To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide further details regarding its Programme for Government 2023-24 commitment to develop a "long term strategic approach to skills and careers” in the culture and major events sector.
To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of how its EU alignment policy could be impacted by potential EU expansion, in light of the remarks of the President of the European Commission in her State of the European Union address.
To ask the Scottish Government what additional support it will provide to the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and other stakeholders to assist with hosting the Nordic Music Days festival, which is being held in Scotland for the first time in 2024.
To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the Scottish Prison Service regarding supporting and enabling families of prisoners to have better access to visiting their loved ones while they are in prison.
To ask the Scottish Government when it last met with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Fire Brigades Union to discuss the impact of any reduction in budget and services on communities, including in the South Scotland region.
To ask the Scottish Government when it anticipates that body-worn cameras will be
delivered to over 14,000 police officers, in light of its 2023-24 Programme for
Government commitment to support Police Scotland to achieve this.
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its engagement with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Fire Brigades Union regarding the FBU’s DECON campaign to raise awareness of and mitigate the carcinogenic nature of firefighting.
To ask the Scottish Government whether it can provide an update on how it plans to regularly monitor and evaluate the implementation of its Hate Crime Strategy for Scotland, in the lead up to the review that is planned for 2028.
Scottish Labour Party Debate: Protecting Scotland's Nature
Rhoda Grant (S6M-10498)
That the Parliament reaffirms its recognition of the climate emergency and the need to achieve a net zero future; recognises that Scotland has the potential for more carbon sequestration capacity by restoring peatlands and extending tree cover; regrets that the available budgets for woodland planting and peatland restoration are underspent by significant margins, and that targets are not being met; notes that the Scottish Government has promoted the use of private green finance to fill a purported £20 billion gap in funding for nature in Scotland, but that this figure, published by the Green Finance Institute, has been called into question and is now recognised by NatureScot as an overestimate; regrets that there was a lack of due diligence carried out by the Scottish Government; agrees that investment in the climate transition is crucial, but believes that Scotland’s natural environment should not be allowed to be used for greenwashing by private corporations, and calls on the Scottish Government to carry out a full and transparent consultation on the policy options and finance mechanisms available to advance Scotland’s capacity to sequestrate carbon.
As an amendment to motion S6M-10498 in the name of Rhoda Grant (Protecting Scotland's Nature), leave out from first "regrets" to end and insert "affirms its commitment to the Global Biodiversity Framework, which commits countries to "closing the biodiversity finance gap" and, in Target 19, calls for countries to "Substantially and progressively increase the level of financial resources from all sources"; commends the increase in public investment in nature through the Nature Restoration Fund and Peatland ACTION; recognises the vital role of the Forestry Grant Scheme in supporting woodland creation and sustainable forest management; agrees that investment in the climate transition is crucial, and that Scotland’s natural environment should not be allowed to be used for greenwashing by private corporations; recognises that tackling the climate and nature crises requires all parts of society to act; welcomes, therefore, the Scottish Government’s Interim Principles for Responsible Investment, which are designed to support a values-led, high-integrity market that ensures that communities benefit, and to support diverse and productive land ownership, as well as the recent publication of a consultation on Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy and an underpinning delivery plan, which will be followed by an investment plan; further welcomes the Scottish Government’s commitment to progress a Land Reform Bill and an Agriculture Bill; notes the valuable contribution made by the Scottish Land Commission in its report, Natural Capital and Land Reform, and looks forward to the Scottish Government’s response to its recommendations, and calls on all parties to work constructively to restore Scotland’s natural environment."
As an amendment to motion S6M-10498 in the name of Rhoda Grant (Protecting Scotland's Nature), insert at end "; regrets that, despite the pivotal role played by farmers, crofters and land managers in reducing emissions, capturing carbon, promoting biodiversity and restoring habitats through hard work, innovation and investment, they continue to be left in the dark over future support and await clarity regarding the proposed Agriculture Bill; agrees that investment is crucial to meet Scotland’s net zero goals; recognises the UK Government’s £1 billion in Track 2 funding for the carbon capture and storage project, to protect jobs and develop green skills, and acknowledges NatureScot’s Teaching, learning and play in the outdoors report, which highlights how outdoor education and play stimulate children’s connection to nature."
Scottish Labour Party Debate: Protecting Specialist Neonatal Services in Lanarkshire
Jackie Baillie (S6M-10497)
That the Parliament is concerned by the Scottish Government’s decision to downgrade the award-winning neonatal services in University Hospital Wishaw, which will result in newborn babies who require specialist care being transferred to one of three specialist intensive care neonatal units across Scotland; recognises that many families across Lanarkshire have had their newborn babies cared for in this Neonatal Intensive Care unit, and that they are deeply upset by this decision to withdraw critical services and expertise from local communities, and calls on the Scottish Government to reverse its decision.
As an amendment to motion S6M-10497 in the name of Jackie Baillie (Protecting Specialist Neonatal Services in Lanarkshire), leave out from “is concerned” to end and insert “believes that it is vital that the smallest and sickest babies born in Scotland receive the best and safest care possible to improve their life chances; notes evidence from expert clinicians that care for babies at highest risk is safest in units that treat a higher number of patients; agrees that parents would expect the Scottish Government to act on such evidence in the very best interests of their babies; welcomes the new model of neonatal intensive care, as recommended by The Best Start report, which was led by expert NHS clinicians and service user representatives, that delivers this change; notes that local neonatal units will continue to offer care to the vast majority of babies who need it, and that no neonatal units will close as part of the new model; further notes that all families who have a baby in neonatal care can access the Young Patients Family Fund, which provides support for costs of travel, food and accommodation; acknowledges the commitment of all neonatal staff across Scotland, and congratulates the Wishaw neonatal team on being named UK neonatal team of the year in 2023.”
As an amendment to motion S6M-10497 in the name of Jackie Baillie (Protecting Specialist Neonatal Services in Lanarkshire), insert at end “, and understands that declining maternity services is not being experienced exclusively in Lanarkshire, with Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin still waiting for its consultant-led maternity services to be restored, five years after they were temporarily downgraded, and with maternity services at Caithness having been permanently downgraded, leading to expectant mothers being forced to travel vast distances just to give birth.”
(b) that, for the purposes of Portfolio Questions in the week beginning 25 September 2023, in rule 13.7.3, after the word “except” the words “to the extent to which the Presiding Officer considers that the questions are on the same or similar subject matter or” are inserted.
George Adam on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau (S6M-10524)
That the Parliament agrees to nominate Kate Forbes as a full member of the Committee of the Regions UK Contact Group, and to nominate Keith Brown as a full member and Alexander Stewart as an alternate member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.
Members' Business — S6M-10307 Meghan Gallacher: Maternity Services in Scotland
Meghan Gallacher (S6M-10307)
That the Parliament notes with regret the recent reported decisions taken by the Scottish Government to downgrade or remove what it considers to be vital maternity services in Scotland, following the publication of the Five-year Forward Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Services options appraisal report; understands that the neonatal ward at University Hospital Wishaw will be downgraded from level 3 to 2, and that newborn babies requiring specialised care will be transferred to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, Simpsons Centre for Reproductive Health at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, or Aberdeen Maternity Unit; notes reports that NHS Lanarkshire has expressed disappointment that the neonatal unit at Wishaw General, which, alongside other hospitals such as Ninewells in Dundee and Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, would not form part of the specialist intensive care neonatal units; considers that this decision is particularly disappointing given that Wishaw General's Neonatal Multidisciplinary Team was named UK neonatal team of the year in 2023; recognises the upset and worry that these decisions have reportedly had on expectant mothers as, should their newborn baby require additional care, they would need to travel up to 100 miles away from their families and support network; notes the petition raised by a local Lanarkshire woman, which has now received nearly 12,000 supporting signatures; considers that this is just the latest maternity service to be downgraded, with consultant-led maternity clinics at Dr Gray’s and Caithness General Hospital being closed, which, it believes, is putting expectant mothers in rural communities at significant risk while making dangerous journeys to Inverness or Aberdeen to give birth, and notes the calls urging the Scottish Government to rethink its reported conclusion to downgrade or close what are considered to be vital maternity clinics, to support the petition, and to reassure expectant mothers and their families that they will not have to make long journeys should their babies require specialist care.
1. Decision on taking business in private: The Committee will decide whether its consideration of its policy on written submissions should be taken in private at a future meeting.
2. Consideration of continued petitions: The Committee will consider the following continued petitions— PE1856: Support the taxi trade;PE1919: Ban the sale of high caffeine products to children for performance enhancement;PE1966: Formally recognise and incorporate local knowledge in Scottish Government policy;PE1976: Backdate council tax discounts for dementia to the date of GP certification;PE1977: Require social services to inform biological fathers of concerns about their children; andPE1982: Review funding arrangements for higher education to help ensure more funded places are available for Scottish ballet dancers at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
3. Consideration of new petitions: The Committee will consider the following new petitions— PE2028: Extend the concessionary bus travel scheme to include people seeking asylum in Scotland;PE2029: Nationalise Clydeport to bring the ports and harbours on the river Clyde into public ownership;PE2030: Review cultural funding arrangements to enable Scotland to contribute to the Venice Biennale in 2024; andPE2031: Provide insulin pumps to all children with type 1 diabetes in Scotland.
For further information, contact the Clerk to the Committee, Andrew Mylne on 0131 348 5254 or at [email protected]
1. Decision on taking business in private: The Committee will decide whether to take items 5 and 6 in private.
2. Bankruptcy and Diligence (Scotland) Bill: The Committee will take evidence from—
Sarah-Jayne Dunn, Policy Manager for Financial Health, Citizens Advice Scotland
Becca Stacey, Senior Research Officer, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute
3. Report by the Fraser of Allander Institute on the economic contribution of the Pharmaceuticals Sector in Scotland: The Committee will take evidence from—
George Davidson, Chair of the Access and Value Group, ABPI Scotland
Sir Michael Ferguson, Regius Professor of Life Sciences , University of Dundee
Adam McGeoch, Economist Fellow, Fraser of Allander Institute
4. Bankruptcy and Diligence (Scotland) Bill (in private): The Committee will consider the evidence heard earlier under agenda item 2.
5. Report by the Fraser of Allander Institute on the economic contribution of the Pharmaceuticals Sector in Scotland: The Committee will consider the evidence heard earlier under agenda item 3.
6. Correspondence: The Committee will consider a letter from the Convener of the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee about scrutiny arrangements for the Scottish Government’s next climate change plan.
For further information, contact the Clerk to the Committee, Anne Peat on 85182 or at [email protected]