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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 11 May 2022 [Draft]

Agenda: Portfolio Question Time, Ferry Problems, Violent Crime, Business Motion, Point of Order, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Approval of Scottish Statutory Instruments, Decision Time, Alcohol Services (LGBTQ+ People)


Contents


Approval of Scottish Statutory Instruments

The next item is motions on approval of SSIs. I ask Shona Robison to speak to and move motion S6M-04300, on approval of an SSI.

17:24  

We have worked at pace over the past two months, since the United Kingdom announced the sponsorship schemes, to understand what is needed and to respond to issues as they have arisen while the scheme develops.

The three instruments that we have laid today will work together to increase the options for safely housing people who are fleeing the illegal war in Ukraine. Alongside instruments that are being taken forward by Neil Gray, we are laying these instruments urgently because significant numbers of displaced people are now arriving. Applications are now turning into visas and people are travelling here. The Scottish Government is determined to ensure that safe accommodation options are in place for them.

The Scottish statutory instrument that amends private landlord registration will exempt from having to register under landlord registration legislation, people who are offering their second homes for free as part of the homes for Ukraine scheme. That exemption is only for people who are offering second homes through the scheme and have no intention of becoming landlords.

The purpose is to simplify the process and reduce the administrative burdens and costs that will be faced by hosts who take part in the scheme, who have generously offered their homes. Attracting second-home owners to offer their properties through the scheme is helpful, as a whole-property offer is an attractive housing solution for, for example, larger families. Ultimately, the change is intended to help to increase the number of properties that are offered through the scheme and, therefore, to support the displaced people of Ukraine.

I move,

That the Parliament agrees that the Private Landlord Registration (Modification) (Scotland) Order 2022 [draft] be approved.

The question on the motion will be put at decision time.

I ask Neil Gray to speak to and move motion S6M-04301, on approval of an SSI.

17:25  

The amendment order is intended to complement the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2022, which are also before Parliament. Together, they will ensure that the rules on self-disclosure and state disclosure of convictions are aligned to support the safety of persons who are fleeing the war in Ukraine, by enabling enhanced disclosure checks to be carried out on all individuals who offer to provide accommodation to those persons under the homes for Ukraine scheme.

In the private sector, different types of housing can be considered as suitable housing options as part of the scheme, including spare rooms that are offered by individuals within their own homes and whole properties that are offered by individuals, such as second homes, holiday lets and empty homes.

The instruments also take into account the immigration status of displaced persons who are arriving in the UK through the homes for Ukraine scheme.

The amendments in the order substitute previous amendments that were made by an order that was approved by Parliament in March. That is in order to reflect the developed policy position that any individual who is offering to provide accommodation under the homes for Ukraine scheme, regardless of whether that accommodation is to be provided within their own home or at a second property, can be the subject of enhanced disclosure, to provide that the individual is assessed as being suitable to do so under the scheme. That is to ensure that hosts are suitable, under the scheme. That is the right thing to do to ensure that we have safeguards in place for guests.

The illegal war in Ukraine has displaced 10 million people. Those who are seeking places of safety and sanctuary in the UK are predominantly women and children who are fleeing the war. Therefore, they have safeguarding needs, so it is of paramount importance that we ensure adequate protection.

Although we recognise that the vast majority of people who are volunteering to accommodate persons from Ukraine will present absolutely no risk of harm, Scottish ministers are aware, from previous similar schemes and recent examples, that people might seek to exploit vulnerabilities in the system and opportunities to cause harm. As individuals who offer whole properties under the scheme will not have entry to their property restricted by the terms of any lease, we consider that the level of disclosure checks that an individual who offers to provide accommodation is asked to undertake as part of the suitability assessment for the scheme should be the same, no matter the type of accommodation that is being offered.

The Government will keep the amendments under review to ensure that they are working effectively, and it will keep Parliament informed.

I move,

That the Parliament agrees that the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exclusions and Exceptions) (Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2022 [draft] be approved.

The question on the motion will be put at decision time.