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Debates and questions

Chamber, committees, questions and answers

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 

A committee is a group of MSPs. They usually deal with specific subjects like education, health and justice.

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.

Meeting of the Parliament 22 May 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Business Support Inquiry, Mental Health Services (Quality and Safety), General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, Local Radio.

Meeting of the Parliament 21 May 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Portfolio Question Time, Menopause, Business Motion, Decision Time, International Museum Day 2019.

Meeting of the Parliament 16 May 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Community Pharmacy Scotland, Portfolio Question Time, Brexit (Impact on Food and Drink), Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 15 May 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, Treatment Time Guarantee, Education, Point of Order, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Foster Care Fortnight.

Meeting of the Parliament 14 May 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Global Climate Emergency, Sheep Farming, The Place Principle, Committee Announcement, Decision Time, Home-Start Glenrothes 21st Anniversary.

Meeting of the Parliament 09 May 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Pension Credit, NHS Highland (Sturrock Review), Portfolio Question Time, Business Motion, Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Bill, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 08 May 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Deposit Return Scheme, Portfolio Question Time, Air Departure Tax, Support for Midwives, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, Nation of Life-savers (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).

Meeting of the Parliament 07 May 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Business Motion, Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Bill, Committee Announcement, Decision Time, Scottish Gigabit Cities.

Meeting of the Parliament 02 May 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Rwandan Genocide (25th Anniversary), Portfolio Question Time, Business Motion, Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill, Business Motion, Motion without Notice, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 01 May 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, Subject Choice, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, Nursery Funding (Deferred Entry to Primary School).

Meeting of the Parliament 30 April 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Music Tuition in Schools, Business Motion, Decision Time, Parkinson’s in Scotland.

Meeting of the Parliament 25 April 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, International Workers Memorial Day, Portfolio Question Time, Advance Redress Payments, Hutchesons’ Hospital Transfer and Dissolution (Scotland) Bill: Final Stage, Changing Lives Through Sport and Physical Activity, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 24 April 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Brexit and Scotland’s Future, Portfolio Question Time, General Practitioner Recruitment and Retention, Green New Deal, Business Motions, Point of Order, Decision Time, Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week.

Meeting of the Parliament 23 April 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Social Security and In-work Poverty, Committee Announcement, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Open University at 50.

Meeting of the Parliament 04 April 2019

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Long-term Decline in Salmon Stocks, Portfolio Question Time, Transport (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Transport (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 03 April 2019

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, NHS and Social Care Staff (Workplace Support), Health Education, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Recall of Parliament, State Pension Changes (Compensation for Women).

Meeting of the Parliament 02 April 2019

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Point of Order, Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament (Revisions), Decision Time, Stalking Awareness Week 2019.

Meeting of the Parliament 28 March 2019

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Misogyny, Racism, Harassment and Sexism Against Women, Portfolio Question Time, Disabled People, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 27 March 2019

The agenda for the day:

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (Infection Incident), Portfolio Question Time, Revoking Article 50, Climate Emergency, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Point of Order, Decision Time, Diet Products (Celebrity Endorsements).

Meeting of the Parliament 26 March 2019

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, South of Scotland Enterprise Bill: Stage 1, South of Scotland Enterprise Bill: Financial Resolution, Business Motion, Decision Time, Financial Scam Prevention.

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

Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee

Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee

Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee

Education and Skills Committee

Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee

Equalities and Human Rights Committee

Finance and Constitution Committee

Health and Sport Committee

Justice Committee

Justice Sub-Committee on Policing

Local Government and Communities Committee

Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee

Public Petitions Committee

Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee

Social Security Committee

Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee

Questions

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

S5W-23192: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how much ScotRail paid to passengers in compensation in each month between May 2016 and May 2019.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 23 May 2019

Answered by: Michael Matheson 23 May 2019

I refer the member to Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) Bib number: 60697

S5W-23123: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to support local authorities to reduce turnover rates for social work staff dealing with children.

Answered by: Maree Todd on 23 May 2019

Answered by: Maree Todd 23 May 2019

The turnover of Children & Families Social Work staff is a matter for individual local authorities to address.

The Scottish Government is delivering an overall funding package of £11.2 billion to local authorities in 2019-20 This is a real terms increase of over £310 million on the 2018-19 funding settlement, equivalent to 2.9%, enabling local authorities to deliver essential public services, including Children & Families Social Work services.

Work in progress under Part 2 of the National Health & Social Care Workforce Plan, co-published with COSLA, aims to support workforce planning for health and social services and to help address current recruitment and retention issues in the sector.

S5W-23242: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 16 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to make an assessment of the benefits of a freight rail siding at Corpach harbour.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 23 May 2019

Answered by: Michael Matheson 23 May 2019

The Fort William Sustainable Transport Study ‘Case for Change’ (2018) commissioned by HITRANS, is a useful evidence base for the Scottish Government’s second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2). One of the Study options is a freight management package to explore and support local initiatives to develop freight transport by rail and water, including at Corpach harbour. STPR2 will provide a strategic investment plan for transport in Scotland for the next 20 years.

In parallel the remit for the West Highland Rail Lines Review Group (established in 2018 and chaired by Transport Scotland) includes freight haulage opportunities (current, planned and potential) on all the routes on the West Highland Lines, and plans are at an advanced stage for the project to haul timber from the Rannoch area to the rail sidings at Corpach which serve the saw mill.

S5W-23087: Alison Harris (Central Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 9 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on whether the "cost modelling"’ approach presented in its guidance note, "Funding follows the child and the national standard for early learning and childcare providers: guidance for setting sustainable rates from August 2020" will deliver meaningful and genuine partnership working between local authorities and private, voluntary and independent sector childcare providers.

Answered by: Maree Todd on 23 May 2019

Answered by: Maree Todd 23 May 2019

Meaningful and genuine partnership working between local authorities and funded providers is key to the success of the early learning and childcare expansion. Local authorities and funded providers are investing a great deal of time and energy in developing and maintaining their relationships, and working together to solve problems. The Scottish Government and COSLA are supporting local authorities and funded providers with this, including through the ELC Partnership Forum which next meets in the Forth Valley and West Lothian Region in June.

Setting a sustainable rate requires considerable sharing of cost information between local authorities and funded providers. For this to take place, trusting relationships between parties need to be established and maintained. The options open to local authorities, and their success, depend on the structure of the market and the willingness of both parties to co-operate.

The Cost Modelling approach set out in section 5.4 of Funding Follows the Child and the National Standard for Early Learning and Childcare Providers: Guidance for Setting Sustainable Rates from August 2020 provides a potential approach for the local authority to apply when establishing sustainable rates “ in the event that no cost data is available, or provided, by private and third sector providers.” The guidance also sets out three further approaches local authorities could take where more information is available or provided by local private and third sector providers.

S5W-22466: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 2 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to amend the Health and Social Care Standards to prohibit the use of chemical restraint.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 23 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 23 May 2019

The Health and Social Care Standards set out the quality of care we can expect to receive and reflect the way that everyone should expect to be treated. The Standards are designed to be flexible and to be considered alongside any review of legislation and best practice without the need for further amendment. We therefore have no plans to amend the Standards.

If a person's independence, control and choice are restricted the Standards make clear that this should be kept to a minimum, carried out sensitively, and comply with relevant legislation and current best practice. Relevant legislation for the use of chemical restraint makes clear that consent is required where an individual has capacity. Where an individual does not have capacity, the use of chemical restraint must only be applied in exceptional circumstances to the benefit of the individual.

S5W-23124: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with local authorities regarding ensuring that therapeutic support is provided in every case of a child being removed from their parents' care.

Answered by: Maree Todd on 23 May 2019

Answered by: Maree Todd 23 May 2019

Under the Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 , local authorities are responsible for care planning, which includes assessing the immediate and long term needs of every looked after child. The legislation and supporting guidance also make clear the process and timescales by which a Child’s Plan must be developed, monitored and reviewed. As every child is unique, the support, including therapeutic support, should be built around their identified needs.

S5W-23083: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 9 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-09444 by Shona Robison on 9 June 2017, whether it will provide the information for each year since 2016-17.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 23 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 23 May 2019

The following table highlights data from Higher Education Statistics Agency HESA records, from the Scottish Funding Council, showing Scotland-domiciled people who have entered pre-registration nursing and midwifery training since 2016-17.

Academic Year

Entrants (Headcount)

 

2016-17

2857

 

 

2017-18

3087

 

 

TOTAL

5944

 

 

1. Source – Scottish Funding Council – HESA data.

2. These figures exclude Open University Data ( 26 entrants in 2016-17 and 24 entrants in 2017-18 ).

3. HESA data for 2018-19 will be available in late 2019.

S5W-23135: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to questions S5W-22908 and S5W-22909 by Joe FitzPatrick on 8 May 2019, whether it plans to carry out a similar review of the screening programme in Scotland to assess whether any improvements can be made.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 23 May 2019

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 23 May 2019

The Scottish Government commissioned a Review of Screening in 2017 to examine the management and overall delivery of the six national screening programmes in Scotland to improve resilience, effectiveness and efficiency, and to ensure that screening services are ready to address future priorities and challenges.

The Review recognises the scale and complexity of the challenges around national screening programmes, and made a total of 23 recommendations. Ministers have accepted the Review in full and work is underway to develop an implementation plan for these recommendations.

The review report will be available from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) reference 60693.

S5W-23254: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what the passenger numbers have been for each airport in each of the last five years.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 23 May 2019

Answered by: Michael Matheson 23 May 2019

Information on passenger numbers at Scottish airports in each of the last five years is available on the Civil Aviation Authority website at: www.caa.co.uk/Data-and-analysis/UK-aviation-market/Airports/Datasets/UK-airport-data/ .

S5W-22583: Tavish Scott (Shetland Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 8 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish its response to the goose policy review that it received from SNH in March 2018.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

The Scottish Government will publish its response to the goose policy review in due course.

S5W-23059: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-22756 by Ash Denham on 7 May 2019, in light of the confirmation that the Scottish Prison Service has the capacity to use mobile phone detection technology that can pinpoint phone signals to specific cells, whether it will confirm if it uses this and, if so, how often it is deployed; what proportion of the prison estate uses it and what analysis it has carried out of its effectiveness.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 22 May 2019

I have asked Colin McConnell, Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), to respond. His response is as follows:

SPS has the capability to deploy mobile detection technology across all Scottish prisons in order to identify the illicit use of personal communication devices. To specify details on the frequency or locations of deployment would not be in the interests of security.

SPS Security & Technology Group meet on a quarterly basis to review all security equipment and to ensure continued effectiveness. This group also considers the suitability of any emerging technology available elsewhere.

S5W-23250: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many times (a) the First Minister, (b) cabinet secretaries and (c) ministers have visited London on official business by (i) aeroplane, (ii) train and (iii) car in each year since 2007.

Answered by: Graeme Dey on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Graeme Dey 22 May 2019

Ministerial engagements, overseas visits and travel are proactively published on the Scottish Government website. This can be found at https://www.gov.scot/publications/?term=travel&publicationTypes=transparency-data&page=1 .

S5W-23131: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to introduce more cycle lanes.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Michael Matheson 22 May 2019

In 2018-19 the Scottish Government doubled its active travel budget to £80 million annually for the term of this Parliament to deliver an active nation and the vision that Scotland’s communities are shaped around people, with walking or cycling the most popular choice for shorter everyday journeys.

The Scottish Government distributes this funding to active travel delivery partners to fund a variety of projects which support and encourage people to walk and cycle. The largest grant, £51 million in 2019-20, is given to Sustrans for its Places for Everyone Programme. This programme provides grants to public and third sector organisations of up to 50% of the total cost for the creation of high quality infrastructure that enables an increased number of trips made by bicycle for everyday journeys.

Places for Everyone brings together three formerly separate funds including Community Links PLUS, which was specifically to fund large projects with segregated cycle paths. The first of these projects to be completed will be the South City Way in Glasgow at the end of this year with five more projects underway. Ten more ambitious projects will be considered for approval over the summer.

In addition, the Scottish Government is also providing £3.5 million for maintaining and extending the National Cycle Network to create more traffic-free and quiet road routes.

Suitable provision for all users, including cyclists, is an important part of the trunk road projects being taken forward by the Scottish Government, including the A9 and A96 dualling programmes. As part of the A9 Dualling programme, 35 kilometres of new cycle lanes will be delivered. In addition, the A96 Dualling Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) proposals also include 30 kilometres of off-carriageway shared-use facilities which will improve safety for cyclists and walkers while also helping connect local communities along the route.

S5W-23181: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government from which bodies Scottish Water borrows to finance capital spending.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

Scottish Water borrows from the Scottish Government.

S5W-23179: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how much Scottish Water has repaid in interest on the money that it has borrowed in each of the last 10 years, and to which bodies.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

Interest repaid by Scottish Water is detailed in the following table.

Year

Scottish Consolidated Fund

(£m)

National Loans Fund

(£m)

Public Works Loan Board

(£m)

European Investment Bank

(£m)

Mortgage

(£m)

Total Repaid

(£m)

2009-10

79.6

51.6

22.7

0.7

0.1

154.71

2010-11

84.8

50.5

20.9

0.5

0.1

156.76

2011-12

91.1

50.0

17.5

0.5

0.1

159.13

2012-13

89.9

48.8

16.3

0.2

0.1

155.30

2013-14

93.6

46.3

15.6

0.1

0.1

155.74

2014-15

99.3

45.8

13.2

0.0

0.1

158.42

2015-16

98.0

45.3

10.1

0.0

0.1

153.43

2016-17

97.5

44.5

9.7

0.0

0.1

151.78

2017-18

100.5

43.3

5.5

0.0

0.1

149.28

2018-19

102.9

41.1

4.0

0.0

0.1

148.08

 

S5W-23214: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to reduce the number of temporary contractors working on the social security programme in favour of permanent staff.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 22 May 2019

The Programme’s use of contractors is in line with expectations for a programme of this size and stage. The Programme will continue to utilise a mix of permanent, seconded and contractor staff across grades, since a number of posts will not be required on a permanent basis or beyond the life of the Programme.

The Programme has required to date, and will continue to require, specialist resources that are not currently available in the Scottish Government, and where external skills are in short supply across the UK, for example digital, technical and architecture skills.

S5W-22611: Kezia Dugdale (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to improve access to (a) breast augmentation, (b) facial feminisation surgery and (c) other treatments at gender identity clinics.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 22 May 2019

NHS National Services Scotland’s National Services Division (NSD) commission and manage National Managed Clinical Networks (NMCNs) in Scotland, which aim to foster improved standards and quality in healthcare.

These NMCNs include the National Gender Identity Clinical Network Scotland (NGICNS), a network of clinicians and others with an interest in the treatment and support offered to trans people and those distressed or concerned about their experience of their gender, including clarifying issues around access to surgery for trans people.

The NGICNS work with the Scottish Gender Reassignment Protocol and have requested that this be reviewed in light of a Scottish Public Health Network publication on the topic and changes to international standards due in 2020, and this request is now being taken forward.

S5W-23178: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how much debt arising from past capital spending Scottish Water has, and how much it has repaid in each of the last 10 years.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

At 31 March 2019, Scottish Water’s total debt was £3.754 billion. The total value of repayments are provided in the following table.

Year

Repaid (£m)

2009-10

72.42

2010-11

72.95

2011-12

95.96

2012-13

107.61

2013-14

110.36

2014-15

115.47

2015-16

119.52

2016-17

118.90

2017-18

122.65

2018-19

122.95

 

S5W-23114: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many incidents of non-target capture were reported to Scottish Natural Heritage in 2018 by operators using meat bait in Larsen mate and Larsen pod traps under the terms of General Licences 01, 02 and 03.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

A total of 5 incidents of non-target capture were reported to Scottish Natural Heritage in 2018 by operators using meat bait in Larsen mate and Larsen pod traps under the terms of General Licences 01, 02 and 03.

S5W-23220: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how it ensures that the delivery of digital infrastructure for the social security programme represents good value for money.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 22 May 2019

The social security programme has well established governance procedures in place to ensure that affordability and value for money are key considerations throughout the decision making process.

The Social Security Finance team is embedded within the Social Security Programme to ensure robust financial management, monitoring and reporting are in place and that the decision making process is rooted in sound financial advice. Financial management, monitoring and reporting are integral to the programme Governance Structure. Costs are reported to and scrutinised by the Financial Reporting Board before going to the Programme where spending decisions are made.

S5W-23024: Bill Bowman (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 9 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how it measures compliance with general evaluations of strategic environmental assessments carried out by SEPA.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

It is for a Responsible Authority, which can include SEPA when assessing their own plans, to ensure compliance with the statutory requirements of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005.

S5W-23086: Elaine Smith (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 9 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many communities have applied for funds through the Action on Plastic Zero Waste Towns initiative.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

To date, 92 groups including 71 local community groups/not-for-profit organisations, 2 schools, 2 universities, 1 college, 3 local authorities and 13 individuals have registered their interest in the Plastic Zero Waste Towns Initiative with Zero Waste Scotland. Applications will be invited once registration is closed, currently anticipated to be in September 2019, and funding will be allocated based on an assessment of those applications.

S5W-23047: Claudia Beamish (South Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government when it expects to be in a position to analyse and communicate the results of the Missing Salmon Project, which is tagging smolts in the Moray Firth.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

The Missing Salmon Project is led by The Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST) and information is available at https://www.atlanticsalmontrust.org/themissingsalmonproject/. A Marine Scotland Science representative is a member of the Project Steering Committee. However, it is the responsibility of the AST (and its contractors) to analyse and communicate the results. Marine Scotland awaits the outcome of this interesting project with interest.

S5W-23067: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on asking Scottish Water to advise customers of forthcoming or ongoing consultations by enclosing information about these to water bills, in light of its paper, Investing in and paying for your water services from 2021, Summary of Responses, recording 107 responses only to that consultation, 87 of which were from members of the public.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

The Scottish Government contacts key stakeholders directly to notify them of consultations and encourages them to assist in raising awareness. Scottish Water does not bill households directly as water and sewerage charges are included within the yearly council tax bill. The Scottish Government is always happy to have input into ways of raising awareness of consultations.

S5W-23209: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how it ensures that the Executive Advisory Board of Social Security Scotland is fully included in the decision-making process.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 22 May 2019

The role of the Executive Advisory Body is to provide the Chief Executive of Social Security Scotland and the senior leadership team with strategic advice and constructive challenge. The Chief Executive is the Accountable Officer. The Executive Advisory Body has no decision-making authority in respect of the activities of Social Security Scotland.

S5W-23196: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many claims for compensation for journeys on the Borders Railway ScotRail received in each month between May 2016 and May 2019.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Michael Matheson 22 May 2019

The Scottish Government does not have Delay Repay information broken down by route.

S5W-23206: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 16 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how it will monitor and report on the cost of fully implementing all devolved welfare benefits, and how it will inform the Parliament regarding progress with this.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 22 May 2019

The Social Security Finance team is embedded within the Social Security Programme to ensure robust financial management, monitoring and reporting are in place. Financial management, monitoring and reporting are integral to the programme governance structure and costs are reported to and scrutinised by the Financial Reporting Board.

Budgets and costs will be presented to the Scottish Parliament as part of the usual budget processes.

S5W-23111: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how it supports local authorities in taking action to make people feel safer when walking at night.

Answered by: Ash Denham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Ash Denham 22 May 2019

We know from Scottish Household Survey and Scottish Crime and Justice Survey data that the majority of people in Edinburgh, and across Scotland, feel safe in their local area and around their home at night; and that the proportion of adults in Scotland feeling safe has increased in the last decade.

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey shows that in 2017-18, the vast majority of adults in Scotland (77%) felt very or fairly safe walking alone in their local area after dark and that 96% of adults felt very or fairly safe alone in their home at night. On both counts demonstrating an increase in feeling safe within Scotland’s communities since 2008-09.

The Scottish Government supports the Scottish Community Safety Network to champion community safety across all 32 local authorities in Scotland. This includes providing advice and support, networking and training events for local practitioners.

The Scottish Government also supports and works with a number of partner agencies who are engaged at the local level, including Neighbourhood Watch Scotland (NWS), Crimestoppers, the Violence Reduction Unit and the Scottish Business Resilience Centre who play an important role in offering reassurance to local communities, sharing messages on potential criminal activities, offering advice on keeping safe and encouraging communities to look out for one another.

S5W-22846: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 26 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government who the members are of its recently-established ferry industry advisory board; when they were appointed, and whether they served on the Expert Ferry Group.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 22 May 2019

The decision to change the name of the group from the ‘Expert Ferry Group’ to the ‘Ferry Industry Advisory Group’ was taken in order to better reflect the remit and role of the group.

At the present time, there is no change to the remit or function of the Group and after consideration it has been decided to continue, for the foreseeable future, with the current membership.

S5W-23182: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government when the Water Industry Commission for Scotland will confirm its decision in its 2018 Decision Paper 8: Prospects for prices, that water charges will rise above the inflation rate over a transition period of up to 15 years; how the increases being considered compare with the range set out in Initial Decision Paper 2: Prospects for prices, and what the impact of these increases will be on charges by 2036-37, including the number of people that year paying more than 3% of their income on these after housing costs.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

The Commission will provide an updated decision paper during Summer 2019. That decision paper will allow comparisons to be drawn with previous papers.

S5W-23149: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 14 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government on what dates the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity has met Hitachi regarding the late delivery of rolling stock for ScotRail.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Michael Matheson 22 May 2019

The last meeting between the Cabinet Secretary and the Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe, Karen Boswell, was on 12 March 2019. Transport Scotland officials are in regular contact with Hitachi regarding the Class 385 rollout programme.

S5W-23257: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 16 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it has commissioned any research on the impact of wildfires in relation to meeting carbon emissions reduction targets and, if so, what the findings are.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

Emissions associated with wildfires are captured as part of the greenhouse gas emissions inventory, reported annually in the Scottish Greenhouse Gas statistics publication and are therefore included in the emissions used to evaluate Scotland’s performance against its statutory emissions targets. Wildfires represent a minor component of total greenhouse gas emissions; contributing less than 0.1 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions on average over the last 10 years.

Table 1: Scottish wildfire emissions (1990-2016) in Kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent.

GHG emissions (KtCO 2 e)

Year

Cropland remaining Cropland - Biomass Burning - Wildfires

Forest Land remaining Forest Land - Biomass Burning - Wildfires

Grassland remaining Grassland - Biomass Burning - Wildfires

All Wildfires (total)

wildfires emissions as a percentage of total GHG emissions

1990

  0.0

11.0

7.4

18.5

0.02%

1995

  0.0

87.6

7.4

95.0

0.13%

1998

  0.0

35.4

7.4

42.8

0.06%

1999

  0.0

5.5

7.4

12.9

0.02%

2000

  0.0

21.2

7.4

28.7

0.04%

2001

  0.0

25.0

3.4

28.4

0.04%

2002

  0.0

20.6

4.7

25.3

0.04%

2003

  0.0

22.7

24.6

47.3

0.07%

2004

  0.0

23.6

3.7

27.4

0.04%

2005

  0.0

51.2

4.5

55.7

0.09%

2006

  0.0

56.3

5.8

62.1

0.10%

2007

  0.0

47.1

11.0

58.1

0.10%

2008

  0.0

45.3

2.8

48.2

0.08%

2009

  0.0

38.9

6.1

45.0

0.08%

2010

  0.0

0.0

5.1

5.1

0.01%

2011

  0.0

35.5

5.1

40.6

0.08%

2012

  0.0

45.0

20.9

65.9

0.13%

2013

  0.0

69.0

2.7

71.7

0.15%

2014

  0.0

11.3

4.2

15.6

0.04%

2015

  0.0

0.0

1.6

1.6

0.00%

2016

  0.0

0.0

3.7

3.7

0.01%

Source: Scottish greenhouse gas emissions 2016; https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-greenhouse-gas-emissions-2016/ .

S5W-23180: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what proportion of Scottish Water’s spending on capital investment has been financed by borrowing in each of the last 10 years.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

The proportion is provided in the following table.

Year

Lending (£m)

Investment (£m)

Proportion

2009-10

218.8

648.3

34%

2010-11

106

443

24%

2011-12

50

491

10%

2012-13

100

487

21%

2013-14

26.5

475

6%

2014-15

70

470

15%

2015-16

0

479

0%

2016-17

0

626

0%

2017-18

120

628

19%

2018-19

210

700

30%

 

S5W-23094: Brian Whittle (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-21941 by Michael Matheson on 6 March 2019, whether it will provide the information that was requested regarding the date that the South West Scotland Transport Study will be published.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Michael Matheson 22 May 2019

Further to the answer to S5W-21941, Transport Scotland welcomes the high number of detailed responses to the engagement which has taken longer than anticipated to analyse, this process is nearing completion and the Draft Final report will be published as soon as possible in June. There will then be a period of up to 2 months for stakeholders and the public to review and comment on this before the final report, taking these views in to account, will be published. Transport Scotland continue to keep stakeholders updated via its website.

S5W-23023: Bill Bowman (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what it considers “significant environmental effects” to be when referring to strategic environmental assessments carried out by SEPA.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

The Scottish Government does not usually have a role in considering what is a significant environmental effect for strategic environmental assessments carried out by other Responsible Authorities. Where SEPA is carrying out a strategic environmental assessment, they are required to: reach their own view whether environmental effects are likely to be significant and whether therefore an SEA is required; seek the opinions of the two other Consultation Authorities (SNH and Historic Environment Scotland) on that view; and undertake public consultation on their Environmental Report where appropriate.

S5W-23193: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many claims for compensation for journeys on the (a) Largs-Glasgow, (b) Edinburgh-Glasgow and (c) Edinburgh-Aberdeen route ScotRail received in each month between May 2016 and May 2019.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Michael Matheson 22 May 2019

The Scottish Government does not have Delay Repay information broken down by route.

S5W-23176: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to answers to questions S5W-22038 and S5W-22039 by Roseanna Cunningham on 20 March 2019, how many water charge payers in each local authority area it estimates are paying more than 3% of their income on water charges, after housing costs, and how (a) West Dunbartonshire and (b) Argyll and Bute Council compares with the national average.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

The Scottish Government does not hold this data.

S5W-23116: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the use of General Licences 01, 02 and 03 for birds, including the number of birds taken or killed and compliance with the requirement that there is no other satisfactory solution.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

As this is a delegated matter, this responsibility lies with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). SNH requires users of these general licences to report on the numbers of birds killed or taken for those species which may have suffered notable declines in number or range. SNH is satisfied that the use of General Licences is not causing any such declines.

In view of the legal challenge in England, SNH is consulting with legal advisers and will consider if any changes may be required to its licences. SNH has also decided to bring forward its consultation on general licensing, originally planned for 2020, to later this year.

S5W-23068: Tavish Scott (Shetland Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-23019 by Paul Wheelhouse on 8 May 2019, whether it will make an announcement regarding the successful tender bidder before the summer recess.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 22 May 2019

The Northern Isles Ferry Services tender evaluation will not be concluded before the summer recess begins. The current timeline anticipates that the new contract will not be awarded before the end of July 2019, with a formal announcement being made in August.

S5W-23061: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many hectares of trees were planted in (a) 2017 and (b) 2018 in respect of its 2017 commitment to raise tree-planting rates over time from 10,000 to 15,000 hectares a year by 2025.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 22 May 2019

We have seen significantly increased levels of applications for tree planting approvals in the past year and are confident that this will translate into higher planting rates.

Published figures show that for the 2017 planting year we delivered 7,100 hectares of new planting in Scotland.

S5W-23054: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether the Parliament will be asked to approve its choice of the chair of the review of mental health and incapacity legislation.

Answered by: Clare Haughey on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Clare Haughey 22 May 2019

I refer to member to the answer to question S5W-23287 on 20 May 2019 and announced the appointment of John Scott QC as Chair of this independent review. 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-23125: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to implement each of the proposals set out in the paper, Review of the arrangements for investigating the deaths of patients being treated for mental disorder.

Answered by: Clare Haughey on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Clare Haughey 22 May 2019

The Ministerial review report sets out a series of detailed actions which the Scottish Government has committed to. These will make important changes to the way we investigate and learn from deaths of people being treated for mental disorder. Planning for implementation of these actions is already underway and an implementation oversight group will shortly be established to monitor progress on these actions. The membership of this group will have equal representation from carers and families.

The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland will take forward the work to develop and implement the new system to investigate the deaths of all patients, who at the time of death, were subject to an order under mental health or criminal procedure legislation. The Commission plans to recruit additional staff to support this work. This work will include direct engagement with staff and people with lived experience.

S5W-23048: Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to save rare flora and fauna from extinction.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

The Scottish Government’s strategy to protect and restore biodiversity and save rare flora and fauna from extinction is based on the three pillar approach of species conservation, site protection and wider environmental policies and measures.

Taking each of these in turn, a number of projects for rare and threatened species are underway across Scotland. These include targeted action for Scottish wildcats, red squirrels, golden eagles, hen harriers, farmland waders, sea birds and freshwater pearl mussels. In addition, the Scottish Parliament recently agreed to grant European Protected Species status to the Eurasian beaver in Scotland.

We are also continuing to take action against wildlife crime. To-date, this has included the introduction of a new vicarious liability provision, restrictions on the use of General Licences where wildlife crime is suspected, setting up a poisons disposal scheme, providing additional resources for Police Scotland, setting up an independent group to consider options for regulating grouse moor management, and working to implement increases to penalties.

Invasive non-native species pose one of the biggest threats to Scotland’s flora and fauna and we are working with partners across Scotland to tackle this major risk. This includes the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI) which is a four year project to specifically tackle invasive non-native species alongside rivers and watercourses in northern Scotland.

Scotland’s new Forestry Strategy supports the restoration of our native woodlands, which support over 1,000 species including 172 protected species such as twinflower and black grouse, and the UK Forestry Standard and associated Biodiversity Guidelines provide a benchmark to ensure that all our woodlands are sustainably managed for our flora and fauna.

These examples of more targeted action sit alongside the designation, protection and management support for Scotland’s extensive network of protected areas with approximately 15% of our land mass and over 22% of our seas protected under statute for our most important species and habitats. Focussing on the marine environment, steps are being taken to develop a UK Dolphin and Porpoise Strategy, a Scottish Seabird Conservation Strategy and review the protection afforded to vulnerable species and habitats outside of the MPA network.

We provide funding support for Scotland’s flora and fauna under a suite of measures including the new Biodiversity Challenge Fund (£2 million over two years), the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (£167 million committed since 2015 to fund a range of agri-environment and organic activities that help to maintain and enhance our rich and varied natural environment), the Forestry Grant Scheme (£20 million committed in 2019-2020 for woodland creation and management benefitting biodiversity), the Water Environment Fund (£5 million per annum to improve the physical condition of water bodies that have been damaged by historical activities including the removal or easement of barriers to fish migration) and Peatland Action (£3 million committed so far this financial year). We have also committed £10 million over 5 years to restore open cast coal mining impacts on the Muirkirk and North Lowther Uplands Special Protection Area.

The Scottish Biodiversity Strategy provides the strategic focus for all of this work, setting out the major steps we need to take in order to halt the loss of biodiversity and improve the state of nature in Scotland. It is also the primary vehicle for delivering the Aichi targets set internationally by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The First Minister recently outlined that we are considering carefully the findings of the recent report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). This report identified climate change as one of the top three causes of damage to global biodiversity; Scotland has declared a climate emergency and we are looking across the full range of our policies to identify areas where we can go further and faster in making the necessary transformational changes.

The report is a significant step on the way to the Conference of Parties to the CBD to be held in China in late 2020, where governments will agree their response to the new evidence. Scotland is playing a role in the development of that response and we have agreed with the CBD that a key conference of regional governments, which will help develop the response, will be held in Scotland early in 2020 in the lead up to the China Conference of Parties.

S5W-23049: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many train stations are fully accessible for disabled people.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Michael Matheson 22 May 2019

There are 257 stations which are wheelchair accessible in Scotland from one or more platforms. Further detail regarding the extent of accessibility at each of Scotland’s railway stations is available from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Bib number 60684).

S5W-23152: Colin Beattie (Midlothian North and Musselburgh)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 14 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what support is being offered to former employees of Hutchinson Networks in Danderhall who have been made redundant following the company entering administration.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 22 May 2019

The Scottish Government is saddened to learn that Hutchison Networks, based in Danderhall, entered administration on 13 May and that 94 of the 109 employees have been made redundant with immediate effect. I know this will be a very difficult time for the staff, their families and the local area which will be affected by this decision.

It is within our objective to ensure our agencies and partners are able to provide skills development and employability support, and in this way PACE aims to minimise the time people affected by redundancy are out of work.

The local Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) team was in attendance to offer advice and support to those affected by this announcement and in addition all employees at the meeting were provided with a PACE Facing Redundancy Guide.

All employees who were unable to attend the announcement meeting have been sent the PACE Facing Redundancy Guide by KPMG and the PACE team were planning to hold an event this week for redundant employees to provide further information and advice. However, feedback from KPMG suggests that a large number of staff have secured work.

Many of the employees appear to have been in job roles where there are skills shortages and will likely be of interest to a number of other employers. To that end the PACE team have canvassed employers for vacancies and will send these out, by letter, through KPMG.

S5W-23216: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 16 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide a breakdown of how the £308 million that is to be spent up to April 2023 on the social security programme will be allocated, including how this will link to (a) programme plans, (b) delivery timescales, (c) the award of contracts and (d) other key programme decisions, and what account this takes of the cost of the use of contractors.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 22 May 2019

The Financial Memorandum made it clear that the £308 million was an initial estimate for a four year programme. The estimates included staffing costs in the region of £104 million, IT development costs of £190 million and set up costs for Social Security Scotland in the region of £14 million.

The programme level business case is currently being reviewed.

S5W-23202: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how much it has spent on legal fees in relation to the procurement of ferry vessels 801 and 802.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 22 May 2019

The Scottish Government has not spent any money on legal fees in relation to the procurement of vessels 801 and 802. Procurement of the vessels was undertaken by CMAL.

S5W-23237: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many people who are on the sex offenders register are employed by the NHS in each of Scotland’s health boards.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 22 May 2019

This information is not held centrally. It is for Boards, as employers to undertake relevant checks applicable to the job roles in accordance with the Safer Pre and Post Employment Checks Partnership Information Network (PIN) Policy, which includes guidance on criminal record checks.

S5W-23119: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-22841 by Paul Wheelhouse on 10 May 2019, whether it will consider reviewing the remit of the group so that it must consider and provide advice on aspects of the design and procurement of new ferries, including those serving Orkney and Shetland inter-island routes, and what the reasons are for its position on this matter.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 22 May 2019

As explained in the answer to the previous question S5W-22841, the Scottish Government will request advice from the Ferry Industry Advisory Group on key strategic issues affecting ferry services in Scotland. The Group will also have the ability to recommend other issues that it wishes to consider and provide advice on.

This may include aspects of the design and procurement of new ferries. Indeed the Expert Ferry Group has previously discussed these issues.

I am aware of the important work that both Orkney Islands Council and Shetland Islands Council are undertaking with respect to identifying future capital requirements and priorities. The Scottish Government and Transport Scotland officials engage with both Councils regularly. That collaborative working and engagement will continue. The Ferry Industry Advisory Group is there to advise Ministers whereas Orkney Islands Council and Shetland Islands Council are currently responsible for investment decisions regarding their inter-island routes.

S5W-23118: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many operators making use of General Licences 01, 02 and 03 for birds in 2018 notified Scottish Natural Heritage of their intention to use meat-based baits in Larsen mate or Larsen pod traps and were permitted to do so by acknowledgement of the information.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

There were 21 operators making use of General Licences 01, 02 and 03 for birds in 2018 who notified Scottish Natural Heritage of their intention to use meat-based baits in Larsen mate or Larsen pod traps, and all 21 were permitted to use meat bait.

S5W-22990: Claudia Beamish (South Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what advice Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has received regarding the legality of the 2019 general licences for birds, in the light of the acceptance by Natural England that a similar clause in its licences, which put the onus on operators of the licence to ensure that they were satisfied non-lethal methods of control, was unlawful, and how it would respond if a similar legal challenge was lodged against SNH.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

Scottish Natural Heritage is carefully reviewing developments on licensing in England. If it is concluded that General Licences in Scotland require revision, SNH has made public its intention to work collaboratively with stakeholders to ensure there is an effective and proportionate approach in Scotland that complies fully with the law. In view of the legal challenge in England, SNH has decided to bring forward its consultation on General Licences planned for 2020 to this year.

S5W-23140: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 14 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how much it has spent each year in raising awareness among local authorities about the Coastal Communities Fund.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

The Scottish Government has delegated decision making and communication activity for the Coastal Communities Fund to the National Lottery Community Fund (NCLF) which includes an agreed fee for administration, including communications activity. The amount spent on raising awareness is decided by the NCLF.

The NCLF promote the CCF on their website and via social media and when a project that is currently being funded in round 4 has a significant event, the NCLF promote the events on social media.

https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/coastal-communities-fund .

The NCLF is delivering the Coastal Communities Fund on behalf of the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations. We are committed to supporting the current Coastal Communities Fund projects in Scotland through to completion.

S5W-23064: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government for what reason owner-occupiers in multi-storey properties reportedly pay more for the removal of the same volume of roof water as owners of single-storey ground properties with similar carbon footprints.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-23063 on 22 May 2019. Property drainage charges are calculated by reference to the rateable value a property, not volume of water. Properties with higher rateable values will also have a higher bill. 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-23020: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-21291 by Aileen Campbell on 18 February 2019, whether the topic of an income supplement has been (a) discussed at and (b) included on the agenda of any meetings of the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare, and, if (i) so, on what dates and what the outcome was and (ii) not, whether it will consider raising the issue at future meetings.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 22 May 2019

To date, discussions on the development of the income supplement have taken place at an official level and these are ongoing as the policy continues to be developed.

Scottish Ministers have regular discussions with UK counterparts, including through the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare, and we will engage with them where necessary on the income supplement through the appropriate forums as this work develops.

S5W-23177: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what the debt arising from past capital spending it estimates Scottish Water will have in 2036-37.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

The Scottish Government is unable to estimate the level of debt Scottish Water will have accumulated by 2036-37. The level of borrowing made available to Scottish Water will depend on future Scottish Government budgets that have yet to be determined.

S5W-22837: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 26 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many non-disclosure agreements have been agreed by each NHS board in each year since 1999.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 22 May 2019

This information is not collected or held centrally.

In February 2014, following concerns around the use of confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements, Scottish Ministers announced the expectation of a presumption against the use of any confidentiality clauses in NHS Scotland settlement agreements, unless there were clear and transparent reasons for inclusion. Any confidentiality clause which seeks to prevent an individual from raising a protected whistleblowing disclosure is illegal, under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) 1998, and would make any agreement unenforceable.

From 2014, NHS Boards have been required to provide settlement agreement information for a Report to the Public Audit Committee. This material is only compiled in summary form, at national level, not by individual Health Boards. From this data, we can ascertain that the number of confidentiality clauses, or non-disclosure agreements, employed in NHS Board settlement agreements has been falling since 2014.

Pre-2014 Position:

Information on the pre-2014 position is not gathered centrally. However, from records available between 2007-08 and 2013-14, 315 settlement agreements containing confidentiality clauses were agreed. This information is at national not health board level, and is given in the following table:

 

07-08

08-09

09-10

10-11

11-12

12-13

13-14*

Total

Number nationally

 

18

 

36

 

47

 

46

 

56

 

63

 

49

 

315

*to 21-03-14

Post-2014 Position

The following table indicates the total number of confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements notified to Scottish Government for each of the reported years since 2014.

 

Financial

Year

 

Number of settlement

agreements containing

confidentiality clauses

2014-15

13

2015-16

1

2016-17

2

2017-18

3

As regards severance arrangements, these are matters between the Health Boards as individual employers and their NHS employees, and we do not collect data centrally.

S5W-23063: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what correlation there is between property values and the supply and removal of water by Scottish Water from eligible properties.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

In Scotland, non-domestic water and sewerage charges are made up of 6 elements: a fixed charge for water, a volumetric charge for water, a fixed charge for wastewater, a volumetric charge for wastewater, property drainage and roads drainage. Property and roads drainage charges are calculated based on the rateable value of a property.

S5W-23137: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 14 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how much funding it provides to coastal local authorities for economic and land development, and from what budget line this is drawn.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

The Scottish Government has provided substantial funding to local coastal authorities through various funding schemes including the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund(EMFF) and Coastal Communities Fund . In particular, the Coastal Communities Fund has funded, on average, £152,000 per year to local authorities since the CCF was agreed in 2012.

Part of the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is allocated to 8 Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAG’s) around Scotland, these are all run by local authorities. £6.5m (£4.8m EU & 1.7m SG) is allocated to this, FLAGs set their own local priorities & consider applications. Local authorities themselves can make applications to this funding stream.

The Scottish Government is delivering a funding package of £11.2 billion for local authorities in 2019-20, a real terms increase of £310 million or 2.9 per cent for essential public services in Scotland.

However, the Scottish Government’s policy towards local authorities’ spending is to allow local authorities the financial freedom to operate independently. As such, the vast majority of the revenue funding is provided by means of a block grant to each local authority. It is the responsibility of individual local authorities to manage their own budgets and to allocate the total financial resources available to them, on the basis of local needs and priorities, having first fulfilled their statutory obligations and the jointly agreed set of national and local priorities.

S5W-23062: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of its paper, Investing in and paying for your water services from 2021, Summary of Responses, recording 107 responses to the consultation, what its response is to concerns that this is an inadequate level of response to determine the charging principles for 2021-27.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

The consultation paper “Investing in and paying for your water services from 2021” outlined the Scottish Government’s broad charging principles for the 2021-27 regulatory period. As previously explained, any significant changes to the current principles, such as amending discounts, would be subject to additional consultation before implementation.

S5W-23085: Elaine Smith (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 9 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how much of the £500,000 fund for the Action on Plastic Zero Waste Towns initiative has been allocated to date.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 22 May 2019

I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-23086 on 22 May 2019. 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-23222: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many finance-related positions in the social security programme are vacant.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 22 May 2019

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 22 May 2019

There are currently no vacancies within the Social Security Programme Finance team.

S5O-03271: Gordon MacDonald (Edinburgh Pentlands)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what impact the UK Government’s immigration policy is having on the Edinburgh festivals.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 21 May 2019

The Scottish Government has longstanding concerns around how readily artists and performers can come to Scotland for the Edinburgh Festivals, and the problems that delays visa processes and indeed refusals that are overturned on appeals and after a late stage can cause festival organisers of all sizes.

The internationalism of the Edinburgh Festivals programme is at the heart of the city’s continuing appeal as the world’s leading festival city and we intend to continue to spread the message that we remain open. For artists and wider cultural exchange.

S5W-23107: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-21643 by Kevin Stewart on 27 February 2019, how it will support each group at high risk of homelessness, including those (a) who have experienced domestic violence and (b) with experience of care.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 21 May 2019

The Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group agreed an initial scope and approach to the development of the prevention pathways for each group at high risk of homelessness at its meeting on 7 March. Officials will lead sequential work on each pathway initially identified, which will allow key partners to be involved across all relevant pathways. The approach builds on the experience of developing the SHORE standards (Sustainable Housing On Release for Everyone) and is making use of existing understanding of best practice.

Work has begun on a care leavers pathway, with officials from across the Scottish Government partnering to convene a working group of key external stakeholders to develop the detail.

Policy officials have been building internal connections around the prevention pathway for women experiencing domestic violence, ahead of convening key external partners as a working group later in 2019.

S5W-23259: Brian Whittle (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 16 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the news of the forthcoming appointment of a special adviser on stroke to the Chief Medical Officer, whether this will lead to a review of how stroke services are delivered.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 21 May 2019

The Chief Medical Officer is currently seeking to appoint a specialty adviser on stroke. Once an appointment has been made, decisions on the specific remit of that adviser will be taken by the Chief Medical Officer, in consultation with myself. The Chief Medical Officer has a number of specialty advisers and their main remit is to provide her with specialist knowledge in relation to specific clinical areas.

S5W-23210: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how, in light of the report by the Auditor General, Social Security: Implementing the Devolved Powers, what steps have been taken to ensure that timescales are in place to allow enough time for procurement activities to be carried out to a sufficient standard.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 21 May 2019

Procurements with significant risk, or value greater than £5m, fall within the remit of the Technology Assurance Framework (TAF)*.

This ensures that independent assessors follow a robust process to test the contracting and procurement strategy and that the contractual and commercial risks are understood.

The Framework is intended to improve delivery and ensure that the lessons learned from previous experience are reflected and embedded in future practice.

Procurements falling outside of the TAF are also subject to a governance framework, including guidelines, assistance and review so that close liaison is maintained with the delivery and procurement teams.

* The Technology Assurance Framework is publicly available at: https://resources.mygov.scot/standards/technology-assurance-framework/

S5W-23013: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many staff have day-to-day responsibility for the development and analysis of its income supplement policy.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 21 May 2019

Information on the number of staff being used to develop policy on the income supplement and take forward the options appraisal is not available. This differs in teams across the organisation, and is dependent on business requirements and individual working patterns.

S5W-23011: Anas Sarwar (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what procedures local authorities follow to support young unaccompanied asylum seekers who have been dispersed to Scotland and who are challenging an age assessment on them that had been carried out in another part of the UK, and whether this includes the councils considering carrying out their own age assessment.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 21 May 2019

I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-23009 on 21 May 2019. 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-23072: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 9 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to extend the Low Income Benefits Agile Service Design contract with IBM, and whether discussions regarding an extension to the contract have been requested.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 21 May 2019

We are keeping the contract under review. No discussions regarding an extension have been requested. However, the contract allows the possibility of extending if required.

S5W-22998: Alison Johnstone (Lothian)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what the clinical impact has been of offering of a lower dosage of docetaxel for breast cancer treatment, and what impact this has had on survival rates.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 21 May 2019

Following the publication and review of both the Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Immediate Risk Group (IRG) reports the practice of NHS Tayside offering lower doses of chemotherapy, as standard to all relevant patients, has now ceased.

The clinical impact is described in the IRG report - estimating the additional risk of recurrence as 1-2% or 1 patient per year in NHS Tayside. This is considered by the immediate Risk Group to be a small risk which would be extremely unlikely to impact on survival rates.

S5W-23009: Anas Sarwar (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what statutory support it offers to young unaccompanied asylum seekers who have been dispersed to Scotland and who are challenging an age assessment on them that has been carried out in another part of the UK. 

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 21 May 2019

Where a child arrives in Scotland unaccompanied and separated from their family, they are safeguarded under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 which affords them Looked After Children status and they have access to further services under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. Support and care for unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Scotland is provided by local authorities.

There are four routes for unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people to be resettled in Scotland:

1. Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS);

2. Dublin III regulations;

3. The Dubs Amendment (s67 Immigration Act 2016); and

4. National Transfer Scheme (s69 Immigration Act 2016).

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people who are resettled in Scotland through any of the above schemes will already have completed an age assessment, including any dispute settlement procedures, and been assessed as being under the age of 18.

Scotland also receives a number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children through ‘spontaneous’ arrivals, and in these cases an age assessment may be required to ensure the right level of support is provided to the young person and they are given appropriate accommodation.

The Scottish Government’s revised Age Assessment Practice guidance, which was published in March 2018, states that in circumstances in Scotland where the age of a young person or child is uncertain, and there are reasonable grounds to believe that they are a child (under 18 years of age), local authorities should presume that they are under the age of 18. Similarly, in cases, where a young person states they are under 18, they should be given the benefit of the doubt and should remain in the care of social services, until their age is formally established.

Asylum seeking young people whose age is being disputed are still entitled to care and support under Section 25 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. If the young person does not agree with the outcome of an age assessment they can appeal with the help of a solicitor.

The process for carrying out age assessments sits within a wider policy framework relating to children and young people in each local authority, including child protection, looked after children and data protection considerations.

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children are also eligible for a guardian through the Scottish Guardianship Service, which is funded by the Scottish Government, and delivered by the Scottish Refugee Council and Aberlour Trust. A Guardian will support a child or young person to be actively involved in decisions that affect their lives, including possible age assessment disputes, and will also help them to plan for their future.

S5W-23005: Linda Fabiani (East Kilbride)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many times in the last 12 months personnel from South Lanarkshire Council have been involved with (a) asylum seekers and (b) the children of asylum seekers held at the Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 21 May 2019

In the last 12 months, personnel from South Lanarkshire Council have not been involved with any asylum seekers or children of asylum seekers held at Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre.

S5W-23128: Jamie Greene (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many incidents of bullying at NHS Ayrshire and Arran have been reported in each year since 2007.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 21 May 2019

Boards first provided this information to the Scottish Government in September 2018.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran advised us that at that time there were 7 cases going through a formal process in relation to bullying and harassment. These cases were initiated in 2017-2018.

Following John Sturrock`s report into allegations of a bullying culture in NHS Highland we are asking all health boards in Scotland to consider the findings and look again at the effectiveness of their own internal processes for handling concerns, leadership and governance.

S5W-23021: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-21291 by Aileen Campbell on 18 February 2019, on what dates it has discussed the topic of an income supplement with HMRC and DWP, and what future meetings are planned.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 21 May 2019

To date, discussions on the development of the income supplement have taken place at various stages at an official level, and these are ongoing as the policy continues to be developed.

S5W-23108: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-22703 by Kevin Stewart on 1 May 2019, whether it will provide a breakdown of the other reasons for loss of accommodation.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 21 May 2019

The reasons for making a homelessness application listed in the first table in the response to question S5W-22703 are taken directly from question 16a in the HL1 data collection without aggregation. For this reason it is not possible for the Scottish Government to provide further breakdown of these cases.

S5W-23109: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 13 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how it supports homeless households that have (a) dependent children and (b) pregnant women.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 21 May 2019

Scotland’s strong homelessness rights ensure that homeless households have a place to stay until settled accommodation is found which meets their needs. The vast majority of homeless households with children and pregnant women are given temporary accommodation in the social rented sector. For others, the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2017 provides extra protection to ensure that families and pregnant women do not stay in unsuitable accommodation, such as bed and breakfast accommodation, for more than seven days.

S5W-23056: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers that judgments of the European Court of Human Rights clarify how the European Convention on Human Rights should be interpreted.

Answered by: Christina McKelvie on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Christina McKelvie 21 May 2019

The Scottish Government defends existing human rights safeguards and is taking action to secure the progressive implementation of all human rights. We strongly support the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as a fundamental instrument to protect and promote human rights, both in Scotland and throughout the Council of Europe.

As a High Contracting Party to the Convention, the United Kingdom has undertaken to abide by the final judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in any case to which it is a party. That obligation is binding in international law.

The Court fulfils an important function as part of the ECHR system. Many of today’s challenges could not have been foreseen by those who framed the Convention, and the rights it contains must be constantly applied to novel situations as society and technology develop. Citizens are able to petition the Court when they feel that their rights have been breached, and the Court provides detailed rulings on the meaning of the Convention rights.

S5W-22829: Bill Bowman (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many local authorities have established Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), and what the greatest challenge has been in doing so.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 21 May 2019

Presently there are operational Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in 22 local authority areas. The table below lists local authorities with established BIDs.

Local Authorities with Established BIDs

Aberdeen City

Aberdeenshire

Argyll and Bute

City of Edinburgh

Clackmannanshire

East Dunbartonshire

East Lothian

East Renfrewshire

Falkirk

Fife

Glasgow City

Highland

Midlothian

Moray

Orkney Islands

Perth and Kinross

Renfrewshire

Scottish Borders

Shetland Islands

South Lanarkshire

Stirling

West Lothian

There are a range of challenges which BIDs face in becoming established. These can include ensuring that local businesses understand the BID concept and benefits that can be delivered and developing the wider collaborations and partnerships to ensure the development of a sustainable BID.

S5O-03261: Pauline McNeill (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what support it provides to veterans.

Answered by: Graeme Dey on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Graeme Dey 21 May 2019

This Scottish Government is firmly committed to supporting our Armed Forces and Veterans Community and ensuring that they are not disadvantaged when accessing services and support. An annual debate is held in Parliament, most recently in September 2018, to report on the work being taken forward across the Scottish Government to support our Armed Forces and Veterans Community in Scotland, including in areas such as health, housing and employability.

Examples of our support include work to respond to the recommendations of the Scottish Veterans Commissioner who continues to provide strategic advice and scrutiny; the Scottish Veterans Fund, now in its 12 th year, which has provided £1.4 million to charities and organisations, supporting over 150 veterans projects to date; and our work to take forward the Strategy for our Veterans which was launched across the UK last November.

S5W-22679: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government when the short-time working group on mesh was established; who the members and the NHS board accountable officers are on the group; whether it will publish each member's declaration of interests; when the minutes of group meetings will be published, and whether there are any plans for patients to be represented.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 21 May 2019

I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-22523 on 1 May 2019. 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-23006: Linda Fabiani (East Kilbride)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many times in the last 12 months personnel from Police Scotland have been involved with asylum seekers held at the Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre.

Answered by: Ash Denham on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Ash Denham 21 May 2019

This is a matter for Police Scotland. The Scottish Government does not hold this information centrally.

S5W-22999: Alison Johnstone (Lothian)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what the purpose and remit is of the system of regional cancer networks, and how they are held accountable for their decisions.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 21 May 2019

The terms of reference and remit of the 3 Scottish Cancer Networks is described in MEL 10 (1999) https://www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/mels/1999_10.htm . Each regional network has a multi-professional Regional Cancer Advisory Group (RCAG), Chaired by a Chief Executive, which provides oversight and governance of strategic decisions and data collection and analysis. The RCAG's report into the regional Chief Executive Boards which include representation from across Health & Social Care. The RCAG's operate under the guidance outlined within HDL (2001) 71 https://www.scot.nhs.uk/sehd/mels/HDL2001_71.htm .

S5W-22961: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 2 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to reports that Four Seasons Health Care has entered administration, and what contingency planning it carried out to prepare for such an outcome.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 21 May 2019

The Scottish Government is aware that the announcement made by Four Seasons Healthcare Group may be unsettling for residents, families and employees at Four Seasons homes. We understand the announcement is part of a continuing process in the company’s financial restructuring, and that the care homes will continue to deliver care as normal by existing management/care teams. We have been assured that the group’s key priority remains to provide quality care.

The Scottish Government has been closely monitoring the situation with the Care Inspectorate and COSLA. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport and Cllr Currie from COSLA will be meeting with Four Seasons representatives on 28 May to seek reassurances from Four Seasons of their commitment to finding the best possible solution for employees and services users. An initial meeting of the national planning group hosted by COSLA involving Four Seasons, Health and Social Care Partnerships, the Care Inspectorate and Scottish Government, took place on 13 May. A follow-up meeting of this group involving a wider number of stakeholders including the unions is planned for 28 May.

The Care Inspectorate will continue to monitor the services and quality of care at all Four Seasons homes in Scotland to ensure everyone who relies on their services continues to experience care which meets their needs, rights and choices.

S5W-23004: Linda Fabiani (East Kilbride)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many times in the last 12 months personnel from South Lanarkshire Council have been involved with age dispute cases involving asylum seekers held at the Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 21 May 2019

This is a matter for South Lanarkshire Council. The Scottish Government does not routinely collect this information.

The Scottish Government is seeking clarity from the Home Office regarding the detention of children in Dungavel.

S5W-23003: Linda Fabiani (East Kilbride)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-00979 by Angela Constance on 3 August 2016, whether it will provide an update regarding what progress it has made with the UK Government in relation to the recommendations in the Smith Agreement concerning devolving the operation of asylum support.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 21 May 2019

Further to 3 August 2016, Scottish Government and Home Office officials held further discussions on the Smith Commission’s proposals on asylum up to July 2017. Unfortunately no further progress has been made on devolving the operation of asylum support. The Scottish Government and Home Office remain in regular contact on a range of asylum issues.

S5W-23036: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many carer's allowance claimants have an outstanding (a) overpayment and (b) fraud debt, broken down by the (i) value of the debt, (ii) year the debt was discovered, (iii) year the debt is attributable to and (iv) whether the claimant has an active payment or underlying entitlement of carer's allowance.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 21 May 2019

I refer the member to the answer to S5W-18780 on 27 September 2019. The Scottish Government does not hold further additional information.

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Scottish Parliament's website at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx

S5W-22524: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 4 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government when mesh survivors will have access to the best mesh removal treatment.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 21 May 2019

I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-22523 on 1 May 2019. 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-23039: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-18779 by Shirley-Anne Somerville on 27 September 2018, what discussions it has had with the DWP regarding recovery of overpayment debt since the date of the answer, and whether it will publish this correspondence.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 21 May 2019

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 21 May 2019

Scottish Government officials have had regular discussions with their DWP counterparts about a range of issues relating to Carer benefits including the recovery of overpayments. Additionally, the Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People wrote to the UK Government Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on 9 May 2019 to request that the individual circumstances of those who had incurred overpayments should be taken into account and no-one placed into hardship as a result or prosecuted as a result of a genuine error.

S5W-23287: Rona Mackay (Strathkelvin and Bearsden)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 17 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government when it will be in a position to announce the chairs of the independent reviews of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment)(Scotland) Act 2003 and the delivery of forensic mental health services in Scotland, which were announced in March 2019.

Answered by: Clare Haughey on 20 May 2019

Answered by: Clare Haughey 20 May 2019

I am delighted to have secured the services of John Scott QC as Chairperson for the review of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. Mr Scott brings extensive experience within the areas of legislation and human rights and will also provide strong leadership in the delivery of an independent, evidence led review.

I am also pleased to announce today the appointment of Derek Barron, Director of Care, Erskine as Chairperson for the review into the delivery of forensic mental health services in Scotland. Mr Barron brings to the role of Chair long-standing experience in mental health nursing across a number of NHS Boards. His experience in providing visible, transformational leadership across services will be instrumental in ensuring delivery of this review that will encompass hospitals, prisons, courts, and the community.

While it will be for the Chairs to determine how the reviews are best taken forward I have been clear that both reviews will be stakeholder driven and evidence led. We want to gather views from as wide a range of people as possible including the voices of those with lived experience so that they can help shape the future direction of our legislation and the services that are provided to those with mental illness.

S5W-22827: Bill Bowman (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what action it has taken to improve the average band D Energy Performance Certificate rating in the residential housing sector.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 17 May 2019

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 17 May 2019

Energy efficiency has been a long-term priority for the Scottish Government. By the end of 2021, we will have allocated over £1 billion pounds since 2009 on tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency. This year alone we have allocated £145 million to improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s building stock, and we recently announced a two-year extension, worth an additional
‎ £38 million, to our Warmer Homes Scotland Scheme which helps those on low incomes improve their homes.

Our investment to date has resulted in clear improvements in energy efficiency ratings in the housing sector. Information from the Scottish House Condition Survey about EPC ratings is in the public domain at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-house-condition-survey-2017-key-findings/pages/5/ . Under SAP 2009 (which allows comparisons over a longer time frame), 46% of dwellings were rated C or better in 2017, up from 24% in 2010. In addition, the number of dwellings rated below band D reduced from 27% in 2010 to 13% in 2017.

In 2015 the Scottish Government designated the energy efficiency of buildings as a National Infrastructure Priority, and Energy Efficient Scotland – a 20-year programme – is the cornerstone of this. The Route Map for Energy Efficient Scotland published in May 2018 sets out our vision that by 2040, all our buildings will be warmer, greener and more efficient. We are also currently consulting on the impact of bringing forward the target date of the long term target for homes from the current date of 2040. The consultation closes on 17 June. We will consider the responses with our partners in local government and where we can move faster whilst supporting a Just Transition to a low carbon economy across Scotland then we will do so.

S5W-22940: Bill Bowman (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the statement by Revenue Scotland statement that “estimates of gross Additional Dwelling Settlements [are] declared due by local authority,” whether it will provide (a) a breakdown of the responsibility for and (b) th erevenue allocation of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) returns.

Answered by: Kate Forbes on 17 May 2019

Answered by: Kate Forbes 17 May 2019

Estimates of the number of additional dwelling transactions and the gross Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) revenues due according to the local authority in which the relevant property is located are provided annually by Revenue Scotland in Figures 17 and 18 of their publication, Annual Summary of Trends in the Devolved Taxes (2017-18). The transactions and revenue figures can be found at the following link: https://www.revenue.scot/about-us/publications/statistics .

S5W-22820: Bill Bowman (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 9 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government whether Revenue Scotland provides external insights into its compliance activity and, if not, whether it will provide details of what oversight is provided to ensure that tax is applied correctly and fairly.

Answered by: Kate Forbes on 17 May 2019

Answered by: Kate Forbes 17 May 2019

To ensure that its decisions are impartial and in line with international best practice, Revenue Scotland operates independently of the Scottish Ministers in its role and is directly accountable to the Scottish Parliament. I have asked the Chief Executive of Revenue Scotland to write to the member on this matter.

S5W-22939: Bill Bowman (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many (a) residential, (b) non-residential and (c) mixed property owners in each local authority area have paid the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) since June 2016.

Answered by: Kate Forbes on 17 May 2019

Answered by: Kate Forbes 17 May 2019

For LBTT purposes, transactions are either residential or non-residential. The numbers of LBTT returns received for residential and non-residential property transactions are published on a monthly basis by Revenue Scotland on its website at: https://www.revenue.scot/about-us/publications/statistics

S5W-22941: Bill Bowman (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how much will be raised by the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) in (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21.

Answered by: Kate Forbes on 17 May 2019

Answered by: Kate Forbes 17 May 2019

The latest 5-year revenue forecasts for Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) covering the period 2019-20 to 2023-24 were published by the Scottish Fiscal Commission on 12 December 2018. A summary of their tax forecasts can be found in Table 9 of Scotland’s Economic and Fiscal Forecasts, December 2018 which is available at: http://www.fiscalcommission.scot/media/1196/scotlands-economic-fiscal-forecasts-publication.pdf .

S5W-23028: Bill Bowman (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 9 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the most recent Scottish Welfare Fund statistics update, which states that Community Care Grant applications have increased by 20% or more in nine local authorities.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 16 May 2019

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 16 May 2019

I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-23027 on 16 May 2019. 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-23000: Alison Johnstone (Lothian)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 7 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how it ensures that all NHS boards follow best practice guidelines regarding breast cancer treatment.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 16 May 2019

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 16 May 2019

Following the identification of the variation in practice in NHS Tayside, the Northern Cancer Alliance has commissioned an independent review of all Clinical Management Guidelines (CMG) for cancer in the North of Scotland - this is expected to take 12-18 months.

These guidelines will also be benchmarked against existing CMG in the West and South East Cancer Networks to give confidence that consistent guidelines are in place across NHS Scotland and to ensure equity of cancer treatment provision.

S5W-22716: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 18 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the recommendation in the report, Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland: review of implementation, that “a baseline study to enable a monitoring framework should be established by agreement with the Scottish Government, the football authorities, Police Scotland and other relevant stakeholders”, whether it will place in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) a copy of the baseline study, the monitoring framework and the annual outcomes of monitoring and evaluation.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 16 May 2019

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 16 May 2019

Following discussions with the Scottish FA, SPFL, Police Scotland and other stakeholders, the football authorities agreed to collate data on unacceptable conduct in Scottish football for the first time from the start of season 2017-18.

This data provides a baseline for the ongoing monitoring of unacceptable conduct by the football authorities.

This information is shared with the Scottish Government and Police Scotland in confidence, at the request of the football authorities.

S5W-22605: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many (a) first, (b) second and (c) third IVF cycles have been delivered in each year since 2007.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 16 May 2019

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 16 May 2019

IVF Waiting Times data are collected for first cycle to screening appointment. "Information Services Division collect IVF data to inform the target for NHSScotland; that eligible patients will commence IVF treatment within 12 months by 31 March 2015." Data from July 2014 can be found at www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Waiting-Times/IVF-Waiting-Times/ .

S5W-22575: Richard Lyle (Uddingston and Bellshill)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 5 April 2019

To ask the Scottish Government how many pregnant women have had a “home” abortion since its decision to allow misoprostol to be self-administered at home, and whether it will publish copy of its risk assessment and equality impact assessment documentation.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 16 May 2019

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 16 May 2019

Information Services Division (ISD) within NHS National Services Scotland collects data on abortions in Scotland. Data for 2018 will be published by ISD at the end of May 2019. By the end of 2017, there were 58 medical terminations of pregnancy recorded as early medical abortions at home.

Misoprostol is a licenced drug, used for a number of purposes, including treatment of miscarriage and as part of abortion treatment. Its use in medical abortion is recommended by a wide range of expert bodies, including the World Health Organization and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The Scottish Ministers’ approval of October 2017 does not relate to self-administration of misoprostol as it only relates to permitting a woman’s home as a class of place where misoprostol can be taken as part of treatment for termination of pregnancy. Most patients already chose to self-administer misoprostol tablets prior to the approval.

Before issuing the approval, Ministers were satisfied, on the basis of advice from clinical specialists, that there was no increased risk to patients from home administration of misoprostol and that the change would be a beneficial one for those women who chose the option of taking misoprostol at home. There is no evidence that misoprostol leads to any increased risks to either the physical or mental health of the patient compared to other forms of abortion treatment.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lothian are undertaking research on women’s experiences of taking misoprostol at home and the effectiveness of early medical abortion at home. This research will be published in due course.

S5W-23234: Gordon MacDonald (Edinburgh Pentlands)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 15 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what progress it is making towards the commitments contained in Scotland’s Energy Strategy, which was published in December 2017.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 16 May 2019

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 16 May 2019

Yesterday the Scottish Government published three important documents – setting out our progress since publishing Scotland’s Energy Strategy, the actions that we have taken and those which we will be focusing on during the coming months. These included the publication on 15 May 2019 of the Annual Energy Statement 2019, which will be the first in a series of annual publications, alongside our Annual Compendium of Scottish Energy Statistics. These are to be found at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/annual-energy-statement-2019/

In parallel, on the same date, we also published our “Energy Consumer Action Plan: Putting Consumers at The Heart of Scotland’s Energy Transition”. The action plan – backed by £500,000 of Scottish Government funding – sets out actions to increase consumer understanding and confidence, and develop and test innovative approaches to protecting and empowering consumers. This includes a commitment to establish an independent Energy Consumers Commission for Scotland to give consumers in Scotland a more powerful voice in Scottish and GB energy policy. The action plan can be viewed at:

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

Together, these documents represent an authoritative summary of Scotland’s energy policy and progress – as well as demonstrating clear action on our part to prioritise the role, involvement and interests of consumers as we continue to decarbonise the whole energy system in order to help tackle the climate emergency. In short, they underline our commitment to ensuring that the people of Scotland benefit from the transition to a carbon neutral economy.

S5W-23053: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 May 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on whether the short-life working group that will support the review of mental health and incapacity legislation should have at least one person with (a) lived experience who is opposed to the non-consensual treatment of adults, including mental health patients and adults with incapacity and (b) expertise in human rights.

Answered by: Clare Haughey on 16 May 2019

Answered by: Clare Haughey 16 May 2019

The review will be stakeholder-driven and evidence-led and it is crucial that people, particularly those with lived experience, have an opportunity to make their views known.

This Government is determined to ensure that the views of patients, those with lived experience and those that care for them are front and centre of the work to be taken forward so that they can help shape the future direction of our legislation.

How the review is undertaken is a matter for the Chair, but the views of people with lived experience of compulsory care and treatment and their families and representatives must be central to the work of the review.

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