Live Scotland Questions House of Commons


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Live Scotland Questions

Live coverage of questions in the House of Commons to the Scottish secretary David Mundell and his ministerial team.


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the recent budget to the European Union. Do not forget to join Alessio

:00:00.:00:00.

McCarthy for a round-up at 11 o'clock tonight. First it is

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questions to the Scottish Secretary, David Mundell.

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The question is that the bill Rigby now considered. I think that the

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Ayes have it, the Ayes have it. Questions to the Secretary of State

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for Scotland. Antoinette Sandbach. Secretary of State for Scotland,

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Secretary David Mundell. As the Prime Minister has said, at

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the heart of the United Kingdom is the unity of our people, unity of

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interests, Outlook and principles. This transcends politics and

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institutions, the Constitution and the economy, it is about the values

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that we share, our solidarity. I will never stop making the

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passionate and positive case for our United Kingdom and look forward to

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having the opportunity to do so during the forthcoming general

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election. Antoinette Sandbach. While the Defence Secretary confirmed that

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a ?1.7 billion investment in Scottish military bases, does my

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right honourable friend agree that Scotland plays a crucial role in

:01:12.:01:14.

defending my constituents in Eddisbury, the whole of the UK, from

:01:15.:01:19.

growing threats at sea, in the air and Atlanta and that divisive

:01:20.:01:23.

policies of the nationals threaten that crucial role?

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I absolutely agree with my honourable friend, Scotland is on

:01:32.:01:34.

the front line of defending the UK from these growing threats at sea,

:01:35.:01:42.

in the air and online. It is the essential capabilities that we have

:01:43.:01:48.

that help to do this and we have increased investment with better

:01:49.:01:50.

infrastructure for our Armed Forces to help them keep the whole of the

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UK say. Iain Murray. Given in the last quarter that this got this

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economy contracted by zero point 2%, is it not time that we got of the

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independents merry-go-round and the general election and got the Prime

:02:09.:02:11.

Minister and the First Minister to both concentrate on what is

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important and that is the economy of Scotland? Mr Speaker, I would give

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the honourable gentleman more credibility with that statement and

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he was not standing on the ticket of a leader who has said that he has no

:02:25.:02:28.

problem with another independence referendum and clearly would do a

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deal with the SNP to get the keys of Number Ten.

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Will the Secretary of State confirm that Scotland's membership of the

:02:40.:02:42.

single market of the UK is more important to Scotland than

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membership of the single market of the European Union? Mr Speaker, my

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honourable friend is correct and absolutely right to highlight that

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the market for Scottish goods and services in the rest of the UK is

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four times greater than the market in the EU, it is the vital union for

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Scotland. Mr Speaker, in the last few years,

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Ireland has leapfrogged the UK in terms of GDP growth. The oil fund is

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920 billion. The equivalent figures for the UK are zero, zero and zero.

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Does the Secretary of State not agree that Iceland and Ireland could

:03:33.:03:37.

be matched by Scotland, what is he scared of? Mr Speaker, I well

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remember when the SNP advocated the art of prosperity with Ireland,

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Scotland and Iceland and I very, very much doubt that the people of

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Scotland would want to endure the pain that the people of both Iceland

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and Ireland have endured to ensure their economy is back on a stable

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footing. Angus Robertson. At least all of us on this House can

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agree that the greatest contribution from Scotland is to show that there

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is actually an alternative and constructive policies to this UK

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Tory government. It is worth remembering that in Scotland we have

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free prescriptions, free eye tests and childcare, the university

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tuition. We have scrapped bridge tolls, we opened railways, invested

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in infrastructure, we are building more council houses than any UK

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nation. That is what the SNP has delivered in government in Scotland.

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Does he not agree that this stands in marked contrast to the Tory's

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mismanagement and can -- disruption of public services south of the

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border? Mr Speaker, what I see in my constituency is falling educational

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standards, Scotland's once proud education system having the lowest

:04:58.:05:00.

international ratings ever, what IT my constituents having increasing

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waiting times for the health service and what I see them doing is dealing

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with inadequate infrastructure. I do not believe that the SNP Government

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in Scotland is focusing on the day job, they are focusing on their

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independence obsession. Talking about doing the day job when you are

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calling an early general election! Let us rest on a neutral observer,

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not the research Officer of the Tory Party but the director of the

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Institute of health and society and I quote his words, "Scotland is any

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much stronger position than England with respect to both health social

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care, the problem at the moment is that the English government is not

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committed to a National Health Service." If this is not another

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example that the real alternative to the Tory UK Government is the

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Progressive policies of the SNP? Absolutely not, Mr Speaker, and I

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look forward to debating these subjects over the next six weeks. I

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think the Right honourable gentleman was very, very careful not to

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mention education standards in Scotland. The latest international

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figures demonstrate that education standards in Scotland are at their

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lowest ever on record. I do not think that that is a proud record of

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the Scottish Government and I look forward to holding it to account

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over the next six weeks. Mr Speaker in our negotiations with

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the EU we will seek the best deal for all parts of the UK.

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The joint ministerial committee on EU negotiations was established to

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facilitate engagement between the UK Government and devolved

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administrations and has had regular substantive and constructive

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discussions. I thank you for that answer. If he

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is so keen and supportive of the JMC, why did they vote against the

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statutory footing for the Brexit negotiations during the article for

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the bill? Secondly, when was the last time a positive idea, I am sure

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there are many from the devolved administrations, was taken on board

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to form part of the Brexit negotiations to improve the exit

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from the EU of the devolved nations? Mr Speaker, we have been very clear

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that Scotland's place in Europe, a contribution of the Scottish

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Government to the discussions, as has been constructive and its --

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discussions from the Welsh Government and indeed from the

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Northern Irish executive. We have set out many things that have formed

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part of the White Paper, part of the Prime minister's speech and will be

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part of the future discussions as we continue our negotiations over the

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exit from the EU. This is not a really important issue about the

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role played by machinery of government and helping hold together

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the UK? Does my right honourable friend agree that a priority for the

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new government should be to take a long, hard look at developing new

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ways of working between ministers and civil servants across the

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devolved administrations to strengthen our United Kingdom? Mr

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Speaker, I absolutely agree with my right honourable friend. He has

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considerable experience because despite what we here at these

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questions, despite what we see in the media, actually, the UK

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Government and devolved administrations are able on a range

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of issues to work very closely and constructively together and that is

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the element that we should be supporting and promoting. Pete

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Wishart. Now is not the time is what the Prime Minister said to the

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Scottish Parliament when Scotland wants to decide its own future with

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Europe. But now is it time for the screeching U-turn in this

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opportunistic general election. Do you also believe it is time for the

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Scottish Government to reject this desire to drive Scotland over the

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cliff edge for this hard Brexit? Mr Speaker, I acknowledge that the

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honourable gentleman is an expert on screeching but what I would say to

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him is that the proposal by the Prime Minister to have a general

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election in six weeks' time to ensure certainty, clarity and

:09:30.:09:32.

security for the period of the Brexit negotiations is quite

:09:33.:09:36.

different from the proposal to have a disruptive referendum campaign

:09:37.:09:40.

during the period of those negotiations.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker. Common commercial policy is for the UK to

:09:47.:09:50.

pursue as we leave the EU, for example, an animal health and food

:09:51.:09:56.

safety, are as essential to Scotland as they are the Somerset. How can

:09:57.:10:00.

the JMC help ensure that they will be adopted?

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Mr Speaker, I would certainly hope that the JMC will be involved in the

:10:06.:10:10.

discussion of the repatriation of important powers from the EU to the

:10:11.:10:17.

Scottish Parliament and the other devolved administrations, I

:10:18.:10:20.

recognise more than anyone how important it is to have common

:10:21.:10:25.

animal welfare arrangements. The main livestock market for my

:10:26.:10:29.

constituency is one mile south of the Scottish border in England.

:10:30.:10:34.

Scotland voted to remain in the EU and the single market but the

:10:35.:10:37.

Scottish Government's paper that would have kept Scotland in the

:10:38.:10:41.

single market and the UK was roundly ignored by the Tory UK Government

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intent on pursuing a reckless hard Brexit. Can the Secretary of State

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for Scotland tell us what personal action he took to convince the Prime

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Minister to take account of the views of the people of Scotland and

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can you provide an explanation for why he failed? Mr Speaker, I have

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been quite clear that the place of Scotland and Europe did play an

:11:01.:11:06.

important part in the government's thinking and just so the heckler

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opposite are clear, the government has formally responded to the

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Scottish Government in relation to the place of Scotland and

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surprisingly the Scottish Government asked us not to publish our

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response. In his assessment of the effectiveness of the Joint

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Ministerial Council, did he show my conclusion that actually it could be

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more effective of all parties were focusing on building a strong UK

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after Brexit, not pursuing separatist agendas? Absolutely, Mr

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Speaker. As we head into what will be unprecedented peacetime

:11:48.:11:52.

negotiations with the EU, it is vital that all parts of the United

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Kingdom pulled together to take a Team UK approach and by doing so we

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will get the best possible deal for Scotland and the whole of the UK.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker. The JMC is supposed to be the platform for the

:12:09.:12:11.

devolved administrations to have their voices not just heard what

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responded to. The Secretary of State paint a rosy picture but the

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Northern Ireland voice is not hurt, the Scottish boys is clearly being

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ignored and the Welsh fuel at best less than impressed. When will this

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government give this boy did it either needs, put in a statutory

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footing to allow it to do its job properly -- Bourdy. The purpose of

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the JMC is to bring together the UK Government and the devolved

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administrations and to work together and vomiting our position as we go

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forward in these negotiations. I very much regret the fact that the

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Northern Ireland executive has not been able to be politically present

:12:56.:13:01.

in recent times and that is something that we all want to see

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brought to a conclusion, but these meetings have been robust and I

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believe, certainly in terms of the actions that have flowed from them,

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they have been constructive. An and you. With initial viral and

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the questions for an age to get there. The UK and Scottish

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Government continue to engage closely on the devolution of new tax

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powers. The Scottish Government is now responsible was setting the

:13:30.:13:33.

rates and threshold of income tax and it is incumbent of them to use

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their powers to make Scotland an attractive place to live and work.

:13:39.:13:47.

Thank you. Now that the Scottish Government is dot-mac has

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unprecedented ballad to shake the economy of Scotland, will the call

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on the SNP to solve economic growth rather than focusing on an

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independence referendum? Mr Speaker, the shouts from the opposition

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benches just highlight the complacency of the SNP in relation

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to the Scottish economy. It is contracted by 2% in the fourth

:14:15.:14:20.

quarter of 2016 compare to the UK economy which and grew by 7%. Now

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the Scots can be proud of that comparison. Does my right old friend

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agree that it is terrible that middle earners in Scotland are being

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penalised by the Scottish Government, ?400 this year and up to

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?1400 by 2021 compares to an England where we have higher tax threshold

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to help hard-working families? By honourable friend is right to

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highlight that point alone, while I might not like the plans to make

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school on the highest taxed part of the UK, I do acknowledge it is a

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matter for the Scottish Government. They will have to account for

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themselves in relation to the taxation policies in the forthcoming

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general election, that will highlight those issues. The average

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band D council built in Scotland is almost ?400 although there than it

:15:20.:15:24.

is in England. Will these discussions include how local

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authorities in England provide local and national services while

:15:31.:15:33.

maintaining the lowest council tax rates in the UK? -- will learn from

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Scotland. The honourable lady may have spoken GPS NP press office, but

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she certainly hasn't spoken to councils up and down Scotland who

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are absolutely uniform in their negativity of the Scottish

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Government's approach to the funding of local governments. Thank you very

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much, Mr Speaker. As a last act of kindness and while he still has his

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seat and his position, will he addressed the issue of closure of

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the HM RC of this in my Livingston constituency threatening 1000 jobs

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being moved to Edinburgh, cross-party politicians have written

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to him, including his own party. He has ignored this. In his swansong,

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will he come to Livingston and save those jobs? As the honourable lady

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knows, I have set out clearly in correspondence with all of those who

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have been in touch with me, the rationales for the move and the

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change in the arrangements for HM RC. Many of which have been caused

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by cross this house in terms of efficiency and effectiveness of HMRC

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working. Nobody wants to see significant change in employment

:16:57.:16:58.

patterns in their constituency. I commend your honourable lady for the

:16:59.:17:08.

way she has pursued the issue. Mr Speaker, with your permission, I

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will answer questions five and seven together. The UK governments's plan

:17:13.:17:15.

for Britain seeks to help businesses across the UK to trade beyond Europe

:17:16.:17:21.

and make Britain a leading advocate for free trade across the world.

:17:22.:17:27.

Ministers have had meetings with several businesses across Scotland

:17:28.:17:30.

since last summer's referendum and only last month, my honourable

:17:31.:17:35.

friend, the Secretary of State for International Development was in

:17:36.:17:37.

Glasgow to meet innovative Scottish businesses trading with the world. I

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thank my honourable friend for that response. What steps is he taking to

:17:44.:17:47.

support international trade and development in devolved nations? I

:17:48.:17:52.

thank my honourable friend for that question. The Department for

:17:53.:17:55.

International Trade is quite clear. We are a Department for the whole of

:17:56.:17:59.

the United Kingdom. All of our services are accessible to companies

:18:00.:18:05.

in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including the

:18:06.:18:14.

great campaign, including our cause, gov.uk and we have had more of

:18:15.:18:18.

investments coming into more parts of the United Kingdom are reviewed

:18:19.:18:22.

recent months. Thank you. Good my honourable friend tell you how is

:18:23.:18:29.

his view on the damage to Scottish business if Scotland left the United

:18:30.:18:36.

Kingdom. -- Could. Well, my honourable friend has hit the nail

:18:37.:18:40.

on the head. If Scotland were to leave the UK, the potential damage

:18:41.:18:44.

to Scottish business and Scottish trade would be huge. The Scottish

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Government's and figures showed that 64% of goods and services leaving

:18:50.:18:55.

Scotland get into the UK, can purge to only 15% going to the rest of the

:18:56.:19:07.

EU. 49.8 billion versus ?23 billion. Mr Speaker, Can the Minister tell us

:19:08.:19:10.

what assessment he has made to the conservation of Scotland to the EU's

:19:11.:19:17.

single market? I think the honourable gentleman is missing the

:19:18.:19:23.

point. The point is surely the centrality and importance of the UK

:19:24.:19:28.

single market. As we go forward from here. I will give him the figures

:19:29.:19:33.

again. It is 49.8 billion going to the rest of the UK, only 12.3

:19:34.:19:38.

billion going to the EU. It is clear that it is the union matters knows

:19:39.:19:48.

the man that is the United Kingdom. The Secretary of State has

:19:49.:19:50.

previously said he supports the European single market. They have

:19:51.:19:56.

been part of that and it was clearly the best possible deal for Scotland.

:19:57.:20:02.

I wonder if the Secretary of State determines constituents, will he now

:20:03.:20:04.

stand on a manifesto to take Scotland out of that single market?

:20:05.:20:11.

Well, the Prime Minister and the whole Government is absolutely clear

:20:12.:20:15.

on this. Our objective is to secure a comprehensive free trade agreement

:20:16.:20:22.

with the European Union as we leave the European Union. That will be any

:20:23.:20:26.

better interests of all part of the UK, including Scotland. What

:20:27.:20:34.

assessment has my honourable friend made of the opportunities for

:20:35.:20:36.

increasing the export of whiskey across the world as part of a

:20:37.:20:40.

free-trade agreement once we leave the European Union? The honourable

:20:41.:20:47.

gentleman was acting at whiskey exports. That care the Minister. My

:20:48.:20:58.

honourable friend raises a good point. Exports of whiskey reached

:20:59.:21:03.

3.9 9,000,000,020 16. A big increase. Actually, Mr Speaker,

:21:04.:21:08.

whiskey has been a part of quite a view of our trade missions, notably

:21:09.:21:14.

the Secretary of State international trade and myself were in India, lead

:21:15.:21:17.

to the Scotch Whisky Association and we have seen increased exports to

:21:18.:21:27.

India. Mr Speaker, the former Prime Minister David Cameron promised he

:21:28.:21:31.

would not resign if he lost the EU referendum. They renege on a promise

:21:32.:21:35.

within Hallows. The current Prime Minister on seven occasions said she

:21:36.:21:45.

would not call a general election. She renege on yesterday. Will you

:21:46.:21:49.

renew a commitment given to ours on at least three occasions that,

:21:50.:21:55.

whatever support is in place, businesses like Nissan, will be put

:21:56.:22:00.

in place for Scotland? Mr Speaker, we have been absolutely clear that

:22:01.:22:03.

our support for Nissan and indeed the rest of the automotive sector of

:22:04.:22:08.

will be in during. That is the most important point and I'm sure it'll

:22:09.:22:12.

be an important point of the general election campaign as they go forward

:22:13.:22:16.

from there. I'm looking forward to the Conservatives being competitive

:22:17.:22:20.

in the north-east in this coming general election and we look forward

:22:21.:22:23.

to taking the fight to the official opposition there. The question was

:22:24.:22:29.

whether he would we knew the promise given to Scotland to have the same

:22:30.:22:35.

deal and, if you will, will you tell the people in the oil and gas supply

:22:36.:22:39.

chain that the reports from the Robert Gordon University last week

:22:40.:22:43.

that said Brexit would cost them ?200 million, that money will be

:22:44.:22:47.

sorted, they will be looked after in the same way and this is prepared to

:22:48.:22:55.

be, or will he make another promise? Mr Speaker, I'm glad he has raised

:22:56.:22:58.

the question of oil and gas in Scotland.

:22:59.:23:06.

CHEERING What I can say to him, Mr Speaker is

:23:07.:23:11.

that I know he and I would agree that the one being that would be

:23:12.:23:15.

most disastrous for the Scottish economy, including the oil and gas

:23:16.:23:19.

sector, would be seeing Scottish separation leading to an overnight

:23:20.:23:24.

budget deficit of around 9% of GDP. That would be a disaster. Mr

:23:25.:23:34.

Speaker, with commission, I would -- permission, I will answer questions

:23:35.:23:37.

nine, ten and 11 together. Cells from Scotland's US and UK with

:23:38.:23:41.

nearly ?50 billion, a figure increased by a loss by 2002 and

:23:42.:23:48.

values the export of Scotland to the EU. There is no doubt that the

:23:49.:23:51.

United Kingdom is the vital union for Scotland. But my honourable

:23:52.:23:58.

friend agree that the best deal for Scotland is to stay part of the

:23:59.:24:01.

United Kingdom and to work with the UK governments to do all it can to

:24:02.:24:05.

support a new free-trade agreement for the EU? Mr Speaker, I absolutely

:24:06.:24:14.

agree with my honourable friend. Mr Speaker, the IMF predicted dire

:24:15.:24:19.

consequences for the UK economy if we voted Brexit. They have raided

:24:20.:24:23.

the growth yesterday for the second time in three months to 2%. Much of

:24:24.:24:30.

the confident about the growth in UK economy is deserved by Alan

:24:31.:24:33.

leadership of our Prime Minister. That they agree with me that when

:24:34.:24:38.

people to buy British and the British as a quality mark... -- our.

:24:39.:24:52.

Deeply obliged. Yes. Thank you, my constituents have a long and proud

:24:53.:24:56.

to tradition in the textile industry, many of whom trade with

:24:57.:25:00.

all part of the United Kingdom. How will these companies in my

:25:01.:25:05.

constituency be helped by Scotland leaving the hugely successful UK

:25:06.:25:11.

single market? Obviously, they won't. As the honourable gentleman

:25:12.:25:19.

will now, in 2015, Scotland exported 49.8 billion to the rest of the UK.

:25:20.:25:24.

Four times more than that which is exported to the EU and three times

:25:25.:25:27.

greater than sales to the rest of the world. The benefits to Scotland

:25:28.:25:34.

are full access to the UK market are Claire. Does my honourable friend

:25:35.:25:38.

agree that Scottish representation in this Parliament must focus on

:25:39.:25:43.

what benefits the whole of the UK single market. Absolutely. That is

:25:44.:25:50.

why I can confirm to my honourable friend that when Bruce Davis and the

:25:51.:25:54.

Scottish in-service care into the general election, it will be on the

:25:55.:25:58.

bases of keeping Scotland because my United Kingdom. That when Bruce

:25:59.:26:10.

Davidson. -- Ruth Davidson. 40% of exports go to the US where is only

:26:11.:26:15.

63% go to the UK. Canada is a successful independent country. But

:26:16.:26:17.

the Secretary of State agree that the inaction neighbouring countries

:26:18.:26:23.

can have trading relations while maintaining sovereignty? Of course

:26:24.:26:32.

countries can have close... Close trading relationships but what

:26:33.:26:38.

Scotland benefits from being part of the United Kingdom is in their

:26:39.:26:42.

barriers in trade, freedom of movement between Scotland and the

:26:43.:26:45.

rest of the UK, that is good for Scottish business and she should

:26:46.:26:53.

support it. Scottish exports of food and drink doubled in the past ten

:26:54.:27:00.

years. James Withers, the chief executive Scott on food and drink

:27:01.:27:03.

said he was afraid he consequences of leaving the European Union, not

:27:04.:27:08.

having a trade deal and tariffs. Willie Secretary of State guarantee

:27:09.:27:10.

the Scottish food and drink sector will not have to deal with that is

:27:11.:27:18.

your tariffs? -- if you. Their greatest concern is that the SNP

:27:19.:27:21.

would seek to drag Scotland out of the United Kingdom.

:27:22.:27:36.

Will he be honest with their constituents and if you eat time, do

:27:37.:27:41.

they support they in single market are evading with an MP who wants to

:27:42.:27:51.

go with a damaging hard Brexit. What sizes and followed due when I can

:27:52.:27:55.

get my constituency in the next general election is knowing exactly

:27:56.:28:00.

what the position is on the EU. Arlene Foster taking Scotland back

:28:01.:28:05.

into the EU are they not? I hope we will find out in the next six weeks.

:28:06.:28:12.

Finally and briefly, Martin Doherty queues. The Tory strategy worked a

:28:13.:28:17.

treat against the Liberal Democrats, the south-west of England at the

:28:18.:28:21.

last general election. Is it the same strategy that the Secretary of

:28:22.:28:24.

State will be urging his colleagues to export in the coming election to

:28:25.:28:35.

Scotland? Group Davidson has already made it clear that her stands fully

:28:36.:28:39.

to stand up for Scotland's membership of the United Kingdom and

:28:40.:28:42.

against a device of second independence

:28:43.:28:43.