Question S5W-20815: Constitution and External Affairs
Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/01/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what information it can provide regarding the Deputy First Minister’s recent visit to India.
Answered by Fiona Hyslop (08/01/2019):
The Deputy First Minister undertook a successful visit to India (New Delhi and Bangalore) between 24 – 28 November 2018, to strengthen the growing business, cultural and educational links between Scotland and the world’s fastest growing major economy.
The visit highlighted Scotland’s expertise in Innovation, primarily focused on the Technology, Life Sciences and Energy sectors. The Deputy First Minister was accompanied by 15 experts in these fields from six Scottish Universities, who engaged with Indian universities and businesses with a view to promoting trade and investment partnerships. In collaboration with key industry associations and partners including the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), leading Indian Life Sciences company Biocon and the Scotch Whisky Association, the Deputy First Minister hosted four thought leadership events aimed at engaging with key trade and investment prospects to highlight Scotland’s strengths. The Deputy First Minister engaged with key investors such as Genpact, Hinduja Global Solutions, Wipro and new investors/collaborators (including Biocon, Oyo Hotels and drug discovery services company Aurigene) to understand their operations and plans for Scotland.
As a result of the visit, Hinduja Global Solutions, a significant investor in Scotland, have announced the creation of 150 new jobs in Selkirk. and the University of Glasgow and Biocon Limited signed an MoU to facilitate joint PHD programmes between the two organisations focusing on disease biology (oncology, diabetes and auto-immune diseases), as well as technologies covering discovery, analytics and development of biologics. The Deputy First Minister also met with the two Edinburgh University graduates who formed Carbon Masters – an innovative business turning food waste into biofuel and organic manure - that just won a major £1.5 million waste recycling contract with the Bangalore Municipal Authority.
The Deputy First Minister had a constructive meeting with Suresh Prabhu, the Minister for Commerce and Industry, which further strengthened bilateral relations. In this meeting, the Deputy First Minister outlined the focus of his programme and discussed how India and Scotland might collaborate across a range of areas including Life Sciences and entrepreneurship.
The Deputy First Minister highlighted Scotland’s expertise in social enterprise, announcing the second year of funding for the Scotland:India Impact Link programme. This programme, supported by the Scottish Government, provides investment and training for Indian social enterprises backed up with mentoring from Scottish social enterprises, through the Social Enterprise Academy in India.
The Deputy First Minister met recipients of the first round of funding, including Prosoc Innovators who have devised a unique solution to help underprivileged children having the right furniture at home and school to support their studies. The DESKIT, a normal school bag that is convertible into a study table, has benefitted more than 7,000 students in 10 Indian states so far.
While in New Delhi the Deputy First Minister visited Lemon Tree Hotels, to witness a Scotland-India partnership with Glasgow Kelvin College which will facilitate access to training and employment for people with supported learning needs in both countries.
This is a unique partnership developing brand new training and college education frameworks for people with supported learning needs to enable them to access full time roles on the same basis as non-disabled people. The partnership supports social justice objectives in both countries including the Fairer Scotland Action Plan. Social Security Scotland are supporting the initiative and will look at building learning from this programme into their employment practice.
While visiting Lemon Tree Hotels, the Deputy First Minister was also presented with a copy of Being Reshma, the book written by acid attack survivor Reshma Qureshi whom he met on his previous visit to India. Reshma was accompanied by Tania Singh from the NGO, Make Love Not Scars. The Deputy First Minister has provided sleeve notes for the book, which is to be published in the UK next year.
The Deputy First Minister attended a round table discussion hosted by British Council and NITI Aayog, one of India’s leading policy think tanks, with six Scottish and five Indian universities themed on Data and Innovation. Connections between Scottish and Indian Universities were identified and new research partnerships explored.
While in New Delhi, the Deputy First Minister attended a Visit Scotland Travel Trade Roundtable, where key companies from the Indian travel trade and airlines were represented. Scotland was promoted as a place to visit and tourism links were discussed.
In Delhi, the Deputy First Minister attended a dinner with chief executives from Indian oil and gas companies, to look at opportunities for Indian and Scottish companies to work together in this field. In order to drive this further collaboration, Scottish Development International have started recruiting for an energy specialist in India.
In Bangalore, the Deputy First Minister formally launched the Berambadi Primary School Waste Water Treatment Plant. This unique collaboration, funded through the Scottish Government’s Hydro Nation International programme, has seen Scotland’s James Hutton Institute working with Indian partners, piloting new technology to provide clean water and sanitation to a school of 200 pupils.
The Deputy First Minister attended two St Andrew’s Day receptions, and formally launched the Scotland Is Now campaign in India. The events showcased Scotland as a place to work, study and invest in, and encouraged and forged good relationships with the Indian business, culture, tourism and education sectors, as well as promoting Scottish food, drink and creative industries. At both events he met alumni from Scottish universities, to understand the impact that studying in Scotland has made.
The Deputy First Minister also took the opportunity to raise the case of Jagtar Singh Johal, with both the UK and Indian Governments.
The Deputy First Minister had media engagements with Indian business papers Business Standard and Hindu Business Line and the visit generated positive media coverage in both Scotland and India, both on social and print media.
Question S5W-20860: Education, Communities and Justice
Rona Mackay, Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/01/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what the outcome was of Education Scotland’s review of the Yammer service within Glow.
Answered by John Swinney (10/01/2019):
The review was carried out during summer 2018 and the full review document will be published later today on the Glow Connect website at the following link - https://glowconnect.org.uk/yammer-review/
The review concluded that whilst there are clear and demonstrable educational benefits for learner use of Yammer, there are significant challenges with regard to control, moderation and safeguarding. In addition, the new services of Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom have now been incorporated within Glow and provide similar functionality in a more controlled environment.
Yammer is being well used by staff for collaboration on a range of topics; is facilitating professional dialogue; and supports development of and interaction with Professional Learning Communities.
In conclusion, I have decided that Yammer access will not be reinstated for learners but will remain available to staff and that Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom will be promoted as suitable alternatives for pupil collaboration.
Question S5W-21052: Rural Economy
Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/01/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans testing fisheries management measures relating to nephrops in inshore fisheries.
Answered by Fergus Ewing (17/01/2019):
In June 2018 the Scottish Government announced the outcome of an Inshore Fisheries Pilot consultation. At this time three Inshore Fisheries Pilots were announced.
- A seasonal restriction on mobile gear fishing near Mull;
- A restriction on creel numbers in the Outer Hebrides; and
- Zonal fishing management arrangements in waters off Arbroath and Montrose.
Since then, Marine Scotland officials have worked with local fisherman from the Inner Sound of Skye area, resulting in a revised proposal to test management of the nephrops fisheries in this area.
This proposal has the potential to offer some unique learning opportunities and to help inform our future fisheries strategy. I’m therefore pleased to announce a consultation on this proposal, and encourage all local fishers and stakeholders to respond.
The consultation will be circulated to stakeholders and published on the Scottish Government website later today:
Question S5W-21050: Transport Scotland
Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/01/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when the invitation to tender for the Northern Isles Ferry Services will be issued.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (17/01/2019):
The Invitation to Tender for the Northern Isles Ferry Services was issued to the pre-qualifying participants at 14.00 on 17 January 2019.
Question S5W-21049: Economy
Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/01/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the BSE risk status of Scotland, following the recent case in Aberdeenshire.
Answered by Mairi Gougeon (18/01/2019):
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) have analysed an epidemiological report into this isolated case of BSE and concluded that Scotland complies with the provisions of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code and qualifies for the re-instatement of a “controlled BSE risk” status. The re-instatement of controlled BSE risk status was effective immediately on the 26 December 2018. The UK Chief Veterinary Officer has written to a number of key international trading partners to inform them of the outcome.
Question S5W-21076: Economy
Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/01/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to better understand the role that mobile abattoirs could play in the rural economy and constituencies such Caithness, Sutherland and Ross.
Answered by Fergus Ewing (18/01/2019):
The Scottish Government recognises the importance local slaughter provisions can play in the red meat sector. As such on the 16 January we invited applications through our Contract Research Fund Project to bid for a research project that will look to assess the viability and sustainability options of mobile abattoirs in Scotland. The closing date for tenders is noon on 12 February 2019. We envisage that the project will start in March and complete in the Autumn and will look to provide detailed analysis of all aspects that would be required to operate mobile abattoirs in Scotland. This will include reviewing business models in other countries, costs involved and the regulatory environment and will be used to determine their potential use in Scotland.
Question S5W-21250: Health and Social Care
Bill Kidd, Glasgow Anniesland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/01/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide information of the review of Queen Elizabeth University Hospital that it has commissioned and assurances that the review will be robust, independent and transparent.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (25/01/2019):
The independent review will look at the building’s design, commissioning and construction, handover and ongoing maintenance, how these matters contribute to effective infection control and any other areas considered necessary by those carrying out the review.
The review will follow the principles outlined in Professor Alison Britton’s report which was published in October last year. This means that the chair will be independent and will be the principal author in the drafting of the remit and they will be involved in the decision as to how the terms of reference will set.
The Independent Chair will soon be appointed on the basis of their proven expertise in construction design and knowledge of the health care system.
It is essential that all relevant information is available to the reviewers to ensure that a robust, evidence-based assessment can be provided. It is expected that individuals involved in the design, construction, commissioning and maintenance of the hospital, along those providing healthcare (staff) and relevant expertise will input into the review. Patients and families will also have an opportunity to have their views heard. It will be for those undertaking the review to establish where and how the required information is collected.
The review will fully address and investigate all matters it considers relevant. The review’s recommendations will be made public and the Scottish Government will inform Parliament of its response to the review recommendations. We must all understand what the issues are, why they have arisen and the recommendations will be taken forward and learning applied across NHS Scotland to ensure our healthcare facilities – existing and future – are fit for purpose and support the delivery of world class health care.
Question S5W-21344: Organisational Development and Operations
Rona Mackay, Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/01/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the review of its procedure for handling complaints about Ministers or former Ministers, and on the First Minister’s self-referral under the Ministerial Code.
Answered by John Swinney (31/01/2019):
The Scottish Government is committed to carrying out a review of the application of its procedure for handling complaints about Ministers or former Ministers. The review will be externally led and will examine the first application of the procedure to ensure that lessons are applied for any future complaints that are brought forward.
However, the Scottish Government does not wish to undertake any activity which may unintentionally prejudice live criminal proceedings, adversely impact the rights of anyone involved in the proceedings or affect the formal criminal process which is now under way. As a result, this review of its procedure for handling complaints about Ministers or former Ministers will not be progressed at this stage.
The First Minister’s self-referral under the Ministerial Code has been discussed with James Hamilton, the Independent Adviser on the Code. Mr Hamilton has concluded that there is a potential risk of prejudice if the First Minister’s self-referral under the Ministerial Code were to proceed at the present time. It has therefore been agreed that the inquiry under the Ministerial Code should also be deferred while criminal investigations are active.
Both the Scottish Government review and consideration under the Ministerial Code will recommence once criminal proceedings are no longer active and the risk of prejudice has been removed.
Question S5W-21335: Economy
Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/01/2019
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the statement to the Parliament by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands on 22 November 2018, when it plans to launch its consultation on whether Energy Efficient Scotland can be accelerated.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (31/01/2019):
The Scottish Government will publish a consultation in March seeking views on whether Energy Efficient Scotland can be accelerated and how the risks of doing so can be overcome. This consultation will also set out more detail about the suite of legislation the Scottish Government will bring forward to support delivery of Energy Efficient Scotland, including district heating.
Question S5W-21474: Education, Communities and Justice
Clare Adamson, Motherwell and Wishaw, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/02/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to publish the first annual report of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education and Training Strategy for Scotland.
Answered by Richard Lochhead (07/02/2019):
The first annual report of the STEM Strategy will be published on the Scottish Government website today and is available here: www.gov.scot/isbn/9781787813649
The report notes that much progress has been made in the first year with key developments in areas such as: promoting successful approaches to tackling inequality including gender stereotyping and bias in STEM ; the introduction of STEM Bursaries to encourage career changers into STEM Teaching; a new Young STEM leaders mentoring programme to inspire the next generation for STEM; and, college-led STEM hubs to strengthen collaboration between universities, science centres and employers.
Question S5W-21699: Economy
Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/02/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what progress it is making on completing the devolution of forestry by bringing into force the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018.
Answered by Fergus Ewing (18/02/2019):
A package of regulations was laid on 15 February which will bring into force the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 on 1 April 2019. This package also creates a new regime for the regulation of forestry, which is based on the current regime to ensure continuity for the forestry sector, but is also modernised in line with the Act itself.
Alongside the recently published Scottish Forestry Strategy 2019-2029
, the new regulatory regime will help us to achieve our ambitions for forestry in Scotland and complete the devolution of forestry this year.
Question S5W-21724:Constitution and External Affairs
Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/02/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what information it can provide regarding the opening of the Scottish Government Innovation and Investment Hub in Paris.
Answered by Fiona Hyslop (20/02/2019):
I am pleased to advise of the opening of our Hub in Paris on 18 February. The Hub is located in rue d’Anjou, where Scottish Development International has recently relocated its offices.
The purpose of the Hub is to promote Scotland’s interests in France. This will include building on existing trade and investment activity to boost Scotland’s trade with France and supporting innovation-focussed collaboration and entrepreneurial exchange between the two nations. France was Scotland’s third biggest export market in 2016, the biggest one for food & drink. Furthermore, the Hub will serve as a way of promoting Scotland’s interests in key international organisations based in Paris such as the OECD and ESCO.
The head of our new Hub in Paris is Lucy Sterne, has extensive Government experience having worked for the Department for Work and Pensions, and, HM Treasury and on secondment to the New Zealand Treasury.
Question S5W-21753: Government Business and Constitutional Relations
Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/02/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an assessment of the economic implications of a no deal Brexit for the Scottish economy.
Answered by Derek Mackay (21/02/2019):
The Scottish Government’s Chief Economist has today published an economic analysis of the implications of a No Deal Brexit on Scotland. The report sets out the channels through which a No Deal Brexit could impact on the Scottish economy, and quantifies the impact on key macroeconomic variables. The report can be accessed from https://www.gov.scot/isbn/9781787816138.
Question S5W-21732: Rural Economy
Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/02/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it will provide a progress update on the Northern Isles Ferry Services tender.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (21/02/2019):
The Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the Northern Isles Ferry Services was issued to CalMac Ferries Ltd, Förde Reederei Seetouristik GmbH & Co. KG (FRS) and Serco NorthLink Ltd on 17 January. The ITT will be published on Transport Scotland’s website today.
Pentland Ferries has lodged a Petition for Judicial Review of a decision of the Scottish Ministers, published in the OJEU on 27th September 2018, to subsidise the provision of public services in relation to Northern Isles Ferry Services to or from harbours located at Aberdeen, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Scrabster and Stromness. In addition, Pentland Ferries have lodged a related complaint with the European Commission.
The Scottish Ministers will defend their position in relation to the continued provision of subsidy in support of these lifeline ferry services. The procurement process will continue as planned, pending the outcome of the Judicial Review and complaint to the European Commission.
Question S5W-21757: Finance and Economy
Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/02/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish an analysis of responses to its recent consultation on rates reform.
Answered by Kate Forbes (22/02/2019):
The Scottish Government has today published two reports. Firstly, an independent analysis report [https://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787815797/] of the 148 responses submitted to the Barclay Implementation: A consultation on non-domestic rates reform. Secondly, the final report of the Barclay Implementation Advisory Group [https://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787815674/]. Where permission has been given to publish a consultation response this can be found on the Scottish Government Consultation Hub [https://consult.gov.scot/local-government-and-communities/non-domestic-rates/].
The Scottish Government aims to introduce the Non Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament before Easter Recess. The provisions in the Bill, subject to parliamentary approval will result in a non-domestic rates system that will better support business growth, long term investment and reflect changing market places.
Specifically the Bill will make provision:
for a Business Growth Accelerator relief;
for three yearly revaluations - after the next revaluation on 1 April 2022;
for reforms to improve the appeals system and reduce speculative appeals;
for an increase in the information gathering powers of the Scottish Assessors through the creation of a new civil penalty with concomitant rights of appeal; and a widening of the category of persons an Assessor can approach for information;
for an increase in the information gathering powers of Local Authorities through the creation of a new civil penalty with concomitant rights of appeal;
for local authorities to initiate debt recovery at an earlier stage of the financial year;
for GAAR (general anti-avoidance regulation) as an additional tool that can be utilised in those cases where abuse cannot be tackled through refinement of existing legislation using existing powers;
for changes to charity rate relief - mainstream independent schools will no longer be eligible to apply for mandatory charitable rate relief, independent special schools and specialist independent music schools will not be affected by this change;
by way of an enabling power for the Scottish Ministers to issue statutory guidance to local authorities regarding the granting of sports club relief; and
the closing down of several tax avoidance tactics identified by the Barclay Review relating to non-domestic reliefs.
Barclay Recommendations that will not be covered by the forthcoming Bill, but had previously been included in the implementation plan:
An out-of-town levy to charge businesses based predominantly online or out-of-town a business rates supplement. The Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, confirmed in the Scottish Budget that the Scottish Government would not be taking forward this recommendation; and
Proposal to impose a 10% supplementary charge on property that has been vacant for over 5 years will not be taken forward; proposal to restrict empty property relief for listed buildings to 2 years will be taken forward but the threshold will be 5 years and this can be dealt with by secondary legislation.
The proposal to increase the current 42 days rest period for empty property will be progressed and this can be dealt with by secondary legislation.
Question S5W-21767: Health and Social Care
Sandra White, Glasgow Kelvin, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/02/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether Health Protection Scotland has concluded its investigation into the water contamination issue at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and Royal Hospital for Children in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which was originally identified on 29 January 2018.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (22/02/2019):
Health Protection Scotland has now completed its investigation at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital regarding the water contamination issue and, following the commitment made to Parliament last year, I am now making the report available:
The report makes a number of important recommendations for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, as well as all NHS boards, Health Protection Scotland and Health Facilities Scotland. It is vital that these recommendations are addressed. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde continue to take the necessary actions and I will continue to seek regular updates on these actions to ensure full accountability of the board. I will also ensure that work is taken forward on the wider recommendations to ensure key lessons can be learned NHS Scotland-wide to prevent similar issues arising in the future.
This report will be provided to the independent review into the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. As I have previously stated to Parliament, it is vital that we all understand what the issues are, why they have arisen, and that the recommendations will be taken forward. Learning needs to be applied across NHS Scotland to ensure our healthcare facilities – existing and future – are fit for purpose and support the delivery of world class health care.
Question S5W-21827: Economy
Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/02/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to publish the Fair Work Action Plan.
Answered by Jamie Hepburn (27/02/2019):
I am pleased to announce that our Fair Work Action Plan is being published today.
The Action Plan sets out the strategic approach the Scottish Government will take to help employers embed and mainstream fairer working practices within their workplaces – making fair work the norm right across Scotland. It has been developed in consultation with the STUC, the Fair Work Convention, employers and other stakeholders, and allows us to consider how fair work can support and be supported across all government strategies and maximise our leverage to promote good jobs and support business growth.
Fair Work is central to our economic strategy: it is good for workers, good for business and good for Scotland. Fair Work is an iterative process and the new actions and approaches we are proposing will develop over time. The Action Plan will, therefore, be refreshed to reflect the progress being made. Our focus will be on: supporting employers to adopt Fair Work practices; delivering Fair Work to a diverse and inclusive workforce; and, embedding Fair Work across the Scottish Government. Actions include:
working with employers and partners to deliver Fair Work First;
delivering the refresh of the Scottish Business Pledge to ensure closer alignment with the Fair Work Framework and establishing a business-led leadership group forward to take forward implementation and promotion;
co-hosting an International Fair Work Summit with the Fair Work Convention;
extending the Workplace Equality Fund;
supporting trade unions to embed Fair Work in workplaces;
increasing the number of people employed who are paid the real Living Wage;
engaging with the UK Government to enhance worker's rights; and,
as an employer, the Scottish Government demonstrating our leadership by adopting Fair Work practices.
The Fair Work Action Plan can be viewed via the Economic Action Plan website at https://economicactionplan.mygov.scot/fair-work.
Question S5W-21860: Constitution and External Affairs
Annabelle Ewing, Cowdenbeath, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/02/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the work of the Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population established in October 2018.
Answered by Ben Macpherson (28/02/2019):
The Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population has completed work in response to my initial commission that they investigate the impact of migration policy changes on areas of devolved responsibility in Scotland, and I have received their report. I am publishing that report today, and it will be available online at http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787815599. I will be making a Ministerial Statement in the Chamber this afternoon.
Question S5W-21916: Health and Social Care
Bill Kidd, Glasgow Anniesland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/03/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether a decision has been made on the Chairs of the independent review of Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (05/03/2019):
I am pleased to announce that Dr Brian Montgomery, former Medical Director and interim Chief Executive of NHS Fife and Dr Andrew Fraser, Director of Public Health Science, NHS Health Scotland have confirmed that they will act as co-chairs of the Independent Review.
As I have previously outlined, the Review will look at the building’s design, commissioning and construction, handover and ongoing maintenance, how these matters contribute to effective infection control and any other areas considered necessary by those carrying out the review.
It is essential that all relevant information is available to the Review to ensure that a robust, evidence-based assessment can be provided. It is expected that individuals involved in the design, construction, commissioning and maintenance of the hospital, along those providing healthcare (staff) and relevant expertise will input into the Review. Patients and families will also have an opportunity to have their views heard. It will be for the chairs of the Review to establish where and how the required information is collected.
The review will fully address and investigate all matters it considers relevant. We must all understand what the issues are, why they have arisen and the recommendations will be taken forward and learning applied across NHS Scotland to ensure our healthcare facilities – existing and future – are fit for purpose and support the delivery of world class health care.
I will provide a further update to Parliament outlining the Review’s remit and timescales once Dr Fraser and Dr Montgomery have considered their approach, which I would like to reiterate will follow the principles outlined in Professor Alison Britton’s report.
Once the Review has completed its work the recommendations will be made public and the Scottish Government will inform Parliament of its response to the Review recommendations.
Question S5W-21944: Economy
Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/03/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it has reached a decision on when it will publish its principles of charging and objectives for the water industry’s 2021 to 2027 price control period, and whether it will alter the single person discount for water charges.
Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (07/03/2019):
I have carefully considered the feedback received from customers and stakeholders during the recent consultation process as well as the comments received from representatives subsequently. I have also considered the impact of amending discounts during the transition to Universal Credit, the consequential impact on the effectiveness of Water Direct and the continued scrutiny of local taxation following the Barclay Review.
I will publish the final Principles of Charging and Ministerial Objectives as soon as they are complete and no later than June 2020, the date set out in the industry timetable. As I continue to refine that document I can confirm that I have concluded that the single person discount should not be amended for the period 2021-27. My officials will continue to work with industry stakeholders to determine how the Scottish Government can continue to keep customer charges as low as practicable and provide support for those members of society that are least able to afford those payments. I have further concluded that vacant domestic properties will, subject to further detailed implementation details being agreed, fall into charge in the period. I will continue to consider other changes including developer charging arrangements, improving rural supplies and supporting innovation to best drive sustainable economic growth.
Question S5W-21951: Constitution and External Affairs
Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/03/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what further information it can provide regarding the First Minister’s recent visit to North America.
Answered by Fiona Hyslop (07/03/2019):
The First Minister travelled to the US and Canada from 3 to 8 February. The programme focussed on key areas including trade and investment as well as promotion of key Scottish Government policies including climate change/ green energy, human rights, gender equality and social enterprise. In addition the First Minister addressed ongoing issues related to Brexit and reiterated Scotland’s strengths as a place to invest, live, work and study. The relationships between Scotland, the US and Canada are extremely important, reflected by strong economic, cultural and policy links. The US is Scotland’s top export partner with Scottish exports to the US estimated to be worth £5.545 billion in 2017 (17.1% of all international exports). Over the same time period Scottish exports to Canada were estimated to be worth £580 million. The First Minister’s visit covered five key cities over five days. In Washington DC, the First Minister met with Verdant Power, Marriott International, and American technology company Leidos – all businesses with key investment and employer interests in Scotland. The First Minister also delivered a speech at Georgetown University that focussed on Scotland’s place in the world. The First Minister met with members of Global WIN, an organisation focussed on promoting progression towards gender equality in enterprise. In Trenton, New Jersey, the First Minister met with Governor Phil Murphy where a document of joint working in climate change was signed between Scotland and New Jersey focussing on three key pillars: to share experience and best practices on tackling climate change; to work with like-minded countries, states and regions to increase ambition on climate change; and to promote business and economic opportunities created by the transition to a low carbon economy. The conversation also covered shared values around social policy, including the living wage and access to education. There has already been immediate follow up with the New Jersey Government at official level to build on the relationship and take forward shared working. In New York City, building on her visit from 2017 the First Minister met with UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucuka, where she was appointed the inaugural #HeForShe Global Advocate by UN Women, with the Scottish Government becoming signatories to the UN Women’s global solidarity movement for gender equality. The First Minister also announced that a Scottish Government funded partnership with UN Women, through the International Development Fund, is providing £113,000 in 2018-19 so that young women and girls in Malawi can participate in an innovative new pilot project that aims to reduce rates of early and child marriage in rural areas. From there the First Minister participated in a roundtable discussion at the UN with Andrew Gilmour, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights focussing on Scotland’s Human Rights agenda. She attended a Scotland Is Now investor lunch, hosted by IBM, where she addressed an audience of around 50 senior business people about Scotland’s strengths and assets as an investment location and trading partner. The First Minister met with Conway, Inc. and was a signatory confirming that Scotland will host the FDI World forum in 2022. The First Minister also visited Morgan Stanley’s Fusion Center which helps firms improve their cybersecurity resilience and met senior members of their technology innovation and cyber-resilience teams. She discussed current and future collaborative projects at Morgan Stanley’s Centre of Excellence in Scotland. The company employs 1,550 people in Scotland and is a key part of Scotland’s financial services industry. The First Minister then visited Canada’s capital city Ottawa where she undertook a social enterprise roundtable with the members from the social enterprise world forum and representatives from both provincial and federal governments. In the evening the First Minister hosted a Scotland is Now reception to officially open the Scottish Government’s new Ottawa office and to launch the global marketing campaign to a Canadian audience for the first time. The new Ottawa office is headed up by Catriona Little, who moved out to Ottawa in mid-September 2018. Catriona joined the Scottish Government from the Department for International Trade (DIT), where she worked for two industry sector teams, initially leading on trade and investment and high value campaigns for the education sector in the Middle East and North Africa and most recently as Chief Operating Officer for the UK Life Sciences Organisation in DIT. The launch reception also celebrated the wide range of Scottish produce in Canada, and the First Minister was joined by Scotland’s national chef Gary Maclean and GlobalScot chef John Higgins who cooked a range of dishes to showcase Scottish food and drink. In her comments at the reception, the First Minister took the opportunity to promote cultural links between Scotland and Canada, announcing the Scottish Government’s £80,000 support for the Scottish International Storytelling Festival in their ‘Canada – Scotland: Coast to Coast’ international programme. Toronto was the destination for the final day of the First Minister’s North America programme and began with a meeting with the CEO and senior management team of the Toronto Region Board of Trade and World Trade Center, Toronto to discuss and promote trade opportunities, particularly in the digital, data and fintech sectors. After opening the Toronto Stock Exchange with Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise and Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab, the First Minister visited the MaRS Center and the Vector Institute in Toronto’s Discovery District, where she met MaRS CEO and senior team to discuss opportunities in data science and artificial intelligence. The First Minister had bilateral calls with Canada’s federal Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna MP and Canada’s federal Minister of Science and Sport, Kirsty Duncan MP - helping open the door to establishing a more formalised partnership between Scotland and Canada in these policy areas. The First Minister finished her time in Canada at a community organisation in downtown Toronto where she announced a three-year international agreement to grow and sustain social enterprises in Scotland and Canada, alongside Scotland’s Social Enterprise Academy and their local partner. In addition to the above engagements, the First Minister also undertook a series of interviews including The Washington Post Editorial Board, Amanpour and Co., PBS News hour, CBC, BNN Bloomberg and the National Post.
Question S5W-21978: Economy
Sandra White, Glasgow Kelvin, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/03/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the publication of its Gender Pay Gap Action Plan.
Answered by Jamie Hepburn (08/03/2019):
Later today, the Scottish Government will publish A Fairer Scotland for Women: Gender Pay Gap Action Plan.
Our action plan outlines the cross Government approach and sets out the steps we will take in partnership with our stakeholders, to tackle the causes of the gender pay gap in Scotland. It is part of our approach to delivering Fair Work and builds on many existing Scottish Government strategies.
We have developed the actions with a Working Group with representatives from Close the Gap, the STUC, Engender, Equate, and academia. It allows us to ensure that gender issues are considered within policy design and services that advance women’s equality, particularly in relation to tackling poverty, promoting access to and progression within good jobs, and supporting business growth.
Actions within the plan for addressing gender stereotyping, sexual harassment and labour market inequalities include:
improving the collection of data to help inform policy development;
working with enterprise and skills agencies and employers, for example, through Letters of Guidance, procurement and financial levers;
promoting gender equality within early years and child care, schools, colleges, universities, employability programmes and social security support;
encouraging employers in the public, private and third sectors to tackle the causes of the gender pay gap in their own organisations;
expanding the Workplace Equality Fund;
funding £5m three year women returners programme; and
funding a feasibility study for a ‘Centre for Flexible Work’ for Scotland.
The Gender Pay Gap Action Plan can be viewed at: www.gov.scot/publications/fairer-scotland-women-gender-pay-gap-action-plan/
Question S5W-21974: Health and Social Care
Jackson Carlaw, Eastwood, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 07/03/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what action will be taken following the debate on 5 March 2019 concerning transvaginal mesh removal.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (08/03/2019):
Having listened carefully to the views of women who have been affected by complications, as well as those of fellow MSPs, I can confirm officials will undertake further work with Accountable Officers, who are responsible for ensuring high vigilance measures are followed in stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse surgery. Officials will expedite a meeting of the Accountable Officers and other relevant specialists to look again at the course of care for patients suffering complications. In particular and where reasonable, I want them to ensure women have some choice regarding the place of treatment and the clinicians involved. I also ask that they:
sharing experience, techniques and learning with colleagues in Europe and USA. For this to be successful it is important that surgeons and clinical teams engage with counterparts of proven merit and who are regarded by the professionals as leaders and innovators in their field;
examine the complex education and training requirements we must have to ensure a sustainable and resilient high quality service;
review the course and organisation of care for patients suffering complications in Scotland with a broader UK perspective; and
identify the resource requirements to provide the service our patients need.
Senior medical managers in Health Boards in Scotland, academic and other advisers, and advocates for affected women will be asked to contribute to this work. The first meeting will be held as soon as is practicable and I will write to campaigners within a month to set out the probable timescales.
Further, a meeting with a representative group of campaigners will be arranged in order to seek their views on service development.
Question S5W-21979: Health and Social Care
David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/03/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to ensure that those patients who require forensic mental health services receive the appropriate care and treatment to aid their rehabilitation.
Answered by Clare Haughey (08/03/2019):
In recent years there has been a significant adjustment in the delivery of forensic mental health services. My recent annual ministerial review of the State Hospital examined a number of issues, not least how the board responds to a decline in the number of patients detained in high security, and the development of medium secure services elsewhere. We have also seen the introduction of excessive security appeals for patients detained in medium security and a continuing move towards community services.
In order to enable forensic mental health services to be delivered as effectively as possible I am instigating a review more widely into the delivery of these services in recognition of these changes and new developments.
The review will consider;
The demand for forensic mental health services, including bed availability and use in hospitals across the levels of security;
Forensic mental health services in the community across Scotland;
The delivery of forensic mental health services in prison;
The governance and delivery of high secure forensic services in hospital, given the decline in the number of patients at the State Hospital;
The capacity of medium secure services to deliver forensic mental health services for all patients who require such services;
The impact of excessive security appeals across the forensic mental health system;
The availability of specialist open i.e. unlocked forensic rehabilitation services; and The movement of patients from low or medium security into the community
We will set out further details on this operation and remit of the review, including its chair, in due course.
Question S5W-22315: Economy
Angus MacDonald, Falkirk East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/03/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the appeal by INEOS FPS Ltd against a SEPA Notice of Variation to the Kinneil Terminal permit.
Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (22/03/2019):
The determination of the appeal was published today and can be accessed through this link.
The Scottish Government has accepted the reporter’s recommendation to affirm SEPA’s notice of variation to the permit, but with modifications. The company’s claim for costs has been refused.
The modified conditions require the operator to make progress in addressing noise from flaring as part of an improvement programme at the site.
Question S5W-22344: Economy
Angus MacDonald, Falkirk East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/03/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it will make a final decision on unconventional oil and gas.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (26/03/2019):
On 3 October 2017, the Scottish Government set out a preferred position that it does not support onshore unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland. The preferred policy position is subject to a statutory Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and other assessments before any policy can be adopted.
An Environmental Report for the SEA of the Scottish Government’s preferred policy position was published in October 2018, alongside the preferred policy position statement and a partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA). Views were invited on the contents of these documents during an eight-week consultation from October to December 2018.
We are grateful to all those who responded to this consultation. The Scottish Government is committed to transparency and public engagement on this important issue. The consultation responses received have led the Scottish Government to form the view that it would be helpful to provide some further clarification on a number of points raised in response to the consultation documents, specifically regarding the preferred policy position and its objectives. We are also taking the opportunity to update our position on the reasonable alternatives to the preferred policy position which were considered as part of the SEA process.
The Scottish Government is publishing an addendum to the SEA Environmental Report, the preferred policy position statement and the partial BRIA, and wishes to invite further comments on the points covered. Responses to the addendum will be considered in detail prior to a final policy position being reached.
It is anticipated that the addendum and related consultation documents will be published for consultation following the Easter Parliamentary recess. In line with the initial consultation in late 2018, views will be invited over a period of eight weeks, and the responses analysed prior to publication. Our final policy on unconventional oil and gas will be confirmed and adopted as soon as possible after this process is complete.
We are appreciative of the contributions submitted and time taken by those who have already considered the contents of the SEA Environmental Report, the preferred policy position statement and the partial BRIA. We are mindful of the points raised by all stakeholders in response to the 2018 consultation, and are keen to continue our dialogue with the public and stakeholders on this important issue.
Question S5W-22355: Economy
Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/03/2019
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-21335 by Paul Wheelhouse on 31 January 2019, when it plans to launch its consultation on whether Energy Efficient Scotland can be accelerated.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (26/03/2019):
I have today, with the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, launched a consultation seeking views on whether Energy Efficient Scotland can be accelerated and how the risks of doing so can be overcome or the opportunities realised. This consultation also sets out more detail about the suite of legislation the Scottish Government will bring forward to support the delivery of Energy Efficient Scotland, including district heating.
The consultation will run for 12 weeks. Kevin Stewart and I have also written to the Conveners of the Local Government and Communities, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform and the Economy, Energy and Fair Work committees. The Government looks forward to engaging with all interested parties on this important issue.
Question S5W-22364: Trade, Investment and Innovation
Gillian Martin, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/03/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what targets it expects Registers of Scotland to achieve in 2019-20.
Answered by Kate Forbes (27/03/2019):
Scottish Ministers have set the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland the following financial targets:
Question S5W-22402: Health and Social Care
George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/03/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on when it plans to publish a medium-term plan for capital investment in the NHS.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (29/03/2019):
We will bring forward our medium-term NHS Capital Investment Strategy as soon as is practicable, following greater certainty on the Brexit process and its potential impact on the NHS capital budget beyond 2019-20.
To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made with its 2019-20 International Development Small Grants Programme funding round.
Answered by Ben Macpherson (29/03/2019):
I am pleased to announce that funding amounting to a total of £468,525
will be provided to 18 organisations, from our Small Grants Programme 2019-2020, for projects to commence in April 2019.
Total amount of Recommended funding - Programme Year 2019-2020
Type of Grant
Recommendations for funding after assessment by country and grant type - Programme Year 2019-2020
Zambia & Malawi
The Small Grants Programme 2019-2020 attracted 28 applications before the deadline. Four applications were rejected as outwith our eligibility criteria, and therefore were not part of the full assessment process. The remaining 24 applications were fully assessed.
The full list of the organisations to be funded is available on the following web link:
Question S5W-22421: Health and Social Care
Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/03/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the recent report by Healthcare Improvement Scotland regarding the clinical management of breast cancer in NHS Tayside.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (01/04/2019):
The Scottish Government, along with NHS Tayside, will, as a matter of urgency take into account the findings and recommendations of the Heath Improvement Scotland Report – “Clinical Management of Breast Cancer in NHS Tayside”.
In order to progress matters as quickly as possible, the Chief Medical Officer commissioned an expert group last month. This group will be chaired by Professor Aileen Keel (Chair of the Scottish Cancer Taskforce and the Director of the Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme) and will fully consider all the individual recommendations. That Group is expected to present their findings in June to coincide with expected resolution of the issues highlighted in the HIS Report.
In advance of publication of the Report, the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer also convened a multidisciplinary clinical Immediate Response Group to deliver an informed consensus risk assessment relating to this variation in clinical practice in NHS Tayside. The findings of that report are now being considered urgently by NHS Tayside in order that they can inform and support patients and families who may have concerns around the treatment of breast cancer in NHS Tayside. The Scottish Government would expect that patients are fully informed and are involved in any decisions taken by their clinicians with regard to their treatment and that patients feel empowered to ask questions about treatment, benefits and risks and any alternatives available.
While we recognise that this report may be concerning for patients and their families who have undergone chemotherapy for breast cancer in NHS Tayside since 2016, it must be stressed that the risk of negative impact is very small. It is also important to note that the variations in treatments detailed in the HIS report are not routinely found elsewhere in Scotland.
Patient safety is always the number one priority in NHS Scotland, and the findings and recommendations of today’s report will now rightly urgently be considered by the Scottish Government and NHS Tayside. The Scottish Government would expect NHS Tayside to act immediately should there require to be a change in their clinical practices.
Question S5W-22481: Organisational Development and Operations
Sandra White, Glasgow Kelvin, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/04/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the publication of its older people’s framework.
Answered by Christina McKelvie (03/04/2019):
Today the Scottish Government published A Fairer Scotland for Older People – A Framework for Action: www.gov.scot/isbn/9781787815438
This Framework identifies the issues that older people have told us are key to ensuring they are healthy, happy and secure in older age. It brings together the action that the Government is taking to tackle the barriers people face as they age in areas as diverse as health and housing, but importantly it highlights the positive contribution our older people bring to wider society and the economy, by the valuable roles they undertake including unpaid caring, volunteering and by continuing in employment.
The Older People’s Strategic Action Forum, which I chair, have been instrumental in informing and progressing the direction for this framework. I thank them for helping us to develop this work and combat the negative perceptions held about older people.
Question S5W-22544: Health and Social Care
David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/04/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its response to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) report on the inquiry into Tayside NHS Board Endowment Funds, which was published on 1 February 2019.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (05/04/2019):
I am pleased to announce that, in response to OSCR’s recommendations, I have appointed Julie Hutchison, an independent specialist in charities governance, to chair a review of the governance of NHS Endowment Funds in Scotland. Ms Hutchison will set up an expert Project Group which will submit a report to me before the end of this year. I have asked that this report makes recommendations on future structures and governance arrangements to ensure that those managing these charitable funds are able to demonstrate at all times that they are acting in the interests of the charity.
Question S5W-22593: Economy
Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/04/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what the potential impact of Brexit, including tariffs, is on Scotland’s dairy sector.
Answered by Fergus Ewing (10/04/2019):
A no deal Brexit is by far the biggest threat to farming and to our successful food and drink sector with a wealth of evidence indicating that Scotland’s farmers and food producers will be worse off under any scenario compared to remaining in the EU and maintaining free trade and freedom of movement. The UK Government’s recent no-deal applied tariff policy, which was made with no prior consultation with Scotland or the other devolved administrations, offers little protection for the dairy sector, as it allows the opening up of the market to cheap imported dairy products by significantly dropping current tariff rates, with the double whammy that any exports to the EU will face much higher rates. Whilst we call for the UK government to remove any possibility of a no deal Brexit, in the meantime I fully agree with many of the leading industry voices in also calling for the UK Government to reconsider their proposed tariffs to remove the potential damage these are likely to cause dairy farmers, processors, creameries and related businesses, putting at risk jobs and livelihoods in Scotland’s rural communities.
Question S5W-22738: Economy
Angus MacDonald, Falkirk East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/04/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the publication of its Waste Markets Study.
Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (23/04/2019):
The Scottish Government has today published the findings of the Waste Markets Study. The study was commissioned with support from COSLA and the local authority waste managers’ network in order to better understand readiness to deliver the forthcoming ban on biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill in Scotland and the availability and costs of alternative treatment options. The report is available at:
Question S5W-22720: Scottish Exchequer
Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/04/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made on the introduction of Air Departure Tax in Scotland.
Answered by Kate Forbes (23/04/2019):
In June 2018, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work announced that the introduction of Air Departure Tax (ADT) in Scotland would be deferred until the issues raised in relation to the Highlands and Islands exemption had been resolved. The Scottish Government has been clear that it cannot take on ADT until a solution to these issues has been found, because to do so would compromise the devolved powers and risk damage to the Highlands and Islands economy.
Since then the Scottish Government and UK Government have continued to work together to try to find a solution. The Scottish Government also established a Highlands and Islands Working Group last year to provide independent, expert input into the examination of the issue. The Group has made a valuable contribution to the evidence base by publishing new analysis that underlines the importance of the exemption to the region, and by providing external scrutiny of both evidence and process. However, a solution has not yet been found that would be ready for introduction at the beginning of the next financial year. This, taken together with the continued uncertainty around Brexit, means that that we have to defer the introduction ADT beyond April 2020.
The Scottish Government has a longstanding commitment to reduce ADT by 50%, and we are doing all we can to work with airlines and airports to help grow the direct routes which are important for our tourism sector and Scottish businesses. While we work towards a resolution to the Highlands and Islands exemption, we continue to call on the UK Government to reduce APD rates to support connectivity and economic growth in Scotland and across the UK.
Question S5W-22907: Economy
Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/04/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what measures it is taking to boost Scotland’s export performance.
Answered by Ivan McKee (01/05/2019):
A Trading Nation: a plan for growing Scotland’s exports will be announced today, 1 May, by the First Minister at the National Economic Forum.
The plan will be published today on the Scottish Government’s website.
Question S5W-22974: Education, Communities and Justice
Fulton MacGregor, Coatbridge and Chryston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/05/2019
To ask the Scottish Government how quickly the provisions of the Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Bill will come into effect after Royal Assent.
Answered by Maree Todd (03/05/2019):
I want the provisions in this Bill to start making a difference to children’s lives as quickly as possible. I therefore intend to stop the use of the offence ground for referrals of children under 12 to the Children’s Hearings system by Autumn 2019. From this time, no child under 12 will be treated as an offender. This timescale also allows for the needs and interests of victims to be taken into account and provide for preparation and implementation of the measures at section 22 of the Bill so that victims can receive appropriate information.
This Bill seeks to deliver profound and significant cultural change and it is essential to get it right. Implementation of the Bill’s provisions, many of which are radical and innovative, must proceed in a way which is safe, responsible and which holds public confidence.
Therefore, on disclosure, work will begin this summer to prepare the guidance required and appropriate supporting material. Careful consideration will be required as we move to introduce the new concept of an independent reviewer into this area and recruit and appoint someone to this role. I intend that this part of the Bill will be implemented within 12 months of Royal Assent.
In order to implement other key parts of the Bill, secondary legislation will need to be drafted and passed by Parliament, adhering to the required timescales; guidance will be developed in a collaborative and responsive way, consulted on and potentially revised before publication; and training materials and activity will be undertaken. Discussions are underway with key partner agencies to develop an appropriate timescale. There will also be a need for liaison with the UK Government to arrange for section 104 order to cover certain matters and timescales for that will be determined by their legislative priorities also.
I am determined that we move to full implementation of all the Bill’s measures as quickly as possible but that must also be done safely and responsibly and in a way which gives children and young people, as well as victims and communities, and professionals and agencies confidence that they have the knowledge and tools with which to make these radical changes to our approach to addressing the needs of children and young people. I intend to monitor progress in relation to implementation closely and will also update Parliament at appropriate points.
Question S5W-23019: Transport Scotland
Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/05/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it will provide a progress update regarding the Northern Isles Ferry Services tender.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (08/05/2019):
The Court of Session judgment on 26 April 2019, dismissing Pentland Ferries’ petition for Judicial Review, allows the tender for the Northern Isles Ferry Services to proceed as set out in the competition documents.
I can also confirm that Transport Scotland received tenders from CalMac Ferries Limited and Serco Limited on 29 April 2019. The third prequalifying bidder, the international ferry operating company Förde Reederei Seetouristik GmbH & Co. KG (FRS), decided not to pursue any further interest in the competition. Transport Scotland will evaluate bids received, with a view to having a new public service contract in place by 31 October 2019.
Simultaneously, Transport Scotland will continue its engagement with the European Commission to seek an early resolution to Pentland Ferries’ outstanding State aid complaint about the subsidies payable under the next public services contract.
Further information about Transport Scotland’s engagement with the Commission and any implications for the tender procedure will be announced in due course.
Question S5W-23112: Education, Communities and Justice
Rona Mackay, Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/05/2019
To ask Scottish Government when the first payments from the Advance Payment Scheme for survivors of childhood abuse in care will be made.
Answered by John Swinney (14/05/2019):
The Advance Payment Scheme opened on 25 April 2019 for those abused in care in Scotland who are either aged 70 or above, or who are terminally ill. Applicants are eligible to apply for a flat rate payment of £10,000, providing tangible recognition of the harm done to them as children.
I am pleased to confirm that the first 5 payments have already been processed. Subject to the required appraisal checks, we hope to be able to approve a further 8 applications this week with a further 36 applications currently being considered.
Around 150 calls were taken in the first two weeks of the Advance Payment phone line opening and more than 100 application packs have been sent out. We have put in place a simple, yet robust application process and are focused on helping survivors and their families through the process.
Question S5W-23122: Transport Scotland
Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/05/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide a progress update on the enhancements to the East Kilbride rail corridor.
Answered by Michael Matheson (14/05/2019):
There is continuing growth on the East Kilbride line and some peak journeys on this route regularly appear in the list of top ten overcrowded ScotRail services.
We are making investments now to help with this. Successful electrification of Edinburgh to Glasgow routes now allows the redeployment of diesel trains so ScotRail will provide more than 1,000 extra weekday seats for East Kilbride services from 20 May 2019. However, existing limitations in track layout, capacity and access to stations means there are limits to the length and frequency of trains which can run on this route, and we know that more needs to be done to help make rail travel an attractive choice.
That is why we have now agreed to provide up to £24.8 million to Network Rail to progress the major development work required. This will help determine the right long-term solution and will focus on providing enhanced connectivity (more frequent services), improved accessibility to stations, better transport integration, with improved park and ride facilities and active travel provisions. Our aim, whilst delivering this, is to move towards a carbon free journey from home to destination for communities along the route, by considering electrification.
We anticipate that the development work will take approximately 18 months, with recommendations to the Scottish Government on a package of major infrastructure investment to follow.
Question S5W-23148: Constitution and External Affairs
Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/05/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what information it can provide regarding the Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veteran’s recent visit to North America.
Answered by Fiona Hyslop (15/05/2019):
The Minister travelled to New York for engagements between 4 to 7 April 2019. The programme focussed on engagement with New York diaspora groups for Scotland Week, as well as promotion of Scottish culture, trade & investment, tourism, higher education and food and drink. In addition, the Minister’s presence highlighted the importance of the Declaration of Arbroath and the links between Scotland and the US Founding Fathers, ahead of the 700th Anniversary next year in his constituency.
The relationship between Scotland and the US is extremely important, reflected by strong economic, cultural and policy links. The US is Scotland’s top export partner with Scottish exports to the US estimated to be worth £5.545 billion in 2017 (17.1% of all international exports).
NeueHouse, on East 25th Street, acted as a ‘pop-up Scotland House’ venue for a number of engagements at Scotland Week this year, a partnership between the Scottish Government, Visit Scotland and Scottish Development International (SDI) with each having the opportunity to host events for the key stakeholder groups.
On 4 April, at NeueHouse, the Minister attended the annual SDI Stakeholder Reception where he spoke to an audience of businesses with key interests in Scotland.
On 5 April the Minister addressed approximately 50 key members of the diaspora in the New York area including: the St Andrews Society of the State of New York; the American Scottish Foundation; the New York Caledonian Club and the New York Tartan Day Committee.
Minister Dey then met with SALT Hotels, CEO, David Bowd. They discussed SDI’s intentions to continue to work with the company as they continue to focus on hotel development in Edinburgh.
The Minister attended the American Scottish Foundation’s Tartan Day Observance at Bryant Park. The Minister spoke at the gathering of the importance of the shared links between Scotland and the US, in particular highlighting the upcoming 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath and its links to the US. He thanked the organisers and Pipe Bands for participating.
The Minister also undertook a business meeting with the ID Co, CCO, Milko Radotic, where it was agreed that the company would collaborate with SDI in building networks and exploring growth opportunities in the US market
The Scottish Affairs Office hosted their annual Alumni Reception. The Minister took the opportunity to engage with alumni of Scottish universities and thank them for continuing to celebrate and champion Scottish educational links.
To end the days’ engagements the Minister attended the NYC Tartan Day Parade Committee’s annual Ceilidh which was attended by approx. 500 guests, including key members of the diaspora community.
On Saturday 6 April to mark the start of Tartan Day, Minister Dey delivered a reading at the St Andrews Society Kirkin o’ the Tartan ceremony at The Brick Presbyterian Church of the City of New York alongside fellow Parliamentary colleagues.
The Minister then had the opportunity to meet with some Veterans who volunteer to support the parade, including Alan Bain, who founded the first Tartan Day parade in New York in 1998. Dan McSweeney, from the Tartan Day committee, welcomed Mr Dey and introduced him to former servicemen and women in the US Armed Forces. The Minister thanked the veterans for their voluntary support of Scotland and discussed veterans’ issues with them.
Following this the Minister and representatives of the Scottish Government, Visit Scotland and Scottish Development International participated in the Tartan Day Parade. The Parade was led this year by Grand Marshall, Sir Billy Connolly.
On the final day of this programme Minister Dey visited Ellis Island to mark Scotland Week activity taking place there. He had the opportunity to witness some highland dancing and Scottish Music before having a guided tour of the Scottish Exhibit on display which highlights the impact of Scots on early America through to the modern day.
Question S5W-23234: Economy
Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/05/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what progress it is making towards the commitments contained in Scotland’s Energy Strategy, which was published in December 2017.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (16/05/2019):
Yesterday the Scottish Government published three important documents – setting out our progress since publishing Scotland’s Energy Strategy, the actions that we have taken and those which we will be focusing on during the coming months. These included the publication on 15 May 2019 of the Annual Energy Statement 2019, which will be the first in a series of annual publications, alongside our Annual Compendium of Scottish Energy Statistics. These are to be found at:
In parallel, on the same date, we also published our “Energy Consumer Action Plan: Putting Consumers at The Heart of Scotland’s Energy Transition”. The action plan – backed by £500,000 of Scottish Government funding – sets out actions to increase consumer understanding and confidence, and develop and test innovative approaches to protecting and empowering consumers. This includes a commitment to establish an independent Energy Consumers Commission for Scotland to give consumers in Scotland a more powerful voice in Scottish and GB energy policy. The action plan can be viewed at:
Together, these documents represent an authoritative summary of Scotland’s energy policy and progress – as well as demonstrating clear action on our part to prioritise the role, involvement and interests of consumers as we continue to decarbonise the whole energy system in order to help tackle the climate emergency. In short, they underline our commitment to ensuring that the people of Scotland benefit from the transition to a carbon neutral economy.
Question S5W-23287: Health and Social Care
Rona Mackay, Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/05/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it will be in a position to announce the chairs of the independent reviews of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment)(Scotland) Act 2003 and the delivery of forensic mental health services in Scotland, which were announced in March 2019.
Answered by Clare Haughey (20/05/2019):
I am delighted to have secured the services of John Scott QC as Chairperson for the review of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. Mr Scott brings extensive experience within the areas of legislation and human rights and will also provide strong leadership in the delivery of an independent, evidence led review.
I am also pleased to announce today the appointment of Derek Barron, Director of Care, Erskine as Chairperson for the review into the delivery of forensic mental health services in Scotland. Mr Barron brings to the role of Chair long-standing experience in mental health nursing across a number of NHS Boards. His experience in providing visible, transformational leadership across services will be instrumental in ensuring delivery of this review that will encompass hospitals, prisons, courts, and the community.
While it will be for the Chairs to determine how the reviews are best taken forward I have been clear that both reviews will be stakeholder driven and evidence led. We want to gather views from as wide a range of people as possible including the voices of those with lived experience so that they can help shape the future direction of our legislation and the services that are provided to those with mental illness.
Question S5W-23425: Education, Communities and Justice
Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/05/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what information it can provide regarding the visit of the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science to Berlin recently.
Answered by Richard Lochhead (28/05/2019):
I attended a series of meetings and events in Berlin with “Connected Scotland” partners to underline the value that the Scottish higher education sector places on its close partnerships in research, innovation and education with German counterparts. I undertook a series of targeted engagements with key stakeholders in Berlin including the Federal German Ministry of Education and Research and the DAAD (the German Academic Exchange Service) - helping open the door to establishing a more formalised partnership between Scotland and Germany in these policy areas. I engaged with Scottish alumni at one of the events and was able to strongly signal at all meetings and events that Scotland is welcoming to EU citizens and remains open for business despite the continued uncertainty posed by Brexit. Scotland recognises that Germany is the top country in Europe for collaboration with Scotland through the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, and is the European country that sends the most students to Scotland. Scottish innovation centres and research pools could seek to increase their research partnerships with Germany including key clusters or other groups there. Germany is Scotland’s fourth highest trade and sixth highest investment partner. These partnerships are vital in ensuring Scotland’s success as well as Germany’s. There is huge goodwill in both Germany and Scotland to maintain and develop partnerships despite the current Brexit disruption.
Question S5W-23483: Economy
Angela Constance, Almond Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/05/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made in publishing statistical information regarding the devolved employment service, Fair Start Scotland.
Answered by Jamie Hepburn (29/05/2019):
Fair Start Scotland (FSS) is Scotland’s devolved employability support service and is designed to offer personalised support on a voluntary basis to help people, including those who are further removed from the labour market, who want help to find work and stay in work.
The Scottish Government has proactively published information on its devolved employability services since December 2017. Today we are publishing the third set of statistics on Fair Start Scotland, outlining performance during the first twelve months of operation. In addition, for the first time the Scottish Government will report on employment outcomes for this new service.
These statistics show a total of 10,063 people joined Fair Start Scotland in its first year.
The publication also provides further information on the transitional services introduced in April 2017 and the Health & Work Support Pilot, which launched in June 2018.
We will continue to publish statistics on Fair Start Scotland on a quarterly basis.
Question S5W-23473: Health and Social Care
Bill Kidd, Glasgow Anniesland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/05/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made on the independent review of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (29/05/2019):
The Independent Review is being co-chaired by Dr Andrew Fraser, Director of Public Health Science, NHS Health Scotland and Dr Brian Montgomery, former Medical Director and former interim Chief Executive of NHS Fife. The co-chairs have reviewed a considerable amount of documentation and consulted extensively. They have also sought advice from experts from different fields with the aim of appointing individuals to the Independent Review panel or asking them to lead advisory work-streams as part of the review process.
As a result of their work so far, the co-chairs have drafted Terms of Reference for the review, and will be seeking feedback from stakeholders to ensure that the review remains correctly focused.
As the review progresses, regular updates will be provided by the co-chairs, and where significant findings emerge these will be reported and acted on promptly.
It is essential that those affected by the issues examined by the Independent Review have the opportunity to have their views heard. The co-chairs therefore welcome communications on the matters being considered by the review. A website is currently being procured and is likely to be up and running by 1 July 2019. In the interim, the Independent Review team can be contacted at: [email protected]
The Independent Review must remain flexible to accommodate valuable inputs, in order to produce a thorough, searching review of all key events and issues at stake, and to make recommendations to ensure that NHS Scotland continue to support the delivery of world class health care.
Question S5W-23538 Health
Rona Mackay, Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/05/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on plans for the contactSCOTLAND-BSL service provided to deaf and deafblind British Sign Language (BSL) users.
Answered by Clare Haughey (31/05/2019): contactSCOTLAND-BSL is a vital service provided to the deaf and deafblind British Sign Language (BSL) community. It allows deaf and deafblind users to make calls through an on-line interpreter. The Scottish Government will be providing additional funding for contactSCOTLAND-BSL so that from 1 June the service will expand to include calls to private numbers, in addition to public and third sector, and the service hours will increase to 24/7 throughout 365 days a year.
Question S5W-23559 Finance and Constitution
Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/05/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the Michelin Dundee Action Group and plans to repurpose the Michelin site.
Answered by Derek Mackay (31/05/2019): Following the announcement on 5 November 2018 that Michelin plans to close its Dundee plant by June 2020, with the loss of over 800 jobs, the Scottish Government established the Michelin Dundee Action Group to bring together a range of national and local public and private sector players and the trade unions to secure the best possible future for the site and its workforce. At its 5th meeting on 30 May 2019 the Action Group considered progress in supporting the workforce in to new employment opportunities including workforce engagement with the support service, most of which is being funded by Michelin with support from SDS and PACE. It also considered the work that Scottish Enterprise, Dundee City Council and Michelin have been doing, along with the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland, to create a globally recognised Innovation Parc, the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP), focussed on sustainable mobility and low carbon energy. This includes the development of a masterplan for the site and the announcement of a formal joint venture company, MSIP Ltd, between Scottish Enterprise, Dundee City Council and Michelin to deliver the Parc.
At the invite of Michelin, I will be attending the Movin’On on summit in Montreal from 4 to 6 June where I will be promoting Scotland’s approach to sustainable mobility and our strong partnership with Michelin to create the MSIP and meeting with a range of potential investors in the Parc and Scotland’s wider economy.
Question S5W-23543 Finance and Constitution
Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/05/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what legal costs it incurred as a result of the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill being referred to the UK Supreme Court.
Answered by Michael Russell (31/05/2019): The Scottish Parliament passed the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill (‘the Continuity Bill’) on 21 March 2018 by 95 votes to 32. On 17 April 2018, the Attorney General for England & Wales and the Advocate General for Scotland referred the Continuity Bill to the Supreme Court under section 33 of the Scotland Act 1998. While the Reference was pending before the Supreme Court, the UK Parliament passed the EU (Withdrawal) Bill and that Bill received Royal Assent as the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (‘the Withdrawal Act’). Upon Royal Assent, the Withdrawal Act amended the Scotland Act 1998 in terms which meant that it would not be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament to modify the Withdrawal Act.
The question for the Supreme Court was whether the Bill would be within the legislative competence (that is, the powers) of the Scottish Parliament. The case raised significant issues of general importance for the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, including the scope and effect of a number of reserved matters and the extent to which an Act of the Scottish Parliament is susceptible to challenges on common law grounds.
The case was heard by the Supreme Court on 24 and 25 July 2018. The court comprised Lady Hale (President of the Supreme Court), Lord Reed (Deputy President), Lord Kerr, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge, and Lord Lloyd-Jones.
As the respondent to the Reference, the Lord Advocate, both in his written case and during the hearing, presented arguments supporting the conclusion: (i) that it was within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament to prepare for the consequences for devolved matters of UK withdrawal from the European Union; and (ii) that the Bill would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. He addressed the range of significant issues which the case presented. The Lord Advocate was supported by a team of counsel.
The Supreme Court handed down its unanimous judgment on 13 December 2018. This judgment confirmed: (i) that, subject to the provisions of the Withdrawal Act, it would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament to prepare for the consequences for devolved matters of UK withdrawal from the European Union; (ii) that, with the exception of one section, the Continuity Bill would have been within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament at the time when it was passed; but (iii) that, as a result of the Withdrawal Act, parts of the Continuity Bill would no longer be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.
Details of expenditure incurred in relation to the Supreme Court case is set out in the following below. The external legal fees include fees of counsel and solicitors.
The Lord Advocate's expenses are not included, as Ministerial costs are routinely published by the Scottish Government. The cost of internal legal advice is not included as that is provided by Government lawyers who are civil servants as part of their normal duties supporting Scottish Government Ministers; and in line with usual practice, details of individual tasks carried out by civil servants, including the number of hours spent on them are not recorded, because there is no business need to do this.
External legal fees* £131,316.60
Court fees £160.00
*Net cost after VAT recovery
Question S5W-23596: Economy
Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what measures it expects South of Scotland Enterprise to take to further its Fair Work Action Plan commitments.
Answered by Fergus Ewing (05/06/2019):
We expect South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) to be an exemplar of fair work when it is established on 1 April 2020. My first strategic guidance letter will make clear that Scottish Ministers expect fair work to be embedded from the outset. Fair work has been set as an essential competency of the Chair and we will make similar requirements of the Chief Executive and members.
Other measures we expect SOSE to take will include:
Becoming an accredited living wage employer at the earliest opportunity;
Addressing fair work in its action plan on which it will consult;
Working with organisations representing its staff to implement the model of the Scottish Government’s agreement with the civil service trade unions to embed fair work in its operating practices; and
Taking the learning of the initial roll out of the Fair Work First project that Scottish Enterprise is taking forward so that grants offered by the new agency support jobs that are paid at least the living wage and do not have inappropriate zero hours contracts.
Question S5W-23623: Health and Social Care
Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made in ensuring that women in Scotland have access to high-quality services for the treatment of mesh complications.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (06/06/2019):
In March I asked that an Accountable Officer short life working group be set up to examine the present course of care for women who experience mesh complications. As set out in response to a previous parliamentary question (S5W-22523 on 1 May 2019), the group has agreed a remit to consider what additional steps could be taken to offer choice to women who want – and are clinically suitable for – removal of mesh. The group will also review and identify areas of best practice in the United Kingdom and beyond, and if these are not already available, consider how these can be provided in Scotland. In doing this, the group will:
>consider the physical and psychological needs of women who experience complications following vaginal mesh surgery;
>consider sharing experience, techniques and learning with colleagues in Europe, the USA and elsewhere. For this to be successful it is important that surgeons and clinical teams engage with counterparts of proven merit and who are regarded by the professionals as leaders and innovators in their field;
>review the course and organisation of care for patients suffering complications in Scotland with a broader UK perspective;
>examine the complex education and training requirements we must have to ensure a sustainable and resilient high quality service; and
>identify the resource requirements to provide the service our patients need.
To date the working group has met twice, and has begun to consider the matters set out above. Members have begun an exercise to benchmark the care pathways in each of their Health Boards against NICE guidelines published earlier this year, and have also started to consider the sharing of learning and experience with clinicians elsewhere. In respect of the latter, it has been agreed that a group of clinicians based in Scotland, including surgeons, a specialist nurse and physiotherapist, should undertake a series of visits to overseas clinicians in order to review, compare and contrast their practices with those currently in place in Scotland. The group will continue to progress arrangements for this. Furthermore, a protocol is being developed to ensure patients’ views are fed in to the group and are given its careful consideration.
The group aims to conclude its work in the autumn, at which point it will report to Health Board Chief Executives.
If a woman is concerned that she is experiencing complications after transvaginal mesh surgery, we would advise that:
She should not hesitate to discuss her concerns with her GP or other clinicians involved in her care.
She can ask for a second opinion before making a decision about her care and treatment. Where possible, this request will be met, and her GP will be able to arrange this.
Advanced specialist services are currently provided in Scotland by two Mesh Complication Centres, one in NHS Lothian and in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. These centres offer a range of treatments, including partial and full mesh removal, as well as non-surgical interventions. Patients should not hesitate to discuss with their GP their suitability for referral to these centres, regardless of their location, as regional and national referrals are accepted.
In a similar manner to above, if a patient is dissatisfied by the advice or with the care provided by the complication centre in either NHS Lothian or NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, then she can request to be reviewed by clinicians in the other centre.
Finally, a patient can make an individual request for treatment outside of Scotland. Clinicians will initially discuss any such request with the patient and, if agreed, will then refer it to the Health Board for consideration. The Health Board will review the application, in doing so considering whether the treatment requested can reasonably be provided in Scotland, and in due course will inform the clinician and patient whether the request is accepted.
All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx.
Question S5W-23670 Rural Economy and Connectivity
Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the procurement for the Reaching 100% programme.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (07/06/2019): We are determined that R100 programme delivers the best possible value and benefit for Scotland and have designed a procurement process to achieve this. Key to doing so is to ensure a highly competitive process that results in the £600 million funding for this programme delivering on our commitment to provide access to superfast broadband to every home and business in Scotland.
The procurement has therefore been structured, following internal and external advice and statutory and regulatory requirements, with defined dialogue cycles and submission dates. An Invitation to Participate in Dialogue was issued last Spring which resulted in four bidders being short-listed. Following the initial round of dialogue, a request for an extension of six weeks was granted to enable bidders to prepare initial submissions. Subsequently, a complaint was lodged, by one of the bidders, with the National Competency Centre, (managed by the UK Government as State Aid leads) citing a breach of the Code of Conduct by another bidder. This was resolved satisfactorily but resulted in a necessary pause in the procurement with a corresponding six week delay.
Ahead of the next key milestone we were required to provide a revised intervention area (listing all eligible premises). This update was necessary to allow the final stages of dialogue to be based on the most up-to-date picture, taking into consideration commercial coverage plans and changes to planned Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) deployment. Additional premises were added back into the R100 intervention area, in part due to direction from UK Ministers that future Gainshare activity be focused on full fibre solutions. This resulted in greater than expected changes across the country; and bidders requested extensions to enable them to remain in the process and provide competitive bids. We considered these requests carefully and balanced the wish to adhere to our timetable against the risks associated with not allowing bidders more time and our determination to provide the best possible outcome for Scotland.
We have therefore provided the bidders with the extension sought, giving them more time to remodel their solutions. This will see the procurement timeline extended, with the appointment of a preferred bidder or bidders anticipated by the end of September 2019 with contract signature by the end of the year.
Question S5W-23669 Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform
Gillian Martin, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when the annual progress report on the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme 2014 will be published.
Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (07/06/2019): The Scottish Government published its fifth Annual Progress Report on the Climate Change Adaptation Programme on 31 May 2019.
The Report sets out that the Scottish Government has recognised the global climate emergency and acted immediately to propose a net zero emissions target for 2045.
Scotland is already experiencing climate change. The Report sets out the strong progress we have made in preparing Scotland for climate impacts.
We have built on early awareness-raising and knowledge-sharing and have a well-informed Scottish public, and a strong and enthusiastic community of climate adaptation experts and champions across the public sector. We have a unique Scottish model of place-based adaptation partnerships including Climate Ready Clyde, Edinburgh Adapts, Aberdeen Adapts and Levenmouth Adapts. We have guidance for the business sector, and new public sector guidance along with a major projects toolkit were published on 21 May. The most recent comprehensive risk assessments include the National Coastal Change Assessment, updated National Flood Risk Assessment, and Climate Ready Clyde’s Risk and Opportunity Assessment.
We are delivering strong progress across a wide range of policy areas, including £42 million annual funding to local authorities for new flood protection schemes, operating flood warning systems, and working on the resilience of our water supply, transport, health services, natural environment, forestry, peatlands and agriculture. New approaches and actions to meet the urgent challenge are being brought forward. Programme for Government 2018 and the Climate Change Plan 2018 contained new policies that will strengthen our response to climate impacts, including a new approach to managing surface water flooding in line with the international trend of blue-green cities. In May 2019, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service announced a new approach to preventing wildfires and Scottish Natural Heritage published Looking ahead – planning for coastal change.
In 2019, we will launch our second statutory five-year Adaptation Programme to build on the strong progress made over the last decade.
Copies of the Annual Progress Report have been placed in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, laying number SG/2019/69
Question S5W-23747: Health and Social Care
Rona Mackay, Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to recent reports regarding the remit of the short-life working group into complications from mesh procedures.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (13/06/2019):
The short-life working group was established after the meeting I had with women at the Scottish Parliament in March.
As has been set out in response to parliamentary questions (S5W-22523 on
1 May 2019 and S5W-23623 on 6 June 2019) the remit of the Accountable Officer short life working group, examining the present course of care for women who experience mesh complications, is to consider what additional steps could be taken to offer choice to women who want – and are clinically suitable for – removal of mesh.
The membership of this group comprises health board accountable officers, senior clinicians, and other relevant individuals. The group has held two meetings to date, and will meet for a third time tomorrow (Friday 14 June).
A recent report in the press suggested this group was formed to reinstate transvaginal mesh implants in Scotland. These reports and claims are wholly false and without foundation. I know this false report has created unnecessary distress to women who are already enduring the suffering caused by mesh complications.
I have been very clear that the complete halt to transvaginal mesh procedures, which I announced last September, would only be lifted if a high vigilance, restricted use protocol is developed to my satisfaction. At this stage I do not think there is a prospect of the halt being lifted, and I have not asked that any planning take place to consider the lifting of the halt.
The short-life working group is expected to publish its initial findings in the autumn. However, we are currently giving consideration to whether there are any improvements that can be made in the short term. I expect to be able to make a further update on this shortly.
All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx.
Question S5W-23745: Transport Scotland
Kenneth Gibson, Cunninghame North, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it still plans to return Glasgow Prestwick Airport to the private sector.
Answered by Michael Matheson (13/06/2019):
Since the Scottish Government bought Glasgow Prestwick Airport (GPA) in 2013, we have been clear that it is our intention to return the business to the private sector when the time is right. The senior management team at GPA has continued to engage with potential buyers and investors to discuss proposals for developing the business under new ownership.
Good progress continues to be made by GPA to increase revenue; deliver operating efficiencies; and pursue exciting opportunities for the future including Spaceport. In light of that progress, GPA will shortly place an advert in the Official Journal of the European Union inviting expressions of interest in GPA. Any proposals submitted as a result of the advert would be considered carefully before any decision was taken to divest our shareholding in GPA or any part of it. We will provide an update to Parliament should any credible expressions of interest be received, while respecting the need to maintain confidentiality for commercial reasons.
Question S5W-23741: Economy
Gillian Martin, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when the Scottish Land Commission will lay its refreshed Programme of Work in the Parliament, as required by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016.
Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (13/06/2019):
The Scottish Land Commission’s Programme of Work was first published in September 2017. It sets out the work being delivered against the Commission’s Strategic Plan and Business Plan.
The Commission has now produced a refreshed Programme of Work to reflect emerging thinking and developments on the basis of its work to date. This also ensures consistency with the Strategic Plan and Business Plan.
The Commission is required, under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016, to lay a copy of any revised Programme of Work before the Scottish Parliament. This was done today and is available at:
Question S5W-23747: Health and Social Care
Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-23747 by Jeane Freeman on 13 June 2019, what progress it has made on improvements resulting from the short-life working group on support for women with complications from transvaginal mesh.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (19/06/2019):
As I outlined in S5W-23747 that while the short-life working group is expected to publish its initial findings in the autumn, I would provide an update on what improvements could be made now.
The Short Life Working group on mesh complications met for a third time last week (Friday 14 June) to examine what additional steps could be taken support women with mesh complications, including on the removal of mesh where clinically appropriate.
The group considered feedback on patient experience and care pathways. The Chair of the group has been in contact with Dr Dionysios K. Veronikis on my behalf and to obtain his agreement for specialists from Scotland to visit him and observe his expertise in his own clinic in the USA. We are also seeking to bring him to Scotland for a period of time to provide treatment, expert advice, and training. Such an arrangement would be subject to agreement and regulatory approval. As regulation in this area is reserved I have written to the UK Government’s Health Secretary and the General Medical Council (GMC) to highlight this case. The Chair of the group has already reviewed requirements and regulations stipulated by the GMC for visiting senior clinicians.
The group has also begun work to establish a national complex case review unit within the NHS in Scotland. This will be taken forward through our service design processes with a view to being established as soon as is practicable.
The group is working to enhance care pathways for patients with complications within individual boards to be enhanced, with each board tasked with setting out how this will be achieved – including the need for improved co-ordination with primary care services.
In the interim, for patients with mesh complications who have contacted the Scottish Government directly about their care I have asked that their cases be directed to the appropriate Accountable Officer within their health board area. I have been clear in my expectations the Accountable Officer will provide responses to each patient as quickly as possible and to support any woman who wishes to have a second opinion on their proposed care. Members should note that an NHS Board Accountable Officer in this regard is the Medical Director or their nominee.
All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx.
Question S5W-23929: Health and Social Care
George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on funding for NHS employers' pension costs, and whether the cost will be fully funded by the UK Government.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (20/06/2019):
The UK Government has taken decisions on pension costs and funding that result in a shortfall of £48.4 million for the NHS in Scotland. This comes on top of a reduction to health funding of £55 million applied through the UK Budget, and therefore a total future shortfall for Scotland of over £100 million per year.
I can confirm today that the Scottish Government will provide additional funding of £48.4 million to meet the increased pension costs for the NHS in Scotland, including GPs and hospices that are members of the NHS pension scheme. By doing this we will continue to prioritise and protect frontline health services in Scotland.
Question S5W-23994: Education, Communities and Justice.
Rona Mackay, Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it will respond to Fit for the Future – Report of the Independent Review of Legal Services Regulation in Scotland.
Answered by Ash Denham (25/06/2019):
The Scottish Government response will be published today on the Scottish Government website at 9:30am.
Question S5W-23995: Education, Communities and Justice
Linda Fabiani, East Kilbride, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it has reached a decision on the way forward for civil partnership in Scotland, following the consultation in 2018.
Answered by Shirley-Anne Somerville (25/06/2019):
The Scottish Government consulted on the future of civil partnership from 28 September 2018 to 21 December 2018. The consultation can be found at https://consult.gov.scot/family-law/the-future-of-civil-partnership-in-scotland/
The Scottish Government consulted in response to a declaration by the UK Supreme Court that the current law of civil partnership was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights to the extent that it prevents mixed sex couples from entering into civil partnerships. The decision by the UK Supreme Court is at https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2017-0060.html
The Scottish Government received 481 responses to the consultation.
The Scottish Government has decided to introduce legislation to the Scottish Parliament in autumn this year that will make civil partnership available to mixed sex couples.
We have listened carefully to the views expressed by the people and organisations who responded to this consultation. We believe that opening up civil partnership to mixed sex couples is the best way to remove the ECHR incompatibility from the current law.
The extension of civil partnership to mixed sex couples will provide everyone in Scotland with the same choices should they decide to enter into a legally recognised relationship. This promotes equality of choice and human rights.
The Scottish Government response to the consultation is being published on the Scottish Government website. The Scottish Government will also publish shortly the analysis of the consultation responses and the responses we have permission to publish.
Question S5W-24018 : Organisational Development and Operations
Bob Doris, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the early introduction of the Scottish Child Payment to the current delivery programme of devolved benefits and Social Security Scotland.
Answered by Shirley-Anne Somerville (26/06/2019):
The Scottish Child Payment has the potential to be a transformative measure for children and families in poverty. It is in line with the principles of Scotland’s social security system which includes that social security is an investment in the people of Scotland and is to contribute to reducing poverty in Scotland.
Delivery of the Scottish Child Payment will take place at the same time that the Scottish Government is also taking over delivery responsibility for many of the benefits devolved under the Scotland Act 2016, including the complex disability and carer benefits.
As Audit Scotland has recently highlighted, the next phase of devolved benefits delivery will be considerably more challenging and complex. Delivering an additional benefit by the end of 2022, within the lifetime of the current Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, will be a challenge, but one we believe is well worth it in order to pursue our bold ambitions to reduce child poverty. We have also said that we want to introduce this new payment early for families with a child under 6, to take meaningful early action to reduce child poverty.
In regards to Social Security Scotland, the early introduction of the Scottish Child Payment will mean that there needs to be an increase in the original number of staff to be recruited by Social Security Scotland in order to deliver the new payment. Their on-boarding and training will be incorporated into existing recruitment and estates planning.
In terms of the current delivery programme, the safe and effective delivery of social security remains of the utmost importance. In their recent report, “Social security: Implementing the devolved powers”, Audit Scotland noted that “Given the emphasis on safe and secure delivery and the complexity and scale of work ahead, it is difficult to see how the programme could progress more quickly” (para 94, pg 29). Accordingly, in deciding to take forward such a substantial commitment as the Scottish Child Payment, sooner than planned, we know that we will need to make adjustments to the current social security delivery programme to accommodate the introduction of this new benefit.
We have worked hard to examine the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment in the context of the current delivery programme and we will carry out further formal impact assessment on the delivery of the new payment over the summer. In advance of that, however, we know that there are certain changes that will in all probability need to be made.
Our initial analysis shows there will be an impact on the delivery of two devolved benefits. The introduction of Disability Assistance for Older People will now move into 2021 rather than winter 2020, and it is likely that Scottish Carer’s Allowance will be introduced in early 2022 rather than at the end of 2021. In addition, the transfer of cases from DWP to Social Security Scotland is now likely to take until 2025.
These adjustments will ensure that we are able to provide the new payment to the timescales we have announced today, but also that we will mitigate some of the risks this could create for the wider social security programme.
We remain on track to introduce Funeral Support Payment and Young Carer Grant in 2019; Disability Assistance for Children and Young People in summer 2020; and Disability Assistance for Working Age People, our replacement for Personal Independence Payment, in early 2021.
We believe that these changes provide the right balance between introducing a new benefit that can make a substantial contribution to reducing child poverty, and securing a smooth transition for the other benefits to be delivered.
The following table contains a summary of the changes we anticipate having to make to the previously announced timetable. This will be considered in more detail and dates finalised upon the conclusion of the formal impact assessment and I will update Parliament if these assumptions need to be changed.
The Scottish Child Payment is a major commitment of this Government and Parliament. It has the potential to raise 30,000 children out of poverty and provide vital support to our lowest income families. And while its delivery will be challenging, its potential for helping some of the most vulnerable in our society is great.
We believe that the change in the timetable for benefits delivery is worth it in order to introduce such a visionary, ambitious major policy as the Scottish Child Payment.
Summary of potential changes to timetable for benefits delivery from 2020 on (originally announced in February 2019)
See table in answer:
Question S5W-24046: Economy
Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the implementation of Fair Work First and the inclusion of environmental impact as a new element of the Scottish Business Pledge.
Answered by Jamie Hepburn (27/06/2019):
As set out in the Fair Work Action Plan we are taking a phased approach to the implementation of Fair Work First.
As part of the initial implementation stage, starting from April 2019, Scottish Enterprise is attaching Fair Work criteria to a range of business support grants through Regional Selective Assistance and other job related grants. Grant recipients are being asked to demonstrate payment of the real Living Wage, no exploitative zero hour contracts and action to address the gender pay gap. Relevant grants are those over £100,000 which support Research and Development; Environmental Aid; Training Aid; Aid for Start-Ups and Aid for Disadvantaged and Disabled Workers. Ministers will be meeting with Scottish Enterprise in the Autumn to take stock of how they are taking forward this Programme for Government commitment and their plans for what more they might do.
Building on the Statutory Guidance for Addressing Fair Work Practices in Procurement (published in 2015), Fair Work First criteria has been included in the procurement process for a £400 million public sector facilities management contract. Bidders are being asked to demonstrate how they will adopt Fair Work practices for all workers engaged on the contract, over its 7-year duration.
The Enterprise and Skills Agencies are adopting Fair Work First in their organisation, as set out in sponsorship arrangements through Ministerial strategic guidance for 2019-20. Ministers will shortly be writing to the Chief Executives of all public bodies setting out the Scottish Government’s expectation for them to adopt the terms of the Scottish Government’s Fair Work Agreement with the Civil Service Trade Unions and to attach Fair Work criteria to appropriate grants and funding streams.
Grants issuing through the Fair Work budget for 2019-20 include Fair Work First criteria.
We will publish an implementation plan for Fair Work First in late August setting out the further steps we will take to ensure that, by the end of this Parliament, and wherever it is appropriate to do so, we:
>extend Fair Work criteria to as many other grants, funding streams and business support budgets open to us, and
>extend the range of Scottish Government and public sector contracts that Fair Work criteria will apply to.
The review of the Scottish Business Pledge has been completed. The refreshed Business Pledge will align more closely with the fair work framework and will include environmental impact as an element of the Pledge for the first time. We are working to implement the key changes over the summer, with a view to launching the refreshed Scottish Business Pledge in the autumn.
Question S5W-24057: Health and Social Care
Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when the report from the Independent Review Panel that undertook a review of the process followed by NHS Lanarkshire Monklands Replacement/Refurbishment Project will be published.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (27/06/2019):
The report will be published this morning at 11:00 on the University of Glasgow’s website and can be accessed through the following link:
Firstly, I want to reiterate the Government’s commitment to the replacement of University Hospital Monklands to ensure the continuing provision of the highest quality healthcare services, for the benefit of local people.
I would also like to thank the members of the Independent Review Panel for preparing this report which has been helpful to me in deciding the way forward.
The report makes three recommendations for NHS Lanarkshire to implement and eight recommendations for the Scottish Government. The key recommendations relate to NHS Lanarkshire and they have been asked to make provision for new independent (external) members to join the project board, to re-evaluate the top two scoring options for the site selection and to develop a clear vision for the existing site which takes account of the local community.
I have accepted the recommendations on adding independent members to the project board and developing a vision for the existing site. For the remaining recommendation on the site selection process, I have asked NHS Lanarkshire to broaden out the process and to work closely with the local planning authority to ensure that they can support and contribute to a more constructive, inclusive and open site option review with meaningful public engagement. This will mean that if there are any viable sites beyond Gartcosh and Glenmavis, they will be considered and it will ensure that the most appropriate site is identified through the option appraisal process and it is supported by the local community.
I have also asked that the option of re-providing on the existing site at Monklands be excluded from the re-evaluation as building a new hospital on an existing hospital site takes longer, costs more, risks infection and other patient safety issues, while creating performance and access issues during the long construction phase. There is therefore little point in including an option which will score poorly in the option appraisal process.
Of the eight recommendations for Scottish Government, six relate to technical guidance in the Scottish Capital Investment Manual which will be reflected in the next update of the manual and the remaining two is for guidance to be updated, which is already in the process of being undertaken.
We will continue to keep the progress of this important project under review.
Question S5W-24067: Economy
Rona Mackay, Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made in evaluating the devolved employment service, Fair Start Scotland.
Answered by Jamie Hepburn (28/06/2019):
Fair Start Scotland (FSS) is Scotland’s devolved employability support service and is designed to offer personalised support on a voluntary basis to help people, including those who are further removed from the labour market, who want help to find work and stay in work.
The Scottish Government has proactively published information on its devolved employability services since December 2017 and is committed to the ongoing improvement of employment support in Scotland. Today, we are publishing the first report on Fair Start Scotland Evaluation: Implementation and Early Delivery Review. It is available in SPICe at BIB reference 60799.
This report identifies initial areas of success and for improvement across the first six months of service delivery (to Sept 2018), providing the first evidence of the Scottish approach to provision of employability services that treat people with fairness, dignity and respect and highlighting the actions being taken to improve longer term delivery.
We will continue to publish statistics on Fair Start Scotland on a quarterly basis and our next evaluation report, focusing on the first full year of services up to March 2019, is due to be published in September.
Question S5W-24064: Education, Communities and Justice
Mark Ruskell, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Green Party, Date Lodged: 27/06/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will confirm details of the publication of the civil contingency preparedness review of nuclear warhead transportation by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and HM Fire Service Inspectorate.
Answered by Ash Denham (28/06/2019):
Following the parliamentary debate last May, the Scottish Government made a commitment to carry out a review of the consequence management planning, response and recovery aspects related to road transportation of Defence Nuclear Material in Scotland, led jointly by the Police and Fire Inspectorates. It would look at the close working arrangements with local authorities and the other responders in Scotland’s regional resilience partnerships to ensure that response arrangements are indeed up to date and current.
During the course of the review, there has been strong cross sector engagement and collaboration from a number of key agencies. I would like to personally thank the Police and Fire Inspectorates and colleagues from the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives in Scotland, who have worked tirelessly together to conduct the review within the agreed parameters and timescale, supported by Scottish Government Officials. The report is a testament to their commitment and dedication.
I would also like to personally thank the authors of the ‘Unready Scotland’ report and those members of the Scottish Parliament who raised and participated in the debate.
The report is published on the Scottish Government website at www.gov.scot/publications/road-transportation-of-defence-nuclear-material-in-scotland-preparedness-review
I believe the recommendations and suggestions that are included in the report will reassure Parliament and our communities that our responder agencies are well prepared and the findings of this report will further enhance preparedness, so that Scotland is indeed ready.
Question S5W-24085: Economy
Keith Brown, Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/07/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, which is in the Clackmannanshire and Dunblane constituency, has delivered to support the Farmed Fish Health Framework.
Answered by Fergus Ewing (02/07/2019):
Since its inception in 2014, the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre has made a major contribution to applied research and development into fish health and welfare. Today I issued a letter on behalf of the Farmed Fish Health Steering Group to the Convenors of the Rural Economy and Connectivity and Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform committees which outlines much of that detail. I do though wish to commend the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, as they come towards the end of the first phase of five year funding, for making offers of £743,000 to support five new fish health projects directly aligned to the Farmed Fish Health Framework worth £2m. Those projects will contribute to delivering our 10 year plan, and I look forward to seeing the results of the applied research emerge over time.
Question S5W-24088: Health and Social Care
Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/07/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the timing of the next Inpatient Experience Survey.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (02/07/2019):
The next wave of the Inpatient Experience Survey will commence in mid-2020, with fieldwork starting in early 2021. The Inpatient Experience Survey is one of four patient experience surveys carried out by the Scottish Government. The timings of this survey have been amended to avoid an overlap with the Health and Care Experience Survey fieldwork which commences at the end of 2019. Changing the timing of the Inpatient Survey by a year will provide a better balance to the wider Scottish Care Experience Programme, minimising the pressure on participants who may be asked to contribute to more than one experience survey and consequently may improve response rates.
Question S5W-24154: Economy
Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/07/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it met the EU threshold target of paying at least 95.24% of the total value of valid pillar 1 schemes applications by the 30 June 2019 date.
Answered by Fergus Ewing (03/07/2019):
I can confirm that the Scottish Government did meet the EU threshold target of paying at least 95.24% before the 30 June 2019 for all 5 pillar 1 schemes. By the 30 June 2019 we had paid:
The Scottish Government has also paid 95.40% of value of LFASS (less favoured areas support scheme) applications, this is several months earlier than last year and ahead of our payment schedule deadline.
In total £516.9 million has been paid out through all of our rural support schemes by 30 June 2019 which is 18% more compared to the same time last year.
| Value Paid (£ Millions)
| % progress of payments value made
| Pillar 1
| BPS / Greening / YFP
| Pillar 2
Question S5W- 24216: Health and Social Care
Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/07/2019
To ask the Scottish Government, following the resignation of the chair, Dr Dame Denise Coia, when it will provide an update on the future of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce, and when it will publish the taskforce's recommendations.
Answered by Clare Haughey (04/07/2019):
I can today announce, on behalf of the Scottish Government and COSLA, that the work of the Children & Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce will be taken forward by a new programme board – the Children & Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Programme Board.
The Board, which will be jointly chaired by the Scottish Government Director of Mental Health and the COSLA Head of Policy, will report directly to me and the COSLA Health and Social Care, and Children and Young People spokespersons. The scope of the Board’s work, with an emphasis on delivery and action between now and the end of 2020, will be to oversee reforms. The scope will include relevant areas of education, health, community and children’s services and wider areas that impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children. This will include the recommendations of the Taskforce and the Youth Commission on Mental Health.
This announcement today reflects the next steps in a partnership between the Scottish Government and COSLA aimed at making sure that our children and young people and their families are able to get the right support at the right time from specialist mental health services and community support services. The Taskforce’s vision will guide our approach to making real change. In line with their recommendations, there will be a focus on prevention, early intervention and promoting good mental health. This will be underpinned by the values and principles of GIRFEC and will be responsive to local needs and systems.
We are very grateful to Dr Dame Denise Coia for her considered and collaborative work in leading the Taskforce and her strong guiding presence. We are also grateful to all of the Taskforce and workstream members who gave their time, energy and commitment.
Membership of the Board will include representatives of NHS Chief Executives; Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE); Integration Joint Board Chief Officers; Directors of Education and Children’s Services (ADES); Social Work Scotland; the Royal College of GPs; the Royal College of Nursing; the Association of Educational Psychologists, Directors of Public Health, the Third Sector; other allied health professionals, youth workers and parents (NPF). We will also make use of the services of a participation officer whose role will be to make the appropriate links with children and young people to ensure that a level of co-production applies and their voices are at the centre.
I anticipate that the first meeting of the new Board will take place in August 2019.
Question S5W-24381: Economy
Stuart McMillan, Greenock and Inverclyde, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/07/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on what progress has been made by the Expert Panel on Environmental Charges and Other Measures and its plans to reduce the use of single-use coffee cups.
Answered by Mairi Gougeon (17/07/2019):
Today the Scottish Government will publish the first report of the Expert Panel on Environmental Charging and Other Measures which set out its recommendations on singe use disposable beverage cups. The Report sets out a number of measures that will tackle Scotland reliance on these single-use items and Ministers will give full consideration to the report’s findings, responding to the Panel’s recommendations in due course.
Question S5W-24397: Health and Social Care
Angela Constance, Almond Valley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/07/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what action is being taken to remedy the issues that have delayed the opening of Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and to identify learning and any additional support to be provided to NHS boards undertaking similar projects in future.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (18/07/2019):
On Tuesday 2 July, NHS Lothian alerted the Scottish Government to an issue with the ventilation system at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) in Edinburgh.
I was not satisfied that the issue could be resolved within the very short timeframe available before services were to move to the new hospital, and I required further assurance on all aspects of compliance with standards across the new hospital.
For this reason, I instructed that the planned move be halted in the interests of patient safety. There is no greater responsibility of the NHS than to ensure the clinical safety of their patients, not least when those patients are children.
Work has been initiated to identify the solution needed to ensure the ventilation in the critical care unit in the new site meets the required clinical and safety standards.
I have commissioned NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) to undertake a detailed assessment of all buildings systems in the new hospital which could impact safe operation for patients and staff, recognising how infection prevention must always be embedded within the design, planning, construction and commissioning activities of all new and refurbished healthcare facilities. This work will be phased, with assessment of water, ventilation and drainage systems prioritised, including the proposed fix for the ventilation unit. This will determine the timeframe for migration of services to the new hospital and a full report is anticipated in September.
Running in parallel, NSS will also provide assurance that current and recently completed major NHS capital projects comply with national standards. This work will take a risk-based approach and will inform development of the potential expansion of the current function and services provided by Health Facilities Scotland; including providing assurance going forward that NHS buildings meet extant standards.
Where required, additional specialist expertise will be secured by NSS to facilitate their work.
It is also important that we understand the factors, including information flow and timeframes, that led to the decision, announced on 4 July, to delay the move to the new hospital. KPMG have been engaged to conduct an independent audit of the governance arrangements for RHCYP, to provide an external and impartial assessment of the factors leading to the delay. This work began on 15 July and in the first instance will focus on collecting and reviewing all pertinent documentation. This will inform next steps, including interviews with key personnel and timeline for reporting, and I expect to have further clarity on this within the next week.
I recognise that the cumulative impact of the significant work required to complete the move to the new RHCYP, together with the requirement for improved performance across a number of other areas, including scheduled and unscheduled care, cancer, delayed discharge and mental health, will place significant pressure on the leadership capacity of the Board. Reflecting the significance of this challenge, NHS Lothian have been placed at Level 3 of the NHS Board Performance Escalation Framework which is defined as: ‘Significant variation from plan; risks materialising; tailored support required’.
A formal Recovery Plan has been requested from the Board, setting out clear milestones to address each of the areas I have highlighted. A package of tailored support will be made available to the Board, in order to develop and implement the Recovery Plan.
I understand that this is a disappointing time for parents and carers of patients who have appointments at the new RHCYP, and for staff.
Parents and carers are being contacted directly by the team at the existing Royal Hospital for Sick Children to confirm arrangements for their child's appointment. Those with appointments in July are being contacted by phone in the first instance and those with appointments in August onwards will be contacted by letter. Every effort is being made to retain the same appointment date and time wherever possible. A dedicated helpline – 0800 028 2816 – is in place for families and carers to discuss any concerns about appointments or treatment with the clinical team already caring for their child.
NHS Lothian staff have all made considerable efforts to help make the move and some have made personal and domestic plans to coincide with the move. I have written to staff today to thank them for their hard work in preparing to for the move, for all that they are doing to help manage the situation and for their excellent track record of providing high quality patient care. NHS Lothian have also carried out a number of staff sessions and a Q&A has been posted on the NHS Lothian Intranet to answer questions received from staff to date, and going forward. The Senior Team at NHS Lothian will continue to work with all staff as we proceed with the work required to allow the move to take place.
Safe, effective and high quality clinical services continue to be delivered from the existing site in Sciennes and my officials are working very closely with the management of the Board and clinical professional organisations to ensure that we take all the necessary actions to allow the move to go ahead as quickly and safely as possible.
The Scottish Government will keep Parliament informed of progress of the reviews being undertaken and the timeframe for moving to the new hospital.
Question S5W-24406: Health and Social Care
Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/07/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what its planned approach is for vaccination programmes for the 2019-20 flu season.
Answered by Joe FitzPatrick (19/07/2019):
Our forthcoming flu vaccination programme will formally begin in October 2019, with a public awareness campaign, and runs until March 2020.
The vaccination programme will provide everyone who is eligible the opportunity to receive the flu vaccination for free through the NHS. The following people are eligible:
>Those aged over 65
>Those under 65 with a health condition (for example diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or asthma resulting in regular use of an inhaler)
>Children aged 2 – 5 (and not yet in school)
>Primary school children (vaccination delivered at school)
The vaccines that have been procured for Scotland for the forthcoming season are in line with the recommendations of the independent expert ‘Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’ (JCVI). Health Protection Scotland have worked with Health Board Leads to allocate vaccines appropriately between the boards.
The following vaccines will be available for use in the groups outlined below:
Individuals aged 65 years and over will receive adjuvanted Trivalent Inactivated Vaccine (aTIV) (Fluad ®) or cell based Quadrivalent Inactivated Vaccine (QIVc) (Flucelvax Tetra®). Both vaccines are considered by the JCVI to be equally effective for this cohort.
Individuals aged 18-64 years with at risk conditions will receive either QIVc or egg based Quadrivalent Inactivated Vaccine (QIVe). Both vaccines are considered by the JCVI to be equally effective for this cohort
Healthcare workers (HCWs) will be offered QIVe through Health Boards to support their vaccination programme.
2-5 year olds not yet in school, all primary school aged children, and those in clinical risk groups under age 18, will receive Quadrivalent live attenuated intranasal vaccine Fluenz Tetra ® (LAIV). As this vaccine has a shorter shelf life than other vaccines it will be subject to phased delivery to ensure ‘in date’ vaccine is available throughout the season; this is the case across the UK as the vaccine for this programme is procured on behalf of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland by Public Health England (PHE).
The programmes are anticipated to have sufficient vaccine procured and supplied and will be subject to ongoing management at a local level. We will continue to monitor supply as we approach and go through the season.
Health Board Immunisation Coordinators are in place to help address any local issues, with support at national level from Scottish Government and key partner Health Protection Scotland.
The flu vaccine remains the best protection against flu and we would encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.
Question S5W-24754: Education, Communities and Justice
Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/08/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when the Registrar General will publish the annual report for 2018.
Answered by Fiona Hyslop (14/08/2019): Scotland’s Population 2018 - the Registrar General’s Annual Review of Demographic Trends will be published by National Records of Scotland on 14 August 2019.
Question S5W-24926: Health and Social Care
Shona Robison, Dundee City East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/08/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to publish the Independent Advisory Group’s report on NHS Tayside Breast Cancer.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (26/08/2019): The Scottish Government has published the Independent Advisory Group’s report on NHS Tayside Breast Cancer today. It is available on the Scottish Government’s website at http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781839600791.
That report makes 19 recommendations which we intend to accept and implement.
Question S5W-24940: Economy
Stuart McMillan, Greenock and Inverclyde, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/08/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what overseas visits the Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation made between January and April 2019.
Answered by Ivan McKee (28/08/2019): I made 4 overseas visits in 2019 between January and April: Warsaw, Poland; Milan, Italy; Oslo, Norway and a combined visit to Stockholm, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark.
I visited Warsaw 23-24 January 2019 to participate in a two-day trade and investment programme. Poland is an emerging market of interest for Scotland in terms of T&I, prompting SDI to employ a consultant to undertake market analysis, with SG Trade Envoy, Martyn O’Reilly, as well as DIT Poland and the British-Polish Chambers of Commerce (BPCC) facilitating and developing a number of commercial and stakeholder introductions.
Poland, one of the fastest growing economies in Europe, has been one of Scotland’s strongest growth markets in the last 10 years. Exports of Scottish goods and services to Poland have almost tripled between 2006 and 2016 from £110 million to £325 million (Export Statistics Scotland 2017), which works out to around 11% growth each year.
My two-day visit was built around a programme of business engagements and policy bi-laterals designed to help build understanding of how to develop the T&I opportunity in Poland and gain a more detailed understanding of the market.
The visit gave me an opportunity to promote trade and investment through:
1. the delivery of a keynote speech at the British-Polish Chamber of Commerce (BPCC) Annual Burns Supper facilitated by Martyn O’Reilly, SG Trade Envoy;
2. a multi-sector Business Breakfast Roundtable facilitated by SDI, Martyn O’Reilly, DIT Poland and BPCC;
3. government meetings:
• Polish Energy Minister - Krzysztof Tchórzewski and Director at Department of Renewable Energy - Andrzej Kazmierski;
• Head of Offshore Wind Parliamentary Committee - Zbigniew Gryglas;
• Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology - Tadeusz Koscinski;
• Dr Krzysztof Senger, Interim President of the Board, Polish Investment & Trade Agency (PAIH).
The visit allowed Scottish Government to explore opportunities in various sectors: Premium Food and Drink (whisky & red meat in particular), Energy, Big Data, FinTech, Tourism, Textiles, BIM, eHealth, Education, eMobility. It also opened up discussion around partnership with Scottish and Polish universities (e.g. data industry, R&D).
I also met with HMA Jonathan Knott , Jason Rheinberg, Charge d’Affaires and the DIT Prosperity and Energy Team at the British Embassy in Warsaw to learn about the Embassy’s priorities.
Although the focus of this trip was increasing trade between Scotland and Poland, I reinforced the Scottish Government’s continued opposition to Brexit and emphasised that Scotland remains open for business as an outward-facing European nation with economic, political and cultural connections with Poland.
I visited Milan 10-12 February 2019 to participate in a two-day trade and investment programme. Italy is one of Scotland’s top international export destinations. Scottish exports to Italy were estimated to be worth £760 million (2.3% of all international exports) in 2017, an increase of £55 million (7.6%) from £710 million in 2016, ranking the country 10th in terms of export value (Export Statistics Scotland 2017). Furthermore, there are 45 Italian owned enterprises in Scotland operating at 60 local sites, employing 3,180. To reinforce the potential for additional growth, SDI has a market specialist now working alongside DIT colleagues in the British Consulate Milan.
My two-day visit was built around a programme of business engagements, supported via a strong partnership with Borsa Italiana (Italy’s only Stock Exchange and subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange). It has deepened some already strong exporter and inward investor relationships. I:
1. hosted a roundtable with senior leaders and economists, including Raffaele Jerusalmi, CEO Borsa Italiana and Chair of ELITE;
2. hosted a roundtable with Italian SMEs and Luca Peyrano, CEO of ELITE;
3. attended individual company meetings with:
o Hawico, a Scottish cashmere company based in Milan;
o Harris Tweed Hebrides;
o existing investors: Guala Closures Group, Versalis and Campari Group;
4. attended a campus tour of Talent Garden, Europe’s leading innovation platform and co-working network for digital innovation.
In Food & Drink, Textiles, Retail, Tourism, Technology Scotland has a ‘Premium Brand’ offer that resonates with both Italian business and sophisticated Italian consumers; this was considered at a meeting with Stefano Della Valle, COO Central Retail Corporation, La Rinascente. The visit also opened potential for collaboration with World Manufacturing Forum and potential contribution by SG on the focus of its next edition: Promote Education and Skills Development for Social Well-being, which I explored at a meeting with Mr Alberto Ribolla, Chairman of the WMF.
I also met with Tim Flear, British Consul General in Milan as well as Andrew Mitchell, UKG Trade Commissioner for Europe to learn about their respective interests and explored areas of future collaboration.
This visit provided me with an opportunity to talk directly to Italian investors in Scotland, as well as Scottish exporters with significant operational commitments in Italy. I also had the opportunity to build engagement with some highly influential stakeholders in the Lombardy region, powerhouse of the Italian economy. As SDI has been active in the Italian market for the past year, my visit allowed us to build market traction and credibility around the principle that the SG views Italy as key trading partner and ally in the EU now and post-Brexit.
I visited Oslo 17-19 March 2019, which coincided with a 5-day SDI multisector mission to Norway and Finland. Scottish exports (goods and services) to Norway were estimated to be worth £1.0 billion in 2017 (Export Statistics Scotland 2017). Though dropping one place from 2016, this still ranks Norway as Scotland’s 6th largest export destination. Furthermore, there are also c. 110 Norwegian owned enterprises in Scotland (March 2018 - latest available figures) operating at 220 local sites, employing 5,870 with a turnover of £2.23bn.
The one-and-a-half day visit was built around a programme of inward investor, exporter, and key stakeholder engagements. In terms of sector focus, links in the Energy/Oil & Gas industries and Aquaculture/Salmon farming are amongst our most important, hence roundtable engagements with their senior representatives to deepen these relationships. I:
1. hosted a business lunch with key energy investors and partner organisations;
2. hosted a business dinner and networking event with key investors into the Scottish fish farm industry;
3. held individual company meetings with:
• EY, which provided an opportunity to meet a key senior level stakeholder and gain non-governmental insights into the Norwegian market;
• Equinor Technology Ventures, to explore the potential for further investment in Scottish technology companies and collaboration with Scotland’s innovation centres and universities within oil and gas and renewables;
• Innovation Norway, which opened a dialogue regarding potential engagement and co-operation between universities and research centres in Norway and Scotland on engaging young people in science and engineering disciplines.
This visit provided SG with an opportunity to contribute to retaining the confidence of Norwegian investors in Scotland and build confidence within Scotland’s exporter base, offering support to companies who are considering entering a key European market (and EEA member) and help mitigate the risks of reduced trade and growth with the EU. During the visit I spoke directly to Norwegian investors in Scotland, as well as to Scottish exporters, opening up new market opportunities.
I also met with HMA Richard Wood, which allowed me to formally recognise the importance of the Ambassador’s support for Scotland and Scottish companies. The meeting was an opportunity to promote development of the Scottish Government’s Arctic Policy Framework.
I highlighted that despite the uncertainty over Brexit, Scotland remains open for business and discussed the many ways in which Norway and Scotland can work together over the coming months and years to help one another grow, whilst continuing to develop our economic, political and cultural connections.
SWEDEN and DENMARK
I visited Stockholm and Copenhagen on 9-11 April 2019. Both Sweden and Denmark feature within the Export Growth Plan as Priority 1 markets. Our business links are solid: Scottish exports to Sweden grew 14% to £585 million in 2017 (Export Statistics Scotland 2017). There are 80 Swedish owned enterprises in Scotland employing 6,360 with a turnover £1.03bn. Scottish exports to Denmark were estimated to be worth £875 million in 2017, down 8.7% from 2016 (Export Statistics Scotland 2017). There are 70 Danish owned enterprises that operate in Scotland, employing 7,540 with a turnover of £1.8bn. As part of SDI’s doubling of headcount in the EU, Copenhagen has been developed as hub to service our increased interest in the bloc.
The two day visit was built around a programme of inward investor, exporter, and key stakeholder engagements. In terms of sector focus, links in the Food & Drink, Life Sciences, Energy, Technology and Engineering, Financial and Business Services are amongst our most important. The visit brought to light air connectivity issues as a trade challenge; there are limited flights to Sweden and Denmark from Edinburgh and none from Glasgow.
This visit was an opportunity to foster trade and investment relationships with some of our closest trading partners and to share plans for maintaining and growing export performance in respective countries, as described in the Export Growth Plan. It provided insight into the current state of the Swedish and Danish economies, its drivers and the international perspective of its companies. Learning more about the economic systems of the region was valuable. Meetings included:
1. Vattenfall’s future growth plans for Scotland, its commitment to EOWDC (European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre) and the collaboration agreement with ORE Catapult. I welcomed further dialogue regarding Scotland's energy and district heating plans.
2. Edrington: discussed the Group’s international export strategy, and the regulatory environment around the supply and sale of alcohol in the Nordics.
3. Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners: continued investment in Beatrice Wind Farm and the local community around Wick.
4. Other individual company and stakeholder meetings included: RBS NatWest, Confederation of Swedish Enterprises, Corporate Health and Standard Life Aberdeen. I also hosted a roundtable with Scottish stakeholders.
In line with SG ‘good global citizen’ engagement with international partners, contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, I met with UN City officials identifying future collaboration opportunities with UNDP, UNCIEF, and UNOPS.
I also met with HMA David Cairns and Dominic Schroeder (Sweden and Denmark respectively) which allowed me to formally recognise the importance of their support for Scotland and Scottish companies. The meeting was an opportunity to promote development of the Scottish Government’s Arctic Policy Framework.
Question S5W-24987: Health and Social Care
Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/08/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its Programme for Government commitment to consult on legislation to improve forensic medical services for victims of rape and sexual assault.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (29/08/2019):
The Scottish Government’s consultation paper asking for views on legislative proposals to improve forensic medical services for victims of rape and sexual assault was published for response for 12 weeks, between 15 February and 8 May 2019.
Amongst views sought, the paper set out proposals on introducing direct statutory functions on NHS boards to provide forensic medical services and healthcare support to all victims, including those who have chosen not to report the crime to police, or are undecided, but wish to undergo examination and access support (known as “self-referral”).
Where we have permission to do so, we have published moderated responses at https://consult.gov.scot/equally-safe/equally-safe-improve-forensic-medical-services/.
Scottish Government has also held consultation events with representatives from Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), NHS Scotland, Rape Crisis Scotland and survivors to explore the development of a consistent national model for self-referral.
Scottish Government has today published an Analysis Report of views expressed through consultation at http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781839600647.
We will fully consider all views expressed through consultation. This will ensure any legislation brought forward as a result is fully considered, supports delivery and is informed by those who have lived experienced of rape or sexual assault.
Subject to the finalisation of the government's legislative programme, it remains the intention to legislate in this area in the current parliamentary session.
Question S5W-24997: Economy
Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/08/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to publish its Recruitment and Retention Plan, which was announced in A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Employment Action Plan in December 2018.
Answered by Jamie Hepburn (29/08/2019):
Later today, the Scottish Government will publish its A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Scottish Government Recruitment and Retention Plan for Disabled People 2019. The document has been given to SPICe and is available at BIB 60934.
This plan sets out the actions the government will take as an employer to support more disabled people into work in Scottish Government and to enable existing disabled employees to thrive and succeed at work.
The plan sets to achieve four key outcomes;
• That we become an employer of choice for disabled people, with strong representation of disabled people at all levels of our workforce.
• That we have an inclusive and supportive culture where disabled people can be themselves at work.
• That our policies and practices work well, and work well together, to enable disabled people to thrive at work.
• That we create accessible workplaces where everyone can thrive at work.
The plan reaches across government, across all grades, and includes commitments covering a range of areas from HR policies to learning and development and building an inclusive culture.
The Plan’s aim is that over the next 7 years, on average 25% of successful candidates will be disabled people. This aims to ensure we are on track to fulfil our ambition to be representative of the people of Scotland by 2025.
Question S5W-25002: Economy
Angus MacDonald, Falkirk East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/08/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the review of its air quality strategy.
Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (29/08/2019):
An independently led review has now been completed and the report setting out the conclusions and recommendations has been published today. The report makes 10 general recommendations and 38 specific recommendations covering a wide range of policy areas. The review was led by Professor Campbell Gemmell and I would like to place on record my thanks to him and those who contributed for their work on this review.
The Scottish Government will now consider the recommendations and consult on changes to its air quality strategy in due course.
Question S5W-25054: Education. Communities and Justice
Rona Mackay, Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/08/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on plans to provide financial redress for survivors of historical abuse in care in Scotland.
Answered by John Swinney (02/09/2019):
I am pleased to announce that a pre-legislative consultation on financial redress for historical abuse in care in Scotland has been published today. The responses to this consultation will help shape the legislation which will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament during 2020 and I encourage survivors and other interested parties to take part in this consultation.
Getting the design of a financial redress scheme right is of the utmost importance; we heard the views of many survivors to an earlier consultation in 2017 on the potential provision of financial redress. Those views provide the starting point for this consultation.
This consultation asks questions about scheme design and also includes wider issues, including how those responsible should contribute to the scheme, the establishment of a public body to administer the scheme, and the potential alignment of financial redress with other elements of a reparation package for survivors of historical abuse in care.
Question S5W-25065: Economy
Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/09/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what progress it has made following its announcement in July that it would be offering farmers and crofters a loan worth up to 95% of their 2019 CAP BPS and Greening payment in September to help address concerns regarding the risk of a no-deal Brexit in October and to maintain cash flow in the rural economy.
Answered by Fergus Ewing (03/09/2019):
I am pleased to confirm that the first batch of National BPS Scheme loan offers started to be posted out on Friday 23 August 2019 to 16,570 farmers and crofters. Already 7,500 farmers and crofters have accepted their loan offer.
This means 95% of the currently eligible 2019 claim population of farmers and crofters in Scotland will have received a loan offer before the end of August. Compared to the initial loan offers issued in 2018 this is an increase of over 2,500 farmers and crofters receiving a loan offer this year. These offers are worth over €389.4 million to the rural economy. The official exchange rate will not be announced until the end of September but based on an average August rate this is around £355.2 million.
There are around 800 BPS/Greening claimants to whom we have been unable to make a loan offer yet. My officials are working extremely hard to ensure all remaining eligible farmers and crofters receive their loan offer as soon as possible.
In line with my commitment the majority of loan offers are being made at 95% of anticipated 2019 CAP Basic Payment Scheme and Greening payment, capped at a maximum of €150,000. This is an increase of 5% in the percentage of payment offered last year, meaning more farmers and crofters will receive more of their entitlement through the loan scheme as early as we are able to process responses to the offer of loan.
We increased the level of loan payment to address concerns around the risk of a Brexit No Deal in October and to maintain vital cash flow within the rural economy. We would encourage businesses to consider how they can use these payments to meet ongoing costs and support investment decisions but also consider how it might help them prepare for leaving the EU.
The cap is there to ensure that the eventual CAP payment should be large enough to permit us to recover the loan. This level of loan also ensures that no one is at risk of breaching their State Aid limit.
We expect to start making payments in early October to those who apply before the deadline included in their letter. We cannot pay loans any earlier because Basic Payment Scheme entitlements are set in euros. Under EU legislation and the euro exchange rate for calculating Direct payments 2019 payments will not be known until 30 September 2019. The rate is based on an average of the European Central Bank exchange rates set in September.
The official EU CAP payment window does not open until 1 December. We are offering farmers and crofters access to up to 95% of their CAP BPS and Greening payment ahead of this.
We offer loans in Scotland rather than advance payments because there are specific EU rules around advance payments which at this stage of processing 2019 claims would mean we could not make advance payments. By offering loans from domestic funding we are not constrained by EU rules.
We do not offer loans at 100% of claim value because at the time of calculating loan offers we have carried out no validation on the claim and do not know whether there has been any change to the land eligibility or indeed whether all payment entitlements are available to be paid on.
The new Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) has improved our confidence in basing loan offers on un-validated claim data. However the level of over declaration found at land and livestock inspections in recent years is still around 2%.
The value of loans will be deducted from the farmers and crofters 2019 CAP BPS payment once that has been made.? This is the approach taken to the previous BPS loan schemes.
If we were to pay loans at 100% then we would likely need to recover directly from more businesses. As well as adding an additional administration cost it would also deflect the positive response that the advance loans receive from the industry to date.
Where loans are fully recovered from the farmers and crofters 2019 CAP BPS payment, Scottish Government will meet interest costs in compliance with state aid rules.
State Aid refers to the use national resources to support and incentivise businesses. There are many different State Aid regulations. The regulation which applies in this instance is 1408/2013 which is the Agricultural de-minimis Regulation.
Agricultural de minimis allows farmers and crofters to receive €20,000 over a three-year fiscal rolling period. For the National Loan Schemes it is the interest foregone (calculated at market rates) and not the actual loan amount that is the State aid element.
We include an estimate on the total amount of state aid farmers and crofters have received from the national loan schemes in the current and two previous financial years in their NBPSS19 loan offer letter.
Question S5W-25064: Organisational Development and Operations
Stuart McMillan, Greenock and Inverclyde, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/09/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what the outcomes were of the Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation’s visit to the Netherlands in May 2019.
Answered by Ivan McKee (03/09/2019):
I visited the Netherlands on 20 May 2019. The Netherlands feature within the Export Growth Plan’s top 5 priority countries and are Scotland’s second largest export market. Scottish exports to the Netherlands were estimated to be worth £2.5 billion (7.6% of all international exports) in 2017, an increase of £360 million (17%) from £2.1 billion in 2016 (Exports Statistics Scotland 2017). It’s important to note that these figures are inflated, as the Netherlands are used as a logistics hub to serve Global Markets; this is known as the Rotterdam effect – which I addressed during the visit. There are 190 Dutch enterprises in Scotland at 590 local business sites, employing 20,060 (March 2018 – latest figures available).
In terms of sector focus, Scotland’s largest export sector to the Netherlands is Chemicals and Chemical products, which accounted for 34% (£840m) of all exports to the Netherlands. Energy Support (£410m) and Engineering & Manufacturing (£255m) are also important exports.
The two day visit was built around a programme of inward investor, and key stakeholder engagements, including GlobalScots as well as an exploratory meeting with the Port of Rotterdam. Additionally, the visit provided me with an opportunity to promote trade and investment:
through the delivery of a keynote speech at the Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) focusing on Scotland’s innovative potential;
at a multi-sector Investor Roundtable hosted by the British Ambassador to the Netherlands.
Whilst in the Hague, I also met with HE Peter Wilson CMG, who provided an overview of the Netherlands’ economic, political and business positions. In turn, I gave the Ambassador an overview of Scotland’s new Export Growth Plan – A Trading Nation, presented Scotland’s international footprint, including universities, business organisations and GlobalScots. The Ambassador had also expressed support for expanding the SDI network in the Netherlands. Currently, SDI supports T&I activity in the Netherlands from Düsseldorf and Brussels, working closely with DIT’s team based in The Hague. This work was previously done from the Paris office until October 2018.
The visit was beneficial in underlining our commitment to the Netherlands with a focus on T&I. It enhanced relations with the business community and made way for greater collaboration on policy, culture and trade fronts.
Question S5W-25131: Economy
Richard Lyle, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/09/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it will establish the stakeholder group to advise on the development of Scotland’s Forestry Strategy Implementation Plan, and whether it is still on track to publish the implementation plan by 1 April 2020.
Answered by Fergus Ewing (05/09/2019):
I am pleased to announce that the stakeholder reference group been established and that the first meeting of that group is later today.
The group, consisting of a range of forestry interests, draws on expertise in the economic, environmental and social drivers and benefits identified in the Strategy. It will provide input to help formulate key delivery milestones, progress indicators and a reporting schedule for the implementation plan, which will help to realise the 50-year vision for forestry set out in the Strategy.
The establishment of this group is a significant milestone, and confirms we are still on track to publish an implementation plan by 1 April 2020.
Question S5W-25219: Health and Social Care
Rona Mackay, Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/09/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it has plans to amend the blood safety requirements for plasma and platelets, in light of expert advice.
Answered by Joe FitzPatrick (10/09/2019):
Along with the UK Government and the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government has agreed to update some specific variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) precautionary measures in Scotland, England and Wales.
In 2004, the Scottish Government was advised to establish precautionary vCJD risk reduction measures in the UK, acknowledging the unknown risks of vCJD to recipients of UK plasma and platelets. A number of measures were introduced, such as the introduction of leucodepletion of all blood components and the deferral of previously-transfused donors. These specific risk reduction measures are highly effective and will remain in place to maintain the safety of the UK blood supply.
An additional risk reduction measure adopted involved the treatment of patients born on or after 1 January 1996 with imported plasma and/or apheresis platelets, along with providing imported plasma for patients with Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (TTP, a rare blood disorder). This was to reduce the risk of exposure to components that were thought to have potentially increased their risk of developing vCJD.
Over the last 15 years, accrued scientific evidence has indicated that the risk of vCJD through the transfusion of UK plasma or platelets is much lower than initially thought; there have been no known transfusion transmissions of vCJD from any blood components since the leucodepletion process was introduced. In March 2019, the independent Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) reviewed the scientific evidence and operational practices and engaged with stakeholders. As a result SaBTO has recommended that the specific risk reduction measures requiring the use of imported plasma and apheresis platelets for individuals born on or after 1 January 1996 and imported plasma for patients with TTP can be withdrawn.
SaBTO’s final advice has been published, providing a comprehensive analysis of the risk attributed with updating these vCJD risk reduction measures. This advice is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/sabto-reports-and-guidance-documents.
In light of SaBTO’s advice, the Scottish Government has approved the use of domestic plasma and pooled platelets for patients born on or after 1 January 1996 and of domestic plasma for patients with TTP. Other risk reduction measures will remain in place, including leucodepletion, deferral of previously-transfused donors and a ban on the manufacture of plasma-derived medicinal products from plasma sourced in the UK.
The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) already sources the majority of plasma from donors in Scotland and increasing domestic plasma use will provide further benefits relating to equitable provision of blood components, reduced operational complexity for hospitals and increased accessibility at the point of use. Clinicians who wish to prescribe and source commercial imported plasma for patients, based on patient need and clinical preference, will continue to be able to do so.
The Scottish Government has therefore asked SNBTS to begin implementing SaBTO’s recommendations.
Current Status: Initiated by the Scottish Government. Answered by Joe FitzPatrick on 10/09/2019
Question S5W-25218: Health and Social Care
Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/09/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what action will be taken in response to Adverse Events Management: NHS Board self-evaluation Report published by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (10/09/2019):
The Health and Sport Committee’s report ‘The Governance of the NHS in Scotland’ recommended a need for greater consistency and improved national oversight regarding the management of significant adverse events. In September 2018, I asked Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) to review their role in this process and conduct a national baseline assessment exercise.
I have considered the report that HIS have published and whilst I am grateful for the baseline report, I feel more action is required to address the inconsistencies identified. We have one NHS in Scotland and I expect to see greater consistency in the way in which the NHS investigates significant adverse events.
I have spoken with the Chair of the Board of HIS and have instructed them to ensure that NHS Scotland Boards notify them of any Significant Adverse Event Review that is commissioned in response to a Category I event (as defined in the Healthcare Improvement Scotland ‘Learning from adverse events through reporting and review. A national framework for Scotland, July 2018). I have also asked them to work with NHS Boards to ensure the use of consistent definitions and terminology relating to such reviews.
I have made it clear that further scrutiny and improvement support work within HIS must be focused on changes that will deliver improved assurance. Further, I would expect support to be provided to enhance the quality of reviews and support the implementation of any local and / or national changes that such reviews identify.
I expect the introduction of the new requirement to improve understanding of the factors contributing to the variation identified by the Health and Sport Committee and confirmed by the publication of the baseline report. This will also improve the effectiveness of national scrutiny and oversight of events that may have contributed to or resulted in permanent harm (Category I events).
My officials will be receiving regular updates on progress and I have asked for further assurance to be provided to me that the new arrangements will be implemented by the end of December 2019.
A copy of my letter to the Chair of Healthcare Improvement Scotland and all NHS Board Chairs and Chief Executives is available at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/adverse-events-management-nhs-scotland
Question S5W-25312: Health and Social Care
Bill Kidd, Glasgow Anniesland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/09/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made on the Independent Review of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
Answered by Jeane Freeman (13/09/2019):
The Independent Review of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is being co-chaired by Dr Andrew Fraser, Director of Public Health Science, NHS Health Scotland and Dr Brian Montgomery, former Medical Director and former interim Chief Executive of NHS Fife. Since their appointment, in order to inform their approach to the Review, the co-chairs have reviewed documentation and consulted other individuals involved in statutory inquiries or independent reviews, including Professor Alison Britton.
Since I last updated Parliament, the period for public feedback on the Independent Review’s Terms of Reference has concluded. At a public meeting in Glasgow on 27 June 2019, the co-chairs of the Independent Review made a formal call for submissions of evidence. They also launched the Review’s website, social media presence and contact details.
The co-chairs are now assessing a significant amount of evidence received and this autumn they will proceed to interview key stakeholders and take statements. The Review team continues to engage with a wide range of key individuals and organisations.
The Independent Review has recently announced the appointment of two expert advisors on infection prevention and control: Linda Dempster, Head of Infection Prevention and Control at NHS Improvement and NHS England; and Dr David Jenkins, a consultant in medical microbiology and director of Healthcare Infection Prevention Ltd., with extensive experience at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. These expert advisors join Professor Billy Hare, expert on construction design and Deputy Director of the BEAM Research Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University, who was appointed to the Review team in June 2019.
As the Independent Review progresses, regular updates will continue to be provided by the co-chairs and where significant findings emerge these will be reported and acted on promptly. The Review also provides regular progress updates via its newsletter and website.
Question S5W-25402: Health and Social Care
Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/09/2019
To ask the Scottish Government what further steps it will take to protect children and young people from exposure to alcohol marketing.
Answered by Joe Fitzpatrick (19/09/2019):
Tackling the attractiveness of alcohol through restricting alcohol marketing is central to our Alcohol Framework 2018 : Preventing Harm.
I have committed to consulting on a range of potential measures to restrict alcohol marketing. I am pleased to announce that, as part of that consultation work, we have commissioned Young Scot to facilitate a co-design project on alcohol marketing, with young people in Scotland.
Over the next six months, the Young Scot Health Panel will explore the extent of alcohol marketing in Scotland, the effectiveness of the current regulatory system and make recommendations on how alcohol marketing in Scotland might be restricted. This will build on the Children’s Parliament’s project on an alcohol-free childhood.
The young people’s views and findings will feed into our public consultation on potential measures to restrict alcohol marketing. I will issue this in Spring 2020.
Question S5W-25409: Economy
Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/09/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its approach to implementing the ban on sending biodegradable municipal waste to landfill, which is due to be enforced from 1 January 2021.
Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (19/09/2019):
The recent advice from the Committee on Climate Change reinforced the importance of reducing our reliance on landfill and the Scottish Government remains fully committed to ending the practice of sending biodegradable municipal waste to landfill . This will contribute to progress on climate change targets and increase incentives to deal with waste in a more sustainable way.
Significant progress has already been made towards readiness for the ban and a majority of local authorities and many commercial operators have long-term or interim solutions in place.
However, the evidence available suggests that full compliance by 2021 will not be possible without reliance on export options, including landfill in England, with consequent environmental impact and additional financial implications for local authorities.
Having carefully considered the key issues and available evidence, including advice from a working group comprising public and private sector waste sector professionals and the views of wider stakeholders, I am prepared to accept – reluctantly - that a transitional approach is necessary; and that some commercial operators and a minority of local authorities need longer to achieve full compliance with the ban.
Therefore, I have agreed that full enforcement should be delayed until 2025 for both public and private sectors managing wastes covered by the ban. This timescale is in line with the broader advice provided by the Climate Change Committee on action needed to meet net zero emissions targets.
The necessary legislation extending the deadline will only be made on the condition that remaining local authorities and the commercial sector in particular commit to making further progress at pace and demonstrate early and robust evidence of such progress.
To support progress, Scottish Government will support a positive, centrally co-ordinated intervention to help the remaining local authorities procure solutions for the remaining tonnage of waste; and Scottish Landfill Tax will be used to provide a further incentive to ensure that transitional work proceeds at the necessary pace.
In relation to future delivery plans, I wish to reinforce the importance of reducing waste and increasing recycling. These provide the best solutions in line with the waste hierarchy and will reduce reliance on solutions further down the hierarchy, such as energy from waste.
Scottish Government will continue to work closely with key partners and will bring forward detailed proposals for this transitional approach in due course.
Question S5W-25428: Transport Scotland
Gail Ross, Caithness and Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/09/2019
To ask the Scottish Government when it will announce (a) the outcome of the Northern Isles Ferry Services tender and (b) its plans to reduce ferry fares to the Northern Isles.
Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (20/09/2019):
Following a fair and transparent public procurement competition, I can today confirm that the preferred bidder to operate the Northern Isles Ferry Services is Serco Ltd. We now enter a statutory ten-day standstill period, before confirming the formal award of contract to Serco Ltd. The new contract starts on 31 October 2019 and will run for a period of eight years, with an option for the Scottish Ministers to exercise a break clause at the end of year six.
Serco Ltd will provide continuity and the provision of high-quality, affordable ferry services that will be welcomed by local communities. Just some of the benefits of the new contract, details of which will be published following contract award, include upgraded cabins and terminal facilities, and improved customer communications and services. The contract also aligns with the Scottish Government’s Fair Work Framework, including measures for pension protections and security of employment.
Following formal contract award, a non-sensitive copy of Serco Ltd’s contract will be published on Transport Scotland’s website.
I can also confirm that the Scottish Government is helping island residents with a package of fare reductions. Islanders will, from January 2020, benefit from a 20% discount on cabin fares on Aberdeen-Kirkwall-Lerwick routes, as well as a three year fares freeze for passengers, non-commercial vehicles and cabins on those routes.
Question S5W-25430: Economy
Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/09/2019
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the implementation of Fair Work First.
Answered by Jamie Hepburn (20/09/2019):
As set out in the Fair Work Action Plan we are taking a phased approach to the implementation of Fair Work First. Fair Work criteria is already being applied to a range of Scottish Enterprise business support grants; in the Scottish Government procurement process for a £400 million public contract for facilities management services; and to grants issuing through the Scottish Government’s Fair Work budget for 2019-20.
Today we have published in SPICe (Bib Number 60992) an implementation plan setting out the further steps we will take to ensure that, by the end of this Parliament, and wherever it is appropriate to do so, we will:
• extend Fair Work criteria to every type of grant, funding stream and business support budget open to us, and
• extend the range of Scottish Government and public sector contracts that Fair Work criteria will apply to.