12/01/2017: First Minister's Questions Politics Scotland

12/01/2017: First Minister's Questions

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Hello and a warm welcome on this rather chilly day and a good New


Year to you as well. It is a new year, but it is the same topics and


anxieties. We are concerned about the health service. There will be a


debate this afternoon about the state of the education system and


there is always Brexit. Any of those questions could come up in questions


to the First Minister. Let us cross to be Chamber. With the Britain is


on her feet. Let us listen in. Let me wish you and everyone across


Scotland are happy New Year. Later today I will have engagement to take


forward the government was programme for Scotland. We have heard a lot


this week about performance in health systems. I think we should


all be able to agree that nobody should revel in sick people


struggling to treated anywhere. Instead we should be focused on


patients and how to improve care and that is why I welcome reports this


morning that the Scottish Government has brought in a team from the NHS


in England to help out the troubled Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow.


Can I asked the First Minister how many other Scottish hospitals have


benefited and continue to benefit from such arrangements? There is not


a team from the NHS in England helping in the Queen Elizabeth.


There is a support team provided by the Scottish Government helping the


Queen Elizabeth Hospital deal with pressures in A There is an input


to that from a very small team, to people I think from a commissioning


provider in the North of England, but this is a Scottish Government


support team and it's making sure the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, just


is as the case in hospitals across Scotland are dealing with the


increasing demand for A services. It's worth saying that our services


face challenges, particularly in the winter months and these are


challenges not just based in Scotland, but across the UK. Our


staff are doing a sterling job in dealing with those challenges. The


most recently published figures for the week ending the 1st of January


showed that out of every 100 patients, 92 were seen within the


four hour target. That is broadly similar to the same week last year,


despite A attendances being up by almost 3% since the same week last


year. My concern of responsibility is a Scotland but it's important to


say that due to the actions that we have taken to support A


departments across Scotland, our NHS is coping better than the NHS in


other parts of the UK. The Chamber doesn't have too take my word for


that. Let me quote Professor Derek Bell. He said Scotland is


consistently performing eight or ten percentage points better than


England. There is no complacency in this government when it comes to A


or any other health care services. I visited three different health board


this week alone, but we will continue to support our health


service and our A departments to make sure they continue to deliver


the services the patients deserve. Presiding Officer, I asked how many


hospitals were benefiting from such arrangements. As the First Minister


chose not answer I'm sure the Chamber looks to her updating us on


her convenience as to how many have been so served. We know they have


been problems at the Queen Elizabeth and we know this team that brings in


a lot of different people including people from south of the border has


been in place for a number of months, but what we don't know is


it's precise remit. How long it has been asked to stay for and what cost


has been incurred to the Scottish Government. Can I asked the First


Minister what has been the total cost over the past five years of


hiring specialist teams from other parts of the UK to help the NHS in


Scotland? We provide... We as the Scottish Government provide


appropriate support to help boards so that they can continue to improve


services and deliver better services to patients. Perhaps if the element


in the rest of the UK was doing similarly, there would be better A


performance across hospitals in England. As an aside, the latest


figures for England on A were published this morning. They show a


further decline in performance and they now show a gap between


performance in Scotland's A and England's of ten percentage points.


Let me say very clearly, Presiding Officer, the NHS in Scotland will


continue to use and learn from best practice in the delivery of health


care, where ever that best practice exists. Let me also say this very


clearly and there was no complacency on the part of the government, we


will come in see increases in the winter months and that will be


reflected in performance, but if there is best practice in the NHS in


terms of anywhere in the UK to be learned from, it is best practice in


the NHS in Scotland. I quoted Professor Derek Bell earlier on. I


don't know if Ruth Davidson has seen what he has written in this


morning's Scots man. He talks about the better performance, consistently


better performance than in other parts of the UK and he says that


this is in part due to the National programme to improve unscheduled


care that she is best practice and appears to be sharing patient


benefit. He then suggests the NHS in England should consider introducing


a similar national plan to the one already operational in Scotland. So


we do have best practice in A services. That is practice has been


delivered in our hospitals here in Scotland. Presiding Officer I simply


asked for a greater transparency in health spending and as a former


Health Secretary I would've thought that that was information that the


First Minister would have been happy to provide the Chamber. It seems


not. Of course the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is not the only new medical


facility with teething problems. In 2014 the First Minister announced


new trauma centres would open across the country. They were supposed to


receive the first patients last year, but yesterday the Scottish


Government announced the new centres would be years late. The First


Minister admitted they would be at least three years late and the only


explanation offered with scale and complexity. Communities have been


expecting the centres for two years and are now been told to wait at


least another three. I think they deserve a full explanation than the


one given and so does this Parliament. All the First Minister


of it now? -- will be First Minister give it to us now? We have record


levels of health spending in Scotland as a result of decisions


taken by this government. That record level of health spending is


delivering record numbers of staff working in our health service and


those record numbers of staff are delivering A performance in


Scotland right now that is ten percentage points better than A


performance in England and even further than that, compared to Wales


and Northern Ireland. We will never be complacent about the performance


of our health service, particularly during these difficult winter


months, but let me take the opportunity to thank each and every


one of our health care teams across Scotland who are doing such a


fantastic job on our behalf right now. In terms of the trauma centres


that I was very proud to talk about yesterday, including ?5 million of


investment in the next financial year to support this commitment, we


have rightly taken time to get this right. Ruth Davidson and others will


be aware, should be aware because many of their own members have been


part of this intense debate about the correct number and configuration


of major trauma centres across Scotland and Ruth Davidson would've


read in that programme to government published in September last year the


commitment that we would conclude the preparatory work by the end of


2016. That is exactly what we have done. We will now go on with


implementation, but it's important to be clear what we are talking


about. We're not talking about creating from scratch four new


facilities that currently don't exist. These four hospitals in


Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh already provide excellent


first-class trauma care. What we are talking about is continuing to


enhance what they do and to join up the services they provide with the


services that other hospitals provide and with the service that


the Scottish ambulance provided in an integrated trauma network and


that work will be done on an ongoing basis over the next three years.


Many of the improvements that are part of that will be delivered over


the course of this year, including key improvements to the trauma


service provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service. This is about


ongoing improvement to excellent services that are being delivered by


trauma care staff across the NHS. I was delighted to talk to that staff


yesterday and let me take the opportunity to take the opportunity


to thank them for the first class outstanding job that they are doing.


So not just late, but also scaled back from the party conference


announcements? Presiding Officer, there is another point here and once


again yesterday we saw this Scottish Government bypass Parliament and go


straight to the media regarding a major change it's been reported that


the Health Secretary is not due to update Parliament on the delay to


these trauma centres until October, meaning MSPs won't have a proper


opportunity to question the reasons behind this decision for nine months


and I think that is clearly unacceptable. The Scottish


Conservatives have requested that the Health Secretary comes to this


Chamber to give a full statement on the delay and I asked the First


Minister to ensure that that takes place next week. Providing officer,


can I point out to Ruth Davidson that I am in the Chamber right now


answering questions from her on major trauma centres! Said if she


can't get any or all of the information about this announcement


that she wants, then I would suggest that about a deficiency in her


ability to ask questions, not about any lack of information from the


Scottish Government. Can I also say to Ruth Davidson to further things


about this. I didn't go straight to the media yesterday, I went straight


to nine wells Hospital to talk to the staff who deliver trauma centre


care across this country. And incidentally, there was an IP Q


published in forming Parliament that I did it. Secondly, Ruth Davidson


clearly doesn't know much about this subject. She talks about scaling


back. Can I say that when I talked about the intense debate about the


number, that was about the fact that there were people who we should only


have two major trauma centres based in Edinburgh and Glasgow. We did not


think that was right, so what we have committed to our four major


trauma centres as part of an integrated network. Further evidence


of this government getting on with the job of delivering first-class


care services and finally, providing officer, I do say it's a bit rich


for Ruth Davidson to come to this Chamber and talk about the health


service. Especially in the week when the Red Cross has accused her party


presiding over a humanitarian crisis in the health service in England. So


I'll get on with the job... I'll get on with the job of supporting our


health care staffing doing the great job that they are doing in providing


health services across our country. I can see members are in quite a


rounding mood and if we could just please show some restraint. Kezia


Dugdale, question number two. Happy New Year, Presiding Officer. I once


asked the First Minister what engagements she has for the rest of


the week? Two take forward the programme for Scotland. Last year I


met with leading consultants and surgeons at the Aberdeen infirmary.


They said a new trauma centre in Aberdeen could be the difference


between life and death for people in the north-east. Whether it's someone


in a serious car crash or an accident on the brakes, they were


clear. Having access to world-class trauma care could be a life-saver.


The SNP promised the trauma centres will be open in 2016, but yesterday


the First Minister and a three-year delay and she looked like she was


celebrating that delay. Given what the experts tell us, is this the


First Minister accept that this delay could be a matter of life and


death? Aberdeen and Dundee major trauma centres will be fully


operational before the ones in Edinburgh and Glasgow, probably over


the next year to 18 months. Aberdeen is getting the life-saving trauma


centre that some people thought it should not get because there should


be only too, based in Glasgow and Edinburgh. It's important because


this is really important. These major trauma centres are not


brand-new facilities from scratch. These hospitals are already


providing trauma care. It's about enhancing what they do firstly, but


secondly, and this is the crucial part in perhaps the part that is not


fully understood, it's about joining up what these four centres do with


the work that other hospitals do in other parts of the country and


crucially with the work that the Scottish Ambulance Service will do


in an integrated trauma care network. That is the really


important part. One of the early parts of implementation of this will


be the provision of a 24-7 trauma desk within the Scottish Ambulance


Service said that patients get to definitive trauma care as quickly as


possible. This is not just about four centres, is about a network of


trauma care that is going to deliver better trauma care for patients that


is already being delivered. Let me stress, these hospitals are


delivering first-class care already. The life-saving medics I met told me


that they are telling the government more delays will cost lives. I


listened very carefully to the First Minister's response to Ruth


Davidson. I wrote it down word for word. She said we are rightly taking


time to get things right. She's that we are ensuring the correct number


and correct configuration. Wipe then did her government released a press


release on the 2nd of April 2014 that says, the four bases will be


operational Kezia Dugdale, if she had looked


into all the detail, with all the answer to her own question. After


that, it was another report that cast doubt on that being the correct


configurations. We had to look again, if we were taking into


account the clinical evidence if we were getting that correct. That is


why what I say it was exactly the correct thing, taking time to make


it right. These improvements are underway already, Aberdeen already


delivers life-saving trauma care, enhancing what it does, Dundee,


Glasgow, Edinburgh. But crucially, making sure that they work together


in that network with the appropriate support from the Scottish Ambulance


Service. These are the correct changes, being taken forward. The


other part of the announcement from that has not been talked about and


off, the focus on rehabilitation. It is about making sure that people who


suffer serious traumatic the rehabilitation that the need for the


quality of life. This is an integrated approach, correct


approach, based on evidence. Achievement, officer has taken


forward the work and we're to implement it. I also listened


carefully to the First Minister smacked response about problems


facing England's NHS. I think it is incredible to hear the First


Minister say that the Red Cross has not condemned our NHS. What happened


to the high ambition? It is an unhealthy seam that follows the SNP


and election pledges, patients promised world class care at the


Queen Elizabeth and they are not getting that. People in the


north-east were promised the trauma centre, but yours behind schedule.


We know that 700 people have died, waiting to leave hospital. Targets


are being missed. And dedicated health care staff have told us that


they are under pressure like never before. The only consistent thing


that the SNP deliver, broken promises on NHS. Kezia Dugdale's


comment about the Red Cross would be fine, if it was actually what I have


said. What I said we should be celebrating in our NHS, with no


complacency, is that hard-working staff in Accident and Emergency


departments are delivering performances against the targets,


ten percentage points ahead of hospitals in England, and even


farther ahead of Wales and Northern Ireland. And you do not have to take


my world for that. That as the view of the experts, and I quoted


Professor Derek Bell. I think we should be proud of the NHS staff are


doing that but we should continue to support them, given the challenges


that the fleece and will continue to cease throughout the winter. Kezia


Dugdale also mentions delayed discharges. We have seen evidence in


England, steep rises, over the last year, when we have got more work to


do. We have seen our main percent in NHS bed days lost to reduction


discharges. I have visited three different health boards this week,


and the people I have spoken to have talked about the six actions and the


benefits that are starting to be filled from integration of Health


and Social Care Act. Getting people discharged from hospital earlier.


Were the only government in the United Kingdom that is not just


talking about integration, we have actually done it. And the benefits


are being seen. Much more work to do but we will continue to support the


NHS. And finally Presiding Officer, I am going to say this to Kezia


Dugdale, and I know that she does not like this. This government was


elected on a commitment to increase resource spending by ?500 million,


more than inflation, over the life of this Parliament. Kezia Dugdale's


commitment in that election was just a increase in spending by inflation.


If Kezia Dugdale was standing in my place, they have service would have


less money. She has got a cheap to ask the questions that she has been


doing. -- a cheek. We have a couple of constituency questions. Murdo


Fraser. Thank you Presiding Officer. Yesterday, the four through approach


was closed for most of the decor is not -- day, causing disruption. I am


sure the First Minister wants to join me, commending all those who


worked so hard yesterday in difficult conditions to get the


bridge reopened as quickly as possible. However, it will not have


escaped the attention of my constituents, that if the new


Queensferry Crossing had been opened in December, as the First Minister


had previously promised, they can to -- could have been spared this


destruction. Can the First Minister tell my constituents today when the


Queensferry Crossing will be open. To get to the facts of us, if a


driver had not ignored warnings, not to take an HGV onto the bridge, this


would not have happened. The contractual obligation as for June


this year, and we're on track to make sure that it is going be open


on track and the Queensferry Crossing is also being delivered


under budget. I want to thank all those working hard on the Newbridge,


as I want to thank all those who worked really hard yesterday and


some of the most difficult with conditions that we can say at this


time of year to get the bridge repealed. It was a complex repair.


The bridge was open at nine o'clock last night. And I think all of us


should say a heartfelt thank you. Thank you Presiding Officer. I would


like to put on record that I am a PLO to the First Minister. A number


of my constituents are outside the parliament today, sitting position


for oil movement at the Moray Firth. The decision on ship to ship is for


the Maritime and coarsening agency, with the First Minister join me in


arching their ship to ship to listen to the views of my constituents and


the course attention to the potential environmental impact of


ship to ship if that was allowed to go-ahead. Can I thank you for the


question. Correctly pointing out that this is not a devolved matter,


despite the Scottish Government repeatedly making the case for these


powers to be devolved. On the basis of the current information, the


Scottish Government is unconvinced that ship to ship oil transfers can


take place, without resulting in an unacceptable risk to the marine


environment, particularly European designated area for bottlenose


dolphins. We ensure that the concerns of local communities are


going to be heard, well continuing to press for relevant powers to be


devolved to Scotland. And the Port authority is also a vital part of


the economy of the North of Scotland. The NCA has got a duty to


listen to these concerns, and to the local people, represented at


parliament today. I welcome those Finally, it's the parliament today,


and some of those could be unsafe. I want to assure them that the


Scottish Government absolutely hears those concerns and will continue to


do everything that we can to make sure that those are heard by those


making the decisions. It would be good advice after leaving parliament


to stop off at the Scottish Office, and make sure that the UK Government


is listening, I hope that they would listen to those concerns as well.


John Lamont. Thank you Presiding Officer. The First Minister


descriptively aware of the news that the Jim Clarke rally is not going to


be taking part. This could be divorced from the motor racing


calendar permanently, and that would be a blow to the Borders economy. I


would the First Minister and the Scottish Government to do all that


it can to support the Jim Clarke rally, and can the First Minister


show that the ongoing enquiry is not going to be an obstacle, rally


itself. Can look at its decision-making not to grant a


permanent? I am going to put this in detail to make sure that he gets all


the information that he needs around the legal position. My


understanding, it is the governing body that has taken the decision not


to hold the rally this year. I understand that is of great


disappointment to those who enjoy the event. But given past incidents


at that event, it is legitimate and understandable concerns about


safety. It has been the subject of reports. We will continue to do all


that we reasonably can to support those who want to ensure the safe


conduct of this event in the future. These events are not just matters of


enjoyment to followers of the sport but can be beneficial to the local


economy as well. I want to make sure that for the information around the


detail of this is provided to the member and the government will


continue to do what we can to liaise with the Jim Clarke organisers to


make sure that we can provide any reasonable assistance. Question


number three. Patrick Harvie. I want to add to the general wishes for a


good New Year. To ask the First Minister when the Cabinet will next


meet. Tuesday. Some of the people who may not have a happy New Year


those who are going be affected by the UK Government's new benefits


cap. We have put in a number of questions on this issue about the


people of Scotland. Household family is going to be affected by that


savage reduction in welfare. Some of them losing over ?100 a week. I know


that the Scottish Government opposes that policy and shares concern about


it. Not in asking those questions, it has been clear that the Scottish


Government does not have an understanding about the number of


households affected. Previous estimates said 4000 households, DWP


have suggested 5000, external organisations have sent even opt to


11,000 households in Scotland. Some 20,000 children affected by those


cuts. Does the First Minister agree with me, it is vital that we get an


accurate assessment of the number of people who will be affected by these


cuts, and the ways in which they are going to be affected if they point


out any chance to get the support that they need with these new powers


coming to the Scottish Parliament? I agree with that very much. Patrick


Harvie will be aware, that the Scottish Government is seeking to do


what we can to understand the numbers of those affected by the


benefit. But we are reliant to a large extent by information provided


by the DWP to give accurate assessments. We will continue to do


what they can, but also seek information from the DWP, so that we


can get an accurate assessment but also use accurate assessments to our


own plan approach. I will not go into detail with the interests of


time, but also other issues that we have to make sure we have an


understanding around DWP, for instance when we have the ability to


use the powers to formally abolish the bedroom tax. How that will


interact with the benefit. On this, and any other issue, we do not want


to be giving with one hand, only for the UK Government to be taking away


with other. Complex issues, but at the heart of this, a simple


commitment from the Scottish Government. We want to continue to


do what we have, mitigate as far as we can the impact of an fair will


feel changes, -- unfair welfare changes, and also put on the systems


that are fair, have respect and at their heart. Dignity Patrick Harvie.


I understand the complexity of the challenge. But it seems that the


Chartered Institute of Housing, and those who have conducted external


assessments are not restricted to these DWP figures. They have shown


that the impact is good to be much higher. The Scottish Government


needs to be able to work with him, and any other organisations that can


produce an accurate assessment. Can the First Minister give us some


clarity about when that assessment is going to be conducted, when we


will have an accurate understanding of who is going to be affected, how


many households and how they will be affected? Clearly, the idea of a


child poverty strategy is going to be close to meaningless if we do not


have a clearer understanding of the impact of these changes on child


poverty in Scotland. And will be Scottish Government reconsider the


option of top up to true benefit, research has shown that even 5%


could lift as many as 40,000 children out of poverty in Scotland.


In terms of the substance, how we are going to use these new powers,


some commitments set out in the manifesto that we were elected on.


The Green Party put forward proposals that they will with


interest. Including the one that he talks about. What we said in the


manifesto and what we are committed to doing, introducing the new early


years grant, providing increased and better support to families and the


lowest income households when they have children. And we will continue


to support not just for the first child, butt of all children as well.


We are determined to use these powers, to help tackle child


poverty. The more general part of Patrick Harvie's Christian, I will


speak to the relevant Cabinet Secretary, to get a fuller


understanding of the work that we are doing to get those assessments.


I think that he is correct. And experience would tell me that he is


right. DWP estimates for the number of people affected by those changes


tend to be at the lower end of the Spectrum. It is in our interests as


well as the interests of the chamber and the country, for us to properly


understand the situation. If it would be coupled to Patrick Harvie,


I am happy to ask officials to meet him and his colleagues, so that he


can understand the work we are doing to get to the position.


To ask the First Minister what will be discussed that the next meeting


of the Cabinet? Matters of importance to the people of


Scotland. The budget is coming up. The Scottish Government has received


weekly warnings on the economy and education. We have the risk of a


heart Brexit. Scottish education has gone from leading to just average.


The IPPR warned about schools this week. Small business confidence is


falling. We are going to have to do something about this. I believe the


First Minister needs to rise to the challenge by investing in education


and skills to get our schools back up to the best, to train other


people for work to boost the economy. As college funding has been


cut in real terms by ?90 million compared with seven years ago,


wouldn't it be right for us, considering all those challenges, to


reverse that can't inform? First Minister? We have put forward a


draft budget. Willie Rennie knows that we prioritise the economy and


he is right to say it is important given the challenges we face from


Brexit. The budget also prioritises education. I could not have been


clearer and I will continue to be clear about the importance we attach


to education, raising standards and closing the attainment gap. The


budget is a draft budget, and as is normally the case on we are passing


budgets we will discuss with others who want to discuss with us ways in


which we can listen to the suggestions that are put forward.


And the Finance Secretary has been discussing with other parties will


continue to do that, but be in no doubt, the economy, education and


public services and continuing to make sure we take this forward to


equip Scotland that the challenges that lie ahead will always be at the


centre of our spending plans. I am afraid that answer fails to match


the scale of the challenge that is before us and that is why the


Scottish Government has no majority for its budget. That ?90 million cut


from colleges has wiped out a whole sector of part-time courses. The


Royal Society of Edinburgh said today a 40% reduction in part-time


students in the last eight years and none has primarily affected women


and over 25-year-olds. The pupil premium for schools in England has


delivered real change that allows everyone, no matter what their


background, to participate in the economy. The Scottish Government's


attainment from plans are years behind and ?70 million short of what


is required to match that present investment. Of course other budget


changes will be required, but we have seen decline in schools and we


have seen decline in colleges so were the First Minister reverse the


decline and change her budget for the sake of our economy? We will


continue to discuss with Willie Rennie and others suggestions that


they have for amendments to the draft budget. That is how we always


conduct ourselves when we are at the stage of the budget process. I would


say to Willie Rennie that we in and week out what he is asking about the


change of the draft budget does change. Around Christmas it was


around mental health and we are in agreement that we need to do more.


Today it is a range of other things. We will continue to engage on these


matters and the financial Secretary's is open to anyone who


wants to have a constructive conversation. With regard to the


people equity funds, part of the Scottish attainment challenge was


the ?120 million go directly to schools in the form of a pupil


equity fund, delivering extra to support children who come from more


deprived backgrounds. That is a signal of our determination to close


the attainment gap. We put forward a budget that has the right priorities


but we remain open to discussing the detail of that with any party that


wants to engage and -- in a constructive way. What is the


position on the record number of drink-drivers that have been


stopped? It's more than disappointing to see a rise in the


number of drivers who have flouted the law and put their lives and the


lives of others at risk over the festive period. There is only one


safe level of alcohol if you are driving and that is none at all.


Unfortunately data shows the bus majority of those court will not


only over the new lower limit, but over the previously higher limit.


Police Scotland are taking action to catch those who put lives at risk is


by drink-driving, especially the hard-core drink-drivers and that's


why we have increased the number of checks carried out over the festive


period compared to the year before. Do these figures highlight the


effort and resources that Police Scotland are directing towards


safety over the festive period and does the First Minister commend the


services for making our roads and community safer? I do commend the


police thought the work in this area and I commend the work of all our


emergency services in the work they did over the festive period to make


us all safe. The festive drink-driving campaign demonstrate


that Police Scotland are right to focus very clearly on those who


drink and drive by taking the action necessary to catch those who are


putting not only their lives but the lives of others at risk by getting


behind the wheel after drinking. During the four-week enforcement


campaign there was an average of 610 drivers tested every day and that is


a 50% rise in the number of checks that were carried out the year


before. Assistant Chief Constable Benny Higgins said and I agree with


this, drivers need to take personal responsibility and be aware that


whilst the campaign is over, Police Scotland are focused on detecting


and arresting drunk drivers. There is no excuse for drunk driving. It


does put the lives of those doing it at risk and the lives of others at


risk and it is right that over the festive period and at all periods of


time we all say how unacceptable it is and we get behind Police Scotland


and the efforts to eradicate it. To ask the First Minister what the


Scottish Government's responses to a recent BBC report suggesting that


90% of performance athletes supported by SportScotland come from


a middle-class background? SportScotland and other clubs want


to build a system that is inclusive of everyone. The government has made


clear our determination to make sure children from our poorest


communities have the same opportunities as those from our


richest and that includes sports at every level. Our investment in sport


and PE in school represents a commitment. I thank the First


Minister for the answer. Would she agree that those performance


athletes who have had the honour of representing their country has done


so because of hard work and dedication? There is however an even


equality of opportunity and the answer is not too penalised the high


achievers, but to make sure that all opportunities are afforded to


everyone and stop with physical literacy at the earliest age as an


integral part of the educational framework? Yes I do agree with that.


If a good opportunity to take a moment to congratulate Sir Andy


Murray, then capping Granger and Gordon Reid for the recognition in


the Queen 's New Year on a list and everyone else who was recognised.


They are shining examples of the success of Scottish sport. It's


right that we continue to invest in elite sports and I have the honour


of officially opening the new elite performance Centre a few weeks ago.


It's also important that we support sport and physical activity at


grassroots. The amount of PE in schools increased dramatically over


the years that this government has been in office. I'm also proud that


we are supporting schools to do the daily mile in schools which is a


potentially transformational initiatives for the health and


fitness of our young people and yes it is right that we tried to promote


greater equality in opportunities for sport. I would say and this


might be the only discordant note in an area where I otherwise agree with


Brian, if you want to encourage more people from deprived areas to take


advantage of the opportunities in sport, perhaps reducing the


circumstances where the parents are having to use food banks or are


subject to benefit caps will help with that. Let us all get behind


making Scotland and even fitter nation. Thank you, Presiding


Officer. I note the First Minister's Sir, but I don't totally agree. I


refer to the report from the wholesome sport committee in 2009.


There is much to be learned from that report but I'm going to quote


from paragraph 268 we said, the international evidence that it is


notoriously difficult to achieve a lasting legacy from sports events in


particular the transformation of grass root sport and mass public


participation, recent comments have proved that we were right all those


years ago. Yet I do have concerns that there is still too much focus


and therefore funding directed towards the elite sports. I


recognise the achievements, but it's not all about medal count because we


partially justify that by a supposed payback of that nonexistent legacy.


Can I therefore ask if the government and the First Minister


will look at the balancing funding to more grassroots, not to try to


rely too much on that legacy which has not happened? I do think it is a


question of getting the balance right, but I don't think we should


reduce the support that we give for elite sports because in many ways it


is the performance and the success of our elite sportsmen and women


that will help to inspire young people to take up sport and to take


up physical activity. I would say to Christine and I know she will agree


with me invincible, just because something is difficult it doesn't


mean you should not try to do it in life. I suspect there are many young


people across Scotland over the last couple of years have picked up a


tennis racket because of the inspiration of Andy and Jamie Murray


and Gordon Reid. They may not become the world class players that these


three are, but nevertheless the inspiration will be important to


them. It is right that we support our elite sportsmen and women.


Christine Grahame is right and Brian Whittle was right. We also have two


support grassroots facilities and participation. That's what part of


the legacy of the Commonwealth Games was about increased facilities


across the country. A performance centre that I spoke about earlier is


one of many new facilities and enhance facilities across the


country. It's about getting the balance right so that we have got


not just the sport success to celebrate, but we are supporting a


population that is generally becoming healthier and fitter. How


were cutting the sport budget as proposed in the draft budget


encourage more people in working class communities to engage in


sport? We support sport in many ways. For example, our investment in


facilities, our investment through schools, sports, our investment in


major events. This is about the different ways in which we support


people who are taking part in activities. One of the things I do


think we have to do is get young people at a much earlier age into


the habit of activity and sport. That is why and I mentioned it


earlier on, the daily mile is such a simple thing, but such a potentially


transformational thing because at a very young age, I was at a school in


Edinburgh not along time ago where it was the nursery school kids who


were doing the daily mile. All of these things taken together are


important and whatever our political agreements are, all of us in the


Chamber should be to get behind that. Tyles the First Minister what


is the Scottish Government's response to the issue of hundreds of


adolescent mental health patients waiting for treatment? It's


unacceptable. The mental health Minister has been clear with health


boards that any falls in the performance or children experiencing


long waits is not good enough. It is though, and this is not intended to


take away the from the comments I've already made, but progress is being


made. The number of patients who waited at the 52 weeks has decreased


according to the figures we have got for the latest quarter. So there is


work to be done. I have said much in this Chamber before and I will say


much more in the weeks and months ahead about the importance of mental


health care. There is lot to be done, but progress being made.


I thank the First Minister for the question. I know that the First


Minister is a wheel that many young LGBT people have been struggling


with health as a result of bullying. The result shows that as a result of


LGBT people who have been experiencing doing has a long term


impact on well-being. What resources can tackle mental health and will be


central to the strategy, and include specific actions for named


vulnerable groups more at risk of vulnerable health? Something that


one or those -- Barnardos have expressed. That First Minister has


expressed support for the campaign, will she now commit to legislation


coming forward in this Parliament, it is such a serious issue and


support rate across the chamber. No action coming forward. I think the


member raises important issues, and has done that in a constructive way.


I do not think it is fair to say that no action has been coming


forward. I appreciate that she thinks we should be doing more,


faster, but we have a good deal of consensus about what we need to do.


She fair point, makes the point, although we have a dedicated mental


health Minister, it is not hugely the responsibility of the Minister.


And a good point between the linkages of mental health and


education. The strategy will look at this, particularly in education. It


is as much about prevention as it is treating mental health issues. She


is also absolutely correct to talk about the issues that linkages


people can face, because of homophobic bullying. I am a


supporter of the campaign, not just because of objectives but also the


way that the core vote, and we have a commitment to take forward the


issues that they have released with the government. We will do that in


consultation with him. A lot of substance and detail in this, across


a whole range of areas of government responsibility. It is important that


we get this correct, and the Middle Hill strategy will be published


shortly. That provides the direction of travel. And of course, that


strategy is backed by additional resources for mental health.


Spending on mental health resources has increased dramatically over the


course of the last few years but more funding is needed. Supporting


more services, not just treatment but prevention. I genuinely hope


that when we're going to have spirited debate, we can get behind


their actions that we need to take over the course of this Parliament


to make substantial changes, to the benefit of young people across the


country. Thank you. That includes First Minister's Questions. We have


that. The conclusions. It was rather rowdy! But they seemed relatively


well-behaved. Watching that with me were Lynsey Bews, Scottish Political


Reporter for the Press Agency, and the political commentator Hamish


Macdonell. According to Ruth Davidson, it was a combination of


the A Team and Green Lantern flying in! Some different interpretations.


I think it is a good rule of thumb, that if you see how many times the


First Minister actually thanks people who work in the public


sector, you can see how difficult she finds those questions. Five


teams, she thanked people who work in the public sector. Ruth Davidson


was saying, if the Scottish of service is so good, why have we been


taking people from England to help. And the Sturgeon was trained to


avoid any suggestion that people have been coming over the border,


because she knows is the Scottish of service in comparison to England.


Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee. Some different


interpretation of these were going to be brand-new devices. Nicola


Sturgeon said these are going to be add ons? Opponents feel that she was


playing their stone because they have apparently been delayed? It


seemed to be a bigger announcement at the time but she seems to be


backtracking on that, and said that we are just going to be making some


tweaks. She can talk about it being a complicated process, a lot of


things needing to be considered before these trauma centres can


officially open... But ultimately people are just good to look at the


headline, three year delay. It was a difficult set of questions for the


First Minister, those adopting said that some lives could be lost. Hyped


up. But tricky. Kezia Dugdale really using that the plane, that this


could be equally funded, highlighting the importance of


different consent. I'm running and fixing some of the issues. It does


not wash to compare to England. Heard that so many times. Wearing


thin. The answer from the First Minister was that we had changed


parameters, different configurations on these centres. And that was


correct to rethink? I think she was almost a victim of spin. It is not


the First Minister's fault that these centres have been the top, so


Winnie had not been delivered, she has got to play down the


expectations. Not actually new centres. It is a difference between


expectation and the delivery. I think she has to take the blame for


hyping this up. But able to cite expert evidence, that it is much


better in Scotland than south of the border. Better than them? But we


should not be measuring ourselves... The First Minister said that she was


not. But the Scottish Government do usually measure themselves in


performance against the rest of the United Kingdom. It is difficult not


to hold on to that when this comes along. This question of health


spending, we are going to come to the budget shortly, big generally?


It is getting some traction? It is similar to education. People are


scrutinising what is going on in the Hill service. Look at the Queen


Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow. Team sent in to sort out an all time low


performance. When that hospital opened in 2015, issues then, and if


anything it has got worse. The pressure is going to remain on the


First Minister. We can talk about the question of the budget. But we


can show some exchanges from the Finance committee yesterday. Derek


Mackay set out the draft budget, the SNP do not have the majority at


Holyrood, so he has got to convince another party to back the budget or


abstain. He had a hard time. You have taken the position to create a


tax differential, in terms of income tax, and you will be aware of


concerns raised by business organisations among others that it


is a risk, Scotland being the highest taxed part of the United


Kingdom. The impact that could have on the ability to attract


investment. The message that Scotland is high tax is put out by


the Conservatives and I think that is unhelpful when it is about the


way to package and quality of life in Scotland. I think that message


should not be put about by the Conservatives. Certainly, Scotland


continues to be a good place to live, work, invest. Do business. But


because you have shied away from using new tax powers, we know


councils have got less money, and need to make cuts. That is going to


affect local services. I believe when you look at the two to package


for government and local services it is fair. You talked about increasing


the threshold by the higher rate of inflation. That is the maximum of


what you said was to be considered in the manifesto. He said increasing


by a maximum of inflation. Why are you doing the maximum of what you


set out as something you consider? What we're doing is in line with


inflation. We take tax decisions year to year. That is the position


that we have put across. That is the figure in line with inflation. That


seems like the correct thing to do. It is our judgment. Patrick Harvie


has got a different opinion on the structure of income tax. We feel


that that fits within manifesto commitment, commands the support of


the people and is fair. Gives certainty. It was a tough time for


the finance secretary, standing his ground. We had questions today,


almost a shopping list from Willie Rennie of the Liberal Democrats and


Patrick Harvie of the dreams. The undercurrent was the budget. She


either has to go with the Liberal Democrats, find some concessions


that will get the Liberal Democrats on board or get some similar


concessions for the Greens. Liberal Democrats, she said I thought you


wanted mental health money? But she also offered a clear message to


Willie Rennie, the finance secretary's door is open. We can


discuss the shopping list. Also, Patrick Harvie on the subject, the


top pop to child benefit. Perhaps just keener to do a deal with Lib


Dems? Memories of the previous coalition? I suspect that Willie


Rennie is going to be the front runner because Patrick Harvie is so


far away from the SNP on tax. Of all the parties, the focus away on


agreeing on that. And giving Derek Mackay a hard time. Willie Rennie,


if you can get something on mental health then a deal could be done.


They need something on education because he need such a big point of


education during the election. And the Liberal Democrats are way away


from the SNP on tax. But Derek Mackay does not want to shift. But


the Liberal Democrats want to do a deal, they want to be seen as


relevant. They have not played a part in government here for ten


years. They are going to drive a hard bargain but want to do a deal.


And if the deal is done, this could almost be an apocalyptic stuff.


Bringing down the government. -- is not. It is. And we saw more from the


minority administration. They really need to move on this, in the


direction of the Liberal Democrats. And the door is open. We know that.


Thank you. We're coming to the close of the coverage of the very first


First Minister's Questions of 2017. The topics familiar but good


exchanges on the Hill service. And absolutely intriguing exchanges with


the Greens and Liberal Democrats, basically the budget and the bedding


taking place. I am looking forward to the weekend, Dundee United


against Queen of the South at Tannadice. A win for once would be


nice! Just in this New Year. It would make a difference. From me,


toodle for now. For two centuries,


it has told Scotland's stories. The Scotsman is one of the most


prestigious names in the Now the people behind the headlines


tell the incredible story of the paper itself.


It could get quite hairy. This was real


seat-of-the-pants stuff. I went down to the newsroom,


opened the door and I thought, "I've come home."


You're actually recording history.


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