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Debates and questions

These are the official transcripts of what people said in:

  • the Chamber the place where Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) meet to debate and make decisions
  • committee meetings - committees are small groups of Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) from different political parties

This part of the website also includes written questions and answers. 

Debates and Questions Listing

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Chamber

Official transcripts of what MSPs said in the Chamber. This is the place where all MSPs meet to debate and make decisions.

Leaders’ Virtual Question Time 09 April 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Covid-19 Update, Questions to the First Minister.

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Meeting of the Parliament 01 April 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Point of Order, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill (Emergency Bill), Business Motions, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Deputy Presiding Officer, Scottish Government Legislation Programme, Covid-19 (Social Security), Covid-19, Business Motion, Committee of the Whole Parliament, Meeting of the Parliament.

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Meeting of the Parliament 24 March 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motions, Covid-19, Covid-19 (Justice), Coronavirus Bill, Local Government Finance (Scotland) Order 2020 [Draft], Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill, Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Motion, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament 19 March 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Portfolio Question Time, Covid-19 (Education), United Kingdom Coronavirus Legislation, Business Motion, Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill, Point of Order, Business Motions, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament 18 March 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Business Motion, Covid-19 (Economy), Covid-19 (Supporting our Communities), Portfolio Question Time, Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Motion, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament 17 March 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Covid-19 (Update), Curriculum for Excellence (Review), Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Breastfeeding etc (Scotland) Act 2005.

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Meeting of the Parliament 12 March 2020

The agenda for the day:

Business Motion, General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Scottish Apprenticeship Week , Portfolio Question Time, Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Covid-19 (Update), Business Motion, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament 11 March 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Mental Health Services in Tayside (Independent Inquiry), Portfolio Question Time, Funded Childcare (Expansion), Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal.

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Meeting of the Parliament 10 March 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Covid-19 (Update), COP26, Local Government Finance (Scotland) Order 2020 [Draft], Business Motion, Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Bill: Stage 3, Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Bill, Auditor General for Scotland, Decision Time, Blind and Partially Sighted People (Access to Health Information).

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Meeting of the Parliament 05 March 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Whitburn Academy Be Herd Group, Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Question Time, Portfolio Question Time, Budget (Scotland) (No 4) Bill: Stage 3, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament 04 March 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, United Kingdom Government’s Approach to Negotiations with the European Union, Scottish Rate Resolution, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Early Years Education, Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill, Point of Order, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2020.

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Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Covid-19 Update, International Women’s Day, Business Motion, Decision Time, Pre-eclampsia (Diagnosis).

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Meeting of the Parliament 27 February 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, War Memorials, Exam Results 2019 (Analysis), Portfolio Question Time, Budget (Scotland) (No 4) Bill: Stage 1, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2020

The agenda for the day:

Inshore Fisheries, Portfolio Question Time, Police Scotland (Draft Budget 2020-21), Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, National Parent Forum of Scotland.

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Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Proposed Scottish Parliament (Assistance for Political Parties) Bill, Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Seclusion and Restraint in Schools.

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Meeting of the Parliament 20 February 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Climate Change and Agriculture, Portfolio Question Time, Business Motion, Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill: Stage 3, Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill, Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill, Business Motion, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2020

The agenda for the day:

Smoking Ban (Play Parks and Outdoor Sports Facilities), Portfolio Question Time, National Health Service, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Prehistoric Rock Art.

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Meeting of the Parliament 18 February 2020

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Social Prescribing, Minister and Junior Minister, Decision Time, Gaelic-medium Education (Western Isles).

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Meeting of the Parliament 06 February 2020

The agenda for the day:

Point of Order, General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, World Cancer Day 2020, Education, Portfolio Question Time, Budget 2020-21, Scottish Elections (Reform) Bill: Stage 1, Scottish Elections (Reform) Bill: Financial Resolution, Decision Time.

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Committee

Transcripts of committee meetings are uploaded as soon as they've been checked for accuracy. This may be a few days after the meeting has taken place.

Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints

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Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee

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Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee

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Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee

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Education and Skills Committee

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Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee

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Equalities and Human Rights Committee

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Finance and Constitution Committee

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Health and Sport Committee

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Justice Committee

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Justice Sub-Committee on Policing

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Local Government and Communities Committee

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Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee

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Public Petitions Committee

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Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee

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Social Security Committee

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Solicitors in the Supreme Courts of Scotland (Amendment) Bill Committee

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Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee

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Written Questions

These are questions that MSPs have asked the Scottish Government about its work. It also includes any answers to these questions.

S5W-28291: Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 9 April 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of reports of relatives visiting a Fife care home being asked to sign forms agreeing to nil resuscitation and being advised that older residents may not be taken to hospital in the event of suspected COVID-19 but would only be given antibiotics, what its policy is regarding care homes and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders.

Awaiting answer

S5W-28125: Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 27 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on its legislative programme, when it now expects to introduce the Continuity (Scotland) Bill, and what impact any delay will have on whether the necessary EU exit preparations relating to environmental principles and governance will be completed by the end of the transition period in December 2020.

Answered by: Michael Russell on 9 April 2020

Answered by: Michael Russell 9 April 2020

The Scottish Government’s priority is responding to the current global and national crisis. We expect our response to the coronavirus outbreak will be sustained over an extended period. For that reason, careful consideration of a date for introduction of the Continuity Bill will take place as part of the wider work being carried out to prioritise essential non-coronavirus related legislation in the government's legislative programme. As part of this consideration, we will assess the impact on future domestic arrangements for environmental principles and governance.

A decision by the UK Government to take sensible steps to negotiate an extension to the implementation period would, of course, have an important bearing on those considerations.

S5W-28066: Daniel Johnson (Edinburgh Southern)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 24 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what support is being provided to parents with children in private nurseries who are unable to attend due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but are expected to pay a proportion of or all of the fees.

Answered by: Maree Todd on 9 April 2020

Answered by: Maree Todd 9 April 2020

Charging policies are a matter for individual businesses, however we encourage all childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents, recognising the unprecedented situation in which we all find ourselves.

We fully recognise the critical role that Scotland’s childcare sector will play in our long-term economic recovery from the pandemic, and remain determined to realise our commitment to nearly double the statutory entitlement to 1,140 hours as soon as practicably possible. In addition to guaranteeing the continuation of funding for statutory places throughout the period of closure, the UK and Scottish Governments have made a range of support available to mitigate the economic impact of and disruption to businesses by coronavirus. More information on the range of business and financial support available to childcare providers is available at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-childcare-closures-and-emergency-provision/pages/overview/ .

S5W-28084: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 25 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will clarify travel restrictions for oil and gas workers in the North Sea, in light of their role as essential workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 9 April 2020

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 9 April 2020

Scottish Ministers recognise the important role that oil and gas workers are playing in maintaining a secure supply of energy to consumers at this time, and for maintaining critical national infrastructure, and I have thanked them on behalf of the Scottish Government. We will continue to liaise with Oil and Gas UK, trades unions and other stakeholders on measures to protect the safety of those working in the industry.

Current UK Guidance applies to oil & gas workers, in that Health Protection Scotland advises that any worker with relevant symptoms or any worker from households where there are suspect cases should self-isolate for the recommended periods and not travel offshore.

S5W-28141: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 30 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what consideration it has given to reducing speed limits during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 9 April 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 9 April 2020

The Scottish Government is committed to achieving safer road travel in Scotland for all. We note that traffic flows have greatly reduced since non-essential travel was prohibited during the COVID-19 outbreak and therefore the Scottish Government has not considered reducing speed limits at the current time. However, it is vitally important that motorists continue to take care while making any journeys that are absolutely necessary for essential reasons.

S5W-28040: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 23 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what provision will be made for the delivery of free school meals when schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: John Swinney on 9 April 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 9 April 2020

All children and young people who rely on free school meals will continue to receive them during this period. Free school meals are a vital measure for families, children and young people across the country, and the Scottish Government is very grateful for the rapid work that local authorities have done already to ensure continuing provision.

The Scottish Government firmly believes that local authorities are best placed to design and develop solutions that meet local needs and circumstances as they will be aware of the specific challenges and solutions within their region.

On Thursday 26 March, the Scottish Government issued guidance to all local authority Chief Executives and Directors of Education regarding support to vulnerable children and young people.

The guidance included a specific section on free school meals which recognises that local authorities will continue to adopt different approaches depending on their individual circumstances and in response to local need. This will ensure that local authorities have maximum flexibility in approach in order to meet the needs of all free school meal eligible children and young people.

S5W-28224: Daniel Johnson (Edinburgh Southern)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 3 April 2020

To ask the Sottish Government what meetings it has held with the retail industry regarding critical food distribution and public health in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing on 9 April 2020

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 9 April 2020

The Scottish Government and Food Standards Scotland have daily contact and frequent meetings with food retailers and their trade associations on a wide range of issues, including food distribution and equity of supply, public health and support and protection of customers and staff, and support for suppliers. At the present time, these meetings are conducted by conference calls.

S5W-28085: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 25 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on any plans to contain COVID-19 among oil and gas workers who return to shore.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 9 April 2020

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 9 April 2020

Oil & Gas workers who are identified as suspect cases offshore with mild and moderate symptoms and who return to shore will be advised to follow current guidance and self-isolate as soon as possible after arriving onshore, minimising any contact with the general public. Any worker who is sufficiently ill to require hospital admission will be evacuated from an oil installation and managed according to existing hospital admission guidance on arrival onshore to minimise the risks of exposing others.

S5W-28108: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 26 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether sawmills are classed as an "essential business" during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing on 9 April 2020

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 9 April 2020

Sawmills are a key part of the timber supply chain which supports ‘essential businesses’. Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sectors define those facilities, systems, sites and networks necessary for the functioning of the country and the delivery of the essential services upon which daily life in Scotland depends. Pallets and biomass are identified as essential forestry outputs linked to transport of key goods and energy, both part of Critical National Infrastructure. The 13 designated CNI sectors can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-construction-sector-guidance/

Provided that they can continue to operate in compliance with the latest Scottish Government guidance on social distancing, production is required to meet increased demand for pallets from supermarkets, pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies, packaging companies and logistics providers. The co-products they produce, chips and sawdust, also supply biomass to the energy sector.

Guidance for businesses in Scotland on social distancing, including the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises due to the COVID-19 outbreak is available at the following:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-business-and-social-distancing-guidance/ .

S5W-28105: Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 26 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to encourage companies to apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to ensure that Scotland does not see an increase in unnecessary redundancies.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn on 9 April 2020

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 9 April 2020

Our Enterprise Agencies are engaging with businesses to ensure they have information about, and understand how to access, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the wider package of support announced from both the Scottish and UK Governments to help employers preserve their business, maintain jobs and pay their workers throughout the coronavirus crisis. In addition, Coronavirus advice for businesses in Scotland is available through findbusinesssupport.gov.scot . We are urging all businesses to make use of this.

We are also urging employers, trade unions and staff to work together to reach the right decisions on all workplace issues that arise throughout the Coronavirus outbreak, in line with the Covid-19 Fair Work Principles, announced jointly by the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture and the STUC General Secretary on 25 March.

S5W-28178: Gordon Lindhurst (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 31 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, what its response is to reports that Airbnb and other similar businesses are continuing to list properties for rent, and what measures it has put in place to ensure that such businesses comply with its guidance.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 9 April 2020

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 9 April 2020

The Scottish Government’s top priority is the health and safety of the people of Scotland. Regulations are now in force requiring anyone carrying on a business providing holiday accommodation to cease carrying on that business. The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 came into force on 26 March 2020. Regulation 4 requires providers of holiday accommodation to cease carrying on with their business during the emergency period, subject to very limited exceptions. Police officers have powers to enforce these regulations.

S5W-28083: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 25 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on what infrastructure is in place to allow for priority COVID-19 testing for offshore oil and gas workers in the North Sea.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 9 April 2020

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 9 April 2020

We are working hard to increase capacity to use testing to get critical workers in isolation back to work, but we will have to make difficult choices and currently we need to prioritise the health and social care sector. We continue to work with NHS Boards and others to increase testing capacity. We continue to engage with Oil and Gas UK, trades unions and other key industry stakeholders on measures to support the safety of those working in the industry.

S5W-28113: Stuart McMillan (Greenock and Inverclyde)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 26 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to issue funeral sector-specific guidelines covering what personal protective equipment should be worn by staff handling dead bodies, particularly in situations where it is not known if the deceased had COVID-19.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 8 April 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 8 April 2020

The Scottish Government understands the importance of protecting our funeral sector from the risk of infectious transmission of COVID-19 via contact with the deceased. We have been working very closely with stakeholders from across the funeral industry to ensure they have access to the most up to date information relevant to them, including guidance from Health Protection Scotland, and information from The Royal College of Pathologists which outlines the PPE required for care of the deceased during the COVID-19 pandemic based upon the official advice.

In addition to this, we will shortly be publishing guidance for funeral directors and burial and cremation authorities, which includes the use of appropriate PPE, to further help these organisations manage their services during the current pandemic.

S5W-28050: Alasdair Allan (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 23 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how quickly it can use its new legislative powers to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak to prohibit gatherings, including for commercial, leisure, religious or other purposes.

Answered by: Michael Russell on 8 April 2020

Answered by: Michael Russell 8 April 2020

The Coronavirus Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 25 March. It conferred various powers on the Scottish Ministers to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak - including powers that mirror those of the UK Government under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

On 26 March the Scottish Ministers made emergency regulations, the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, under Schedule 19 of the Coronavirus Act to enforce the enhanced social distancing, or lockdown, measures announced by the First Minister on 23 March. The regulations came into force as soon as they were made.

Those regulations impose restrictions on gatherings of more than two people with a limited number of exceptions. The exceptions include members of the same household, to provide care, essential work, funerals and attendance of legal proceedings. Although people who do have to gather for one of these purposes should ensure appropriate social distancing.

The regulations also mean that certain businesses and places where people would normally gather must close, such as places of worship (with the exception of for funerals), pubs and cinemas. We understand that these are significant restrictions at an already difficult time but they are vital to protect our public services and ultimately save lives.

The Scottish Government provided guidance to accompany these Regulations on 27 March that is available on the Scottish Government website .

If further provisions are made under these powers we will update Parliament as quickly as possible.

S5W-28269: Bob Doris (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 7 April 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, whether it is safe for NHS staff to launder uniforms at home.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 April 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 April 2020

The health and safety of our staff and patients is our main priority at this unprecedented time.

Uniforms with COVID-19 related contamination should be washed by NHS laundry facilities and not taken home to wash. Where possible, a number of Health Boards have expanded the use of NHS facilities to accommodate the laundering of uncontaminated uniforms for staff working within COVID-19 wards.

A review of the role of uniforms in the transfer of infections, and the effectiveness of laundry methods in removing contamination, has taken place based on the latest scientific and clinical advice. This review concluded that there should be no risk of infection from areas of uniform not covered by Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

A guidance document, has been developed and is available online and provides specific guidance on the use of PPE, as well as advice on preventing transmission. We are constantly updating this online resource to reflect the latest scientific and clinical advice.

https://www.staffgovernance.scot.nhs.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/guidance/

The guidance clarifies that it is safe for staff to launder uniforms at home, provided they are not contaminated and are washed separately from other items, at the hottest temperature appropriate for the fabric and stored and transported safely .

I hope this reassures you of our continued efforts to address the concerns of staff at this difficult time.

S5W-27955: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will publish the scientific evidence underpinning its approach to dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 April 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 April 2020

The UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision makers during emergencies. In response to the Covid-19 outbreak all four of the UK nations are following the scientific advice from SAGE and their evidence is published online at: www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response .

In addition, Scottish Ministers; the Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Medical Officer in Scotland, in consultation with the Chief Scientific Advisor for Scotland have identified the need for additional scientific analysis of the impact of Covid-19 in Scotland, based on regularly updated advice and modelling from SAGE, and other emerging scientific evidence. In response, the Scottish Government COVID-19 Advisory Group has been set up and is chaired by Professor Andrew Morris, Professor of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh and Director of Health Data Research UK. He will be supported by vice chair, Professor David Crossman, Dean of Medicine at the University of St Andrews and Chief Scientist (Health) at the Scottish Government. The Group has met twice and the minutes of those meetings are published at: www.gov.scot/groups/scottish-government-covid-19-advisory-group/ .

S5W-27951: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it is modelling the likely number of people affected by COVID-19 and, if so, how, and what the estimated number of people is.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 April 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 April 2020

The Scottish Government has been modelling the impact for Scotland and updating this work as new epidemiological work and assumptions are provided by the UK Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M). This is currently based on a reasonable worst case scenario that 80% of the UK will become infected as some point. Modelling has also been done on the reduction in the reasonable worst case for the social interventions under consideration and live across Scotland. Figures on actual cases are published daily by the Scottish Government.

S5W-27949: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government for what reason it is not testing everyone who has reported symptoms of COVID-19.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 8 April 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 April 2020

Our priorities for testing are directing testing capacity to save lives and protect the vulnerable; ensuring that critical staff can return to work as soon as possible; and monitoring and reporting of the spread and prevalence of the virus in the population and the impact of public health measures.

Guidance has been published for the NHS to support use of the testing capacity in laboratories, in so far as it is not needed for essential care, in order to enable health and social care staff to be back at work when that is safe.

NHS territorial boards will put in place appropriate local arrangements for testing of NHS and social care staff who are symptomatic.

We are working hard to increase capacity to use testing to get critical workers in isolation back to work, but we will have to make difficult choices and currently we need to prioritise the health and social care sector.

S5W-28052: Alex Neil (Airdrie and Shotts)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 23 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what arrangements are being made to defer council tax payments for people who have had their income reduced or lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Ben Macpherson on 7 April 2020

Answered by: Ben Macpherson 7 April 2020

Our priority is to ensure that those directly impacted by current events are protected and we have asked councils to ensure that recovery proceedings are not initiated in these circumstances. The well-established Council Tax Reduction Scheme means nobody has to endure hardship or suffering because they have lost their ability to pay their council tax, including those impacted directly or indirectly by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We have already set aside an extra £50 million to fund increased demand for Council Tax Reduction and Social Security benefits, as part of our £350 million package of support for communities.

S5W-28055: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 24 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to ensure that people can access pulmonary rehabilitation classes safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 7 April 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 7 April 2020

The Scottish Government is aware that this is a worrying time for people but, it is absolutely vital that people stay at home during this time in order to protect those most at risk and the NHS.

The Scottish Government is proactively providing guidance to groups who require to increase social distancing, such as those adults with underlying respiratory conditions. This guidance can be found at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tailored-advice-for-those-who-live-with-specific-medical-conditions/ .

Treatment plans are specific to individuals and should not be changed without advice from a medical professional. If an individual is receiving treatment for a respiratory condition, it is important that they take extra care of their overall wellbeing, and attending hospital appointments is part of this. Clinical teams will try to minimise the time people spend in hospital departments, for example arranging telephone or Near Me video consultations.

In terms of accessing pulmonary rehabilitation at this time, the My COPD app contains a pulmonary rehabilitation section and many charities provide support to people living with long-term lung conditions. The British Lung Foundation, for example, provides exercise videos designed for this group.

S5W-28069: Neil Bibby (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 25 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what advice it is offering to older, ill and other at-risk people who are being advised to stay at home in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and who do not have access to (a) the internet or (b) online banking services regarding concerns that they might be penalised for delayed payment of council tax, and how this advice is being provided.

Answered by: Ben Macpherson on 7 April 2020

Answered by: Ben Macpherson 7 April 2020

The Scottish Government is delivering an information campaign aimed at ensuring people experiencing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic know that financial support is available, including help with council tax. In addition annual council tax bills have recently been issued, with contact telephone numbers for local authorities and information on the Council Tax Reduction scheme. Anyone whose income or earnings are impacted by the pandemic and who may now struggle to meet their next council tax payment should discuss this as soon as possible with their council.

S5W-28090: Daniel Johnson (Edinburgh Southern)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 26 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what assistance and support it is providing to people moving house during the COVID-19 outbreak due to the temporary closure of the Registers of Scotland, and what the legal position is of those who had already changed missives before the closure was announced.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 7 April 2020

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 7 April 2020

Registers of Scotland, Law Society Scotland and UK Finance have agreed a process to enable transactions to be completed where an advance notice is in place. The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 also contains provisions which will allow property transactions already in progress to proceed to settlement and allow flexibility in the registration process to enable those transactions that have to take place during the COVID-19 outbreak to proceed. The temporary closure of the Registers of Scotland does not change the legal position of missives.

The Scottish Government published guidance on moving home in Scotland during the COVID-19 outbreak on 31 March: www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-moving-home .

S5W-28071: Daniel Johnson (Edinburgh Southern)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 25 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what measures are in place to ensure that safe-distancing measures are followed on public transport in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 7 April 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 7 April 2020

Transport Scotland continues to engage with service providers during the COVID-19 situation to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place. ScotRail are providing additional carriages on their services to enable maximum space and they are reminding passengers of the importance of social distancing at stations. Bus operators are regularly reviewing their services and in some cases are considering introducing additional vehicles or double decker buses to assist with distancing. CalMac are also asking customers to follow the latest Government advice before boarding their vessels, including social distancing and hygiene, and COVID-19 safety advice has been added to their briefings before every sailing.

Guidance on these matters continues to be updated and therefore we would recommend accessing the NHS Inform website for the latest information, at https://www.nhsinform.scot/ .

S5W-28202: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 1 April 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what funding is made available to each NHS board to support people who have been infected with hepatitis C and/or HIV via infected blood or blood products and to fund specialist care support for those requiring ongoing care.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 7 April 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 7 April 2020

Hepatitis c and HIV treatment is delivered by territorial NHS Boards in Scotland, using funding from the core grant they each receive from the Scottish Government. This treatment provided by NHS Boards includes providing specialist care for patients infected via infected NHS blood or blood products. The Scottish Government is committed to the effective elimination of hepatitis c in Scotland by 2024.

S5W-28045: Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 23 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-27450 by Michael Matheson on 5 March 2020, how it calculated the 10-minute figure.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 7 April 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 7 April 2020

The 10 minute journey time improvement on the Highland Mainline was calculated to be achieved through a combination of track enhancement and the delivery and introduction into service of all 26 refurbished High Speed Trains (HSTs).

S5W-28054: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 24 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to bring forward any of the measures on pulmonary rehabilitation set out in the Respiratory Care Action Plan to build in extra resilience for people living with lung conditions following the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 7 April 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 7 April 2020

We published the draft Respiratory Care Action Plan for Scotland for consultation on 20 December 2020. The consultation was due to run until 3 April 2020, however, due to the on-going situation with COVID-19 we have extended the consultation to 3 July 2020.

This will be reviewed in June and will be extended further if required, in recognition of the fact that COVID-19 may have implications and consequences for many aspects of respiratory care going forward, including pulmonary rehabilitation.

In the meantime, public health advice is regularly updated and can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS Inform and at Public Health Scotland: https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/a-to-z-of-topics/covid-19/ .

The advice on the these websites is being constantly reviewed and updated based on the developing evidence base to ensure information relevant to specific vulnerable groups is included and up-to-date.

The single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

  • Only go outside for essential food, health and work reasons
  • Stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people
  • Wash your hands regularly and wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or family

S5W-28056: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 24 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on introducing a digital solution to help ensure that people can access pulmonary rehabilitation classes during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 7 April 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 7 April 2020

As set out in my response to S5W-28055 on 7 April 2020, an app MY COPD already exists which patients can access. The third sector provide a crucial role in supporting people with long-term respiratory conditions and the guidance sets out where people can access support - https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tailored-advice-for-those-who-live-with-specific-medical-conditions/ .

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx .

S5W-28048: Neil Bibby (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 23 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many council tenants have been subject to eviction proceedings in each of the last three years, broken down by local authority.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 6 April 2020

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 6 April 2020

Annual statistics on the number of local authority housing eviction actions are published on the Housing Statistics section of the Scottish Government website at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/housing-statistics-management-of-local-authority-housing/ .

The statistics are sourced from annual housing statistics forms collected from local authorities, which includes information on the number of cases in which a notice of proceedings has been issued, for each year between 2009-10 and 2018-19.

S5W-28049: Neil Bibby (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 23 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many court orders have been obtained for the eviction of council tenants in each the last three years, broken down by local authority.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 6 April 2020

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 6 April 2020

Annual statistics on the number of local authority housing eviction actions are published on the Housing Statistics section of the Scottish Government website at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/housing-statistics-management-of-local-authority-housing/ .

The statistics are sourced from annual housing statistics forms collected from local authorities, which includes information on the number of cases resulting in an eviction order, for each year between 2001-02 and 2018-19.

S5W-27962: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to build additional emergency facilities in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 6 April 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 6 April 2020

The First Minister announced on 30 th March 2020 that work will begin to transform the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow into a temporary hospital.

The NHS Louisa Jordan will increase capacity in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This will be an NHS hospital, staffed and operated by the National Health Service. It will have beds for 300 patients initially with capacity to take over 1000 patients.

S5O-04322: Bill Kidd (Glasgow Anniesland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 18 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with local government regarding advice for small businesses on how to cope with expected shortfalls in turnover due to COVID-19 and the impact of insurance companies not willing to pay out on policies that cover such risks.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 6 April 2020

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 6 April 2020

We have announced a suite of measures aimed at limiting the impact of COVID-19 on the business community and we are working with Scotland's 32 Councils, COSLA and business representative organisations to swiftly implement these to eligible businesses.

On 17 March, the UK Government agreed with the insurance industry that government advice for the public to avoid pubs, theatres, etc. (rather than ordering businesses to close) would be sufficient for businesses with appropriate cover to make a claim, as long as all other terms and conditions of the policy are met.

The business interruption insurance position is unchanged. Businesses which have taken out cover for notifiable diseases may be able to claim if they meet the terms and conditions of their policy.

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way for business to find the information they need in relation to Covid-19 (24/7). There is also a separate HMRC helpline on tax issues at 0800 015 9559.

This is a fast-moving situation and we are working hard to expand the information available on the website so that businesses can get the answers they need.

S5W-27860: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what the cost is of the existing annual subsidy for the Gourock to Kilcreggan ferry service, which is provided by Clyde Marine Services Limited, under contract with SPT, and what the projected annual subsidy cost is when it is transferred to CalMac Ferries Limited.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 6 April 2020

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 6 April 2020

In the 12 months to end March 2020 the total subsidy cost of operating the Gourock to Kilcreggan ferry service (operated by Clyde Marine Services Limited under contract to SPT) was £504,500. This figure includes a contribution from Transport Scotland for the 6 months to end March 2020.

Going forward, in the first full year under CalMac’s contract with Transport Scotland the subsidy cost of operating the Gourock - Kilcreggan service is anticipated to be some £857,000. Of this subsidy cost, SPT will contribute an increased amount of £387,500 per annum. This increase in operating costs includes the full cost of CalMac Ferries Limited chartering the vessel ‘Chieftain’ from Clyde Marine Services and all other relevant costs such as staffing provisions and maintenance.

After the first year of operation the costs of operating this service will be incorporated into the wider Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services subsidy provided by Scottish Ministers to CalMac.

S5W-28039: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 23 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what additional resources will be provided by the Scottish Welfare Fund to local authorities, broken down by authority.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 3 April 2020

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 3 April 2020

The Scottish Government is providing an additional £45 million to local authorities for the provision of awards from the Scottish Welfare Fund. £22 million of that will be distributed immediately using the current SIMD model as set out in the following table. The remaining £23 million will be distributed later and targeted where it is needed most:

Scottish Welfare Fund allocations to local authorities

 

 

2019-20

2020-21

Local Authority

Total

£

Budget

£

Covid-19 Additional

£

Total

£

Aberdeen City

1,026,718

1,108,000

596,000

1,704,000

Aberdeenshire

856,268

924,000

497,000

1,421,000

Angus

659,131

711,000

383,000

1,094,000

Argyll & Bute

503,603

544,000

293,000

837,000

Clackmannanshire

418,378

452,000

243,000

695,000

Dumfries & Galloway

996,588

1,076,000

579,000

1,655,000

Dundee City

1,392,296

1,503,000

809,000

2,312,000

East Ayrshire

1,086,691

1,173,000

631,000

1,804,000

East Dunbartonshire

431,577

466,000

251,000

717,000

East Lothian

574,767

620,000

334,000

954,000

East Renfrewshire

380,500

411,000

221,000

632,000

Edinburgh, City of

2,635,377

2,844,000

1,531,000

4,375,000

Eilean Siar

162,128

175,000

94,000

269,000

Falkirk

1,059,144

1,143,000

615,000

1,758,000

Fife

2,606,681

2,813,000

1,514,000

4,327,000

Glasgow City

7,016,002

7,572,000

4,076,000

11,648,000

Highland

1,270,054

1,371,000

738,000

2,109,000

Inverclyde

770,182

831,000

447,000

1,278,000

Midlothian

561,854

606,000

326,000

932,000

Moray

449,655

485,000

261,000

746,000

North Ayrshire

1,351,262

1,458,000

785,000

2,243,000

North Lanarkshire

3,002,964

3,241,000

1,744,000

4,985,000

Orkney Islands

83,790

90,000

49,000

139,000

Perth & Kinross

706,478

763,000

410,000

1,173,000

Renfrewshire

1,345,810

1,452,000

782,000

2,234,000

Scottish Borders

627,566

677,000

365,000

1,042,000

Shetland Islands

75,756

82,000

44,000

126,000

South Ayrshire

816,668

881,000

474,000

1,355,000

South Lanarkshire

2,391,467

2,581,000

1,389,000

3,970,000

Stirling

472,899

510,000

275,000

785,000

West Dunbartonshire

915,667

988,000

532,000

1,520,000

West Lothian

1,225,289

1,322,000

712,000

2,034,000

TOTAL

37,873,210

40,873,000

22,000,000

62,873,000

 

S5W-27939: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many rehab beds have been taken out of service in each year since 2007.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 3 April 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 3 April 2020

I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-27801 on 24 March 2020. All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website; the search facility for which can be found at: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx .

S5W-27923: Brian Whittle (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 13 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it has made an assessment of options to improve the resilience of the country's electricity infrastructure, in light of plans to expand the use of electric vehicles and the replacement of gas central heating systems with electric alternatives.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 3 April 2020

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 3 April 2020

The Scottish Energy Strategy, published in December 2017, set out our vision for the future energy system in Scotland. Scotland’s energy networks will play a vital part in delivering our Strategy, and the transition towards a low carbon future. It is crucial that they are developed and funded in a way that recognises the key role they play in the energy transition, and capable of delivering a sustainable, low carbon future.

The Scottish Government, through the Energy Strategy, also set out a bold ambition to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032, eight years ahead of the rest of the UK. In addition, on 3 March 2020, the Scottish Government introduced the Heat Networks (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Parliament. The Bill aims to encourage greater deployment of district and communal heating in Scotland by introducing regulation to the sector.

Decarbonising transport and heat will be vital, as we highlighted in our Vision for Scotland’s Electricity and Gas Network to 2030; this creates particular challenges for planning and operating our electricity networks, which must be able to support the increased demand that growth in these areas will create. This includes enabling the rapid rollout of low carbon technologies, including heat pumps and electric vehicles (EVs), the latter alongside an EV charging network which can accommodate and support them. Achieving this will require innovative approaches to make the most effective use of new and existing network capacity, balancing costs and benefits to today’s consumer against those of future consumers and society as a whole.

Increased demand and applications for connection to the electricity distribution network will also increase our reliance on the electricity system. We need to ensure that our electricity networks are upgraded to serve that demand, and that our capacity to generate zero carbon electricity continues to grow. We are working closely with Scotland’s network owners to understand what needs to be done and when, and engaging regularly with Ofgem and the UK Government to ensure that the regulatory system can facilitate the necessary investment.

The Scottish Government has recently established a new group focused on Scotland’s energy networks. The Energy Networks Strategic Leadership Group (SLG) provides a knowledgeable and influential forum for discussing the ways in which the development of Scotland’s energy networks can recognise and deliver Scottish energy and climate change policy objectives.

We continue to support renewable generation projects in Scotland, and welcome the recent consultation on allowing onshore wind and solar to compete in future Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions. These sources, as well as offshore wind, island wind and marine renewables, will help meet that higher electricity demand, and deliver our target for the equivalent of 50% of all energy to come from renewable sources by 2030.

 

 

S5W-28210: Daniel Johnson (Edinburgh Southern)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 2 April 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what support it is providing to seasonal workers who started work after the 29 February 2020 deadline and are not eligible for assistance through the job retention scheme incentive that has been set up in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Awaiting answer

S5W-28003: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 18 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether an equality impact assessment for the Scottish Child Payment will be published when the regulations are laid and, if so, on what date.

Answered by: Christina McKelvie on 2 April 2020

Answered by: Christina McKelvie 2 April 2020

The Scottish Government will publish an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) when the Scottish Child Payment regulations are laid in the Scottish Parliament. The timescale for this will be confirmed in due course given the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security’s statement of 1 April on the implications of Covid-19 for the Social Security Programme.

As part of the process of developing the EQIA, the Scottish Government has engaged with a wide range of stakeholders representing the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act to understand the potential impacts and barriers these groups may face to claiming the Payment. This activity has complemented the work of our user researchers who have, to date, engaged with over 300 citizens on the design of the Payment, including those across the protected characteristics.

 

S5W-28051: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 23 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it remains committed to implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in full.

Answered by: Christina McKelvie on 2 April 2020

Answered by: Christina McKelvie 2 April 2020

Yes. The Scottish Government remains fully committed to meeting its UNCRPD obligations. The Scottish Government’s commitment to the principles of the UNCRPD is set out in its disability action plan which was published in December 2016.

Disabled people are also entitled to the rights set out in other human rights treaties, together with the protections established as a matter of domestic law by the Human Rights Act 1998, the Scotland Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010.

 

S5W-27975: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what additional welfare measures it plans to assist people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 1 April 2020

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 1 April 2020

The Scottish Government is making available £350 million of funding to support local government, the third sector, communities and people during this unprecedented public health emergency. This coherent, substantial package of funding and support will address the financial, social and geographical vulnerability of individuals and communities.

The additional funding includes £50 million to support local authorities with their own resilience and hardship plans; £45 million for the Scottish Welfare Fund; £50 million to help meet additional demand on the Council Tax Reduction scheme; a £70 million Food Fund to support families and older people who would otherwise be unable to access food; £40 million to help communities respond to local needs and challenges ; £48 million enabling support for national and local action by the third sector to reach the most vulnerable groups; and £20 million for third sector organisations who need capital to tide them over.

It will ensure that people facing financial hardship as a result of the economic impact of social distancing and self-isolation measures have access to direct financial help; that local authorities have additional resource to respond to local need; that charities, third sector, community and social enterprise organisations remain resilient and able to meet new demand with effective and local level solutions; and that no-one faces food insecurity as a result of Covid-19.

S5W-27830: Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether its future environment initiatives will include plans to protect bees and other pollinators.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 1 April 2020

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 1 April 2020

The Scottish Government published the Pollinator Strategy for Scotland in 2017. Implementation of the strategy is led by SNH who work in partnership with others to encourage and support a range of initiatives to help all pollinating insects. These range from creating new habitat and enhancing existing habitats through to public engagement and monitoring. SNH produces an annual Pollinator Progress Report and this highlights the many projects being carried out across Scotland by a range of groups to make Scotland a more pollinator-friendly environment.

SNH also increasingly identifies cross cutting opportunities within its own work to deliver its ambitions for pollinators. Hence programmes such as Green Infrastructure and the Biodiversity Challenge Fund support projects that help pollinators. The SNH website outlines the various initiatives in place to help Scotland's pollinators.

 

S5W-28034: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 23 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-27878 by Joe FitzPatrick on 19 March 2020, what its response is to the call at a meeting on 27 February 2020 that was arranged by the Health and Social Care Alliance for there to more than two places on the NACCP for people with lived experience of chronic pain, in light of the committee being attended by up to 15 officials.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 1 April 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 1 April 2020

Due to the current unprecedented circumstances the work of National Advisory Committees is being paused to enable health and social care professionals to focus on providing care, support and treatment to people in connection to COVID-19.

S5W-28022: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 19 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what impact the COVID-19 outbreak is having on Scotland's preparedness for COP26.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 1 April 2020

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 1 April 2020

Preparations for COP26 are well underway, but significant adaptation to how we engage with partners and stakeholders has been made to reflect the public health emergency that we now find ourselves in the midst of. The situation is having serious implications both for the health of the nation and our economy. In this changed landscape, governments, globally are taking stringent measures to halt the spread of the virus. The current position remains that the summit is due to take place in Glasgow, November 2020.

We will continue to work with partners and will be guided by scientific advice in the run-up to the event but our immediate concern, as would be expected, is in dealing with immediate impact of the virus.

 

S5W-28062: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 24 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what measures it is putting in place to ensure that all women can access abortion services during the COVID-19 crisis.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 31 March 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 31 March 2020

The Scottish Government has issued an approval to enable women having an early medical abortion to take both abortion pills at home. The intention is that this approval will remain in place during the Covid-19 outbreak. This will ensure patients can have their consultation by telephone or video call so they can follow public health advice to stay at home. Following the consultation, if the patient wishes to proceed, and where this is clinically appropriate for them, the medication will be delivered to their home. Patients will be given clear instructions on how and when to take the medication and will be given contact details they can call at any time if they have any concerns or queries.

Some patients will still need to be seen in person where there are clinical reasons for this, but this change should help minimise the number of patients attending clinics during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Chief Medical Officer has written to NHS Boards to encourage them to implement this as soon as possible for those patients for whom it is appropriate. She has also asked them to ensure as part of their contingency planning that all women who choose to have an abortion can continue to access abortion services within the legal time limits.

Whilst there is a legal requirement for two registered medical practitioners to sign off each abortion, the CMO’s letter also provides further information to help NHS Boards continue to ensure the legal requirements are met and allow terminations to proceed without delays. NHS Boards have been asked to consider whether doctors can review a patient’s notes remotely and sign forms electronically. The Scottish Government understands that NHS Boards are willing to help one another with providing opinions on abortion and signing off if any individual Board needs support.

S5W-27972: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what contingency planning is in place should healthcare staff contract COVID-19 and have to remain off work.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 31 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 31 March 2020

The Scottish Government is doing everything it can to ensure we have sufficient numbers of staff on the ground who are well supported in these challenging times.

NHS Education for Scotland has created a new Health and Social Care Covid19 Accelerated Recruitment Portal. The Portal is accessible through the NHS Careers website at:

https://careers.nhs.scot/coronavirus-covid-19-recruitment/

The portal is the gateway to accelerated employment across health and social care. It will enable those with relevant skills and experience to come forward and support health and social care services at this time of national emergency. It will apply to those who are registered, whose registration has lapsed, or who are enrolled on a healthcare profession qualification with a university or a college.

 

S5W-27969: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what contingency plans there are for maternity services during the COVID-19 outbreak, and whether this includes planning for more home deliveries.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 31 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 31 March 2020

All pregnant women will continue to receive high quality care from maternity professionals throughout the period when we are dealing with COVID-19. This is a fast moving situation and there are currently significant pressures on staffing across NHS Health Scotland and maternity care, both in acute and community settings remains a priority service. We are looking to deliver services in different ways, including using phone or telehealth consulting where appropriate. Service provision is being evaluated daily, with the aim of continuing to provide choice of place of birth as far as possible, whilst recognising the staffing pressures. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, supported by the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, have published guidance for healthcare professionals and pregnant woman available at https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/

 

S5O-04318: Willie Coffey (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 18 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether GPs, nurses and staff at medical practices are being tested for COVID-19, and also carers making home visits.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 31 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 31 March 2020

Our priorities for testing are directing testing capacity to save lives and protect the vulnerable; ensuring that critical staff can return to work as soon as possible; and monitoring and reporting of the spread and prevalence of the virus in the population and the impact of public health measures.

Guidance has been published for the NHS to support use of the testing capacity in laboratories, in so far as it is not needed for essential care, in order to enable health and social care staff to be back at work when that is safe.

We are expanding this programme to cover critical frontline NHS and social care staff, and workers in other critical areas.

However, the tests we have available are effective at identifying people who have COVID-19, but only when they are symptomatic. They cannot reliably detect infection prior to the onset of symptoms. This is why we are not testing key workers who do not have symptoms.

NHS territorial boards will put in place appropriate local arrangements for testing of NHS and social care staff who are symptomatic.

 

S5W-28063: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 24 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what consideration it has given to the administration of both abortion pills at home during the COVID-19 crisis.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 31 March 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 31 March 2020

I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-28062 on 31 March 2020. All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx .

S5W-28064: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 24 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what procedures or guidance it is putting in place to allow abortion healthcare to be accessed via telemedicine during the COVID-19 crisis.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 31 March 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 31 March 2020

I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-28062 on 31 March 2020. All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx .

S5W-27859: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 10 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many North Sea oil and gas (a) top sides, (b) subsea infrastructure and (c) specialist vessel decommissioning projects have been carried out in Scotland's port facilities since January 2017.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 30 March 2020

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 30 March 2020

The decision about where to decommission topsides, other infrastructure and specialist vessels is a commercial one for asset owners. The Scottish Government does not hold data on the number of North Sea decommissioning projects carried out in Scotland’s port facilities since January 2017.

There are, however, many examples of oil and gas decommissioning successes in Scotland. A number of ports are actively winning contracts, and building the capability to do so. Scottish Ports have distinct advantages and infrastructure that can be utilised to increase capacity to undertake decommissioning projects of all sizes and nature, and for fixed and floating assets. Examples include:

- The Ninian North will be decommissioned in Shetland this year

- The Port of Cromarty Firth is now fully licenced, and with plans for a new £28 million quayside in the pipeline, is actively engaged in decommissioning subsea infrastructure from Fairfield Energy's Greater Dunlin Area

- Nearly 2,000 tonnes of material have crossed the quayside at Aberdeen Harbour from high-profile projects like the Shells’ Brent Alpha, and Maersk’s Leadon and Janice projects

- Peel Ports are continuing to develop Hunterston which will enable it to support a range of circular economy opportunities including decommissioning

The Scottish Government is committed to maximising the economic benefits available to Scotland from decommissioning, ensuring Scotland is a thriving centre for decommissioning activity and allowing the supply chain to continue to develop competitive capabilities.

This commitment is demonstrated through the Decommissioning Challenge Fund (DCF), launched in 2017 by the First Minister. The DCF supports ambitions outlined in our Energy Strategy, building on Scottish Enterprise’s Decommissioning Action Plan and industry feedback highlighting that Scottish companies have been successful in winning offshore decommissioning work, such as high value plugging and abandonment work, but that investment is required at Scotland’s ports and harbours to increase our capture of dismantling and disposal contracts. The DCF has so far supported 28 projects, with funding awarded totalling £10 million.

The fourth round of the DCF was launched in July 2019 with £4 million funding available. The results of this round will be announced shortly.

S5W-28118: Fulton MacGregor (Coatbridge and Chryston)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 26 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how COVID-19 is impacting on the delivery of national screening programmes, immunisation and the implementation of the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Act 2019.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 30 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 30 March 2020

Due to the rapidly changing situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) the Scottish Government is to temporarily pause a number of screening programmes. These are:

• Breast Screening (mammograms)

• Cervical Screening (smear tests)

• Bowel Screening (home test kits)

• Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening (ultrasound of abdomen)

• Diabetic Retinopathy (Eye) Screening (images taken of the eye).

Pregnancy and Newborn Screening Programmes, including tests offered during pregnancy and just after birth, will continue where logistically practical.

This means no additional patients will be invited for screening until further notice. Results for those who have recently been screened or who have completed and returned home test kits will continue to be processed.

The suspension is temporary and will be formally reviewed after 12 weeks, or earlier if indicated by the evidence.

Pausing these screening programmes allows staff to be re-allocated to support other essential services, including COVID-19 laboratory testing and covering for colleagues who are unwell or self-isolating.

Vaccination Transformation Programme

The timescale for completion of the Vaccination Transformation Programme, which commenced in 2018 and was due to complete in April 2021, will be extended by one year to April 2022. This will enable the NHS staff whose involvement is vital to the success of the programme, to fully engage with the COVID-19 response over the coming months.

Implementation of the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Act 2019

Implementation of the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Act 2019 has been rescheduled to March 2021.

S5W-27965: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what arrangements are in place to support people who might require home care in the event that the COVID-19 outbreak results in staff absence.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 30 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 30 March 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-27954: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will issue urgent guidance to all employers that staff with pre-existing health conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, should not be required to be at work because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 30 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 30 March 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-27976: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many intensive care beds there are in each NHS board area.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 30 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 30 March 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-27947: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the potential impact on the sector of the outbreak of COVID-19, whether it will carry out an immediate independent review of social care.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 30 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 30 March 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-28038: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 23 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what flexibilities will be applied to the eligibility criteria for applications to the Scottish Welfare Fund as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 30 March 2020

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 30 March 2020

The Welfare Funds (Scotland) Regulations 2016 allow for more than 3 awards in a rolling 12 month period where the local authority considers there are exceptional circumstances. We have written to local authorities to remind them of this, to make it clear that we consider the current circumstances exceptional and to advise them to suspend the 3 award maximum.

Individuals may also apply for a Community Care Grant to meet needs that arise out of exceptional pressure on the applicant or a member of their family. Local authorities have discretion as to how they assess the degree of that pressure in terms of its effect on the individual family as well as the type of pressure, or how common it is.

Officials are in regular contact with local authority colleagues to monitor issues as they arise and to identify any areas where further help or flexibility is needed.

S5W-27855: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 10 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many North Sea oil and gas (a) top side, (b) subsea infrastructure and (c) specialist vessel decommissioning projects are scheduled to start in each year from 2020 to 2023, and what support it is providing to Scotland's (i) ports and (ii) companies in securing future contracts for offshore decommissioning work.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 30 March 2020

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 30 March 2020

The Scottish Government does not hold data on the number of North Sea decommissioning projects scheduled from 2020 to 2023.

Information on decommissioning programmes is available from the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED). All information on decommissioning programmes for the UK Continental Shelf, including proposed and approved decommissioning projects, can be found through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/oil-and-gas-decommissioning-of-offshore-installations-and-pipelines

The decommissioning oil and gas infrastructure, at the end of its life, presents great potential for Scottish ports and companies to capitalise on a market that is forecast to reach £15.2 billion over the next decade. The Scottish Government is committed to maximising the economic benefits available to Scotland from decommissioning, ensuring Scotland is a thriving centre for decommissioning activity and allowing the supply chain to continue to develop competitive capabilities.

The Scottish Government has provided support to ports, harbours and companies through the Decommissioning Challenge Fund (DCF), which supports projects designed to enhance Scottish decommissioning capabilities. The DCF has so far supported 28 projects, with funding awarded totalling £10 million. DCF Projects include port infrastructure upgrades and innovative technological development, from improvements in well plugging and abandonment through to onshore decommissioning and waste handling.

Examples of supported projects include Isol8’s ground-breaking and innovative work on developing a thermite-based well barrier tool string for the well plugging and abandonment market, and infrastructure improvements at Kishorn Port which has supported the port in now being ready to win decommissioning contracts.

The fourth round of the DCF was launched in July 2019 with £4 million funding available. The results of this round will be announced shortly.

Scottish Government has also made commitments to establish an ultra-deep water port at Dales Voe, Shetland, which would allow the largest decommissioning contracts to come to Scotland. This would bring benefits not only for a single location, but as part of an integrated and networked Scotland wide decommissioning offering.

 

S5W-27968: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government for what reason there are reportedly no posters at points of entry to the country explaining the need for self-isolation as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 30 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 30 March 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-27925: Donald Cameron (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 13 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5O-03733 by Jeane Freeman on 7 November 2019 (Official Report, c. 7), whether the final report on allegations of staff bullying in Argyll and Bute will be (a) published in April 2020 and (b) made publicly available.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 27 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 27 March 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5O-04323: Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 18 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what support it is providing to communities and community organisations as part of its response to COVID-19.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 27 March 2020

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 27 March 2020

Last week I announced a £350 million support package in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to support people and communities most at risk. This will provide funding for community organisations who, in these challenging times, are already taking positive action.

 

S5W-27840: Donald Cameron (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many businesses received financial support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise in 2019-20, broken down by Scottish parliamentary constituency.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing on 27 March 2020

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 27 March 2020

This is an operational matter for Highlands and Islands Enterprise and I have therefore asked the Interim Chief Executive to respond to you directly.

 

S5O-04333: Angus MacDonald (Falkirk East)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 18 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to support Falkirk district's tourism industry.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing on 26 March 2020

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 26 March 2020

The Scottish Government continues to work with regional partners in the development of the Falkirk Growth deal and partners envisage a strong tourism offer for Falkirk arising from this.

At present though, our time and resources are being spent helping the entire tourism sector across Scotland in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Assisting businesses in these crucial times is vital and we have recently announced a £2.2 billion package of measures to support businesses, including businesses in the tourism sector.

As things improve, I would be happy to ask my officials to provide the Member with more detail on VisitScotland’s work in the Falkirk area.

 

S5O-04334: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 18 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether a right to food will be incorporated into its Good Food Nation Bill.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing on 26 March 2020

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 26 March 2020

Our consultation on the Bill did not recommend inclusion of a right to food but proposed that Scottish Ministers should be obliged to have regard to international obligations, which are wider than just the right to food, when developing statements of policy on food.

 

S5W-27903: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 12 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what plans are in place to ensure the provision of care at home services in the event of a large-scale outbreak of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 26 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 26 March 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-28074: Emma Harper (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 25 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether South of Scotland Enterprise will be launched on 1 April 2020.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing on 26 March 2020

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 26 March 2020

South of Scotland Enterprise will take up its legal powers and begin its work with businesses and communities across the south on 1 April 2020 as planned.

There has been some speculation around a potential delay to the launch date as a result of legislation laid before the Scottish Parliament on 20 March 2020. The legislation laid before parliament effects a technical amendment only relating to the transfer of property and liabilities from Scottish Enterprise to South of Scotland Enterprise.

This is simply an administrative adjustment to the date that properties and liabilities will legally transfer between the two enterprise bodies, without impacting the operational activities of either body. Plans for the establishment of SOSE on 1 st April are well advanced, and the agency will open on schedule next week as planned.

The work of our enterprise agencies is even more critical in light of COVID19 impacts on our economy, and SOSE is already preparing to play its part in supporting economic recovery in the south when it assumes operational responsibilities and legal powers.

 

S5W-28078: Alasdair Allan (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 25 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what support it can offer to the fishing industry in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, in light of reports of concerns in the sector that the current package of business support from the UK Government is not sufficient and not tailored to the industry.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing on 26 March 2020

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 26 March 2020

 Yesterday I announced an initial package of more than £5 million in financial support to assist fishing businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This funding will be offered to over 650 seafood fishing companies, many of whom have lost their livelihoods with the collapse of export and hospitality markets for Scottish delicacies like langoustine, prawns and crab.

An initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings will be made to owners of all full time Scottish registered fishing vessels of 12 metres length and under, many of whom operate in remote and island communities.

I recognise there might be more that we need to look at for the wider sector – the impacts of this crisis will continue and some will grow and deepen. We are monitoring matters and remaining in close discussion with all stakeholders in the fishing industry to understand what is happening and what might happen. Things obviously are moving quickly and we are alert to that.

Those vessels not eligible for this initial support package, but who feel they are in urgent need of support are invited to submit an enquiry to Marine Scotland. All fishing businesses are different, and we will consider any such enquiry for financial support on a case by case basis.

Support is also being developed for the onshore processing industry – one of the largest employers in Scotland’s coastal communities – and others in the shellfish growing sector which are being affected by the loss of trade and markets.

The need for action is immediate and we all have a part to play in supporting our fishing sector, be that creating alternative markets through the retail sector, buying Scottish seafood where people can and, of course, providing financial support where this is most needed.

Any questions or queries about the fund can be directed to the central mailbox: seafisheriesintervention@gov.scot

 

S5W-27805: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 9 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-18158 by Christina McKelvie on 7 September 2018, whether it will provide an update on how long the waiting lists are for rape survivors at each rape crisis centre.

Answered by: Christina McKelvie on 26 March 2020

Answered by: Christina McKelvie 26 March 2020

The most recent information provided by Rape Crisis Scotland on waiting lists across rape crisis centres is from October 2019 and as follows:

 

Centre

Length of waiting list

Argyll and Bute

4-6 weeks

Grampian

6 months

South West (Dumfries and Galloway)

2-4 weeks

WRSAC (Dundee)

12 months

STAR (Ayrshire)

4 months

Edinburgh

12 months

FRASAC (Fife)

4 months

Forth Valley

3 months

Glasgow and Clyde

2-3 months

Moray

6 months

Orkney

48 hours

RASAC (Perth and Kinross)

6 months

Lothian

4 months

Scottish Borders

9 months

Shetland

2-3 months

Western Isles

None

We understand that any delay in support can have life-changing consequences and have committed to reviewing the funding and commissioning of frontline domestic abuse and rape crisis services to ensure quality and sustainability of service for the future. Applications are now open for the new Delivering Equally Safe (DES) Fund) with an increased budget that around £13M annually. The DES Fund is an evolution of the current Equally Safe (ES), Rape Crisis Specific and Violence Against Women and Girls funding streams. The fund is open for core funding as well as specific projects.

S5W-27907: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 12 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the availability of oxygen supplies in the NHS, and whether it has any plans or considers it necessary to increase this, in light of the current outbreak of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 26 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 26 March 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-27986: Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 17 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the use of glyphosate in agriculture, and what plans it has to limit its use.

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon on 26 March 2020

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon 26 March 2020

The Scottish Government promotes the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which aims to help land managers in all sectors, including agriculture, reduce their reliance on the use of pesticides, including those containing glyphosate. IPM is a site specific approach that integrates a full range of measures to manage pests, weeds and diseases, while minimising risks to people and the environment.

The Scottish Government will continue to work with land managers to further reduce reliance on pesticides as outlined in our recent Programme for Government.

S5O-04331: Maurice Corry (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 18 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with supermarkets regarding any support they may require to ensure there is an adequate food supply during the current pandemic.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing on 26 March 2020

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 26 March 2020

The Scottish Government is working closely with retailers and local government to ensure food and supplies remain available across all of Scotland. We have acted to enable local authorities to relax restrictions on delivery hours, delivery driver working hours, and shop opening times to help and to allow shoppers more opportunity to access supplies out of normal business hours.

Retailers have assured me that there is sufficient stock within the system and what we are seeing just now is a symptom of the unprecedented demand. That could be greatly eased if shoppers buy just what they need and I ask everyone to shop considerately and locally to support our food and drink retailers and producers where they can.

 

S5W-27906: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 12 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how it is planning to increase the availability of intensive care beds and the capacity of hospitals to cope with a large-scale outbreak of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 26 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 26 March 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-27893: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 12 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to strengthen (a) diplomatic, (b) cultural and (c) trade relations between Scotland and Colombia; what analysis it has carried out of how the current political situation in that country might impact on this and, in light of the comment in its international development policy that “We place great importance on Scotland being a good global citizen. This means playing our part in tackling global challenges including poverty, injustice and inequality”, how it can support the moves to re-initiate the peace process and the upholding of human rights in Colombia.

Answered by: Michael Russell on 26 March 2020

Answered by: Michael Russell 26 March 2020

At this time of global crisis, Scotland is all the more committed to acting as a good global citizen, including reinforcing the resilience of vulnerable countries to tackle Covid-19. Scottish Universities are working with international scientists in efforts to defeat the virus and we continue to offer support to international citizens in Scotland. I would like to offer solidarity to Colombian and other South American citizens as we face similar challenges in containing the spread. I would encourage us all to work collaboratively, learn from one another and continue to come together to support those in need and ultimately overcome the virus.

While Colombia is not a named priority country for the Scottish Government, exports are valued at £50m per year and links are being developed in the field of human rights and culture. Colombia were one of 30 countries to attend the 2019 Momentum delegate programme, led by Festivals Edinburgh and supported by Creative Scotland. Colombian arts and culture delegates from Cali International Dance Biennale, and Teatro Santander; Nova et Vetera visited Edinburgh in August.

The Scottish Government has made clear its support for, and solidarity with, the work of human rights defenders in Colombia. In October 2019 the Minister for Older People and Equality met representatives of the Guardians of the River Atrato from Chocó province. On 11 March 2020 a delegation from the Colombian Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Co-Existence and Non-Repetition held a roundtable event in the Scottish Parliament and met the Minister for Older People and Equality. The Commission is a key component of the Colombian peace accord, and was established to secure the right to truth and to recognition for all victims of the armed conflict in Colombia.

Colombia’s record on human rights, and the essential role played by both civil society campaigners and the international community in promoting positive action to uphold human rights, formed part of the subject matter of the debate held in the Scottish Parliament on 10 December 2019 to mark Human Rights Day.

S5W-28060: Rona Mackay (Strathkelvin and Bearsden)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 24 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on progress made by the Short Life Working Group on Management of Mesh Complications.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 25 March 2020

The Short Life Working Group’s Report has today been published on the Scottish Government’s website, and can be viewed here .

The report contains key recommendations in relation to care pathways, the multi-disciplinary team process, patient information and decision aids, patient follow-up procedures, and clinician training. The Report has been presented to NHS Chief Executives and all Health Boards are expected to act on its recommendations.

In addition, the Group last year recommended the establishment of a National Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service. That recommendation is being progressed.

As stated in its report, the Group will continue to exist until the Scottish National Pelvic Mesh Removal Service has been established. Thereafter, it is important that a new group is established with appropriate representation, from both clinicians and those with lived experience, and with authority to both provide oversight of the delivery of improvements in services and to review implications for Scotland of external reports.

More generally, we continue to progress work including the establishment of a Case Note Review; we have invited Dr Veronikis to Scotland and await his response; and we are creating a £1 million fund for women affected by mesh complications. I hope to announce details of that fund in late spring.

Despite the foregoing, we must be mindful of the ongoing situation with COVID-19. This means, for example, that we may have to delay the commencement of the Case Note Review until official advice allows face-to-face meetings of the kind this would require, and delay referrals to the new Complex Pelvic Mesh Removal Service until appropriate. However we are continuing with our work to ensure that, where there is any delay to our plans, we will be ready as soon as it is safe and practicable to proceed.

 

S5W-27914: Margaret Mitchell (Central Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 12 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many convictions there have been for fly tipping in each of the last five years.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 25 March 2020

The available information is provided in the following table, which has been produced from the Scottish Government’s criminal proceedings database .

Please note: Information for 2018-19 will not be available until publication of the Criminal Proceedings in Scotland, 2018-19 Statistical Bulletin. The dates of all Scottish Government Official and National Statistics publications are pre-announced, and the up to date list of future publications can be found at: https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/ForthcomingPubs

 

Number of people convicted in the Scottish Courts for fly-tipping offences¹, 2013-14 to 2017-18

 

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT 1990 SECTION 33

11

13

9

7

5

1 - where main crime

Source: Scottish Government Criminal Proceedings database

 

S5W-27909: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 12 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the decision by sportscotland to close the National Watersports Centre on Cumbrae.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 25 March 2020

We understand that sport scotland has sought to explore all options in detail before making this decision, and that it is committed to supporting the future growth of sailing in Scotland as well as a future for the centre which will benefit the local community.

 

S5W-27873: Colin Smyth (South Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many applications have been received in respect of the (a) rapid Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme and (b) phase 3 of the Scottish Bus Emission Abatement Retrofit (BEAR) programme; what the total value of applications is for each scheme, and when the final awards made under each scheme will be published.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 25 March 2020

Four applications totalling £5.3 million were submitted into the rapid Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEBS). Given the COVID-19 situation it is unlikely that bus operators would be able to take up any award from SULEBS, so the scheme is on hold while we consider how to progress. BEAR phase 3 applications are currently being evaluated and awards will be published once the European Commission reaches a decision on the notification to potentially increase the State aid thresholds.

 

S5W-27915: Margaret Mitchell (Central Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 12 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what the total value of fines issued to people convicted of fly tipping has been in each of the last five years.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 25 March 2020

The available information is provided in the following table, which has been produced from the Scottish Government’s criminal proceedings database .

Please note: Information for 2018-19 will not be available until publication of the Criminal Proceedings in Scotland, 2018-19 Statistical Bulletin. The dates of all Scottish Government Official and National Statistics publications are pre-announced, and the up to date list of future publications can be found at: https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/ForthcomingPubs

 

Total value of fines issued by the Scottish Courts for fly-tipping offences¹, 2013-14 to 2017-18.

 

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT 1990 SECTION 33

2,670

17,750

2,775

34,100

100

1 - where main crime

Source: Scottish Government Criminal Proceedings database

 

S5W-27913: Margaret Mitchell (Central Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 12 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many fixed penalty notices have been issued for fly tipping in each of the last five years, and what the total value of notices was in each year.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 25 March 2020

Dealing with fly-tipping is primarily a local authority responsibility. Scottish Government does not hold information on fixed penalty notices issued by local authorities for fly-tipping offences.

 

S5W-27944: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 16 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many breaches of protocol regarding hospital waste storage facilities have been reported to SEPA since the contract with Healthcare Environmental Services ended.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 25 March 2020

SEPA has received 5 allegations of breaches of protocol at hospitals since the contract with Healthcare Environmental Services ended. Some of these referenced waste storage facilities at more than one hospital site.

 

S5O-04319: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 18 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether there will be a role for volunteers to ease pressure on health and social care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 25 March 2020

Volunteers are part of the fabric of the NHS in Scotland and we recognise and appreciate the enormous contribution they make to the lives of individuals and communities. Volunteers enhance service provision, helping to free up professional resources and we are working as a matter of urgency to maximise volunteering opportunities. A number of NHS Boards are considering developing a specific volunteer role to support the service in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such a role is likely to evolve from existing volunteer roles such as mealtime assistants and ward volunteering, but may be developed further to meet local need and demand.

 

S5W-27926: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 13 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government for what reason some NHS boards have reportedly stopped giving sharps boxes to diabetics.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 25 March 2020

I refer the Member to the answer to question S5W-27927 on 25 March 2020. All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx

 

S5O-04313: Alasdair Allan (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 18 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the SQA regarding the potential impact of COVID-19 on the exam timetable for 2020.

Answered by: John Swinney on 25 March 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 25 March 2020

In response to the current challenging set of circumstances, I have had extensive discussions with the Chief Examiner. This culminated in my announcement on 19 March that the exam diet will not go ahead this year. SQA are now working to deliver a credible certification model that can be put in place and can command confidence in the absence of the exam diet. This will ensure that young people in our schools and colleges who, through no fault of their own, are unable to sit exams, are not disadvantaged.

We will continue to work with the education sector and SQA to achieve this.

 

S5W-27908: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 12 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the impact of the closure of the National Watersports Centre on Cumbrae on (a) the local community and economy, (b) people from low-income or disadvantaged backgrounds and (c) Scottish sailing.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 25 March 2020

sport scotland has undertaken an extensive review, which has included consideration of impact on the following:

a) The local community and economy

sport scotland has consulted with the local community and conducted detailed discussions with staff and partners. sport scotland has determined that the Centre provides little direct economic benefit to the local economy. Its assessment includes an estimate of the economically active population of the island contributed by staff (0.4%), the percentage of ferry passenger journeys by staff and users on the Largs – Cumbrae route (1.5%), and the annual spend of the National Watersports Centre spent with local businesses and suppliers (£15,500 in 2018-19). sport scotland will publish a full Island Impact Assessment, which is expected on 27 March 2020.

b) People from low-income or disadvantaged backgrounds

sport scotland has analysed bookings for the period from April 2018. This analysis found that only 5.3% of course bookings were made by customers in the 20% most deprived areas of Scotland (by SIMD datazones).

c) Scottish sailing

sport scotland is committed to supporting the development of sailing inScotland. sport scotland has worked closely with Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Scotland, the Scottish Governing Body for sailing, and has agreed how best to support the continued development of the sport across Scotland. RYA Scotland supports the decision, which will ensure that the future development of sailing will be driven by the sailing community. While not the primary purpose of the National Watersports Centre, it has been used by a small number of schools to provide a sailing experience for their students. The future provision of educational courses for children currently offered by Cumbrae National Watersports Centre will now be run from Inverclyde National Sports Training Centre.

 

S5W-27927: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 13 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what guidance is given to diabetics who are no longer being given NHS sharps boxes to dispose of needles.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 25 March 2020

It is the responsibility of NHS Boards and healthcare contractors to ensure that used needles are disposed in a safe manner as set out in the Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013 .

NHS Boards have the authority to decide how best to provide this service in the context of their local population. The Scottish Government expects NHS Boards to ensure that they have robust policies and guidance in place for the disposal of sharps and that due risk assessment has been undertaken accordingly.

 

S5O-04314: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 18 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what coordination is taking place regarding supplies for community pharmacies, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 25 March 2020

The supply of medicines is reserved to the UK Government.

The four UK Governments are working together and with the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that the medicine supply chain continues to operate effectively throughout the UK.

I met with Community Pharmacy Scotland on 18 March 2020 and discussed medicine supply and workforce resilience with them directly. My Officials are working with CPS to ensure that community pharmacies continue to receive medicines supplies to dispense to those patients who need them.

There are currently no medicines shortages as a result of COVID-19; and people should not stockpile medicines.

 

S5O-04315: Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 18 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what training it is putting in place to enable additional staff to support the social care sector during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 25 March 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 25 March 2020

Staff coming into the sector to provide frontline care will get immediate job-based training from employers, in line with the responsibility employers have to ensure staff have the skills and knowledge they need for the role they are being asked to do. The Scottish Social Services Council, the workforce regulator, is already working with COSLA and NHS Education Scotland to produce a specific Training Development Pack to support those moving to or across care services at this crucial time. This will clarify the minimum training requirements for social services staff and enable the redeployment of staff to other roles if required, so that we maximise the flexibility of the workforce. The intention is to publish the pack this week.

 

S5W-27863: Donald Cameron (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 11 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how much it has invested in each of Scotland’s city region deals to date.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 24 March 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 24 March 2020

We have committed over £1.8 billion over the next 10 to 15 years to city region deals, regional growth deals and associated investments. Five city region deals are currently in delivery. We will invest £500 million in the Glasgow city region, £300 million in the Edinburgh and South of Scotland region, £135 million in the Inverness and Highland city region, £250 million in the Aberdeen city region, and £45.1 million in the Stirling and Clackmannanshire region through our deals programme. In addition, £150 million will be invested in the Tay Cities region. We aim to sign a full deal agreement for the Tay Cities as soon as possible. The following table sets out total expenditure to 31 January 2020 on those deals in delivery.

 

City Region Deal

Total Spend - Scottish Government and UK Government combined

Total Scottish Government Spend

Glasgow

£193,670,000

£95,000,000

Aberdeen

£58,925,490

£29,462,745

Inverness & Highland

£15,051,328

£11,577,225

Edinburgh & South East Scotland

£77,711,340

£14,694,774

Stirling & Clackmannanshire

£804,690

£804,690

Total spend -Scottish City Region Deals

£346,162,848

£151,539,434

Note: the Scottish Government has also agreed additional funding packages for a number of deals including £254 million for Aberdeen and £5 million for Stirling and Clackmannanshire. The full deal for Stirling and Clackmannanshire was signed on 26 February 2020.

 

Heads of Terms have been signed for two regional growth deals, committing investment of £85 million to the Borderlands deal and £103 million in the Ayrshire deal, with good progress being made towards agreeing full deals for both. We remain focused on achieving 100% coverage of Scotland with growth deals and have committed £32.5 million to a deal for Moray, with £25 million committed to a deal for Argyll and Bute. We aim to agree Heads of Terms for both deals as soon as possible.

Falkirk and the Islands are the last two areas in Scotland waiting on confirmation of a specific investment commitment to their respective deals. We want to indicate our intended investment quantum in the short term. Following the absence of an announcement about these areas in the UK Budget, we are calling on the UK government to do likewise.

 

S5W-27248: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 4 February 2020

To ask the Scottish Government for what reason the minutes of the Scottish Screening Committee are not routinely published.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 24 March 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 24 March 2020

The Scottish Screening Committee (SSC) is a Ministerial Advisory Group, and was established in 2016. The SSC was established to improve the strategic management of screening services in Scotland and fully considers the implementation of all recommendations made by the UK National Screening Committee in the context of the specific Scottish circumstances.

Following the appointment of a new Chair, minutes from the Scottish Screening Committee will be routinely published starting with the next meeting.

 

S5W-27837: Peter Chapman (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 March 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how much was awarded in Scotland by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund in 2019-20, broken down by region.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing on 24 March 2020

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 24 March 2020

Details are as follows:

 

Local Authority

Total Grant (£)

Shetland

239,630.67

Orkney

9,927.00

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

97,439.31

Highland

75,010.64

Moray

42,374.00

Aberdeen

787,154.08

Aberdeenshire

1,783,644.62

Angus

10,314.16

Fife

133,127.65

East Lothian

1,865,880.62

Scottish Borders

149,503.27

Dumfries & Galloway

138,389.61

Falkirk

303,110.18

Edinburgh City

1,758,006.63

Any region not listed has had no awards in the time period.