On 3 September 2007 the Scottish Ministers announced the formal adoption of the title Scottish Government to replace the term Scottish Executive as an expression of corporate identity.  The re-branding has immediate effect. Signs at the six main Government buildings in Edinburgh and Glasgow have already been changed but other material such as stationery will only be changed gradually to be as cost effective as possible in the transition.  The decision to adopt the new identity was taken because research showed that the term Scottish Executive was confusing or meaningless to many members of the public.  The legal name remains the Scottish Executive, however, thanks to section 44 of the Scotland Act 1998, which reads:


44. The Scottish Executive

(1) There shall be a Scottish Executive, whose members shall be—

(a) the First Minister,

(b) such Ministers as the First Minister may appoint under section 47, and

(c) the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland.

The next subsection adds:

(2) The members of the Scottish Executive are referred to collectively as the Scottish Ministers.

Meanwhile, the SNP Government continued to set hares running on the substance of the devolution settlement embodied in the Scotland Act (see previously No 665), raising questions about the reserved right to legislate on firearms (in particular in order to regulate the use of airguns in Scotland, the subject of petitions to the Scottish Parliament by families of victims of the misuse of such weapons).  A spokesman for the First Minister indicated on 25 August that the objective was a consolidated Firearms Act designed for Scottish needs and circumstances, and that there had been a sympathetic response to this from Whitehall.  Altogether less sympathetic, however, was the view of Scotland Office Minister David Cairns who told an oil industry conference in Aberdeen on 4 September that the UK Government had no intention of devolving oil and gas powers to Holyrood, despite overtures fro the First Minister about more Scottish control over the industry’s revenues.  The interests of both Scotland and the UK are best served through continued economic union and the benefits which accompany a UK-wide approach, said Mr Cairns.  Our thinking on this issue is therefore unequivocal – introducing needless uncertainty into an £11bn industry which supports half a million jobs is not an option for the UK Government.