Question reference: S6W-12568
- Asked by: Ross Greer, MSP for West Scotland, Scottish Green Party
- Date lodged: 23 November 2022
Current status: Initiated by the Scottish Government. Answered by Lorna Slater on 24 November 2022
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will report on the outcome of the recent summit meeting of the British Irish Council in Blackpool.
On 11 November 2022, the First Minister and I represented the Scottish Government at the Summit meeting of the British-Irish Council hosted by the UK Government in Blackpool. The meeting was attended by Ministers from seven of the eight of the BIC Member Administrations with Northern Ireland represented by senior officials in an observational capacity.
The Prime Minister, who was attending for the separate Heads of Government Council meeting, welcomed delegates to Blackpool on the Thursday evening ahead of the Summit. The Summit meeting itself was chaired by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, Michael Gove.
The Summit focussed on Sustainable Economic Growth and Regeneration, and on that topic I attended a site visit to the Lancashire Energy HQ. The Energy HQ is situated within the regenerated Blackpool Enterprise Zone and focusses on training and engineering skills for the sustainable energy sources industry. During the main Summit meeting I reflected on the visit and similar activity undertaken in Scotland to assist our just transition to net zero.
On the latest Political Developments item, the First Minster communicated views on the cost-of-living crisis, EU relations, the climate crisis and the ongoing situation in Ukraine. As well as the Heads of Government Council meeting with the PM and FM Wales, the First Minister also took the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with Prime Minister and the Taoiseach.
The Communiqué that was issued by the British-Irish Council after the meeting can be found on its website at: www.britishirishcouncil.org
38th British-Irish Council Summit, UK Government
11 November 2022
The British-Irish Council (BIC) held its 38th Summit meeting today hosted by the UK Government in Blackpool. The Prime Minister opened the 38th British Irish Council Summit Programme, welcoming delegates to Blackpool on Thursday. A full list of Ministerial participants at the Summit meeting is attached.
As part of the programme, Ministers were invited to visit local businesses to set in context discussions at the plenary meeting on sustainable local growth, which the Secretary of State for Levelling Up chaired.
Latest Political Developments
The Council reflected on the latest political developments across their administrations, and took the opportunity to engage on a number of topics of mutual interest. These included the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the impact of the rising cost of living, shared climate and decarbonisation objectives, and ongoing relations with the EU. The Council received an update on Northern Ireland and looked forward to the restoration of the devolved institutions.
The Council also noted that 2023 would mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, and underlined the importance of supporting the effective functioning of all of the agreement’s institutions, including the British-Irish Council.
Sustainable Growth and Regeneration
The Council discussed the topic of sustainable growth and regeneration further during the Summit meeting, considering efforts underway across BIC Member Administrations to stimulate and support sustainable economic growth, the development of more inclusive communities, and to address pressures on housing in particular.
The Council took the opportunity to review recent thematic activity across the BIC’s work sectors aimed at supporting thriving local economies and building sustainable and resilient communities. The Council also noted the recent Ministerial meeting of the BIC Social Inclusion work sector, which took place in Cardiff and where Ministers considered how best administrations can support the growth and development of the Social Enterprise sector.
Next Summit Meeting
The Council noted that the next BIC Summit will be hosted by the Government of Jersey.
11 November 2022
List of Ministerial Delegates Government of Guernsey
Deputy Peter Ferbrache
Michel Martin TD
Isle of Man Government
Alfred Cannan MHK
Government of Jersey
Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity
Lorna Slater MSP
Secretary of State for Levelling Up and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations
Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
Minister of State for Northern Ireland
Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP
Rt Hon Mark Drakeford MS