6th Report, 2016 (Session 4): Annual Report 2015-16

SP Paper 933 (Web)

Contents

Report

Introduction
Inquiries and reports
One-off evidence sessions
Subordinate legislation
Legislative consent memorandums
Engagement and Innovation
Equalities
Meetings

Remit and membership

Remit:

The remit of the Committee is to consider and report on the Scottish economy, enterprise, energy, tourism, renewables and other matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy (apart from those covered by the remit of the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee), and matters relating to cities.

Membership:

Murdo Fraser (Convener)
Dennis Robertson (Deputy Convener)
Chic Brodie
Patrick Harvie
Johann Lamont
Richard Lyle
Gordon MacDonald
Lewis Macdonald
Joan McAlpine

Annual Report 2015-16

The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows—

Introduction

1. This report covers the work of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee during the Parliamentary year from 11 May 2015 to 23 March 2016. During this period, the Committee has conducted two inquires, held a number of one-off evidence sessions and considered various forms of legislation.


The Committee take round-table evidence on employee ownership and cooperatives in February 2016

Inquiries and reports

Security of supply and Longannet Task Force

3. Following a one-off evidence session on the future of Longannet Power station in March 2015, the Committee conducted a comprehensive inquiry into Scotland’s energy needs in a changing UK electricity market. The inquiry, which included a call for written evidence and seven panels of witnesses, focused on the security of Scotland’s electricity supply and four themes in particular: supply, demand, the transmission network and market functioning. The Committee published its report on 26 October 2015. The report recommended there should be more emphasis on demand side response, greater clarity on the transmission charging regime, and longer term planning and a whole-system view taken in order to cover heat and transport as well as electricity.

4. The Committee followed up concerns about the local impact of the closure of Longannet by taking evidence from the Longannet Task Force on 20 January 2016.

Work, wages and wellbeing in the Scottish Labour Market

5. The Committee set out to explore job quality in the Scottish labour market, specifically how employment has changed since the 2008/09 recession. The inquiry considered the characteristics and contrasting qualities of different jobs by looking at areas such as wages, hours, contract types, worker autonomy, training and development opportunities, and task variation. The inquiry had a particular focus on the health, social and economic impacts of low pay and low quality work and the extent to which Scottish Government policies can improve the quality of work and wellbeing of workers in Scotland. The Committee launched a call for evidence on 22 June 2015. This included an invitation for people to share their views using an online form for submissions. This form generated over 600 responses and the Committee continued to engage directly with individuals by holding a workshop session as part of Parliament Day Paisley on 21 September 2015.

6. The Committee took evidence over eight evidence sessions from June to November, and published its report on 14 January 2016. Recommendations focused on the need to foster worker wellbeing and encourage economic growth through the promotion and monitoring of fair work practices.


Murdo Fraser leads an engagement quiz on Work, wages and wellbeing as part of Parliament Day Paisley in September 2015

Future Prospects for Oil and Gas in Scotland

7. The Committee held two evidence sessions in November and December 2015 with the aim of exploring the oil and gas industry’s response to the significant and sustained fall in the price of crude oil since September 2014, and the consequences for jobs and the wider economy. In its report, the Committee, whilst recognising that the future for the industry might be unpredictable, emphasised both the importance of the industry to the Scottish economy, and the need for Governments, industry and trade unions to work together to maximise economic recovery from the North Sea.

Draft Budget Scrutiny 2016-17

8. Given the delay in publication of the Draft Budget for 2016-17 due to the UK Spending Review, the Committee agreed to prepare for Budget scrutiny by holding a series of pre-budget evidence sessions during October and November 2015, focusing on fuel poverty, tourism and the work of the enterprise agencies. Following publication of the Draft Budget in January 2015, the Committee took evidence from the Deputy First Minister, and published its report on 29 January 2016.

Social enterprises, employee-owned businesses and co-operatives

9. Following on from a roundtable on social enterprise in August 2014 and evidence heard during the Work, Wages and Wellbeing inquiry, the Committee agreed to look again at social enterprises and alternative business ownership models in more detail. With a theme of innovation, the Committee held two breakfast briefings with invited guests, each featuring a themed presentation and followed by a formal round-table evidence session. In looking at social enterprises one week, and employee ownership and co-operatives the next, the Committee explored business support and the impact of alternative models on business success and employee wellbeing. The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government following evidence, and to include suggestions for future work on the subject in its legacy paper.


Sarah Deas of Cooperative Development Scotland leads a presentation to the Committee and guests at an informal breakfast briefing in February 2016

Economic Impact of the Creative Industries

10. The Committee agreed to seek an update on the recommendations made in its March 2015 report, and heard evidence from Creative Scotland, the enterprise agencies and the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs in February and March 2016.

One-off evidence sessions

Council of Economic Advisers

11. In a one-off evidence session on 8 October 2015 the Committee heard from the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisers on a range of issues concerning the Scottish Government’s economic strategy, the national performance framework, internationalisation, manufacturing, Scotland’s tax regime, the Scottish Fiscal Commission, and the current state of the economy.

Renewable energy in Scotland

12. The Committee held a one-off evidence session on 9 December 2016 which explored challenges currently facing the sector.

Subordinate legislation

13. In this parliamentary year the Committee dealt with four affirmative instruments:

  • The Registers of Scotland (Voluntary Registration, Amendment of Fees, etc.) Order 2015 [draft];
  • The Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Amendment Order 2015;
  • The Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act 2014 (Consequential Provisions) Order 2016 [draft];
  • The Public Services Reform (Insolvency) (Scotland) Order 2016 [draft].

14. One affirmative instrument, the Public Services Reform (Insolvency) (Scotland) Order 2016 [draft], was subject to super-affirmative procedure, and as such both the Scottish Government and Committee held a period of consultation in advance of the draft order being laid. The Committee received two submissions to its consultation, both of which were also submitted directly to the Scottish Government. The Committee agreed that these concerns were addressed sufficiently in the instrument as drafted.

15. In this parliamentary year the Committee considered four negative instruments:

  • Debt Arrangement Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2015 (SSI 2015/216);
  • Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 (SSI 2015/226);
  • The Diligence against Earnings (Variation) (Scotland) Regulations 2015 (SSI 2015/370);
  • The Fireworks (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2016 (SSI 2016/18).

Legislative consent memorandums

16. The Committee considered the following LCMs:

  • Enterprise Bill (LCM(S4) 40.1);
  • Enterprise Bill (LCM(S4) 40.2).

Engagement and Innovation

17. As mentioned, the Committee placed a focus on direct engagement with the public as part of its work, wages and wellbeing inquiry. In order to hear directly from individuals about their experience of working life an online form for submissions was made available on the website and shared widely through social media. A summary of responses was used alongside written evidence to inform questioning at the oral evidence phase. As part of Parliament Day Paisley, local employees, employers and support workers were invited to take part in a series of workshop groups designed to gather a local perspective. The day also involved a formal visit to Renfrewshire Council to talk about their adoption of Unison’s ethical care charter.


Workshop sessions at Parliament Day Paisley in September 2015.

18. To support formal evidence on social enterprises, employee-owned businesses and co-operatives the Committee hosted two breakfast briefings. Invited guests were invited to attend a presentation and open networking session before attending formal meetings.

19. The Committee’s social media presence has grown significantly as a result of engagement on the above activities, along with the Committee's work in general.

Equalities

20. The Committee has ensured that all meetings organised reflect the Parliament‘s equalities policies and guidance. Of witnesses during the Parliamentary year, 100 have been men and 45 have been women, with the majority of witnesses being fielded by organisations upon the request of the Committee. The Committee acknowledges that this may be the nature of many of the sectors that witnesses are drawn from, but nonetheless the imbalance remains a concern.

Meetings

21. During the parliamentary year (from 11 May 2015 to 23 March 2016) the Committee met 28 times. One meeting was held entirely in private and 27 were partly in private. Of the 27 meetings where some or all of the items were in private, this was to consider draft reports or to discuss approaches to inquiries or review evidence heard.


Committee members during the reporting year- Top L-R Richard: Lyle, Joan McAlpine, Johann Lamont, Gordon MacDonald, Chic Brodie. Bottom L-R: Lewis Macdonald, Convener Murdo Fraser, Deputy Convener Dennis Robertson and Patrick Harvie.


Any links to external websites in this report were working correctly at the time of publication.  However, the Scottish Parliament cannot accept responsibility for content on external websites.

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