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To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the long-term financial position of NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

Current Status: Due in Chamber on 24/05/2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether improved bowel cancer screening techniques in NHS Ayrshire and Arran are leading to longer waiting times for colonoscopies following positive screening results.

Current Status: Expected Answer date 21/05/2018

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of its comment in the Programme for Government that "improving the education and life chances of children and young people is the defining mission of this Government", what its response is to South Ayrshire Council's reported plan to introduce fees for instrumental tuition for children and young people; whether it considers that this decision is in breach of the (a) curriculum for excellence implementation plan and (b) Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) guidelines, and what impact it considers that this decision will have on children and young people's ability to access and benefit from instrumental tuition.

Answered by John Swinney (08/05/2018):

The Scottish Government recognises the value of the expressive arts which provide children and young people with opportunities to be creative and imaginative and to experience inspiration and enjoyment, contributing greatly to children and young people’s mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing. Expressive arts is one of the eight curriculum areas under Curriculum for Excellence.

The specific level of spending on schools is determined by local authorities. Councils have a legal responsibility for providing an adequate and efficient education, suitable to the needs of every child, in accordance with the principles of Getting it Right for Every Child. Within this settlement, sufficient resource should be made available to schools for supplies and equipment, with specific levels of funding for schools determined by individual councils. This covers class music lessons, including when any instrument is taught on a whole class basis, regardless of who is teaching the class. By contrast, an education authority may charge fees for the provision of an extra-curricular activity that it is not obliged to provide as an entitlement.

Current Status: Answered by John Swinney on 08/05/2018

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to support Scottish exports to international markets.

Answered by Keith Brown (07/02/2018):

Scotland’s international exports (excluding oil and gas) increased by £460 million to £29.8 billion in 2016. Whilst it is encouraging to see international exports continue to increase the Scottish Government recognises that more must be done to improve Scotland’s export performance and is committed to enabling more businesses to export.

We have established a Trade Board, we are taking forward the First Minister's Four Point Plan, including, continuing to enhance SDI's presence in Europe and establishing new international hubs in Berlin and Paris in addition to those in London and Dublin. We have recently appointed four Trade Envoys to champion Scottish interests at home and abroad. We are providing up to £400K to the Scottish Chambers of Commerce for five local/regional Export Partnership pilots across Scotland to support SMEs. The Enterprise and Skills review has committed to developing an enhanced and more focused international presence which will improve Scotland’s international visibility and promote opportunities for Scottish businesses.

Current Status: Answered by Keith Brown on 07/02/2018

To ask the Scottish Government how the forthcoming combined alcohol and drugs treatment strategy will provide targeted prevention, intervention and treatment for women, in light of the 169% increase in drug-related deaths in the last decade among women, which was recorded in the report, Drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2016.

Answered by Shona Robison (09/01/2018):

The Scottish Government’s refreshed Substance Misuse Treatment Strategy will recognise the need to develop appropriate high quality, person centred service responses to meet the specific needs of those most at risk from substance use who we know face wide ranging and complex social and medical issues.

Recognising that there has been an increase in the number of female drug related deaths in recent years, we have commissioned work that is currently being undertaken to examine this rise, the potential reasons behind it, and consider what actions can be taken. The findings will inform the Substance Misuse Treatment Strategy as well as future work.

Current Status: Answered by Shona Robison on 09/01/2018
To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the UK Government regarding establishing schemes that aim to attract more seasonal skilled labour across all sectors, such as the former Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.

Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 13/12/2017

To ask the Scottish Government what recent discussions the Minister for Local Government and Housing has had with councils regarding the sustainability of services.

Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 06/12/2017

To ask the Scottish Government by what date it will publish the consultation on the introduction of compulsory video recording of slaughter at abattoirs, as set out in its programme for government.

Answered by Fergus Ewing (30/11/2017):

As announced in the Programme for Government, the Scottish Government will consult, by the spring of 2018, on the introduction of compulsory video recording of slaughter at abattoirs in Scotland to aid enforcement of welfare requirements by abattoir management and Food Standards Scotland.

Current Status: Answered by Fergus Ewing on 30/11/2017