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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 (Hybrid) 09 July 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Covid-19 (Next Steps), Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Economic Update, Further and Higher Education, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 25 June 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 24 June 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

First Minister’s Question Time, Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability), Social Security Administration and Tribunal Membership (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Social Security Administration and Tribunal Membership (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 23 June 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Point of Order, Education Recovery, Local Government Finance (Coronavirus) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020 [Draft], Economic Recovery, Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, Committee Announcement, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 18 June 2020

The agenda for the day:

Covid-19: Next Steps, Portfolio Question Time, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 17 June 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

First Minister’s Question Time, Provisional Outturn 2019-20, Justice Sector Response, Recovery and Renewal, Mental Health Transition and Recovery, Business Motion, Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill, Domestic Abuse Bill, Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill , Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 16 June 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Statistics (2018), Covid-19 Fiscal Implications, Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 11 June 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, Topical Question Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 10 June 2020

The agenda for the day:

First Minister’s Question Time, Business Motion, Covid-19 (Tourism), Showing Solidarity with Anti-racism, Disclosure (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Disclosure (Scotland) Bill, Point of Order, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 09 June 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Coronavirus Acts Report, Covid-19 Next Steps (Communities), Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Virtual) 04 June 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 03 June 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

First Minister’s Question Time, Business Motion, Brexit, Scottish Elections (Reform) Bill: Stage 3, Scottish Elections (Reform) Bill, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 02 June 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Resuming National Health Services , Economic Recovery, Point of Order, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Virtual) 28 May 2020

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Virtual) 27 May 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

First Minister’s Question Time, Manufacturing (Support for NHS Scotland), Children (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Children (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 26 May 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Covid-19 (Transport), Covid-19 (Economy), Covid-19 (Education), Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 21 May 2020

The agenda for the day:

Covid-19 Lockdown: Next Steps, Members’ Question Time, Urgent Question, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 20 May 2020 [Draft]

The agenda for the day:

First Minister’s Question Time, Business Motion, Coronavirus (Scotland) (No 2) Bill: Stage 3, Coronavirus (Scotland) (No 2) Bill, Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 19 May 2020

The agenda for the day:

Topical Question Time, Business Motion, Care Homes, Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Points of Order, Decision Time, Correction.

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Meeting of the Parliament (Virtual) 14 May 2020

The agenda for the day:

Members’ Virtual Question Time.

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Committee

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

Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints

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COVID-19 Committee

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Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee

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Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee

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Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee

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Education and Skills Committee

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Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee

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Equalities and Human Rights Committee

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Finance and Constitution Committee

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Health and Sport Committee

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Justice Committee

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Justice Sub-Committee on Policing

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Local Government and Communities Committee

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Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee

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Public Petitions Committee

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Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee

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Social Security Committee

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

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Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee

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Written Questions

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

S5W-29885: Bill Kidd (Glasgow Anniesland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 12 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on both the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Independent Review and the Public Inquiry into the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Campus, Glasgow, and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Edinburgh.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 15 June 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 15 June 2020

The Independent Review of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH), co-chaired by Dr Andrew Fraser and Dr Brian Montgomery, has completed its work. The Review’s final report has now been published and can be viewed at www.queenelizabethhospitalreview.scot .

I would like to express my gratitude to Dr Fraser, Dr Montgomery and the Review team for their dedication and diligence in conducting the Review and producing a report that will provide important lessons for those undertaking NHS infrastructure projects in the years ahead.

The Review has concluded that the QEUH has the modern safety features and systems that should be expected of a hospital of this type and that patients, staff and visitors can have confidence that the hospital offers a setting for high quality healthcare.

Nevertheless, the Review also concluded that patients, staff and visitors vulnerable due to immuno-suppression, or who are in proximity to patients with certain highly infectious communicable diseases, have been exposed to risk that could have been lower if the correct design, build and commissioning had taken place. The report notes that, since the building’s opening, and particularly since 2018, measures are in place, or under development, to bring about a sustained reduction in these risks.

A range of secondary effects have also been highlighted in the Review report including eroding the confidence of the public in the hospital’s ability to protect them adequately from healthcare hazards; disrupting treatment for defined groups of patients and creating additional concern for their families; providing additional workload for infection prevention and control teams, many clinical groups and management; and diverting resources and attention from the running of this large and complex facility. As I have set out in my updates to the Scottish Parliament in relation to the QEUH, an Oversight Board has been working with NHS GGC on improvements to its approach to infection prevention and control and communications and engagement. The Oversight Board is scheduled to provide its report in the summer.

The report also expresses concern that Scottish Government governance and assurance arrangements were not sufficient and did not adequately take account of the scale and complexity, and specialist nature of the building project. Plans for a National Centre that will focus on Health Hazards and the Built Environment have been welcomed by the Review. The Centre will provide greater focus and concentration of knowledge and expertise to ensure that lessons learned are applied across NHS Scotland infrastructure and that there is greater confidence in the delivery of future capital projects.

I share the Review’s admiration for the resilience of clinical staff, hospital management, patients and families in their focus on effective and high quality care, recognising the opportunities and advantages of modern hospital facilities, whilst acknowledging the significant setbacks set out in the Review report. The issues identified in the report should in no way diminish the dedication and commitment of those who provide high quality care to patients on a daily basis within the hospital.

I also appreciate that patients and families most affected by the issues raised in the report may be understandably concerned and distressed by some of the findings, particularly in relation to whether deaths may have been avoided. I would emphasise that the purpose of the Review was not an investigation into civil or criminal liability. It is hoped, however, that the report may assist in providing responses to many of the questions and concerns raised by families and provide a wider understanding of the circumstances within the hospital with regard to its design, build, commissioning and maintenance and the effect this may have had on patient safety.

The Review report is comprehensive, detailed and forward-looking, providing a large number of recommendations and lessons learned that seek to provide assurance and confidence in respect of future major capital projects. The findings and recommendations will now be the subject of thorough analysis and consideration across a range of organisations, including the Scottish Government. A formal response to the report’s findings and recommendations by the Scottish Government will be published shortly.

The report complements the work of other agencies including the Oversight Board and its subgroups and provides a wealth of information for the forthcoming Public Inquiry into the construction of the QEUH and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh, which will be chaired by the Right Honourable Lord Brodie QC PC. I can also now confirm the publication of the Remit and Terms of Reference of the Public Inquiry, which can be viewed at https://www.gov.scot/publications/inquiry
-into-the-construction-of-the-qeuh-glasgow-and-the-rhcyp-dcn-edinburgh-terms-of-reference
.

Work is continuing on setting up the Inquiry. Although some of the practical arrangements for the Inquiry have been affected by the Covid-19 restrictions, the Inquiry is on track to be formally launched in early August. I will provide a further update to Parliament in respect of the Inquiry launch date when this has been finalised with Lord Brodie.

S5W-29849: Alasdair Allan (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government when the report from the recent consultation into the replacement of European structural and investment funds in Scotland post-EU exit will be published.

Answered by: Ivan McKee on 12 June 2020

Answered by: Ivan McKee 12 June 2020

I am delighted to inform you that the consultation report has been published today and is available online at http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781839608087

 

S5W-29849: Alasdair Allan (Na h-Eileanan an Iar)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government when the report from the recent consultation into the replacement of European structural and investment funds in Scotland post-EU exit will be published.

Answered by: Ivan McKee on 12 June 2020

Answered by: Ivan McKee 12 June 2020

I am delighted to inform you that the consultation report has been published today and is available online at http://www.gov.scot/ISBN/9781839608087

 

S5W-29860: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what the estimated cost is of meeting its duties to communicate in an inclusive way as set out in section (a) 6 of the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020, (b) 6 (7)(b) of the Consumer Scotland Act 2020 and (c) 4(2) of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018, and what budget it has allocated to ensure compliance with each of these duties.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 23 June 2020

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 23 June 2020

The Scottish Government is seeking to meet its duties to communicate in an inclusive way by embedding inclusive communication principles into the design of its systems and processes rather than create separate products and services. When producing or publishing accessible documents the costs is incorporated into the wider costs of delivery. This means it is not possible to provide a fixed costs for all the action it is taking to communicate in an inclusive way.

 

Coronavirus Act 2020

A range actions are being taken forward to ensure the Scottish Government are communicating in an accessible way, for example the provision of BSL interpreter at the daily briefings, public information documents being produced in a range of formats and specialist organisations producing documents in accessible formats for particular audiences. It is not possible to give a total amount for all of this work as it is not funded through a single budget.

However, Scottish Government can provide the following individual costs to date

1. Marketing and Insight Unit Translation Spend to Date: £42,770

2. Partnership Translations and Accessible Formats – Supported by partnership organisations (no cost)

3. Cost for translators during Ministerial daily updates

  • 2019-20 – £1,200
  • 2020-21 – £5,405

4. The Scottish Government have developed accessible formats for COVID-19: A Framework for Decision Making and Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis. An easy read version is available for both documents and the route map is also available in audio and BSL and has been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Polish and Gaelic. We will continue to ensure we communicate messages about the route map in an inclusive way. The estimated cost of this is £14,800.

 

Consumer Act 2020

The Consumer Scotland Act was introduced to Parliament on 5 June 2019 and received Royal Assent on 9 June 2020.

When established, Consumer Scotland will be an independent body accountable to Parliament. As such, it will be for the body to consider how best to meet the inclusive communication duty and what the associated cost will be.

 

Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018

The costs of ensuring that Social Security Scotland deliver an inclusive and accessible service is wrapped up in the overall service design and delivery costs of social security. It is considered in everything from the words and layout of an application form to the selection and fit out of office space. It is not just about the way in which Social Security Scotland produce documents it is about every interaction. As such, Social Security Scotland cannot pull out a stand alone cost or budget line for meeting these commitments, it is woven through everything that they do. However, there are some services that Social Security Scotland procure that can be pulled out as a direct contributor to meeting their duties. This includes translation costs and provision of materials in alternative formats.

Some of this is planned in and proactive – for example production of communication materials in a range of different formats and languages as agreed with stakeholders (e.g. Easy Read, Braille, foreign languages and BSL). Social Security Scotland have budgeted £30,000 for this in financial year 2020-21.

There are other costs that will be demand led – for example language interpretation and translation services. Social Security Scotland have budgeted £83,000 for this in financial year 2020-21, based on estimates. This is not an upper limit and will be revised upward if demand increases.

S5W-29864: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to support the recruitment of skilled (a) teachers and (b) lecturers, and what its position is on their importance in supporting an economic recovery post-COVID-19.

Answered by: John Swinney on 24 June 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 24 June 2020

Teachers will play a vital role in the economic recovery in Scotland as we emerge from Covid-19.

We are currently working with local authorities and the General Teaching Council for Scotland to support the recruitment of skilled teachers for the education recovery phase through the Covid19 Education Recovery Group. We are committed to supplementing the existing workforce in schools where required, and we are currently working with local authorities to establish what additional staff might be needed. Once we know the requirement, we will take steps to meet that demand.

Colleges and universities and their staff will play a vital role in economic recovery in Scotland as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. However, staffing matters, including recruitment, are the responsibility of individual colleges and universities, and it is for institutions themselves to make decisions on future staffing levels.

S5W-29862: Lewis Macdonald (North East Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how it will fulfil its commitment in its COVID-19 framework for decision making to support Scotland's partner countries of Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda to build resilience to, and tackle the impact of, COVID-19.

Answered by: Jenny Gilruth on 22 June 2020

Answered by: Jenny Gilruth 22 June 2020

We are monitoring the situation particularly closely in our African international development partner countries – Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda – including through contact with partners and others on the ground.

We are continuing through this unprecedented time to support our African partner countries through projects funded under both our International Development Fund and our separate Climate Justice Fund. The majority of our budget is programmed spend, for 4-5 years at a time, and we are intent on continuing to support these projects in our partner countries whilst adapting to the challenges that nations are now facing because of COVID-19.

At present, all projects that we fund are carrying out impact assessments in relation to COVID as part of their end of year reporting - and considering at our request, whether their existing project can assist in the Covid response in the partner country concerned.

S5W-29857: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what the timeline is for further talks between it, the National Trust for Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, following the meeting on 26 May 2020.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop on 22 June 2020

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 22 June 2020

Following the meeting on 26 May 2020 between Scottish Enterprise (SE), the Scottish Government and the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), Scottish Enterprise wrote to the NTS on 27 May suggesting that it produce a turnaround plan outlining its strategy for recovery including the costs and timings of reopening its properties, resuming activities and associated resourcing.

This Plan will be used as the basis for future discussions and enable the team to assess what specific support measures may be required to get the organisation to that point while minimising job losses and property closures. The NTS acknowledged that email on 29 th May and said that it would seek to provide a turnaround plan in
‎ 2-3 weeks. Once officials and SE have received this information, they will meet again with the NTS to discuss it and explore the options available.

Following discussions with Prospect, I have also written to the NTS encouraging it to apply Fair Work Principles and to involve the unions in its forward planning.

S5W-29859: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what action it has taken to meet its duties to communicate in an inclusive way as set out in section (a) 6 of the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020, (b) 6 (7)(b) of the Consumer Scotland Act 2020 and (c) 4(2) of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018.

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville on 23 June 2020

Answered by: Shirley-Anne Somerville 23 June 2020

Inclusive communication means sharing information in a way that everybody can understand. It is both important and is a right. Scottish Government’s Action Plan, A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People , published in 2016, states that in Scotland we want communication to be accessible to, and inclusive of, all.

To support this Scottish Government funds The Inclusive Communication Hub, launched in 2016 and managed by Disability Equality Scotland. It is an easy to use online tool for all who wish to be more inclusive with the information they give. It provides tools and guidance on how to make information accessible to people; and provides a central place where accessible information and resources that have been developed by organisations throughout Scotland can be accessed.

 

Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020

Scottish Government has taken a range of steps to ensure it is fulfilling its duty to provide information in accessible formats:

  • Scottish Government has worked with both the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability and Disability Equality Scotland to provide Easy Read versions of key UK and Scottish Government documents.
  • Scottish Government has granted funds to Deafblind Scotland to provide translations of official UK and Scottish Government advice in Braille, Moon, XXXL print and audio. This information is being shared with other organisations working with people who may have visual impairment and deafness, and with organisations working with older people.
  • NHS Inform has produced easy read and BSL versions of the COVID-19 advice and information to ensure it is accessible to all.
  • The Scottish Government arranged for in-situ BSL/English interpreters to cover the daily COVID-19 press conferences, and continue to work with broadcasters to ensure the interpreter is included in their broadcasts. The Scottish Government is also producing BSL versions of key information.
  • British Deaf Association are being funded to produce daily factual news summaries from official sources in BSL
  • High quality, HTML documents are produced on all COVID-19 materials to make them accessible for users of assistive technology.
  • The Scottish Government has developed accessible formats for COVID-19: A Framework for Decision Making and Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis. An easy read version is available for both documents and the route map is also available in audio and BSL and has been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Polish and Gaelic. We will continue to ensure we communicate messages about the route map in an inclusive way.

 

Consumer Scotland Act 2020

The Consumer Scotland Act was introduced to Parliament on 5 June 2019 and received Royal Assent on 9 June 2020. When established, Consumer Scotland will be an independent body accountable to Parliament. As such, it will be for the body to consider how best to meet the inclusive communications duty and what the associated cost will be.

 

Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018

Social Security Scotland’s current capability is as follows:

  • Interpretation, Translation and Transcription services available in over 100 languages
  • British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service available through Contact Scotland
  • Deafblind interpreters, Text Relay and electronic note taker services
  • All letters, information and guidance are available in Braille, Large Print, Easy Read and various Audio formats
  • Online content follows the Scottish Government’s accessibility design standards. It is compatible with screen reader software on Jaws, Voiceover and Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) platforms

The requirement to communicate inclusively is included in Social Security Scotland’s Corporate Plan and Our Charter and further work will be undertaken to embed inclusive communication principles across the organisation.

Work is being guided by user research and stakeholder expertise. An Inclusive Communication Reference Group has been created which includes over 20 representatives from organisations across a wide range of client groups.

S5W-29863: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what additional funding it will make available for colleges in order to support Scotland's levels of employment post-COVID-19.

Answered by: Richard Lochhead on 19 June 2020

Answered by: Richard Lochhead 19 June 2020

The Scottish Government is actively working with the college sector and its agencies to respond to the skills needs of those affected by Covid-19 and is pursuing all routes to secure additional funding and flexibility for the college sector.

This includes the provision of additional hardship funding for existing Further Education (FE) learners; an investment of £5m for our most vulnerable families to tackle issues of digital access and connectivity; the launch of free to access online learning materials linked to a new helpline provided by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) for those furloughed or unemployed.

SDS has also launched its training provider relief grant for MA and EF training providers which the college sector can access.

The Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF) will also continue as an important skills intervention as we look to respond to Covid 19. The expansion of the FWDF to £20m will not only provide more employers’ with the opportunity to upskill and reskill their existing workforce, it creates an opportunity to consider how the offer can be repurposed and reprioritised to continue to meet employer demand and deliver new priorities for the Fund, such as remote/online training provision. The college sector has played an important role in delivering the Fund and we will continue to work with the sector as we respond to the impacts of COVID and the skills needs of those effected.

We are also keen to ensure that no student should face financial hardship over the summer as a result of Covid-19, so we are providing a package of new measures to support students until the start of the next academic year. We have brought forward early access to £11.4 million of Higher Education (HE) discretionary funds to support college and university students most in need over the summer. The Scottish Funding Council (SFC)has also given colleges flexibility to offer Further Education (FE) discretionary funds to bridge the timing gap between bursary payments ending in June and Universal Credit payments starting. This package builds on our £5 million support plan for FE and HE students announced in April.

All routes to secure additional capital and resource funding for the colleges sector are being investigated.

You will, however, be aware of the financial challenges the COVID-19 crisis has placed on the Scottish budget, as well as the lack of support, to date, from the UK Government’.

 

S5W-29861: Claudia Beamish (South Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing for workers whose job always requires PPE for respiratory protection but who are going without due to unprecedented demands for PPE.

Answered by: Clare Haughey on 24 June 2020

Answered by: Clare Haughey 24 June 2020

It is for employers to provide appropriate PPE where it is required based on assessed risk. The health and safety of our workforce in all sectors is a priority for the Scottish Government and if there is evidence of specific concerns in particular industries this should of course be raised through appropriate channels.

In response to requests for help in securing PPE supplies from organisations delivering essential public services in community settings, the Scottish Government has been working to establish a process with a third party. Eligible organisations can purchase PPE from this supplier when they are unable to secure PPE supplies through existing channels or need to supplement existing supply chains.

S5W-29853: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions there have been during the COVID-19 pandemic with council education authorities regarding keeping special schools and additional support needs departments open for vulnerable children during the summer holiday.

Answered by: John Swinney on 25 June 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 25 June 2020

We have remained in regular contact with education authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic about how support is provided for children and young people, including those with additional support needs.

Local authorities are best placed to identify how to meet the needs of the children and young people in their local area during these challenging times.

Children and young people with complex additional support needs can continue, where appropriate, to attend local hubs to secure continuity in their care and support.

On 31 March, we published guidance about the continued provision of care and support for the children of key workers and vulnerable children and young people, including those with complex additional support needs. On 21 May, I issued a joint letter with COSLA to all directors of education confirming that critical childcare will continue throughout June and the summer break to ensure ongoing provision for key workers and vulnerable children.

S5W-29854: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what specialist practical support is being put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic (a) locally and (b) nationally for children with the highest, most complex needs, who might be excluded from accessing such services as provision can be considered too complicated or risky.

Answered by: John Swinney on 24 June 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 24 June 2020

Local authorities are best placed to identify how to meet the needs of the children and young people in their local area during these challenging times.

Children and young people with complex additional support needs can continue, where appropriate, to attend local hubs to secure continuity in their care and support.

Children and young people with complex additional support needs who have not attended provision have been, and will continue to be, provided with bespoke learning activities. In some cases, these are supported by home visits and helplines have also been set up to access support from local educational psychologists and education managers.

Some third sector organisations have been able to sustain their local and national services, while changing their model of delivery, in order to maintain support to children and young people as part of multi-agency plans. Specific advice is also available for parents and carers of children with additional support needs though the Scottish Government's Parent Club website and a range of partner organisations.

We continue to engage with local authorities and third sector partners to ensure that children and young people with additional support needs, including those with complex needs, get the support they need during this challenging time.

S5W-29850: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with local authorities regarding giving children with additional support needs priority access to community facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answered by: John Swinney on 25 June 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 25 June 2020

Local authorities are best placed to identify how to meet the needs of the children and young people in their local area during these challenging times. In doing so, it is vital that all decisions taken at a local level align with the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 framework for decision making, be fully risk assessed and based on the individual needs of the child or young person.

We continue to engage with local authorities and third sector partners to ensure that children and young people with additional support needs get the support they need during this challenging time.

In addition, children and young people with complex additional support needs can continue, where appropriate, to attend local hubs to secure continuity in their care and support.

S5W-29856: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what proposals are in place (a) locally and (b) nationally to reintegrate children with additional support needs back to school life, in light of concerns that a number have fallen out of the habit of attending because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answered by: John Swinney on 24 June 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 24 June 2020

We recognise that children and young people with additional support needs may be finding this difficult time particularly challenging.

On 5 June, continuity in learning guidance was published, which includes advice on the provision of blended learning for children and young people who need support, including those with additional support needs, and support for families and carers.

To further support local authorities and schools, Education Scotland has developed bespoke resources to assist in planning the individual support that children and young people with additional support needs may require in their transition back to school or in their progression to another learning setting.

We are working closely with local authorities and other partners to ensure all children and young people continue to be supported with their learning and that their needs are fully considered as we look, and plan, ahead.

S5W-29852: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what efforts are being made during the COVID-19 pandemic (a) locally and (b) nationally to provide children with highly-specialised additional support needs, and their teachers, with training and resources to enable them to use specialist digital devices and services.

Answered by: John Swinney on 25 June 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 25 June 2020

Children and young people with complex additional support needs can continue, where appropriate, to attend local hubs to secure continuity in their care and support.

Children and young people with complex additional support needs who have not attended local hubs will continue to be provided with bespoke learning activities which can be adapted to meet their individual learning needs. In some cases, this is supported by home visits, and helpline support from local educational psychologists and education managers.

To ensure digital equity for all children and young people, we are investing an initial £9m which will provide devices and connectivity for 25,000 learners across Scotland to help ensure as many children and young people as possible are able to connect with their schools, continue their learning, access support and engage with their peers.

Support and advice is available children and young people and their families though the Scottish Government's Parent Club website and a range of partner organisations including CALL Scotland, Dyslexia Scotland, Reach and Enquire.

 

S5W-29851: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what engagement it has had with (a) local authorities and (b) Education Scotland regarding increasing the provision of specialist digital devices and services for children with additional support needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answered by: John Swinney on 25 June 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 25 June 2020

One of our key priorities is to ensure that children and young people with additional support needs who may be finding this difficult time particularly challenging, continue to be supported with their learning, whether at home or at a local hub.

We have worked closely with local authorities, Education Scotland and other partners to develop and publish a range of guidance to support schools, local authorities and families during this time. This includes guidance for term 4 that gives an overview of the measures in place and steps being taken, at a national and local level, to support all children and young people’s learning, including those with additional support needs; and guidance to help local authorities, early learning centres and schools continue to support children and young people's learning during the coronavirus outbreak, including advice on the provision of blended learning for children and young people who need support.

Children and young people with additional support needs have been, and will continue to be, provided with bespoke learning activities from their schools and local authorities. Support and advice is also available for their parents and carers though our Parent Club website and from a range of partner organisations including CALL Scotland, Dyslexia Scotland, Reach and Enquire.

We will continue to work closely with local authorities, Education Scotland and other partners to ensure all children and young people continue to be supported with their learning and that their needs are fully considered as we look, and plan, ahead.

 

S5W-29803: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what regulations govern the operation of mobile ice-cream vans; whether it has any plans to review these, and what impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on them.

Answered by: Ash Denham on 22 June 2020

Answered by: Ash Denham 22 June 2020

Mobile ice-cream vans are licensed as street traders under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. The legislative framework devolves most aspects of the creation and management of the licensing regime to local licensing authorities.

The Scottish Government considers that the 1982 Act works well in allowing licensing authorities sufficient flexibility to adapt their licensing regimes to their local circumstances. The Scottish Government has no plans at this time to make changes to the street traders licensing regime.

Such traders are permitted to operate under COVID-19 restrictions provided that they can do so safely in line with Scottish Government guidance.

S5W-29848: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-29557 by Jeane Freeman on 10 June 2020, what the information governance issues being faced by Public Health Scotland are.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 17 June 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 17 June 2020

Public Health Scotland have been working with the Scottish Government to agree the Information Governance Framework to support the transfer of data into PHS. This is now achieved and the data arrived on 12 June 2020. Once analysis has been completed a publication date will be pre-announced by PHS on their website in the forthcoming publications section.

The delays occurred simply due to the amount of time it took to get multiple and subsequent iterations of both the data sharing agreements and data privacy impact assessments cleared by both the Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland (or Information Services Division, ISD, as it was at the time).

 

S5W-29855: Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions have taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic with council education authorities to enable special school buildings and facilities to be used flexibly by non-education staff to support pupils with recreation.

Answered by: John Swinney on 24 June 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 24 June 2020

Under the current educational continuity direction, issued on 10 June 2020, schools remain closed except for the specific purposes of planning and preparing for the provision of learning and teaching of children and young people on the premises or remotely from August 2020.

We continue to engage with local authorities and third sector partners to ensure that children and young people with additional support needs get the support they need during this challenging time.

In addition, children and young people with complex additional support needs can continue, where appropriate, to attend local hubs to secure continuity in their care and support.

S5W-29847: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-29478 by Jeane Freeman on 10 June 2020, whether it will provide the information that was requested regarding how many people in care homes have died from COVID-19 or had COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate, and for what reason it did not provide this information in its answer.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 26 June 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 26 June 2020

The information requested is publicly available from National Records of Scotland in their weekly statistics publication which includes figures for the number of deaths associated with COVID-19 that occurred in a care home.

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/covid19stats

The most recent NRS figures available, published on 10th June, report that as at 7 June, a total of 1,861 deaths were registered in Scotland, where COVID-19 was mentioned of the death certificate and occurred in a care home.

Weekly figures for the number of deaths associated with COVID-19 that occurred in a care homes in 2020 can be found on the NRS website in the weekly statistics publication supplementary tables in Table 1: 'Weekly provisional figures on deaths registered where coronavirus (COVID-19) was mentioned on the death certificate in Scotland' .

S5W-29858: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 11 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what immediate support it can provide to properties owned by the National Trust for Scotland that are unable to support social distancing regulations, while the talks over long-term assistance are ongoing.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop on 22 June 2020

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 22 June 2020

The Scottish Government is currently working with stakeholders, including the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), to produce reopening guidance for museums, galleries and heritage attractions to advise how best to implement appropriate measures which ensure their ongoing compliance with the physical distancing rules, which are necessary and proportionate to the scale of the threat we are experiencing. The guidance will be published shortly.

As I have indicated in response to the Member’s question S5W-29857 on 22 June 2020, a team from the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise is currently exploring, with the NTS, options for support and has asked NTS for further details.

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-29456: Neil Bibby (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 27 May 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what research it is undertaking or supporting to understand the main causes behind brain cancer and tumours.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 11 June 2020

Scottish Government investment in cancer research is primarily through the Chief Scientist Office (CSO). CSO supports cancer research through a number of mechanisms. These are:

  • Over £40 million annually in the NHS to meet the additional costs of hosting research. Of this around £10 million per annum supporting the cost of cancer research (including research into brain tumours) carried out in the NHS. This figure is not routinely broken down into tumour type.
  • CSO invests £350,000 per annum in the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres Network (in collaboration with a number of other funders) to assist in delivery of early phase cancer studies. This figure is not broken down into tumour type
  • CSO also invests £438,000 annually in the Scottish Cancer Research Network to increase and sustain clinical trial activity in cancer care. This figure is not broken down into tumour type.
  • Further indirect support is provided through an annual contribution (currently around £10 million) from CSO to the major National Institute for Health Research programmes that cover a broad range of health research including cancer research across the UK.
  • Direct funding of cancer research studies submitted to the Chief Scientist Office research committees. Applications generated by the research community are assessed based on scientific excellence. The funding level is subject to quality of applications submitted. These committees have been temporarily paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will reopen to applications with a deadline for submission of 8 January 2021.

S5W-29584: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 2 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether more effective deer management systems will be an integral part of its green recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. 

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 11 June 2020

Earlier this year I asked the Committee on Climate Change to provide independent, expert advice on the best way forward to support our net-zero targets and to ensure a green recovery for Scotland following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Committee on Climate Change set out six recommendations, including a shift toward long-term behaviours and tackling the wider ‘resilience deficit’ on climate change.

We are considering the Committee’s recommendations and we will also have the benefit of recommendations by the Economic Recovery Advisory Group which has been examining the opportunities of a green recovery as part of its work.

The potential for effective deer management as part of a green recovery will be considered as part of our consideration of the recommendations by the independent Deer Working Group.

 

S5W-29308: Alison Johnstone (Lothian)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 27 May 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what research it is (a) carrying out and (b) supporting on vitamin D deficiency and its impact on COVID-19 severity and mortality.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 11 June 2020

The Scottish Government through the Chief Scientist Office (CSO) and NHS Research Scotland (NRS) is providing support for research studies taking place in Scotland that have been prioritised through the Urgent Public Health Research into COVID-19 process managed by the National Institute for Health Research. This process, which is based on independent scientific advice and operates on an agreed UK-wide basis, helps to ensure that the best use is made of the constrained resources and capacity available to support clinical research in the NHS. It prioritises studies that hold the most promise for addressing COVID-19 challenges, and helps ensure no duplication of effort. Currently, no studies in Scotland investigating vitamin D levels and COVID-19 disease are being supported by CSO and NRS.

Public Health Scotland’s Scottish Public Health Network and Knowledge Services teams have been working with colleagues in both public health pharmacy and public health nutrition in local NHS Boards on a rapid synthesis of the existing evidence base on the need for vitamin D supplementation, over and above existing guidance on vitamin D supplementation, and the role high dose vitamin D may have in the treatment of people with COVID-19. This work is still at an early stage.

S5W-29665: Pauline McNeill (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 4 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with energy companies to help alleviate any fuel poverty that has been caused or exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 11 June 2020

The Scottish Government is engaging regularly with Energy UK and Ofgem to ensure that the needs of fuel poor households are considered. We are also engaging with individual suppliers to discuss how they are supporting their customers. I last spoke to Energy UK on 2nd June when I pressed for their members to provide support in a more consistent way.

As energy is reserved, I wrote to the UK Government on 21 April to press them to take further action and provide additional financial help for households.

The Scottish Government has also strengthened existing arrangements for support to fuel poor households, including increasing the funding for the Scottish Welfare Fund and providing funds to various organisations supporting those struggling with energy costs at this time.

We continue to engage regularly with stakeholders to understand the issues that households are facing and where relevant we share this feedback with both Energy UK and Ofgem to ensure it can be acted upon.

 

S5W-29468: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 28 May 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what access business improvement districts will have to funding to help support and implement safe shopping practices across high streets and other retail locations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 18 June 2020

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 18 June 2020

I recently announced a Towns and BIDs Resilience & Recovery Fund of up to £2 million from the Supporting Communities Fund. This will build on the £1 million BIDs Resilience Fund announced in March, but with a wider towns focus, extending support to towns which do not have constituted BIDs. BIDs and towns organisations will be able to access at least £1.7 million of this funding directly through applying to Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), and BIDs can access the Fund from September when the BIDs Resilience Fund expires.

Through the BIDs Resilience Fund, BIDs are providing urgent support and advice to local businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 emergency. They are working with their local councils, partners, businesses and communities on a wide range of initiatives to support the implementation of safe shopping practices as lockdown restrictions are relaxed. These measures include enhanced CCTV and security, promoting safe practice guides for businesses and local residents, physical distancing markers for businesses, hand sanitising equipment, Perspex shields and related PPE. BIDs will continue to cascade best practice to businesses and communities as advice emerges.

We continue to work with STP to consider the impact of COVID-19 on town centres and what will be required for the recovery, as well as taking account of ambitions for net-zero, inclusive growth and place.

S5W-29309: Alison Johnstone (Lothian)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 27 May 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what research it is (a) carrying out and (b) supporting on the impact of low levels of vitamin D on high-risk COVID-19 groups, including (i) black and minority ethnic people, (ii) obese people and (iii) older people (A) in and (B) outwith care homes.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 11 June 2020

I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-29308 on 11 June 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-29544: Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 1 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide the New Lanark Trust with emergency funding to cope with its loss of income due to the COVID-19 outbreak and in order to avoid its potential closure.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 11 June 2020

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of New Lanark as one of Scotland’s six World Heritage Sites, and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure it can continue to thrive.

My officials attended two online meetings on Friday 29 th May, hosted by Aileen Campbell MSP as the local Clydesdale constituency MSP, to discuss its situation including concerns surrounding the recent potential redundancy announcements, and its financial situation. We have offered the Scottish Government’s full support to work alongside the Trust and other partners to address these issues including consideration of specific short-term funding needs.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES), our lead public body for the historic environment, and Scottish Enterprise are also supporting the New Lanark Trust to conduct a strategic review of its business operations which is designed to ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of this important asset.

S5W-29622: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 4 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to provide long-term support to local media outlets.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 11 June 2020

The Scottish Government has made available an additional £3 million marketing spend in Scottish newspapers across the rest of the year. This will be targeted where it is most needed, including local newspapers, to support them during the COVID-19 crisis.

We recognise the importance of local newspapers and other local media outlets, and will consider how best to support their long-term future as part of the recovery process.

 

S5W-29467: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 28 May 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether the Barnett consequentials arising from the UK Government Re-opening High Streets Safely Fund in response to the COVID-19 outbreak will be ringfenced for measures to support high streets and town centres in introducing social distancing provisions.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell on 16 June 2020

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 16 June 2020

We are continuing to seek clarification from the UK Government on this. We have received no indication from the HM Treasury that we will receive consequentials from the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.

Despite this and before the UK Government announcement, I had already outlined support for our towns with a £1m a Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Resilience Fund. I have also recently announced a further £2 million of funding to support other towns and to further support BIDs in the recovery phase.

Moreover, the new £30 million Spaces for People capital fund being administered by Sustrans allows local authorities to put in place pop-up walking and cycling routes or temporary improvements to existing routes, providing businesses and communities with confidence regarding their safety. This covers much of the intention of the UK Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.

And we continue to work with Scotland’s Towns Partnership to consider the impact of COVID-19 on town centres and what will be required for the recovery, as well as taking account of ambitions for net-zero, inclusive growth and place.

S5W-29463: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 28 May 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the ministerial statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice on 21 April 2020, when mobile phones will be distributed to those currently in the care of the Scottish Prison Service.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 11 June 2020

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

SPS is working with a mobile phone provider to deliver a service to all those currently in the care of SPS.

It is anticipated that mobile phones will start to be distributed to individuals from mid-June 2020.

In addition to the initiatives mentioned above a range of other actions have been taken to encourage positive family contacts, including;

  • The extension of the email a prisoner scheme across the whole prison estate’
  • The extension likewise of the voicemail a prisoner service.
  • The provision of additional phone credits (£2.50 a week) to prisoners.
  • Staff are working to ensure that individuals have as much access as possible to the PIN phone system.
  • SPS have suspended charges for in-cell televisions to ensure people have access to cash for making phone calls.

 

S5W-29585: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 2 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government when it will publish its response to the final report of the independent Deer Working Group.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 11 June 2020

A response to the report by the independent Deer Working Group will be published in due course.

 

S5W-29341: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 26 May 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to (a) make the public aware that COVID-19 can affect people differently and (b) educate and raise public awareness of the common, mild and serious COVID-19 symptoms to be aware of.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 11 June 2020

The Scottish Government is undertaking a variety of actions to ensure the public are aware of how COVID-19 can affect people differently. These include

  • Daily First Minister Briefings
  • Media and social media relations activity on a daily basis to communicate key messages
  • Paid for marketing campaigns across TV, radio, newspapers and online
  • Leaflet delivered to every household in Scotland during April
  • Working with external organisations such as Health Boards, third sector and private sector to communicate key messages
  • Writing to everyone who is potentially at greater risk from COVID-19 to shield themselves from the virus and outline the support available to them to do this
  • Section on www.gov.scot that is dedicated to latest information on COVID-19

Much of the above activity will have covered the key symptoms the COVID-19. For example, when the loss of or change in sense of smell or taste was added to the list of symptoms the Scottish Government activated an advertising campaign across TV, radio and digital advertising on 19 May 2020 which highlighted all three symptoms. These adverts were active until 28 May 2020.

The Test & Protect advertising that was launched on 28 May 2020 also include details of the symptoms the public need to be aware of.

Alongside the three common symptoms we also include information to contact 111 if symptoms worsen or if symptoms are still present after seven days.

S5W-29464: Mary Fee (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 28 May 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it has considered rolling out virtual prison visits in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and, if so, when it expects these to commence.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 11 June 2020

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

Work on the provision of ‘virtual visits’ across the entire Scottish prison estate has been underway since 24 April 2020. SPS has signed a short term contract with a private service provider to deliver a managed service via a web based portal and 3 priority pilot test sites have been identified at HMP&YOI Cornton Vale, HMYOI Polmont and HMP Shotts. The system will ‘go live’ from 15 June. The first three sites to go live will be HMPYOI Cornton Vale, HMPYOI Polmont and HMP Shotts. The system will then be rolled out across the prison estate and it is anticipated that all sites will be operational by the end of the month.

 

S5W-29665: Pauline McNeill (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 4 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with energy companies to help alleviate any fuel poverty that has been caused or exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 11 June 2020

The Scottish Government is engaging regularly with Energy UK and Ofgem to ensure that the needs of fuel poor households are considered. We are also engaging with individual suppliers to discuss how they are supporting their customers. I last spoke to Energy UK on 2nd June when I pressed for their members to provide support in a more consistent way.

As energy is reserved, I wrote to the UK Government on 21 April to press them to take further action and provide additional financial help for households.

The Scottish Government has also strengthened existing arrangements for support to fuel poor households, including increasing the funding for the Scottish Welfare Fund and providing funds to various organisations supporting those struggling with energy costs at this time.

We continue to engage regularly with stakeholders to understand the issues that households are facing and where relevant we share this feedback with both Energy UK and Ofgem to ensure it can be acted upon.

 

S5W-29843: George Adam (Paisley)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government when the Restricting Foods Promotions Bill will be introduced to the Parliament.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 11 June 2020

We are no longer planning to introduce the Restricting Foods Promotions Bill in this Parliament.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact, including on the food and drink and retail industries and on consumer behaviour. It is not yet clear what its long term impact will be. It is important we understand this fully and that we assess the economic and equality impacts of our proposed measures post-pandemic.

Pausing the introduction of the Bill provides us with an opportunity to take stock. It enables us to take into account the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown, including on people’s diet and healthy weight. We will be able to consider fully whether a more wide-ranging Bill is required to tackle Scotland’s diet and weight problem after the pandemic.

Tackling poor diet and overweight is a public health priority and remains a priority for this government. We are taking wide-ranging action to help people make healthier eating choices. As set out in our 2018 Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan, our ambition is to halve childhood obesity by 2030 and significantly reduce diet-related health inequalities.

We remain fully committed to restricting the promotion and marketing of foods high in fat, sugar or salt where they are sold to the public and will seek to progress this measure as soon as it is possible to do so. Work already underway to further improve the evidence base to underpin the proposals will continue. We will also continue to engage with the other administrations in the UK to explore the scope for the possible alignment of policy and legislation.

 

S5W-29637: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 4 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on young people’s mental health.

Answered by: Clare Haughey on 11 June 2020

Answered by: Clare Haughey 11 June 2020

The Scottish Government is taking steps to develop a robust understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on young people’s mental health and to respond to these.

The Mental Health Research Advisory Group has been established to monitor and interpret research developments. This will help us to put in place evidence-based responses across the population including for young people.

The Chief Scientist Office is funding rapid Scottish led research on COVID-19, including studies looking at Children Young People’s mental health, with a specific focus on vulnerable children. We will also continue to monitor surveys and research such as the Young Scot Lockdown Lowdown.

We have invested £105,000 to support Young Scot to create Aye Feel, an enhanced digital mental wellbeing resource for young people. The new content is hosted on Young Scot’s own digital platform – as well as on social media. Aye Feel provides a place where young people can find information and advice within Young Scot’s well-established set of services which young people already use.

S5W-29838: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to concerns that almost 50% of NHS Grampian employees cannot be fitted with FFP3 masks due to these items failing sealing tests.

Answered by: Clare Haughey on 22 June 2020

Answered by: Clare Haughey 22 June 2020

It is not correct that 50% of NHS Grampian employees cannot be fitted with FFP3 masks. One particular new FFP3 mask has been trialled by a number of health boards, and the initial face fit testing has shown a high failure rate (50%). As NHS boards, including Grampian, have a wide range of mask types available, this is not the same as saying that 50% of staff cannot be successfully face fit tested.

In Grampian, 5621 staff who may be (or may have been) required to wear an FFP3 mask have been tested on at least one FFP3 mask. Of those, 921 staff (16.5%) did not obtain a pass on the mask they were tested on. It should be noted that not everyone in that 16.5% figure will have been tested on all the masks available.

Staff who cannot be fitted with an FFP3 are excluded from aerosol generating procedures, which is often possible as part of the skills mix.

S5W-29842: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the progress being made with introducing the additional equipment required to facilitate virtual visits from family and friends for prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 24 June 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 24 June 2020

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

Work on the provision of ‘virtual visits’ across the entire Scottish prison estate has been underway since 24 April 2020 and significant progress has been made in delivering this project.

The first virtual visits took place in 3 establishments on 15 June 2020, with a further 5 establishments ‘going live’ by 19 June 2020. The system is being rolled out across the prison estate and it is anticipated that all sites will be operational by the end of the month.

S5W-29823: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government when it expects the use of lead ammunition to be entirely phased out on (a) public and (b) private land.

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon on 22 June 2020

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon 22 June 2020

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) currently require all contractors to use non-lead ammunition for goose management when shooting over Ramsar sites, including land beyond that required by the Environmental Protection (Restrictions on Use of Lead Shot) (Scotland) Regulation 2004, and expect that by 2021 all shotgun ammunition purchased by SNH for use in goose management schemes will be non-lead based.

Where SNH issue licenses to shoot deer on public land the use of non-lead ammunition will be required to shoot all but roe deer by 2021. For roe deer, non-lead alternatives will be required by 2024.

In terms of deer shot by Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) staff or Deer Culling contractors, it is expected that lead ammunition will be phased out by the end of 2022. A small proportion (approx. 9%) of the deer shot on land managed by FLS is carried out under other arrangements such as leasing and in these circumstances non-lead ammunition will be required by 2023.

The Scottish Government has welcomed a statement from UK field sports bodies on the phasing out of lead shot alongside recommendations made by the independent Deer Working Group and the Grouse Moor Management Review Group. We will publish our formal response to both reports in due course.

S5W-29822: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what testing is carried out on the levels in the human food chain of the active ingredient in the medicated grit that is used on grouse moors.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 22 June 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 22 June 2020

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) is the competent authority in the UK responsible for the testing of food producing animals for residues of authorised veterinary medicines products and prohibited substances. National Residues Surveillance Programme is carried out by VMD in accordance with The Animal and Animal Products (Examination for Residues and Maximum Residue Limits) (England and Scotland) Regulations of 2015. Food Standards Scotland collect samples on behalf of VMD in approved game handling establishments.

The testing of red grouse for the presence of anthelmintic compounds authorised for use in medicated feed, such as flubendazole, has been carried out since 2016. VMD publish annual figures on gov.uk and advise that they have not tested any samples which exceeded the Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs).

S5W-29835: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking in light of reports that Abellio ScotRail was in breach of its franchise contract after failing to pay bills on time.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 22 June 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 22 June 2020

Transport Scotland apply the contract through effective monitoring and use the appropriate provisions to require Abellio ScotRail to address any payment performance issues accordingly. The contract specifies that Abellio ScotRail should process 'valid invoices' within a 30 day period. It is incumbent upon Abellio ScotRail, as part of this franchise requirement, to ensure that invoices are supported by appropriate evidence to permit timely payment.

S5W-29841: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-29044 by Jeane Freeman on 10 June 2020, whether it will provided the information requested regarding for what reason it did not support the testing of asymptomatic NHS, care home and home care staff, given that this policy was adopted prior to the establishment of its COVID-19 advisory committee, and on whose advice its policy was based.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 26 June 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 26 June 2020

Decisions undertaken on how best to respond to COVID-19 are continually assessed against the evidence and as this evolves, so too does our response.

The Scottish Government has and will continue to receive expert scientific advice, including on testing from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). Minutes from SAGE meetings were made publicly available on 29 th May 2020:

https://www.gov.uk/search/transparency-and-freedom-of-information-releases?organisations%5B%5D=scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies&parent=scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies

S5W-29830: Neil Bibby (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what arrangements are being made to ensure that (a) vulnerable children and young people, (b) pupils facing the greatest educational disadvantage and (c) pupils who have not been able to fully engage with learning during the period of lockdown are able to catch up on their learning.

Answered by: John Swinney on 24 June 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 24 June 2020

One of our key priorities is to ensure that children and young people, who may be finding this difficult time particularly challenging, continue to be fully supported with their learning as we begin to transition back to a greater level of face-to-face education.

The needs of individual children should be carefully considered by education authorities, schools and early learning centres within the plans for anticipating a return to schools on a full-time basis in August. Our national guidance on continuity of learning supports this approach.

To support this, we will invest an additional £100 million over the next two years to help to tackle the impact of coronavirus in our schools and ensure that children and young people get the support that they need.

We also recognise the challenges that this unprecedented situation presents, in particular for children and families from the most deprived backgrounds. Pupil Equity Fund allocations have been confirmed for two years, with over £250 million committed to schools across 2020-21 and 2021-22. This will help to provide more certainty for head teachers and aid them in their planning and decision making, in the short and longer term to help level attainment.

In recognition of the financial and other resource implications of maintaining critical provision for children and families at this time, the Scottish Government is providing education authorities and headteachers with flexibility on the use of Attainment Scotland Funding, including Pupil Equity Funding, in order that they can best support our most vulnerable children.

In addition, we are committed to working with local authority partners to deliver digital equity for our most disadvantaged children and young people through a £30m investment to support digital inclusion. That will include £25 million of funding for a roll-out of digital devices to school pupils to enable them to study online.

S5W-29824: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what level of lead from shot gameboards is present in the human food chain, and what regular analysis it carries out of this.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 22 June 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 22 June 2020

The testing of gamebirds for the presence of metals such as lead is carried out by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) as part of the National Residues Surveillance Programme in accordance with The Animal and Animal Products (Examination for Residues and Maximum Residue Limits) (England and Scotland) Regulations 2015. VMD publish annual figures on gov.uk. Since 2015 one sample exceeded the Maximum Residue Limit for lead, although this was not in Scotland.

S5W-29836: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many people who attended the Scotland v France rugby match on 8 March 2020 were contact traced for COVID-19, and what information it has on how many of these have since died of COVID-19.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 24 June 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 24 June 2020

I refer the member to the answer to question S5W-29837 on 24 June 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-29829: Neil Bibby (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what evaluation of online and other means of learning and teaching by schools and education authorities during the period of lockdown has been carried out by Education Scotland; what lessons have been learned from this, and what advice for schools the Scottish Government is preparing in conjunction with COSLA, Education Scotland and other partner agencies regarding effective part-time education.

Answered by: John Swinney on 24 June 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 24 June 2020

Education Scotland’s Regional Team role is to support improvement across the education system. Regional teams are working in partnership with local authority and school staff, discussing what is working well and what further support is required. This intelligence is used to share practice at both a regional level and to inform national support via the Education Scotland website and social media. A comprehensive professional learning package, focused on aspects of digital learning, is available on the Education Scotland website. This was, in part, built on the intelligence from Senior Education Officers’ national networks with officers and schools throughout Scotland.

The Scottish Government is publishing a range of Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance. The education guidance now available has been developed by the Scottish Government's CERG workstreams, in which Education Scotland is an important partner. Members of the leadership team and other colleagues work across all of the workstreams and support on the development of the guidance. The publications cover a range of topics from physical distancing in education and childcare settings, to approaches to blended learning.

With the expectation now that all learners should be able to return to schools in August, these arrangements will ensure that support is in place for blended learning should there be an increase in infection rates or outbreaks that require action to control. The support will also be required for learners who may not be able to attend school for health reasons.

S5W-29834: Dean Lockhart (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government when it expects to publish its postponed Infrastructure Investment Plan.

Answered by: Michael Matheson on 22 June 2020

Answered by: Michael Matheson 22 June 2020

The Scottish Government originally planned to publish the Infrastructure Investment Plan in June 2020 but publication was delayed in order to focus on the immediate health crisis presented by COVID-19.

Investment in infrastructure offers the greatest opportunity to boost inclusive economic growth and has a key role to play in our wider economic response to the pandemic. In recognition of this, Scottish Ministers’ recent Return to Work programme announced £230m of fresh infrastructure projects to re-allocate in-year underspends arising from Covid to new economic activity.

It is important that the focus of the Infrastructure Investment Plan aligns with supporting Scotland’s medium to longer-term social and economic recovery from the Covid pandemic. The timetable for publication is not yet fixed. However I anticipate publication in the Autumn, building on the work of the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland.

S5W-29827: James Kelly (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, other than that set out in the findings of the Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland in 2018 and the responses to the 2019 hate crime consultation, what evidence it has to support the proposed extension of protected characteristics in the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill, and whether it will place a copy of this in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe).

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 24 June 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 24 June 2020

The published policy memorandum which accompanies the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill details the Scottish Government’s reasoning for the proposed extension of the characteristics protected by the Bill and the evidence which was taken into account to inform this decision.

This includes the responses to the 2019 consultation on amending Scottish hate crime legislation and the published findings of Lord Bracadale’s Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland, which was itself informed by a wide range of sources including independent expert advice, academic research and learning, and extensive consultation.

In recommending the extension of characteristics protected in Scotland’s hate crime legislative framework, Lord Bracadale highlighted why it is important that the criminal law is capable of dealing with hate crime in a way which is distinct from offending which does not have an element of prejudice related to identity. Hate crime legislation helps recognise the particular impact and harm caused by hate crime, making it clear that such behaviour is not acceptable and that it will not be tolerated.

With these principles in mind the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill thus provides for the modernising, consolidating and extending of hate crime legislation in Scotland.

S5W-29831: Jamie Halcro Johnston (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case, Cardtronics UK Ltd and others v Sykes and others (Valuation Officers) [2020] UKSC 21, in relation to the application of non-domestic rates in Scotland.

Answered by: Ben Macpherson on 24 June 2020

Answered by: Ben Macpherson 24 June 2020

The valuation of all non-domestic property in Scotland is a matter for the Assessors who are wholly independent of central and local Government. The determination of how decisions about valuation law impact valuation practice will be for them to consider, with due regard for the legal framework in Scotland.

S5W-29840: Iain Gray (East Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-29548 by Jamie Hepburn on 9 June 2020, how the availability of career advice will be publicised to young people who have completed school earlier than planned due to school closures.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn on 17 June 2020

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 17 June 2020

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) advisers are continuing to proactively engage with school leavers, reaching out via telephone, SMS and email offering dedicated 1-2-1 transition support and planning for their next steps. SDS is continuing to work with school and Local Authority partners to ensure support is coordinated and achieves the best outcome for each pupil.

School leavers are able to access direct support over the phone and through the national online career information and advice service My World of Work. A national campaign to promote both the SDS helpline and My World of Work commenced on 13 May. Advertising ran on television, radio, online and through social media. A campaign toolkit was also circulated to school, local authorities and DYW groups, with strong engagement levels on social media platforms. The campaign ran for an initial period of 4 weeks with a further week of activity scheduled for early July.

With senior phase pupils set to receive their SQA Results on the 4 th August, SDS will offer direct support to pupils, parents and carers via the annual Results Helpline. Working in partnership with the SQA, every pupil receiving their results will receive information about the helpline – through post, text or email. SDS will also build on its annual social media campaign to ensure widespread awareness of the helpline.

SDS continues to engage with Directors of Education and schools across Scotland, planning and coordinating transition support and service delivery for the new academic year.

 

S5W-29832: Daniel Johnson (Edinburgh Southern)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-28122 by Jeane Freeman on 8 June 2020, how many antibody tests have been carried out on a (a) daily and (b) weekly basis, and how these figures will be reported.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 24 June 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 24 June 2020

I shall reply to the member as soon as possible.

 

S5W-29826: James Kelly (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, other than that set out in the findings of the Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland in 2018 and the responses to the 2019 hate crime consultation, what evidence it has to support the expansion of the "stirring up hatred" offences in the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill to cover all protected characteristics and not just race, and whether it will place a copy of this in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe).

Answered by: Humza Yousaf on 24 June 2020

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 24 June 2020

The published policy memorandum which accompanies the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill details the Scottish Government’s reasoning for the proposed expansion of the "stirring up hatred “offences to cover all the listed characteristics covered by the Bill and the evidence which was taken into account to inform this decision.

This includes the responses to the 2019 consultation on amending Scottish hate crime legislation and the published findings of Lord Bracadale’s Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland, which was itself informed by a wide range of sources including independent expert advice, academic research and learning, and extensive consultation.

In considering which characteristics should be included in any extension of stirring up offences, Lord Bracadale noted that in 2007 and 2010 the then UK Government introduced stirring up hatred offences in England and Wales to cover religion and sexual orientation respectively.

In recommending that stirring up hatred offences should be introduced in respect of all characteristics covered by the Bill, Lord Bracadale recognised the distinct nature of stirring up hatred offences and the special capacity for harm that they may cause. Stirring up hatred can contribute to an atmosphere in which prejudice and discrimination are accepted as normal. It can result in entire communities feeling isolated, scared and vulnerable to attack. In the most serious cases, the effect can be that it directly encourages activity which threatens or endangers life. The Scottish Government considers it is vital, therefore, that the criminal law protects people from this type of offending behaviour.

The proposed expansion of the stirring up hatred offences are supported by a wide range of stakeholders including equality groups and a number of faith and belief organisations.

S5W-29839: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what support is being provided to NHS boards to ensure that they are provided with FFP3 masks that have the highest fitting success rate.

Answered by: Clare Haughey on 22 June 2020

Answered by: Clare Haughey 22 June 2020

It has always been the principle within hospital settings to have a range of FFP masks available to help support finding the right fit for a range of faces. Normally there are at least three different FFP masks available in NHS Scotland supply, all with a high fit rate and high quality. During the peak period of COVID-19, that supply variation of FFP increased to a mix of 7 known and trusted FFP mask products. The supply of a larger range of masks that suit a broader range of faces has helped provide even greater choice for supporting variance in face shapes during the face-fit testing process on the front line.

In addition to this, the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland is now working with NHS NSS on using research and innovation to make long term improvements to the FFP mask design and manufacturing process. Samples of masks that have a good face-fit pass rate have been passed on to NMIS, who are using scanning and digital fitting methods to quantify what defines a “good face-fit” for a range of face sizes, large and small. This innovative work is ongoing and will complement the established face-fit testing process.

S5W-29820: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what proportion of the active ingredient in the medicated grit that is used on managed grouse moors is excreted by the birds.

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon on 19 June 2020

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon 19 June 2020

There is limited data available on the excretion of flubendazole, the active ingredient in medicated grit, by grouse. However, a 2006 study on Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use by the European Medicines Agency Committee involving a wide range of species, including chicken and game birds, found that more than 50% of the consumed drug was excreted. Furthermore, this trend has also been observed in studies involving human excretion of flubendazole.

 

S5W-29837: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government for what reason it considered that the Scotland v France rugby match on 8 March 2020 should go ahead, in light of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and on whose advice the match was sanctioned.

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick on 24 June 2020

Answered by: Joe FitzPatrick 24 June 2020

The Scottish Government had no role in deciding the game should go ahead. This was an operational matter for the organisers of the Six Nations Championships and Scottish Rugby who ensured that relevant Public Health measures were adhered to.

The Scottish Government is not aware of any Covid-19 incidents centred on the event on 8 th March. It should be noted that symptoms of Covid -19 typically take several days to emerge and anyone displaying symptoms after 12 March were asked to self-isolate.

S5W-29828: Neil Bibby (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the decision by the UK Government on 9 June 2020 to give primary schools in England more flexibility on deciding on the organisation of their return, and the acknowledgement that, due to difficulties in ensuring social distancing, secondary pupils will not return to school until at least September, whether it will review with COSLA and teaching unions the timetable and arrangements for the return of pupils to schools in Scotland.

Answered by: John Swinney on 25 June 2020

Answered by: John Swinney 25 June 2020

The Government set out its planning assumption that schools should return full-time for all pupils in August. Further detailed planning will be undertaken with the Education Recovery Group which includes COSLA and the teaching unions.

 

S5W-29821: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment SEPA has made regarding the wider environmental impacts of the medicated grit that is used on grouse moors.

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon on 19 June 2020

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon 19 June 2020

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is currently undertaking a desk-based study to assess the potential impact on the wider environment of the use of flubendazole in medicated grit. This includes an assessment of the effects on soil dwelling organisms, aquatic organisms and the indirect effect on predatory animals (from the consumption of contaminated prey). As part of this study, SEPA is considering appropriate monitoring approaches for the substance should the desk-based study recommend that investigative monitoring is required.

 

S5O-04432: Pauline McNeill (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to provide targeted support to 16- to 24-year-olds who have been shielding during the COVID-19 lockdown to help them gain employment.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04421: Gillian Martin (Aberdeenshire East)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to respond to the loss of oil and gas jobs in the North East.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04434: Mark Griffin (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how blended learning will take account of families with more than one child.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04435: Maureen Watt (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what additional guidance and resources it is providing to local authorities to support the implementation of blended schooling.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04423: Christine Grahame (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the economic impact on retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, what discussions the economy secretary has had with the UK Government regarding the £51,000 rateable value ceiling on eligibility for the £25,000 support grant.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04429: Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what work is being undertaken to ensure that young people from more disadvantaged backgrounds are not digitally excluded while learning from home.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04413: Neil Bibby (West Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on co-operation with Europe in relation to tackling COVID-19.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04416: Beatrice Wishart (Shetland Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on Brexit negotiations.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04427: Iain Gray (East Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what support it is offering to the live music festival sector to support the return of such events in 2021.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04426: Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what support is being provided to the theatre sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04422: Annie Wells (Glasgow)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what the economic impact of COVID-19 has been on businesses occupying shared premises.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04424: Maurice Golden (West Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what priorities will guide its plans for a green economic recovery.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04417: Alex Rowley (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what engagement and discussions it has had with the UK Government in relation to the forming of new trade agreements.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04431: John Mason (Glasgow Shettleston)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the Black Lives Matter campaign, how dealing with racism and Scotland's links with slavery are taught in schools.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04415: Jeremy Balfour (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to support vulnerable veterans during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04418: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to evidence submitted to the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee stating that over 320 financial services firms have taken steps to relocate to Europe before the end of the Brexit transition period.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04419: Colin Beattie (Midlothian North and Musselburgh)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the UK Government regarding the impact of Brexit on EU-UK relations, in light of concerns that any breakdown could have a detrimental impact, including in Scotland, on the response to issues such as the COVID-19 crisis.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04412: Annabelle Ewing (Cowdenbeath)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its analysis of the Brexit negotiations.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04420: Donald Cameron (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update of its plans to safely reopen sectors of the economy.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04425: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what action it takes to encourage employers and unions across major economic sectors to engage in national collective bargaining.

Awaiting answer

S5O-04433: James Kelly (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 10 June 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to ensure that the SQA grading process is fair and transparent for all pupils.

Awaiting answer

S5W-29490: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 28 May 2020

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-29243 by Fergus Ewing on 21 May 2020, what information it has regarding the reason that 8% of the applications were not completed online, and what action it is taking to encourage a 100% online submission rate before the ability to submit paper applications ceases in 2022.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing on 10 June 2020

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 10 June 2020

We know from research carried out in 2018 that barriers to completing an online application include people preferring paper, or having no computer or no broadband.

Each year we work with area offices and the RPID customers who continue to return paper applications to encourage more of them to submit their applications online. Each year, more are doing so.

We have written to everyone continuing to submit paper applications that they will only be able to submit their SAF online from 2022 and provided guidance on how to get online and how to submit their application form.

We will continue to support such customers to move to applying online for the 2021 and 2022 SAF window, using Digital Assist appointments, clear guidance, and contacting affected customers early, setting out what support is available.

S5W-28616: Joan McAlpine (South Scotland)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 21 April 2020

To ask the Scottish Government what information it has regarding how many vulnerable people received personal care from a worker not wearing a protective mask before the four nations personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance in response to the COVID-19 outbreak was updated on 2 April 2020 to allow individual self-assessment of risk.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 10 June 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 10 June 2020

This information is not collated at a national level. Prior to the national PPE guidance being issued on 2 April, guidance on the use of PPE was included in the Health Protection Scotland infection control guidance for Social or Community Care and Residential Settings, this was first published in March, and in Scottish Government clinical and practice guidance first published on 13 March and updated on 26 March and 15 May.

S5W-29378: Monica Lennon (Central Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 26 May 2020

To ask the Scottish Government how many care home residents died in hospital of COVID-19 in Scotland in 2020.

Answered by: Jeane Freeman on 10 June 2020

Answered by: Jeane Freeman 10 June 2020

National Records of Scotland published a one-off release on Wednesday 3rd June “Deaths of care home residents involving COVID-19”. This showed the number of care home residents who died in hospital up to the 17th of May was 154.

These 154 deaths of care home residents in hospitals have already been counted in the NRS weekly statistics, under the "hospital deaths" category. This is because the location of death is what is recorded on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) which is then reported by NRS.

The link to the NRS release, “Deaths of care home residents involving COVID-19” is here:

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/files//statistics/covid19/covid-deaths
-care-home-residents.xlsx

In relation to question S5W-29379 on 10 June 2020, any care home residents who died in hospital as a result of COVID-19 will be included in the "hospital deaths" category. Deaths from COVID-19 that occurred in a care home will be counted in the "Care Home" category.

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 .