2019

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:

https://consult.gov.scot/marine-scotland/inshore-fisheries-pilot-for-inner-sound-of-skye


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

https://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/supporting/strategy-policy-guidance/forestry-strategy

, 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:

www.gov.scot/publications/qe-university-hospital-royal-hospital-en-water-incident/

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:

  •  Achieving a 3% efficiency saving on the unit costs of all their statutory products and services; and

  •  at least a 5% profit on non-statutory products and services.

 


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

Number

Total Recommendation

Project

6

£359,225

Feasibility

5

£47,029

Capacity Building

7

£62,271

TOTAL

18

£468,525

 

Recommendations for funding after assessment by country and grant type - Programme Year 2019-2020

 

 

Country

Project

Capacity Building

Feasibility Study

Totals

Malawi

5

-

2

7

Zambia & Malawi

1

-

-

1

Zambia

 

2

-

2

Rwanda

-

-

1

1

Bangladesh

-

-

1

1

DRC

-

-

1

1

Uganda

-

-

-

-

Tanzania

-

3

-

3

Myanmar

-

1

-

1

Kenya

-

-

-

-

India

-

1

-

1

Total

6

7

5

18

 

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:

 

https://www.gov.scot/publications/small-grants-programme-funding-awards-2019-to-2020

 


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:  
https://www.gov.scot/publications/waste-markets-study-full-report
https://www.gov.scot/publications/waste-markets-study-executive-summary  

 


 

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:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/annual-energy-statement-2019/

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:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/energy-consumer-action-plan-putting-consumers-heart-scotlands-energy-transition/

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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