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To ask the Scottish Government what response it has received from the UK Government to the concerns that it has raised regarding people from Scotland being blocked from returning from overseas visits due to the United States imposing a travel ban.

Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 31/01/2017

To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to review the application of business rates.

Answered by Derek Mackay (02/02/2017):

The Barclay review of business rates will report to Ministers this Summer.

Current Status: Answered by Derek Mackay on 02/02/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the impact of the Celtic Connections festival on the economy of (a) Glasgow and (b) Scotland.

Answered by Fiona Hyslop (24/01/2017):

An answer to this was provided in question S4W-29363 on 27 January 2016.

Celtic Connections 2016 Economic Impact Assessment, carried out by EKOS Limited for Glasgow Life was published in June 2016. The report showed the following results:

Economic Impact 2016

Celtic Connections 2016 generated expenditure of £5,537,195 from visitors from the Glasgow area and £1,732,247 from visitors from the rest of Scotland.

Once all organiser costs have been taken into account, the calculation of economic impact has identified that the festival has a benefit of £4,002,532 across Scotland. (This is made up of £3,899,433 from the Glasgow area and £1,031,099 from across the rest of Scotland).

The festival is estimated to have generated over a hundred full-time equivalent jobs for one year across Scotland in 2016 (79.6 jobs in Glasgow and 24.8 jobs across the rest of Scotland).

All answers to written Parliamentary Questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at

Current Status: Answered by Fiona Hyslop on 24/01/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what support it has provided to the 2017 Celtic Connections festival.

Answered by Fiona Hyslop (24/01/2017):

Creative Scotland has provided £550K of regular funding for the period of 2015-2018. In addition, they provided funding of £8K towards the Gaelic and Scots Showcase in 2017.

Scottish Government, through Major Events, provided BEMIS funding during 2016-17 for multi-cultural programme to celebrate Scotland's Winter Festivals. A provisional amount of around £4,000 was been earmarked by BEMIS to support their Burns event as part of Celtic Connections.

VisitScotland, as part of the Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology are providing funding of £40k on a Youth marketing Traditional Music project which will launch on the 26th January during Celtic Connections.

EventScotland are supporting Celtic Connections via a range of mediums including The List Guide to Festivals launch at Celtic Connections and an International Media visit.

Current Status: Answered by Fiona Hyslop on 24/01/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what engagements (a) ministers and (b) officials will be undertaking at the 2017 Celtic Connections festival.

Answered by Fiona Hyslop (24/01/2017):

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs attended/is attending:

The opening reception and concert with Laura Marling and BBC SSO

Showcase Scotland Gaelic and Brazil reception

BEMIS Burns Supper

Karine Polwart, Wind Resistance

La Banda Europa

Transatlantic Sessions

The Culture Secretary will have official support at the opening reception, Showcase Scotland receptions and BEMIS Burns Supper.

Current Status: Answered by Fiona Hyslop on 24/01/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the Glasgow Integration Joint Board report, Impact of Universal Credit on Homelessness Budgets.

Answered by Jeane Freeman (30/01/2017):

The Scottish Government is aware of the pressures on other services and budgets caused by the UK Government’s welfare reforms. We cannot fully mitigate all UK Government cuts, however funding for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) for both the bedroom tax and other welfare changes will be higher in 2017-18 (£58 million) than 2016-17 (£50 million) to help protect those most affected by the damaging effects of welfare reform. Local authorities are also free to top up their DHP funds if they wish to do so.

Current Status: Answered by Jeane Freeman on 30/01/2017

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will use its new powers over universal credit (UC) to address reported concerns that there have been a number of homeless claimants entering the UC system in error.

Answered by Jeane Freeman (31/01/2017):

We are aware there are some issues with homeless people on Universal Credit, however, it is not something that our new social security powers can rectify. We have raised the issue with DWP and asked them to investigate the Glasgow reports and find a way to resolve the matter both for these cases and in the longer term.

Current Status: Answered by Jeane Freeman on 31/01/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what the impact on its policy of tackling homelessness has been of the UK Government’s welfare reforms.

Answered by Kevin Stewart (25/01/2017):

Scotland has some of the strongest homelessness rights in the world, but the Scottish Government has been clear that various aspects of the UK Government’s welfare reform has served to undermine these rights by reducing the resources available for homeless people through the benefits system.

The Scottish Government, with stakeholders, have expressed our concerns to the UK Government about various welfare reform measures, such as the impact of Universal Credit on the provision of temporary accommodation for homeless people in Scotland, over a number of years.

The Scottish Government cannot mitigate all aspects of welfare reform, but has taken steps to mitigate the bedroom tax to help prevent homelessness.

Recently published homelessness statistics for April-September 2016 show a continuing fall in homelessness applications in Scotland. This illustrates the progress made by local authorities and their partners in tackling and preventing homelessness despite the additional pressures brought by UK Government welfare reform.

Current Status: Answered by Kevin Stewart on 25/01/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what analysis it has made of what the impact would be on homeless people of the proposal to close half of the job centres in Glasgow.

Answered by Jamie Hepburn (31/01/2017):

The Scottish Government recognises that homeless people, and those who face health and mobility problems, will be among those impacted by the reduction in JobCentre offices. Scottish Government is therefore pressing Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to ensure the impact of potential jobcentre closures on vulnerable customers, including homeless people, is fully analysed and assessed.

I have been in regular contact with the DWP Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Minister of State for Employment, to highlight the impact of the proposed closures on vulnerable customers who struggle to access services. I am also highlighting the issues raised by Members of the Scottish Parliament Member’s Debate on 19 January 2017to UK Ministers, and the Scottish Government will respond to DWP’s consultation on the proposed closures in Bridgeton, Castlemilk and Maryhill.

I will continue to press UK Ministers on our concerns about the impact of the closure of jobcentres, particularly in light of the DWP announcement of further closures elsewhere in Scotland made on 26 January 2017.

Current Status: Answered by Jamie Hepburn on 31/01/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what the implications are for Creative Europe-funded projects in light of the EU referendum result.

Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 11/01/2017