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Ministerial role for International Development is cut

The Scottish Government have announced John Swinney’s new ministerial team which sees the removal of a Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development. This remit will fall to Angus Robertson MSP as Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture. The new team consists of 14 ministers supporting 11 cabinet secretaries including the First Minister, reducing the size of the Scottish Government by four since the start of the year.

In an initial response, Frances Guy, chief executive of Scotland’s International Development Alliance, said:

“We are disappointed that Scotland no longer has a dedicated Minister in this important role. However we look forward to working more closely with the Cabinet Secretary to strengthen Scotland’s contribution to global, sustainable development, as well as working with the new Deputy First Minister on policy coherence for sustainable development across government.”

SIDA will likely make further comment on the potential impact of this decision in the coming days.

SIDA member, Oxfam Scotland, have responded to the news. Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: 

“We are living in dangerous, fractious times; with bloody conflicts raging, millions of people on the brink of starvation and a planet which is ablaze. Humanitarian demands have skyrocketed while human rights face constant attack. At a time when global solidarity has never been more needed, the First Minister’s decision to axe the dedicated Ministerial position for International Development is deeply concerning. The First Minister must now show there is no weakening of Scotland’s long-standing commitment to being a good global citizen, including by delivering the SNP’s manifesto promise to boost Scotland’s small, but valuable funding to the communities who need it most.” 

In response to concerns raised online, Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs & Culture Angus Robertson has provided the following response:

“I remain fully committed to enhancing Scotland’s reputation as a good global citizen, including through our contribution to overseas development and humanitarian activities in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

“The Scottish Government wants to build on the proud history of the programme over the last 19 years. That will include action to improve links between the people of Scotland and those in the Global South, championing climate justice, delivering transformative development in sectors like education and health, and providing life-saving assistance for those in need all over the world.

“I am looking forward to leading on international development and global citizenship, in partnership with colleagues across the Cabinet and wider Government.”

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