in the British-Irish Council.]

The First Minister went on to advise the Council of Scotland’s continued economic recovery and the importance of sustaining and growing that strong economy to underpin the investment we are making in Scotland’s public services. In particular the First Minister mentioned education and the Scottish Government’s commitment to close the gap in educational outcomes; updating the Council on our new National Improvement Framework and the positive findings from the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) review of Scotland’s approach to curriculum development and education policy and practice.

The Council agreed that there was merit in examining whether there were common themes emerging from respective Programmes for Government on issues where Members could work together to share information and ideas. The Council also approved a measure to move the current work sectors towards a task and finish approach to ensure that the subjects remain focused on the Council’s priorities.

A paper prepared by the Social Inclusion work sector on carers was discussed and future priorities agreed at meeting of Ministers with responsibility for unpaid carers, (chaired earlier in the day by the Minister for Public Health and Sport). The Council further discussed how best Administrations can support carers by looking at best practice, new and creative policy responses and community actions; particular regard will be paid to young carers, carers of older people and older carers, carer identity and telehealth, telecare and assistive technologies.

The Communiqué and paper on Carers that was issued by the British-Irish Council, after the meeting, can be found on their website at