THE chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee has said he is “disappointed” that the UK Government has refused to issue guidance to overseas offices about the celebration of “key Scottish dates”.

In a report published in September, the committee found that the UK and Scottish governments generally worked well in the promoting of Scotland’s interest’s overseas, but called for a strategy to allow embassies to access guidance on the celebration of days like St Andrew’s Day and Burns Night.

But in its response, the UK Government said it would leave the celebration of such days up to the discretion of staff at embassies, who have “many years of tried and tested experience”.

Pete Wishart, the SNP MP and chair of the committee, said: “As a committee, we found there were differing levels of engagement and knowledge related to Scotland’s key interests around the globe as well as a lack of a clear idea of exactly what the UK Government’s priorities are for promoting Scotland internationally.

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“As Scots worldwide celebrate St Andrew’s Day, I’m disappointed that the extent to which embassies around the globe are telling the nation’s story and celebrating Scottish culture will remain inconsistent.

“Unfortunately, it was hard to identify a clear plan which will ensure Scotland receives the international recognition it deserves.

“It is, therefore, difficult to see how the UK Government will fully support Scotland to maximise the potential offered by our brilliant industries.”

The UK Government’s response said: “There is wide variation across the global network in terms of how the Scottish brand resonates locally.

“Issuing prescriptive guidance to the overseas network does not necessarily provide the most effective way to promote the best of Scotland.

“Therefore, posts are given discretion to celebrate national days how they see fit, based on many years of tried and tested experience, and the relationships they have developed with host organisations, including Scottish diaspora groups.”

It added: “The FCDO will continue to work closely with the Scotland Office, Department for Business and Trade (DBT) and the Scottish Government to provide overall advice on combining the modern and traditional aspects of Scotland, including continuing to recognise and use the opportunities which key cultural dates undoubtedly create.

“UK Government departments will also continue to co-ordinate to identify promoting opportunities for key Scottish industries unrelated to cultural days.

“The UK Government’s written and oral evidence to the committee included various examples of how the overseas network has helped to forge international links in sectors such as offshore wind and hydrogen technologies.”