2018


 


 

Question S5W-13718 - Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

Ash Denham, Edinburgh Eastern, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/01/2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the recent appointment of the head of its newly-established Innovation and Investment Hub in Berlin.

Answered by Fiona Hyslop (10/01/2018): Alexandra Stein has been appointed as Head of the Scottish Government’s Innovation and Investment Hub in Berlin, Germany. Alexandra has had experience across a broad range of senior policy and operational roles in the Scottish Government, many of which have focused on business and enterprise.

Alexandra has led the Scottish Government's sponsorship of Scotland's two national enterprise agencies, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International, as well as its national tourism body, VisitScotland. In 2014-15 she undertook a

year-long fellowship programme in entrepreneurship as Saltire Fellow and Fulbright Scholar at Babson College in the USA, and has spent time in industry working in innovation and new technologies.

Since June 2016, Alexandra has worked on the interface of innovation, entrepreneurship and industry and led the Enterprise and Skills Review’s project to re-design business support in Scotland.

Alexandra will represent Scottish interests in Germany, strengthening bilateral relationships and promoting the development of new and existing partnerships between the two countries. She will oversee the development of trade and investment links, and cultural and academic ties. Alexandra will work in close partnership with SDI to deliver shared country objectives and priorities that reflect the direction set in the Enterprise and Skills Review, and the International Trade and Investment Strategy. She will also oversee and facilitate cooperative activity between Scotland and Germany to deliver positive outcomes especially in key sectors of the Scottish economy including energy; food and drink; tourism; financial services; and culture and creative industries.


 

Question S5W-13822 - Constitution and External Affairs

Joan McAlpine, South Scotland Scottish National Party, Date lodged: 12/01/2018

To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish the latest analysis on the implications for Scotland’s economy of the UK leaving the EU.

Answered by Michael Russell (15/01/2018): On 10 January the First Minister announced the publication of ‘Scotland’s Place in Europe: People, Jobs, and Investment’. This paper presents the latest analysis by the Scottish Government of the implications for Scotland’s economy if the UK exits the European Union following our earlier publication in December 2016.

The paper sets out the future trade options the European Union has said will be available to the UK should it leave the EU. The evidence clearly demonstrates that Brexit will significantly weaken our economy and result in slower economic growth and lower incomes than otherwise, and that a UK outside the European Single Market and Customs Union will have the most damaging consequences for Scotland.

The paper also sets out the future opportunities for Scotland inside the Single Market as it expands and develops, and makes the case for the whole of the UK remaining a full member of the Single Market and Customs Union.

The Scottish Government therefore believes the UK Government should abandon its “red lines” on freedom of movement and the Court of Justice of the European Union before talks on the future relationship between the UK and the EU start later this year.

The people of Scotland voted decisively to remain within the European Union, and it is the role of the Scottish Government to continue making sure that their interests are protected.


 

Question S5W-13949 - Health and Social Care

Ivan McKee, Glasgow Provan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/01/2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport has reached a conclusion regarding NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s major service change proposals (a) to transfer inpatient and day case paediatrics from Ward 15 at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow and (b) for rehabilitation services in northeast Glasgow, including the proposal to close Lightburn Hospital.

Answered by

Shona Robison

(

19/01/2018

):

I have today written to the Chief Executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) to confirm my decisions in relation to these major service change proposals.

Having carefully considered all the available information and representations, I have decided to approve the Health Board’s proposal to transfer inpatient and day case paediatrics from Ward 15 at the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) in Paisley to the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) in Glasgow. This has been a difficult decision but in doing so, I recognise that only inpatient and day case paediatrics will be transferred; the majority of patient cases will continue to be seen and treated locally; with the A&E Departments at Inverclyde Royal Hospital and at the RAH continuing to receive paediatric patients who self-present alongside the continuation of outpatient clinics, as well as specialist community paediatric services.

The Board has made a compelling and viable case for these proposals which have attracted overwhelming clinical support. The proposals are consistent with national policy, modern clinical standards and best practice, including the European Association for Children in Hospital (EACH) Charter and the national clinical standards set by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. This is well summarised by the submission of Action for Sick Children Scotland (now Children’s Health Scotland) to the Health Board’s public consultation. The charity framed their submission under each of the 10 articles of EACH Charter, concluding that “the most compelling argument…is that clinical standards are there to support the best quality healthcare for all children in Scotland and we feel this would be best achieved by moving Ward 15 to the RHC.”

Whilst I am convinced that these proposals are in the best interests of local children, and note from the report of the Scottish Health Council (SHC) that the Board has meaningfully engaged with local stakeholders on their proposals, I recognise from the representations received and the stakeholder meetings I have attended that some local people – from the Paisley area, in particular – will be deeply disappointed by this decision. I know that the service many families have received from Ward 15 at the RAH has been highly valued; and that there are understandable concerns about access to the more specialised services which will transfer to the RHC; how these will be integrated into those outpatient and community services that will continue to be provided locally; and how to ensure there is clarity about what support will be offered to families in respect of these changes. This will include transport advice and whether local families can receive financial support for travel to hospital. The Board have provided assurances that this can be provided via the Family Support and Information Service based at the RHC.

That is why I have been clear to NHSGGC that my approval of these proposals is conditional on (i) the Board maintaining and improving community based services, with the aim of maximising local provision, where it is clinically appropriate to do so; and (ii) working directly with families from the Paisley area on specific, individual treatment/service access plans, to be complete before any service changes are made; ensuring that there is a full understanding of what services and support will be available to them, and from where.

I also recognise the local fears expressed during the public engagement and consultation activity that the approval of these proposals could lead to the ‘downgrading’ of the RAH. This is categorically not the case. The Board of NHSGGC has assured me that it remains absolutely committed to maintaining and developing the services provided at the RAH as the main acute resource for the Clyde area. Indeed, in terms of the ward space vacated by this decision at the RAH, the Board will use the ward to optimally improve patient care on the site.

In respect of NHSGGC’s proposals for rehabilitation services in the North East of Glasgow, including the closure of Lightburn Hospital, and having carefully considered all the available information and representations, I am not minded to approve the proposals.

I have been consistently clear during the Board’s review process that their final proposals had to effectively address the concerns which resulted in the Government rejecting the previous Lightburn closure proposals in 2011. As then, a specific consideration in this case was that approval of the proposals would result in the removal of the only significant, established and highly valued healthcare facility from one of the most deprived communities in the country.

I want to be clear that this has been a difficult decision. Like Nicola Sturgeon before me, I fully accept that healthcare services cannot be static; that reform is necessary as set out in our National Clinical Strategy and Delivery Plan; and recognise that the proposals to further develop community based services are largely consistent with the direction of national policy, including the integration of health and social care. However, in light of all the available information and representations, I remain concerned that the proposed replacement local community and support services are not sufficiently developed to authorise the closure of Lightburn Hospital. Given the general access and public health issues recognised by the Health Board as particularly affecting these seriously deprived communities, I welcome the commitment from the Board and its planning partners to develop, as a priority, a Health and Social Care Hub in East Glasgow. I consider this to be an integral part of the Health Board and its planning partners developing a viable and sustainable case for change. Whilst it is reasonable and right for the local Health & Social Care Partnerships to continue to consider how they can appropriately shift the balance of care in line with national policy, I would expect such services to be developed with local communities before any future proposal is considered.

As a result, I am asking the Health Board to work more closely with the local communities. As part of this further work, I would like to see the Lightburn Hospital site considered as the potential location for the new East End Health and Social Care Hub, or another health care use/facilty, for the benefit of the local community. I expect this work to be taken forward with the full and meaningful involvement of local stakeholders.


 

Question S5W-14057: Economy

Ben Macpherson, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/01/2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its position on electronic training devices for dogs.

Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (24/01/2018): The Scottish Government intends to ensure electronic training devices cannot be used to cause pain to animals. We will consult with animal welfare organisations to develop specific Guidance under Article 38 of the Animal Health and Welfare Scotland Act (2006). This Guidance will be published promptly to allow Courts to take it fully into account when considering criminal cases involving those accused of causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

We will not be pursuing our initial plans to recognise a qualification for trainers wishing to use electronic training collars.

Initial draft guidance has been published and is available at

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/animal-welfare/AnimalWelfare/companion/electronictrainingaids



Question S5W-14349: Rural Economy and Connectivity

Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/02/2018

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the recommendation by the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee in its report on the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill at stage 1, when it will publish a statement setting out how it will manage its forestry responsibilities.

Answered by Fergus Ewing (05/02/2018):

Forestry in Scotland: a statement on how the Scottish Government will manage and administer its forestry responsibilities will be published today, 5 February 2018. The statement will be available at www.gov.scot/forestry.


Question S5W-14637: Transport Scotland

Gillian Martin, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/02/2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on progress of the first phase of the Aberdeen to Inverness Improvement Project.

Answered by Humza Yousaf (14/02/2018): Network Rail reached the first milestone on the Aberdeen and Inverness rail enhancement project with the completion of Forres station in October 2017. Network Rail is now moving forward with delivering the remaining improvements between Aberdeen and Inverurie, and Insch, by the end of 2019.

The Scottish Government’s significant investment in the route is paving the way for faster journeys and more frequent services for those who use this important line regularly.

This summer another major milestone will be reached when major engineering works are undertaken to double track a section of the railway which, once completed, will pave the way for the introduction of half-hourly services between Aberdeen and Inverurie in December 2019. This track and signalling work, which is being undertaken by Network Rail, requires a 14 week closure of the route between May and August 2018. To accommodate the closure, rail replacement bus services will operate between Aberdeen and Dyce.

I can confirm that later today, the ScotRail Alliance are launching a coordinated communications campaign to fully inform passengers well in advance about the closure of the route and what it means for them.

The ScotRail Alliance has consulted with customer groups, with one lengthy closure being the preferred customer option.

The ScotRail Alliance are also engaging with local businesses, local authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships in the area to make sure that their travel needs are met during this period.

A temporary timetable is now available which will enable customers to check their own journey online and at stations.

Our track record on rail alongside our on-going future investment will truly transform the rail network and give passengers and freight users across rural and urban Scotland the best railway they’ve ever had.


 

Question S5W-14674:

Education, Communities and Justice

Lewis Macdonald, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/02/2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will implement the Agent of Change principle in the Scottish planning system to ensure that new development does not threaten the viability of live music venues.

Answered by

Kevin Stewart

(

16/02/2018

): Live music venues are crucial to supporting emerging and established talent and maintaining the vibrancy of our town centres. I recognise the campaign that has been led by the Musicians Union, Music Venues Trust and the owners of some of our leading music venues. I am happy to commit to including the Agent of Change principle in the next revision of the National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy, work on which will begin this year. Our Planning Bill will combine these documents and enhance their status as part of the development plan, giving them greater weight in planning decisions. In the meantime I have asked the Chief Planner to write to all planning authorities highlighting this commitment and asking them to act now to ensure that the potential impact on existing music venues is taken into account when assessing planning applications for new development. The Planning Bill does not need an amendment to reflect the Agent of Change principle.

 


 

Question S5W-14786: Community Safety and Legal Affairs

Ben Macpherson, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/02/2018

To ask the Scottish Government what proposals the Scottish Law Commission has for future law reform projects.

Answered by Annabelle Ewing (22/02/2018): I have agreed with the Scottish Law Commission its Tenth Programme of Law Reform, which covers the work to be undertaken by the Commission for the five year period from 2018 until the end of 2022. The Programme was presented to Parliament today and is also being published today. The Programme is also available online from the Scottish Law Commission website.

The projects which will be undertaken under the Tenth Programme have been selected following consultation by the Commission. The Programme includes existing projects which began under the Ninth Programme, such as work on contracts law, heritable securities and aspects of leases. A joint project with the Law Commission on surrogacy will also be undertaken. In addition, the Commission expects to undertake new projects which will cover the homicide, aspects of family law and some aspects of the law on damages for personal injury.

I welcome this Programme, which represents a varied and relevant set of proposals, and look forward to receiving reports from the Commission in due course. We will continue to work with the Commission over ways of taking forward the proposals in those reports, and will continue with the system introduced last year of providing initial responses to reports within 3 months of publication.

The Scottish Law Commission also has a general remit to keep the law of Scotland under review for the purpose of promoting reform and development of the law. In addition to the Programme of Law Reform agreed with Ministers, the Commission also receives from Ministers references on specific issues and provides other advice on specific areas of the law.


 

Question S5W-14783: Health and Social Care

Fulton MacGregor, Coatbridge and Chryston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/02/2018

To ask the Scottish Government what funds it is making available to NHS boards for 2018-19.

Answered by Shona Robison (22/02/2018): The Health portfolio resource budget will increase by over £400 million in 2018-19 to £13.1 billion, a 3.4% uplift.

As part of this uplift, our frontline NHS Boards will receive £354.5 million (3.7%) of direct additional funding in 2018-19, of which £179.5 million for a general allocation uplift and a further £175 million increase for investment in reform.

This investment will support our commitment that more than half of frontline spending will be in community health services by the end of this Parliament, and will allow us in 2018-19 to continue our progress in seeing the shift towards this balance of spending. In 2018-19 it will also support a further shift in the share of the frontline NHS budget dedicated to mental health and to primary, community, and social care.

Details of Boards’ revenue resource and capital allocations for 2018-19 are as follows:

Revenue Resource:

NHS Frontline Boards Total Uplift £m Total Uplift% Total 2018-19 Allocation £m

Ayrshire and Arran 11.6 1.7% 694.9

Borders 3.0 1.5% 200.6

Dumfries and Galloway 4.3 1.5% 289.1

Fife 12.1 1.9% 636.6

Forth Valley 10.3 2.1% 506.8

Grampian 18.5 2.1% 920.6

Greater Glasgow & Clyde 31.8 1.5% 2,154.5

Highland 12.0 2.0% 604.3

Lanarkshire 20.7 1.8% 1,156.1

Lothian 29.0 2.1% 1,384.3

Orkney 0.7 1.5% 47.7

Shetland 0.7 1.5% 48.7

Tayside 13.7 1.9% 734.8

Western Isles 1.1 1.5% 73.0

National Waiting Times

Centre 0.5 1.0% 54.0

Scottish Ambulance

Service 8.6 3.7% 237.9

The State Hospital 0.3 1.0% 34.8

NHS 24 0.7 1.0% 66.3

Total Frontline NHS

Boards 179.5 1.9% 9,845.0

Investment in reform 175.0 1.8%

Total additional funding

for Frontline NHS Boards 354.5 3.7%

In addition to the investment in frontline patient-facing NHS Boards, £791.3 million will continue to be invested across NHS National Services Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland and NHS Health Scotland.

In addition to the resource allocations, there will be recurring allocations of £16.9 million which will be applied to Boards’ baseline budgets in 2018-19.

Capital Resource:

Territorial Boards £m

Ayrshire & Arran 8.3

Borders 2.4

Dumfries & Galloway 3.5

Fife 7.4

Forth Valley 6.1

Grampian 12.8

Greater Glasgow & Clyde 37.4

Highland 6.6

Lanarkshire 12.4

Lothian 23.5

Orkney 1.0

Shetland 1.0

Tayside 9.5

Western Isles 1.2

Total 133.1

National Boards

National Waiting Times Centre

2.7

Scottish Ambulance Service

1.8

National Services Scotland

3.4

Healthcare Improvement Scotland

0.2

The State Hospital

0.3

NHS 24

0.3

NHS Education for Scotland

0.5

NHS Health Scotland

0.1

Total

9.3

In addition to the capital allocations above, a further £209 million held centrally will be used to support infrastructure investment across the sector. This will ensure continued support from the capital investment strategy to support the delivery of the National Clinical Strategy and the Delivery Plan. This also includes funding to progress our £200 million commitment to expand the Golden Jubilee Hospital and develop five elective care centres in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Inverness and Livingston.

 


 

 

Question S5W-14945: Justice and the Law Officers

Bruce Crawford, Stirling, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/02/2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the proposed continuity bill.

Answered by James Wolffe QC (27/02/2018):

The Scottish Government today introduced the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill (“the Bill”). The Bill, like all Scottish Government Bills, was accompanied by a Ministerial statement, cleared with me, that it is within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

The legislative competence of any Bill is determined by applying the relevant legal tests. The principal question in relation to the competence of the Bill arises under section 29(2)(d) of the Scotland Act 1998 – namely, whether the Bill is incompatible with EU law. That question falls to be assessed in the relevant legal context, which includes the following circumstances:

(i) The UK Government has taken steps under Article 50 TEU to withdraw the UK from the EU.

(ii) Upon withdrawal of the UK from the EU, EU law will cease to apply, and the EU law constraint on the powers of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Ministers will cease to have any content.

(iii) There is a practical necessity to make provision, of the sort contained in the Bill, to enable the law to operate effectively upon and after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The Bill has been carefully framed so that it does not do anything or enable anything to be done, while the UK remains a member of the EU, which would be incompatible with EU law. Rather, it enables provision to be made to deal with the consequences of withdrawal from the EU – to ensure that the law, insofar as within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament, continues to operate effectively immediately upon the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. It is modeled, in that regard, on the UK Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill. In the context of a process of withdrawal from the EU in accordance with EU law, the enactment of such provisions to ensure legal certainty and legal continuity is not incompatible with EU law. In short, it is compatible with EU law to make provision, in the way that this Bill does, for what is to happen when EU law no longer applies, following a process which is provided for in EU law itself and which has already been initiated.


 

Question S5W-14935:

Education, Communities and Justice

George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/02/2018

To ask the Scottish Government when the independent review of Legal Aid will present its findings.

Answered by Annabelle Ewing (28/02/2018): The Independent Review of Legal Aid report will be published today.



Question S5W-15016:Education, Communities and Justice

George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party Date Lodged: 01/03/2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the Executive Review of the Scottish Police Authority.

Answered by Michael Matheson (02/02/2018): I am pleased to announce the report of the Executive Review is now available on the Scottish Government website at

http://www.gov.scot/Publications/Recent

I commissioned the Review in June 2017, to consider how the Executive of the Scottish Police Authority could most effectively support the Board to deliver its statutory functions. It was conducted by Malcolm Burr, Chief Executive of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and Nicola Marchant, the former Deputy Chair of the SPA. The report makes 17 recommendations and it will now be for the Chair and Interim Chief Officer of the SPA to consider how best to take these forward.


Question S5W-15360:Economy

Angus MacDonald, Falkirk East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/03/2018

To ask the Scottish Government what support it is giving to help strengthen community groups in the Carron Valley.

Answered by Fergus Ewing (19/03/2018): I am pleased to advise that on 28 February 2018, Forest Enterprise Scotland approved the request by Valley Renewables Group, the development trust for the Carron Valley, to buy 21 hectares at the entrance to the Carron Valley Forest to develop a community woodland.

This decision recognises that community ownership can help to build community resilience and capacity. The community in the Carron Valley area have no access to community facilities so ownership of this area of woodland will provide a focus for activities, such as community events with woodland walks and adventure trails.

Valley Renewables Group has committed to invest community funds from the Craigenhalt wind farm to improve the recreation facilities, to support the long-term running costs and to build community capacity through training and participation.

Working together Forest Enterprise Scotland and the community also intend to develop a joined up approach to the existing public facilities and new community facilities, to continue to welcome the many visitors to the Carron Valley Forest.

This is the second request approved under the Community Asset Transfer Scheme for the National Forest Estate, following the approval in November 2017 of transfer of the Fairy Pools Car Park to the Minginish Community Hall Association.


 

Question S5W-15474 Health andSport

Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/03/2018

To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made by the Independent Advisory Group on the Use of Biometric Data in Scotland.

Answered by Michael Matheson (22/03/2018):

In June 2017, the Scottish Government appointed John Scott QC to chair the independent advisory group tasked with considering the recommendations contained in HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland’s Audit and Assurance Review of the Use of the Facial Search functionality within the UK Police National Database (PND) by Police Scotland report.

The group held eight meetings between June 2017 and January 2018 and consulted with a range of organisations and individuals with an interest in biometrics including privacy and human rights bodies, research institutes and leading academics. A

‎ sub-group was also established to consider the particular issues in relation to the retention and use of biometric data from children and young people.

The Scottish Government has today published the group’s report and a response to the recommendations contained within it. The report can be found on the Scottish Government website at http://www.gov.scot/isbn/9781788516006 and the associated Scottish government response at http://www.gov.scot/About/Review/biometric-data .

As the biometrics field continues to evolve, Scottish Ministers are committed to ensuring that biometric data and associated technologies are used within a clear framework which incorporates human rights and ethical considerations.


 

Question S5W-15662 Rural Economy and Connectivity

Kate Forbes, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/03/2018

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the publication of the National Marine Plan Review 2018: Three year report on the implementation of Scotland’s National Marine Plan (inshore and offshore waters), on 23 March 2018, whether the Scottish Ministers plan to amend or replace the Plan.

Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (28/03/2018):

Scottish Ministers have considered the Review Report and decided not to replace or amend the National Marine Plan at this early stage of implementation and period of considerable change. This view was generally shared across the range of stakeholders consulted during the review process.

Working with stakeholders, Scottish Government will continue to focus on delivering and embedding the Nation Marine Plan in wider decision making and take account of emerging activities identified during the review process including through focused work-streams and continued delivery of the Programme for Government’s marine environment commitments.

The National Marine Plan Review 2018: Three year report on the implementation of Scotland’s National Marine Plan (inshore and offshore waters) is available at

www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/03/2751


 

Question S5W-15699 Economy

Graeme Dey, Angus South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/03/2018

To ask the Scottish Government when the Scottish Land Commission will lay its revised Programme of Work in the Parliament.

Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (29/03/2018):

The Scottish Land Commission will lay its revised Programme of Work in Parliament today, in advance of the first anniversary of the Commission’s establishment on 1 April. Extensive engagement and scoping work in the last six months has enabled the Commission to more sharply focus the Programme of Work to ensure the most positive impact in the short and long term. Copies have been placed in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, laying number SG/2018/35.


 

Question S5W-15726:

Constitution and External Affairs

Constitution and External Affairs

Christina McKelvie, Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/03/2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the progress that has been made in relation to the International Development Small Grants Programme funding round 2018-19.

Answered by Alasdair Allan (29/03/2018):

I am pleased to announce that funding amounting to a total of £354,860 will be provided to 12 organisations (see following link), from our Small Grants Programme 2018-2019, for work to commence in April 2018.

Total amount of Recommended funding - Programme Year 2018-2019

Type of Grant

Number

Total Recommendation

Project Implementation

5

£286,763

Feasibility Study

2

£19,517

Capacity Building

5

£48,580

TOTAL

12

£354,860

Recommendations for funding after assessment by country and grant type - Programme Year 2018-2019

Country

Project

Feasibility

Capacity Building

Total

Malawi

3

-

2

5

Malawi/Zambia

-

-

-

1

Rwanda

1

-

-

1

Zambia

1

-

1

2

Kenya

-

1

1

1

Tanzania

-

1

-

1

Mozambique

-

-

1

1

Total

5

2

5

12

The Small Grants Programme 2018-2019 attracted 17 applications before the deadline of noon , on 28 November 2017. Three applications were rejected as outwith our eligibility criteria, and therefore were not part of the full assessment process. The remaining 14 applications were fully assessed. Two did not meet our assessment criteria and were therefore not awarded funding.

The full list of the projects to be funded is available on the following web link:

https://beta.gov.scot/publications/small-grants-programme-2018-2019/


 

Question S5W-15736

Education, Communities and Justice

Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/03/2018

To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to publish the details of the Funding Follows the Child approach and the supporting National Standard for the delivery of the expanded early learning and childcare entitlement.

Answered by Maree Todd (29/03/2018):

In March 2017 the Scottish Government published ‘A Blueprint for 2020: The Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland: 2017-18 Action Plan’ which made clear that in order to deliver our policy vision for the expansion, a more progressive service model would be introduced from 2020.

The Action Plan committed us to a series of actions, to be delivered by the end of March 2018 to ensure that the expansion of ELC is rooted in a high quality experience for our children, and to support our delivery partners in building additional capacity.

The 2017-18 Action Plan committed us, by the end of March 2018, to establishing a Service Models Working Group in partnership with local authorities to:

  • develop the details of the new Funding Follows the Child model; and

  • produce a National Standard for a more open process to becoming a funded provider.

Today Early Learning and Childcare Service Model for 2020: Consultation Paper will be published. This joint consultation with COSLA sets out the Funding Follows the Child approach and seeks views on the proposed National Standard that will underpin it. The National Standard sets out the clear and consistent criteria that all providers who wish to deliver the funded entitlement will have to meet from 2020.

The Early Learning and Childcare Service Model for 2020 is the output of the intensive work that the joint Scottish Government and local government Service Models Working Group has taken forward since its first meeting in June 2017. This has included extensive engagement with providers and key stakeholders to ensure that this new model works for everyone in the sector and helps to improve the early learning and childcare experience for our young children.

The introduction of this new approach represents a substantial change for the early learning and childcare sector in Scotland.

We want to ensure that everyone in the sector, including families, can provide their views on the new model. We want to hear these views and that is why we are now consulting jointly with COSLA on the proposed National Standard.

The paper can be accessed at:

https://consult.gov.scot/children-and-families/service-model-for-2020


 

Question S5W-15700 Economy

Ivan McKee, Glasgow Provan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/03/2018

To ask the Scottish Government what targets it expects Registers of Scotland to achieve in 2018-19.

Answered by Keith Brown (29/03/2018):

Scottish Ministers have set the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland the financial targets of achieving:

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

  • at least a 5 per cent profit on their non-statutory products and services.




    Question S5W-15780 Constitution and External Affairs

    Kate Forbes, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/04/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what information it can provide regarding the Minister for International Development and Europe’s visit to Zambia in February 2018.

    Answered by

    Alasdair Allan

    (

    04/04/2018

    ):

    Following the 2016 public consultation on the future shape of the Scottish Government’s International Development Programme, we published our new International Development Strategy in December 2016, which included Zambia as one of our four partner countries, alongside Malawi, Rwanda and Pakistan. Our new enhanced Zambia Development Programme began in October 2017, with £6.3 million being invested in six projects which will run until 2022. This is alongside projects funded under our popular Small Grants Programme, and institutional capacity strengthening initiatives that we are also now supporting in Zambia.

    My predecessor Humza Yousaf undertook a successful visit to Zambia in January 2014 as part of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Baton Relay programme.

    I visited Zambia from 9-15 February to continue to develop and strengthen the relationship between our countries - building upon connections which have existed since Dr David Livingstone’s time there – and to visit Scottish Government funded projects.

    My visit was also helpful to discuss how Scotland and Zambia can further collaborate in areas like global health, in pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As part of that, four days prior to departure, I announced funding of £200,000 to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties’ Livingstone Fellowship Scheme, which will enable doctors from Zambia (and Malawi) to come to Scotland for one year and benefit from specialist medical training, before they return home to take up consultant posts. This announcement was warmly welcomed in Zambia, in particular by the Minister for Health, Hon Chitalu Chilufya and by the Ministry of Health’s provincial health leads in Central Province.

    My visit focussed on two locations: Lusaka, the capital city, where the majority of Ministerial meetings took place; and Kabwe, the provincial capital of Central Province, where the Scottish Government’s Zambia Development Programme, capacity building work and Small Grants Programme are principally being delivered.

    Lusaka

    In Lusaka I met with a number of Government Ministers: Vice President of Zambia, Hon Inonge Mutukwa Wina with whom I discussed her flagship initiative, the Jubilee Women’s Highway Integrated Markets (JWHIM) and the support the Scottish Government is contributing via our projects with Christian Aid and First Aid Africa. The Vice President remarked upon Scotland’s commitment to gender equality and commended the work we are funding Police Scotland’s International Development and Innovation Unit to deliver with their Zambia Police Service colleagues, which focuses on gender based violence and child protection. In addition, she spoke about Scotland’s expertise in fish farming and processing and enquired as to whether best practice could be shared.

    I paid a courtesy call to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Joseph Malanji during which he spoke of his interest in Scotland – he has visited on a number of occasions on a personal basis due to his passion for golf and noted the Scottish Government’s relationship with the Zambian Diaspora in Scotland. He also spoke at length about the positive impact he envisaged the Scottish Government’s involvement in the JWHIM will have, particularly in relation to agri-processing.

    I also met the Minister for Health, Hon Chitalu Chilufya with whom I had a particularly productive discussion identifying needs in Zambia which would allow our countries to work collaboratively under the Scottish Government’s developing Global Health Programme. More specifically we discussed potential institutional capacity building work with the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, as well as opportunities for newly retired NHS doctors to work in Zambia.

    I met the Minister for Community Development and Social Welfare, Hon Emerine Kabanshi who also opted to attend the Scottish Government’s project symposium in Kabwe, three days later. In line with her portfolio, Ms Kabanshi has a significant interest in how Governments work with civil society organisations, as well as gender based violence, sport for development (cycling in particular) and the Baby Box initiative. She also expressed an interest in visiting Scotland, specifically to learn more about our approach to working with civil society organisations.

    My meeting with the Zambian Attorney General, Likando Kalaluka focussed on possible areas in which Scottish and Zambian Parliamentary Drafters can work together to update legislation, in particular child protection legislation, with the possibility of constitutional law experts from Scotland offering support. The discussion also considered how to further support the existing Police Scotland train the trainers work on gender based violence and child protection.

    In Lusaka I also met the British High Commission, Deputy Head of DFID and the Irish Ambassador . With the latter two I discussed potential areas of shared interest in our respective international development programmes.

    I was also privileged to attend Action Aid/Grassroots Soccer ’s project which the Scottish Government funds via our collaboration with Comic Relief . The project has gender equality and SDG5 very much at its heart and aims to upskill young women and girls in order to give them more confidence and resilience when dealing with challenging situations, particularly around relationships. I was extremely impressed by the energy and commitment to the programme and their future life ambitions shown by these young women.

    Kabwe, Central Province:

    En route to Kabwe, I visited the Vice President’s Jubilee Women’s Highway Integrated Market initiative at Chibombo to see for myself where two of our Zambia Development Programme Projects will be contributing to improving the market function, firstly by making the environment safer for women (and their children) who work there by providing first responder first aid training (First Aid Africa) and secondly by making working in the market more profitable for women by introducing agri-processing technology to enable them find more diverse, more profitable ways of using their stock (Christian Aid).

    In Kabwe I met the Minister for Central Province, Hon Sydney Mushanga who again emphasised on behalf of the Zambian Government the value that they placed on the relationship with Scotland through the historical links which are traced back to Dr David Livingstone: and for Minister Mushanga the particular historic links to Scotland for Central Province, given that Dr Livingstone’s heart remains buried there. We discussed that not only had Dr Livingstone been a missionary and a medic, he had been an early proponent of human rights, which values we held to this day. Minister Mushanga commended the success of the Police Scotland work on child protection and gender based violence which has been delivered in Central Province to date. He also highlighted the Central Province Tourism Expo being held in August 2018 to which he would welcome input in whatever form the Scottish Government could contribute.

    I also attended a roundtable meeting of the Central Province Provincial Health Leads (Senior Civil Servants in the Ministry of Health in Central Province), led by provincial Medical Director, Dr Rosemary Mwansa . The discussion concentrated on identifying the ways in which Ministry officials thought that the Scottish Government could provide additional value and have the most effective impact on health outcomes in Central Province via our developing Global Health Programme, using limited resources. Suggestions included the Scottish Ambulance Service providing capacity building training (particularly training of paramedics) which would go some way to mitigate the injuries and deaths which occur as a result of the particularly high numbers of road traffic accidents in the Province, which has the main South Africa to DRC trunk road running through it.

    I spent Sunday morning at All Saints Church where I was very warmly welcomed by Bishop Musonda of Central Province , the Hon Tutwa Ngulube MP for Kabwe and Keith and Ida Waddell, the Education and Health Secretaries in the United Church of Zambia of which All Saints is a member and which also has strong links to the Church of Scotland. I met with a number of support staff who ensure the smooth running of the church and this provided the opportunity to hear more at grassroots level about the challenges people in Kabwe face, from poverty, HIV/AIDS and the disproportionate impact of climate change on the community.

    I hosted a project symposium which provided a platform for the Zambia Development Programme and Small Grants Programme in country partners to present on the work which their projects have delivered to date and also on their aims and objectives between now and 2022. It also provided the opportunity for partners from all of the projects to network and identify ways to work collaboratively in future. The event was attended by the Minister for Community Development, the Hon Emerine Kabanshi and the Minister for Central Province, the Hon Sydney Mushanga; both had actively requested to attend following my initial meetings with each of them.

    I was welcomed to Kabwe Police Headquarters by the Divisional Commander and taken to the Victim Support Unit and the One Stop Centre at Kabwe General Hospital to see firsthand the impact of the Scottish Government funded work which Police Scotland’s is delivering there with their Zambia Police Service colleagues. As noted above, the focus is on child protection and improving support for victims of Gender Based Violence.

    Similarly, while I was in Lusaka, I visited Lilayi Police College where I observed Police Scotland trainers deliver ‘train the trainer’ child protection training to Zambia Police Service Officers, which involved role play, group discussion and evaluation of the session. I then proceeded to Police Headquarters in Lusaka where I met the Inspector Generals of the Zambian and Malawian Police Services . The discussion with them focussed on the success of the Police Scotland work to date and how it will continue to develop during 2018-19; both Inspector Generals highlighted how the Scottish Government funded programme in both countries further supported their own existing close-working relationship as neighbouring countries.

    Overall, my visit strengthened diplomatic relations with the Zambian Government as well as establishing new relationships at all levels of Government and across a range of other sectors including police, health, civil society and church groups. This will contribute significantly to the ongoing development and ultimately successful delivery of our expanded Zambia Development Programme.

    The visit also successfully demonstrated Scotland’s ongoing contribution to international development, showcasing strengths in health, gender equality, and sustainable economic development. It also underpinned the fact that we continue to be a good global citizen, making distinctive contributions in addressing world challenges and sharing our knowledge, skills and technical expertise for global good.


     

    Question S5W-15827 Economy

    Ivan McKee, Glasgow Provan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/04/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when a new chief executive will be appointed to Scottish Enterprise.

    Answered by

    Keith Brown

    (

    06/04/2018

    ):

    Following a rigorous recruitment process, Steve Dunlop has been appointed as the new Chief Executive and will take up his post in May 2018. Paul Lewis will continue his role as interim Chief Executive until this time.


     

    Question S5W-15933 Economy

    Graeme Dey, Angus South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/04/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish its guidance regarding engaging communities in decisions relating to land, as required under Part 4 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016.

    Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (18/04/2018):

    The Scottish Government's Guidance on Engaging Communities in Decisions Relating to Land is published today. Copies of the guidance have been placed in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, laying number SG/2018/32.


     

    Question S5W-16083 Economy, Jobs and Fair Work

    Ash Denham, Edinburgh Eastern, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/04/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what information it can provide regarding the recent visit to the United States by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work.

    Answered by Fiona Hyslop (20/04/2018):

    The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work visited the United States between 4 and 7 April, attending events and meetings in New Jersey and New York. The visit focused on promoting trade and investment, culture, heritage, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as engagement with the diaspora network. The visit also marked the 20th anniversary of Tartan Day in New York.

    The relationship between Scotland and America is an important one with deep and long-standing ties reflected by the strong economic, cultural and personal links of our citizens. The US is Scotland’s top source of inward investment, accounting for 35% of projects and is Scotland’s second largest export partner - worth £4.6 billion or 15.9% of all international exports.

    Beginning his engagements in Princeton, New Jersey, the Cabinet Secretary attended the Offshore Wind Partnering Forum, meeting senior stakeholders including industry leaders and new and existing global investors in the Scottish renewables sector. Mr Brown emphasised the Scottish Government’s commitment to the future of the industry in Scotland and took the opportunity to support and endorse the Scottish offshore wind community as they built new business opportunities at this key industry partnering event.

    The Cabinet Secretary moved on to New York for the pre-launch of Scotland Is Now, the new national brand for Scotland to encourage people to live, work, invest, study and visit Scotland. The preview event was held in partnership with the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), one of America’s most prominent broadcast networks at the iconic Roxy Hotel Cinema in New York.

    During the event, the audience were shown a preview of the new Scotland Is Now brand film. Additionally, WNBC host Dave Price chaired a panel discussion on Scotland and the Scotland Is Now campaign. Mr Brown was part of this panel and answered questions from the audience, supporting the new campaign and affirming Scotland’s position as a pioneering, progressive, dynamic and inclusive nation.

    On 5 April, the Cabinet Secretary hosted an ‘Invest in Scotland’ business breakfast for potential capital investors from the New York financial community and spoke about the opportunities for investment in Scotland’s key infrastructure projects. He also attended a networking lunch hosted by Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) which allowed him to meet with potential trade and investment partners in the financial services community. He also took the opportunity to recognise ASI as a globally successful financial services firm headquartered in Scotland and engaged with senior members of the ASI team.

    In addition to networking with capital investors, the Cabinet Secretary also held meetings with key stakeholders from the oil and gas, transport, technology and life sciences sectors to further promote trade and investment in Scotland.

    This included a meeting with the Vice President of JetBlue where the possibility of new routes to Scotland was discussed. Further meetings included engagements with new and existing investors across a range of sectors including energy (BluHaptics and the MerGroup), life sciences (LEIDOS and Orthosensor) and technology (IBM) where Mr Brown had the opportunity to discuss opportunities for Scotland.

    The Cabinet Secretary also spoke at the reception held by the St Andrew’s Society of New York which was held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Tartan Day. He took the opportunity to thank the St Andrews Society for their charitable work and support for Scottish culture and history. Mr Brown also welcomed diaspora groups to a breakfast commemorating the anniversary. He thanked the groups for their support of Tartan Day over the last 20 years, in addition to their promotion of Scotland and Scottish values more generally.

    Mr Brown also met with the President of the World Fair Trade Organisation, Dr Rudi Dalvai and creator of the World Fair Trade Tartan, Tania Pramschufer. The Cabinet Secretary expressed his pride in Scotland’s status as a Fair Trade Nation and affirmed his support for the World Fair Trade Tartan’s efforts to make new trade contacts in the North American market.

    The American-Scottish Foundation, a key Diaspora group in New York City, held an event to celebrate National Tartan Day and to commemorate the Declaration of Arbroath. The Cabinet Secretary spoke at this event to acknowledge the bonds of kinship and friendship between Scotland and the USA.

    An event supported by Universities Scotland then brought together influential alumni from Scottish universities based in the greater New York area. Mr Brown gave a speech promoting Scotland as a great place to visit, work, study and invest.

     

    The visit culminated in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Tartan Day in New York. During the day of celebrations, the Cabinet Secretary met veteran volunteers of the Tartan Day parade to thank them for their service, attended the Kirkin’ of the Tartan and joined the march for the Tartan Day parade. He also took the opportunity to meet Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band, a youth pipe band visiting New York to participate in Tartan Day.


     

    Question S5W-16136: Parliamentary Business

    Bill Kidd, Glasgow Anniesland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/04/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what changes to parliamentary liaison officers have been made; to which ministers, and what their responsibilities are.

    Answered by Joe FitzPatrick (24/04/2018):

    The First Minister has made changes to the appointed parliamentary liaison officers (PLOs), the revised list is set out in the following table. The role of PLOs is to assist in developing and maintaining a positive and constructive relationship between the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government and to take account of the views of the Parliament and of Scotland as a whole. PLOs are unpaid, are not members of the government and are not, therefore, bound by collective responsibility.

    Parliamentary Liaison Officer

    Portfolio

     

    Ben Macpherson MSP &

    Gail Ross MSP

     

    Office of the First Minister

    Mairi Gougeon MSP

    Communities, Social Security and Equalities

    Tom Arthur MSP

    Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

    Ivan McKee MSP

    Economy, Jobs and Fair Work

    Jenny Gilruth MSP

    Education and Skills

    Gillian Martin MSP

    Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

    Kate Forbes MSP

    Finance and Constitution

    Fulton MacGregor MSP

    Health and Sport

    Emma Harper MSP

    Rural Economy and Connectivity

    Fulton MacGregor MSP

    Justice

     


     

    Question S5W-16245: Education, Communities and Justice

    Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/04/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide a progress update on the agreement of a multi-year funding package to support the expansion of early learning and childcare entitlement.

    Answered by

    Maree Todd

    (

    27/04/2018

    ):

    Scottish Ministers and COSLA Leaders reached agreement on a multi-year revenue and capital funding package for the expansion of early learning and childcare today, Friday 27 April. This agreement represents a shared understanding of the costs required to deliver the expansion in entitlement to funded early learning and childcare to 1140 hours from August 2020.

    Under this agreement, Scottish Government will provide local authorities with additional recurring revenue funding of £567 million per year by 2021-22, the first full financial year of the expansion.

    In addition, the Scottish Government will provide local authorities with capital funding of £476 million over four financial years (2017-18 to 2020-21 inclusive).

    Annual funding allocations for the period 2017-18 to 2021-22 are summarised in the following table.

    Table: Local authority funding for ELC expansion by financial year (£m)

    2017-18

    2018-19

    2019-20

    2020-21

    2021-22

    Revenue

    33

    96

    307

    508

    567

    Capital

    30

    150

    175

    121

    -

     


     

    Question S5W-16540: Education and Skills

    Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/05/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made with its review of the 15 to 24 Learner Journey.

    Answered by John Swinney (10/05/2018):

    The Learner Journey Review has concluded its work and the report is published today. The Review has highlighted that Scotland is rightly proud of its education and skills system, which continues to deliver excellence and equity for so many of our young people. But there is more to do - we need all of our young people to get as much as possible from that system.

    This Review provides a real opportunity to be absolutely clear about how we best align our system to deliver more choices; and to ensure that we value those choices equally - be they academic or vocational.

    The publication of the report starts a new phase of further engagement and in taking the Review recommendations forward, we are committed to improving the experience for the learner and setting a clear expectation for more purposeful collaboration in partnership with schools, colleges, universities and employers.

    Taking all this work forward together will require strong joint leadership, supported by the right evidence base, to ensure we continue to invest in the right qualifications and right types of learning to deliver the best outcomes for our young people and for the Scottish economy.


     

    Question S5W-16241: Education, Communities and Justice

    George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/04/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the Congress on Disability, Employment and the Workplace, whether ministers will announce any new actions aimed at reducing the Disability Employment Gap.

    Answered by Jamie Hepburn (30/04/2018):

    Throughout the day, the First Minister, the Minister for Social Security and I will be at the Scottish Government’s Congress on Disability, Employment and the Workplace, where we will be talking to disabled people, their organisations, and employers across the private, public and third sector, to ensure that we are taking the collective action necessary to ensure we deliver a step change in the number of disabled people in work.

    As part of our commitment to at least halve the Disability Employment Gap, the First Minister will set out three elements of an all-government, all-Scotland approach:

    Firstly, the launch of a formal consultation on increasing disabled employment in the public sector, including options for setting targets for public sector bodies.

    Secondly, the announcement of our intention to publish a Disability Employment Gap Action Plan in the Autumn of 2018. This plan will set out how we will meet our commitment to at least halve the Disability Employment Gap, working closely with civil society, employers, disabled peoples organisations, trade unions, and the wider public sector as well as disabled people themselves.

    Thirdly, that the Scottish Government will invest £1 million to provide additional support and advice to help meet our ambitions to increase the disability employment rate.


     

    Question S5W-16590: Rural Economy and Connectivity

    Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/05/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will meet the target of making 95.24% of CAP Pillar 1 payments by the end of June 2018.

    Answered by Fergus Ewing (11/05/2018):

    The Scottish Government is working hard to deliver the European Commission’s payment target and this year’s payment trajectory is broadly on track compared to last year. We have already made 95% of Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme payments and are making good progress on Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments. Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme payments will be made later in the payment window. Regular progress reports are being provided to Parliament and the next update will be provided at the end of May


     

    Question S5W-16645: Constitution and External Affairs

    Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/05/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what information it can provide regarding the First Minister’s recent visit to China.

    Answered by

    Fiona Hyslop

    (

    16/05/2018

    ):

    The First Minister undertook a successful visit to China (Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong) between 8-13 April 2018, to strengthen the growing business, cultural and educational links between Scotland and the world’s second-largest economy.

    The First Minister had a constructive meeting with Chinese Vice Premier (Hu Chunhua), which further strengthened high level relations. In this meeting, the First Minister outlined the business, cultural and educational focus of her programme and promoted equality and respect for human rights and social values as a key part of Scotland and China’s relationship.

    The First Minister was accompanied by a delegation of Scottish Universities and witnessed the signing of ten agreements between Scottish businesses and universities and their Chinese counterparts. She met with the Minister of Education, and agreed to strengthen co-operation in areas such as university research partnerships, language learning, and the flow of students between Scotland and China.

    At a joint event with UNICEF in Beijing, the First Minister delivered a keynote address to Chinese policy makers on the importance of promoting children’s rights and tackling child poverty, which built upon her messages around gender equality delivered on her visit in 2015. She also delivered a keynote speech at an event arranged by the Economist Network on prosperity through inclusive economic growth and, as part of this, the importance of gender equality and progressive work practices. She also launched Social Enterprise Academy China – a partnership which will enable specialist expertise from Scotland to grow and sustain social enterprises in China.

    The First Minister undertook a series of business meetings and events to encourage more trade and investment between Scotland and China and at least 25 Scottish business interests were supported by the visit programme.

    The First Minister visited Ctrip, which invested £1.4bn into Skyscanner in 2016 and has recently located its first contact centre outside of China in Edinburgh. She met with the CEO, Jane Sun, and joined her in co-hosting a media roundtable to discuss the investment in Scotland.

    The First Minister had an introductory meeting with the Chinese conglomerate Sanpower and discussed business interests in Scotland, including House of Fraser.

    The First Minister facilitated a round table discussion on Scotland’s energy sector capability, attended by Scottish and Chinese companies, and met with Chinese companies investing in Scotland’s energy sector.

    She witnessed the signing of an agreement between Aberdeen based Triton Marine & Engineering Consultants and China Offshore Oil Engineering Corporation (COOEC). The deal will see COOEC collaborating with Triton over the next 2 years allowing them to grow their team in Aberdeen. FM met with both the China National Petroleum Corporation and the State Development Investment Corporation to discuss their operations and investment in Scotland. She also met China Ocean Engineering Shanghai, where the First Minister was able to confirm their plans to set up a new office in Dundee.

    The First Minister delivered a speech alongside senior business and University figures to over 150 senior business leaders as part of a Shanghai - Scotland Business Innovation Forum to promote Scotland as a location for inward investment.

    The First Minister attended two

    Scotland Is Now

    promotional events, in Beijing and Shanghai respectively. This followed the campaign’s North America launch on 11 April in New York. The events showcased Scotland as a place for Chinese people to work, study and invest in, and encouraged and forged good relationships with key people from the Chinese business, culture, tourism and education sectors, as well as promoting Scottish businesses in food, drink and creative industries.

    Cultural ties and people-to-people links were also strengthened on the visit. A delegation of Scottish cultural leaders participated in a round table discussion which formed part of the First Minister’s meeting with the Minister of Culture. A co-operation agreement between the Edinburgh International Festival and the Shanghai International Festival was signed. The First Minister visited the Forbidden City in Beijing – where skills exchange in innovative digital heritage preservation is taking place between Scotland and China’s UNESCO World Heritage site. She also announced, at a literature event at Fudan University, that a new translated version of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie will be published in China to mark the 100th anniversary of Muriel Spark’s birth. The First Minister also used the event to promote the role of women in writing and publishing more generally.

    In Hong Kong, the First Minister delivered a speech to over 80 senior leaders from the Scottish Business Community and at a separate event, addressed over 80 Hong Kong and Chinese businesses as part of a Business Innovation Forum that promoted Scotland as a location for inward investment.

    She also met with the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, building on their meeting in 2015. Discussions were focused on ways to develop stronger collaboration in innovation and technology and the possibility of further academic and cultural collaboration between Scotland and Hong Kong.


     

    Question S5W-16706: Economy, Jobs and Fair Work

    Gail Ross (Caithness and Sutherland and Ross) (Scottish National Party): Date Lodged 16 May 2018

    To ask

    the Scottish Government whether it has provided a response to the National Council of Rural Advisers' interim report on the implications of Brexit for rural Scotland.

    Fergus Ewing

    Yes, I provided a response to the Co-Chairs of the National Council of Rural Advisers earlier this month. The text of letter is available on the

    NCRA webpage

    of the Scottish Government website.


     

    Question S5W-16960: Environment, Climate change and Land Reform

    Graeme Dey, Angus South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/05/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when the annual progress report on the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme will be published.

    Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (31/05/2018):

    The Scottish Government published its fourth Climate Change Adaptation Annual Report today.

    The Report sets out the context for climate adaptation in Scotland, highlighting that we are already experiencing climate change, that there are a range of future risks and opportunities, and that we have a developing evidence base that is informing action.

    The Report provides a summary of the core content of the Programme, the highlights to date, and the findings of the first Independent Assessment of the Programme in 2016. Finally, this Report refers to the development of Scotland’s second five-year Adaptation Programme which is to be published in 2019.

    The Fourth Annual Report highlights include the latest on flood management, the Peatland ACTION Fund, the new Climate Change Plan’s commitments on woodland creation, the Fourth UK Forestry Standard 2017, a new Centre of Expertise in Plant Health launched in February 2018, Scotland’s National Coastal Change Assessment, Historic Environment Scotland’s climate change risk assessment, Green Infrastructure Fund, A82 Steep Ground Harvesting Project, Edinburgh Adapts, Aberdeen Adapts, Climate Ready Business, NHS Scotland Climate Change Risk Assessment Tool, and the third European Climate Change Adaptation Conference held in Glasgow.

    Copies of the Annual Report have been placed in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, laying number SG/2018/74.


     

    Question S5W-16980: Finance and the Constitution

    Kate Forbes, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/05/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made in its discussions with the UK Government on the devolution of air passenger duty.

    Answered by Derek Mackay (01/06/2018):

    At the time of the UK Autumn Budget in 2017 we 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 has been found to the Highlands and Islands exemption - to do so would comprise the devolved powers and risk damage to the Highlands and Islands economy.

    The Scottish Government and UK Government have continued to work together, at both ministerial and official levels, to seek a solution to the Highlands and Islands exemption issue. Despite these efforts, and combined with the continuing uncertainty as to how Brexit might affect aviation, it has become clear that aiming to introduce the tax at the beginning of the next fiscal year, April 2019, is not possible.

    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 call on the UK Government to reduce APD rates to support connectivity and economic growth in Scotland and across the UK.


     

    Question S5W-17112: Justice and the Law Officers

    George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when statistics on hate crime are due to be published.

    Answered by Annabelle Ewing (08/06/2018):

    The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) is publishing official statistics “Hate Crime in Scotland” on 15 June at 09:30. This provides information on the number of charges reported to them across all hate crime categories (race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, transgender) and charges under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act (OBFTC Act).

    At the same time, the Scottish Government is publishing “Religiously Aggravated Offending in Scotland 2017-18”. This report provides further details about religiously aggravated charges reported to the COPFS in 2017-18.

    Since 2012-13, the Scottish Government had published an analysis of charges reported to the COPFS under the OBFTC Act. The OBFTC Act was repealed earlier this year. There is therefore not a complete set of charges to analyse for 2017-18 meaning that any analysis would not be comparable with previous years. Therefore, the Scottish Government will not be publishing an analysis of these charges.

    The Scottish Government is also planning to publish information based on hate crime incidents recorded by Police Scotland later this year.



     

    Question S5W-17217: Rural Economy and Connectivity

    Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/06/2018 R

    To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to empower community groups in South Scotland.

    Answered by Fergus Ewing (13/06/2018): I am pleased to advise that on 1 June 2018, Forest Enterprise Scotland approved the following Asset Transfer Requests received under the Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CATS):

    Community

    Site

    Peebles Community Trust

    Eshiels Wood:

    6.9 ha alongside the River Tweed, by Peebles

    Friends of Leadburn

    Community Woodland

    Leadburn Wood:

    9.4 ha near Penicuik – an extension to the existing 44 ha community woodland on land purchased from FES in 2007.

    Dronley Community Woodland

    Dronley Wood:

    50 ha at Auchterhouse, Angus near Dundee

    These decisions recognise that community ownership of woodland can help to build community resilience and capacity, un-locking additional benefits.

    In the case of Peebles Community Trust, ownership will allow the community to improve sustainable productive management of the woodland, resurrecting coppice management and the associated skills / experience. It also provides a space for further skills training and nature learning.

    The Friends of Leadburn Community Woodland, previously established a community woodland on land purchased from FES. The increased area of ownership increases the variety of walks and adventure trails available whilst also providing an increased focus for activities and community events.

    The existing woodland user group at Dronley set up a new community company, Dronley Community Woodland to purchase the site. The community intend to maintain and enhance the rich and diverse environment in the wood, and develop its educational, recreational and timber resource. In doing so the community will increase capacity, skills and confidence, exploiting innovative opportunities and generating a range of other long-term benefits and values to society.

    These are the latest requests to be approved under the Community Asset Transfer Scheme for the National Forest Estate, following the approval in February 2018 of the transfer of land at Carron Valley to the Valley Renewables Group and approval in November 2017 of transfer of the Fairy Pools Car Park to the Minginish Community Hall Association.


     

    Question S5W-17211:Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

    Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish its refreshed China strategy.

    Answered by Fiona Hyslop (13/06/2018):

    The China Strategy was published today [13 June 2018] and sets out the context and rationale for the Scottish Government’s engagement with China. It is a high level strategy which flows directly from our recently refreshed International Framework and it sits alongside and complement our other priority country strategies.

    The strategy was developed and informed by a range of events with organisations in Scotland and China which gathered opinions on how we should prioritise and focus our engagement with China. Members of the Chinese community here in Scotland, and representatives of a number of human rights organisations took part in events which informed development of the new strategy. Stakeholders in China were engaged through our Scottish Affairs Office in Beijing.

    The Scottish Government will work collaboratively and constructively with China - promoting our values through sharing practical learning and experiences - to encourage an open, honest dialogue. Two key guiding principles which formed the basis of our previous strategy will continue:

    Positive People-to-People and Diplomaticrelations is the foundation of Scotland’s engagement with China. This means a steady flow of high level delegations, including ministers, to and from China, as well as maintaining good relations with the Chinese Government and UK Government partners such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

    Respect for Human Rights and the Rule of Law underpins the Scottish Government’s engagement with China. This means balancing economic development with social justice. Indeed, the premise that increasing growth and tackling inequality are mutually supportive is at the heart of engagement with China.

    China’s most recent Five Year Plan outlines ambitious plans for balanced and sustainable economic growth with a focus on science and innovation; improvement of education and health standards; environmental protection; and energy conservation. The Scottish Government’s refreshed strategy for engagement with China complements China’s own plan for growth and sets out a framework in which we can collaborate to develop and deepen our existing links through better partnership working.


     

    Question S5W-17227: Scotland's Place in the European Union

    George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish its next sectoral insight intended to demonstrate the breadth of Scotland’s interests in the negotiations and future relationship with the EU.

    Answered by Michael Matheson (13/06/2018):

    On 14 June at 00.01, I will announce the publication of Scotland’s Place in Europe: Security, Judicial Co-operation and Law Enforcement. The Paper can be accessed at: http://www.gov.scot/isbn/9781787810068

    This Paper aims to improve the understanding about why maintaining a close relationship with the EU in the area of security, judicial and law enforcement is vital for Scotland. It set outs the key benefits this arrangement brings to our law enforcement agencies in fighting crime and keeping pace with developments.

    In negotiating a future security relationship, it is essential to take account of the fact that Scotland has a separate criminal justice system and that our law enforcement agencies should maintain direct links with their EU counterparts. It also explains why data sharing arrangements and the role of the Court of Justice EU are potential barriers to having a close relationship with the EU in the justice and security area.

    The people of Scotland voted decisively to remain within the European Union, and it is the role of the Scottish Government to continue making sure that their safety and security are protected.


     

    Question S5W-17274: Economy, Jobs and Fair Work

    George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it can confirm that Scotland will be the location for the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

    Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (15/06/2018):

    I am delighted to confirm that Scotland will host the UK Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC). The Centre, which has received tripartite funding from Scottish Enterprise (£15m) Innovate UK (£13m) and industry (£14m) will not only be a highly influential centre of excellence in medicines manufacturing but will also have a positive impact on the economy of both Scotland and the UK and will help to further cement Scotland’s reputation for excellence in research and development, life sciences and manufacturing.

    Following detailed consideration of a range of potential sites in Scotland the operator of the Centre and industry partners chose Inchinnan in Renfrewshire as the best location for the Centre.

    Whilst the Centre will be located within the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation District in Renfrewshire, a key priority for the Scottish Government will be to ensure that the sector across the whole of Scotland is able to benefit from the project.


     

    Question S5W-17320: Communities, Social Security and Equalities

    Ben Macpherson, Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to support the delivery of more affordable housing.

    Answered by Kevin Stewart (19/06/2018): Today, I will announce the positive outcome of the Mid-Market Rent (MMR) Invitation, a further innovative initiative designed to expand the supply of affordable homes through long term loan investment.

    £47.5m of Scottish Government loan funding is being provided to the Placemaking and Regeneration Group, Places for People for a proposal which will deliver 1,000 affordable mid-market rent homes and attract Institutional Investment to deliver a total funding package of around £150m into the Scottish Economy.

    Places for People have set up a residential real estate fund which will own and deliver mid-market rent homes, supporting people on low and modest incomes to access high quality rented accommodation at affordable rent levels.

    The Fund has been established as a Scottish Limited Partnership, managed by PfP Capital, the Financial Conduct Authority authorised fund management business for Places for People. A number of safeguards have been put in place to ensure that there is absolute transparency on who investors are and how the Fund will operate.

    This is one of a number of Scottish Government supported schemes that will continue to expand the delivery of affordable mid-market rent housing, where required, to ensure that those on low to moderate incomes have access to high quality homes at affordable rent levels.

    We will continue to work with local authorities to deliver such housing through innovative funding models that can attract significant levels of private investment, and support grant funded mid-market rent housing delivered through housing associations and their subsidiaries.


     

    Question S5W-17348: Economy

    Graeme Dey, Angus South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will lay for consultation the proposed draft regulations providing for the disclosure of information about persons who have controlling interests in land in a public register as required by Part 3 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016.

    Answered by

    Roseanna Cunningham

    (

    20/06/2018

    ):

    The Scottish Government today laid for consultation in the Scottish Parliament proposed draft regulations (SG/2018/103) and a proposed explanatory document (SG/2018/104) for a new Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land as required by Part 3 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016. It has also laid a draft partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and a draft Privacy Impact Assessment of the draft regulations within the proposed explanatory document.

    In addition the Government has published on its website a consultation document to support the consultation, which will run until 8 November 2018.


     

    Question S5W-17351: Health and Social Care

    Fulton MacGregor, Coatbridge and Chryston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when its new tobacco control strategy/action plan will be published.

    Answered by

    Aileen Campbell

    (

    20/06/2018

    ):

    I will be publishing the Scottish Government’s new tobacco control action plan

    Raising Scotland’s Tobacco Free Generation

    today.

    The document sets out a five year plan for action focusing on our tobacco-free generation - children who are turning five this year. Our long-term goal is for the young people of this generation to be truly tobacco-free when they turn 21 in 2034.

    The action plan demonstrates our commitment to the new Public Health Priorities which include an ambition for a Scotland free from the harms caused by alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

    There are 44 specific actions in the plan, all of which have been developed with relevant partners. The plan includes actions we propose to take right away – legislating to restrict smoking around hospital buildings, banning tobacco in prisons, establishing the new national stop-smoking service brand and running the final phase of our stop-smoking media campaign:

    Getting Through 72

    .

    The action plan will be available at

    http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/06/9483


     

    Question S5W-17385: Education and Skills

    Gil Paterson, Clydebank and Milngavie, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is expected to report within four years of its establishment.

    Answered by John Swinney (21/06/2018): Lady Smith, Chair of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, wrote to me on 14 June 2018 to request a variation to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference with respect to its timescale. I have agreed to Lady Smith’s request that the wording is changed to require the Inquiry to report as soon as reasonably practicable. The revised Terms of Reference is now available on the Inquiry's Website. Lady Smith has assured me of her commitment to discharge her duties as efficiently and effectively as possible. It is of the utmost importance that this Inquiry is given the time to investigate its remit thoroughly and properly.

    The original Terms of Reference called on the Chair to report to Ministers “within 4 years” of the date of its establishment, which was October 2015, although Lady Smith’s appointment as Chair did not occur until the end of July 2016. It will not be possible to report in that timescale due to the very wide remit of the Inquiry, covering from living memory to 2014, and a very large number of institutions providing child care in the range of settings covered.

    It is clear the Inquiry is working hard and good progress is already evident. Evidence has been heard regarding the establishment of a number of providers, research has been undertaken in relation to the nature and prevalence of child abuse, societal attitudes to children, relevant legislative history and inspection systems. The Inquiry’s second case study is drawing near to a close with a third case study commencing in the Autumn. Work continues in preparation of other case studies, research, and analyses of thousands of documents recovered so far.

    Lady Smith notes that a large number of applicants have come forward and continue to do so. I want to enable the Inquiry to hear from as many survivors as possible. It must take considerable courage for survivors to approach the Inquiry and talk about their experiences of being in care as children.

    Separate from the Inquiry, a substantial amount of research, consultation and engagement has taken place on a potential financial redress scheme in Scotland for survivors of in-care abuse, as part of a wider package of reparations. The Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) and the SHRC InterAction Action Plan Review Group, which includes survivor representatives, have been undertaking this work in partnership. I understand it is now nearing completion and I look forward to receiving the Group’s recommendations when available.


     

    Question S5W-17482: Rural Economy and Connectivity

    Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what progress it is making to complete the devolution of forestry.

    Answered by Fergus Ewing (26/06/2018):

    Scottish Ministers have been responsible for forestry strategy, policy and funding since devolution in 1999. The Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act 2018 completes the devolution of forestry, ensuring that forestry is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament.

    The Scottish Government and the Forestry Commission in Scotland are working jointly under a forestry devolution programme to manage all activity required in Scotland to complete the devolution of forestry by 1 April 2019. The programme was established in May 2017 and is divided into six projects: legislation, Scottish Forestry executive agency, Forestry and Land Scotland executive agency, staff transfer, cross-border and forestry strategy. Further details about the projects can be found at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural/Forestry/completingdevolution/programme.

    In line with section 74 of the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Act, the two new executive agencies will deliver the functions which the 2018 Act confers on Scottish Ministers. The agencies will be part of the Scottish Government and directly accountable to Scottish Ministers. Scottish Forestry will be formed from Forestry Commission Scotland, and Forestry and Land Scotland from Forest Enterprise Scotland. These agencies are being established in accordance with the usual Scottish Government agency arrangements. Under section 85 of the Act, a report setting out the final administrative arrangements will be laid before Parliament by 1 April 2019.

    The Scottish Government continues to consult closely with the Forestry Commission Trade Unions (FCTU), particularly on staff transfer and the approach to terms and conditions of employment under the new arrangements. A Partnership Forum has been established with the FCTU as a way of reviewing progress across the forestry devolution programme, with the first meeting due to take place this month.


     

    Question S5W-17502: Economy

    Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its commitment to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.

    Answered by

    Roseanna Cunningham

    (

    27/06/2018

    ):

    I am pleased to announce that we have today published our consultation paper, A Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland. As stated in A Nation With Ambition, our 2017-18 Programme for Government, we want to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers that will increase our recycling rates, improve the quality of material being recycled, and reduce littering. The consultation paper lays out the work that has been done so far and explains the components that will go into a successful deposit return scheme. It also offers four examples of how a system might operate. We would welcome comments on both the components and the examples to help us finalise the design of the scheme.


     

    Question S5W-17531:Childcare and Early Years

    George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish its first report on implementation of corporate parenting in the three years since part 9 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 came into force on 1 April 2015.

    Answered by Maree Todd (28/06/2018): I am delighted to say the first report on Corporate Parenting activity in Scotland ‘Turning Legislation into Practice Together’ has been published today at www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781788519311

    The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 encourages preventative measures, rather than reactive responses whenever a care experienced child, young person or their family needs help. The duties in Part 9 of the Act require Corporate Parents to be alert to matters which, or which might, adversely affect the wellbeing of looked after children and care leavers, to assess their needs, promote their interests, provide opportunities to promote wellbeing and take action to help children and young people access these opportunities as well as to improve the way the Corporate Parent exercises its functions. In addition, each Corporate Parent must prepare, keep under review, and publish a corporate parenting Plan and, report as required, on how corporate parenting responsibilities have been exercised.

    This Report is based on information drawn from approximately 124 corporate parenting plans prepared by the 24 individuals and organisations named in Schedule 4 of 2014 Act. It offers an account of how corporate parenting has been embraced by the many different representative public sector individuals and organisations throughout Scotland and sets out to illustrate some of the different approaches to reflect the different statutory roles and unique circumstances of such a diverse group of organisations. Crucially, it reflects the views of children and young people on the different ways corporate parents have made a difference to them.



     

    Question S5W-17548: Veterans

    Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when details of the successor to Eric Fraser, Scottish Veterans Commissioner, will be announced

    .

    Answered by Graeme Dey (28/06/2018): I want to express my thanks to Eric Fraser for his outstanding work over the past four years. He has achieved a great deal and his work has informed future priorities for this government. I have very much appreciated his great dedication to promoting veterans as assets to both employers and society.

    I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Charles (Charlie) Wallace as a very able successor to Eric Fraser.

    Colonel Charlie Wallace has had an exemplary 35 year career in the Army and is currently the Deputy Commander, 51st Infantry Brigade and HQ Scotland. Colonel Wallace will succeed Mr Fraser when his tenure ends in the Autumn. Details of Colonel Wallace’s appointment are currently being finalised, and I look forward to working with him when he commences this vital role.


     

    Question S5W-17559: Finance and the Constitution

    Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide a report on the outcome of the recent summit meeting of the British-Irish Council.

    Answered by Fiona Hyslop (29/06/2018): On 22 June 2018, the Guernsey Government hosted a summit meeting of the British-Irish Council. The meeting was attended by Ministers from seven of the Member Administrations and was chaired by the Guernsey Chief Minister. The First Minister, the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform and the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe represented the Scottish Government.

    Although ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive were not in attendance, officials from the Northern Ireland administration were present.

    The meeting focused on the challenges facing the Marine Environment. Following a discussion by Environment Ministers where the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change represented the Scottish Government, the First Minister informed the Council of the actions the Scottish Government is taking to tackle marine litter and the protection of Scottish waters, include the designation of 75 Marine Protection Areas covering over 20% of Scottish Waters and targets to reduce all waste by 15% by 2025.

    Latest political developments were also discussed, including the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. The First Minister stressed the impact uncertainty was continuing to have on businesses in Scotland and voiced concern over the erosion of respect for the constitutional conventions underpinning devolution.

    The Communiqué that was issued by the British-Irish Council after the meeting can be found on its website at:

    https://www.britishirishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/communiqu%C3%A9s/Thirtieth%20Summit%20Comminique%20-%20Guernsey_3.pdf


     

    Question S5W-17569: Health

    Fulton MacGregor, Coatbridge and Chryston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/06/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish its plan for improving diet and weight in Scotland.

    Answered by Joe FitzPatrick (02/07/2018):

    I will be publishing the A Healthier Future: Scotland's Diet & Healthy Weight Delivery Plan on Monday 2 July.

    This follows wide consultation on our proposals. Over 360 responses were submitted by academics, health professionals, members of the general public and organisations including health and third sector bodies, local authorities and members of the food and drinks industry. In addition, engagement exercises were carried out by the Scottish Youth Parliament, Young Scot, Food Standards Scotland and the Scottish Public Health Network.

    As announced by the First Minister in May, an ambition in our delivery plan will be to halve childhood obesity by 2030. We have also set an ambition to significantly reduce health inequalities. The actions set out within the delivery plan provide clarity on how we, together with partners across the public, private and third sector, will help everybody in Scotland make healthier choices about food. This includes actions to ensure:

    • Children get the best start in life - they eat well and have a healthy weight

    • The food environment supports healthier choices

    • People have access to effective weight management services

    • Leaders across all sectors promote healthy weight and diet

    • Diet-related health inequalities are reduced

    The next step is for the Scottish Government and our delivery partners to move swiftly to implementation, consulting further on the detail of some of our new measures.

    The delivery plan will be available at the following link, from Monday 2 July www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787810556.


     

    Question S5W-17580: Children and Early Years

    Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/07/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the progress of the Child Protection Improvement Programme.

    Answered by Maree Todd (04/07/2018): Our starting point for the Child Protection Improvement Programme has always been that our system has areas of significant strength. The programme is therefore about building on those strengths and recognising the distance travelled. The Child Protection Improvement Programme blog provides an update on the progress being made, including a number of key recommendations which have been completed:

    • The National Child Protection Leadership Group has been established and is overseeing the implementation of the recommendations of the Child Protection Improvement Programme which incorporates the Child Protection System Review Chaired by Catherine Dyer. In the spirit of transparency and open government minutes are published on www.gov.scot.

    • A National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People was published in 2017 which priorities equipping children and young people themselves to stay safe online, supporting professionals, parents and carers.

    • In April 2018, the second Annual progress report on the National Action Plan to Prevent and Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation was published.

    • The formal public consultation on section 12 of the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937, to explore the limitations of the current offence and the scope of a reframed offence, is due to be launched shortly.

    • Scotland’s first Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy, published in May 2017 sets out how we can get better at identifying and supporting victims; at identifying perpetrators and disrupting their activity; and in raising awareness across the board.

    • The first annual progress report on Human Trafficking was published on 14 June 2018.

    • During the recent leadership events, the Care Inspectorate reported that they have found local services, in the majority of circumstances, to be having a good or very good impact on children and families.

    • The Chief Officers’ Leadership Events which took place in April and May 2018, in Glasgow and Perth respectively were well received. The presentations and a summary of the day are available on the CELCIS website.

    The Scottish Government will continue to work with partners to ensure implementation of the remaining recommendations and will continue to record progress on the Child Protection webpages.


     

    Question S5W-17596: Parliamentary Business

    George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/07/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide the names of each special adviser, broken down by (a) responsibility and (b) pay band, and what the total cost of employing special advisers was in 2017-18.

    Answered by Graeme Dey (05/07/2018):

    Special Advisers are appointed in accordance with Part 1 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 by the First Minister as a Special Adviser for the purpose of providing assistance to the Scottish Ministers.

    The total cost of the 14 Special Advisers employed during the financial year 2017-18 was £1,045,486. Total cost includes all salary costs, ERNIC and employer pension contributions. The level of the employer ERNIC and pension contributions is not a matter for the Scottish Government.

    Their specific responsibilities are as follows


    Name

    Role

    Liz Lloyd

     

    Chief of Staff to the First Minister

    First Minister’s Strategic Programme in Government including

     

    Inter-governmental relations

    Co-ordination of the Special Adviser team

    Stuart Nicolson

     

    Head of Communications

    Senior Political Spokesperson for the First Minister

    Strategic communications

    Colin McAllister

     

    Head of Policy

    Programme for Government.

    First Minister’s Questions

    Senior Special Adviser to the Deputy First Minister.

    Education

    Ewan Crawford

    Senior Special Adviser

    Europe and Constitutional issues

    Government Strategy

    Ross Ingebrigtsen

    Deputy Political Spokesperson for the First Minister

    Strategic communications planning

    First Minister’s Questions

    Katy Bowman

     

    Special Adviser

    Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

    Policy support to the Chief of Staff

    Support for the First Minister and the First Minister’s Private Office

    Outreach and stakeholder engagement

    Jeanette Campbell

     

    Special Adviser

    Communities, Social Security, and Equalities (apart from Local Government & Planning)

    Kate Higgins

     

    Special Adviser

    Rural Economy & Connectivity

    Davie Hutchison

     

    Special Adviser

    Health & Sport

    Broadcasting

    First Minister Questions

    John McFarlane

     

    Special Adviser

    Justice

    Transport

    Parliamentary Business and Parliamentary liaison

    Stewart Maxwell

    Special Adviser

    Business, the Economy, Skills and Fair Work

    Business and Economy outreach

    John MacInnes

    Special Adviser

    Political Research

    Support for First Minister’s Questions and parliamentary debates

    Support to Communications and Policy Special Advisers

    Callum McCaig

    Special Adviser

    Finance

    Local Government & Planning

    David Miller

    Special Adviser

    Energy, Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform


    While the cost of the Special Adviser Team has increased by 16% since 2016-17 for further comparison the actual cost of the team of 14 Special Advisers employed during the financial year 2015-16 (provided in answer to question S5W-00837 on

    20 June 2016) was £1,140,104 including all salary costs, ERNIC and employer pension contributions.

    The Special Adviser Pay Bands and Ranges and the number of Special Advisers within each Pay Band currently in place are:


    Pay Band

    Current Pay Range

    Number of Special Advisers

    1

    £39,445 - £52,904

    7

    2

    £51,041 - £67,709

    3

    3

    £65,017 - £83,963

    4

    3 (premium)

    £83,549 - £100,942

    0

    4

    £86,965 - £104,462

    0



     

    Question S5W-17644: Health

    Fulton MacGregor, Coatbridge and Chryston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/07/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport has reached a conclusion regarding NHS Tayside’s major service change proposals for the future provision of surgery, as set out in its Shaping Surgical Services Review.

    Answered by Jeane Freeman (06/07/2018): I have today written to the Chief Executive of NHS Tayside to confirm my decision in relation to these major service change proposals.

    Having carefully considered all the available information, I have decided to approve the Health Board’s proposals that all unscheduled admissions and emergencies in Tayside will be directed to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee to ensure that all patients have access to a dedicated Acute Surgical Receiving Unit and a staffed 24/7 theatre for unscheduled surgery. An expanded elective surgical service will be based in the Perth Royal Infirmary (PRI), providing cancer and non-cancer surgical intervention. This will include complex major surgery to fully utilise critical care facilities at PRI and I have been assured by the Board that their proposals will in no way impact the continuing provision of A&E services at the hospital. The Stracathro Treatment Centre will also be optimised to treat patients who meet the criteria for day and short stay surgery, as set out by the British Association of Day Surgery.

    The Board has made a compelling and viable case for these proposals which have attracted clinical support. The proposals are consistent with national policy, modern clinical standards and best practice, including the National Clinical Strategy. The implementation of these proposals will provide the people of Tayside with a safer, higher quality surgical service, whilst also minimising the risk of cancelled procedures. As such, I am convinced that these proposals are in the best interests of the people of Tayside.

    I note from the report of the Scottish Health Council (SHC) that the Board has meaningfully engaged with local stakeholders on their proposals. However, the SHC has recommended that the Board establishes a stakeholder group, which should include patients, carers, public representatives and the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), to consider any remaining concerns around patient and public transport for both scheduled and unscheduled surgery.

    That is why I have been clear to NHS Tayside that my approval of these proposals is conditional on: (i) the Board reviewing and addressing any issues with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) around their capacity to meet the proposed models; (ii) identifying how planning partners and third sector organisations could best support patients to access services; (iii) carrying out a review of the Board’s patient booking system for surgical procedure appointments to address concerns about early morning appointments for people living in rural areas; and (iv) providing regular communication on the outcomes of this work and to keep the people of Tayside informed of progress and timescales for implementation of the proposals.

    I also recognise the concerns expressed during the public consultation process that the approval of these proposals could impact negatively on the Accident and Emergency Department at the Perth Royal Infirmary. As outlined above, I have sought and received assurances that A&E services will continue at the hospital.


     

    Question S5W-17661: Health and Social Care

    Fulton MacGregor, Coatbridge and Chryston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/07/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish its physical activity delivery plan.

    Answered by

    Joe FitzPatrick

    (

    12/07/2018

    ):

    I will be publishing ‘A More Active Scotland: Scotland’s Physical Activity Delivery Plan’ today, which sets out the wide range of actions we and our partners will deliver to support people in Scotland to be more active, more often.

    The plan aligns closely to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Action Plan on Physical Activity,

    More Active People for a Healthier World

    which was published on 4 June 2018. The World Health Organization has welcomed the publication of our plan and recognizes that Scotland is one of the first countries in the world to respond to the challenges identified in their plan.

    This Delivery Plan is one of five linked public health strategies and plans which are being published in 2018 and taken together they create the environment for good health whilst encouraging individuals and communities to make better choices. I see the actions set out in this plan as a strong basis for focussing our efforts on those areas which will make a real difference.

    The action plan will be available at

    www.gov.scot/publications/2019/06/1945


     

    Question S5W-17693:

    Health and Social Care

    Fulton MacGregor, Coatbridge and Chryston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/07/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish the framework for the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

    Answered by

    Joe FitzPatrick

    (

    16/07/2018

    ):

    I will be publishing

    A Healthier Future: Framework on the Prevention, Early Detection and Early Intervention of Type 2 Diabetes

    on 16 July 2018.


     

    Question S5W-17701: Economy

    Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/07/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what action is being taken to help manage the expansion of Phytophthora ramorum on larch trees in Scotland’s forests.

    Answered by

    Fergus Ewing

    (

    16/07/2018

    ):

    The threat to our trees from pests and diseases is growing. Climate change, global travel and imported plants and wood can increase pests and diseases and their impacts.

    First found in Scottish plant nurseries in 2002 and in gardens/parks in 2007, Phytophthora ramorum is causing extensive damage and mortality to larch trees and other plants in the wetter West of Scotland.

    Particularly favourable weather conditions in 2012 led to a major surge in the extent and intensity of infection resulting in the designation of a ‘Management Zone’ centred on South West Scotland. An ongoing programme of progressive removal of infected larch within the Management Zone is underway.

    Outwith the Management Zone, symptomatic trees and associated buffer areas of host species are systematically controlled through the use of Statutory Plant Health Notices (SPHN’s) which require removal of host species in those locations.

    Forestry Commission Scotland undertakes a yearly aerial and ground surveillance programme, across Scotland to detect any intensification and expansion of symptomatic trees.

    This intensive surveillance has ensured early identification of symptomatic trees and resultant control action with the aim of managing the pace of disease spread and intensity.

    This year surveillance has shown that the extent and severity of symptomatic larch is significantly greater than seen over the past few years. However it is not yet at the level seen during the major outbreak in 2012-13.

    Research evidence confirms that the wetter than average weather conditions experienced during August/September 2017, coupled with high inoculum levels have resulted in intensification in disease incidence this year. This effect is also being replicated in England and Wales.

    Immediate action has been taken to commence the process of issuing the required Statutory Plant Health Notices, focussing on those furthest away from the currently heavily infected areas. Work is also underway with the sector, through the Scottish Tree Health Advisory Group and the Phytophthora Ramorum working group, to ensure that appropriate and proportionate management action is implemented. This work will include a full review of the Phytophthora Ramorum action plan to consider whether the approach identified within the plan is still appropriate.



    Question S5W-17942: Organisational Development and Operations

    Tom Arthur, (Renfrewshire South) (Scottish National Party), Date Lodged: 31/07/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when the Registrar General will publish his Annual Review for 2017.

    Answered by Fiona Hyslop (

    01/08/2018

    ):

    Scotland's Population 2017: the Registrar General's Annual Review of Demographic Trends' will be published at 9:30 a.m. on 1 August 2018. The Report contains information about births, deaths and marriages during the year, together with other demographic information. A copy of the report is available at

    www.nrscotland.gov.uk

    .


     

    Question S5W-17961: Transport Scotland

    Gail Ross (Caithness and Sutherland and Ross) (Scottish National Party): Date Lodged: 01/08/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government, further to the consultation in 2017, when it will publish proposals for the National Concessionary Travel Scheme.

    Answered by Michael Matheson (02/08/2018):

    The eligible age for the National Concessionary Travel Scheme will not change. It will remain at age 60.

    The consultation on the scheme closed in November 2017, with nearly 3,000 responses received from people all across Scotland. Where permission has been given, we have published the responses on the Transport Scotland website, together with our analysis of these responses (here:

    https://www.transport.gov.scot/consultation/consultation-on-free-bus-travel-for-older-and-disabled-people-and-modern-apprentices/

    We have listened carefully to the views expressed. Almost two thirds of respondents agreed that the free bus pass should remain available to all from age 60. Many responses also agreed that women whose pensions have been unfairly delayed - the WASPI Campaign - should not be further disadvantaged. Therefore the eligible age for the free bus pass will stay at 60 years of age for all Scottish residents.

    We agree that the scheme is of great benefit to its users and to the wider economy. As well as financial support, having a free bus pass helps people stay more active and preserves their independence, improving health and well-being.

    We will continue to work towards free bus travel for Modern Apprentices which gained the support of two-thirds of respondents in the consultation.

    Respondents were overwhelmingly in favour of our proposal to provide companion cards for eligible disabled children aged under five. Accordingly, we will amend the scheme to ensure this change is made.


     

     

    Question S5W-18379

    Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/08/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what information it can provide regarding the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs’ recent visit to Japan.

    Answered by Fiona Hyslop (23/08/2018): 

    I travelled to Japan and the Republic of Korea from 2 to 6 July, where I undertook a programme of activity to strengthen links in business, trade, tourism, education and culture.

    The visit focused on sharing best practice across the public and private sector, promoting Scotland as an innovative and outward looking country. During the visit, I undertook over 30 engagements, which included 10 meetings with companies, 4 

    bi-lateral Ministerial meetings, keynote speeches on female leadership and Scotland On The World Stage, as well as addresses delivered at tourism and cultural networking receptions which promoted Scotland as a leading country to visit, live, work, study and invest in.

    The relationships between Scotland, Japan and the Republic of Korea are important ones, reflected by the strong economic, cultural and personal links of our citizens.

    In Tokyo, I met the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Hideki Niwa. The meeting provided an opportunity to highlight current links between Scotland and Japan and discuss potential areas for future collaboration through cultural engagement, as part of the UK/Japan Season of Culture 2019-20 and ahead of the forthcoming Rugby World Cup in 2019 and Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Earlier in the week, I met with Hisashi Shimoyama, Artistic Director of Ricca Ricca, an annual international festival of performing arts for children, young people and families. This year’s country of ‘focus’ will be Scotland which resulted from a previous meeting I held with him in Japan in 2015. In partnership with Imaginate, 4 productions by leading artists and companies from Scotland have been invited to perform. I thanked Mr Shimoyama and other theatre representatives from Shizuoka, Tokyo and Nagano, and encouraged continued collaboration between Scotland and Japan.

    I met the Minister of Justice Yoko Kamikawi and discussed the Women Political Leaders Summit in Tokyo next year and gender equality issues. I outlined the Scottish Government’s approach, driven by a simple underlying premise, that women’s rights are human rights. I indicated that Scotland would be willing to work and share its experience in this area with Japan going forward.

    I met with the Japan-British Society, founded in 1908 to promote cordial relations between the peoples of the United Kingdom and Japan. They indicated that they plan to plant cherry blossom trees across the UK as a symbol of friendship, including at least three sites in Scotland. 

    I met regional city leaders from a number of Japanese prefectures and discussed how Scotland uses cultural diplomacy to promote itself. A presentation was also delivered by VisitScotland and Creative Scotland. 

    During a meeting with the Nippon Foundation, I thanked the Executive Director, Mitsuyuki Unno, for providing on-going support by sending students to the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and encouraging the expansion of the Summer School initiative. I also highlighted the Scottish Government’s on-going commitment to strengthening relations between Scotland and Japan through the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Scottish Enterprise and the Nippon Foundation in 2017, on Research and Development funding to target the development of subsea technologies. Just before the meeting, I met with some students selected to take part in the Nippon Foundation’s summer school programme in Offshore Engineering at Robert Gordon University. I spoke about the strong partnerships between companies and universities in Scotland and Japan, driving important innovations across a wide range of industries and highlighted that they were coming to Scotland during our Year of Young People. 

    I held meetings to further develop relationships with key inward investors for the life sciences (Sinfonia), subsea engineering (Kawaski Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electric) and renewables (Chiyoda). Mitsubishi Electric have created circa 450 jobs in the last 4 years in Scotland, now employing over 1000 locally. I witnessed the signing of a letter of intent between Scotland’s Underwater Centre (Fort William) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries to test their AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) aimed at the oil and gas market. Chiyoda are building on their investment in Scottish based Xodus Group, by choosing Scotland to develop the world’s first Global Hydrogen supply chain project.

    I attended a business panel discussion with senior representatives from the British Chambers of Commerce Japan, with around 80 guests across industries, investors, GlobalScots and several media outlets. I delivered a speech focussing on female leadership and how the Scottish Government is committed to creating a more inclusive form of growth that tackles inequalities while at the same time driving competitiveness. 

    I spoke at a Tourism Networking event, where there was a strong representation from trade representatives and members of the media and press. The focus was on promoting Scotland’s luxury market, unique culture and programme of festivals. There was a particular interest shown by the trade media on what’s new in the development of wellness tourism in Scotland, and a real eagerness to learn from Scottish tourism ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    I spoke at a reception hosted by SDI at the British Embassy in Tokyo, recognising Japan as an important partner for mutual economic growth and showcased Scotland’s premium food and drink products on the world stage as well as the new Scotland Is Now campaign. Guests included representatives from current and potential investors in Scotland, GlobalScots, retailers of Scottish produce and a range of other businesses and sectors including culture, tourism and education.

    In Yokohama, I met with the Mayor of Yokohama City, Ms Fumiko Hayashi. The meeting’s purpose was to explore ways to encourage the development of connections between sectors in Scotland and Yokohama following an initial meeting we had in 2017. Key areas for collaboration include exchanges between the Scotland rugby team and the community and young people of Yokohama during the 2019 Rugby World Cup; encouraging university partnerships, including student and academic exchanges; and recognising important exchanges which have taken place between Yokohama and the Scottish marine and sub-sea industry with the support of Scottish Development International. Ms Hayashi and I then signed a Joint Declaration on collaboration in these sectors between Scotland and Yokohama during 2019-20, utilising the unique opportunities provided by the Rugby World Cup, Olympics and Paralympics.

    I visited the campus of Yokohama City University. The university has been progressively developing relationships with Scottish universities, including the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee and Edinburgh Napier, as part of its internationalisation programme. I met with the University President, Mr Shigeta Yukichi, where we discussed the development of stronger links between Scottish Universities and Yokohama City University. I then addressed an audience of students. I began by talking about the contribution of Scots to the development of Yokohama and touched upon broader Scottish links with Japan on culture, trade and education, as well as focussing on the subject of Europe and the Scottish Government’s stance in light of the 2016 EU Referendum and Brexit process as well as Scotland’s place in the world. 

    I also spoke at a business seminar event organised by SDI which focussed on the subsea sector with key stakeholders from the Japanese marine and renewables business community. SDI has been working with marine industry partners in Yokohama city who are interested in the subsea sector to drive collaboration and investment in Scotland’s subsea industry. I spoke about Scotland’s subsea capabilities and Research and Development assets, which are world recognised and a draw for investors and oil and gas companies looking to diversify into sustainable methods. I also encouraged Japanese companies to look to Scotland’s expertise in the subsea sector, as they look to enter the global oil and gas market and seek future mineral extraction opportunities.

    I also spent a day in the Republic of Korea. I was welcomed by the British Ambassador, Simon Smith, at the British Embassy and we discussed how to promote further cooperation and support for Scotland’s activities in the Republic of Korea, as well as the Scottish Government’s positive stance on encouraging inward investment to Scotland. Following this meeting, I joined him at a Tourism Networking Event, which provided the opportunity for travel, trade and airline stakeholders to learn more about what’s on offer to Koreans travelling to Scotland. My speech promoted Scotland as a leading country to visit, live, work, study and invest in, as well as offering some of the best cultural experiences anywhere in the world. I built on this by having a bilateral meeting with the Minister for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Do Jong Hwan. We discussed how both nations can strengthen relations with future collaboration through cultural engagement, including during the 4th Edinburgh International Culture Summit in August 2018.

    I also met the Vice Minister for Land and Infrastructure, Son Byeong-Suk, and the Deputy Minister for Central Land Tribunal, Kwon Yongbok. We discussed how to promote cooperation on rural issues, and I underlined the Scottish Government’s commitment to support Korean organisers as they prepare to host the 12th OECD Rural Development Conference in 2019.

    I held meetings with a number of current investors and key partners for Scotland including CS Wind and Hyundai.

    The visit was opportune given international interest around Brexit and presented a vitally important opportunity for me to reassure businesses and politicians from Japan and the Republic of Korea that Scotland is an outward looking, welcoming country and remains open for business.

     

     


     

    Question S5W-18378: 

    Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/08/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what steps are being taken to ensure that a public sector body can bid for rail franchises in Scotland.

    Answered by Michael Matheson (23/08/2018): 

    The Scottish Government secured a legislative change through the Scotland Act 2016 that allows public sector bodies to bid for rail franchise contracts in Scotland. The requirement for the contracts to be let through open competition remains. 

    The consistent view of this Government over many years is that there ought to be a level playing field between the private and the public sector in bidding for rail franchises. In line with our manifesto commitment, we want to enable a competitive public sector bid to strengthen competition in order to secure best value for the public purse while delivering continuous service improvements. 

    David MacBrayne Limited has confirmed its interest in exploring the possibility of a bid for a Scottish rail franchise contract. Indeed, any public sector body that wishes to consider bidding for a rail franchise contract that is let by the Scottish Ministers is able to do so – that is a decision for them. Future Scottish rail franchise competitions will continue to be fair and transparent, giving equal treatment to all bidders whether from the public or private sectors.

     


     

    Question S5W-18384: Climate Change and Land Reform

    Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/08/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to ensure the long-term health of Scotland's forests and environment by reducing chemical use in forestry while protecting young trees from fatal attacks by pine weevils.

    Answered by Fergus Ewing (24/08/2018): 

    The Scottish Government supports the appropriate use of regulated chemicals as part of sustainable forest management, as well as seeking to identify non-chemical alternatives through collaborative research and development programmes.

    The government recognises that the large pine weevil (Hylobius abietes) is a particularly damaging pest, which can devastate the regeneration of sites following timber harvest by attacking young trees. Some form of control is therefore often required under Scottish conditions, such as the appropriate application of pesticides either by pre-treatment in the nursey in controlled conditions or by targeted spraying on site. The chemical Acetamiprid is currently recommended for this post planting protection on the basis of its efficacy and low risk when compared with other chemical alternatives.

    Reducing chemical use is also an important aspect of sustainable forest management, therefore the Scottish Government is also working with others to identify and develop suitable alternatives. I was therefore pleased to announce the launch of a new £550,000 project earlier this month to address the challenge of weevil control in Scotland. In addition, Forestry Commission Scotland and Forest Enterprise Scotland are working with Forest Research and forestry sector partners in the Hylobius Industry Research Programme Group to develop alternatives including physical and biological methods to further minimise the risks associated with chemical use.


     

    Question S5W-18462: Economy


    Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/08/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to publish its proposals for Scotland's role in the development of future UK trade arrangements.

     

    Answered by Michael Russell (29/08/2018): We will publish Scotland's Role in the Development of UK Trade Agreements: A Discussion Paper (Bib Number 59979) on 30 August 2018. The papaer makes the case for a guruanteed role for the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament in all stages of the formulation, negotiation, agreement and implementation of future trade deals to protect and enhance the interests and priorities of Scotland.


     

    Question S5W-18573: 

    Government Business and Constitutional Relations

    George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/09/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what changes to parliamentary liaison officers have been made following the recent Ministerial reshuffle.

    Answered by Graeme Dey (05/09/2018): 

    Following the recent Ministerial reshuffle there are currently no parliamentary liaison officers.  Any PLOs appointments will be notified to Parliament as normal.


     

    Question S5W-18602: Economy

    Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/09/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what the latest situation is with the Pinneys site in Annan.

    Answered by Fergus Ewing (06/09/2018): Young’s Seafood confirmed on 3 September that it has now ceased production at the Pinney’s of Annan site and the majority of the workforce has now left the company. A skeleton staff of around 50 are expected to remain on site until November to oversee the close-down procedure.

    The Scottish Government, working with Scottish Enterprise and Dumfries & Galloway Council, has worked intensively over the past 5 months to encourage Young’s Seafood to maintain production at the site and offered a range of incentives to do so, including a reduction on rates and professional support to review the efficiency and productivity of their operation. However, it became clear that Young’s wanted to extract themselves from the site as soon as possible.

    The Scottish Government is now seeking a new investor for the site and discussion are ongoing with a number of interested parties. Meanwhile, we remain committed to finding alternative employment for those formally employed at the site and on the 19 July our multi-agency Partnership for Action on Continuing Employment (PACE) facilitated a dedicated jobs fair in the town. Over 200 individuals attended the fair with 19 employers and recruitment agencies exhibiting over 350 vacancies. The jobs fair was well received and initial feedback is that a number individuals were successful in seeking alternative employment. In light of the further redundancies that took place in August, and in agreement with the local trade union, we have agreed to facilitate an additional jobs fair in the town in October and are now in the process of finalising the detail for that.


     

    Question S5W-18768: Health and Social Care

    Gillian Martin, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/09/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on what work it has undertaken to support Public Health England in contacting women who had missed their final invitation from the breast screening programme in England.

    Answered by Jeane Freeman (13/09/2018): In response to the breast screening incident in England, the Scottish Government established a Clinical Taskforce which worked closely with Public Health England (PHE) to ensure that all women affected by the incident, and who are now resident in Scotland, have been contacted appropriately. The Scottish Government can confirm that all women affected by the incident in England have now been contacted and offered a breast screening.

    In the course of its work, the Scottish Clinical Taskforce has undertaken due diligence checks on the Scottish Breast Screening Programme. This work has identified a separate and unrelated issue within the Scottish Programme. 1,761 women in Scotland, out of the approximately 700,000 women who are eligible for screening, have not received their final invitation for breast screening over the last three years. All of these women will now be aged 71 or older.

    All of the women who have been affected have been identified and are being written to this week with an invitation for breast screening, and an apology that they did not receive their invitation to screening when they should have.


     

    Question S5W-18793: Constitution and External Affairs

    Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/09/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it has submitted a draft action plan to the Scottish Information Commissioner to address the recommendations set out in his report of 13 June 2018 into its Freedom of Information practices.

    Answered by Graeme Dey (13/09/2018): I can confirm that a draft action plan has today been sent to the Commissioner for his consideration. It will be published on the Scottish Government website at

    https://beta.gov.scot/publications/freedom-of-information-document-collection/

    .

    The plan aims to address all of the recommendations made by the Commissioner in his report and to build on our improving performance in responding to Freedom of Information requests and to ensure we provide quality responses as promptly as possible.

    I am grateful for the Commissioner’s constructive approach throughout his intervention in helping us to identify where improvements are required. I look forward to his feedback on the draft plan in due course and on continuing engagement with him during its implementation.


     

    Question S5W-18895: Health and Sport

    Alex Cole-Hamilton, Edinburgh Western, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 18/09/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what financial support it will provide to HIV Scotland.

    Answered by Joe FitzPatrick (19/09/2018): 

    The Scottish Government has agreed to offer HIV Scotland £231,000 over the next three years. This funding will support the organisation to move to a sustainable financial position. The Scottish Government’s grant offer to HIV Scotland brings the total financial support for third sector organisations working in organisations working to address the issues associated with sexual health and blood borne viruses in Scotland to £2.13 million in the period 2018-21.


     

    Question S5W-19008: Transport Scotland

    Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/09/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will tender the next Northern Isles Ferry Services contract.

    Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (25/09/2018): The Contract Notice for the Northern Isles Ferry Services was submitted today for publication on Public Contracts Scotland and in the Official Journal of the European Union. This is the first step in taking forward the competition for the next Northern Isles Ferry Services contract. The Contract Notice invites potential operators to provide evidence of their suitability to participate in the tender for the public service contract to operate the ferry services for a period of up to eight years, effective from 31 October 2019.

     

     



     

    Question S5W-19094: Education, Communities and Justice

    Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/09/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what steps it plans to take on the future of civil partnership in Scotland, following the recent decision of the UK Supreme Court in this area.

    Answered by Shirley-Anne Somerville (28/09/2018): The Scottish Government has given this matter careful consideration. The Supreme Court made it clear that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 is not compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights as civil partnership is open to same sex couples only whereas marriage is open to both opposite sex couples and same sex couples. The judgement of the Supreme Court relates specifically to England and Wales but the facts and circumstances in Scotland are very similar.

    Given this, I am launching today a consultation on the future of civil partnership in Scotland. This consultation outlines two potential options: making provision so that no new civil partnerships could be registered in Scotland in future or extending civil partnership to opposite sex couples. The consultation asks for views on the arguments for and against these two options. The Scottish Government will consider the views expressed in response to this consultation, along with other available evidence, to help inform the decision on which option should be taken.

    The consultation is available at https://consult.gov.scot/family-law/the-future-of-civil-partnership-in-scotland/  The closing date for responses is 21 December 2018.

    Once the responses have been analysed, the Scottish Government will take a decision on the way ahead and will legislate.


     

    Question S5W-19120:

    Health and Social Care

    Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/09/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish its consultation on restricting the promotion and marketing of targeted food and drink that is high in fat, sugar or salt where they are sold to the public.

    Answered by Joe FitzPatrick (01/10/2018): The consultation paper will be published on 2 October 2018. The consultation will run until 9 January 2019.

    It will be available online at 

    https://www.gov.scot/isbn/9781787812567

     


     

    Question S5W-19179: Education, Communities and Justice

    Gillian Martin, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/10/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its plans to bring forward a Female Genital Mutilation Bill.

    Answered by Christina McKelvie (04/10/2018):

    Work is underway to develop legislation, for introduction during the Parliamentary year. The Scottish Government has today published a consultation paper on strengthening protections around Female Genital Mutilation, which seeks views from stakeholders on what further steps we can take to ensure that no-one is ever subject to this most fundamental breach of human rights.


     

    Question S5W-19232: Economy

    Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/10/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made to deliver a BPS loan scheme in 2018.

    Answered by Fergus Ewing (05/10/2018): Today, over £241 million will arrive in the bank accounts of 10,684 farmers and crofters all over Scotland through the 2018 BPS loan scheme. This is before the CAP payment window opens and is the earliest we have made funding available. We are paying loans three weeks earlier than we started last year.

     

    Significantly, the Scottish Government will be the first administration in the UK to start making payments this year. We are paying 90% loans from 5 October. Northern Ireland is offering 70% advance payments from 16 October, and Wales isn’t paying until December.   

     

    We have made 15,367 loan offers worth over £298 million. 

    We are committed to ensuring that all eligible farmers and crofters receive an offer of a loan by the end of October.

    Some farmers and crofters are yet to respond to the letter offering them a loan. We will continue to encourage them to do so

      


     

    Question S5W-19463: Rural Affairs

    Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/10/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in Scotland.

    Answered by Mairi Gougeon (18/10/2018): 

    I can advise Parliament that a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) has been confirmed on a farm in Aberdeenshire.

    In line with the disease prevention response plan, precautionary movement restrictions have been put in place at the farm, while further investigations to identify the origin of the disease occur.

    This is standard procedure until we have a clear understanding of the diseases origin. While it is too early to tell where the disease came from in this case, its detection is proof that our surveillance system is doing its job. 

    The farmer has been advised and is co-operating fully. they and their household will continue to be supported throughout. Any farmer who has concerns should immediately seek veterinary advice.

    There are strict controls in place to protect consumers from the risk of BSE, including controls on animal feed, and removal of the parts of cattle most likely to carry BSE infectivity. Consumers can be reassured that these important protection measures remain in place. A confirmed case of Classical BSE does not represent a threat to human health.

    All appropriate steps are being taken to protect our valuable farming industry. Scotland’s chief veterinary officer is leading co-ordination of the process now underway, which involves government animal health officials, APHA and Food Standards Scotland. 

    UK ministers have been advised and Scottish Government officials are liaising closely with Defra. 

    Scottish Ministers will provide an update to Parliament on its return from recess next week. 



     

    Question S5W-19552:Justice and the Law Officers

    Rona Mackay, Strathkelvin and Bearsden, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/10/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when the Independent Review of the Regulation of Legal Services will present its findings.

    Answered by Ash Denham (23/10/2018): 

    The report will be published today at 2pm: https://www.gov.scot/About/Review/Regulation-Legal-Services



    Question S5W-19616: Health and Social Care

    Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/10/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish Professor Alison Britton’s investigative report, An Investigative Review into the process of establishing, managing and supporting Independent Reviews in Scotland.

    Answered by Jeanne Freeman (26/10/2018):

     

    Professor Britton's report has been published today and can be viewed here:

    www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787813342

     


     

    Question S5W-19632: Rural Economy

    Richard Lyle, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/10/2018


    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will report its findings from 2018’s Dickeya survey of Scottish potato crops.

    Answered by Mairi Gougeon (29/10/2018): Today the Scottish Government published its annual Dickeya survey report. Dickeya is a damaging pathogen of potato which affects both the yield and quality of the crop. In 2010 Scotland was the first country in the World to introduce specific legislation to control Dickeya. Each year SASA, a division of the Scottish Government, conducts a detailed Dickeya surveillance programme. In 2018 2 positive cases of Dickeya have been found in seed potato crops from the 690 Scottish crops sampled as part of SASA’s routine monitoring. The positive findings were from two crops grown in the same field in Perthshire. Both have since been harvested using appropriate biosecurity measures, under a statutory plant health notice. Neither crop will be used for seed and will be disposed of appropriately to reduce the risk of further disease spread, as per our legislation.   Detailed investigations by SASA have found no evidence that the infection came from contaminated input seed. SASA is considering the possibility that irrigation water may be the source, but we are pleased to report that crops from neighbouring farms and those in the vicinity of the water source have been tested and were found negative for Dickeya. Studies are ongoing to determine the origin of this infection and growers in the vicinity will be kept informed as the investigation progresses.   It is important to keep this finding in context, Dickeya is a plant pathogen that raises no concerns with regards human and/or animal health. Up until this year’s findings Scotland has consistently demonstrated freedom from Dickeya. Scottish seed potatoes have an enviable reputation for quality and health and there exists a long history of government and industry working together to protect this important trade. The legislation and its associated surveillance programme has demonstrated it is robust and effective. It has identified infections at an early stage and removed infected crops from the production chain to ensure our seed potatoes maintain their World-wide reputation for quality.




    Question S5W-19658: Energy, Connectivity and the Islands

    Stewart Stevenson, Banffshire and Buchan Coast, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update of the actions it is taking to deliver its target to meet 11% of non-electrical heat demand from renewable sources by 2020.

    Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (30/10/2018):

    I am pleased to announce I laid a report in Parliament today, which provides an update on the actions the Scottish Government is taking to help meet our renewable heat target. The report is now available on the Scottish Government web-site, at:

    https://

    www.gov.scot/isbn/9781787813168      

    During the 2017 calendar year, an estimated 5.9 – 6.1% of Scotland’s non-electrical heat demand was supplied from renewable sources, up from 4.7% in 2016 and 5.3% in 2015. Renewable heat capacity increased by 17% and renewable heat generation increased by 28%, when compared with 2016. Renewable heat output had fallen in 2016, primarily as a result of changes at a small number of large sites. If we instead compare 2017 data with 2015, when renewable heat output last increased, the 2017 figure is 14% greater indicating an underlying upward trend. The Scottish Government remains committed to decarbonising our heat supply whilst maximising the benefits of doing so for Scotland. We continued to demonstrate leadership and ambition in terms of our specific policy interventions, for example, the development of regulations around Local Heat & Energy Efficiency Strategies and district heating and, more broadly, through the Route Map for delivery of the Energy Efficient Scotland programme.  

    In addition, the Energy Saving Trust have published today the report Renewable Heat in Scotland 2017, which provides further details on these figures. The Energy Saving Trust report is now available at:

    www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/renewable-heat-scotland-2017


     

     

    Question S5W-19651: Economy

    Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2018


    To ask the Scottish Government what progress it is making in appointing a chief executive to its new Forestry and Land Scotland executive agency.

    Answered by Fergus Ewing (30/10/2018):

    Following an open competition overseen by the Civil Service Commission, Simon Hodgson, currently Chief Executive of Forest Enterprise England, has been appointed as Chief Executive designate of Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS), which will be established in April 2019 as an agency of the Scottish Government. This appointment represents another milestone in the process to complete the devolution of forestry in Scotland.  

    Mr Hodgson is expected to take up post in January 2019. With the agreement of the Forestry Commissioners, he will be seconded to the Forestry Commission as Chief Executive of Forest Enterprise Scotland from then until FLS is established. This will help ensure a smooth transfer of functions and staff to FLS from Forest Enterprise Scotland, the Forestry Commission agency that FLS will replace.




     

    Question S5W-19741: Rural Economy

    Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the BSE case in Aberdeenshire.

    Answered by Mairi Gougeon (02/11/2018): 

    Following confirmation of a case of BSE in a single animal on a farm in Aberdeenshire on 18 October, precautionary tests carried out in line with standard procedures on a further four animals have been completed, the results of these tests were negative for BSE. Vets from the Animal and Plant Health agency (APHA) have now commenced a veterinary epidemiological investigation to establish, if possible,the source of the disease. This will take some time to complete. Once the outcome is known, Parliament will of course be updated.



    Question S5W-19745: Education, Communities and Justice

    Sandra White, Glasgow Kelvin, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on progress with the development and publication of educational resources on Israel-Palestine.      

    Answered by John Swinney (02/11/2018):
    The development of educational resources on Israel/Palestine began in 2015. Following a much publicised incident involving a primary school homework exercise, a working group was established to scope out appropriate education materials dealing with the conflict. The aim was to ensure that schools were better-placed to address the question of Israel/Palestine.

     

    An initial set of resources was made available through Education Scotland’s Glow system in early 2017. The purpose was to allow teachers to post comments as part of a piloting exercise. In May 2017, and following concerns expressed by stakeholders (specifically the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities), I asked Education Scotland to remove a specific animation from the resources.

     

    The resources continued to be available on a password protected basis in order that they could be finalised to the satisfaction of all key stakeholder interests. A period of consultation and further development was then facilitated by Education Scotland. This included the opportunity in autumn 2017 for all interested stakeholders to contribute comments via meetings and in writing. The aim throughout this process was to ensure the production of a set of resources which could be agreed by all key stakeholders.

     

    In February 2018, with no consensus amongst key stakeholders about the suitability of the resources, Education Scotland explored the potential of taking ownership of the resources in order that it could finalise them and make them available on Glow. While all eight local authorities involved in the initial development of the resources were content for ownership to be assumed by Education Scotland, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) indicated that they would not be content to agree to this. The EIS wrote to Education Scotland in June 2018 to make this clear. The EIS offered, as one of the initial developers and joint owners of the resources, to publish the material on its website.

     

    Education Scotland has therefore been unable to secure ownership of these resources. Education Scotland and the Scottish Government are content to agree to the EIS’s request that as one of the original developers and joint owner of the resources, it is entitled to publish them. As with any educational resource, it will be a matter for individual local authorities and schools to determine if they would like to make use of the resources.

     

    Education Scotland will write to all of the organisations who have been involved in the period of consultation to advise of this and to thank them for their contributions.


     

    Question S5W-19837: Heath and Social Care

    Fulton MacGregor, Coatbridge and Chryston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government, further to the debate on 24 October 2018 (Official Report, c.17), when it will provide an update on NHS Lanarkshire’s consideration of the location for the replacement of University Hospital Monklands.

    Answered by Jeane Freeman (09/11/2018):
    The Government continues to welcome the development of plans to replace University Hospital Monklands, which will provide modern health facilities and a range of specialist services for the benefit of patients across Lanarkshire and those living within the Monklands catchment area.

    I have, however, noted the concerns raised about NHS Lanarkshire’s consultation process to establish the future location of the hospital from local people and elected representatives of all political parties. This was clearly reflected in the associated Parliamentary Debate on 24 October. In particular, concerns have been expressed about the quality of information and analysis undertaken by the Board, and about the robustness and accuracy of the information which informed the options appraisal process.

    I discussed this with the Chair and Chief Executive of NHS Lanarkshire at the Health Board’s Annual Review on Friday 2 November. I was clear that it is essential that the concerns raised are carefully examined and responded to openly and transparently. I have therefore asked the Director General for Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NHS Scotland to establish a review to provide me with an independent assessment of the process followed by NHS Lanarkshire, including whether it has been consistent with best practice and meaningfully informed by the views of stakeholders.

    Further details on the review - including who will lead it, its remit and timeframe - will be announced as soon as possible.

     


    Question S5W-19843: Education, Communities and Justice

    Bob Doris, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether, following recent changes to UK accounting standards in respect of charities, it plans to update the legislation accordingly.

    Answered by Aileen Campbell (12/11/2018):
    Yes, the Charities Accounts (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2018 have been laid today. These regulations will come into force on 1 January 2019, and supporting information will be made available by the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

     


     

    Question S5W-19892: Education, Communities and Justice

    Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to continue its support for veterans.

    Answered by Graeme Dey (14/11/2018):
    As I set out in the recent parliamentary debate on veterans and the Armed Forces community, veterans are assets to our country, which is why the Scottish Government’s support for them is absolute. I am therefore pleased to announce today, in the week where we have just marked 100 years since the Armistice, that the Scottish Government is joining with the other Governments of the UK in launching the Strategy for our Veterans which aims to build on the care, support and respect our society gives to veterans. This strategy sets out the vision and principles that will help ensure that we respond to the needs of our veterans - both now and in the future.   To inform how we deliver the Strategy, we are also this week launching our own consultation in Scotland. The outcome of the consultation will help us to identify our priorities for veterans and consider how we shape our support services to meet their changing needs. We will engage with key stakeholders, large and small, across the public, private and 3rd sectors. We will also continue to learn from the work of the Scottish Veterans Commissioner, the only such position in the UK, whose recommendations form a key part of setting our ambitions for the Armed Forces and veterans community in Scotland.   During this consultation process we will engage closely with the other governments across the UK, who are conducting their own consultations, to ensure that we share information on emerging findings. While there will be differences in how services are provided by the respective governments, the needs of veterans will have many common themes, which is why it why I am pleased to support this collaborative approach to which all of the governments have committed.   We will continue the consultation process until February 2019, with the aim being to report on the outcomes by early summer 2019.

     


     

    Question S5W-19910: Education, Communities and Justice

    George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what its plans are for taking forward the development of a Hate Crime Bill, and how people can take part in the process.

    Answered by Humza Yousaf (14/11/2018):
    A consultation document based on Lord Bracadale’s recommendations from his independent review of Hate Crime Legislation will be available to the public via Citizen Space from 14 November until 24 February 2019. In parallel we will be undertaking a series of consultation events across Scotland from December until early February to increase the opportunity for stakeholders and the public to respond to the consultation in part or in whole.   The consultation will also explore the findings of the Working Group on Defining Sectarianism in Scots Law, and the Working Group’s report will also be published on 14 November. The findings from the consultation exercise will inform the content of consolidated and modernised Hate Crime legislation.

     


     

    Question S5W-19901: Constitution and External Affairs

    George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an updated action plan on its Freedom of Information practices to the Scottish Information Commissioner, as requested in his letter of 9 October 2018.

    Answered by Graeme Dey (14/11/2018):
    I am pleased to record that the Commissioner’s letter noted that the 13 September draft plan was thoroughly constructed and that he was content that the majority of the proposed actions will achieve the desired outcomes.  

    He asked for minor revisions to improve the clarity of three proposals and these were submitted on 30 October. He replied on 8 November, approving the plan, subject to one further minor change, which has been made. The agreed plan has been published on the Scottish Government website at https://www.gov.scot/publications/freedom-of-information-document-collection/ and we will now work with the Commissioner on its implementation. 

    I am also happy to report that the Commissioner noted the significant improvement the Scottish Government has made to our FOI response times and has formally ended his intervention on that aspect of our performance. He has asked that we continue providing monthly performance reports for the time being and we will, of course, do so. 

    I remain grateful for the Commissioner’s constructive approach throughout both his interventions.


     

    Question S5W-19967: Health and Social Care

    Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what support it will provide to NHS Highland to help understand and address the recent allegations regarding a systematic culture of bullying in the board.

    Answered by Jeane Freeman (16/11/2018):
    The scale and scope of the allegations of bullying and the timespan of these in NHS Highland is such that I need to understand the issues that appear to have led to a culture where these concerns cannot be raised with or resolved satisfactorily by the Board. To ensure all the issues can be raised and heard by those involved I have commissioned an externally led independent review. This review will consider all the circumstances that have led to the allegations and make recommendations. My officials continue to hold discussions with NHS Highland staff and their representatives and we will finalise the scope of the investigation during the week beginning 19 November 2018 and look to announce who will lead the independent investigation as soon as possible thereafter.


     

    Question S5W-19969: Health and Social Care

    Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the progress being made with the integrated health and social care workforce plan.

    Answered by Jeane Freeman (16/11/2018):
    We are making good progress with the integrated workforce plan. A draft has already been circulated to stakeholders and we continue to work closely and constructively with them as we develop the plan towards finalisation.

    It is important to ensure that the plan’s contents meet with stakeholders’ expectations. To ensure they have sufficient opportunity to comment on and contribute to the plan we are extending our planned engagement period. Consequently, the publication date for the plan is therefore likely to move from December to January 2019.

     


     

    Question S5W-20028: Health and Scoial Care

    Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what further steps it will take to prevent alcohol-related harm in Scotland to build on progress made since its 2009 publication, Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action.

    Answered by Joe FitzPatrick (21/11/2018):
    Today I am publishing my further plans for tackling alcohol-related harms in Scotland, in Alcohol Framework 2018: Preventing Harm (https://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787813328). In this new Framework, I am prioritising 20 actions to build on the wide range of existing measures which seek to change Scotland’s relationship with alcohol, including the world-leading minimum unit pricing policy.

    The new work I am taking forward from today includes considering the options for mandatory restrictions on alcohol marketing in Scotland to protect children and young people, taking a firm stance on giving consumers useful health information on product labels and campaign work to raise awareness of the Chief Medical Officer’s lower-risk drinking guidelines of 14 units per week.

    Following calls from across the Scottish Parliamentary Chamber earlier this year to keep the minimum unit price under review, in this new Framework I commit to reviewing the minimum unit price after two years of operation.

     


     

    Question S5W-20028: Health and Social Care

    Jenny Gilruth, Mid Fife and Glenrothes, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what further steps it will take to prevent alcohol-related harm in Scotland to build on progress made since its 2009 publication, Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action.

    Answered by Joe FitzPatrick (21/11/2018):
    Today I am publishing my further plans for tackling alcohol-related harms in Scotland, in Alcohol Framework 2018: Preventing Harm (https://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787813328). In this new Framework, I am prioritising 20 actions to build on the wide range of existing measures which seek to change Scotland’s relationship with alcohol, including the world-leading minimum unit pricing policy.

    The new work I am taking forward from today includes considering the options for mandatory restrictions on alcohol marketing in Scotland to protect children and young people, taking a firm stance on giving consumers useful health information on product labels and campaign work to raise awareness of the Chief Medical Officer’s lower-risk drinking guidelines of 14 units per week.

    Following calls from across the Scottish Parliamentary Chamber earlier this year to keep the minimum unit price under review, in this new Framework I commit to reviewing the minimum unit price after two years of operation.

     


     

    Question S5W-20094: Health and Social Care

    Emma Harper, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish the full report of Dr Anne MacDonald’s research into out-of-area placements and delayed discharges for people with a learning disability.

    Answered by Clare Haughey (22/11/2018):
    I am pleased to announce the publication of Dr Anne MacDonald’s report today. I am very grateful for her work on this issue over the last two years. There is a general consensus that we need to do better and I am delighted that Dr Macdonald’s report gives us and Integration Authorities the information and tools to achieve this. We are committed to considering, with partnerships, how to implement this report and, crucially, committed to improving the lives of these individuals and their families.


     

    Question S5W-20154: Health and Scoial Care

    Bob Doris, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will confirm the levels of the new payments to be made by the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme following the recommendations of the recent clinical review of the impacts of chronic hepatitis C.

    Answered by Joe FitzPatrick (23/11/2018):
    The Scottish Government will make the following payments for those with chronic hepatitis c (HCV) who have submitted an application to the Scottish Infected Blood Support Scheme (SIBSS):

    -£18,900 per year for those who have self-assessed as severely affected by HCV
    -£6,300 per year for those who have self-assessed as moderately affected by HCV
    -£1,000 per year for those who have self-assessed that HCV does not have a noticeable day to day impact on their life

    For those widows, widowers, civil partners or other long-term partners of deceased beneficiaries who had chronic HCV, they will receive annual payments at 75% of the level above:

    -£14,175 per year for those who have self-assessed that their spouse or partner was severely affected by HCV
    -£4,725 per year for those who have self-assessed that their spouse or partner was moderately affected by HCV

    In addition, those widows, widowers or partners of those who had chronic HCV who did not receive the £30,000 additional lump sum paid to living beneficiaries with chronic HCV will now also receive this one-off lump sum payment.

     


     

    Question S5W-20143: Health and Social Care

    Gail Ross, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/11/2018


    To ask the Scottish Government who will lead the external independent review into the allegations of a culture of bullying and harassment at NHS Highland, and what the scope of the review will be.

    Answered by Jeane Freeman (23/11/2018):
    I have asked John Sturrock QC to lead this independent review to explore the underlying issues and concerns that have led to allegations of bullying and harassment within NHS Highland. The review will include conversations with affected individuals, including current and former staff, their representatives, Board members and Health Board Management.

    The scope of the review will be to:

    Create a safe space for individual and/or collective concerns to be raised and discussed confidentially with an independent and impartial third party.

    To understand what, if any cultural issues have led to any bullying, or harassment, and a culture where such allegations apparently cannot be raised and responded to locally.

    To identify proposals and recommendations for ways forward which help to ensure the culture within NHS Highland in the future is open and transparent and perceived by all concerned in this way.

    The review will commence with initial meetings taking place before Christmas. A review report with proposals and recommendations for ways forward will be provided to the Scottish Government in early 2019.

    Separate to this independent review, the Chief Executive of NHS Scotland Paul Gray has today written to NHS Highland to offer an increased level of support to help them recover their financial position and strengthen internal governance.

    This will raise Highland to Stage 4 in the Board Escalation Framework. Additional support will take the form of a support team, led by a transformation director, who will assist the Board in planning and delivering the improvement initiatives necessary to restore the Board to financial balance.


     

    Question S5W-20185: Constitution and External Affairs

    Tom Arthur, Renfrewshire South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will provide the Parliament with its assessment of the UK Government’s proposed deal with the EU.

    Answered by Michael Russell (27/11/2018):
    The Scottish Government will publish today at 14:00 an assessment of the UK Government’s proposed future relationship with the EU at https://www.gov.scot/isbn/9781787814226/.

    Our analysis highlights in particular the detrimental impact this deal will have on the Scottish economy, in particular on the services sector - around three quarters of the Scottish economy and on our iconic exporting sectors such as food, fishing and aquaculture. The analysis also sets out the potential impact of the deal on security and justice cooperation, and on public services such as health and care.

    We do not accept that the only alternative is no deal. The UK Government is offering a false choice which must be rejected. We have been consistently clear that, short of EU membership, the best outcome would be continued permanent membership of the European Single Market and Customs Union, and that we support a second EU referendum with the option to remain.

     


     

    Question S5W-20209: Health and Social Care

    Ruth Maguire, Cunninghame South, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when its new drug and alcohol strategy will be published.

    Answered by Joe FitzPatrick (28/11/2018):
    I will be publishing the Scottish Government’s new drug and alcohol strategy Rights, Respect and Recovery, on Wednesday 28 November.

    The document is the overarching strategy for prevention and treatment of alcohol and drugs and sets out how we intend to prevent and reduce alcohol and drug use, harm and related deaths.

    Sitting alongside the Alcohol Framework for preventing harm which was published last week (20 November), this document describes how we will achieve our vision which is to have a country where individuals, families and communities:
    Have the right to health and life – free from the harms of alcohol and drugs
    Are treated with dignity and respect
    And are fully supported within communities to find their own type of recovery

    The strategy contains a number of high level commitments and we will work with partners to coproduce a clear action plan and review progress on a regular basis.

    The strategy will be available at www.gov.scot/isbn/9781787810747.

     


     

    Question S5W-20217: Economy

    Annabelle Ewing, Cowdenbeath, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/11/2018

    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 (28/11/2018):
    Fair Start Scotland is Scotland’s devolved employability support service and is designed to offer 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 information on the first six months of operation of Fair Start Scotland, which shows a total of 4,978 people have started on Fair Start Scotland during the period 3 April to 28 September 2018.

    The publication outlines the number of starts and referrals to the service. It also provides further information on the transitional services introduced in April 2017.

    We will continue to publish statistical data relating to Fair Start Scotland on a quarterly basis.

     


     

    Question S5W-20270: Education, Communities and Justice

    George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/11/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when its response to the independent strategic review of legal aid in Scotland will be published.

    Answered by Ash Denham (29/11/2018):
    The report will be published on the Scottish Government website later today https://www.gov.scot/isbn/9781787814264.

     

     


     

    Question S5W-20373: Economy

    Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/12/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made on the review of employability services, which was one of the actions from the report, No One Left Behind: Next Steps for the Integration and Alignment of Employability Support in Scotland, which was published in March 2018.

    Answered by Jamie Hepburn (05/12/2018):
    The Review of Employability Services was published today. We have listened to users of employability services and people who work in the sector, and set out a series of actions that we will now develop with our partners in order to meet the following objectives outlined in No One Left Behind:

    ·         a system that provides flexible and person-centred support;
    ·         is more straightforward for people to navigate;
    ·         is better integrated and aligned with other services, particularly, with health, justice and housing provision;
    ·         provides pathways into sustainable and fair work;
    ·         is driven by evidence, including data and the experience of users; and
    ·         supports more people – particularly those facing multiple barriers – to move into the right job, at the right time.

     


     

    Question S5W-20484: Health and Social Care

    Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/12/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-19837 by Jeane Freeman on 9 November 2018, when it will provide an update on the arrangements to establish a review to provide an independent assessment of NHS Lanarkshire’s consideration of the replacement for University Hospital Monklands.

    Answered by Jeane Freeman (10/12/2018):
    The Government continues to support a replacement of University Hospital Monklands, to provide modern health facilities and a range of specialist services for the benefit of patients across Lanarkshire and those living with the Monklands catchment area.

    I asked the Director General for Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NHS Scotland to establish a review to provide me with an independent assessment of the process followed by NHS Lanarkshire including whether it had been consistent with best practice and meaningfully informed by the views of stakeholders.

    I can now confirm the details of the review. The Terms of the Reference are to:

    Provide an independent assessment of the process followed by NHS Lanarkshire to address:

    -The concerns raised by elected representatives and local people about the quality of the option appraisal process and the wider engagement and consultation undertaken by the Board, and, in particular;
    -Assess the quality of the information and analysis undertaken by the Board, and the robustness and accuracy of the evidence which inzformed the options appraisal process;
    -Provide advice as to whether the Board's Process was fully in line with the best practice and meaningfully informed at all relevant stages by the views od stakeholders, and to;
    -Submit a report and recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport by the end of February 2019, with initial findings to DG Health and Social Care by 15 February 2019. The recommendations should set out a clear set of actions to be implemented by NHS Lanarkshire in order to progress plans for the redevelopment of University Hospital Monklands, and may include any wider observations on the NHS Scotland consultation process more generally.

    The Review Team will be chaired jointly by Professors Emma McIntosh and Olivia Wu, both Health Economists from the University of Glasgow. Dr Andrew Walker, also a Health Economist will provide additional input and advice. Dr Mike Higgins from the Golden Jubilee Foundation will provide clinical advice and planning input and analysis will be provided by John McNairney, Scottish Government Chief Planner, based in the Directorate for Local Government and Communities. The Team, can if they consider it appropriate, commission additional expert advice on an ad-hoc basis.

    I have received assurance from the Chair of NHS Lanarkshire that they welcome the progress on confirming the Team and will co-operate fully and constructively in order to progress the plans for the redevelopment of University Hospital Monklands in the best interests of patients.

     


     

     

    Question S5W-20493: Economy

    Gil Paterson, Clydebank and Milngavie, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/12/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the commitment made by the First Minister earlier in 2018 at an international conference on employment of disabled people, to publish an action plan to address the disability employment gap later this year.

    Answered by Jamie Hepburn (11/12/2018):
    Later today, the Scottish Government will publish its Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Employment Action Plan. This plan outlines our initial steps towards our commitment to reduce the disability employment gap, which currently stands at 35.8%, by at least half.

    The gap in Scotland is similar to that at a UK level and, based upon the current rate of change, it has been estimated it could take 200 years to halve the UK gap. We believe disabled people deserve better and that action must be accelerated. The plan therefore sets out an ambitious but realistic timescale for meeting the target to more than halve the gap. We aim to achieve this by 2038, and will review progress annually and set the following interim goals:

    By 2023 we want to increase the employment rate of disabled people to 50%;
    By 2030, we aim to achieve an employment rate of disabled people of 60%.

    The plan reaches across all parts of government, including Health, Transport, Education, Social Justice and Procurement. It sets out actions which will:-

    support employers to recruit and retain disabled people;
    support disabled people into work; and
    ensure more disabled young people make the successful transition to education, training or work.

    Key elements of the plan include:-

    funding of £6m to tackle child poverty by supporting more disabled parents towards and into work;

    investment of up to £1m to establish a Public Social Partnership, involving government, employers and disabled people’s

    organisations, to develop, test, and implement solutions to the barriers that employers face in hiring and retaining disabled people;

    the setting by the Scottish Government of a target for the employment of disabled people in its own workforce. We will detail this in the Recruitment and Retention Plan which we will publish during the spring 2019; 

    the creation of a bespoke Scottish employability support service, to be in place from January 2020, to meet the needs of disabled people for whom more mainstream employment support is not suitable. This follows the end of UK Government Specialist Employability Support contracts in December 2019, and subsequent devolution of funding to Scotland;

    development of pathways that enable those seeking to enter or remain in work to access appropriate and timely mental health and employability support, alongside work with employers to support the development of mentally flourishing workplaces; and
    the investment of up to £500,000 to provide support similar to Access to Work to disabled people undertaking work experience or work trials.

    This plan is ambitious but is only the first step towards meeting our objective. It will continue to evolve. We will update it based on the identified priorities of disabled people, the support needs of employers, and as the labour market changes.

     


     

    Question S5W-20531: Transport Scotland

    Stuart McMillan, Greenock and Inverclyde, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/12/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will confirm arrangements for the future provision of the publicly-funded Gourock-Dunoon ferry service, which is currently operating on the town centre-harbour route.

    Answered by Paul Wheelhouse (12/12/2018):
    The Gourock Dunoon Ferry Service tender was cancelled today. This decision follows careful consideration of Audit Scotland’s Report on Transport Scotland’s Ferry Services, published on 19 October 2017, which recommended that Transport Scotland should consider the value for money of providing financial support for the route. The decision also reflects recent policy developments aimed at the increased use of public transport, the promotion of active travel and a reduction in vehicle emissions.

    Responsibility for the future provision of the ferry service will now transfer to CalMac Ferries Limited with effect from 21 January 2019, when the current contract with Argyll Ferries Limited comes to an end. Thereafter, CalMac will provide a passenger-only service under the terms of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract. This will not include the transport of vehicles, in line with the State aid rules and the European Commission’s Decision of 28 October 2009 on Subsidies to CalMac and NorthLink for maritime transport services in Scotland.

    Following the transfer of responsibility to CalMac, further consideration will be given to future vessel and service requirements. Consideration will also be given to improved harbour-side facilities for passengers in future. We will also work with Argyll and Bute Council and Inverclyde Council to identify opportunities to develop the ferry service for active travel purposes, to encourage more foot and cycle traffic to the benefit of the local areas. Discussions will also be held with key stakeholders on the introduction of electric vehicle hubs at both ferry terminals. All this will ensure that the ferry service is best placed to deliver a safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable passenger service into the future.

    I will write to key stakeholders later today explaining the reasons for this decision and our plans for the future provision of a passenger-only ferry service on the town-centre harbour route.

     


     

    Question S5W-20576: Scottish Exchequer

    Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/12/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government how the National Infrastructure Mission announced in its Programme for Government will be taken forward.

    Answered by Michael Matheson (13/12/2018):
    The 2018 Programme for Government announced our intention to increase annual investment in infrastructure by 1% of current GDP by the end of the next Parliament. The 2019-20 Budget, published yesterday, confirmed the
    2019-20 baseline of £5,195.8 million and that the National Infrastructure Mission will increase investment in infrastructure to £6,750.8 million by 2025-26.

    The National Infrastructure Mission relates to the increase in combined capital grant and financed investment and sets a medium-term investment envelope for our future strategic infrastructure planning.

    The National Infrastructure Mission arises from economists’ advice that investment in economic infrastructure is a key driver of growth. Traditionally, the level of government infrastructure investment in the UK has lagged behind that of other OECD and G7 countries. The Office of the Chief Economic Adviser has today published evidence which has supported development of the Infrastructure Mission approach. This can be found at www.gov.scot/isbn/9781787814660

    Whilst boosting infrastructure investment is expected to have a positive impact on our productivity and longer-term growth, delivering stimulus will require us to prioritise those projects with greatest impact on our inclusive economic growth and low carbon objectives.

    I announced in September that we will set up an Infrastructure Commission to support this work. I intend the Commission to be short-term in nature, providing advice to Scottish Ministers. The Commission will be chaired by Ian Russell, current chair of Scottish Futures Trust; wider membership of the Commission will be announced in due course.

    The infrastructure Commission will provide independent, informed advice on the vision, ambition and priorities for a long-term, 30 year, strategy for infrastructure in Scotland to meet our future economic growth and societal needs. This will support the Scottish Government’s delivery of its National Infrastructure Mission and development of the next Infrastructure Investment Plan for the next 5 years. The Commission will advise on the key strategic and early foundation investments to significantly boost economic growth and support delivery of Scotland’s low carbon objectives and achievement of our climate change targets. 

    The Commission will work in a way which is evidence-based, forward thinking and innovative, engaging and widely consultative across all of Scotland and civic society.

    The Commission will report on infrastructure ambitions and priorities by the end of 2019, and may make interim recommendations. Following the completion of this aspect of its work, and in the 6 months thereafter, the Commission will provide advice to ministers on the delivery of infrastructure in Scotland, including the possible creation of a Scottish National Infrastructure Company.

    The Scottish Government also aims to re-fresh its 2015 Infrastructure Investment Plan. Building on the advice of the Commission, the Scottish Government aims to develop a coherent, strategic approach to its next Plan, likely publishing in 2020 and covering the National Infrastructure Mission investment period.

    The Commission will work to the agreed Scottish Government definition of infrastructure, covering economic and social aspects with a focus on inclusive economic growth.

    The full remit of the Infrastructure Commission, and a biography of its Chair, is published on the Scottish Government’s website: https://www.gov.scot/policies/government-finance/infrastructure-investment/


     

    Question S5W-20590: Constitution and External Affairs

    Fulton MacGregor, Coatbridge and Chryston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/12/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it plans to publish its proposed consultation on prisoners voting in devolved elections in Scotland.

    Answered by Michael Russell (14/12/2018):
    I am pleased to announce the publication today of our Consultation on Prisoner Voting.

    In response to the Equalities and Human Rights Committee report, the Scottish Government announced that a consultation on prisoner voting would be launched before the end of the year. The consultation paper, published today, sets out the Scottish Government’s proposal for ensuring compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights on the matter of prisoners voting.

    The proposal is to enfranchise only those prisoners on short sentences. Views are sought on the appropriate length of term.

    The consultation will run for a 12 week period to seek views on prisoner voting in Scottish Parliament and Local Government elections. After the consultation has closed, the responses will be analysed and a report published. The Scottish Government will then advise of next steps.


     

    Question S5W-20651: Education, Communities and Justice

    Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/12/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government when it will provide an update on progress towards implementing the new Funding Follows the Child approach and finalising the new National Standard for Early Learning and Childcare Providers.

    Answered by Maree Todd (18/12/2018):
    In March 2018 the Scottish Government and COSLA published a joint consultation on the Funding Follows the Child approach which will be introduced from August 2020. This approach is underpinned by a National Standard that all settings who wish to be a funded provider will have to meet – regardless of whether they are in the public, private or third sector, or childminders. At the heart of the approach is a focus on high quality early learning and childcare experiences for all of our children. We know that high quality early learning and childcare supports children to fulfil their potential and contributes to closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

    Funding Follows the Child places choice in parents’ and carers’ hands, enabling them to access their child’s funded entitlement from any provider that meets the new National Standard, has a place available and is willing to enter into a contract with their local authority.

    The move to a ‘provider neutral’ Funding Follows the Child approach represents a significant change for parents and carers, providers, and local authorities. We have engaged extensively with stakeholders, including providers and local authorities, to finalise the National Standard and define the principles of the Funding Follows the Child approach. The development of this approach has also been steered by the intensive work of the joint Scottish Government and local government Service Models Working Group.

    The Scottish Government has today published “Funding Follows the Child and the National Standard for Early Learning and Childcare Providers: Principles and Practice”. This joint publication with COSLA sets out the final version of the Funding Follows the Child approach and the National Standard that underpins it.

    The National Standard sets out the clear and consistent criteria that all providers who wish to deliver the funded entitlement will have to meet from 2020. This will provide reassurance to parents and carers that any provider offering the funded hours can offer their child a high quality ELC experience.

    To support local authorities and providers to prepare for the implementation of the new approach from August 2020, we have also published supporting Operating Guidance and a Question and Answer document.

    The Scottish Government will continue to work with delivery partners to support the sector to implement the new approach, and to provide further supporting materials.

    The documents can be accessed at: https://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787814783.


     

    Question S5W-20661: Education, Communities and Justice

    Fulton MacGregor, Coatbridge and Chryston, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/12/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to meet the commitment in its Programme for Government to increase the openness and transparency of the parole system.

    Answered by Humza Yousaf (19/12/2018):

    The Scottish Government recognises the importance of ensuring that parole processes are as transparent as possible and that the voice of victims and their families is heard more clearly. 

    That is why we are consulting on this important issue. The consultation is available via the following link:

    https://consult.gov.scot/justice/transforming-parole-in-scotland and will be open until 27 March 2019.


    Question S5W-20701: Transport Scotland

    Maureen Watt, Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/12/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on Aberdeen Roads Limited’s progress in completing the Don Crossing and opening the final section of Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).

    Answered by Michael Matheson (20/12/2018):
    We can already see the benefits of the newly opened section of AWPR from Craibstone to Stonehaven and Charleston.

    Despite what it said at the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee just over a fortnight ago, ARL informed officials on 18 December that it was no longer able to meet its own deadline. I have consistently urged caution about ARL’s ambitious programme to conclude the Don works. Consequently, as disappointing as this news is, it therefore comes as no surprise. This will be a difficult message for the workforce who have been working hard during this most challenging time of the year.

    It is well known that ARL has experienced a series of technical issues during the construction of the Don Crossing. In order for this Government to protect the public purse, it is imperative that ARL provides the necessary technical and commercial assurances for the Don Crossing. We cannot and will not contemplate releasing payments for this structure without these critical assurances.

    In terms of an opening date for this section, although ARL are forecasting January 2019, they have been unable to provide a definitive date.


    Question S5W-20712: Education, and Skills

    George Adam, Paisley, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/12/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what progress it has made on establishing an independent review of P1 standardised assessments.

    Answered by John Swinney (20/12/2018):
    In my statement to Parliament on P1 standardised assessments on 25 October 2018, I announced the establishment of an independent review of these assessments. Following advice from Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, I have appointed David Reedy to lead this review.

    David Reedy was Co-Director of the Cambridge Primary Review Trust from 2013-17 and has served as both General Secretary and President of the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA). He has also previously held the post of Principal Adviser Primary Schools in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Mr Reedy has a wealth of relevant experience and also I believe the necessary distance from the recent debate on P1 assessments in Scotland to bring a fresh and impartial perspective to the review.

    Mr Reedy will be supported by a small review team who are familiar with the Scottish context. The team will be assembled by the Chief Inspector and will include Scottish practitioners, representation from the early years sector and a member of the Inspectorate.

    The review will consider and provide recommendations on the following issues:

    the compatibility of the assessments with the play-based curriculum model in the early level of Curriculum for Excellence;
    the alignment of the assessments to the benchmarks for the early level;
    the effect on P1 children of taking an on-line assessment;
    the usefulness of the diagnostic information provided to teachers and how it supports their professional judgement;
    the implications of the review for the ongoing implementation of the national Gaelic-medium education standardised assessments; and
    the future of the assessments, considering in particular whether they continue in line with the current continuous improvement model; be substantially modified; or whether they should be stopped.

    The detailed remit and terms of reference for the review will be agreed with Mr Reedy and published early in the New Year, along with the details of the review team.

    The review will start in January 2019, with a report being submitted to the Scottish Ministers by the end of May 2019. This will allow time for the recommendations of the review to be considered by the Parliament ahead of the Summer recess.


    Question S5W-20762:  Education and Skills

    Bill Kidd, Glasgow Anniesland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/12/2018

    To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made in reducing youth unemployment through the Developing the Young Workforce Programme.

    Answered by John Swinney (21/12/2018):  

    We committed to reporting annually on the progress of the Developing the Young Workforce programme and the fourth progress report was published on 21 December. The report can be found at http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781787814486.

    The Scottish Government continues to prioritise the education of our young people, ensuring they have the skills and knowledge required to reach their full potential, both in their careers and their wider lives, and through DYW, we continue to prepare young people for the world of work, for both current and future labour markets.   

    We continue to meet the programme’s headline target of reducing youth unemployment by 40%, and see more young people than ever undertaking apprenticeship opportunities. As we move into the final years of the progress, we are determined to build on this progress, and seek to do more to support those young people who have difficulty engaging with the education and skills system.


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