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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Thursday, February 10, 2022

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 10 February 2022

Agenda: Point of Order, General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Online Pimping, Portfolio Question Time, Professional Qualifications Bill, Budget (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Health and Care Bill, Decision Time


Point of Order

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. I seek your guidance on the potential misleading of Parliament by a minister.

The national transition training fund was launched in October 2020 by the then minister, Fiona Hyslop, who said that the initial £11 million phase of the fund would help up to 6,000 people by March 2021. It was targeted at unemployed people. In a debate in November last year, I had an exchange with the minister Jamie Hepburn on the fund and the Government’s failure to meet the target of 6,000. That exchange was based on a media report earlier in the year, in which Mr Hepburn said:

“3000 places have been awarded”.

In the debate, Mr Hepburn intervened on my point about the failure to meet the 6,000 target for strand 1, to correct his own claim and to claim that the number was now 9,000. However, in today’s report from the national transition training fund, we discover that the number for strand 1 is not 9,000, 6,000, or even 3,000, but actually 1,206.

The minister claimed that the scheme was a success and that it had exceeded its target by 3,000 places, whereas, in fact, it had fallen short by 4,800—failing 4,800 unemployed people in their time of need—and the minister had potentially misled the Parliament on the scheme’s success. As is often the case with the Scottish Government, the talk is better than the action.

Presiding Officer, can you set out what avenues there are for ministers to correct the record?

I have not had a chance to see the report that the member refers to. However, Mr Rennie will be aware that the Presiding Officer is not responsible for the content of speeches made by members. The guidance on the corrections mechanism for the Official Report sets out the steps that a member can take if they wish to request that another member make a correction.

I remind members of the Covid-related measures in place across the chamber and the Holyrood campus and that face coverings should be worn.