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Parliamentary debates and questions

Meeting of the Parliament 14 November 2018

The agenda for the day:

Portfolio Question Time, Social Care, ScotRail Franchise (Break Clause), Business Motions, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Climate Change.

Portfolio Question Time
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Rural Economy

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Christine Grahame)

The first item of business is portfolio questions. To get in as many people as possible I ask, as usual, for short and succinct questions and answers to match. I will then not need to intervene on anybody and we will all be happy.

National Basic Payment Support Scheme

1. Liz Smith (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)

To ask the Scottish Government how many farmers have received payments under the national basic payment support scheme since August 2018. (S5O-02539)

The Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy (Fergus Ewing)

By 9 November, more than 13,200 farmers and crofters across Scotland had received their national basic payment scheme loan payment, worth more than £308.6 million to the Scottish rural economy. The first loan payments arrived in farmers’ and crofters’ bank accounts on 5 October. Those loans were made available almost two months earlier than the start of the 2018 common agricultural policy pillar 1 payment window, which is set by European Union regulation at 1 December, and before any comparable loans or advances were made elsewhere in the United Kingdom. I encourage every farmer or crofter who has yet to take up the Scottish Government’s offer of a national basic payment scheme loan to consider so doing.

Liz Smith

I thank Mr Ewing for a helpful answer. Given that many farmers had to use their winter fodder supplies in the summer months due to the exceptionally dry conditions, what assurances can the Scottish Government give that farmers will be well supported if we have a bad winter?

Fergus Ewing

Liz Smith makes a very fair point. We all agree that the weather this year has been exceptionally bad. First it was exceptionally wet, with snow, and then it was exceptionally dry. That has caused real difficulties, of which I am acutely aware having had many discussions with farmers. That is precisely why we responded by setting up a weather panel and providing other modest assistance to farmers.

Farmers are extremely resilient and, working with NFU Scotland and other bodies, they have taken a number of measures to ameliorate the situation and tackle problems such as the lack of fodder. We are certainly keeping a watching brief on all those issues.

Our main task is to ensure, in so far as we are able to within our powers, that the administration of the support payment scheme is as smooth and effective as possible. That is why I am very pleased that the loan scheme—it is really an advance payment scheme—provided assistance to farmers and crofters in Scotland earlier than anywhere else in the UK. We will continue to review that and, frankly, I do that daily.

Dr Alasdair Allan (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)

Is the cabinet secretary able to establish what the take-up of the loan scheme is among crofters specifically, to ensure that they benefit from it as much as other groups?

Fergus Ewing

Overall, there has been an extremely high take-up of the offered loan. I take the opportunity that is presented by Dr Allan’s question to say to any farmer or crofter who has not yet applied for a loan payment, “Please do so. It is still possible to obtain a payment.” In most cases, provided that the individual farmer or crofter unit is eligible, the loan will be available at 90 per cent of estimated entitlement. That is still available, and I urge any remaining crofters to take up that opportunity. I will specifically check with the Stornoway rural payments and inspections division office whether there are any further local measures that we can take, as a follow-up to the matter being raised by the local member.

Rural Parliament

2. Joan McAlpine (South Scotland) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government how it is supporting the rural parliament, which is being held in Stranraer. (S5O-02540)

The Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment (Mairi Gougeon)

The rural parliament, which is being delivered by Scottish Rural Action, aims to empower rural communities across Scotland by giving them a stronger voice to initiate change at local and national level. The Scottish Government has supported SRA, which is a voluntary organisation, since its inception in 2014, which has enabled three rural parliament events to take place. The previous rural parliament took place in my home city of Brechin.

I will be at the rural parliament later today and tomorrow. On Friday, the Scottish Government will be represented by the Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, Michael Russell. The event is timely due to Brexit, which looms ever larger. In the run-up to the event, SRA has been engaging the underrepresented voices in our rural communities on the future of rural funding and policy after 2020, to ensure that their voices are heard. The Scottish Government has been happy to support that work with £25,000 from the Brexit stakeholder engagement fund, to ensure that people in rural Scotland have had a say in the process.

Joan McAlpine

The minister will be aware that Stranraer, the Rhins and other parts of Dumfries and Galloway share many of the challenges that are faced by other parts of rural Scotland. What assurance can she give us that the new south of Scotland enterprise agency will work for the benefit of all parts of Dumfries and Galloway, represent all of the south of Scotland region and ensure that more events like the rural parliament are brought to the area, along with the associated economic benefit?

Mairi Gougeon

I give the member my absolute assurance that that will be the case; that is the clear focus of the south of Scotland enterprise agency. The agency has a focus on place and will play a vital role in driving growth across the region as a whole. The agency will deliver a tailored approach and try to consider the particular opportunities and needs of the whole of the south of Scotland. It will consider how to support businesses, strengthen communities and drive the economy. We have tried to engage widely in our plans for the new agency. We know that on-going engagement with stakeholders is essential in driving that work forward.

The board will be chosen to provide a balanced mix of relevant skills and expertise and we aim for it to be representative of the whole south of Scotland region. The Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 is now in force and we will be working towards equal gender representation on the agency board.

Food Tourism Action Plan

3. Rona Mackay (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government how its food tourism action plan will aim to support producers. (S5O-02541)

The Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy (Fergus Ewing)

The new food tourism Scotland action plan is a unique initiative that will allow our tourism, food and drink sectors to double from £1,000 million to £2,000 million the amount that visitors to Scotland spend annually on food and drink. Several specific actions will support the plan, such as supporting our top 100 visitor attractions to get taste our best accreditation—VisitScotland’s quality assurance scheme on local sourcing—and working to get all our major events showcasing local food and drink. That work and much more will directly benefit our local food producers and manufacturers as we seek to make Scotland a good food nation.

Rona Mackay

The cabinet secretary will know the key role that is played by Scotland’s chefs in promoting food at home and abroad. As we mark the year of young people, will the cabinet secretary join me in wishing our culinary world cup team—the youngest team in a competition that involves more than 100 teams—the best of luck in Luxembourg later this month.

Fergus Ewing

I am delighted to welcome the efforts of the Scottish culinary world cup team, who have carried out a great job in recent years in ensuring that our food is highly prized, presented and championed both at home and abroad. I wish Robbie Penman and his highly skilled young team every success in Luxembourg at the end of the month. I have no doubt that they will do a great job of further raising the profile of our fantastic produce and helping Scotland to meet its aspiration of becoming a global food tourism destination.

Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)

So far, the regional food fund that was established in the Scottish Government’s ambition 2030 strategy has awarded grants to 15 collaborative projects that are designed to promote local Scottish producers. What direct economic benefit have those grants had on local producers and tourism and are there any plans to expand the scheme further?

Fergus Ewing

Those events and others have had significant benefit. We promote our food and drink at a national event in Gleneagles biannually; as a result of its success, I decided that a regional showcasing event should take place. We are having a variety of them, and the first have already taken place. An analysis of our estimates of the value of those products will be made in due course. Rachael Hamilton will appreciate—I know that she is experienced in the sector—that some benefits take time to come through. For a local producer who wins a contract with the supermarkets, such things take time to develop; business relationships take time to build up trust and to come through. The analysis cannot necessarily be produced in a few months after an event. However, the Gleneagles events have been spectacularly successful for the companies that were involved, and I will share what information I can—as I always do—as soon as possible.

Public Procurement Food Contracts (Access for Farmers)

4. Brian Whittle (South Scotland) (Con)

To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to ensure that farmers have access to public procurement contracts for food. (S5O-02542)

The Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy (Fergus Ewing)

Since 2007, we have seen a 41 per cent rise in the proportion of locally sourced produce in the public sector, with more and more farmers and other food producers supplying our public sector contracts, such as those provided through Scotland Excel. We want more of our local produce to be served in our schools, hospitals and prisons and in other public bodies, and we are facilitating that through a range of measures such as the supplier accreditation programme, regional showcasing—which I have just mentioned—and the expansion of the food for life programme.

Brian Whittle

Mossgiel farm near Mauchline is leading the way in organic milk production; it has also done away with plastics in favour of bottling its milk. The farm supplies local businesses, restaurants and cafes, but the farmer has told me that it is next to impossible for local suppliers such as his farm to make any headway with Scotland Excel public procurement contracts. Sixty-nine per cent of the food that is supplied under that system comes from outside Scotland, which I am sure the cabinet secretary will agree is unacceptable. What can he and the Scottish Government do to support our local food suppliers and simplify the public procurement process—

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Let us get to the question, please, Mr Whittle.

Brian Whittle

—so that locally procured food can make it to our school dining halls?

Fergus Ewing

I understand that 100 per cent of the fresh milk that is used across Scottish schools is Scottish, from Wiseman and Graham’s dairies, so there is already a Scottish supplier of milk to our schools in Scotland, which I am pleased about. Mr Whittle mentioned another supplier, and if he cares to write to me, I will look into the circumstances of that company.

Mr Whittle also mentioned Scotland Excel, which now requires a Scottish price in its groceries and provisions framework. It does that by having a secondary price list for products whose country of origin is Scotland. The definitions of “country of origin—Scotland” and “manufactured in Scotland” are now included in the Scotland Excel frozen tender. I have met Scotland Excel, and I have heard of the excellent work that it does.

It is difficult for small businesses to break into public procurement, which is why we have a supplier accreditation programme and why, in the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, we made specific provision to encourage small businesses so that they can get into procurement. It is still not easy in some cases. A relationship needs to be built up with local authorities and other public sector bodies, which takes time and input from all sides. I am delighted that we have made significant progress, with more and more Scottish produce being provided to our schoolchildren, patients, hospital workers and people across the public sector. That work continues.

Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

In spite of that work, it is very difficult for small producers to supply their local primary school or the health sector. Could the cabinet secretary address the matter in a good food nation bill?

Fergus Ewing

There is no need for me to do so, because the work is already under way and in train. The food for life programme is extremely successful—indeed, Mr Whittle mentioned it a fortnight ago in relation to East Ayrshire Council. We have a £400,000 programme to extend that good work to all local authorities over a period of years.

There are many examples of great success by relatively small or medium-sized businesses in supplying food to schools around Scotland. For example, Swansons Fruit Company in Inverness supplies locally sourced fruit and veg to schools across the Highlands—the region that Rhoda Grant represents; McWilliam butchers in Aberdeen supplies meat to schools in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire; Corrie Mains farm in East Ayrshire supplies primary schools with eggs; and Fenton Barns farm in East Lothian supplies 40 per cent of the poultry that is sourced by the national health service. Many companies are succeeding, and we are doing a lot of work. We do not need any further legislation to do that—we just need to get on with it, and that is what we are doing.

Fish Processing Industry

5. Maureen Watt (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the fish processing industry in the north-east regarding training workers to make best use of exiting the common fisheries policy. (S5O-02543)

The Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy (Fergus Ewing)

The Scottish Government is in regular dialogue with the seafood processing industry regarding the many challenges facing the sector as a consequence of Brexit.

The loss of freedom of movement, which provides opportunities for people from the European Union to live and work in Scotland, is key. Given that more than 70 per cent of the seafood processing workforce in north-east Scotland are non-United Kingdom nationals from the European Economic Area, the processing sector has every right to be concerned.

The UK Government has failed to provide clarity and certainty for people who are already here, working in fish processing and in other industries. That failure was compounded by the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee for future immigration policy. That all serves to reinforce why Scotland should have full control over immigration powers.

Maureen Watt

I thank the cabinet secretary for that full answer. On 2 November, north-east Scotland politicians attended one of the regular north-east fisheries development partnership meetings at the new Peterhead fish market. They were shown a new training space in the facility, which Tory MSP Peter Chapman said that he welcomed on the basis that it would help replace foreigners working in the industry with local youths. Mr Chapman was reminded at the time that the fisheries development partnership has an equality policy and that his comments were out of order. Does the cabinet secretary agree that, especially in the context of Brexit, all discussions over the future of the fishing industry must be conducted in a way that does not discriminate against people or stoke xenophobia?

Fergus Ewing

Yes, I agree with the sentiments that Maureen Watt expresses. People from across the European Union and beyond have made Scotland their home. They have enriched our communities, especially our rural communities. In many cases, they bring a strong work ethic, family values and a strong sense of community spirit. We are fortunate to have them give their effort and time to work in Scotland. Therefore, I endorse what Maureen Watt says. However, we must not forget that 70 per cent of those working in the north-east in the processing sector come from EU countries. It is difficult to see how that sector would continue to be successful without the excellent contribution from those welcome residents in Scotland.

Cairngorm Funicular Railway

6. Richard Lyle (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to mitigate the potential impact of the closure of the Cairngorm funicular railway on the area’s economy. (S5O-02544)

The Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy (Fergus Ewing)

The safety of passengers at this time is paramount. The Scottish Government continues to work closely with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to mitigate any economic impact. HIE and business gateway are supporting local businesses that might be affected, including by offering one-to-one advice and access to loan funding, where appropriate. A funicular response group has been established to oversee the operational and communication needs relating to the closure.

Richard Lyle

Tourism plays a significant role in our economy, and winter sports are of particular importance to the rural economy. Will the cabinet secretary outline what is being done to develop further opportunities for the Cairngorms funicular and other winter sports facilities? What help is being given to reopen the railway as soon as possible?

Fergus Ewing

I assure Richard Lyle that HIE is working flat out on those matters and I am in touch with its staff very regularly. They are about to receive a report, which should be available at the beginning of December, on the potential problems that the funicular faces.

HIE is working on ensuring the availability of snow-making equipment in early December, which will, I hope, be operational as soon as possible thereafter. It is working hard with local community representatives to ameliorate the problems that are posed by the temporary—we hope—loss of the funicular railway service and to ensure that skiing takes place on Cairn Gorm mountain this year as soon as possible and to the maximum extent possible. We are absolutely determined to make those efforts bring as much success as possible to the area because the funicular railway and Cairngorm Mountain Ltd are essential to the success of the local economy of Badenoch and Strathspey.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I regret that I have been unable to call Angus MacDonald, Alex Rowley and Neil Bibby in this set of questions. We have no time in hand and I have to move on.

Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

Waste Incineration

1. Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)

To ask the Scottish Government what the expected demand will be for the incineration of waste following the ban on sending biodegradable waste to landfill from 2021. (S5O-02549)

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (Roseanna Cunningham)

The Scottish Government is committed to the waste hierarchy, which promotes reduction, reuse and recycling of waste as the preferred options for waste management. Statistics show that we now recycle more than 60 per cent of waste from all sources.

We recognise that incineration is a necessary part of the management of residual waste if we are to reduce our reliance on landfill. We have commissioned a waste market study in order to understand better the current and future markets for disposal and recovery of biodegradable municipal waste, including the energy-from-waste market, and to understand the implications for the Scottish waste system of alternative disposal and recovery options, once the ban comes into effect. We will have a clearer picture of key issues, including likely future demand for energy-from-waste facilities, once the report is completed.

Mark Ruskell

Correspondence that was sent to me by the cabinet secretary suggests that we will see a sevenfold increase in waste incineration capacity in Scotland in the next three years. Given that such facilities require continuous waste as feedstock, what will be the impact on recycling rates and the waste hierarchy? Is not it now time for a moratorium on new incinerators?

Roseanna Cunningham

We have to ensure that we can manage the waste that is produced. I remind members that we are talking about residual waste, so I encourage everybody to ensure that as little residual waste as possible is produced and ends up being treated in this fashion.

We need to deal with the landfill ban: incineration will be a key part of that. There is an issue around managing incineration once we get beyond the period when it is needed most, and the study that I referred to will help us to get a handle on that. There is an issue and there is undoubtedly concern. However, the situation needs to be managed and we are doing the best that we can to manage it correctly.

Maurice Golden (West Scotland) (Con)

I refer members to my entry in the register of interests.

The cabinet secretary has outlined that the Scottish National Party’s solution to the ban on landfilling biodegradable municipal waste is to construct an extra 1 million tonnes of incineration capacity. That seems to be absurd. Will the cabinet secretary outline what non-incineration treatment options are being considered? How does the Scottish Government plan to support them?

Roseanna Cunningham

I have made it clear that supporting incineration is not the only thing that we are doing. I emphasise that we are talking about residual waste and how important it is that we reduce the amount of residual waste that we produce in the first place. That is the real focus of what the Government is doing.

Alex Rowley (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

There seems to be a pick-and-mix approach to waste management across local authorities. Some have four bin collections, while some have one and recycling. Is there best practice out there that the Scottish Government is looking at so that it can advise local authorities on the best way forward?

Roseanna Cunningham

There is, indeed, best practice. The last time I looked, approximately 26 of the 32 local authorities had signed up to our household recycling charter. They are not, of course, able to switch overnight to a uniform system. That charter was agreed between the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. I would be happy to update Alex Rowley on detail around that and on some of the more specific questions that I have been asking recently about where we are in terms of each local authority’s adherence to the charter.

Hill Tracks (Environmental Impact)

2. Andy Wightman (Lothian) (Green)

To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it or the grouse moor management group has made of the environmental impact of hill tracks that are constructed on open moorland. (S5O-02550)

The Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment (Mairi Gougeon)

The grouse moor management group was established in November 2017. Its remit was to examine the environmental impact of grouse moor management practices including muirburn, use of medicated grit and mountain hare culls, and to advise on the option of licensing grouse shooting businesses.

There have been no requests to consider the environmental impact of hill tracks. It is for planning authorities to consider the environmental impact of individual hill tracks on a case-by-case basis when determining planning applications or prior notifications.

Andy Wightman

In 2017, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform approved the Cairngorms national park plan. It contains a presumption against new constructed tracks in open moorland. The problem is that the authority can properly implement that presumption only over the 25 per cent of the area that is a national scenic area. Given that the International Union for Conservation of Nature categorises national scenic areas and Scottish national parks as category 5 protected landscapes, does the minister agree that both deserve the same level of regulatory control?

Mairi Gougeon

I am aware of Andy Wightman’s concern about the issue, and I know that some issues around it were discussed in relation to amendments to the Planning (Scotland) Bill in a recent meeting of the Local Government and Communities Committee. All the concerns can be addressed when the Scottish Government consults on permitted development orders. As Andy Wightman will know from the response that he received from the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning when an amendment in has name was being discussed in the committee, the Scottish Government has committed to carrying out a review of the general permitted development order after completion of the bill’s passage. The minister said:

“we will consider calls for changes to permitted development for private ways alongside other proposals for change. Any proposed changes will be subject to full public consultation.”—[Official Report, Local Government and Communities Committee, 31 October 2018; c 60.]

Gail Ross (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)

Can the minister outline the steps that led to the introduction of the grouse moor management group, and say what action the Scottish Government has taken to tackle wildlife crime in recent years?

Mairi Gougeon

In 2016, we were faced with a number of reports about tagged golden eagles going missing, which led to claims and counter claims about what was happening. The cabinet secretary asked Scottish Natural Heritage to commission an analysis of all the data to see whether there were any suspicious patterns. What emerged from that report was the shocking finding that up to a third of golden eagles had gone missing in suspicious circumstances, many of them in clusters on or near grouse moors. That finding led to the decision to set up the group, which is led by Professor Alan Werritty, to examine whether we need new regulation of grouse management. Alongside the work of Professor Werritty, the cabinet secretary also commissioned a research project to examine the costs and benefits to Scotland of shooting estates.

Professor Werritty’s group is due to report back in April. We will see what recommendations are made at that point and whether any improvements can be made.

Claudia Beamish (South Scotland) (Lab)

The minister will know of the Revive coalition’s report on grouse moors. In view of the wide range of concerns that have been expressed on the issue, not only in relation to Andy Wightman’s proposed amendment to the Planning (Scotland) Bill, but directly to me by constituents, does the minister agree that the remit of the grouse moor management group could be expanded to examine the issue? That would feed well into the welcome review of permitted development rights.

Mairi Gougeon

My only concern would be that to add that work at this late stage could slow down the progress that the group has been making. We will have an opportunity to consider permitted development orders once the bill process has been completed.

I am aware of the report from Revive that was published last week. This week, I met Scottish Environment LINK, which conveyed to me its concerns about hill tracks. The consultation on that will come after completion of the bill. We have given that commitment. We will consider all the issues around permitted development rights and hill tracks at that time.

United Nations Climate Change Conference

3. Gillian Martin (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government what issues it expects will be given priority at the United Nations climate change conference in December. (S5O-02551)

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (Roseanna Cunningham)

The 24th conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—COP24—will take stock of global efforts through the culmination of the Talanoa dialogue process, which the Scottish Government has contributed to, and will seek to agree the rule book for how the Paris agreement will be implemented.

I plan to take Scotland’s positive messages on climate action to COP24, and to show the world that our low-carbon transition demonstrates that deep emissions reductions are achievable, and that they can be delivered in a way that promotes sustainable and fair economic growth.

Following a personal invitation from Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the First Minister also plans to attend this year’s COP, subject to any urgent Parliamentary business and the on-going mess that is Brexit. That invitation is further confirmation that Scotland’s experience remains highly relevant to the rest of the world.

Gillian Martin

Does the cabinet secretary agree that it is essential that not only is Scotland represented as a nation at such global events but that we continue to be leaders in the global effort to fight climate change?

Roseanna Cunningham

Indeed, I do. As most people know, the Government is committed to international co-operation and regularly engages with partners overseas to share its successes and to learn from others. In adopting new and more stretching emissions reduction targets, Scotland is among a select number of countries that have committed to translating the Paris agreement into domestic law. We also remain the only country in the world that has statutory annual targets, matched by a comprehensive package of stretching and credible on-the-ground delivery measures, as set out in our climate change plan.

Plastic Waste (Farms)

4. Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the forthcoming ban on the burning of plastics on farms, what contingency plans it has should the market approach to recycling farm plastic not work. (S5O-02552)

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (Roseanna Cunningham)

The relevant amendment to the Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations was made in 2013 and a group was established in autumn 2016 to plan the transition towards a position where the ban could be enforced. The group had membership from NFU Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Zero Waste Scotland, the Scottish Government and several waste plastics collectors and reprocessors. The transition to full enforcement has therefore been carefully considered.

In most areas of the country there are recycling collection services available and I am advised that, since the announcement, the network has expanded. That is one of the reasons why a transition period until 1 January 2019 is in place.

SEPA has published clear guidance for farmers to help them decide how best to dispose of plastic waste, and there are also local SEPA offices across Scotland that can provide more direct assistance.

Rhoda Grant

I have been contacted by crofters in rural Scotland and in island communities, who say that there are no recycling facilities local to them. There is a concern that the only option that they have is to bury the plastics, which will have a knock-on effect on the environment and on animal health, should they become unburied. Will the cabinet secretary consider working with local authorities, to see whether they could recycle farm plastics along with the normal household recycling?

Roseanna Cunningham

We would want to have conversations where necessary. A list of plastic waste service providers is available on the Zero Waste Scotland website; perhaps access to that would be helpful in those circumstances. If all other options have been exhausted, and we would need to make sure that that was the case, and there is really no recycling service available, the waste can be sent to landfill at a licensed site or to an energy-from-waste plant. However, that should be considered only as a last resort. We would want to have a serious conversation first, to ensure that there is not, in fact, an alternative solution.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Three members wish to ask supplementary questions. If you ask short questions and give succinct answers, I can take all three. Otherwise, I cannot.

Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands) (LD)

Following on from Rhoda Grant’s concerns, which are clearly concerns that have been expressed by constituents in Orkney, will the cabinet secretary undertake to ask SEPA to complete an island impact assessment, so that we can explore the options, which, at the moment, either involve landfill or potentially one or two ferry journeys to get plastic away?

Roseanna Cunningham

I am conscious that, particularly on islands, there are transport issues. I am happy to discuss with SEPA whether the member’s request is appropriate and I am happy to speak to the member about the particular circumstances that he has raised. Part of my reply to Rhoda Grant’s question may also apply to the member’s constituency.

John Scott (Ayr) (Con)

I declare an interest as a farmer. The Government agreed to hold a number of stakeholder events, supported by an engagement programme, in order to support farmers’ transition to the requirements of the ban. How many events have been held?

Roseanna Cunningham

I do not have a note of the precise number of events, but I do know that there has been a clear amount of discussion. The group whose membership I read out has been involved in that, and it includes the NFUS. I undertake to get the numbers and the locations of any such meetings for the member, and any other member who wishes to know can contact me to see whether a meeting has been held locally.

Colin Beattie (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)

Does the cabinet secretary agree that we must continue to work on reducing the amount of plastic that is used in all sectors and industries and can she confirm that farmers will have time to prepare for the ban ahead of it coming into force?

Roseanna Cunningham

We have already prioritised action on plastics and we will continue to do so. I think that most members will know about the work that has already been done in respect of some of the single-use plastics and the work that is planned.

We support EU plans to tackle single-use plastics and to ensure that all plastic packaging is easily recycled or reusable by 2030. We are a founder member of the plastics pact. Our commitment to a deposit return scheme signals a step change in our ambitions and I can confirm, as I indicated earlier, that there is a transition period until 1 January 2019 to allow farmers time to prepare for the ban. I invite members who know of local farmers, crofters or anybody else with specific concerns to flag up those concerns to me, and we will see what we can do.

Woodland (Access for People from Deprived Areas)

5. Elaine Smith (Central Scotland) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government what action the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform is taking to enable people from deprived areas to access woodland areas. (S5O-02553)

The Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment (Mairi Gougeon)

The Scottish Government recognises that access to woodlands improves the lives of people in deprived areas, and we have committed about £1 million this year to the woods in and around towns programme, which tackles the barriers to people accessing woodlands. The current programme for government supports Europe’s largest green space project—the central Scotland green network, which this year will receive £950,000 to support woodland creation with a particular focus on deprived communities.

Furthermore, the national forest estate’s investment in urban woodlands includes over £5 million at Cuningar Loop, which supports the regeneration of deprived communities in the Clyde gateway.

Elaine Smith

I welcome the minister’s response, particularly given that the tackling of health inequalities crosses all portfolios.

Is the minister aware that the green networks of urban woodlands have been found to bring value of £14 million per year through recreation and health benefits as well as contributing to the network of carbon sinks? Given the minister’s answer, will she work with the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning to set a target for urban woodland expansion to ensure that such spaces and their benefits are accessible to people across Scotland, and particularly those for whom travelling into the country is much more difficult?

Mairi Gougeon

I thank the member for that question. I agree with her that the issue crosses all portfolios. One of my first official visits was to Jupiter Artland in Edinburgh in relation to a £600,000 fund that Scottish Natural Heritage has launched that aims to help children, and particularly children from disadvantaged backgrounds, to experience nature and get into our woodlands. So many positive projects and initiatives are being run by organisations, including in our national parks.

We recognise the travel issues. Looking at the work that is being done by the woods in and around towns programme, I note that, in 2017-18, there were over 520 events and activities and 14,000 people attended those from areas of deprivation including Castlemilk, Craigmillar and other areas in Glasgow’s east end. The programme also had Forestry Commission Scotland grant aid for 1,360 hectares of sustainable woodland management for public access, 7,600 metres of footpath upgrades and nearly 9,000m of new footpaths. A raft of positive work is going on there, and we want to encourage and further develop that work.

Mossmorran Petrochemical Plant (Scottish Environment Protection Agency Investigation)

6. Annabelle Ewing (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s investigation into the Mossmorran petrochemical plant. (S5O-02554)

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (Roseanna Cunningham)

Unplanned flaring at the Mossmorran site remains under investigation by SEPA as an independent regulator. SEPA provides updates, where it is able to do so, through the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay section of its website.

Annabelle Ewing

I thank the cabinet secretary for her answer. I understood from previous statements by SEPA that the report was to be concluded this month. Will the cabinet secretary clarify whether that is also her understanding and whether the report will be made public, as will be the case with the joint SEPA root-and-branch review with the Health and Safety Executive? Can she clarify that, when that review finally reports—we do not know when that will be—it will be made public so that my constituents can assure themselves of their safety?

Roseanna Cunningham

Both regulatory authorities are fully aware that local communities want to be kept informed of what has been happening. SEPA’s investigations into the unplanned elevated flaring that occurred at the Mossmorran facility in 2017 and 2018 have been on-going and are at an advanced stage. SEPA has been clear that the evidence gathered during its investigations cannot be made public because that could compromise any potential enforcement action.

SEPA has not committed to publishing a report, but it has provided updates at local meetings and working groups as well as publishing information on its website, including on the enforcement actions that it has taken to date. Aspects of this work are being jointly carried out with the Health and Safety Executive. We expect the joint SEPA and HSE review of the site to conclude this month. In respect of safety issues, HSE will consider what can be made public and when as a result of its work.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I am sorry, but I have to conclude questions there. I apologise to James Kelly, Kenneth Gibson and Kezia Dugdale as there is no time in hand and we have to move on to the next debate.

That concludes portfolio questions.

Social Care
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The Deputy Presiding Officer (Christine Grahame)

As I said, we lose time even at a changeover, so I am afraid that I am going to move straight on. I think that Mr Rowley is ready.

The next item of business is a debate on motion S5M-14717, in the name of Alex Rowley, on investing in social care for Scotland’s future. I call Mr Rowley to speak to and move the motion—eight minutes, please.

14:40  

Alex Rowley (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

Labour lodged the motion for debate today in order to highlight what we see as some of the challenges that are faced by providers of health and social care. We have always been supportive of the integration of health and social care services and the setting up of the integration joint boards, while being clear that community care must never be seen as care on the cheap and therefore must be funded to ensure the highest level of quality and support to meet individuals’ needs.

Age Scotland states that a lack of social care has a direct impact on other vital services, such as the national health service. In September 2018, figures showed that four in 10 people who were ready to leave hospital waited more than a month to do so. That represents too many older people at risk of losing their mobility and independence, which puts their health and wellbeing at risk. Age Scotland also states that the Scottish Government must urgently take action to reduce that figure and ensure that health and social care is adequately funded for every older person who needs it.

The Labour leader of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, Councillor David Ross of Fife Council, has called on the Government to recognise the key role that social care plays in the health system and provide additional funding to support that. He states:

“If spending on the NHS continues to be protected, then so should social care spending.”

He continues:

“Expecting the NHS to transfer adequate funding into social care from acute lacks transparency and is unrealistic.”

He goes on to say:

“There is concern that in the past, additional funding for social care has been channelled through the NHS and some of this has been creamed off before reaching social care services.”

There needs to be more transparency around funding for health and social care.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport (Jeane Freeman)

I am sure that Mr Rowley will recognise that I have had very similar comments from the health service about local government. That is why it is really important that the current jointly run review between COSLA and the Scottish Government on how well we have progressed so far with integration includes strands around governance and finance in order precisely to address those issues so that we know exactly what is going on and not just what one group of people says versus what another group of people says.

Alex Rowley

We suggest that another way of doing that would be to look at the Scottish Government directly funding the IJBs. However, another main point in our motion is that there needs to be discussion between the key partners around a financial model that will provide long-term stability for both health and social care in Scotland. The cabinet secretary makes that point herself when she says that they are blaming each other. Why not direct the funding from the Scottish Government directly into the IJBs so that we have transparency?

Moving resources from health to social care is proving to be challenging and progress is not fast enough. Realistically, shifting the balance of care will require investment in social care services if real improvements are to be made. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations raised an important issue around the commissioning of social care services and pointed out that sustainability issues are coming to the fore as the result of factors such as low hourly rates and lack of resources. We must realise that driving down the cost of social care is, in the main, achieved by driving down the pay and conditions of care workers.

My personal experience of home care was when my dad was ill before he died. He had a full care package of four visits per day and, as we spoke to the carers, we discovered that two of those visits were from carers employed by the council and two were from carers employed by an agency. All the carers were brilliant and we could never repay the amazing care and support that they provided to my dad. At the end of the day, therefore, the only difference between those carers was that some were paid a lot less than others, had poorer terms and conditions than others and did not have the same job security as others. Surely, that cannot be right. Surely, we should be promoting a more sustainable model of care that gets the maximum social value from public funds.

That should include more in-house provision so that public funding of care is not used to drive the profits of large-scale commercial providers. Where contracting currently remains necessary, more effort should be made to break up contracts into smaller units, which gives locally based providers a meaningful chance to bid for that work, rather than it going to large commercial chains that are increasingly financially unstable.

The Minister for Mental Health (Clare Haughey)

Will the member take an intervention?

Alex Rowley

I am sorry, but I do not have time.

In a survey of care workers conducted by Unison, almost half of carers said that they were limited to specific times with clients. One in two workers said that they were not reimbursed for travel between client visits and three in four said that they expected the situation to get much worse during the coming year. The survey also revealed that one in 10 carers were on zero-hours contracts.

I do not know how many members read the briefing from Enable Scotland, but it made the important point about the treatment of social care workers that

“The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported in 2016 that 15% of the social care workforce are in in-work poverty. This means that we have Scotland’s most vulnerable people being cared for by Scotland’s most vulnerable workforce.”

The introduction of the living wage was meant to improve the situation. However, I ask the Government to look into the claims that some organisations still do not pay the living wage and therefore that carers are still being paid poverty wages.

I will go further and point out that most politicians in the Parliament queued up to offer their support to the people, mostly women, in Glasgow who—quite rightly—went on strike for equal pay a few weeks ago. However, that begs the question: should we not support equal pay for all workers in the care sector? Poor pay and poor terms and conditions lead to higher turnover and increased challenges in recruitment and training, and they create a false economy.

We know that caring for people in their own home or, if they need it, in a care home is far less costly than caring for people in hospital. Why would we therefore not spend the money that is needed to build a high-quality social care sector that pays well, employs local people and puts care at the forefront of its activities? That would require a significant change in thinking from where we are now and Scottish Labour is calling for that change. We will work with the Government if it is willing to make that radical transformation in social care.

I finish by saying to the cabinet secretary that, right across Scotland, local authorities are reporting that there are massive overspends in the IJBs. We have a problem and we want to work with the Government on it, but we have to face the reality of the situation out there right now.

I move,

That the Parliament believes in a health and social care system based on human rights, where people receive care according to their need, not on their ability to pay; recognises the immediate and long-term challenges to social care delivery and is concerned about high levels of turnover in the social care sector; further recognises the commitment of social care staff to delivering high-quality care but considers there to still be a disparity between the value of social care to society and staff’s level of pay and working conditions; considers that social care workers, and the professional services that they provide, should be held in the same high regard as clinical health care; affirms the Scottish Government’s aim of shifting the balance of care from acute settings into the community but believes that this cannot be achieved without a significant increase in resources and investment in social care services; notes a central theme of the Fraser of Allander Institute publication, Scotland’s Budget Report 2018, that it is not sustainable to protect the health budget at the expense of local authorities’ budgets, and calls on the Scottish Government to work in partnership with local government and NHS boards to develop a financial model that will provide long-term stability for both health and social care in Scotland.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I call Jeane Freeman, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, to speak to and move amendment S5M-14717.3. You have six minutes, cabinet secretary.

14:49  

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport (Jeane Freeman)

In this role, I have the privilege of meeting people who benefit from social care and people who provide it. Although those who I have met and heard from have been resoundingly positive about many aspects of the service that they receive, or the work that they do, that experience is not universal.

I welcome the opportunity to have this debate and to hear what members say and I am grateful to Mr Rowley for lodging the motion. I know that we need to continue making improvements. I also know that that task does not sit with Government alone. We must use the partnerships that we have and nurture with local authorities, the NHS and integration joint boards to harness our collective experience and efforts and to make improvements where they are needed.

In the health and social care financial framework that I brought before the chamber in October, we recognised that services needed to change, particularly as we enjoy longer lives with more complex needs. A key component of that change is the delivery of integration in health and social care. Integration is the most significant reform to health and social care services since the NHS was created in 1948. However, integration is not an end in and of itself. It is a tool—a means—through which we collectively deliver better services for people. People do not and should not have to care about whose budget the service or the support that they need comes from. They want our collective focus and work to be driven by their needs as a whole person. They want the support that they need to be safe and effective, and they want the right support in the right place at the right time.

Integration brings together almost £9 billion that was previously managed separately in health boards and councils. This year’s funding includes more than £550 million of NHS front-line investment to support integration and social care.

That whole-systems approach needs to be focused on safe, effective and, crucially, person-centred services. It also needs whole-systems thinking. In that regard, I am at one with Mr Rowley in emphasising the importance of our looking at and thinking about the system as a whole. That is radically different, and it is challenging.

To deliver the significant shift that we need in thinking and delivery as fully as it is needed will, of course, take time. However, we will do that together. With COSLA, we are reviewing how far we have come, identifying where we are getting it right, working out what we need to do to scale up the good practice that exists and, crucially, considering what more we need to do to learn and apply the lessons and to continue to build the momentum of improvement.

With COSLA, we are committed to the delivery and upcoming expansion of free personal care. Scotland continues to be the only country in the United Kingdom that provides free personal care. We provide 76,000 over-65s with free personal care. From April next year, that will be extended to those under 65.

The social care workforce provides care to people the length and breadth of our country. We want to help those workers to develop, so we have provided funding for all adult social care workers to be paid the real living wage. That has benefited up to 40,000 care workers. Like Mr Rowley, I have heard and have correspondence from individuals in organisations who are adult social care workers, who have yet to benefit from the funding that the Government provided.

That is a shared problem between COSLA and the Scottish Government. With COSLA, we need to look at why those funds are not being passed on to deliver that commitment, which, I am sure, is shared across the chamber. Fixing that does not lie at the hands of Government alone. I am sure that members would be quick to criticise the Government if we got into the business of instructing local authorities what to do.

Elaine Smith (Central Scotland) (Lab)

Has the cabinet secretary read the Enable Scotland briefing? It says:

“Third sector providers like Enable Scotland are forced to either fund uplifts in staff pay from reserves or other revenue streams, or tell our staff that we’re simply unable to pay the Scottish living wage for every hour worked”.

What is her response to that?

Jeane Freeman

I am grateful for that question. I have read the briefing—I have read all the briefings that came in for today’s debate, as I properly should. My response to Enable Scotland—which, along with Sense Scotland, I expect to meet shortly—is that that is in the nature of the contract that it has with the local authority, so it needs to take up the matter with the local authority. [Interruption.] We provide the funds. The contracts are between the local authorities and the providers.

If Labour members want the Scottish Government to be responsible for those contracts, I wonder whether they have had conversations with COSLA about those powers being taken away from local authorities. If that is what they want, I will have that discussion. I will work with Enable, Sense Scotland and any other organisation that has not received those resources through the contract—part of which we have funded to ensure that the real living wage is paid—and I will take up the issue on their behalf, alongside them, with the local authority. I urge Elaine Smith and all members to do precisely that as well.

We will publish an integrated health and social care workforce plan for Scotland in the near future. As part of the development of that plan, we have published specific recommendations that cover the social care workforce. Those recommendations directly address recruitment challenges, promote career pathways and improve workforce development in social care. That plan, like others, has been developed alongside our colleagues in local authorities, the third sector and, in some instances, private sector providers too.

As we look at our workforce—

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I am afraid that you must conclude there, cabinet secretary. I am terribly sorry, but this is a short debate.

Jeane Freeman

I took an intervention.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Yes, but even with that you have had nearly another minute. Please move your amendment.

Jeane Freeman

I move amendment S5M-14717.3, to leave out from “services; notes a central theme” to “Scottish Government to work” and insert:

“, primary care and mental health services over the current parliamentary session; further believes that protection of the health budget, and its investments in social care, is necessary to ensure that the NHS can be sustained long into the future; notes that, with investment from both the NHS and local authorities, almost £9 billion per year is managed by integration authorities; believes that the additional investment of £66 million in this financial year to support social care, including for delivering the real living wage for adult social care workers, supporting the implementation of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 and increasing payments for free personal care, should be utilised for that purpose, and recognises the publication of the medium-term financial framework for health and social care, which was advanced by the Scottish Government”.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Thank you. These short debates are always awkward for the chair. I call Miles Briggs to speak to and move amendment S5M-14717.1.

14:56  

Miles Briggs (Lothian) (Con)

I am pleased to take part in today’s debate and I thank the Labour Party for bringing this important matter to the chamber. Social care is one of the most important issues that our country faces and it is of great concern to many older and vulnerable people and their families and friends across the country. I thank and pay tribute to the organisations that have provided useful briefings for today, including the SCVO, Enable and Age Scotland.

The Scottish National Party Government and the First Minister have said repeatedly that they will get on top of the delayed discharge crisis in Scotland, which is one of the clearest indications of the pressure on social care networks. Indeed, the former Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Shona Robison, promised three years ago that the Government would “eradicate” the problem, but the reality, as shown by the most recent Information Services Division figures, is that the situation is deteriorating, and the Government shows no signs of knowing how to turn the problem round.

The most recent figures show that in September, 1,529 people were forced to stay in hospital despite being fit to leave, mostly because of an inability to arrange appropriate at-home care packages, but also because of a lack of suitable care home places. That figure has got worse over the past two years. Perhaps most concerning was the recent case highlighted in The Sunday Times of delayed discharges of between four and seven years at some health boards, with a patient deemed fit for discharge by a Scottish health board in 2011 still under NHS care, according to the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.

I recently met representatives of MND Scotland, who highlighted to me a number of cases across Scotland in which, due to failures in community social care, people ended up admitted to hospital, where their condition significantly deteriorated. As my amendment points out, today’s debate highlights the real need for joint working with housing associations, to ensure that delays in making necessary home adaptations do not further contribute to delays in getting people out of hospital.

The delayed discharge crisis is particularly acute in my own Lothian region, with delayed discharge rates higher here than in any other part of Scotland and accounting for almost a quarter of all of Scotland’s delayed discharges. The City of Edinburgh Council has more delayed discharges than any other council in Scotland. I commend newspapers such as the Edinburgh Evening News, whose on-going care in crisis campaign is helping to keep up the pressure on the city’s health and social care partnership.

Not a week goes by when I do not receive correspondence from constituents and families who come to ask for help when they find themselves in situations that cannot be resolved because of the clear breakdown in our social care system here in the capital. The inability of local health and social care partnerships to provide sustainable care packages is in large part due to the recruitment crisis in the social care sector. Edinburgh’s health and social care partnership has said that local contracted providers have reported high staff turnover rates, which are in the region of 30 to 50 per cent.

Jeane Freeman

Will the member take an intervention?

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I warn you, Mr Briggs, that there is no time in hand. You will have to absorb the time taken by any interventions.

Jeane Freeman

I will say this very quickly. Does the member recognise that in Edinburgh there is particular pressure in the labour market and that both the local authority and NHS Lothian have jointly contributed additional funds to meet that?

Miles Briggs

I have been calling for that for two years and I met the health board to say that it needs to be put in place. We have an overheated market here in Edinburgh, which is contributing to that factor.

I agree with Alex Rowley: it is important that we recognise that we need to encourage and support our social care workers. They are fulfilling a vital role and should be held in the same regard as clinical staff and other NHS workers.

Although investment in extra childcare is, of course, welcome, the Government needs to be aware of the impact that the situation will have on the adult and elderly care workforce and of the additional staff that will be needed.

The Scottish Government will need to address those concerns without delay and look to how we can ensure that social care workforce plans are brought forward more quickly. The Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee undertook an inquiry into the social care workforce and made a number of important recommendations, which we have not seen progressed or implemented to date. Some of those were highlighted by Alex Rowley.

A national social care internship programme, for example, merits consideration and could be a good opportunity to give students who are studying relevant courses practical experience in the field. I hope that that is something that the Scottish Government will agree to explore. Such a scheme could be taken forward by colleges, universities and social care providers. It is important in order to meet what is now a real demand for additional staff in the social care workforce across Scotland.

The Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee in its recent report also looked ahead to this year’s budget and expressed serious concerns about the leadership in some of our health and social care partnerships and about the failure of too many partnerships to deliver the transformational change required.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

You must conclude there, I am afraid. I have to be the same with everyone. I am sorry about that—I beg your pardon.

Miles Briggs

To conclude—

The Deputy Presiding Officer

You have had five minutes. Sorry, Mr Briggs, but I have no time in hand. Please move your amendment.

Miles Briggs

I move amendment S5M-14717.1, to insert at end:

“, and further calls on the Scottish Government to focus on improving workforce planning and consider new models of care and joint working, including working with housing associations to tackle delayed discharge to prevent patients waiting in wards because their homes need to be adapted for their return.”

15:01  

Alison Johnstone (Lothian) (Green)

I thank Labour for bringing this debate to the chamber and I welcome the opportunity to discuss the future of social care in Scotland. I am heartened by the progress that is being made to make personal care and nursing care free to all who need it, regardless of age or condition. It was deeply unfair that free care was limited by age, and I believe that the change was won because the Government listened to voices across parties, constituencies and communities. We all understand how integral high-quality social care is to our entire health and social care system, and that should be reflected in housing and our fair work practices, too.

I hope that this debate allows us to make further progress in agreeing shared priorities for social care. No discussion of care should fail to recognise the incredible contribution that unpaid carers make. Health and social care budgets are stretched, and we can only imagine how much worse that would be without that incredible contribution, which we should better recognise through a more generous and more widely available Scottish carers allowance.

I turn to pay. I whole-heartedly agree with the point that was made in Labour’s motion that there is still a disparity between the value of social care to society and the level of pay and working conditions of staff. Investment that the Scottish Government has made in the living wage for social care workers has been welcome, although clearly there are problems and not all workers are receiving that yet.

We cannot and must not stop there. The Scottish Greens have long called for a living wage plus for social care staff. A rate of at least £10 per hour for social care staff would reflect how important their work is to our communities and public services and show our high regard for the specialised caring role. Such investment would significantly boost women’s pay, given that women account for about 85 per cent of the social services workforce.

I would also like the Scottish Government to commit resources to the delivery of meaningful pay differentials among staff who are building careers in the sector. Such direct support would encourage staff to develop into specialised, senior and management roles, with increased responsibility.

Such an approach would also help to address the serious staff shortages and high turnover in the sector. Scottish Care indicates that average turnover in care homes is 22 per cent. As Age Scotland points out, that is likely to be compounded by Brexit, given that at least 6 per cent of our social care staff are European Economic Area nationals, as are around 8 per cent of nurses in the sector.

Given that more European Union nurses are leaving the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s United Kingdom register than are joining it, enough damage has been done already. The British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing are campaigning for a people’s vote, and in the light of Labour’s motion on social care, I urge members on that party’s benches to join in that campaign.

To ensure that social care services are sustainable, an increase in resources is necessary, as well as efforts to safeguard existing staffing levels in the face of Brexit and to improve workforce planning, but there does not yet seem to be a strong consensus on how increased resources should be directed to front-line social care services. The motion calls on the Government to develop a financial model to address the issue in partnership with local government and NHS boards, and it is fair to recognise that the Government has work under way in that regard—Audit Scotland has welcomed the medium-term financial framework for health and social care.

The Greens will support the Labour motion, but I point out that, in “Scotland’s Budget Report 2018”, the Fraser of Allander institute stresses that

“Spending choices should not just be viewed as a trade-off between local government and health”.

When the aim of integration is for spending on health and spending on social care to be mutually supportive, we must move away from considering one budget to be protected at the expense of the other. Both need to be properly funded.

15:06  

Willie Rennie (North East Fife) (LD)

Every year, 500,000 bed days are lost to the NHS because of delayed discharge. The issue is one that was supposed to have been resolved almost three years ago—the cabinet secretary’s predecessor gave that commitment. I am not pretending that the problem is an easy one to solve, but there is a significant difference between the rhetoric of three years ago and the reality of today.

My concern about the integration authorities is that we have not created integration; we have created a separate, third body that is junior to the council and the NHS board in the area. When difficulty arises, those two bodies are nowhere to be seen. That is one of the challenges that we face. We have not created the integration body that we need.

The high turnover of leadership in the integration authorities is of grave concern. Seven out of the 31 authorities have had new chief officers in the past two years. There is a lack of long-term financial planning as well as a lack of data sharing. We know about the problem of the different languages that the professionals in the different halves of the organisations speak. There is a lack of collaboration between the bodies, and accountability is confused. All of that has led to 500,000 bed days being lost to the NHS every year.

The bed days figure gives an indication of the health of a hospital, because it shows the flow through the hospital. Although accident and emergency waiting times are important, the bed days figure is probably a stronger indicator of how well a hospital is performing. That is why it is so important that we get on top of the problems that we are discussing.

I will quickly give some examples of where the system is not working in Fife. There is a proposal to close the general practitioner out-of-hours facility in St Andrews, which is a responsibility of the integration authority. NHS Fife has distanced itself from the decision. Fife Council tells me that the individual councillors on the health and social care partnership are there in their own right, not on behalf of the council. If the partnership is a joint body, both the health board and the council should be responsible for its decisions, but both are distancing themselves from the proposal to close the St Andrews facility, even though the co-leader of Fife Council—I will not say which party he represents—voted for it. The whole thing is a shambles, which is why people in Fife are very confused about who is responsible for anything.

There is also turbulent leadership in Fife. Michael Kellet, the chief officer of Fife health and social care partnership, is a very good officer, but he is relatively new in the organisation. We have just lost the previous chair of the body, Simon Little—he was prematurely removed from the board. That has removed the continuity that we need. One of the wider concerns that I have raised about the performance of NHS Fife and its leadership is the fact that we have had four departures from senior positions in the body in the past two years, and I hope that the Scottish Government commissions an investigation into that.

The integration authorities have other fundamental weaknesses. There is a shortage of workers, particularly in rural areas, where workers are not paid to travel between homes to care for individuals. It is no wonder that we are finding it difficult to get carers to cover rural homes and rural patients.

Brexit, of course, is compounding the problem, which is why we need the people’s vote that Alison Johnstone talked about. Robert Kilgour has talked about the impact of Brexit in this “perfect storm”—the combination of different issues impacting on the care service.

Finally, the removal by Bield Housing & Care of 12 of its care homes is surely another indicator that the sector has serious problems.

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Linda Fabiani)

We move to the open debate. We are already behind time, so speeches of under four minutes would be useful.

15:10  

Elaine Smith (Central Scotland) (Lab)

On many occasions in Parliament, members have commended the skills and professionalism of people who work in the social care sector, and rightly so, because for many families throughout Scotland, a good quality of life and engagement with the wider community are entirely dependent on the support of social care services.

Investing in the social care sector contributes to the preventative spend agenda by keeping people healthier and active in their own homes and, as we have heard from other members, by releasing hospital beds for those who need them most. Social care sector workers, who are mostly women, make a significant contribution to the local economy by earning and spending in our communities.

I am sure that there will be agreement across the chamber that such essential work should be valued accordingly. As such, the targets that have been set on the payment of the living wage across the sector are to be welcomed, and I am sure that the progress that has been made has improved the earnings of many households. However, too many of the children who live in poverty in Scotland live in households in which at least one adult—often two—is in work, so we should be asking whether simply delivering on the living wage alone is adequate in meeting the needs of families or, in this instance, in recognising the value of the social care sector.

Implementation costs for the payment of the living wage as a minimum across the sector appear to be unclear. Last week, the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland commented on two recent research reports. Its survey of the experience of its membership showed that providers have, in the main, kept up with living wage increases, but the reality is that less than a third of the organisations

“secured sufficient funding from Living Wage-earmarked resources to cover the cost.”

That must mean that other aspects of the service suffer.

Staff recruitment and retention are known to be problems already. If overall staffing capacity has to be reduced, there will be more pressure on existing staff to do the work, sickness and absence levels will increase and job satisfaction levels will decrease. That is no way to run a service on which so many of our citizens depend.

Recent research by the University of Strathclyde looked at the experiences of those who are involved in delivering the payment of the living wage across the sector. Although it recognised some of the progress that has been made, the research report highlights almost 32 different approaches to implementation across our local authorities, time and resources being wasted and undue strain being placed on some organisations and departments.

Looking to the future, we know that the social care sector, including the voluntary sector providers that work in partnership with local authorities, needs financial support to bring in new staff. That means younger staff, a more diverse workforce, staff who might be starting or bringing up a family and staff who need well-funded maternity and paternity leave, sick pay, pension rights and good terms of employment, in order to meet the aspirations of the fair work framework that has been set out by the Government.

Annie Gunner Logan, CCPS director, said:

“The findings outlined in these reports suggest that the delivery of the Living Wage in social care has been made a practical reality at least in part by a significant transfer of financial responsibility and risk to the voluntary sector, with concomitant pressure on the sector to bail out the policy with a pretty whopping level of subsidy.

The First Minister has made a commitment to extend Fair Work, including the Living Wage, to as many funding streams as possible through public procurement. We warmly welcome that commitment and want to see it happen as soon as possible. But this new research shows clearly that the implementation process needs a complete overhaul if this policy is to have a positive lasting legacy.”

Both reports raise serious questions about a longer-term commitment to improving pay and conditions across the sector. Our social care workers deserve far better. The Scottish Government must indicate how it intends to address the specific concerns and take seriously the need for more investment in this key employment sector in Scotland.

15:14  

Emma Harper (South Scotland) (SNP)

Today’s motion on investing in social care for Scotland’s future states that the

“health and social care system”

is

“based on human rights, where people receive care according to their need, not on their ability to pay”.

I absolutely agree with that statement. A key priority for the Scottish Government is to ensure that the needs of people who experience care come first and that their rights and choices are respected.

Like many members in the chamber, I recognise the immediate and long-term challenges to the delivery of care in people’s homes and, indeed, in the community. I also recognise that there are challenges to demonstrating and elevating the value of people who choose to look after those who need care.

In preparation for the debate, I was reminded of my nurse training—I remind members that I am a registered nurse. When I started my training, I learned about Abraham Maslow and his theory of the hierarchy of psychological health needs. His paper, which was published way back in 1943, is still relevant today. His hierarchy of needs describes the basic needs for survival—food and water, shelter, warmth and safety. Carers provide support and care that meet the basic needs of human beings and, while engaging in their caring duties, support clients and service users in many other ways. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is as relevant today as it was in 1943.

I agree that attracting the right people to become carers and retaining them, as well as raising the status of social care as a profession, is key to delivering quality care. The SNP Government has taken action to protect our social care services and to ensure that adult social care workers are paid the living wage. That move has benefited up to 40,000 carers, many of whom are women, as Elaine Smith highlighted.

Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

Will the member take an intervention?

Emma Harper

I am sorry, but I am not taking an intervention, because time is tight.

In addition, the SNP Scottish Government has ensured that, this year, there will be more than £550 million of NHS front-line investment in social care and integration. Around £66 million of that will enable local government to better support social care, including through the continued delivery of the living wage for adult care workers, and it will cover the extension of sleepover hours during 2018-19.

Ensuring that the workforce is properly trained, supported and regulated is key to effective, safe and high-quality delivery of services. That is exactly what the Scottish Government is doing and will continue to do. Moving and handling is one of the key skills required by both paid and unpaid carers to prevent injury. I have had representations from a constituent in Ayr who has asked me to pick up on that, and I have written to the cabinet secretary on the matter.

I support the Government’s amendment, which speaks of increased resources and investment in primary care. In my South Scotland region, a programme called transforming Wigtownshire is working with local people across rural south-west Scotland. I have spoken about it previously. Its goal is to generate ideas and different ways of working so that social care resources can be delivered in the most effective way. The programme is under way, and European Union funding has been applied for and is available for investigations of how the implementation of technology can be used to support people in their homes, so that they remain independent and supported and can get out of hospital sooner. That technology, including mPower, the community health synchronisation project—CoH-Sync—and, now, the attend anywhere programme, is being piloted and tested in the area. I look forward to seeing the outcomes as they become available.

In conclusion, I support the Scottish Government’s amendment and agree that social care must be a fundamental right and that people working in the sector must be recognised and paid a fair wage.

15:18  

Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland) (Con)

The concept of integrating health and social care has unanimous support across the spectrum in politics and the professions. It is the ultimate no-brainer. The policy would deliver a better care system for the over-65s, enabling people to stay in their own homes and communities; would reduce the use of acute health services, improving everyone’s quality of life; would ultimately help to address the challenges of our increasing longevity; and, while improving lives, would deliver a more financially sustainable outlook.

That view has not changed, and the support for Frank’s law reinforced the belief that the provision of free personal care for people who need it is an important social principle. However, despite that unanimous support, the delivery of the principle is still facing a number of hurdles, not least the conflicting interests of local government and the health service. In the early days, it was a battle of language and understanding between two different cultures; today, it is more a battle of resources and control.

In 2011, the Christie commission into the future delivery of public services identified five key issues: that services were provided to individuals rather than designed for and with them; that models of provision failed to empower and enable people and communities sufficiently to achieve positive outcomes in their own lives; that services often impaired individual incentives and fostered dependencies that created demand, while a culture of professional dominance in public bodies had made them unresponsive to changing needs and risk averse about innovation; and, finally, that procurement was often taken forward on a scale that discriminated against smaller providers and person-centred approaches. The question is: how far have we gone in addressing those challenges?

There is a real tension between the key partners. The health service needs patients to be able to leave acute care in a timely manner, because delaying discharge is not only an expensive option but a poor option for the patient—particularly for the elderly—as people can become institutionalised and lose their independence through reduced movement and risk of infection. On the other hand, local government is feeling the strain on its budgets and is seeking solutions to the increased pressure to provide more services to a burgeoning elderly population.

I do not believe that the competing interests of those two bodies, no matter how united their press releases are, provides the best approach to meeting people’s needs. There is a clear lack of leadership as integration joint board members have half an eye on the interests of the bodies that appointed them to the IJBs. I say that not to be disparaging of IJB members but in recognition of the fact that it is a difficult balance to get right. The reality on the ground is that people just want good services—they do not care who is in charge, but somebody needs to be.

Delivery of a high-quality social care system requires motivated and caring staff. Pay certainly has a role in that, but so do conditions of work and, most important, job satisfaction. Many elderly people develop positive caring relationships with those who come in to assist them, but there are difficulties. When I speak to care staff, one of the concerns that they consistently raise is the lack of time that they have in which to deliver the care that they would like to deliver. The period of 15 minutes that is often allocated is not long enough to support some people effectively. Both the client and the carer struggle with that, and it fails the person-centred care test.

We need transformational change. I am not suggesting that no good work is being done on the ground, and I certainly welcome the independent inquiry that is under way. However, as yet, integration of health and social care is still very much a work in progress.

15:22  

Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

In the short time available to me, I will cover two specific issues, both of which relate to the importance of the social care workforce. We know that the quality of social care is fundamentally about resources, and the biggest resource of all is the workforce. Without that dedicated workforce, the system would simply collapse. We know about the challenges of recruitment and retention in social care, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will be exacerbated by Brexit, but there is much that we can do.

The sector is growing and the need for social care is increasing. Whether it is someone with a learning disability who needs support or an older person requiring a night-time tuck-in service, the care that is provided is essential to their wellbeing. Recently, the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee recognised, for the first time in the Scottish Parliament’s history, that care is a key growth sector that matters fundamentally to our economy. The committee recommended that Scottish Enterprise treat it as such but, unfortunately, ministers thought otherwise. I ask them to think again, because caring and the jobs in the sector make a hugely important contribution to the Scottish economy.

The workforce is predominantly feminised and is characterised by low wages and part-time temporary work. That needs to change. We, as a society, need to value the service that carers provide, and one obvious way of doing that is through their pay packets. The Scottish Government allocated additional money for local government to pay the living wage for waking-hours care from October 2016. Scottish Labour campaigned for that, and I welcome it very much. During the passage of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill, the SNP refused our calls for the Government to pay the living wage to all employees on public contracts, but I am glad that it has changed its mind and has done that for social care staff.

I welcomed, too, Shona Robison’s announcement in October 2017 that the living wage was also to apply to staff providing night-time cover. That was to be implemented this year, in 2018-19, and the Scottish Government gave additional funds to health and social care partnerships to do it. The living wage was to be in place for all staff, whether for daytime or night-time cover, and not just for those employed directly by the local authority but for those employed in the private and voluntary sectors.

However, the reality on the ground is very different, as we have heard from members today. I will tell members about the experience of one of the largest third sector providers of social care. It is keen to pay its staff the living wage for sleepovers, and their trade union is keen for that to happen. However, the delivery of the policy on the ground is patchy. Services that are commissioned by local authorities for the full year have been commissioned already without payment of the living wage for sleepovers; in fact, some 60 per cent of local authorities that commission care services have not provided the living wage for sleepovers for the entirety of 2018-19.

I cannot believe that the cabinet secretary is content with that. Money that has been given to pay the living wage is not ending up in the pockets of hard-working care staff, where I know she wants it to be. We all want it to be there, and I cannot believe that the cabinet secretary is happy that it is not. Will she ensure—we will help her—that, for the remainder of this year, that money is paid so that the staff get their rightful pay? Will she guarantee now that the policy will be fully funded for 2019-20 and that all staff who do sleepovers will be paid the living wage?

It is 41 days away from Christmas, and the panto season is already upon us. Will Jeane Freeman be Santa or Scrooge? Social care workers are watching with interest. I hope that she is Santa.

15:26  

Fulton MacGregor (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)

Money is being invested in health and social care integration. Health spending per head is 7.1 per cent higher in Scotland than in the UK as a whole, which represents £850 million more in spending on health services in Scotland. Given that Labour has brought the debate to the chamber, it is worth remembering that Labour’s spending plans for health at the last Scottish election would have seen our NHS cut by being £360 million worse off—that is the equivalent of 9,000 nurses.

Rather than deliver the full funding, the UK Government has cut our budget by almost £55 million next year and by more than £270 million over its five-year plan. However, despite the UK Government’s cuts to Scotland’s budget, an additional £66 million will be provided to local government to support the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, which I hope will be welcomed by everyone.

The Scottish Government’s priority is to ensure that the needs of people who experience care come first and that their rights and choices are respected. Within the past decade, a significant amount of work and investment has gone into supporting older people and people with disabilities to live well in their homes for longer. As a population, we are living longer, which means that demand for care and support is growing faster than our traditional services were designed for. The challenge of looking after our ageing population in the future is one that we all must face head on. As other members have mentioned, Scotland is the only part of the UK to have implemented free personal care for older people and will be the only part to implement it for people under 65. All in all, we have a system that, although it is not perfect, is much fairer.

In general, there has been cross-party political consensus on the issue of integration. Given the importance of the issue, that is right. This is the second time in a week that I have spoken on the issue after contributing to Monica Lennon’s members’ business debate last week—a debate that was used to criticise decisions by an SNP council to reduce the need for care homes and support independent living. I pointed out at the time that those decisions were initiated under the Labour administration—and rightly, too. In that debate, Monica Lennon and her colleagues failed to address the fact that neighbouring North Lanarkshire Council, which is under Labour control, is now down to just one care home. I am not going to be a hypocrite, however, as I agree with that situation—it is a sign that we are supporting more people to live at home.

John Scott (Ayr) (Con)

Will Fulton MacGregor give way?

Fulton MacGregor

I am sorry, but I do not have time for interventions.

In that debate and today’s, the workers’ situation, which Alex Rowley and other members have mentioned, is a theme in which I have found some common ground with Monica Lennon. We must work with the social care workforce to find the right employment for everyone.

Neil Findlay

Will Fulton MacGregor take an intervention on that point?

Fulton MacGregor

I cannot.

That is why the SNP Government has provided funding to enable adult social care workers to be paid the Scottish living wage—last week was Scottish living wage week—which has benefited up to 40,000 care workers, as Emma Harper pointed out. The average earnings of adult social care workers are higher in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK. That point has been talked about a lot.

I welcome the cabinet secretary’s remarks that she is willing to address some of the concerns that have been raised about people not being paid the living wage when they are employed through third sector organisations. Of course, our system is not perfect; no one is denying that. It cares for some of our most vulnerable people and needs to be flexible and responsive.

I am sure that all members here have had queries from people who are unhappy about the level of care that they or their relatives have received or who are unhappy about local decisions such as the reduction in community alarms and gardening services, which has knock-on effects on personal care. Politicians at all levels of government must respond honestly to those issues and learn from them to make the system as effective as we can.

Like Alison Johnstone, I must mention unpaid carers, as the work that they do is absolutely fantastic.

We must work collaboratively on this—it is one of the biggest challenges of our generation.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Brevity from the final two members to speak in the open debate would be appreciated.

15:30  

Alexander Stewart (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)

The decision to integrate health and social care and to seek to shift the balance of care out of hospitals and into our communities was fundamentally right.

However, it has been something of a challenge to find a way to put those ambitions into practice. Having seen at first hand the integration joint boards when they were first set up, I was, as a councillor, acutely aware that councillors, NHS board members and officers from both organisations took some time to adapt to the new way of working. People must continue to adapt to it if they are to make progress on social care. At present, the increasing costs that are caused by the pressures of an ageing population are outpacing the rate of transformational changes being made by integration authorities.

A recent report by the Health and Sport Committee suggested that that was due to a lack of leadership in the integration joint boards. If they have a leadership issue, that is a real problem that must be tackled. The report also highlighted concerns that some senior managers are directly linked to one of the partners and therefore might have conflicts of interests when budget decisions are being made.

More concerning, however, is the lack of formal joint working arrangements between NHS boards and local authorities, which would allow one manager to have responsibility for staff in both organisations. Although teams of staff from both partners often work together, true integration will continue to elude us if we do not tackle the problem.

There are still concerns about the governance ability and arrangements of some integration joint boards. Although the integration schemes may allow for shared overspends between partner organisations, they are not a requirement, so local authorities may have to pick up the bill for significant increases in demand pressures. It is very important that we look at how budgets are managed, because we must ensure that we do not go from having had two authorities that failed, to just replacing them with three authorities that might also be failing.

We need to ensure that we do more to improve delayed discharge, including through improved sharing of information. In Perth and Kinross, the home assessment recovery team seeks to get people out of hospital and back into their own homes as soon as is practically possible by putting in place the necessary adaptations. It also provides temporary care to help people to readjust to being back in their home before they get the permanent package of care that they require. That model has been successful in reducing the number of delayed discharges, and could be replicated in other areas.

However, all those considerations are rather academic if we are unable to recruit staff to provide the required services. The Care Inspectorate recently said that 35 per cent of care services in 2015-16 had unfilled staff vacancies, and Scottish Care said that the proportion of homes requiring full-time nursing posts to be filled has increased. We need to look at ways to make those jobs more attractive to people who are otherwise put off working in the sector.

We have made progress along the road to health and social care integration, but there is still much work to be done. We should continue to monitor the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014 to ensure that it is being implemented, and we should consider how the Scottish Parliament can support the development of integration authorities. If that is achieved, it will go a long way towards tackling the many issues in the sector.

15:34  

Alex Neil (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)

I emphasise that we have made significant progress in recent years. In particular, I welcome the introduction of Frank’s law and the living wage, and the increase in the carers allowance, all of which are making substantial contributions to the improvement of social care.

We all know that there are major challenges still to be faced, but it is worth our while to remind ourselves why integration is so important. The policy of integration is driven by the medical and economic evidence. The medical evidence is that patients are treated better and more safely at home—if they can be treated at home—than in a hospital setting. I remember the following statistic because I got it on my first day as the then Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing. At any one time in Scotland, or indeed in any advanced economy, about one third of the patients who are in hospital do not need to be there: it is not to their medical advantage to be there. That is why we must—as has been done successfully elsewhere, most successfully in Alaska—transfer those people and their treatment into the community instead of leaving them in hospital.

There is an unusual situation in that as well as treatment at home being medically the best way to treat patients, it is also the least expensive way. In the health service, the best treatment is usually the most expensive treatment; social care is, ironically, the least expensive. On average, it costs almost £4,500 a week to keep a person in an acute hospital, about £2,000 a week to keep them in a community hospital, £700 a week to keep them in a nursing home, and £300 to £400 a week to keep them at home. There are, therefore, both medical and resource issues that should drive integration as fast and as comprehensively as possible.

The core issue is the same issue that we faced when it came to emptying the Victorian asylums and treating in the community people who had mental health problems. We must fund both services to the same level until the transition has been made. We must continue to fund acute services, which is what the set-aside money is for, while building up the resources that do not currently exist in the community. If we are going to empty the hospitals of people who do not need to be there, we need to have the appropriate facilities in the community. We are trying to achieve that against a background of severe budget constraint that is not of our making.

Bridge funding was supplied for the Victorian asylums, which was a kind of equivalent to the set-aside money. We can learn lessons from what was done with mental health treatment as we try to achieve our objective with physical health. However, there should be no misunderstanding: it is a complex issue, and although we have made substantial progress, there is still a lot to be made.

I will leave it there, Presiding Officer. It is a great pity that the debates are being squeezed by the Parliamentary Bureau. It does no service to the Parliament, no service to the subject of social care, and no service to the next debate.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

We move to closing speeches. Brian Whittle has no more than four minutes.

15:38  

Brian Whittle (South Scotland) (Con)

I am delighted to be taking part in the debate, and I thank Labour for bringing the issue to the chamber. It has been an interesting debate on a subject that could, as Alex Neil has just said, have done with more time for members to develop the main points. The fact that there has been little attempt to leverage political discourse into the debate highlights how important the subject is.

Alex Rowley started the debate by highlighting how problems between the NHS and social care services are leading to delayed discharges. Miles Briggs developed the point and suggested that the level of delayed discharges indicates the pressure that our social services are under.

I highlight that we agree with much that is in the Scottish Government’s outline vision and objectives. It is entirely right that we should aim for everyone to live longer and healthier lives at home or in a homely setting. Alex Neil focused on the fact that treatment at home is medically and financially the better option. That should receive support from across the chamber.

Central to that vision is the development of integration joint boards. In his speech, Alexander Stewart highlighted the fact that initiating such a fundamental change will inevitably hit bumps in the road.

However, as the Health and Sport Committee reported, plans for measurement of health and social care are being hampered by lack of leadership, which Michelle Ballantyne raised in her speech. There is a sense that there is no governing body steering the ship. Willie Rennie was keen to develop that issue. At this point, 21 integration joint boards are failing, after three years, to deliver the transformation that is required.

That view is backed up by an Audit Scotland report that states that progress towards the 2020 vision is “too slow”. That report also mentioned that financial sustainability of the health service in the medium to long term and recruitment of the right number of key staff are key.

Workforce planning, or the lack thereof, was one of the main thrusts of today’s speeches and the Labour motion, and we have heard calls for a cohesive strategy to alleviate the shortage of trained healthcare professionals. We are certainly able to support some of the SNP policy at the top level. However, when we look below the surface, we can see that more thought is required in order to create a sustainable and stable workforce.

I would like to highlight the unintended consequences of lack of forethought and planning in relation to the policy of providing 1,140 hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds. It is a fact that, now, carers are transferring from the social care environment to the childcare environment, because the same skill sets are needed in both areas. Only a couple of weeks ago, nursery owners told me that they are recruiting more and more staff from the social care sector. The matter has been raised time and again in the chamber, but the Government has been slow to react and to recognise that all social care and health policies are interconnected and interdependent.

Integration of social care and healthcare is the way to go, and we support the drive to achieve it. However, there is an issue with governance in relation to implementation of the policy, as was highlighted in the inquiry by the Health and Sport Committee. The best that one can say is that progress on delivery is patchy across the country.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I call Jeane Freeman. You have no more than four minutes, cabinet secretary.

15:42  

Jeane Freeman

I will do my best to rattle through my speech.

We are, undoubtedly, faced with challenges as we seek to deliver integrated health and social care properly. However, Alex Neil was absolutely right to say that we should not set aside recognition of the significant achievements that have been made in many local authority areas by social care workers. We must give them credit for what they have done.

It is right for members to have pointed to delayed discharge: there are undoubtedly challenges there. However, as Alexander Stewart said, we have integration authorities in which there is no delayed discharge and things are working. The one in his local council area is not the only one in which that is the case. The issue is not only about resources; it is also about how we work, which is why I spoke earlier about the whole-system thinking that is needed.

Willie Rennie pointed to issues in governance and leadership, and was not alone in that. Without specific reference to the situation in Fife, which would not be appropriate, it is right that the joint review that I mentioned, which is led by COSLA and the Scottish Government, is actively looking at issues of governance, finance and decision making.

The approach is three years old—a lot has been achieved in those three years, but the approach is still new. I completely appreciate that someone who is waiting for better services does not care how new or old the approach is, and simply wants the improvements now. However, I think that that perspective is a reasonable one for us to have. Furthermore, it is right that the review is a partnership.

Alex Rowley made an interesting proposition about directly funding integration joint boards. I presume that that funding would come from the health service and local authorities. I am happy to discuss that with COSLA and to consider changes to ensure that our Government procurement framework is applied or is, at least, matched in local authorities, and I would certainly welcome the support of Mr Rowley and his colleagues in doing that, because I do not think that local authorities would take kindly to the idea of responsibility for people whom they currently employ being lifted from them and moved elsewhere.

Jackie Baillie offered to help to ensure that the money that the Government has provided to fund fully the real living wage gets to the staff who deserve it. I welcome that. Therefore, I invite her to be Santa by working with me to ensure that all councils do precisely that, not only for the people whom they employ, but for people whom they contract, including from the third sector. Together, let us learn the lessons from local authorities that directly employ social care staff, and in which terms and conditions, career opportunities and the real living wage are such that the authorities not only attract staff, but retain them.

Jackie Baillie

Will the cabinet secretary take an intervention?

Jeane Freeman

No, I shall not.

In authorities where that is the case, we see that the clear guidance that 15-minute visits are appropriate only in certain circumstances, for example for medicine checks, is followed. Those integration authorities are moving away from the time-and-task approach to focus on the individual.

The workforce is important—I am interested in Miles Briggs’s proposition of a social care internship and am happy to discuss that with him. As others have mentioned, we cannot talk about the importance of the workforce, and the importance of recruiting and retaining it, without recognising that we must do that in the context of Brexit. Brexit will take away a significant proportion of our current social care workforce. We need not only free movement in order to continue to benefit from such people’s skills and experience, but changes to immigration policy that support the particular needs of Scotland.

I commend members’ contributions to the debate and am happy to discuss the matter at any time. I look forward to receiving support for our amendment.

15:46  

David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

This has been an excellent debate, with well-informed and passionate contributions from across the chamber.

Many members, including Alex Rowley, Jackie Baillie and Alex Neil, made powerful statements about the reality of social care by providing vivid examples of vulnerable constituents, many of whom rely on unpaid carers—the backbone of our social care network.

I suspect that few members would disagree with the change in philosophy from hospital-based care to community-based health and social care. The key is to have a health and social care system that is based on human rights, in which people receive care based on need and not on the ability to pay.

As we have heard in the debate, we have several key challenges, including the high levels of turnover in the social care sector, which are exacerbated by low pay and the uncertainties of Brexit. By 2035, a quarter of Scotland’s population will be aged 65 or over, which is an increase of nearly one fifth since 2010. Just over one third of over 85-year-olds received care at home or as a long-stay resident in a care home, hospital—

John Scott

Will the member take an intervention?

David Stewart

I am sorry, but I do not have enough time.

As we would expect, older people are more likely than younger people to be admitted to hospital in an emergency and to have multiple and complex needs.

Let us not forget that there are 657,000 unpaid carers in Scotland, half of whom are aged over 65.

Technology and innovation are also crucial. The Health and Sport Committee, of which I am a member, published an excellent report on the subject earlier this year. The report says that technology

“presents an opportunity to ensure innovation in health and social care flourishes and that Scotland is a leader and is not left behind.”

I will give an example. In my Highlands and Islands region, the Inverness city region deal is developing a very imaginative project called fit homes. The homes are future proofed to adapt to changes in residents’ mobility and have a series of sensors that collect data that can be monitored and responded to by, for example, health and housing agencies. The model is designed to create a viable, lower-cost alternative to full-time residential care and prolonged stays in hospital. I hope that that best practice will be picked up across Scotland.

Of course, it is a truism to say that good homes support good health, but I believe that that project could allow people to live independently in their communities for longer, which is very much the point that Alex Neil made in his insightful contribution.

The fit homes project is being developed by Carbon Dynamic in conjunction with Albyn Housing Society and NHS Scotland, and I am delighted to say that it landed the Saltire award.

I am constrained by time so I apologise to those whose contributions to the debate I am not able to mention.

Alex Rowley made an excellent speech about the treatment of social care workers. He quoted Enable Scotland, which I, in turn, will also quote. It says:

“The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported in 2016 that 15% of the social care workforce are in in-work poverty. This means that we have Scotland’s most vulnerable people being cared for by Scotland’s most vulnerable workforce.”

He went on to talk about the differential rates of pay and conditions that care workers experience, and I highlight to all members the excellent Unison study and survey of the area.

Miles Briggs made a useful point when he talked about delayed discharge being a key factor; he said that the problem is getting worse. I also endorse his comments about social care internships as a factor in trying to reverse the problem of recruitment. Alison Johnstone made a useful point about the important role that unpaid carers play in Scotland, and Willie Rennie’s comment about 500,000 lost bed days per year was insightful.

Social care is the very heart of our welfare state. It embodies the Beveridge principles that created the system of welfare protection that looks after our vulnerable, our ill, our old and our sick. However, as Alex Rowley said, we need a significant shift in resources for social care services so that we can achieve a sustainable financial model and provide long-term stability for health and social care in Scotland. To conclude—on time—I note that the famous American anthropologist Margaret Mead once said:

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

ScotRail Franchise (Break Clause)
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The Deputy Presiding Officer (Linda Fabiani)

It is time to move on to the next item of business. I ask members to change seats quickly, please. We are already behind time for the next debate, so some speeches may well have to be curtailed. [Interruption.] I ask members to show a little urgency, please.

The next item of business is a debate on motion S5M-14720, in the name of Colin Smyth, on the ScotRail franchise break clause.

15:52  

Colin Smyth (South Scotland) (Lab)

Today, Parliament has a chance to put Scotland’s rail passengers before the profits of our privatised rail firms and to say to commuters that we are listening. We will not sit idly by in the sidings while passengers suffer from a railway system where fares rise more quickly than wages, new trains run late before they have even been built and passengers wait on platforms wondering whether their train will even stop—and, if it does, whether it will be late or overcrowded.

Labour’s starting point in this debate is to be clear about what our railways are for: they exist to connect people and goods and to support a vibrant economy and a thriving society. That might seem obvious, but the reality is that, under the fragmented privatised rail system that we have today, public transport has become detached from public service. Our trains should be essential services, but instead they are being used by private companies simply as an opportunity to make profits—that is, until the private firm fails and the Government has to step in, and stepping in to end Abellio’s mismanagement of the current ScotRail franchise is exactly what this Scottish National Party Government needs to do.

On every measure of performance in the franchise—punctuality, cancellations and capacity—it is a case of fail, fail, fail. We have the worst performance since the franchise began. On punctuality, ScotRail has not met its target since 2015. Performance is now so bad that it has hit breach level—or rather, it would have been in breach of the franchise had the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity not struck a backroom deal in December to give ScotRail a licence to fail until June next year.

The Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands (Paul Wheelhouse)

I will keep my intervention brief. Does Colin Smyth accept that data that ScotRail provided before the debate show that, since the start of the current financial year, 63 per cent of the faults have been the responsibility of Network Rail?

Colin Smyth

We could pass the buck, as the minister clearly wants to do. We could talk about the fact that contained in those figures for Network Rail are disruptions caused entirely by extreme weather. They do not show up in the ScotRail figures; they show up in the Network Rail figures. It may be Paul Wheelhouse’s position that we can make the weather better under an SNP devolved Administration—I do not know.

Frankly, we should not be letting ScotRail off the hook. When ScotRail was let off the hook, what did it do? The following month, it delivered an even worse reporting period performance, with the annual average public performance measure falling to its lowest point since 2006. By the company’s own admission, it will be 2019 before its performance improves enough just to scrape above breach level. According to the Office of Rail and Road’s most recent projection, ScotRail is unlikely to hit its performance targets until sometime in 2022, although ScotRail refuses to say whether that will happen. That is six years without hitting a single franchise punctuality target and six years of failure on the Scottish Government’s watch.

Plummeting performance is not limited to punctuality. The ORR also found that reliability in the first quarter of this year was the worst since records began. The situation is getting worse, because cancellations are skyrocketing, with the cancellation rate for the most recent reporting period being more than three times higher than it was at the same time in the first two years of the franchise, leaving more and more of Scotland’s passengers stranded. In addition, trains that run are increasingly likely to be overcrowded, with the moving annual average for capacity hitting a franchise low in the most recent reporting period. Improving punctuality, reliability and capacity year on year should be the basic aim of any franchise but, under the ScotRail franchise, after one failed improvement plan and the publication of a second, all three performance measures are getting worse.

It is not just in its franchise obligations that ScotRail is failing. On every key responsibility, from service quality to rolling stock management, the franchise is a shambles. The service quality incentive regime monitors the state of trains and stations across a range of measures, including cleanliness, safety, accessibility and staffing, which are crucial parts of any successful franchise. That monitoring shows that ScotRail has not hit more than half its SQUIRE targets since 2016 and that, at points, it has hit less than a quarter of them. Last year, ScotRail failed on so many measures that all that it delivered were record fines of more than £4.5 million. Things are getting worse again. This year, ScotRail has already racked up more than £2 million-worth of fines for failing to hit its SQUIRE targets—the highest ever level of fines at this point in the year.

The management of rolling stock has been equally shambolic. The long-awaited 385 class trains from Hitachi were delivered 10 months late and then they were almost immediately recalled for safety reasons. The so-called iconic refurbished InterCity 125s, which ScotRail said would transform rail travel in Scotland, are being rolled out without having controlled emission tanks fitted. In 2018, the ScotRail franchise is reintroducing on its services trains whose toilets will literally be emptied directly on to the tracks, despite there being a clear agreement not to do that. That shocking practice is as outdated as the 40-year-old trains and shows utter contempt for communities and for staff working on those tracks, whose health and safety will be compromised as a result.

However, it is clear from the Government’s amendment that none of that matters. The Government will continue to wring its hands and say that things are not very good but, when it comes to the crunch, it will be business as usual. The Government needs to wake up to the fact that this is a failing franchise operating within a failing franchising model.

John Mason (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)

Will the member take an intervention?

Colin Smyth

I am sorry, but I do not have time

The franchise is a symptom of the fragmented, profit-driven, privatised railway system that was created 25 years ago this month. It is a privatisation experiment that needs to be driven to the end of the track. In Scotland today, we can take a first step towards doing just that.

There is a break clause in the ScotRail franchise that means that it could simply be allowed to expire in 2022 rather than be extended to 2025. The Government has the power to use that clause to put Scotland’s passengers—and, for that matter, Abellio—out of their misery and end the ScotRail franchise. Serving notice now would give the Government time to put in place a public sector operator of last resort and to prepare properly a public sector bid should there be any future franchise. However, from its decision not to directly award the northern isles ferry contract to the public sector to the timid Transport (Scotland) Bill, which will keep the ban that prevents local councils from fully running bus services, the Government is—at best—ambivalent about public ownership of public transport. That is why it will not enforce that break clause today.

If the Scottish Government was committed to public ownership, it would end the ScotRail franchise at the earliest opportunity and get serious about a public sector bid. It would recognise that, ultimately, we need an end to the wasteful and inefficient franchising system altogether. It would therefore back Labour’s calls for the repeal of the Railways Act 1993 so that we can have proper public ownership of our railways and bring track and train together, instead of separating Network Rail and rail operators, which has failed.

Even members who do not support public ownership must see that the current franchise is just not working and that it has to end sooner rather than later. When it comes to the vote later today, members will have a choice between putting passengers first or putting the profits of the privatised utilities first by allowing the franchise to continue.

My motion makes clear whose side Labour is on. Labour is on the side of Scotland’s passengers, rail staff and trade unions, who together say that enough is enough. It is time to call a halt to the franchise. It is time to end privatisation.

I move,

That the Parliament believes that the Scottish Government should exercise the break clause in the ScotRail franchise at the earliest opportunity.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I call the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, to speak to and move amendment S5M-14720.3.

16:00  

The Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands (Paul Wheelhouse)

The Scottish Government has been clear in its ambition to ensure that Scotland’s railways deliver a world-class service across the country. Our record investment of £5 billion to March 2019 will deliver the outcomes of connecting communities, enabling opportunities and spreading sustainable economic prosperity across Scotland.

The ScotRail franchise is well into its fourth year under the stewardship of Abellio. The Parliament is fully aware that there continue to be significant challenges to the ability of both Network Rail and ScotRail to meet the Government’s challenging but achievable service performance targets, and the amendment in my name acknowledges that.

However, it is also important not to lose sight of the significant improvements that ScotRail has already delivered or of the further transformational improvements that this contract is on the cusp of delivering for Scotland. The upgrade and expansion of the rolling stock that is used in Scotland is well under way and passengers across the central belt have been able to travel on the new class 385 trains since July. The around 100 new electric carriages that were added to the ScotRail fleet this year enabled the main Edinburgh to Glasgow route to become a fully electric railway in August. Those faster, greener and longer electric trains have already replaced the 48 diesel carriages that travelled between our two main cities each hour and are therefore contributing to the delivery of both low-emission zones and the achievement our low-carbon transport targets.

We know that the introduction of those trains was not without problems and the Scottish Government has made clear its disappointment with Hitachi’s late delivery. Nonetheless, passenger feedback from those who have travelled on the new trains since they were introduced by ScotRail has been strongly positive. I know that members across the chamber—including Jamie Greene, John Finnie and John Mason—have been impressed by the modern onboard facilities, the availability of more seats, the improved accessibility and the better travel experience overall. ScotRail deserves credit because, when faced with Hitachi’s delayed delivery, it secured and introduced 40 available electric carriages—

Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

Will the minister take an intervention?

Paul Wheelhouse

I have only six minutes, so I am afraid that I will have to pass just now.

Neil Findlay

You have got six minutes.

Paul Wheelhouse

I am going to make progress, Mr Findlay, if you do not mind.

Putting passengers first, ScotRail secured and introduced 40 available electric carriages to ensure that there is an electric service with enough seats until Hitachi delivers the full new fleet. Those solutions have maintained service provision and increased capacity, with more than 17,200 extra seats already available each day on Edinburgh to Glasgow services—not that Colin Smyth acknowledged that.

As we move towards the delivery of all 70 of the new train sets by next spring, more trains will enter service on our newly electrified network, which is part of our £5 billion investment in the railway across Scotland. That will deliver significant improvements to routes from Stirling, Dunblane and Alloa in December and to the route between Edinburgh and Glasgow Central via Shotts from May 2019. The new fleet will also provide more seats on existing routes such as the North Berwick, Lanark and Glasgow south electric lines, which will in turn allow for a further cascading of existing refurbished trains to other routes. Overall, that will boost seating by 23 per cent compared with the start of the franchise. We of course want to do more, and another 200 extra services will be introduced across the country over the next few weeks to make rail travel more attractive for commuters and leisure users, and to boost the wider Scottish economy.

Labour members might not be interested in this, but they should listen to it. [Interruption.]

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Could we have a bit of quiet, please?

Paul Wheelhouse

ScotRail has recruited more front-line staff to deliver those enhancements; there are 126 more posts now than there were at the start of the franchise and a further 140 are being recruited. Indeed, ScotRail now provides a total of more than 5,000 jobs. The rolling stock that is needed will be freed up by the class 385s and refurbished high-speed trains entering service in the coming months.

Not only will the cascade support new services; it will enable more trains in Fife, the Borders, Inverclyde and Glasgow to run with more carriages, boosting the total number of carriages in the ScotRail fleet to more than 1,000. That is an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2007.

Although Colin Smyth and his colleagues might not recognise this, ScotRail is delivering its revolution in rail for passengers across the entire Scottish rail network. [Interruption.] If Labour members do not mind, I will continue. Growing numbers of passengers use the ScotRail franchise, continuing the constant growth in patronage throughout the life of this Government.

We have consistently stated in the chamber that performance is not where it should be, and we have reiterated to ScotRail and Network Rail the need for a robust and resilient plan to deliver improvements across the network and provide customers with a more reliable railway. Although ScotRail remains one of the best-performing large train operators in Great Britain—the moving annual average of its public performance measure is 1.9 percentage points better than the GB average—clearly the deterioration in performance needs to stop in order to return reliability and punctuality to our challenging but achievable targets.

The recommendations in the Donovan review that aim to support performance improvement and deliver a resilient railway are welcome, but we are yet to see those improvements take effect. However, we recognise that the suspension of skip-stopping services at stations to recover operations has been welcomed by passengers, with skip-stopping now at the lowest level on record.

Colin Smyth

The minister said that we need to improve performance. Will he tell us when ScotRail will hit its performance targets?

Paul Wheelhouse

Mr Smyth is failing to note the improvement that has been made—in the last year, skip-stopping has decreased by 84 per cent. [Interruption.]

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Excuse me, minister. I ask people to stop shouting from a seated position, please, and recognise that, if we are to get through this debate, we are very pushed for time.

Paul Wheelhouse

Thank you, Presiding Officer. I know that time is short but, in the absence of a positive response from Mr Smyth, I will highlight a recent statement that was made by David Parker, who is the convener of the Scottish Borders Council. He has recognised ScotRail’s positive engagement in maximising the Government’s investment in providing rail services to residents of Midlothian and the central Borders. Councillor Parker stated:

“I have been very impressed with the team at Abellio ScotRail who have worked very hard to make the Borders Railway a success and are continuing to focus on improvements.”

Importantly, he also said:

“Transport Scotland and Abellio ScotRail deserve credit for managing the enormous investment that is taking place in Scotland’s railways at the moment and for passengers, the benefits of those improvements will be felt very strongly in the year ahead.”

If Mr Parker can recognise that, perhaps Mr Smyth might do so in the future.

As the Parliament will be aware, 63 per cent of the delays on our railways are the responsibility of Network Rail. Timetabling has been centralised in Milton Keynes. There have been issues with vehicles being left on the tracks. [Interruption.] It is not just wet weather, Mr Smyth—the member might want to dig into the details.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

You will have to come to a close, please, minister.

Paul Wheelhouse

I know that I need to come to a conclusion, Presiding Officer—I thank you for your patience. I will pick up some of the other points in my closing speech, but I wish that Mr Smyth and his colleagues would give some credit to the staff and the management of ScotRail for the improved performance that they are delivering for our passengers.

I move amendment S5M-14720.3, to leave out from “believes” to end and insert:

“notes that the punctuality and reliability of ScotRail’s services continue to be below the Scottish Government contractual performance targets; recognises that both responsible parties for the effective operation of Scotland’s rail network, Network Rail and ScotRail, are delivering as their combined priority the implementation of a suite of system-wide actions as recommended in the review by Nick Donovan; further recognises that the Scottish Government has secured the right for a public sector body to bid to run Scotland’s rail services, but also notes that the majority of rail performance problems in Scotland are the direct responsibility of Network Rail, and calls on the UK Government to take the opportunity in its Rail Review to devolve authority for rail infrastructure to Scotland, so that responsibility for this rests with the Scottish Parliament.”

Elaine Smith (Central Scotland) (Lab)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. What do the standing orders say about a Government completely ignoring the substantive terms of a motion? Today’s motion is about the break clause.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

It is up to individual members how they respond and what they say in the chamber. I say to everyone involved that it might have been easier to answer that question if I had heard everything that has been said since the start of the debate.

16:08  

Jamie Greene (West Scotland) (Con)

Does Mr Wheelhouse really believe what he was reading out? Passengers watching the debate will be wondering what planet he is living on.

Paul Wheelhouse

Will the member take an intervention?

Jamie Greene

No, let me make progress first.

Paul Wheelhouse

The member asked me a question.

Jamie Greene

Okay. If the minister can answer that question, that would be great.

Paul Wheelhouse

As somebody who believes in using official statistics—and I believe the statistics—and as somebody who uses trains, I see the improvement. Mr Greene has acknowledged the improvement in the rolling stock on social media, including Twitter. Perhaps he will acknowledge it today.

Jamie Greene

We have got new rolling stock. I have been on that new stock and agree that the carriages are great, but that does not in any way solve the many problems that people are facing across Scotland. People who are standing on platforms waiting for a train are seeing them whoosh by. What will a new carriage do for them? What about people on crowded trains who cannot get a seat? What will a new carriage do for them, if there are no seats available? What about the commuters on this morning’s Larbert to Croy line who saw floodwater not on the track but coming through the roof of their train? What will the rolling stock do to support those people?

The lack of self-awareness in the minister’s amendment is incredible. Therefore, I have a lot of sympathy for the sentiment of Labour’s motion. It is forcing to the chamber an important point about performance. The status quo in performance is simply unacceptable to passengers.

Neil Findlay

Will the member take an intervention?

Jamie Greene

Please let me make some progress. I want to explain—and I think that this may be why the member wants to intervene—why we will not support the motion. First of all, the Labour motion is asking us to end the current contract at the earliest opportunity. Presumably, that would be in 2020, when the break clause comes into force for the current franchise agreement, but we have no way of predicting what the quality of service will be in 2020. It is impossible to pre-empt a decision on whether the break clause should or could be applied at that time, so deciding today that it should be applied in two years does not make any sense. If the motion said that it should be an option on the table, perhaps I would have been more minded to support it.

Secondly—and this is the important point—nowhere in the motion does it say who Labour thinks should run the network in that event. Colin Smyth said it in his speech and it is no huge surprise to anyone in the chamber what Labour’s political view on that is. There are many views on who should or could run the railway, but the motion does not say that.

Thirdly, our amendment offers what I think is a sensible solution. When the break clause date approaches, the Scottish Government should come to the Parliament and outline its plan and explain to the Parliament its rationale for the decision that it wants to make, including the cost implications of that decision.

Colin Smyth

I want to be helpful to Mr Greene. He asked who would run the railways if the franchise was broken. It would be exactly the same position as happened with the United Kingdom Government when it broke the east coast main line franchise; it would be run by an operator of last resort. The important thing is that the franchise would be pronounced null and broken and we would have until 2022 to put that operator into place.

Jamie Greene

I am glad that Colin Smyth has such confidence in the UK Government. Unfortunately, I do not have the same confidence that the Scottish Government could take over as an operator of last resort. Even if Abellio decided to walk away from the contract, there is no evidence to suggest that a public bid could actually take over the running of the rail network.

We have so little time that I must move on to the Scottish National Party amendment, which I want to bring to members’ attention. Unsurprisingly, I will not be supporting it, because it does not paint a true picture of the situation. It does not even acknowledge that any of this is any of the Government’s fault. It is always someone else’s fault. It was someone else’s fault when we had the ferry debate last week and it is someone else’s fault when we are having a debate about rail this week. Time after time, that is the narrative that we get from the Scottish Government. Its claim that a majority of delays are Network Rail’s fault is a simplistic view at best, and factually misleading at worst.

Let us look at the facts. We looked at them in great detail today at the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee and I wish that Mr Wheelhouse had watched that meeting—he might have changed his amendment if he had.

Thirty-seven per cent of delays on the ScotRail network are attributed to Network Rail infrastructure. That was not a majority last time I checked. Twenty-three per cent of delays are attributed to train operator avoidable issues, such as carriage faults or staffing issues. Nowhere does the Government amendment accept that the Network Rail figure also includes weather-related delays, passengers taking ill, vandalism to the line or other things that are outside the control of any operator. In fact, Alex Hynes himself told the committee this morning that all those uncontrollable factors are lumped into the Network Rail figure. To use the 62 per cent figure is completely disingenuous. The fantastical notion—

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

I am afraid that you must conclude now, Mr Greene.

Jamie Greene

The fantastical notion that the devolution of Network Rail will solve all those problems is simply untrue.

Presiding Officer, members have three simple options. They can back a Labour motion that calls for an end to the franchise but does not say who will run it, how it will be run or how much it will cost.

The Presiding Officer

You do not have time to list three options. You must conclude.

Jamie Greene

Or they can back our amendment, which offers a sensible and pragmatic solution.

I move amendment S5M-14720.2, to leave out from “believes” to end and insert:

“notes wide acceptance that current ScotRail performance is not meeting passengers’ expectations, as evidenced by its failure to meet its contractual Public Performance Measures (PPM) over the last two quarters, reaching its lowest performance in two decades in September 2018 with a PPM measurement of 87.5%; notes the decision taken by the Scottish Government in August 2018 to reduce the target to 87.18% in order to avoid a breach of contract, and the further decision taken in October 2018 to implement a ministerial waiver on enforcing the ScotRail performance targets from June 2019; notes that there are multiple reasons for delays to services, and calls on the Scottish Government to commit to continued monitoring of performance to ensure that the franchise meets its contractual obligations with a view to making a full assessment and evaluation prior to the 2020 break clause, and to report to the Parliament in a transparent and timely manner its intentions with regard to the ScotRail franchise, paying due regard to ScotRail staff, passengers and value for public money being at the heart of any decision.”

The Presiding Officer

I apologise for cutting everybody short, but there is just no time this afternoon. I know that Mr Greene took two interventions, but even so there is no time.

16:14  

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Green)

I declare an interest as a member of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers parliamentary group. I thank members of the RMT, the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association and all the other people who do an excellent job on our rail network.

I am certainly not here to deride ScotRail in its efforts, but I am here to discuss the motion that is before us, and it is one that is fundamentally about political philosophy and political intent. Colin Smyth has asked for the Scottish Government to exercise the break clause in the ScotRail franchise at the earliest opportunity, and that is certainly a position that the Scottish Green Party fully endorses. We believe that public services should be run exclusively in the public interest.

There is a statutory obligation placed on every limited company to maximise profits for its investors and investors will always trump our citizens.

Abellio is not a commercial company, as such. It is part of the state-owned Dutch railway. I am grateful to the RMT for its research into some of the finances, the loan from a parent company to the subsidiary, namely Abellio, the 8 per cent interest that is paid on that loan and the assumption that there is no reason why it will not be repaid. That rate of return, as the RMT briefing tells us, clearly outstrips the Rail Delivery Group’s claim of an average return of 2 per cent for train companies. There are questions to be asked that are worthy of further pursuit.

The franchise model is a Tory ruse to deliver public money to private companies. That is compounded by the rolling stock leasing companies. However, it is important that we understand the past and the future. The Labour Government could have changed the arrangement and did not do so, but I encourage sinners to repent and I am very happy with the position of the Scottish Labour Party.

I am also grateful to journalists at The Ferret for their research and for finding a document that said that the SNP could not have allowed a public sector bid for the ScotRail franchise. It is important that we have an informed debate about it. That is not always the case.

I am also interested in something that I found on the SNP website that asks

“How will the SNP use new powers over public sector rail franchises?”

It says:

“This power was secured by the SNP Government.”

No, it was not. This power was delivered by the Smith commission and there were two other bodies on the commission that welcomed that. That is an inaccurate statement that is repeated in the Government’s motion. The website goes on to say:

“This year we will identify a suitable public body to make a robust bid for the next ScotRail franchise and will confirm the next steps for the preparation of a bid ... We support the further devolution of Network Rail in Scotland so that it becomes fully accountable to the people of Scotland.”

The Scottish Green Party supports that last bit but is very curious about the middle bit of this statement and the progress that has been made.

It is probably unusual to say so, but I was excited about going to a meeting in 2016 with other representatives of parliamentary groups and the trade unions that was called by the then cabinet secretary, following a period of widespread criticism of ScotRail’s performance. He said that the contract could be cancelled in 2020 and that contingency plans were in place for the Scottish Government to take over train services earlier. He talked about the performance at the time being unacceptable and confirmed that Abellio could be stripped of the contract if punctuality dipped. I am not a great one for figures because what people want to know is whether the train will turn up. Percentages do not mean much to them.

The cabinet secretary went on to say:

“If the Scottish Government, if Transport Scotland had to take over the railways tomorrow, we have contingency plans in place to do that.”

Those contingency plans are presumably still in place. It is unfortunate that some of these amendments are in front of us. I was very keen to have a detailed discussion of longer than four minutes on this issue. In the time that is left, I want to say that, sadly, we cannot nationalise our railways but we can ensure that they are run exclusively in the public interest. We have seen that three times with east coast. It is simply about political will, and the question is whether the SNP has it. The northern isles contract award would perhaps suggest not. However, if the SNP has that political will, how is it is going to demonstrate it?

The Presiding Officer

I call Mike Rumbles. I ask all members to stick within four minutes, if possible.

16:18  

Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (LD)

This debate is an opportunity to prod the Scottish Government to act more appropriately over the poor performance to date of the ScotRail franchise operator, and I thank fthe Labour Party for bringing the subject forward in its debating time. The Liberal Democrats will vote for the motion, if we get the chance to do so.

The transport secretary has been in post for only a short time. He takes over at a time when we are seeing the worst performance against agreed targets since the current franchise began. I felt sorry for Paul Wheelhouse as he tried to defend the indefensible. He has my sympathy.

The customer experience should be at the heart of delivering an effective and efficient rail service. I am afraid that the current franchise operator’s priority does not seem to be to put the customer first every time. Whether we are talking about delays to services, ScotRail’s policy of skip-stopping, which, I was glad to hear this morning, has at last been ended, customers’ ability to obtain seats on trains—now, there is a novelty—or the report in yesterday’s newspapers of the worst-ever level of train cancellations, at more than 70 every day, which is three times higher than the level during the first two years of the franchise, the overall customer experience is particularly poor.

The record of the current franchise holder is simply not good enough. What has been the Scottish Government’s reaction to that record of poor service to the Scottish rail traveller? Just last month, the new Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity granted a temporary waiver, allowing ScotRail to breach previously agreed standards until June 2019. It is not clear why he has done that, and I would have liked him to be in the chamber for the debate, so that he could explain his reasoning to members.

Edward Mountain (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

Will Mike Rumbles give way?

Mike Rumbles

I would love to give way, but I have less than two minutes left.

It seems that the transport secretary would rather blame Network Rail for the failings of the franchise operator. People will be angry that ScotRail is being given an easy ride just because SNP ministers have an intense desire to take control of Network Rail. I noticed that, yesterday, an unnamed Scottish Government spokesperson said:

“We know performance is not where it should be—that is why ministers can and do hold Abellio ScotRail to account within the terms of the franchise”.

It does not seem to me or my Liberal Democrat colleagues that granting a waiver to Abellio ScotRail over performance targets until June next year is quite what we would call holding the franchisee to account within the terms of the contract. Instead of giving a waiver to Abellio ScotRail, the Scottish Government should give notice that it will exercise the break clause in the contract at the earliest opportunity. When the next franchise contract is drawn up, the lessons of the current debacle should be learned and stronger financial penalties and sanctions for poor performance should be included, in the interests of passengers.

In the evidence that he gave to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee this morning, Alex Hynes, the managing director of ScotRail, confirmed—after repeatedly refusing to answer questions in a straightforward manner—that the Scottish Government had actually advanced funds to ScotRail ahead of when the money was due. Of course, Mr Hynes would not say how much public money was involved, but it is claimed on The Scotsman’s website that the figure is £23 million. If making a £23 million early payment is not rewarding failure, I do not know what is. The Scottish Government’s lack of transparency on taxpayers’ money is simply not acceptable.

I said at the beginning of my speech that focusing on the customer experience is paramount. I think that the customer experience has been forgotten by ministers, and it is about time that they put that at the top of their agenda.

16:22  

Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

It used to be skip-stopping that upset my constituents—that was the practice deployed by ScotRail whereby a train would just miss out stops if it was running late. Sometimes, no notice would be given. Someone could be standing at the door ready to get off, only for the train to keep going, with the result that they ended up miles away from home. When skip-stopping was ended, my constituents were delighted. Goodness me—even I was delighted!

Now, the skipping of one or two stops has been replaced by trains skipping every stop because they have been cancelled. Scores of people have been in touch with me about delayed and cancelled trains. I signed up to have the ScotRail alerts sent directly to my email account. The service has been so bad that the alerts have meant hundreds more emails cluttering up my inbox—today, I have received 20 such messages for my local area alone.

The delays have been going on for weeks, but they got much worse from 22 October. The replacement of Bonhill Road bridge was a significant engineering undertaking. Unfortunately, it ran over and morning rail services were all cancelled. There was no contingency plan. The situation was nothing short of chaotic. That accounted for half a day’s disruption, but it does not explain what followed, which was nine consecutive days of disruption. Trains were cancelled or delayed, and some trains stopped, randomly, before the end of the line. One such incident that was relayed to me involved a train from Helensburgh to Edinburgh. It got as far as Dalreoch in Dumbarton, where it waited for an hour, doing nothing, before going backwards to Cardross, where the 78 passengers were just told to get off. You could not make it up. Another constituent has just texted me to tell me that services from Stirling to Glasgow are cancelled right now and that she does not know how she is going to get home on time.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise to learn that the level of cancellations was the worst on record. However, those figures relate to the period up to 13 October. Let me make a prediction: the figures will be much worse for the next accounting period if my local experience is anything to go by.

Someone explaining to their employer that they were late because their train was cancelled or delayed is believable once or twice, but saying that it has happened nine days in a row stretches credibility. There have been missed lectures and missed hospital appointments. It has taken four hours to get to Glasgow when it normally takes 30 minutes.

The funniest moment—a sense of humour is needed to deal with this—was when I was told of Japanese tourists in Glasgow Central station taking pictures of the display boards that were showing all the delays. They were doing so because it was clearly a novelty to them—the trains in Japan run on time.

When the trains arrive, there are three carriages instead of six, and commuters get squeezed in like sardines because there is standing room only.

Instead of standing up for passengers, the SNP Government is running for the hills. SNP ministers relax ScotRail’s performance targets. What happens? The service gets worse. SNP ministers give ScotRail more money. What happens? The service gets worse. SNP ministers allow ScotRail to raise prices. What happens? The service gets worse. When will the SNP wake up and understand that it needs to be on the side of commuters. Frankly, my constituents have had enough.

I suggest that ScotRail gives those who have experienced the most cancellations and delays a refund—not one that they need to apply for after the event, but by offering half-price travel, from now up to Christmas, from Helensburgh, Balloch and Dumbarton, and in any other area that has been affected. If ScotRail cannot make the service demonstrably better in the next few weeks, it is time for the franchise to end.

16:27  

John Mason (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)

We can start by saying that we have an extremely good rail network in this country. I have travelled by train in a number of European countries. The networks in cities such as Athens or Rome are much poorer than the network in Glasgow, and our rolling stock is clearly much better than some in Lisbon and St Petersburg. Yes, our railways face challenges, but let us keep them in perspective. In Glasgow, when we combine the 59 train stations and 15 subway stations, we have a total of 74 rail stations.

My favourite means of transport is rail, which is why I head up the cross-party group on rail. On Saturday, I decided that I would do all my travelling by rail, so I left the car at home. I used the train five times and the subway twice. That included a conference in the morning, shopping in the city centre, football in the afternoon, a concert in the evening and getting home. All seven were excellent services that ran on time.

In my constituency, we now have direct links to Edinburgh thanks to the very successful Airdrie to Bathgate line, which was reopened under the SNP. The electrification of the Whifflet line means that more destinations are available from stations in my constituency through Glasgow Central low level and other stations, and now all 11 stations in my constituency are electrified. We recently got a new road bridge over the railway at Baillieston station, which has greatly improved local traffic.

It is true to say that, while that electrification was going on, I got complaints about the noise of pile driving at night. While the bridge was being replaced, local buses were diverted and people were not happy. However, it seems to me that, both locally and nationally, if we are serious about our railways, and if we invest to improve them for the future, it is inevitable that there will be temporary disruption, temporary delays and temporary cancellations.

ScotRail has delays and cancellations, but many of them are outwith its control, as we have heard. Overall, ScotRail gives a good service. At a recent meeting, the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee heard from one academic that we should realise how good ScotRail is compared with Northern, so I looked at the public performance measure figures. In October, 81.2 per cent of ScotRail services arrived within five minutes of their scheduled arrival time, whereas the figure for Northern was 74.3 per cent. In September, ScotRail was at 86.3 per cent, and Northern was at 82.8 per cent. In August, ScotRail was at 90.6 per cent, and Northern was at 82.2 per cent.

In February, I was down in Cardiff for a city break. I think that some of the trains down there could be described as quite quaint, including the one-coach train that goes to Cardiff Bay station, but I reckon that Cardiff would love to have a system that was more like ours. Of course we want improvements, but perhaps we should be positive about some of the good things that we have.

Neil Findlay

Will the member take an intervention?

John Mason

No—if Labour wants a full debate it should give us a proper two hours, not one hour and 10 minutes.

I am keen on public ownership, in principle. We should not have sold off gas, electricity or public transport, and in an ideal world I would be up for a return to public ownership. However, I do not think that ownership is the only factor. The other week, at the REC committee meeting that I have already mentioned, Lothian Buses, which is widely admired, said that it would make no difference whether it was privately or publicly owned.

As I said, I favour public ownership and it should be possible to make the public sector efficient and customer focused. However, there are risks with it. Politicians can be scared of making difficult decisions, there is a temptation to keep increasing subsidies—which is what happened in the past, during my lifetime—and I remember when we had corporation buses in Glasgow and there were even then disputes and complaints that one area was favoured over another.

Similarly, I remember British Rail, which did not always have a great reputation. It was not seen to be customer focused or ambitious, and its food offering was the butt of many jokes. Again, Network Rail is publicly owned, but it appears to be the cause of a lot of the delays and cancellations. As others have said, and according to the briefing from Abellio, 62 per cent of delay minutes in 2018-19 are Network Rail’s responsibility while 28 per cent are ScotRail’s.

Looking forward, we expect a 10 per cent increase in daily services by the end of 2019—

The Presiding Officer

Time, please, Mr Mason.

John Mason

In conclusion, let us be clear about the reasons for the problems.

16:31  

Liam Kerr (North East Scotland) (Con)

No one could pretend that Scotland’s rail system does not face significant challenges. It does, and Jamie Greene was right to call out the SNP amendment for its naivety and standard buck passing. Labour’s solution is to strip the operation from the incumbent franchisee and nationalise the railway. Colin Smyth stated that the reason for that was that passengers are fed up with overcrowded, overpriced and unreliable trains. No doubt they are, but let us test whether those problems are solved by the proposal for public ownership.

Mr Smyth says that the trains are overcrowded. That is true, in the central belt and at certain specific times of day. What is the solution? We could put on more rolling stock to make longer sets, but Labour members seem to have forgotten—or perhaps they are not aware—that ScotRail’s fleet is entirely leased, almost exclusively from three main rolling stock companies. Even if the current platforms could accommodate the longer sets, what would be the cost of renting more kit and is that kit even available?

Perhaps we could just run more trains at the specific times, but where would we get track capacity on a system that is pretty much sweated to capacity? The east coast main line has no available space and Glasgow Central station could not handle more or longer trains without significant infrastructure investment. Again, more sets means more rolling stock, which means more leasing cost to the taxpayer. I suppose that the nationalised company could buy the rolling stock to run the services, as I think that John Finnie might have been driving at, but at what cost? If it is not going to do that, it is running exactly the same model as at present, in which case the change of ownership has failed to solve the problem of overcrowding.

What about the idea that the break clause should be exercised because tickets are overpriced? Let us assume, because I am trying to be kind, that Colin Smyth can solve the problem of overcrowding without increasing the amount of rolling stock, so that the running cost is the same. How would a new public owner get the price down? There are three basic ways: hike taxes and hypothecate them to the railway, cannibalise from another budget, such as health or education, or cut investment. I would be interested to hear in closing whether the first two are on the cards, but assuming that they are not Labour appears not to know that the margin on running a railway is only about 2 or 3 per cent.

John Finnie

Will the member take an intervention on the matter of the train sets?

Liam Kerr

Will I have time, Presiding Officer?

The Presiding Officer

You will not get it back.

Liam Kerr

I am sorry, Mr Finnie. Perhaps I will take it later.

In brief, a change of ownership will not deliver the price reductions that Labour seeks.

Finally, we hear that the rail service is unreliable. It is a fair point. Passengers are rightly angry about cancellations, delays and breakdowns, but Labour proposes to address that by exercising a break clause and having a nationalised operator. However, a significant reason underlying the delays and cancellations last year was storm Ali. On performance failures, ScotRail suggests that issues with infrastructure, which is the responsibility of the publicly owned Network Rail, account for about 37 per cent. Just how would a nationalised company fix an engine or a set any more quickly than any other company?

Unless Labour proposes to run trains in unsafe conditions in a storm, the fact is that a publicly owned company would have exactly the same reliability figures, overcrowding issues and pricing constraints. By all means, Labour can propose a break clause, but it has to do better than simply leave what happens next hanging and demand nationalisation without even being brave enough to put that in the motion.

We should focus on positive interventions that would actually make a difference to Scotland’s railway, as the amendment in the name of Jamie Greene does, and we should demand that the SNP stop making the excuses that are in its amendment.

16:35  

Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak in the debate. For many months, I have been raising in the chamber my constituents’ concerns over the performance of ScotRail. I am glad that it is a Labour debate that is providing the time for us to say that enough is enough and that it is time for radical change on our railways.

John Mason, a member for Glasgow, made an interesting contribution, but I am disappointed that none of the SNP members from Fife has contributed, because they will have been contacted by the same constituents who regularly contact me with complaints about our train service. Like me, those SNP members will see week in, week out on social media the frustration that commuters have with the service.

The Fife circle is an important service for people who are working, socialising and studying in Edinburgh, and is an important route for those who are travelling onwards and who need to make connections. For over a year, I have been getting complaints about cancellations, delays, station skipping, overcrowding and ticket prices on the service. I have tried to be constructive and find solutions for my constituents. Earlier this year, I held a Facebook Live chat with ScotRail senior management at its head office and put to them my constituents’ questions on overcrowding, cancellations, delays and station skipping. I appreciate the fact that ScotRail agreed to take part in the discussion and I recognise that, following the complaints that I raised, progress was made on station skipping, which had been rife. However, the other promises that were made have not been delivered.

The minister says that we are on the cusp of change, but passengers in Fife have been putting up with overcrowding. The Dunfermline Press’s crush hour campaign has been highlighting that uncomfortable and stressful experience. The fact that those promises have not been delivered is hugely disappointing and frustrating for commuters, who continue to spend significant sums of money and portions of their income on public transport. In a move that could be seen as an attempt to emolliate commuters, a Fife fiver fare was temporarily introduced. I do not begrudge anyone who got the benefit of that, but it applied only at times more limited than off peak and so did not compensate commuters, who had been experiencing the greatest difficulties.

I regularly ask ScotRail for performance figures. The published figures disguise the true experience of commuters who travel at peak times. By focusing on figures for peak times, I found that, between April and September this year, more than 100 peak-time Fife circle services heading to Edinburgh in the morning and coming from Edinburgh in the evening were cancelled. Reports from constituents on social media in recent weeks suggest that this quarter’s figures will be worse. In recent weeks, the service has become increasingly unreliable, with people stranded at stations, often in the cold and dark and with no replacement bus services being provided.

When trains in Fife are cancelled, crew issues are now frequently given as the cause. That is not good enough and is an unfair reflection on the hard work of ScotRail employees. ScotRail needs to urgently resolve the on-going industrial dispute.

Aside from the inconvenience of cancelled and delayed trains, there are other consequences for my constituents. People are late for work and do not always have sympathetic employers. Families are late in collecting their children from childcare, which results in fines and fees. People are now changing their travel arrangements, which is leading to more people wanting to park in Inverkeithing and Kirkcaldy, where there are more trains but not enough capacity for parking. Those decisions increase our carbon footprint, because people are no longer confident of using their local train station and are driving short distances to bigger stations where there are multiple trains.

It feels as if Fife commuters are being short-changed, and I know that many feel that they are receiving a second-class service compared to those in other parts of the central belt. What does the Government do when ScotRail is performing poorly and letting down passengers? It lowers the target and waives the consequences. In opening the debate, Colin Smyth set out how we can take steps to do this better, create rail services that put passengers before profits and end the current contract sooner rather than later and bring our trains back into public ownership. Tonight, let us agree to do that.

16:39  

Kenneth Gibson (Cunninghame North) (SNP)

Railways require serious scrutiny, but this afternoon’s debate is an exercise in rank hypocrisy from Labour, which was in power for 13 years from 1997 and made no effort whatsoever to return the railways to public ownership.

When Abellio won the ScotRail contract in 2014, Labour insisted that the SNP Government had decided not to include a public sector bid for the service.

Neil Bibby (West Scotland) (Lab) rose—

Kenneth Gibson

However, under UK legislation, the Scottish Government did not have the power to make such a decision when the 2013 draft franchise was tendered.

We have always opposed restrictions that prevent public sector bids for the ScotRail franchise. Our 2015 Westminster election manifesto stated:

“We believe that public sector organisations should be able to bid to operate rail services, as allowed in EU law but currently prevented by UK legislation.”

Our 2016 manifesto for this Parliament pledged to

“ensure a public sector bid for future rail franchises.”

I am not sure which part of that statement is confusing to Labour or, indeed, the Greens, but let me clear: it was pressure from SNP MPs that led to the power to allow public sector bids for rail franchises being included in the Scotland Act 2016. Once again, Labour is calling on the Scottish Government to do something that, time and again, it has proven itself unwilling to do. When the Railways Bill, which sliced up British Rail into more than 100 companies, was published in 1993, Labour pledged to renationalise the railways on returning to office, yet Tony Blair and his colleagues made no attempt to deliver that promise.

However, why should we dwell on the past? We can see what Labour is doing right now in Wales. In clear contradiction of its 2016 Welsh Assembly manifesto, Labour has awarded the Wales and borders rail franchise to a joint venture by French operator Keolis and Spanish-owned Amey. Mick Cash, the general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, said:

“RMT is appalled and angry that a Labour administration in Wales would even consider a proposal that mirrors the failed public-private partnership on London Underground which collapsed in total chaos.”

I understand that Mr Bibby was muttering for a minute or two, so I am happy to take an intervention—if he can explain exactly why Labour broke its promise for 13 consecutive years to renationalise the railways and why we should believe it now.

Neil Bibby

During the last Labour Government—

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

I am sorry, Mr Bibby. Your microphone is not on.

Kenneth Gibson

Is that the best that he can do? His card is not in. In that case, I can continue.

The Presiding Officer

We will go back to Mr Gibson.

Kenneth Gibson

Here in Scotland, there are performance issues that cause delays and cancellations, which are experienced by many rail users. However, ScotRail is among the best-performing rail operators in the UK. I turn to what Richard Clinnick says in this month’s Rail magazine about what is happening in England:

“the answer to the mess: run the railways like in Scotland, where track and trains have one Managing Director, and Government decisions are made with customers at heart and by those who know the railway. Problems are tackled head on and usually dealt with quickly. There may be short-term pain, but the result is long-term gain.”

Constituents who travel from my constituency in North Ayrshire have already benefited from significant Scottish Government investment, which has delivered new and additional train services; new rolling stock; investment in stations; a 50 per cent increase in services, with greater connectivity between North Ayrshire’s towns; new class 380 rolling stock that improves passenger comfort with spacious seating, wide aisles, air conditioning, power sockets for laptops, luggage provision, space for cycles and wheelchairs; more park and ride facilities; better waiting facilities; additional closed-circuit television with upgrades—[Interruption]. Labour members hate listening to good news. It has also delivered new customer information screens, longer platforms, platform validators for smart cards, and cycle parking. Those things all improve overall passenger experience, and there is 28 per cent more rolling stock.

The SNP Government cannot rest. It is committed to greater improvements and spends twice what the UK Government does per capita on rail services, which shows its commitment.

The Presiding Officer

It is time, Mr Gibson.

Kenneth Gibson

Just to finish, Presiding Officer. ScotRail’s Alex Hynes said today to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee that cross-border services delays increased by 80 per cent last year as a result of the shambles that was caused by Govia Thameslink and Northern down south. I wonder whether Labour, in summing up, will explain how Abellio ScotRail can impact on that.

The Presiding Officer

Thank you.

Kenneth Gibson

What we need is a reliable service, in which people are not interested in who is to blame. That is where our focus should lie—

The Presiding Officer

Mr Gibson.

Kenneth Gibson

—improving services for the people of Scotland.

The Presiding Officer

Thank you, Mr Gibson.

Edward Mountain

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. If members are going to quote what they heard at the REC Committee this morning, they would be best to quote what was actually said, not what they want to hear. The quote that 80 per cent of the delays in Scotland are due to cross-border services alone is fundamentally not true; therefore, Kenneth Gibson has misled Parliament. I wonder whether he would care to reconsider what he has just said, because it is not what we were told this morning at the committee.

The Presiding Officer

Thank you. Mr Gibson, please sit down.

Kenneth Gibson

I am happy to answer.

The Presiding Officer

Mr Gibson, please sit down. We are not having a debate through the chair about this. It is a point of order for me. The point of order is not a point of order—it is a point of debate, which the member has made. Let us not extend the point.

16:45  

Rachael Hamilton (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)

Considering the passion that is being felt in the Parliament today, I wish that Labour had made this debate a little longer.

Scottish commuters and passengers expect a reliable rail service that is punctual and efficient and that delivers value for money. The story that we are hearing today could not be further from that. We all agree that the performance level of ScotRail in the past year has fallen well below expectation, as constituents regularly inform me. In fact, it has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years.

It is not only my constituents lambasting ScotRail—it is a Scotland-wide problem. Although the Borders rail has been a conduit for travel beyond my constituency of Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire—opening up the area to the rest of the rail network—it has not been straightforward and simple. Things are improving, but the Borders rail has been plagued with skip-stopping, late trains, cancellations and a lack of adequate ticket-purchasing machines on the platform. That is perfectly demonstrated by the fact that more than half of Borders railway trains arrive late at Tweedbank. Frankly, that is not good enough and it is not going unnoticed. I get loads of emails and letters from my constituents complaining about the poor service that they have experienced on the line.

Unreliability is only one example of the litany of failures. Winter resilience is paramount, given the geography and rural nature of the line. We need more robust measures put in place to ensure that we have a reliable service during the winter months. Blaming others—or leaves—does not help.

To top all that off, should the train from Edinburgh to Tweedbank be cancelled, there are very few alternatives for reaching my part of the Borders, leaving borderers stranded in the capital.

Rolling stock has been less than satisfactory, with commuters complaining of cold, substandard trains and a lack of carriages at peak times. It has been promised that the refurbished rolling stock will be in place by the December 2019 timetable change, and that is not before time.

Considering all those factors, we can see that the Borders railway falls well short of the high standards that we expect from a modern-day service. Performance and standards should be constantly scrutinised and monitored; however, many people are rightfully concerned about the trajectory on which ScotRail is currently travelling. Recently, Michael Matheson gave ScotRail a free pass, by granting a ministerial waiver of standards and agreeing not to enforce compliance breaches against Abellio until June 2019. He did not inform Parliament of that, and shifting the goalposts is unacceptable to my constituents. Moreover, the economic impact of poor performance is stark. Train delays cost the Scottish economy up to £233,000 a day. Poor performance is not helping local businesses and individuals.

Let me be unequivocal. The Conservatives are not calling for nationalisation, as the Labour motion suggests and as Labour members are talking about. We want greater transparency and accountability; accountability to passengers and staff is absolutely crucial.

Conservative members believe that a public-sector operator taking control of the ScotRail franchise would shift huge risk, potentially costing taxpayers millions of pounds. That increased risk—

Richard Leonard (Central Scotland) (Lab)

It is not working.

Rachael Hamilton

I understand the current costs and that there are fines to be paid, which come at a cost to the taxpayer. However, no cost analysis has been done, which is probably why it has not been specifically mentioned in the Labour motion.

We all know that Scotland needs a competitive structure for the railways that offers affordable fees and a quality service. However, we should not rush into a simplistic or hurried solution as a temporary remedy, as Labour suggests—although Labour’s solution is not really simplistic. Doing that might deliver even poorer results or cost the taxpayer dearly.

I cannot help but mention that we have had many false promises from the SNP Government. I ask Paul Wheelhouse to respond to a question when closing. Did Councillor Parker mention his disappointment about the delay to the investment in and reinstatement of East Linton and Reston stations, which would serve Berwickshire greatly?

The Presiding Officer

Time, Ms Hamilton.

Rachael Hamilton

I will close there.

The Presiding Officer

I am afraid that nearly every member has gone over time by 10 or 15 seconds. There has also been a point of order. The cumulative effect is that we will not be able to hear Stuart McMillan’s speech. I recognise that that is not fair, but I have little choice. We move to closing speeches.

 

 

16:49  

Edward Mountain (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

It has been an interesting afternoon. It has not been a debate—it has been a statement of political positions—and, because of that, we have done Scotland down.

Let me be clear. The public do not want politics on trains; they want trains that are reliable and on time. I do not believe that the public really care who runs the trains provided that they turn up when they say they are going to turn up, they are clean and tidy, and they work.

This afternoon, the Government has used the debate to promote a form of nationalism. The Government says that if we give it control over Network Rail, everything will be better. There is no evidence that that assertion is correct, but it probably sounds good and allows a bit of flag waving.

Labour Party members have hidden behind their call for the break clause to be triggered without saying what they would do when that happened. To me, that is a true political answer. Although some Labour members spoke about that, they are not bold enough to say what they really think, which is nationalism. I am sorry—I meant to say nationalisation. [Laughter.]

Well, the position is the same. One party wants nationalism and the other wants nationalisation. The SNP and the Labour Party have given us two options and neither of them will make the trains run on time.

We need the other option, which is the one that this party proposes—effective management.

Stuart McMillan (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)

Will the member take an intervention?

Edward Mountain

No. I will not take interventions this afternoon. No one else has and I do not have time.

If the SNP believes that this is the best that it can do, after being in charge of the railways for 10 years, it is not good enough. When the break clause is to be triggered, we should discuss it. We should not prejudice it now. We should determine when we discuss it whether ScotRail has measured up.

I have the opportunity to go through and talk about a list of those members who spoke this afternoon, but they just made political points. One member said, “Don’t worry; everything will be all right,” another said, “It’s all Labour’s fault,” and the next one said that it is all about overcrowding and ticket prices. None of that gets us anywhere and we are short of time.

Today’s debate has done the Scottish Parliament no credit, but it has not been easy listening for the SNP Government, nor should it be. The Government has been in charge for 11 years. Under the SNP, ScotRail’s performance is getting worse year after year. Today we heard how the Government had made contract payments early—it is a strange message for the general public to say that we do not get trains to run on time but we will pay the contractor early. I do not think that that is anything to be proud of. What sort of message does that send to the public who travel by rail and pay for a service that they do not get?

I have a clear message for Labour about its idea of breaking the contract and nationalising the industry. I do not think that anyone believes that nationalisation will work, and Liam Kerr gave a good reason why it is just not as easy as that.

We are not clear about what we should be saying, so I want to make it clear what my party is saying. We expect ScotRail and the ScotRail Alliance to be held to account by the Government, which should show management and leadership. It is clearly not doing that at the moment. The patience of rail travellers in Scotland is not without limit and we believe that the Government and ScotRail need to raise their game; if they do not, when it comes to renewing the contract, the Scottish public will give them a stern warning that what they have done is not good enough.

16:53  

Paul Wheelhouse

We have had a lively debate and I acknowledge that many passengers have had frustrating experiences. I take entirely at face value what Claire Baker said. She has good engagement with her local constituents and the Government listens to them.

Our railways play a crucial role in connecting our communities, enabling opportunities and spreading sustainable economic prosperity across the country. However, we could be forgiven for forgetting that ScotRail is the best-performing large train operator in the UK even now. It is performing above the Great Britain average. Indeed, Mr Mountain might want to reflect on the fact that GB performance has been getting worse year after year, and he does not seem to allocate any blame for that to the UK Government.

Pauline McNeill (Glasgow) (Lab)

Will the minister take an intervention?

Paul Wheelhouse

I am sorry. I wish that I could, but I do not have time.

As I set out in my opening remarks, through this Government’s record investment, we are seeing the first steps towards transformational change across the country; the reduction of rail’s carbon footprint; more new trains; an exciting intercity product that delivers what passengers want when travelling between our seven cities; more services and more seats for passengers, including—it is important to stress the point that I made earlier—the roll-out of rolling stock in Fife, the Borders, Glasgow and Inverclyde.

Feedback on the quality of travel experience on the new electric Hitachi trains and the recently introduced refurbished high-speed trains has been extremely encouraging and, when more are in service, existing refurbished trains will be moved across the country to help provide more capacity.

Transform Scotland went as far as to say:

“The ScotRail franchise is delivering the largest tranche of improvements to the railway in Scotland in living memory. Many of the improvements happening now—new electric trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow, proper inter-city trains, improvements to rural services, and a whole host of timetable improvements—are all key demands Transform Scotland had for this franchise.”

The Scottish Government will continue to work closely with ScotRail and its train suppliers and manufacturers to ensure that our requirements are delivered during 2019. All parties are disappointed about the delays in the introduction of the new trains into Scotland and are clear that that is unacceptable.

I should emphasise that, at the start of the contract, we have ensured that the new electric and refurbished high-speed trains have protected contractual rights to remain in Scotland beyond the life of this contract, which will unlock long-term value. That is an important point, because that provides us with the ability to stabilise our Scottish fleet and not be at the mercy of the UK Government model of franchising, which has seen some of our diesel fleet in Scotland depart the country to serve contractual commitments elsewhere.

We recognise that performance is not where it should be, and the system-wide Donovan recommendations that are designed to improve performance on a sustainable basis must be the primary area of focus for Network Rail and ScotRail. It should be recognised that a significant proportion of ScotRail’s performance over this year has been directly impacted by the increase in Network Rail’s infrastructure failures. That is why we have provided assistance to ScotRail, and I am happy to discuss that further with the members who have raised the issue. Currently, Network Rail’s failures account for around 60 per cent of the disruption since the start of the financial year.

Further, there have been unprecedented weather issues, as well as cross-border timetable issues in England, all of which are outwith ScotRail’s direct control. Colin Smyth and his colleagues do the public a disservice if they fail to acknowledge that.

I have set out clearly our position on the sensible rationale to devolve essential railway functions to Scotland, increasing local focus and accountability, and to increase the ability of Scotland’s railways to perform at their best for passengers and businesses alike.

Paul Tetlaw of Transform Scotland said:

“It is now widely acknowledged that the separation of infrastructure from the operation of the trains was a serious mistake and so the creation of the ScotRail Alliance is clearly the right approach and puts Scotland ahead of most of the UK.”

Neil Findlay

Will the member take an intervention?

Paul Wheelhouse

I am sorry; I do not have time.

Through its recently announced rail review, the UK Government has the opportunity to deliver the full devolution of Network Rail to Scotland, to enable the Scottish Government to structure our railways to meet our needs. It is only right that Network Rail becomes more accountable in that regard.

The Parliament has secured the powers to allow public sector bodies to bid for future Scottish rail franchises—the Labour Party resisted that when it was in office. Alongside our commitment, I repeat that that should be accompanied by a fully devolved infrastructure manager, accountable to this Parliament.

We are committed to the success of the ScotRail franchise and look forward to working with our delivery partners to deliver a resilient and reliable railway for Scotland’s rail passengers.

I commend our amendment to the chamber.

16:57  

Colin Smyth

Today’s debate has laid bare the failure at the heart of Scotland’s railways, and the complete lack of answers from the Scottish Government. Speaker after speaker exposed the way in which the Abellio Scotland franchise is letting down Scotland’s rail passengers. Jackie Baillie highlighted the utter chaos and disruption that is faced by passengers in Dumbarton, and Claire Baker revealed the misery that is being faced by Fife’s commuters, who are receiving a second-class service. Both of those MSPs are standing up for their constituents and for Scotland’s rail passengers. What a contrast to SNP MSPs.

Jackie Baillie and Claire Baker highlighted the real-life examples that bring home the scale of failure and graphically illustrate the fact that performance is now lower in every measure than at any point in this franchise. Reliability is the worst on record. Punctuality targets have not been hit since 2015, and they are now below the franchise breach level. The minister showed today that he either does not know or will not say when ScotRail will hit those targets again, although the Office of Rail and Road tells us that we will have to wait until 2022.

While failing to deliver on performance, ScotRail has racked up almost £10.5 million in fines, and rail passengers are being asked to pay the price of that failure with rising fares for trains that are less punctual, more unreliable and more overcrowded. However, instead of holding ScotRail to account, the Scottish Government is letting it off the hook, striking secret deals and giving it a licence to fail on its franchise responsibilities. Today, we have heard that the Government clearly intends to continue to let ScotRail fail and to let the franchise run until 2025.

Extending the franchise beyond 2022 should not be a given; it needs to be earned. It seems that everybody except the SNP and the Tories believe that Abellio has failed to earn that right. Instead of accepting the failure, member after member from the SNP has rehashed their rehearsed excuses for failure. Kenny Gibson tells us that it is all the fault of Network Rail and its cross-border services. It would be easy for me to repeat the point made by Jamie Greene, that disruption caused by extreme weather is attributed to Network Rail and not to ScotRail’s skewing of the disruption figures, or that Transport Scotland says that failures that are caused by incidents outside Scotland reduce ScotRail’s overall performance by only 0.2 per cent at a time when ScotRail is nearly 5 per cent below target, despite the misleading contribution of Kenny Gibson. I am not going to defend—

The Presiding Officer

One second, Mr Smyth. Can members keep the conversations down, please?

Colin Smyth

I am not going to defend the failings of Network Rail or the cross-border privatised rail companies, both of which are remnants of the current fragmented rail system that I want to see end. Labour’s position is clear: we need to bring those who run our tracks and those who run our trains together as one, under public ownership.

What Kenny Gibson and other SNP MSPs did not say on performance is that one of the key causes for disruption—one of the reasons that was given by ScotRail for plummeting performance in its application to have the performance targets waived—is the fact that it no longer routinely skips stops. In other words, ScotRail cannot hit its targets because—

Stuart McMillan

Will the member take an intervention?

Colin Smyth

I am sorry; I do not have time.

ScotRail cannot hit its targets because it is doing what every passenger expects it to do—stop at the stations that it is supposed to stop at.

As SNP MSPs often do when they cannot defend their Government, Kenny Gibson talked about Wales. He claimed that the Welsh Government chose to award the Wales and Borders franchise to a private operator, rather than take it into private hands. However, Kenny Gibson did not tell us, probably because he does not know, that the Welsh Government does not have the power to set up a public sector bid—[Interruption.]

Despite repeated calls from the Labour-led Welsh Government, it does not have the same exemption that we have in Scotland. I can assure Kenny Gibson, who is more concerned about the plans of the Welsh Government than those of his own Government, that Welsh Labour will continue to push for those powers. More important, the Welsh Labour Party, the Scottish Labour Party and the UK Labour Party will continue to push for full nationalisation of our railways. What a shame that the SNP refuses to join us in that campaign.

Mike Rumbles highlighted that the Scottish Government is handing out advance payments to Abellio because failing performance means that it is not making as much cash as it expected. I wonder what the Government’s response would be if our nurses, doctors or teachers all asked for next year’s salary to be brought forward. The financial difficulties that are facing the franchise were also revealed by John Finnie, who exposed the fact that loans are being made to Abellio with interest rates of 8 per cent, ensuring that its parent company makes a tidy profit in loan repayments at the Scottish taxpayers’ expense.

Enough is enough, and it is time to put an end to Scotland’s rip-off railways. We need to end the private rail franchises at the earliest opportunity and bring them under public ownership. That would be not a return to a 20th century model of nationalisation, as the Tories would have us believe, but a modern 21st century vision of public democratic ownership that would put passengers—not profits—first. It is a vision in which workforces would be the managers of change and not its casualties; public services would serve the people not the profiteers; and we would have a joined-up transport system that helped our economy and did not hinder it.

The Parliament can get on board with that vision, we can tell the SNP to stop acting as the cheerleader for failed Tory privatisation and we can unite to fight for a railway system that delivers for passengers and not for the profiteers.

Business Motions

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

 

17:04  

The next item of business is consideration of business motion S5M-14761, in the name of Graeme Dey, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, setting out a revision to tomorrow’s business.

Motion moved,

That the Parliament agrees to the following revision to the programme of business for Thursday 15 November 2018—

delete

2.30 pm Scottish Government Debate: Physical Activity, Diet and Healthy Weight

insert

2.30 pm Ministerial Statement: Update from the Scottish Government on the proposed UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration

followed by Scottish Government Debate: Physical Activity, Diet and Healthy Weight—[Graeme Dey.]

Motion agreed to.

The Presiding Officer

The next item of business is consideration of business motion S5M-14738, in the name of Graeme Dey, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, setting out a business programme.

Motion moved,

That the Parliament agrees—

(a) the following programme of business—

Tuesday 20 November 2018

2.00 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Topical Questions (if selected)

followed by Ministerial Statement: Implementation of Best Start Grant

followed by Scottish Government Debate: Developing Scotland’s Digital Industries for our Economic Future

followed by Business Motions

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Committee Announcements

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Wednesday 21 November 2018

2.00 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Justice and the Law Officers;2.00 pm Portfolio Questions:

followed by Stage 3 Proceedings: Scottish Crown Estate Bill

followed by Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill – UK Legislation

followed by Offensive Weapons Bill – UK Legislation

followed by Business Motions

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 22 November 2018

11.40 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

11.40 am General Questions

12.00 pm First Minister's Questions

followed by Members’ Business

2.00 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

2.00 pm Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Question Time

followed by Ministerial Statement: Energy Efficient Scotland

followed by Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee Debate: Scotland’s Economic Performance and Economic Data

followed by Business Motions

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

Tuesday 27 November 2018

2.00 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Topical Questions (if selected)

followed by Scottish Government Business

followed by Business Motions

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Committee Announcements

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Wednesday 28 November 2018

2.00 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

Government Business and Constitutional Relations Culture, Tourism and External Affairs;2.00 pm Portfolio Questions:

followed by Scottish Government Business

followed by Business Motions

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 29 November 2018

11.40 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

11.40 am General Questions

12.00 pm First Minister's Questions

followed by Members’ Business

2.30 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

2.30 pm Public Petitions Committee Debate: Petition PE1463: Effective Thyroid and Adrenal Testing, Diagnosis and Treatment

followed by Business Motions

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

(b) that, in relation to any debate on a business motion setting out a business programme taken on Wednesday 14 November 2018, the second sentence of rule 8.11.3 is suspended and replaced with “Any Member may speak on the motion at the discretion of the Presiding Officer”

and

(c) that, in relation to First Minister’s Questions on Thursday 15 November 2018, in rule 13.6.2, insert at end “and may provide an opportunity for Party Leaders or their representatives to question the First Minister”.—[Graeme Dey]

Motion agreed to.

The Presiding Officer

The next item of business is consideration of business motion S5M-14739, in the name of Graeme Dey, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, on the stage 1 timetable for a bill.

Motion moved,

That the Parliament agrees that consideration of the Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill at stage 1 be completed by 1 March 2019.—[Graeme Dey]

Motion agreed to.

Parliamentary Bureau Motions

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

The next item of business is consideration of two Parliamentary Bureau motions. I ask Graeme Dey, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, to move motion S5M-14740, on the approval of a Scottish statutory instrument, and motion S5M-14741, on a committee meeting at the same time as a meeting of the Parliament.

Motions moved,

That the Parliament agrees that the Assigned Colleges (University of the Highland and Islands) Order 2018 [draft] be approved.

That the Parliament agrees that, under Rule 12.3.3B of Standing Orders, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee can meet, if necessary, during Tuesday afternoon meetings of the Parliament after Topical Questions for the purpose of considering business arising from the UK’s exit from the European Union.—[Graeme Dey]

The Presiding Officer

The questions on the motions will be put at decision time.

Decision Time

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

The first question is, that amendment S5M-14717.3, in the name of Jeane Freeman, which seeks to amend motion S5M-14717, in the name of Alex Rowley, on investing in social care for Scotland’s future, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Presiding Officer

There will be a division.

For

Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP) Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con) White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP) Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP) Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP) Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP) Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con) Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP) Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP) Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP) Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP) Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP) Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP) Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con) Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD) Scott, John (Ayr) (Con) Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP) Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD) Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP) Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP) Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD) Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP) Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP) Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con) Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con) Mitchell, Margaret (Central Scotland) (Con) McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP) McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP) McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind) McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD) McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP) Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP) Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con) Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP) Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP) Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP) Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP) Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP) Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP) MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP) MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP) MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP) Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP) Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP) Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con) Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP) Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con) Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con) Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP) Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP) Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP) Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con) Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP) Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con) Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con) Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP) Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con) Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP) Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP) Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP) FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP) Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP) Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP) Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP) Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP) Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP) Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP) Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP) Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP) Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP) Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con) Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP) Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD) Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP) Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con) Carson, Finlay (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con) Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con) Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP) Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con) Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP) Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con) Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con) Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP) Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con) Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP) Allan, Dr Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP) Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)

Against

Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green) Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab) Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab) Smith, Elaine (Central Scotland) (Lab) Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab) Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green) Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab) McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab) Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab) Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab) Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab) Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab) Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab) Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab) Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green) Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab) Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green) Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab) Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green) Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab) Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green) Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab) Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab) Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab) Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab) Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab) Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

The Presiding Officer

The result of the division is: For 92, Against 28, Abstentions 0.

Amendment agreed to.

The Presiding Officer

The next question is, that amendment S5M-14717.1, in the name of Miles Briggs, which seeks to amend motion S5M-14717, in the name of Alex Rowley, on investing in social care for Scotland’s future, be agreed to.

Amendment agreed to.

The Presiding Officer

The next question is, that motion S5M-14717, in the name of Alex Rowley, on investing in social care for Scotland’s future, as amended, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Presiding Officer

There will be a division.

For

Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP) Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con) White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP) Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP) Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP) Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP) Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con) Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP) Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP) Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP) Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP) Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP) Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP) Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con) Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD) Scott, John (Ayr) (Con) Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP) Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD) Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP) Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP) Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD) Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP) Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP) Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con) Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con) Mitchell, Margaret (Central Scotland) (Con) McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP) McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP) McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind) McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD) McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP) Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP) Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con) Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP) Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP) Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP) Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP) Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP) Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP) MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP) MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP) MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP) Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP) Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP) Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con) Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP) Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con) Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con) Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP) Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP) Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP) Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con) Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP) Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con) Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con) Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP) Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con) Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP) Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP) Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP) FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP) Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP) Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP) Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP) Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP) Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP) Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP) Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP) Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP) Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP) Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con) Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD) Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP) Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con) Carson, Finlay (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con) Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con) Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP) Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con) Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP) Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con) Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con) Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP) Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con) Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP) Allan, Dr Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP) Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)

Against

Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green) Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab) Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab) Smith, Elaine (Central Scotland) (Lab) Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab) Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green) Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab) McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab) Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab) Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab) Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab) Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab) Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab) Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab) Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green) Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab) Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green) Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab) Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green) Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab) Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green) Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab) Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab) Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab) Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab) Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab) Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

The Presiding Officer

The result of the division is: For 91, Against 28, Abstentions 0.

Motion, as amended, agreed to,

That the Parliament believes in a health and social care system based on human rights, where people receive care according to their need, not on their ability to pay; recognises the immediate and long-term challenges to social care delivery and is concerned about high levels of turnover in the social care sector; further recognises the commitment of social care staff to delivering high-quality care but considers there to still be a disparity between the value of social care to society and staff’s level of pay and working conditions; considers that social care workers, and the professional services that they provide, should be held in the same high regard as clinical health care; affirms the Scottish Government’s aim of shifting the balance of care from acute settings into the community but believes that this cannot be achieved without a significant increase in resources and investment in social care, primary care and mental health services over the current parliamentary session; further believes that protection of the health budget, and its investments in social care, is necessary to ensure that the NHS can be sustained long into the future; notes that, with investment from both the NHS and local authorities, almost £9 billion per year is managed by integration authorities; believes that the additional investment of £66 million in this financial year to support social care, including for delivering the real living wage for adult social care workers, supporting the implementation of the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 and increasing payments for free personal care, should be utilised for that purpose; recognises the publication of the medium-term financial framework for health and social care, which was advanced by the Scottish Government in partnership with local government and NHS boards to develop a financial model that will provide long-term stability for both health and social care in Scotland, and further calls on the Scottish Government to focus on improving workforce planning and consider new models of care and joint working, including working with housing associations to tackle delayed discharge to prevent patients waiting in wards because their homes need to be adapted for their return.

The Presiding Officer

I remind members that, if the amendment in the name of Paul Wheelhouse is agreed to, the amendment in the name of Jamie Greene will fall.

The next question is, that amendment S5M-14720.3, in the name of Paul Wheelhouse, which seeks to amend motion S5M-14720, in the name of Colin Smyth, on the ScotRail break clause, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Presiding Officer

There will be a division.

For

Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP) White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP) Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP) Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP) Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP) Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP) Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP) Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP) Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP) Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP) Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP) Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP) Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP) Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP) Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP) Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP) McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP) McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP) McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind) McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP) Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP) Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP) Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP) Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP) Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP) Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP) Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP) MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP) MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP) MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP) Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP) Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP) Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP) Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP) Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP) Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP) Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP) Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP) Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP) Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP) Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP) FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP) Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP) Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP) Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP) Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP) Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP) Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP) Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP) Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP) Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP) Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP) Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP) Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP) Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP) Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP) Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP) Allan, Dr Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP) Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)

Against

Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green) Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con) Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con) Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab) Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab) Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Smith, Elaine (Central Scotland) (Lab) Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con) Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD) Scott, John (Ayr) (Con) Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab) Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green) Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD) Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab) Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD) Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con) Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con) Mitchell, Margaret (Central Scotland) (Con) McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab) McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD) Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con) Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab) Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab) Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con) Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab) Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab) Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab) Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con) Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab) Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green) Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con) Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab) Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green) Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con) Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con) Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab) Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green) Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con) Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab) Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con) Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green) Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab) Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab) Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab) Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con) Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD) Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con) Carson, Finlay (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con) Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con) Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con) Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con) Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con) Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab) Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab) Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con) Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

The Presiding Officer

The result of the division is: For 60, Against 60, Abstentions 0. As the result is tied, I cast my vote against the amendment, and therefore the amendment falls.

Amendment disagreed to.

The Presiding Officer

The next question is, that amendment S5M-14720.2, in the name of Jamie Greene, which seeks to amend motion S5M-14720, in the name of Colin Smyth, on the ScotRail break clause, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Presiding Officer

There will be a division.

For

Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con) Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con) Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con) Scott, John (Ayr) (Con) Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con) Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con) Mitchell, Margaret (Central Scotland) (Con) Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con) Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con) Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con) Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con) Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con) Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con) Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con) Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con) Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con) Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con) Carson, Finlay (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con) Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con) Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con) Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con) Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)

Against

Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP) Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green) White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP) Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP) Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP) Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP) Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP) Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP) Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP) Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP) Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab) Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP) Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP) Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab) Smith, Elaine (Central Scotland) (Lab) Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD) Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab) Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP) Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green) Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD) Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab) Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP) Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP) Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD) Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP) Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP) McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab) McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP) McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP) McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind) McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD) McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP) Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP) Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP) Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP) Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab) Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP) Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP) Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP) Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP) MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP) Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab) MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP) MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP) Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP) Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP) Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab) Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab) Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab) Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP) Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab) Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green) Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab) Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP) Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP) Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP) Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green) Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP) Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab) Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green) Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab) Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP) Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP) Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP) Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP) FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP) Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green) Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab) Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab) Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP) Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP) Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP) Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab) Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP) Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP) Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP) Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP) Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP) Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP) Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP) Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD) Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP) Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP) Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP) Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab) Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP) Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab) Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab) Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab) Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP) Allan, Dr Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP) Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)

The Presiding Officer

The result of the division is: For 27, Against 93, Abstentions 0.

Amendment disagreed to.

The Presiding Officer

The next question is, that motion S5M-14720, in the name of Colin Smyth, on the ScotRail break clause, be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Presiding Officer

There will be a division.

For

Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green) Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab) Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab) Smith, Elaine (Central Scotland) (Lab) Scott, Tavish (Shetland Islands) (LD) Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab) Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green) Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD) Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab) Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD) McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab) McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (Ind) McArthur, Liam (Orkney Islands) (LD) Marra, Jenny (North East Scotland) (Lab) Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab) Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab) Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab) Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab) Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab) Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green) Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab) Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green) Griffin, Mark (Central Scotland) (Lab) Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green) Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab) Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green) Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab) Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab) Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab) Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD) Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab) Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab) Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

Against

Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP) Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con) White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP) Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP) Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP) Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP) Tomkins, Adam (Glasgow) (Con) Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP) Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP) Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP) Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP) Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP) Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP) Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con) Scott, John (Ayr) (Con) Russell, Michael (Argyll and Bute) (SNP) Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP) Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP) Paterson, Gil (Clydebank and Milngavie) (SNP) Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP) Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con) Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con) Mitchell, Margaret (Central Scotland) (Con) McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP) McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP) McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP) Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP) Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con) Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP) Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP) Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP) Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP) Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP) Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP) MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP) MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP) MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP) Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP) Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP) Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con) Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP) Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con) Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con) Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP) Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP) Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP) Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con) Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP) Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con) Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con) Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP) Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con) Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP) Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP) Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con) Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP) FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP) Fabiani, Linda (East Kilbride) (SNP) Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP) Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP) Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP) Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP) Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP) Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP) Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP) Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP) Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con) Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP) Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con) Carson, Finlay (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con) Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con) Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP) Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con) Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP) Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con) Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con) Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP) Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con) Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP) Allan, Dr Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP) Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)

The Presiding Officer

The result of the division is: For 34, Against 85, Abstentions 0.

Motion disagreed to.

The Presiding Officer

The next question is, that motion S5M-14740, in the name of Graeme Dey, on approval of a Scottish statutory instrument, be agreed to.

Motion agreed to,

That the Parliament agrees that the Assigned Colleges (University of the Highland and Islands) Order 2018 [draft] be approved.

The Presiding Officer

The next question is, that motion S5M-14741, in the name of Graeme Dey, on a committee meeting at the same time as Parliament, be agreed to.

Motion agreed to,

That the Parliament agrees that, under Rule 12.3.3B of Standing Orders, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee can meet, if necessary, during Tuesday afternoon meetings of the Parliament after Topical Questions for the purpose of considering business arising from the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Climate Change
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The Deputy Presiding Officer (Christine Grahame)

The final item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S5M-14361, in the name of Maurice Golden, on the special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament notes the release of a special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on limiting a rise in global temperature to 1.5°C; further notes that it details the consequences of climate change that are currently impacting populations and places around the world and the damaging and far-reaching effects that will occur if global temperature change exceeds 1.5°C; acknowledges that the report warns of the urgent need for increased action on climate change from all countries in order to be able to keep global temperature rises within 1.5°C; welcomes the announcements by both the Scottish and UK governments that they intend to seek new advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change regarding the implications of this report for Scotland’s climate change targets; believes that Scotland, as an advanced economy with a proven record of expertise and innovation in tackling climate change, for example the Recycle Room in Clydebank, shares in the global responsibility to take action and, while commending reductions in emissions to date, notes calls for a renewed commitment to reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint, and believes that integrating circular economic practice across policy making and providing enhanced support to transition Scotland to a low-carbon economy is an integral part of the process towards tackling climate change.

17:13  

Maurice Golden (West Scotland) (Con)

The recent IPCC special report on global warming of 1.5°C paints a stark and deeply concerning picture of the future if humanity does not get to grips with climate change and limit the rise of global warming to 1.5°C. A rise of even 0.5°C more would see 60 million people in cities around the world at risk of drought and an extra 2 billion people facing extreme heat waves. The Arctic would be ice free not once every century but once every decade, and we would stand to lose almost all the world’s coral reefs. We, in Scotland, would not be spared, as we could be at risk of increased flooding from rivers and along our coasts. Our wildlife has already been affected, as was detailed in last year’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds report on the state of the United Kingdom’s birds.

The IPCC report makes it clear that the duty to act is shared by all countries, and it urges them to go further than they have ever gone before. It is too important an issue to get wrong, so I welcome the fact that the Scottish Government has joined the United Kingdom and Welsh Governments in seeking updated advice from the Committee on Climate Change in the wake of the IPCC report. I want to make it clear that the Scottish Conservatives are committed to transitioning Scotland to a low-carbon economy through an evidence-based approach that delivers for both our environment and our communities.

The success that we have seen so far—a 45 per cent reduction in emissions through decarbonising our electricity and waste sectors—is to be welcomed. However, we cannot rest on our laurels. The theme that has arisen from recent sessions of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee is the need for action in the short term to support our long-term goals.

Given that Scotland’s interim targets have been revised up to 66 per cent by 2030 and 78 per cent by 2040, we must look at other sectors such as transport, which has effectively seen no reductions in emissions since 1990. For example, the commitment to phase out new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032 raises more questions than it answers. What are the timescales and costs for rolling out charging infrastructure? How will vehicle uptake schemes be improved? How will grid capacity issues be identified and resolved? The CCC has made it clear that,

“without firm new policies, reductions in Scottish emissions are unlikely to continue into the 2020s.”

That issue must be addressed.

The temptation is, of course, to look to the end goal of keeping the rise in temperature to 1.5°C by 2100, but we must consider the transition to that. I recently asked Professor Jim Skea of the IPCC about the prospect of an overshoot scenario in which we achieve a temperature rise of just 1.5°C by 2100 but allow that rise to be exceeded during the intervening years. He made it clear that that would have disastrous consequences for our planet and population.

The Scottish Conservatives have set out a comprehensive package of measures to tackle climate change, from supporting regulatory frameworks for district heating to investment in energy storage solutions, the decarbonisation of transport and much more.

Ross Greer (West Scotland) (Green)

In the context of the Scottish Conservatives’ list of policies to tackle climate change, do the member and his party accept the scientific reality that 90 per cent of the oil and gas reserves that we know to be in the North Sea—never mind what might be located through exploration in the future—must remain in the ground, unburned?

Maurice Golden

No. We have a major commitment to tackling climate change, but we have to be realistic. Thousands of jobs are provided not just in the drilling of new oil and gas reserves but in the supply chain throughout Scotland, particularly in the north-east. Indeed, the decommissioning costs associated with the infrastructure that is already in place—there are 471 platforms—should be progressed here, in Scotland. We need more recycling of all that steel in Scotland, which would, in turn, create jobs. It is no surprise to hear that comment from the Green Party, which, to my mind, has the least credible environmental policies in this Parliament.

This week, we have gone further still by announcing plans to build a Scottish plastics recycling centre to concentrate the reuse and recycling of resources here, in Scotland, which would create jobs while helping to reduce our environmental impact. We want to promote a shift away from our disposable culture, so we are calling for litter fines to be increased to bring about change and reinforce the message that discarding waste is not acceptable.

We want people to be better educated about the environmental impact of food production. A new wave of allotments and school farms in our towns and cities will help people to make environmentally informed choices about supporting the growing of produce in Scotland. Creating city-wide woodlands, green spaces and habitats will not only clean our atmosphere of pollution, as those places act as carbon sinks, but will improve health, economic and social outcomes for our most deprived communities, in particular.

Those measures are deliverable now, and their impact will lay the foundation for the progress that we need to make in the years ahead. The Scottish Conservatives will continue to champion that approach, building the low-carbon society that we need and ensuring that aspiration is backed by action that delivers positive outcomes for people and the planet alike.

David Attenborough concluded “Blue Planet II” by saying:

“The future of the planet is in our hands.”

Let us take that step together by building a better future now.

I move the motion in my name.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

You do not need to move the motion in members’ business debates. That is just a little technicality for you to remember.

17:20  

Claudia Beamish (South Scotland) (Lab)

I thank Maurice Golden for lodging his motion and highlighting the IPCC report.

The IPCC special report is the loudest call for immediate climate action that we have had. I am sure that members will agree that the report’s findings on the potential and inevitable damaging effects of climate change are really concerning. They make for overwhelming and motivational reading, as Maurice Golden highlighted.

It is right that this Parliament should feel the weight of climate change on its shoulders. Climate change is the defining issue of this century. The IPCC report describes impacts that will be felt by all. I thank the many people—from my constituency and beyond—with whom I have had conversations about climate change, particularly empowered young activists. I have heard stories from around the world from those on the climate change front line, and I have heard the thoughts of my grandson when litter picking on a beach.

In the year of young people, intergenerational climate justice must be at the forefront of our minds. I am proud that Scottish Labour has committed to fight for the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill to include a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest and a 77 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, to be supported by a long-term statutory just transition commission that is answerable to Parliament. It is our duty to step up the fight for global climate justice while giving Scotland time to adapt in a just way.

Will the cabinet secretary tell me whether the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill is in line with a 1.5°C or 2°C target? Furthermore, how do those targets translate in terms of Scotland’s carbon budget usage? The IPCC report’s authors have said that that is a political decision, and it is important to know how the bill lines up.

Since the publication of the draft bill, the evidence base has grown on the feasibility of a net-zero emissions target by 2050 at the latest, including from the royal academies and the European Climate Foundation. There has also been a new study highlighting Scotland’s huge natural negative emissions potential. Is the Government considering the expanding evidence base?

If we are to set steeper targets, the rate of innovation must be accelerated. With leadership from the Aldersgate Group and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to name but two organisations, an increasing number of businesses are crying out for the political will that is required to drive markets with a clear signal. Ambitious targets will be the catalyst for greater technological innovation and will encourage other countries to set stronger targets, making additional domestic effort possible.

That should be viewed as an opportunity. However, the Scottish Government’s financial assessments do not build in the co-benefits of mitigation that we will enjoy, such as improved health through reductions in air pollution and fuel poverty. Nor do they take into account the enormous financial risks of inaction. Expenditure on climate change is simply a prudent measure.

The motion refers to the circular economy, which is an area that needs great leadership if we are to seize opportunities in re-manufacturing. Although initiatives such as a deposit return scheme for Scotland are welcome, there are concerns about other types of waste, including concerns about the need for new arrangements for construction waste and clearer policies on food waste. I look forward to hearing the Scottish Government’s proposals for the scheme. I was particularly impressed with the Norwegian model of a producer responsibility fee.

The Government has argued that it is impractical to set a long-term target without a prescriptive pathway, but we know that the consequences of letting global warming rise above 1.5°C are unthinkable for people and wildlife; we know that the financial cost of tackling climate change will rise further the longer that we drag out action; and we know how important the interim targets are.

Let us continue the legacy of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009; let us be consensual in looking forward as adventurous and brave leaders; and let us take on climate change together, as a Parliament of conscience, by setting targets to strive for with a sense of fierce urgency.

17:24  

Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)

I thank Maurice Golden for bringing the debate to the chamber as part of his personal hug-a-husky week.

In the second session of Parliament, I took part in Parliament’s first inquiry into climate change. I will read to members one of the key conclusions:

“A radical response on a huge, almost unprecedented, scale must start to be entrenched in policy now. A massive possibility for change exists at government, business and individual levels”.

That was just over 12 years ago—12 years in which we have seen the biggest transformation of our electricity supply in a century. That transformation has delivered jobs and security of supply, and has cut the carbon. We can see that change around us, as graceful onshore wind turbines have sprung up while the giant fossil power stations of old have finally been put to sleep. Today’s wonderful news that train manufacturer Talgo is moving to the site of the last coal-fired power station at Longannet, bringing 1,000 jobs, is testament to the power of the low-carbon economy driving the just transition for workers.

However, leadership and market intervention on electricity have masked failure in other sectors including farming, transport and heating to get to grips with the transformational change that is needed. The Government has rolled back on ambition in the recent climate plan, and is subsidising inaction on the back of past renewable energy success. Representatives of NFU Scotland came to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee yesterday and told us that they have not heard the message from the Government that climate change is the top priority for farming, so there has been a failure of leadership.

Alex Salmond talked about Scotland being

“the Saudi Arabia of renewable marine energy.”

That was a successful message that was sent to the electricity sector more than a decade ago. Why are the ambition and leadership so poor for farming? There were warnings about that in the inquiry report from the second session of Parliament, which stated:

“Climate change should be fully integrated into a review of the Scottish agriculture strategy to ensure that the agriculture sector can achieve a consistent reduction in emissions”.

Instead, emissions from agriculture have remained largely static over the past decade. The climate plan proposes a reduction of just 9 per cent for the next 12 years, which is far less than the targets for other sectors. That is no wonder, because the subsidy regime for farming is largely blind to climate change. There is no strong regulation driving innovation and performance in the way that we see in energy generation.

Hope-based voluntarism is not enough. Joined-up regulation, education and marketing should have been in place years ago. The Irish have established it through their origin green programme; it is time we did that here, too.

With farming, there are, in the box, tools that are not being used to cut emissions. They are easy ones to use: for example, mandatory soil testing to reduce fertiliser use, linked to a nitrogen budget. Integrating trees into farm systems should be a no-brainer in respect of carbon sequestration, biodiversity, building materials and biomass fuel, yet we see virtually zero uptake of agroforestry, which is due to the poor design of financial incentives. We cannot deliver the critical net zero emissions target that the world demands without real change. Keeping on keeping on with the same model of farming, but just slightly more efficient, will not deliver what the science tells us we have to do.

“Business as usual” also flies in the face of consumer trends, which inevitably mean that we will all be eating far less meat in the decades ahead. If Scottish farming meets that challenge head on, it can adapt and survive by focusing on higher-value livestock production and horticulture, but a head-in-the-sand approach will not deliver food security for the nation or financial security for the farming sector.

The IPCC report has given us just another 12 years to deliver the change, and there is no place to hide for failing sectors—in particular farming, heating and transport. The implications are unimaginable if we waver off track and do not take the early action that is necessary, but we must also remain focused on the benefits in health and new livelihoods if we deliver the solutions now.

17:29  

Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands) (LD)

I join others in thanking Maurice Golden for bringing the debate to the chamber, and I acknowledge his long-standing interest and strong track record in promoting the circular economy. I also recognise the importance of the issues that are highlighted in the IPCC’s latest report. As Claudia Beamish and Mark Ruskell have emphasised, it is a stark warning about the challenges that we face, and it lays bare the consequences of failing to act.

As I said in response to the cabinet secretary’s statement to Parliament earlier this month, I welcome Scottish Government’s confirmation that further advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change has been sought in the light of the findings. I look forward to that advice informing the approach that we take on updating and strengthening our climate change legislation, particularly in heat and transport, for example.

However, the topic strikes me as being a slightly unusual one for a members’ business debate. I acknowledge the reference to the recycle room in Clydebank, and I join Maurice Golden in saluting its commendable effort. It strikes me that the debate lends itself more to an afternoon debate with amendments to the motion and a vote.

Maurice Golden’s reference to the impact of rising sea levels provides me with an opportunity to reflect on some more localised aspects of this extremely important debate. I do not for a second suggest that those who have done least to create man-made climate change are not those who are most at risk of bearing its brunt, but it would be dangerous to assume that the effects will not be felt closer to home, and that the threats are not present around our own shores.

I was struck by an article in The New York Times back in September which explored the potential impact of rising sea levels on Orkney’s heritage. It said:

“About half of Orkney's 3,000 sites, many built before Stonehenge or the pyramids, are under threat from those changes. Some are already being washed away.”

The United Nations environment programme published the “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate” report and concluded that the heart of neolithic Orkney is

“already clearly being significantly and negatively affected by climate impacts.”

Because of the importance of the sea to neolithic life in Orkney, many archaeological sites are on the coast and at least half are under threat from coastal erosion. That has an economic bearing, as well. I am in no doubt that much of Orkney’s economy derives from its strong tourism sector. Therefore, as well as the environmental imperative, I underscore the economic imperative to take action.

More generally, the Scotland’s coastal heritage at risk project at the University of St Andrews, which maps vulnerable sites across Scotland, found that

“As an island and sea faring nation, Scotland’s political, social, religious and economic heritage is abundantly represented at the coast; in forts, castles, harbours, piers, chapels, settlement sites, burial monuments, fishing stations, kelp kilns, coal mines, salt pans and even chilly seawater swimming pools ... These diverse heritage sites hold Scotland’s stories.”

In Orkney, the rising sea level, the increasing frequency of storms and accelerated coastal erosion are not threats only to heritage sites. They also pose risks to people’s homes and businesses. Having recognised that risk, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency produced in September a new coastal flood warning scheme to help communities that are vulnerable to rising sea levels to prepare. More than 90 per cent of flood risk in Orkney originates from the sea.

That is, perhaps, a niche aspect of the wider debate, to which we will return. I look forward playing my part in strengthening what has been world-leading legislation here in Scotland, and in making sure that we meet the challenges. For now, I thank Maurice Golden for providing me with an opportunity to shine a light on a niche aspect of the wider debate.

17:33  

Gillian Martin (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)

I thank Maurice Golden for the debate, and I agree with Liam McArthur that climate change is such a big issue that we could have spent a full afternoon debating it.

In the time that I have, I will concentrate on a single theme: the economic cost to individuals and societies of ignoring the messages in the IPCC’s report. I make that single point because, if the moral responsibility and duty to protect our environment, which many millions of us feel, does not resonate for them, we have no choice but to point out the harsh, clear and proven economic cost to people, communities and Governments of ignoring or denying climate change. The cost to public health will be staggering, the impact on global food supplies and the resulting rise in food prices will hit us all, and we can only guess at the cost of the damage that will be caused by extreme weather events globally.

Scotland is taking all that very seriously, but other countries are not. It is ironic that the nation that withdrew from its obligations under the Paris agreement and that has a climate change denying leader has incurred a staggering and quantifiable cash cost as a result of the extreme weather events that it has experienced. Since 1980, the United States has experienced 219 weather and climate related disasters, the cumulative cost of which exceeds $1.5 trillion.

Right now, we are seeing terrible and tragic devastation in California. Some people do not believe that those fires are a symptom of climate change but, this summer, people in Jokkmokk in the Swedish part of the Arctic circle also experienced forest fires. There should not be forest fires in Arctic areas. If that is not an undeniable effect of climate change, I do not know what is.

Last month, I was fortunate to attend the organisation Arctic Circle’s assembly in Reykjavík, along with my Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee colleague, Mark Ruskell, when the ink was barely dry on the IPCC report. What struck me about many of the conversations that we had was that, south of the Arctic circle, the rest of the world needs to wake up to what is happening there and to the negative impacts that the melting of Arctic sea ice will have on people who live south of the north pole. As has been mentioned, melting sea ice means coastal erosion here and around the world, as well as higher sea levels here and around the world.

Melting sea ice also has an impact on regulation of the earth’s temperature, as the farmers in my area know. They are struggling to feed their livestock this winter because of the dry summer, which impacted on silage production and meant that they had to use winter stocks of silage because the fields were too dry for grazing. That is hurting them directly in their pockets, because bought-in feed is expensive.

My area is also all too keenly aware of what a warm and damp winter means. During my election campaign in 2016, l suspended my campaigning to enable my team to assist in efforts to deal with the aftermath of the dreadful storm Frank, and the horrible flooding that resulted in many of my constituents evacuating their homes and businesses. It is estimated that the cost to the Aberdeen city and shire area of the flooding and damage that were caused by the storm was £700 million—although that is quite a conservative estimate. The emotional and social cost is more difficult to quantify, but it is significant—we need only ask anyone who had to evacuate their home by boat at 4 in the morning.

I hope that the few examples that I have given have clearly made the point—for those whose only motivation is money—if we do not act on the recommendations of the IPCC report, every one of us will bear a great personal financial cost. I say to the people who care not a jot about what happens in other countries—there are such people—that the impact will be felt on their doorsteps, too. It will affect their health, their livelihoods, their homes and their family budgets. The IPCC report is not a letter to environmentalists; it is for each and every one of us. We should all read and understand it, get behind the efforts to stop its predictions coming true and put tackling climate change at the top of our agendas.

17:37  

Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con)

I am pleased to speak in tonight’s debate, and I thank my colleague Maurice Golden for bringing the important subject of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report to the chamber for debate.

As a member of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, and as my party’s spokesman on the natural environment, it is fair to say that I am becoming well versed in matters surrounding climate change. As other members have said, the report that the IPCC released last month is a really important piece of work. Indeed, it serves as a further stark warning—not that we needed one—that we as politicians have a duty to act urgently on behalf of our constituents before it becomes too late. It is an astonishing fact that even if global warming was limited to a rise of 1.5°, we would lose between 70 and 90 per cent of our coral reefs. Furthermore, if temperatures were to rise by 2°, more than 99 per cent of our coral reefs would be lost for ever.

The Scottish Government has made some welcome progress on cutting our carbon footprint but, as Maurice Golden’s motion outlines, the IPCC report should reaffirm the need for Scotland to go further and quicker, as a nation that is in a position to do so. The SNP Government talks the talk when it comes to climate change, but it has done a U-turn on plans to reduce emissions from domestic heating. The low-carbon domestic heat target was reduced from a reduction of 80 per cent in domestic heating emissions by 2032 in the draft climate change plan to one of 35 per cent in the final plan. Furthermore, Scotland’s streets still have dangerously high levels of toxic air pollution that are breaking legal limits. Under the SNP, the total number of official pollution zones, where levels regularly exceed legal limits, has remained static at 38, despite the fact that the deadline for meeting the particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide standards was 31 December 2010.

More needs to be done to bring about transformational change in active travel, because, at the current rate of progress, it will take around 239 years to reach the Government’s target for 10 per cent of journeys to be made by bike by 2020. That was evidenced by the tiny increase of 0.2 per cent in bike journeys from 2010 to 2016 that was revealed in the latest transport statistics.

Bus passenger numbers in Scotland have fallen by 10 per cent over the past five years under this Government. Bus fleet sizes have fallen by 16 per cent, while fares have increased by 5 per cent in real terms. In 2016, 31 per cent of journeys to work were by public or active travel, which is the same amount as in 2006.

Electric vehicles account for less than 1 per cent of the 2.9 million cars that are on the roads in Scotland. I acknowledge that the SNP Government’s plans to phase out the purchase of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032 is ahead of the UK Government’s target, but a significant amount of progress is still to be made. Far more needs to be done, and a clear road map needs to be drawn up to hit future critical targets.

The Scottish Government’s independent adviser on climate change, the Committee on Climate Change, was clear in its recent “Reducing emissions in Scotland—2018 Progress Report to Parliament” that:

“Scotland’s progress in reducing emissions from the power sector masks a lack of action in other areas”.

There remains a need to improve if we are to hit emissions targets through to 2032.

Conservative members recognise and welcome the 45 per cent reduction in emissions since 1990, but that record of international leadership will not continue without renewed action.

Agriculture is an industry that absolutely recognises its role in delivering better, positive climate change, but the industry is calling out for much-improved knowledge transfer and support because, as the motion states, we are a nation

“with a proven record of expertise and innovation”.

We need to properly harness that expertise and innovation to deliver better outcomes through actions including soil sampling for the precision application of fertiliser to prevent excess application. That will save farmers money and prevent environmentally damaging run-off. Financial incentives to support the purchase of more precise machinery would achieve similar aims.

With regard to buildings, a more ambitious goal for Scotland’s energy efficiency programme could help all homes in Scotland to achieve at least a band C energy performance certificate by 2030, which would tackle fuel poverty, reduce spending on home-heating energy and create thousands of jobs.

In May, the Scottish Conservatives won cross-party support to bring forward by 10 years the target for all homes to have an EPC band C rating or above. We set out an ambitious target for that to be reached by 2030, whereas the SNP’s energy efficient Scotland route map sets the target to be reached only by 2040.

Right now, the Scottish Parliament has a fantastic opportunity. We are hearing evidence from across the world and across every sector as we scrutinise the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) Scotland Bill. I firmly believe that we need to do our bit. That is why we must heed the IPCC report’s warnings and take the lead.

Once again, I thank Maurice Golden for bringing the debate to the chamber. Let us hope that we act before it is too late. The Scottish Conservatives are out-greening the Greens and trumping the SNP with our achievable ambitions. That alone must be an incentive for the other parties to do more.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

That was a call to arms, Mr Greer.

17:43  

Ross Greer (West Scotland) (Green)

I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in the debate, but I absolutely agree with Liam McArthur that an issue of this scale deserves a full afternoon’s debate, with a motion that is voted on.

Last month’s IPCC report made it clear that we have about a decade left to manage the climate crisis—not to stop it, but to manage it. Managing means limiting warming to 1.5°; we are currently heading for more than 3° of global warming—that is civilisation-ending stuff.

Let us consider what the best-case scenario is. If we manage to radically change course and successfully restrict warming to 1.5°, all that we need to do to think about the impact of that is to look around us.

Wildfires in California have razed entire communities to the ground and killed dozens of people—that we know of. It is not just some celebrities losing their mansions: 8,000 homes have been destroyed. The town of Paradise is simply gone. Hundreds of people are missing, tens of thousands more homes are in danger, and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. More than 200,000 acres have already been burned by just two of those wildfires, which are about the size of East Lothian and Midlothian combined.

This summer, we experienced a global heatwave. We had wildfires here in the UK, although they were thankfully not as large or deadly as those in California. As Gillian Martin mentioned, there were wildfires within the Arctic circle.

However, it is not just wildfires and heatwaves that are increasingly becoming mass-casualty events across the planet. Flash floods, typhoons and other extreme weather events have caused havoc this year, and they are becoming only more common.

Global warming causes more extreme and deadly weather, and that is happening right now. We have not yet hit—and we are not on track to hit—that manageable 1.5° of warming and the planet is already being devastated. As the climate heats up, extreme weather will become more common. There will be more wild fires, droughts and flooding, stronger and more frequent storms and a rise in sea level. Hundreds of millions of people in low-lying countries, particularly poorer ones, will be displaced.

Can we handle the displacement that the climate crisis will cause? The so-called migration crisis in the Mediterranean in 2015 was caused by Europe’s inability to cope with what, at its peak, was the arrival of 1 million refugees. I have been to Lampedusa and spoken to those refugees. I have spoken to climate refugees on that island and I know the immense human suffering that this crisis is already causing. On current trends, which are constantly being revised upward, more than 300 million people will be climate refugees by 2050 and, despite those deadly summer heat waves, Europe will still be one of the safest places to be. Does anyone believe for a second that a continent convulsed by a xenophobic and hostile response to a few million people will respond to a true refugee crisis in anything other than a catastrophically inhumane manner?

How can we even limit global warming to that more manageable level? What we need is a global Marshall Plan, not to rebuild after a brutal conflict but to prevent a level of destruction and disruption that we cannot really imagine. The estimated costs are anything up to £2.5 trillion per year in energy transition alone, but that wealth is out there right now. It is in the hands of those who caused this crisis—the 90 or so companies that have caused more than two thirds of greenhouse gas emissions since the beginning of the industrial era. That is who we should be seizing the money from to fund that emergency response.

We need the wealth and power to be in the hands of people who are determined to stop this crisis, because we know what we need to do. We need a sweeping expansion of renewable energy generation in every corner of the planet, to replace that capacity that has to be lost from fossil fuels. Every form of clean energy generation, everywhere that it is viable, must be brought online and integrated into wider energy networks at a speed of industrial expansion only previously achieved by the superpowers of the second world war.

We need to revolutionise public transport across the world to rapidly shrink private car use and drastically reduce short-haul flights. We need to manufacture products as close to source as possible, and in a way that maximises rather than minimises their lifespan, to decrease the carbon footprint of global shipping and cargo flights. To make that work, we need to expand rapidly the electrification of public transport.

We need to consume less and end the systems in our society that are underpinned by disposable items or programmed obsolescence, particularly in electronics. Those things cannot be achieved by asking nicely or relying on individual choices to buy a reusable shopping bag. We cannot wait for solutions to become economically viable or for the market to provide. We need clear and concerted state action now. We need to tax the companies that are responsible for emissions and to invest heavily in the solutions to decarbonise our economy. We need regulations that force businesses to end waste, and we need to restrict the corrupt and corrosive political influence of billionaires and their fossil-fuel intensive industries.

My generation’s future has been stolen from us. My adult life will be defined by this crisis, but I, and we, intend to fight like hell to stop it. We hope only that those who brought the motion to Parliament today are half as serious as we are about the scientific reality of the crisis that we face.

17:48  

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (Roseanna Cunningham)

I thank Maurice Golden for bringing to Parliament this debate on the recent IPCC special report. The Scottish Government has welcomed it already and I do so again today. The report sets out in stark terms the threats that we face from climate change in terms of food security and water supply, loss of biodiversity, damage to infrastructure and economic growth as well as more extreme weather. A number of members have flagged examples where that may already be happening.

I share Maurice Golden’s assessment that the IPCC report represents an urgent call to global action. It makes it clear that rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes to global energy, land use, urban and industrial systems are needed if the Paris agreement aims are to be met. I will just say what utterly dismal interventions there were from some members. Listening to Mark Ruskell and Claudia Beamish, you would think that Scotland was failing in its international obligations, when the exact opposite is the case. I am proud that Scotland is one of the first countries to have responded to the Paris agreement with proposals for strengthened, legally binding emissions reduction targets. We are well placed to take a leading role in decarbonising the global economy and it is right that we do so.

In answer to Claudia Beamish, I say that the issue of limiting warming to 1.5° or 2.0° was addressed by the Committee on Climate Change. Its advice to us on a high-ambition Scottish response to the Paris agreement was that a 90 per cent target is in line with limiting warming to 1.5°. I appreciate that members do not want to hear that, but that is what the Committee on Climate Change said.

Other countries must now step up and match Scotland’s ambition and action. We are doing our fair share, but Scotland accounts for only 0.1 per cent of the world’s emissions, and the issue is a global one that needs a global response. That is why the Scottish Government is committed to working with international partners and to supporting measures to increase global effort to tackle climate change. In October, we contributed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Talanoa dialogue, which was intended to support the implementation of national commitments to the Paris agreement. In September, we contributed to the European Union’s consultation on a long-term greenhouse emissions reduction strategy. We shared our experience of climate change and urged the EU to maintain its leadership on the issue. We have also written to the UK Government to call on it to join us in working towards net zero emissions, and I hope that that will be possible.

Claudia Beamish

I do not want to be defensive about this, but does the cabinet secretary really think that the current position is Scotland’s fair share? She has gone to the CCC, but the Government is not bound to listen only to it. There has been so much other advice, which is why Scottish Labour is taking the position that it is. I do not speak for other parties, but some of them think similarly. That should surely be respected. We are pushing for further action.

Roseanna Cunningham

We listen to evidence and information from everywhere, but I remind members that the UK Committee on Climate Change is our statutory adviser—it is who the Parliament wanted us to take advice from. If that issue has to be reopened, that is fine, but people will need to reopen it and think about what it means.

I said earlier today in the chamber that the First Minister hopes to be able to attend this year’s UN climate talks in Poland. That follows a personal invitation from Patricia Espinosa, the executive secretary of the UNFCCC, and it provides further confirmation of the importance of Scotland’s climate leadership internationally. We should all be proud of Scotland’s progress to date in driving down emissions and making world-leading commitments to continue to do so.

However, the Scottish Government has been absolutely clear that we want to go even further and set a date for net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases in law as soon as that can be done credibly and responsibly. The independent expert advice of the UK Committee on Climate Change plays a key role in that, which is why we have joined the UK and Welsh Governments in writing to that committee to ask it to provide updated advice on national target levels in light of the IPCC report. I argue that that is responding responsibly as a Government to what we see, and that it reflects the seriousness with which we take the report.

We have asked the committee to provide its advice in March next year so that that can inform Parliament’s deliberations on the bill but, if that advice does not come in March, it is more important that we get the bill right than that we try to rush it through. If the committee advises that even more ambitious Scottish targets are now credible in light of the IPCC report or in light of more being done at UK level, we will act on that advice. That is what we have been saying all along.

Even if the CCC advises that a 90 per cent target remains the limit of feasibility for now, the bill contains mechanisms to ensure that the CCC regularly reviews and updates that advice. The bill allows for higher targets to be rapidly set in legislation as soon as evidence to support such targets exists.

Mark Ruskell

The UK Committee on Climate Change has already given clear advice about farming and transport. In my speech, I highlighted the kind of actions that are needed, not just by the cabinet secretary but by her colleague Fergus Ewing and colleagues across the Cabinet. What pressure will she put on the other parts of the Cabinet and on the other portfolios to make those changes?

Roseanna Cunningham

I cannot range across everybody else’s portfolios, but I can say that I was somewhat surprised to hear the comments about the NFUS. I had a meeting directly with the NFUS and associated groups that was specifically about the bill. They can have been under no illusions as to how important the issue is to the Government.

When we talk about progress to targets, we focus on territorial emissions from sources that are located here in Scotland, and that approach is in line with international reporting practice, including under the Paris agreement. However, Maurice Golden is right to highlight the need to be mindful of our consumption-based emissions, which are those that are associated with imported goods and services.

I recognise that progress in reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint has been slower than that in reducing our territorial emissions. That is why our role on the international stage is so important; all countries need to reduce the emissions that are embedded in goods and services. The Committee on Climate Change has advised that setting targets for consumption-based emissions would be both disruptive and impractical, so we need to think about how that would work. However, there is a lot that we can do at home, which is why I fully support the ambition to integrate circular-economy thinking into all our policy areas.

I will not be drawn down the line of a discussion about deposit return, as that is for another debate. Tomorrow, I will be opening a community resources network conference; that organisation gets the point and there is a lot that we can learn from it.

I welcome this debate in bringing the IPCC report further to the attention of Parliament. Climate change is a defining challenge of our time and the IPCC report represents a key stage in the global response to it. The report says that the world needs to be carbon neutral by 2050. Our bill means that Scotland will be exactly that. What is more, our bill enables the Parliament to keep our target levels under constant review, so that Scotland can always remain at the forefront of ambition, which is where we are at present.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

That concludes the debate. I close this meeting of Parliament.

Meeting closed at 17:56.