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Debates and questions

These are the official transcripts of what people said in:

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

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

Debates and Questions Listing

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Chamber

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

Meeting of the Parliament 21 January 2020 Business until 16:11

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Topical Question Time, Veterans, Business Motion, Scottish National Investment Bank Bill: Stage 3.

Meeting of the Parliament 16 January 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Sustainable Development Goals, Portfolio Question Time, Disclosure (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Disclosure (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) Bill, Decision Time, Point of Order.

Meeting of the Parliament 15 January 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Independent Prison Monitors, Portfolio Question Time, Secondary Education, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, World Wetlands Day 2020.

Meeting of the Parliament 14 January 2020

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Improving the Lives of Gypsy Travellers, Business Motion, Decision Time, Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain.

Meeting of the Parliament 09 January 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Digital Connectivity, Portfolio Question Time, Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Bill: Stage 1, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 08 January 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Palliative and End-of-life Care (Research Projections), Portfolio Question Time, Short-term Lets, European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, Business Motions, Decision Time, Women, Peace and Security.

Meeting of the Parliament 07 January 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motions, Topical Question Time, Urgent Question, Empty Homes, Committee Announcement (Ferry Vessels in Scotland), Decision Time, Levern Valley Defibrillator Community Partnership.

Meeting of the Parliament 19 December 2019

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Business Motion, Referendums (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Referendums (Scotland) Bill, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, ScotRail Franchise, Ferguson Marine, Female Genital Mutilation (Protection and Guidance) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Business Motion, Decision Time, Financial Abuse.

Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, General Election Outcome, Business Motion, UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, UEFA European Championship (Scotland) Bill, Decision Time, Food Insecurity.

Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Oversight Board, Education (Performance), Human Rights Defenders, Code of Conduct for Members of the Scottish Parliament, Decision Time, Miscarriage.

Meeting of the Parliament 05 December 2019

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Art in Action Campaign, Portfolio Question Time, Disability Sport and Participation, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 04 December 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, Achieving a Fairer Scotland, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Delivery Charges.

Meeting of the Parliament 03 December 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Scottish Prison Service (Auditor General’s Report), Glenrothes (Living Wage Town Campaign), Veterans and the Armed Forces Community, Decision Time, Point of Order, Purple Light-up Campaign.

Meeting of the Parliament 28 November 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, Point of Order, St Andrew’s Day, Portfolio Question Time, Women in Agriculture Task Force (Final Report), Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill: Stage 1, Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill: Financial Resolution, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2019

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, Mental Health, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Gender-based Violence.

Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2019 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Scotland as a Science Nation, Decision Time, Catholic Schools.

Meeting of the Parliament 21 November 2019

The agenda for the day:

Point of Order, General Question Time, First Minister’s Question Time, World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day, Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Question Time, Portfolio Question Time, Television Licences (Over-75s), Motion without Notice, Decision Time.

Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2019

The agenda for the day:

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Portfolio Question Time, Universal Credit, Health and Social Care (Investment), Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, International Year of the Periodic Table.

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

Solicitors in the Supreme Courts of Scotland (Amendment) Bill 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-27018: Gordon MacDonald (Edinburgh Pentlands)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 21 January 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 21 January 2020

I am pleased to tell colleagues that the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland published its first report to Government on Scotland’s infrastructure ambitions and priorities on 20 January 2020. The report is now available at: https://infrastructurecommission.scot/page/key-findings-report

I am grateful to the Commission for the work and engagement it has undertaken to date. This is an important report and, as such, the Scottish Government is taking the necessary time to consider and reflect on its detailed recommendations carefully.

Advice from the Commission will help to shape our future investment in Scotland’s infrastructure, recognising the long term objectives of this Government to deliver an inclusive and net zero emissions economy.  

Later this year, I will publish the Government’s next Infrastructure Investment Plan – focusing on three, core, long-term outcomes of inclusive economic growth, tackling the global climate emergency, and building sustainable places.  

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work and I intend to link the Infrastructure Investment Plan and Capital Spending Review and develop a coherent, strategic collaborative and outcomes-focused approach that responds to the recommendations of the Commission and helps achieve our National Performance Outcomes.  

The Infrastructure Commission will report again in mid-2020 with further advice on the delivery of infrastructure, including the potential role of a Scottish National Infrastructure Company. We look forward to further advice from the Commission in the coming months.

S5W-27034: Iain Gray (East Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to relaunch the Scottish Land Fund beyond March 2021.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27035: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether a review has been undertaken on each sector of (a) Modern, (b) Foundation and (c) Graduate Apprenticeships.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27033: Iain Gray (East Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what level of funds remain in the Scottish Land Fund.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27037: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many modern apprenticeship starts there were in 2018-19 in each sector/occupational grouping, also broken down by (a) ethnicity and (b) disability.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27036: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government which organisations have been involved in retail apprenticeships in each year quarter since Q1 2014-15.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27019: Iain Gray (East Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the finding in the Audit Scotland report, Finances of Scottish universities, that more than half are in deficit.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27020: Iain Gray (East Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the finding in the Audit Scotland report, Finances of Scottish universities, that public funding does not cover the costs of university (a) teaching and (b) research.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27023: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many trainee radiographer posts have been (a) available and (b) unfilled in each year since 2014-15.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27010: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what action is being taken to reduce reliance on opioids and antidepressants.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27008: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government which groups are on the Police Scotland list of terrorist organisations.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27028: Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what the anticipated cost will be of the production of an alternative set of figures to GERS, as proposed by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27032: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-26825 by Kate Forbes on 16 January 2020, how much has been raised through the large business supplement from (a) the private sector, (b) the public sector and (c) other applicable bodies in each local authority area in each of the last five years, and how much tax revenue it expects to be generated by this supplement in each of these categories in 2019-20, also broken down by business sector.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27027: Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it proposes to publish its alternative set of figures to GERS, as proposed by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, at the same time as the GERS figures are published.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27030: Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how much it has invested in electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the last 10 years.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27029: Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many electric vehicle charging points there are in each local authority area.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27022: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government where the additional 30 trainee radiographer posts, announced in its integrated workforce plan, will be located.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27011: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what action the NHS takes against companies suspected of using exaggerated claims to promote opioids and antidepressants.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27009: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what research is being carried out on the impact of the use of opioids and antidepressants.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27017: Ross Greer (West Scotland)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers the term "defensive technology", used in the answer to question S5W-26884 by Jamie Hepburn on 16 January 2020, to have the same definition as "non-military", the term used in the answer to question S5O-03882 by Derek Mackay on 5 December 2019, and, in light of this, whether the missile defence system referred to in the answer to question S5F-02258 by the First Minister on 26 April 2018 is "non-military" technology.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27013: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what action the NHS is taking to reduce the number of people reliant on opioids and antidepressants.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27016: Ross Greer (West Scotland)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-26884 by Jamie Hepburn on 16 January 2020, what the nature of Scottish Enterprise’s support was to the company, Leonardo, regarding the missile defence system, and whether this was for research and development, production, or sales.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27012: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what action the NHS is taking to advise people about the risks of addiction and overdose associated with opioids and antidepressants.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27024: Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what resources will be allocated to the production of an alternative set of figures to GERS, as proposed by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27025: Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether (a) the Chief Economist and (b) its statisticians will work on the production of an alternative set of figures to GERS, as proposed by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27031: Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 20 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what legislation is in place to ensure that new developments incorporate electric vehicle charging points into infrastructure plans.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26831: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will set up a fund to provide financial assistance to women injured or disabled by transvaginal mesh.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 20 January 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-26817: Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to tackle bogus callers who pretend to be meter readers in (a) the Mid Scotland and Fife region and (b) Scotland.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 20 January 2020

The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the work of its partners – including Police Scotland. Trading Standards, Neighbourhood Watch Scotland and Crimestoppers Scotland – to raise awareness of doorstep crime and provide practical advice in terms of prevention in all parts of Scotland including Mid Scotland and Fife.

The Scottish Government has also provided Neighbourhood Watch Scotland with £115,000 and Crimestoppers Scotland £92,000 funding in 2019-20 to assist with their work in addressing crime, community safety and empowering victims to speak up.

Initiatives such as the Nominated Neighbour Scheme help to build the resilience of our communities to doorstep crime and since 2017 the Scottish Government has also implemented a Nuisance Calls Action Plan to tackle the scourge of nuisance and scam telephone calls. This includes the funding of call blocking units for vulnerable consumers.

S5W-26828: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what support it provides to protect rural nurseries from the threat of closure.

Answered by: Maree Todd on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Maree Todd 20 January 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-26833: Stuart McMillan (Greenock and Inverclyde)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath.

Answered by: Graeme Dey on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Graeme Dey 20 January 2020

The Scottish Government are supporting a range of activities to commemorate the 700 th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath.

National Records of Scotland and National Museum of Scotland are putting the Declaration on public display, for the first time in 15 years, at NMS between 27 March and 26 April 2020. The exhibition will be accompanied by a number of other publicised events and activities. Details of which can be found at:

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/news/2020/declaration-of-arbroath-anniversary-events

NRS and Historic Environment Scotland (HES) are further developing educational resources, workshops and are contributing to Newbattle Abbey Adult Education College’s major conference about the declaration ( https://www.newbattleabbeycollege.ac.uk/doa/ )

A number of events are also being held in Arbroath, which are being organised by Arbroath 2020, a Registered Charity, which has received funding from Creative Scotland’s Place Partnership Programme and Angus Council for initiatives such as the Arbroath 2020 artist fund. A full programme of events is available on their website https://arbroath2020.com/ . The Hospitalfield Trust, a cultural organisation for artists and for education in the arts based in Arbroath, receives funding from Creative Scotland as one of the current network of Regularly Funded Organisations. It is heavily involved in the Arbroath 2020 events programme.

HES is closely involved in supporting the delivery of Arbroath 2020 events which centre on the Abbey. The Abbey will host a display of the new Arbroath Tapestry, which has been designed by artist Andrew Crummy and created by a group of highly skilled Angus women, as well as a ‘scriptorium’ structure similar to the room in the Abbey where the declaration may have been written. There will be a programme of learning and community activities at the Abbey and a new permanent exhibition telling the story of the Declaration of Arbroath in the wider story of the abbey.

The Scottish Government is supporting the Arbroath 2020 Declaration Pageant Procession on Sunday 5 April with £25,000 funding. Events connected with the anniversary year are eligible to apply for funding from the VisitScotland National Events Programme. VisitScotland is holding an information evening for tourism businesses to highlight Arbroath 2020 activities on 5 February. It is organising press trips to highlight Arbroath and Angus and the anniversary is included its online content, opportunities to highlight the anniversary at Tartan Day in New York are also being explored.

Supported by the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund, members of the GRIT Orchestra have been commissioned to create new symphonic compositions inspired by the Declaration of Arbroath. These works were premiered at the opening night of Celtic Connections 2020 in Glasgow on Thursday 16 th January. The Expo Fund is administered by Creative Scotland, with input from Event Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, British Council and the Scottish Government.

S5W-26818: Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government which guidelines it uses to underpin stroke care, and to what degree these guidelines have been embedded into the care that patients receive in each NHS board.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 20 January 2020

Clinical guidelines such as NICE and SIGN are recommendations to aid healthcare and other professionals in caring for people with specific conditions. The guidelines are based on the best available evidence.

The implementation of these guidelines are the responsibility of NHS Boards and their operating divisions, reinforced and supported by their clinical governance arrangements.

Over the past 10 years, the number of people in Scotland dying from stroke has decreased by 42%. This is significant progress but we want to secure even better outcomes. That is why the Programme for Government 2019-20 commits to developing a programme to improve stroke pathways and services, including prevention, treatment and care. In particular, we will review and improve the current stroke care bundle, which comprises of four key components: admission to a stroke unit, swallow screen, brain scan and aspirin. This work will improve outcomes for patients and will enable us to scope out and define what a progressive stroke unit looks like. Consideration of relevant guidelines will form part of this Programme for Government commitment to review and improve current services.

S5W-26880: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what advice it provides to local authorities about the assessment of affordability in the application of fees for social care services.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 20 January 2020

The Charging for Residential Accommodation Guidance (“CRAG”) provides advice to local authorities relating to assessing the ability to pay for residential care home charges.

The National Assistance (Assessment of Resources) Amendment Regulations place a duty on local authorities to assess a person’s ability to pay for residential accommodation.

The COSLA Non-residential charging guidance provides equivalent advice on financial assessments for determining non-residential care charges.

S5W-26881: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether social care charges for (a) people with learning disabilities, (b) people with physical disabilities and (c) elderly care have increased in the last three years, and, if so, by what percentage.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 20 January 2020

Information relating to residential accommodation care and support charges for older people are available in the Care Home Census for Adults in Scotland , Figures for 2007 – 2017, which was published on the 11 September 2018.

Under Section 87 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968, local authorities charge for the care it provides. This information is available at local levels and is not collected by the Scottish Government.

S5W-26879: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what guidance it provides to local authorities about charging for social care services.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 20 January 2020

The Scottish Government updates and issues the Charging for Residential Accommodation Guidance (“CRAG”) each year. This guidance provides information in relation to charging for care and support in residential care settings.

The guidance is provided to Health and Social Care Partnerships and Local Authorities as well as a number of other organisations.

COSLA produces charging guidance for non-residential social care support , which is reviewed and updated annually. Under Section 87 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 local authorities may charge for the care it provides, such as day centre services, however the charges to these services should not exceed the cost of the service.

The Scottish Government also provides separate guidance to health and social care partnerships relating to Free Personal Care .

S5W-26856: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 7 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what responsibility NHS boards have to ensure that bereavement training is provided to midwives when specialist cover does not meet demand.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 20 January 2020

Scottish Government supports the NHSScotland workforce to deliver a resilient, efficient and high quality healthcare service. All Health Boards have midwives who are trained in bereavement care and all NHS Boards are accountable to Scottish Ministers, supported by the Scottish Government.

The NHS Education for Scotland website ‘Support Around Death’ provides health professionals across Scotland with a range of resources on bereavement care after pregnancy loss, stillbirth or neonatal death, including short animated educational films. An e-learning resource on bereavement following pregnancy loss and the death of a baby is available on the Knowledge Network and provides in-depth education for maternity care professionals.

Midwifery students are offered modules on bereavement and loss so that they enter the profession knowing the importance of caring for women and families experiencing loss.

S5W-26903: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 9 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many (a) cabinet secretaries, (b) ministers and (c) officials accompanied the First Minister on overseas engagements in the calendar year 2019, and what the total cost was, broken down by (i) travel, (ii) hotel and (iii) other expenses.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 20 January 2020

Ministerial engagements, overseas visits and travel are proactively published on the Scottish Government website. This can be found at

https://www.gov.scot/collections/ministerial-engagements-travel-and-gifts/

S5W-26838: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many times prisoners who have been accommodated according to their self-declared identity under the Scottish Prison Service Gender Identity and Gender Reassignment Policy have been moved from a (a) women’s to a men’s and (b) men’s to a women’s prison, also broken down by how many of these moves were at a prisoner’s request.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 20 January 2020

I have asked Teresa Medhurst, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), to respond. Her response is as follows:

SPS is currently unable to provide information on transgender people who are no longer in our care.

However, I can advise that on Wednesday 8 January 2020 there were 14 people in Scottish prisons identifiable on the Prisoner Records System as having, at some stage, engaged in the gender reassignment process. This number includes 3 people who had previously began the gender reassignment process but who now identify as the gender they were assigned at birth.

Following a careful consideration of risk, 2 transwomen currently in SPS care have been moved from the women’s estate to the men’s. On both occasions these relocations were aligned to the expressed desire of the individual’s concerned. One transman has been moved from the men’s estate to the women’s. However, this relocation was not aligned with their expressed desire.

S5W-26893: James Kelly (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what alcohol-related brain damage treatment services there are in the (a) NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area and (b) rest of Scotland, and what action it plans to improve the level of services available.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 20 January 2020

While the responsibility of Integration Authority’s working with Alcohol and Drug Partnerships (ADPs) to make decisions on the configuration of local services which meet the needs of their resident population.

There are a range of alcohol-related brain damage treatment and support services across Scotland and Greater Glasgow and Clyde which includes:

- Community multi-disciplinary teams who typically asses the rehabilitation potential for people diagnosed or likely to have alcohol related brain damage and support interventions and care planning. These teams typically include consultant psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, social care staff, nursing staff and occupational therapist.

- Community ARBD provision to support independent living.

- Residential options, including rehabilitations beds and specific ARBD care home placements,

- National Rehabilitation Centres.

S5W-26846: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-21130 by Michael Matheson on 29 January 2019, whether it will provide the same information regarding incidences of stop-skipping on ScotRail services in 2019, also broken by down the stations affected.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 20 January 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-26839: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how possessing a gender recognition certificate impacts on a prisoner’s legal entitlement to be accommodated in the prison estate in a manner that is consistent with their acquired gender.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 20 January 2020

I have asked, Teresa Medhurst Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service, to respond. Her response is as follows:

A transgender person in the care of SPS who possess a gender recognition certificate will normally be managed and held in an establishment that reflects their gender reassignment status. However, where it has been identified that such persons may represent a risk to the safety of those of their reassigned gender or they themselves may be at risk, SPS can take the decision to hold that person in an establishment that reflects their birth gender. The Equality Act 2010 allows trans people to be excluded, in certain restricted circumstances, from single-sex services, where that is proportionate and justifiable, and this could include the exclusion of a trans person who has a gender recognition certificate. For example, a help group for female victims of sexual offences may seek to exclude those who are born male, even where they identify as female, in order to provide the participants with the necessary reassurance to participate freely.

S5W-26666: James Kelly (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 9 December 2019

To ask the Scottish Government on what dates the Cabinet Secretary for Justice has met the Chair of the Scottish Police Authority since December 2017, and whether it will publish the minutes. 

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 20 January 2020

Since December 2017, I have formally met the former chair of the Scottish Police Authority on a number of occasions. The Scottish Government proactively publishes information on ministerial engagements: https://www.gov.scot/collections/ministerial-engagements-travel-and-gifts/ and will consider publication of the minutes of these meetings.

S5W-26895: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 9 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what the total cost was of the overseas engagements that the First Minister carried out in the calendar year 2019, broken down by her (a) travel, (b) hotel and (c) other expenses.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 20 January 2020

Ministerial engagements, overseas visits and travel are proactively published on the Scottish Government website. This can be found at

https://www.gov.scot/collections/ministerial-engagements-travel-and-gifts/

S5W-26845: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-13794 by Humza Yousaf on 23 January 2018, whether it will provide the same information regarding the (a) cancellations and (b) delays that were recorded on ScotRail services in (i) 2018 and (ii) 2019, also broken by down the stations affected.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 20 January 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-26836: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many prisoners identified as falling within the Scottish Prison Service Gender Identity and Gender Reassignment Policy have requested accommodation according to self-declared identity in a (a) men’s or (b) women’s prison, also broken down by how many requests were approved. 

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 20 January 2020

I have asked Teresa Medhurst, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), to respond. Her response is as follows:

SPS is currently unable to provide information on transgender people who are no longer in our care.

However, I can advise that on Wednesday 8 January 2020 there were 14 people in Scottish prisons who were identified on the Prisoner Records System as having, at some stage, engaged in the gender reassignment process. This number includes 3 people who had previously began the gender reassignment process but who now identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Of those currently in SPS care, 7 transwomen have previously requested to be accommodated in the women’s estate; 4 of these requests are currently being facilitated. One transman, currently residing in the women’s estate, has previously requested to be accommodated in the men’s estate.

Decisions as to the most appropriate location to accommodate transgender people are made on an individualised basis after careful consideration of all relevant factors, including risk and the individual’s preference.

S5W-26720: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 16 December 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-26542 by Aileen Campbell on 12 December 2019, for what reason it is unable to provide details of all its wider engagements with the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities or specific details of what has been discussed with the organisation.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 20 January 2020

I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-26719 on 20 January 2020. All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx

S5W-26719: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 16 December 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-26541 by Aileen Campbell on 12 December 2019, for what reason it is unable to provide details of all its wider engagements with the Community Security Trust or specific details of what has been discussed with the organisation.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 20 January 2020

We are unable to provide details of wider Scottish Government engagement with the Community Security Trust as this information is not centrally held.

We have therefore provided details of the meetings held between the Community Security Trust and the Connected Communities Unit as set out in the response to S5W-26541.

S5W-26853: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 7 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many specialist bereavement midwives are employed by each NHS board, also broken down by how many positions are vacant.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 20 January 2020

Information on the number of specialist bereavement midwives employed by each Health Board is not collected centrally. However, we know that some Health Boards have specialist bereavement midwives; other Health Boards take a different approach and have individuals or teams trained in and delivering bereavement care. All Health Boards have at least one midwife trained in bereavement and offering maternity bereavement care as part of their role.

Scottish Government has provided funding of £94,000 to Sands to lead and develop the National Bereavement Care Pathway with other baby loss charities and Royal Colleges to improve the quality of bereavement care. The Pathway will launch this Spring.

S5W-26837: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many prisoners identified as falling within the Scottish Prison Service Gender Identity and Gender Reassignment Policy have never requested accommodation according to self-declared identity in a (a) men’s or (b) women’s prison.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 20 January 2020

I have asked Teresa Medhurst, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), to respond. Her response is as follows:

SPS is currently unable to provide information on transgender people who are no longer in our care.

However, I can advise that on Wednesday 8 January 2020 there were 14 people in Scottish prisons who were identified on the Prisoner Records System as having engaged, at some stage, in the gender reassignment process. This number includes 3 people who had previously began the gender reassignment process but who now identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Of those currently in SPS care, 3 transwomen have never requested to be accommodated according to their identified gender.

Decisions on the most appropriate location to accommodate transgender people in our care are made on an individualised basis after careful consideration of all relevant factors, including risk.

S5W-26819: Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government for what reason SIGN guideline 108 has been withdrawn; how this decision was made; what the impact of its withdrawal is on (a) health professionals providing care and (b) patients being treated for stroke, and what plans it has to update stroke guidelines.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 20 January 2020

Clinical guidelines such as NICE and SIGN are recommendations to aid healthcare and other professionals in caring for people with specific conditions. There are various sets of guidelines that clinicians can consider for the management, treatment and care of stroke patients. There is no expectation that clinicians in NHS Board areas would base their management on any one set of guidelines and they are encouraged to make best use of the guidelines that are available.

In relation to SIGN guidelines, they are withdrawn if they are over 10 years old to ensure that they remain relevant and safe. SIGN guideline 108 has been withdrawn for this reason.

The Guideline Programme Advisory Group, a subgroup of the SIGN Council, prioritises proposals for new guidelines or updates of existing guidelines against agreed criteria while considering the work programmes of other parts of Health Improvement Scotland - as well as other guideline developers - to avoid potential duplication of effort.

As part of the Programme for Government commitments in relation to stroke, the National Advisory Committee for Stroke has agreed to review and consider all relevant guidelines to ensure they are up-to-date and relevant.

S5W-26931: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 10 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-24536 by Joe FitzPatrick on 21 August 2019, whether it will provide an update regarding when the final neurological conditions national action plan will be published.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 20 January 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 20 January 2020

The final neurological conditions national action plan, re-titled as Neurological Care and Support – a National Framework for Action 2020 – 2025 was published on Wednesday 18 December 2019. It can be accessed here - https://www.gov.scot/publications/neurological-care-support-scotland-framework-action-2020-2025/ .

S5W-27006: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 17 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how it is supporting people with PGCE qualifications obtained in England to access permanent teaching jobs in Scotland.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27000: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 17 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what form its investment of £37.4 million in Burntisland Fabrications Ltd (BiFab) takes, and whether it expects to receive a commercial return.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27002: Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 17 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to support Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27001: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 17 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how its investment of £37.4 million in Burntisland Fabrications Ltd (BiFab) has been used by the company.

Awaiting answer

S5W-27007: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 17 January 2020

Awaiting answer

S5W-26874: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 9 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government on what date it (a) formally requested and (b) received a response from the DWP regarding the data of families with children over six for the purposes of paying the Scottish Child Payment; whether this request was made at ministerial or official level, and what plans it has to publish the response.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 17 January 2020

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 17 January 2020

On 14 June Scottish Government officials commissioned a feasibility study from the Department for Work and Pensions, to explore the implications of the Scottish Child Payment for both organisations, including the interfaces that would be required between them. DWP responded in writing at official level on 6 August confirming that they would not provide the Scottish Government with data for 6-16 year olds until nearer 2022. The then Secretary of State Amber Rudd confirmed this on 15 August in a letter to myself.

There has since been further discussion of the issue on a number of occasions at both official and ministerial level, including at the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare in November 2019. We have still to receive a response from DWP as to when they will be in a position to provide us with this data.

Minutes for the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Welfare are publicly available on the gov.scot website. The Scottish Government has no current plans to publish the other correspondence referred to.

S5W-26829: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding how many (a) accidents and (b) fatalities there have been on the A84 between Stirling and Doune in each of the last five years.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 17 January 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 17 January 2020

The accident statistics that we hold for the last five years for the requested location are provided in the following table (note these relate to the trunk road section only).

Year

Fatal

Serious

Slight

 

TOTAL

2014

1

2

9

 

12

2015

0

0

10

 

10

2016

0

2

7

 

9

2017

0

2

4

 

6

2018

0

2

3

 

5

2019 (up to 12 June)

0

1

6

 

7

TOTAL

1

9

39

 

49

 

S5W-26890: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 8 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what workshops Transport Scotland has organised with local authorities in the last 12 months regarding the expansion and improvement of the ChargePlace Scotland network.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 17 January 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 17 January 2020

Transport Scotland communicates regularly with Scottish local authorities to discuss the development and growth of the ChargePlace Scotland network. This includes one-to-one meetings and larger workshops. In the past 12 months Transport Scotland has held 2 local Authority workshops, where all local authorities in Scotland were invited to attend and discuss the ChargePlace Scotland network.

S5W-26872: Iain Gray (East Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what progress has been made with the building of a new rail station at East Linton, and what the projected completion date is.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 17 January 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 17 January 2020

This Government remains committed to the delivery of East Linton station as early as practicable within Control Period 6 (2019 -2024).

Network Rail are currently progressing with the station designs. A holistic approach is being taken to the design of the station ensuring that the end to end journey undertaken by passengers is considered and reflected in the design. This includes how passengers will access the station and platforms.

A community liaison representative has been appointed to engage with both local communities, providing project information, attending community events and seeking feedback during both design and construction stages

Network Rail intend to submit their planning application in winter 2020 but in advance of this are already collating the information to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment screening (EIA), as the first stage in the planning application process.

S5W-26907: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 9 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many planning (a) practitioners have been employed and (b) applications have been decided by each local planning authority in each year since 2012-13.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 17 January 2020

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 17 January 2020

The number of planning practitioners employed in planning departments in local authorities is not held centrally. The member may be interested to know that the RTPI has published research which states that the number of staff members in planning authorities has reduced by over 25% since 2009.

https://www.rtpi.org.uk/media/3314972/Resourcing%20the%20Planning%20System%20-%20RTPI%20Scotland%20Key%20Trends%20and%20Findings%202019.pdf

However, Planning Authorities have from 2012-13 up to 2017-18 provided information on the number of staff employed in planning departments in their Planning Performance Framework (PPF) Reports. It should be noted that the information provided is inconsistent due to different interpretations and structures of Planning Authorities across Scotland. For this reason Planning Authorities stopped providing this information as part of the PPF in 2018-19.

Authority

Staff numbers 2013-14

Staff numbers 2014-15

Staff numbers 2015-16

Staff numbers 2016-17

Staff numbers 2017-18

Aberdeen City

53.5

58.5

57.9

49.5

37.5

Aberdeenshire

95

162.2

134.7

147.7

144.2

Angus

33

33.5

33

32

25.6

Argyll and Bute

44.5

44.5

43

44

27

Cairngorms National Park

9.5

11

10

10

11.2

Clackmannanshire

7.5

6.5

7

7

6.5

Dumfries and Galloway

46.75

40.9

40.9

44.4

32.6

Dundee City

25.5

25.5

24.5

25

20.5

East Ayrshire

32.5

32.5

44

43

37.5

East Dunbartonshire

32

29

28

30

16.2

East Lothian

24.6

24.6

26

27.5

27

East Renfrewshire

24.3

27.3

29.5

28.5

36

City of Edinburgh

165

151

142

0

75.5

Falkirk

44.5

41

32.1

27.6

30

Fife

66

79

66.5

64.74

64.24

Glasgow City

119.95

112.4

0

110.8

98.6

Highland

84

87

0

55

57.2

Inverclyde

21

20

20

20

18.1

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

20.6

18.6

16.4

17.4

17.6

Midlothian

27.4

27.83

29.63

29.63

26.9

Moray

27.5

27.5

54

29.4

24.6

Na h-Eileanan Siar

16.5

16.5

15.6

15.1

12.2

North Ayrshire

22.2

22.2

22.2

14.2

14.8

North Lanarkshire

82.8

56.5

53

0

38.46

Orkney Islands

20.3

20.3

19.9

20.9

16.8

Perth and Kinross

53

51

51

50

44.1

Renfrewshire

28.3

28.3

0

27.1

19.76

Scottish Borders

31

72

70

64

68

Shetland Islands

25

23.97

25.5

25.5

15

South Ayrshire

30.5

30.5

0

32

20

South Lanarkshire

59

53

54

54

39.6

Stirling

27.8

27.8

27.8

22.8

24.3

West Dunbartonshire

14.5

14.5

14.5

14.5

13.5

West Lothian

30

23.02

23.02

17.3

20.3

Scotland Average

42.5

44.1

35.8

35.3

34.7

Scotland Total

1445.5

1499.92

1215.65

1200.57

1181.36

The number of planning applications determined by planning authorities is included below.

Authority

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

Aberdeen City

1,414

1,517

1,462

1,470

1,173

1,122

1,150

Aberdeenshire

3,653

3,391

3,466

3,235

2,644

2,560

2,452

Angus

880

942

872

895

842

805

758

Argyll and Bute

1,238

1,333

1,317

1,249

1,311

1,294

1,277

Cairngorms National Park

51

54

63

24

24

11

30

Clackmannanshire

231

238

217

243

237

229

245

Dumfries and Galloway

1,452

1,648

2,061

1,308

1,110

1,337

1,293

Dundee City

492

607

534

684

610

616

640

East Ayrshire

618

553

552

574

648

532

558

East Dunbartonshire

706

682

710

720

720

799

709

East Lothian

957

1,065

949

1,001

970

991

1,114

East Renfrewshire

603

647

683

676

686

633

702

City of Edinburgh

3,260

3,380

3,634

3,868

3,808

3,684

3,683

Falkirk

1,323

1,149

580

584

612

608

603

Fife

2,475

2,566

2,596

2,439

2,558

2,385

2,338

Glasgow City

1,801

1,923

2,314

2,519

2,792

2,606

2,511

Highland

2,564

2,712

2,666

2,810

2,772

2,905

3,032

Inverclyde

393

355

354

360

388

401

345

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

327

308

301

334

328

284

284

Midlothian

596

534

520

589

493

537

556

Moray

936

959

901

819

709

774

650

Na h-Eileanan Siar

495

475

412

386

425

432

401

North Ayrshire

616

629

590

571

639

564

603

North Lanarkshire

984

1,055

991

1,041

1,103

994

923

Orkney Islands

693

479

454

506

488

424

417

Perth and Kinross

1,769

1,802

1,707

1,720

1,683

1,613

1,640

Renfrewshire

695

714

699

732

703

693

734

Scottish Borders

1,238

1,117

1,112

1,318

1,083

1,200

1,231

Shetland Islands

361

418

349

370

372

296

261

South Ayrshire

882

960

1,121

993

866

969

825

South Lanarkshire

1,470

1,505

1,658

1,620

1,690

1,485

1,606

Stirling

693

736

688

736

790

812

734

West Dunbartonshire

237

254

214

270

246

255

222

West Lothian

728

734

691

782

724

711

879

Scotland

36,831

37,441

37,438

37,446

36,247

35,561

35,406

 

Data includes applications with and without processing agreements and legacy applications

The reported number of decisions made includes the following application types:

- Applications for all Major and Local developments

- Applications for Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions

- Listed Building and Conservation Area Consents

- Applications for consent to display advertisements

- Hazardous Substances Consents

- A number of other consents and certificates including but not limited to certificates of lawfulness, certificates of appropriate alternative development, notifications of overhead lines, applications for notifications and determinations under classes 18 & 22 (agricultural and forestry operations)

Decisions may also have been made on other applications that are not included in the reported figures.

Application types not counted in the reported figures include but are not limited to:

- National Developments

- Applications for permitted developments or where prior approval/planning permission is not required (Except Farm/Forestry notifications which are included)

- Applications for tree felling licences, Tree Preservation Orders (TPO); issues of TPOs, applications to fell under TPOs and applications to fell in conservation areas.

- Applications for Reviews of old mineral permissions.

- Applications for revisions and modifications to existing or approved schemes

- Applications for non-material variations.

- Applications for modification/discharge of planning obligations

- Applications anticipating disposal of Crown land, by statutory undertakers, or for continuation of electricity undertakings.

- Scoping or Screening Applications

- High Hedge Notices

- Applications where the decision to approve/reject has been made by an external body such as Scottish Ministers or Historic Scotland.

S5W-26911: Colin Beattie (Midlothian North and Musselburgh)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 9 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to reports of new buildings being found to have defective fire protection despite the so-called relevant person claiming that they were in compliance with building standard regulations and had been issued with a completion certificate.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 17 January 2020

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 17 January 2020

The Scottish Government is not complacent about fire safety in new buildings and has strengthened the guidance on the roles and responsibilities of the “relevant person” in the Procedural Handbook, published on 1 October 2019.

A new “Compliance Plan” approach is currently being developed and includes a review of the actions of, and evidence from, the “relevant person” needed to support submission of the completion certificate. The outcome and any changes will be subject to a future public consultation.

If the local authority consider buildings to be dangerous then they can use enforcement powers under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003. They can serve a notice on the building owner, take action and recover their costs.

S5W-26912: Colin Beattie (Midlothian North and Musselburgh)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 9 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how it ensures that the self-certification of the safety of new buildings by so-called relevant persons is reliable and carried out to a proper standard.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 17 January 2020

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 17 January 2020

The Building (Scotland) Act 2003, requires the “relevant person” submitting a completion certificate to certify that the work done is constructed in accordance with the approved building warrant and complies with the building regulations. On submission of the completion certificate the local authority verifier will undertake reasonable inquiry, and if satisfied, will accept the completion certificate.

The “relevant person” is defined by the Building Scotland Act 2003 as the building owner, tenant or developer and is ultimately responsible for compliance with the building regulations. Where they do not have the relevant expertise they may seek assurance from construction professionals that the work is compliant.

As noted in the answer to question SSW-26911 on 17 January 2020, the role of the "relevant person" in submitting the completion certificate is currently being reviewed.

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-26924: Graham Simpson (Central Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether the mandatory safety requirements of the new licensing scheme for short-term lets will include five-yearly electrical safety inspections.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 17 January 2020

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 17 January 2020

The safety of guests, hosts, neighbours and local residents is of paramount importance, which is why the safety element of the licensing scheme will be compulsory for short-term lets across Scotland. We will now be engaging widely with stakeholders to develop the detail of the scheme, including the mandatory safety requirements. We will consider electrical safety as part of this process.

S5W-26873: Iain Gray (East Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what impact ending Abellio's ScotRail franchise in 2022 will have on the planned new services between Dunbar and Edinburgh via East Linton.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 17 January 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 17 January 2020

Timetable development work is ongoing and will continue as an industry process regardless of whoever operates services beyond the expiry of the ScotRail Franchise at the time of the introduction of services to Dunbar/East Linton.

An industry working group (East Coast Mainline (ECML) December 2021 Event Steering Group) has been established as per normal industry practice to plan for the December 2021 East Coast Main Line timetable. This includes provision and planning for services at East Linton and other stations on the line. Transport Scotland, ScotRail and Network Rail are active participants in the steering group.

In addition, the opening of the new fully accessible platform at Dunbar Station in December 2019, has created additional capacity on the route.

S5W-26847: John Finnie (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-21129 by Michael Matheson on 30 January 2019, whether it will provide the same information regarding ScotRail Service Quality Incentive Regime (SQUIRE) audits in 2019.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 17 January 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 17 January 2020

Transport Scotland team of six Inspectors audit all 355 ScotRail Stations, now including Robroyston, and a minimum of 190-210 trains at least once every four weekly cycle.

The member will wish to be aware that information on SQUIRE audits, passes and fails during 2019, is available from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Bib No 61303).

The variance of audit numbers is due to the methodology for inspecting facilities varies from asset, platform or station, and by train, carriage or asset.

The total penalties attributed for SQUIRE performance during 2019 was £3.39 million (including RPI). This is a reduction of £1.08 million compared to 2018.

NB - There are 13 rail periods per year which runs from April 1 to 31 March each year.

S5W-26876: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 9 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what constraints it has identified that might prevent the fortnightly payment of the Scottish Child Payment.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 17 January 2020

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 17 January 2020

As we set out in the position paper published on 4 October 2019, more frequent payments would pose a greater risk for Social Security Scotland's operations. The more frequent the payment, the greater the volume of transactions required each week by the agency, with consequent higher resource requirements.

At a time when there is ongoing introduction of the devolved benefits, and given that the Scottish Child Payment will be one of the first high-volume, recurring benefits, we have to balance ensuring the greatest impact for individuals, while protecting as far as possible the existing programme and the capacity of Social Security Scotland to deliver this new benefit and the other devolved benefits. We have, however, committed to exploring fortnightly payments further following full roll-out of the Scottish Child Payment.

S5W-26997: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what the average class size has been in (a) P1 to P3, (b) P4 to P7, (c) S1 to S3 and (d) S4 to S6 in each of the last 10 years.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26999: Margaret Mitchell (Central Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-18390 by Humza Yousaf on 18 September 2018, in light of the cabinet secretary's comment that the Expert Group on Preventing Sexual Offending involving Children and Young People would "report back with findings and recommendations to Scottish Ministers by the end of next March", on what date the group reported these to Minsters; by what date it will publish its final report, and what the reason has been for the delay in making this public.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26998: Brian Whittle (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to answer to question S5W-24062 by Jeane Freeman on 8 August 2019, whether it will provide an update on the progress of its National Falls and Fracture Prevention Strategy, and when it expects the document to be published.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26995: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many pupils in (a) S1 to S3 and (b) S4 to S7 have been taught in class sizes of (i) fewer than 18, (ii) 19 to 25, (iii) 26 to 30 and (iv) more than 30 pupils in each of the last 10 years.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26993: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many pupils in (a) P1 to P3 and (b) P4 to P7 have been taught in class sizes of (i) fewer than 18, (ii) 19 to 25, (iii) 26 to 30 and (iv) more than 30 pupils in each of the last 10 years.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26958: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5O-03951 by Shirley-Anne Somerville on 8 January 2020 (Official Report, c.18), what evidence it holds from other jurisdictions on the impact that applying a custodial sentence for a false declaration has on misuse of the system.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26948: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5O-03951 by Shirley-Anne Somerville on 8 January 2020 (Official Report, col.18), for what reason the reference the Cabinet Secretary made to research by the University of Bristol was not cited directly in its consultation paper on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26949: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will identify the specific research findings within the article in the Journal of LGBT Youth of July 2017, "The restroom and locker room wars: Where to pee or not to pee", which is cited on page 174 of its consultation paper on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26954: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether ministers are aware of the convictions of Katie Dolatowski and Karen White in 2018, and, if so, what assessment it has made of their relevance to the statements at paragraphs 10 and 11 on page 174 of its consultation paper on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26991: Graham Simpson (Central Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what the current appointment status is for local authority building verification services in (a) Glasgow, (b) Edinburgh and (c) Stirling.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26952: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it has commissioned any empirical research or literature review of evidence relevant to the statements at paragraphs 10 and 11 on page 174 of its consultation paper on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26992: Emma Harper (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how much was spent by each NHS board on child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in 2018-19, and how this compared with 2006-07, also broken down by the percentage change in expenditure that this represents.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26957: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how it will define the circumstances in which someone fraudulently claims to be transgender, should the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill be passed, not including issues concerning official documentation.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26953: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment ministers have made of the relevance of the report, Female Only Provision: A Women and Girls in Scotland Report, which was published on 3 June 2019, to the statements at paragraphs 10 and 11 on page 174 of its consultation paper on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26990: Graham Simpson (Central Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the performance of local authority building verification services.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26956: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5O-03951 by Shirley-Anne Somerville on 8 January 2020 (Official Report, c.19) what the “strict penalties” are for anyone who abuses the use of gender recognition gained should the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill be passed.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26947: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5O-03951 by Shirley-Anne Somerville on 8 January 2020 (Official Report, c.18), to which reference in the research paper by the University of Bristol, (Trans)forming Single-Gender Services and Communal Accommodations, the Cabinet Secretary was referring when she stated “The research that has been referred to was included because of a reference within the work to show that there is no increased risk of women being attacked in single-sex spaces by trans women.”

Awaiting answer

S5W-26950: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government for what reason no evidence is cited in support of the statements at paragraphs 10 and 11 on page 174 of its consultation paper on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from the nations listed in Annexe E of the paper that have introduced systems of self-declaration.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26951: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 16 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide a list of the sources it consulted before reaching the conclusions at paragraphs 10 and 11 on page 174 of its consultation paper on the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

Awaiting answer

S5W-26900: Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 8 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-26120 by Roseanna Cunningham on 13 November 2019, whether the sums referred to as being reconciled on a regulatory accounting basis exclude any other capital expenditure incurred by Scottish Water in the period and which may not fall within the definition of "reconciled on a regulatory accounting basis".

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 16 January 2020

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 16 January 2020

No, the sums provided in the previous response to S5W-26120 as being ‘reconciled on a regulatory accounting basis’ do not exclude any other capital expenditure incurred by Scottish Water in each period.

S5W-26827: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 6 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with banks regarding the cost of operating ATMs at their branches.

Answered by: Kate Forbes on 16 January 2020

Answered by: Kate Forbes 16 January 2020

While I have regular meetings with banks, I have raised the particular issue of the costs associated with operating ATMs with the Payment Systems Regulator, Link and the Economic Secretary to the Treasury emphasising the importance of free access to cash for all.

Although the UK Government retains legislative and regulatory responsibility for banking and financial services, the Scottish Government stands ready to work constructively with banks, regulators and the UK Government to ensure that the ability to freely and easily access cash is maintained. I have repeatedly urged the UK Government to appoint a regulator with sole responsibility for cash infrastructure and intend to do so once again.

S5W-26878: Ross Greer (West Scotland)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 8 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide details of the consultation that it undertook to establish appropriate measures on the poverty-related attainment gap, and for what reason it has not included achievement of fourth level at S3 among the measures.

Answered by: John Swinney on 16 January 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 16 January 2020

The Scottish Government consultation on measuring the attainment gap ran from 4 October 2017 until 20 November 2017. 102 responses were received from stakeholders with a range of interests, including 10 local authorities and 38 individuals. Responses to the consultation generally supported the proposed approach.

The consultation proposed a basket of eight key outcome measures on the achievement and attainment of children. These included achievement of third level at S3 on the basis that young people should definitely be achieving at least third level by then. The majority of those who responded to the specific question in the consultation paper agreed that third level was the correct measure to use.

In response to the broader views expressed as part of the consultation, an additional three measures were included to bring the basket of key measures up to eleven, these included two additional health and well-being measures, covering the social, emotional and behavioural development of children and young people, and one on the achievement of one or more SCQF level 4 qualification upon leaving school.

This is the first time we have had a consistent, national approach to measuring the attainment gap and agreed milestones towards closing it. However, the Scottish Government still continues to collect a wide range of data, including achievement of fourth level at S3, which is used to inform the improvement activities set out in the National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan.

S5W-26867: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-20766 by Shirley-Anne Somerville on 9 January 2019, whether it will provide an update regarding what proportion of the processes are (a) automated and (b) manual, and what the staff time is per claim for manual processes for all payments made by Social Security Scotland.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 16 January 2020

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 16 January 2020

Social Security Scotland is now delivering Best Start Grant including the Food element, Funeral Support Payment and Young Carer Grant. Each benefit requires the verification of evidence prior to processing an application. These verifications are dependent on the information provided by the client, the benefit type and in, specific circumstance, the information provided by other Government Departments or other providers. As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we have delivered further automations to improve the processing of applications. However, the use of these verification’s is dependent on varying factors within each client’s journey. The Agency are not currently gathering the staff time per claim for manual processes for all payments.

S5W-26861: Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what sponsorship (a) it and (b) its agencies provided to the Scottish Green Energy Awards on 5 December 2019, and how much this cost.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 16 January 2020

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 16 January 2020

Details of the sponsorship provided are set out in the following table.

Scottish Enterprise (Scottish Investment Bank)

£4,300 + VAT sponsorship package

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

£6,660 + VAT sponsorship package

Scottish National Investment Bank

£7,350 + VAT sponsorship package

 

S5O-04016: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 8 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to figures from the EIS stating that one in three teachers in Aberdeen are considering leaving the profession.

Answered by: John Swinney on 16 January 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 16 January 2020

We are already taking a range of actions to provide additional support for teachers to improve recruitment and retention, improve teachers’ pay and tackle workload. Teacher numbers have increased for the fourth year in a row - rising to 52,247 in 2019, teacher vacancies are lower and the pupil teacher ratio is at its lowest since 2013. Teacher numbers in Aberdeen have also been rising since 2016.

S5W-26868: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-25151 by Shirley-Anne Somerville on 18 September 2019, whether it will provide a breakdown of what the cost is in terms of (a) staffing, (b) IT, (c) payment systems and (d) payments to the DWP, and what proportion of costs it expects to be attributed to activity in (i) Social Security Scotland and the (ii) Social Security Programme.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 16 January 2020

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 16 January 2020

Further to my response of S5W-25151, we are currently finalising updates to the Programme Business case which will detail implementation and delivery costs. This will be published around the time of Budget.

S5W-26866: Claudia Beamish (South Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 January 2020

To ask the Scottish Government (a) how many and (b) what proportion of designated features have been monitored as part of Scottish Natural Heritage's Site Condition Monitoring programme in each calendar year since 2009, and over what area, in hectares.

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon on 16 January 2020

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon 16 January 2020

The following table shows the number and proportion of natural features covered annually through Scottish Natural Heritage’s Site Condition Monitoring (SCM) programme since 2009.

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

SCM completed

1261

842

772

552

441

464

435

578

522

252

231

Percentage of current features (5,388)

23%

16%

14%

10%

8%

9%

8%

11%

10%

5%

4%

It is not possible to provide a figure for the area covered by Site Condition Monitoring assessments for the principal reason that the subject of monitoring is the natural feature and the extent of coverage is not assessed for all feature types, particularly those which are small and widely scattered.

It would also be extremely difficult to disaggregate the area of coverage where natural features are shared between different designations applying to the same area of land (as is frequently the case between Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Areas of Conservation or Special Protection Areas) or for SSSIs whose notified interests include species whose spatial requirements within the SSSI includes both designated and non-designated habitat to varying degrees.

S5W-26792: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 19 December 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-26766 by Paul Wheelhouse on 19 December 2019, in light of the contracts for lots 2 and 3 of the R100 being signed, by what date it will publish detailed roll-out timetables for each.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse on 16 January 2020

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 16 January 2020

My statement to Parliament on Thursday 9 January set out the details which are currently available for the roll-out of the contracts for lots 2 and 3 of R100.

In the case of the South lot, covering the entirety of Dumfries and Galloway, some 26,000 premises across the local authority areas within the lot area were identified for the contract and I am pleased to say that the successful bid from BT will deliver a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) solution for 99.2% of those premises, with a residual of in the region of 200 premises requiring an alternative solution through our aligned intervention; delivered through grant funding via a voucher to ensure a service of at least superfast speeds can be accessed.

As I explained in the Chamber, BT is currently updating its own modelling to reflect changes in commercial delivery and ,once this is complete and detailed survey work has been undertaken, I have committed to share specific details of the roll-out plans, down to premises level, and this information will ultimately be made available to the public through a proposed on-line checker.