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To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5O-03102 by Michael Matheson on 4 April 2019 (Official Report, c. 50), whether it will provide an update regarding its efforts to promote the transportation of food and drink by freight rail.


Current Status: Expected Answer date 27/06/2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether the new ScotRail timetable will alleviate delays and cancellations, in light of the 73% increase in compensation payments being made by the operator in 2018-19.


Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 21/05/2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-22768 by Clare Haughey on 2 May 2019, how much of the £1.4 million provided for combat stress is spent in the NHS Grampian area.


Answered by Clare Haughey (15/05/2019):

The majority of funding to Combat Stress is used to provide a national residential facility for veterans at Hollybush House, Ayrshire.

As a national service, veterans living in different parts of Scotland including those within the Grampian area, can be referred to Hollybush House as appropriate.

Combat Stress currently has 434 veterans listed for their services in Scotland with 30 of those residing in the Grampian region (Aberdeen and Moray).


Current Status: Answered by Clare Haughey on 15/05/2019

To ask the Scottish Government how much ScotRail has paid to passengers in compensation in each month since April 2018, also broken down by what estimate it has made of how much potential compensation has been unclaimed.


Answered by Michael Matheson (14/05/2019):

From April 2018 to April 2019 ScotRail has paid entitled passengers a total of £1,119,818.35 through the Delay Repay Scheme.

It is not possible accurately to determine how much compensation is unclaimed.

Passengers can apply for compensation if their journey is delayed by 30 minutes or more and if they miss a connection because of a delay on a ScotRail train. Compensation is straightforward to claim by using the ScotRail app or at staffed stations and ScotRail’s web-site provides details of additional compensation that passengers may claim.


Current Status: Answered by Michael Matheson on 14/05/2019

To ask the Scottish Government what percentage of pupils meet the national satisfactory standards in (a) reading, (b) writing, (c) listening and talking and (d) numeracy, also broken down by the percentage in the (i) Aberdeen City, (ii) best performing and (iii) worst performing council area.


Answered by John Swinney (09/05/2019):

The annual Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) return collects data relating to all pupils in Primary 1, Primary 4, Primary 7 and Secondary 3. This return measures performance in aspects of literacy and numeracy, and reports on the proportion of pupils who have achieved the expected CfE level based on teacher professional judgements. The latest data is available in the National Improvement Framework Interactive Evidence Report .

The percentage of primary pupils achieving the expected CfE level relevant for their stage

 

Reading

Writing

Listening and talking

Numeracy

Scotland

79.1

74.3

85.2

78.4

Aberdeen City

78.0

73.9

85.7

77.7

The percentage of of pupils achieving CfE third level or better in S3

 

Reading

Writing

Listening and talking

Numeracy

Scotland

90.0

89.0

91.2

89.0

Aberdeen City

84.6

81.8

85.1

84.1

The data for all other local authorities in Scotland is not ranked and can be found by following the link above.


Current Status: Answered by John Swinney on 09/05/2019

To ask the Scottish Government what additional action the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is taking to prevent the outbreak of wildfires, such as the recent incident in Moray, which was the largest recorded in Scotland, and following reports that 2019 has saw more such fires across the UK than any other year; what ministerial meetings it had had or plans with the SFRS regarding this, and what additional support it is offering to the service to carry out this work.


Answered by Ash Denham (14/05/2019):

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is aware that the risks faced by communities are changing for many reasons, as referenced in the SFRS high level transformation plan, and this includes risks associated with climate change. SFRS must therefore prepare for new challenges as Scotland faces more extremes of weather (including increased flooding and dramatic wildfires, particularly in more rural parts of the country). A wildfires strategy is currently being developed by the SFRS and partners which will ensure that SFRS has the right resources in the right place at the right time to fight wildfires.

SFRS must continue to ensure that personnel are equipped and trained to deal with these emerging risks, and that their service delivery model has sufficient resilience and flexibility to support incidents that can occur over extended geographies and timescales.

Regarding the recent incident in Moray, I have once again been struck by the outstanding bravery and dedication of our firefighters to keep our communities and environment safe. Immediately after the Moray wildfire I spoke directly with the SFRS lead officer for wildfires.

The Scottish Government is working with SFRS and the Scottish Wildfire Forum (SWF) to develop a wildfire risk scenario for Scotland and to improve Fire Danger Assessments. This will support individuals and agencies in planning for and responding to wildfire events and ensure that responders in Scotland are better placed to anticipate, assess, prevent and respond to and recover from wildfires.

Decisions on the allocation of SFRS resources are an operational matter for the service. In 2019-20 the Scottish Government has increased the funding to SFRS by £5.5 million to invest in service transformation plans. This is on top of the
‎ £15.5 million additional spending power provided last year.


Current Status: Answered by Ash Denham on 14/05/2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it takes to encourage local authorities to install new bus shelters.


Answered by Michael Matheson (07/05/2019):

Provision of bus stops and shelters is the responsibility of local authorities. The Scottish Government has ongoing engagement with local authorities and other stakeholders about how to improve bus provision in partnership. The Transport (Scotland) Bill provides local authorities with a framework of new tools to address bus provision in their area.


Current Status: Answered by Michael Matheson on 07/05/2019

To ask the Scottish Government under what circumstances it considers that a bus shelter can constitute part of a business’s premises, and what its position is on whether such shelters should continue to be liable for non-domestic rates.


Answered by Kate Forbes (07/05/2019):

Non-domestic rates are levied on all ‘Land and Heritages’ and the valuation of those lands and heritages is a matter for Scottish assessors who are wholly independent of central and local government. Scottish Assessors follow applicable statute and case law in making their decisions on non-domestic property valuations. The Scottish Government has no locus to intervene in that process. Bus shelters are rateable and are therefore liable for non-domestic rates. Where multiple bus shelters have the same rateable occupier, such as a council, they may be entered as a composite entry.


Current Status: Answered by Kate Forbes on 07/05/2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many bus shelters in each local authority are liable for non-domestic rates, also broken down by how much was raised from these in 2018-19.


Answered by Kate Forbes (07/05/2019):

The following table shows the number of entries of bus shelters on the valuation roll and the amount of non-domestic rates income raised in 2018-19 broken down by local authority. Where multiple bus shelters have the same rateable occupier, such as a council, they may be entered as a composite entry.

 

Local Authority

Number of Bus Shelter Entries

Total NDR Income (£s)

Aberdeen City

2

22156

Aberdeenshire

1

22562

Angus

1

14880

Argyll & Bute

1

15960

Clackmannanshire

1

8736

Dumfries & Galloway

3

25776

Dundee City

1

40176

East Ayrshire

1

17760

East Dunbartonshire

1

10320

East Lothian

1

14256

East Renfrewshire

1

12480

Edinburgh City

1

56798

Eilean Siar

1

6240

Falkirk

2

31161

Fife

1

59708

Glasgow City

2

40562

Highlands

10

30432

Inverclyde

1

12480

Midlothian

1

14688

Moray

1

12840

North Ayrshire

1

18480

North Lanarkshire

5

25032

Orkney Islands

1

2520

Perth & Kinross

2

20112

Renfrewshire

1

11040

Scottish Borders

1

16992

Shetland Islands

2

14040

South Ayrshire

1

12240

South Lanarkshire

3

113723

Stirling

1

14880

West Dunbartonshire

1

12960

West Lothian

1

32434

This data is taken from the Valuation Roll, and Local Authority Billing information, as at June 2018.


Current Status: Answered by Kate Forbes on 07/05/2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on encouraging local authorities to ring-fence funding received from bus shelters that are liable for non-domestic rates toward building new shelters that will not be eligible for such charges.


Answered by Kate Forbes (07/05/2019):

Non-domestic rates are levied on all ‘Land and Heritages’ and the valuation of those lands and heritages is a matter for Scottish assessors who are wholly independent of central and local government. Bus shelters are rateable and are therefore liable for non-domestic rates.

Non-domestic rates are administered and collected by local authorities who retain all of the non-domestic rates revenue they raise. Councils are democratically elected independent bodies, that are accountable to their local electorate and it is for councils to determine how they prioritise their resources, including the income generated through non-domestic rates in their area. Under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, each local Council has wide-ranging powers to create bespoke rates reliefs to address their own local circumstances.


Current Status: Answered by Kate Forbes on 07/05/2019
 
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