For Immediate Release: Monday 6 September, 00.01 hrs.
MACASKILL SLAMS “THE COURT OF QUEEN NIC”
SCOTTISH MINISTERS AT THE HIGHEST NUMBER EVER IN THE HISTORY OF DEVOLUTION AS INDEPENDENCE PUSH STALLS
In a paper published today (Monday) Kenny MacAskill MP has revealed that the size of the Scottish Government’s ministerial team has grown to the extent that it is now bigger in actual numbers than Norway and in proportional terms bigger than Ireland. This despite the fact that the two Independent countries have considerably greater power than Scotland over the economy, taxation rates, social security, foreign affairs and international affairs.
In a statement Kenny MacAskill MP said:
“Devolved Scotland now has more actual Ministers than independent Norway with 27 ministers in Scotland out of a parliament of 129 compared to 20 in Norway which has 169 MPs. This is despite Norway having significantly greater powers including over its currency and monetary policy, all taxation rates, foreign affairs, international development and defence.
“In the case of Ireland just over a fifth (22%) of the members elected to their Parliament – 35 out of 160 are Ministers while in Scotland that figure has now risen to over a quarter (27%) – 27 out of 129. Again despite Ireland being an independent state.
“We are seeing the Court of Queen Nic with the number of ministers now at the highest level ever in the history of Devolution.
“Under this Scottish Government progress on independence has stalled, despite there being a renewed mandate in the Parliament for a referendum. Meanwhile administering devolution has become the priority.
“The Scottish Government has acquired limited additional powers since the Smith Commission reported in 2014, most notably over social security, powers which have still to be fully implemented.
“However none of this can justify the growth in the size of the Ministerial team and certainly not in relation to independent Ireland and Norway.
“The success of the Scottish Government in making progress on Independence as well as tackling the challenges facing the country in health, education, transport and jobs seems to be in inverse proportion to the number of Ministers appointed.
“It seems that the more Scottish Ministers there are the less progress there actually is in preparing Scotland for Independence.
“Despite the highest number of ministers in the history of Devolution the Scottish Government has failed to update the Independence White Paper to take account of the changed circumstances since 2014 and they have failed to provide answers or even just basic information on issues such as currency, debt, trade and borders.
“The fact remains that no number of ministers can compensate for the lack of progress on Independence as well as the overall policy vacuum, absence of vision and ambition displayed by the Scottish Government over a whole swathe of policy issues for which they have responsibility”.
Government Cabinets vary according to population demographics and the geography of locality. The Scottish Government Cabinet sets the priorities for public policy. The cabinet is made up of the First Minister and all Cabinet Secretaries. Relationships of delegation exist within the cabinet, from the First Minister to the rest of the cabinet, and between cabinet secretaries and the junior ministers in each portfolio.
Where government ministers are elected through proportional representation, such as the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales, coalitions are more likely produced. Collective ministerial responsibilities arise through the convention of a coalition government.
The Scottish Parliament has powers of primary legislation over certain devolved areas of government. There are a number of remaining areas of policy reserved to Westminster including Defence, Immigration and Foreign Policy among others. Whilst some new social security powers have been granted to the Scottish government, in all, powers have only grown marginally, however, in contrast, the size of the government has expanded exponentially in recent years.
The Scottish Parliament comprises of 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), 73 of these MSP’s represent geographical constituencies. Eight additional regions return a further 56 MSP’s.
The Scottish government cabinet numbers have varied over the years. The parliamentary term of 2007-11 saw the instalment of 6 cabinet ministers including the First Minister and an additional 13 junior ministers. Ministerial numbers then slightly expanded in the 2011-16 term with 9 cabinet ministers appointed including First Minister and 12 junior ministers.
Comparisons of cabinet sizes can be drawn from the independent nations of Norway and the Republic of Ireland who have similar population sizes; although unlike Scotland their governments are responsible for all areas of legislation and government policy.
Norway has a similar population to that of Scotland at around 5.5 million citizens. The parliament consists of 169 parliamentarians. The Norwegian Cabinet comprises of 20 senior government ministers including the Prime Minister operating a coalition government.
The republic of Ireland has a population of just over 4.9 million people, represented by 160 parliamentarians elected by a system of proportional representation. The cabinet consists of 15 members including the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste, as well as a further 20 ministers.
This year has seen further ministerial increases to the Scottish government with 10 cabinet ministers appointed, as well as 17 junior ministers, an addition of 5 on previous years. This is the largest cabinet and ministerial team to date in the history of Devolution.
|Country||Population||Members of Parliament||Cabinet/Junior Ministers|
|Republic of Ireland||4.982 million||160||35|