26/01/2017: First Minister's Questions Politics Scotland

26/01/2017: First Minister's Questions

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 26/01/2017: First Minister's Questions. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Hello. A warm welcome to the Scottish Parliament. A very busy day


in politics. The Prime Minister is in Washington. At Westminster, they


are publishing the Bill to trigger Brexit. It was just decided


parliament should have a role rather than the UK Government. The Scottish


Secretary 's meeting Mike Russell. A big concern about child health. All


of that may come up in questions of the First Minister. That is crossed


to the Chamber. General questions just concluding before the main


event. We understand today that the Scottish Secretary has said there


will have to be the consent of the Scottish Parliament ahead of the


great repeal Bill. We will be hearing more about that later on


this afternoon. Earlier on today the Scottish Parliament committees were


discussing Brexit. What engagement is how she planned for the rest of


the day? Engagements to take forward the Government's broken for


Scotland. At the Royal College of Nursing, they said yesterday there


are not enough nurses to meet Scotland's needs. Does the First


Minister agree? There are more nurses working in our NHS than when


the Government took office by a considerable number. As I said, many


times before in this Chamber, we are committed to working not just with


the RCN but with the BMA and other groups to make sure that together we


are investing in the health service as well as investing in it and


continuing to make the reforms that enable our health service to meet


the challenges of the future. In terms of nurses, as she may be


aware, yesterday I visited the university to meet with student


nurses. We were confirming an increase in the number of student


nurses. But also the protection of the bursary. ?3 million of


additional support for student nurses who have children or other


dependents to make it easier for them to pursue a fantastic career of


nursing. I am aware the First Minister visited yesterday and what


is interesting is the Royal College of Nursing spoke after that visit


after the announcement and they were specific in what they said. I will


read it. It is not enough to save there are more nurses, the question


is whether the number meets demand and they say it does not. We should


ask ourselves why we are in that situation. Six years ago as Health


Secretary, the First Minister embarked on two years of


catastrophic cuts the nursing places in Scotland and she was warned by


nursing leaders the cuts were not sustainable and they could impact on


patient care and she was warned from across the Chamber of the


short-sightedness of her approach. Now as predicted, patients are


paying the price as routine operations are cancelled and


treatment waiting times grow, all because of staff shortages. Can I


ask her if she had her time over again, which is still make the cuts


to student nursing places? I well remember that period, significant


challenges at that time with student nurses being unable to get work,


there was a problem of nurse unemployment and we took decisions,


as we were right to do, on the basis of the detail available at the time.


Over the lifetime of this month, there has on average been 1000 new


nurses in training Egypt than was the case in a comparable period


under previous governments. The number of nurses and midwives is up


by 5%, more than 2000 qualified nurses and midwives full-time


equivalents working in the NHS today. That is the commitment of


this government to supporting and investing in the NHS. I have been


clearer in the past and I will continue to be clear about two


things, the need for continued investment, that is why this


government was elected on a commitment to increase investment in


the health service over this Parliament by ?500 million more than


inflation, a stronger commitment than any other party in this


Parliament. Secondly, we have to reform the NHS. That is why we have


integrated health and social care, we are also committed to getting


more money into primary, community and mental health service. Right now


she is arguing for a budget where we would give a massive tax cut to the


top 10% of income earners in Scotland. I would ask her to reflect


on what it would mean for the health budget, if we were to follow the


advice of the Tories in this Chamber. That sounded fro much like


the First Minister was asking for praise for trying to mop up a mess


of her own cuts made. Let us focus on the impact of what has happened.


We were contacted this week by a gentleman who was put on an urgent


referral for treatment last year and was told he would receive surgery


within 12 weeks. He has now been informed Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is


no longer able to book his operation and has stopped referring patients


to the golden jubilee in Clydebank. He has been told he will not get the


operation he needs. This is on the back of reports this week that NHS


Grampian operating theatres are lying empty because hospitals do not


have the staff. I know the First Minister cannot comment on


individual cases but I would like to remind her of the findings last year


that after ten years of this assembly government, it has failed


to do the long-term planning to build up a sustainable workforce in


the NHS should recruit this SNP government. Can the First Minister


explain to people like the man who cannot get an operation at the same


time as operating theatres lying empty the cause of a lack of staff?


I mentioned the increase in qualified nurses and midwives in an


earlier answer. Staffing in total has increased under this government


by Oval 11,500 full-time equivalents -- by over. It is at a record level.


NHS Grampian, for example, is working to increase data staff. The


surgical team at NHS Grampian has just employed seven newly qualified


actor shimmers. That is the sign of the commitment we have two staffing


within our National Health Service. -- newly qualified practitioners.


Unlike other parties in this Chamber, certainly unlike the


Conservative Party, we are committed to further investment in the NHS. I


say again, ?500 million over and above inflation over the life of


this Parliament. I pose again the question I posed in my last answer


to Ruth Davidson. It is an important question. We are in a budget process


right now where we are committed to record investment in the NHS. Ruth


Davidson wants us instead to cut tax for the top 10% of income earners in


Scotland. I think people have a right to expect some consistency


from the Conservatives when it comes to this Chamber. We are choosing


investment in the NHS. Ruth Davidson thinks we should choose tax cuts for


the wealthy. She is entitled to prioritise tax cuts for the


wealthiest, but she cannot come to this Chamber and ask for even more


money for the health service. It is time for Davidson to choose because


I choose investment in the health service. We want to grow the tax


base to fund public services. She is damaging our economy. I simply asked


the First Minister if staffing is all fine, why are theatres lying


empty and patients not getting the operations they need? She asked this


week what kind of country we want to be. I am going to tell her the


answer. I want a country that is run by a Scottish Government that spends


its every waking hour sorting out public services like the NHS and not


obsessing about another referendum. I want a Scottish Government that


actually wants to deal with the child obesity crisis exposed today,


not plotting how Brexit can be used to create more division and


uncertainty in Scotland. That is the country I want back. She says that


we must confront independence but I think it is probably time she


confronted the failings of ten years of this incompetent SNP government


and she tackled them instead. That is a bit rich coming from the party


that created the Brexit disaster that the rest of us are dealing


with. Ruth Davidson at least poses the right question because it is a


question of what kind of country we want to live in. I go back to the


question I posed to her earlier because she cannot have it both


ways. We are in a budget process right now, Ruth Davidson's priority


as she has said in the Chamber before is to cut taxes for higher


rate taxpayers. She wants to cut taxes for the top 10% of income


earners in this country. If we do that, she is entitled to set it as a


priority, but if we do that, the reality will be less money available


to invest in the NHS. Yes, it is a choice, a choice about the kind of


country we want to live in. I choose a country that invests in its health


service, not one that cuts taxes for the richest. That is the difference


between this government and the conservative opposition. I will


continue to take the action we have done over the past ten years to get


more staff into the health service, more investment, waiting times down,


and I will continue to make sure we take that action over the life of


this Parliament and I will leave the Tories, the increasingly right ring


Conservative Party to argue for tax cuts for the richest in our society


-- right wing. To ask the First Minister what engagements she has


planned for the rest of the week. I have engagements to take forward the


Government's programme for Scotland. A new report published today exposes


the horrific gap between the richest and the rest in Scotland. The Royal


College of GPs in child health say that in Scotland a child from a poor


Greg Grandin is more likely to suffer from ill health than a child


from a wealthy area -- a child from a poor background. The child's part


in life is the determined before they leave the womb based on how


much money their parents have. How does the First Minister think


cutting ?327 million from local services will change that? As Kezia


Dugdale knows, that is not the case. The budget we have put forward is


putting more than ?200 million into local services. Let me turn to the


important report that has been published today. It is an important


report and has important messages for the Scottish Government but


indeed for governments right across the UK. It is important to note at


the outset the report's view, I am quoting, there have been notable


improvements in health indicators for children over recent years,


there is much the Scottish Government is doing to reduce the


impact of inequality and there is much in Scotland that can be


celebrated and learn from. That said, I agree with the report that


there is much more required to be done and we cannot be complacent. We


will consider carefully all of the recommendations, many of the


recommendations are already in action. Investment in health


visitors, for example. The child poverty Bill including income -based


poverty measures at its heart. The maternity and neonatal review


published last week, action to reduce smoking harm, action to


tackle obesity and improve physical health. Supporting the Daily Mail in


our schools, for example. -- daily mile. As we get more welfare powers,


we will do things like introduce a new grant for the tourist families


across the country. I would hope that on this most important of


issues we would have support across the Chamber for the measures we are


taking to improve child health and reduce inequality. The macro poorest


families. -- the poorest families across the country. It is not just


the Labour Party that says there are ?327 million of cuts, it is the


Scottish Parliament's bone information centre, the institute,


it is... Does she have an alternative fact for each


organisation? -- own information centre. Last night the Parliament


refused to deduce a majority for the budget. Labour will not stand by


while nationalist ministers who repeatedly professed their love for


this country cut public services by ?327 million, hurting the most


vulnerable people in this country. Presiding Officer, the shameful gap


between the richest and the rest is following young people into


adulthood. New figures published show that since the First Minister


took office, more people are going to university and that is welcome,


but here is the thing, since the First Minister took office, they are


ten times more likely to be from richer backgrounds than from the


poorest communities. Meanwhile, we also learnt this week there are


150,000 fewer people going to our colleges. This is a First Minister


that said closing the attainment gap is her top priority. Isn't it the


case that the gap between the richest and the rest is widening on


her watch? Let me try and take these issues one by one. In terms of the


budget, I heard Kezia Dugdale mention the Fraser of Allander


institute, comments along the line of the headline was that more than


?200 million of extra investment in local services, extra investment in


schools, extra investment in social care, the ability for local councils


to increased council tax to raise revenue, something Labour councils


have argued for, even though they promised the opposite after the


election. The budget prioritises services, fair tax and boosting our


economy. In terms of the other issues Kezia Dugdale raised in what


I thought was a scatter-gun question, in terms of... In terms of


colleges, what we saw this week was the Government meeting its


commitment to maintain 160,000 full-time equivalent places in


colleges. That was the manifesto commitment and that is what we are


doing. Our budget is proposing an increase in the college budget of


?20 million. Another 20 million in capital funding to continue the


modernising of our colleges state. If we look at the numbers going to


university from the poorest backgrounds, we have a record number


getting a place at the Scottish university. It is up 3.2% on the


previous year and it is up 26.5% on 2011th. As I was discussing with our


new fair access commissioner when I met him earlier this week, there is


much more to do, but as we continue to take action we are building on


the solid progress made already by this government. That is the same


fair access Commissioner who said this week that he doesn't have


enough money to do his job. That was in the Times this morning. That can


be summed up in move along now, there's nothing to see here. Today's


report says hundreds of children in Scotland are dying because they are


poor and young people are accessing university because of that property.


And thousands of women, desperate to make a better life for their


families, are being squeezed out of college. Yet the First Minister's


response is the play a game of Russian roulette with the


constitution and impose these cuts on schools and valuable services.


She should stop the grandstanding on Europe and the goings on


independence and Teller space, what really is the SNP's top priority? Is


it closing the gap between the richest and the rest or is it


another device if independence referendum? That was very, very


telling, wasn't it? Interestingly if the Conservatives and Labour who


want to talk about the constitution today, not me or anyone on these


benches. Kezia Dugdale used to say not that long ago that we should


protect our place in Europe. It wasn't that long ago she was


standing where she is today demanding that the Scottish


Government protected our place in Europe. Today that is grandstanding.


Labour yet again roll over and do exactly as they are told by the


Conservative Party. No wonder... No wonder the Scottish Labour Party is


in the pathetic state that it is in today. Not the courage of its


convictions, but let me turn again to the important things that Kezia


Dugdale raised. Child poverty and inequality and getting more children


from poorer backgrounds into university. These problems didn't


stop on the SNP took office will stop these problems developed under


generations of Labour government in this country. What this government


has done is stuck to make progress to tackle these problems, getting


more young people from poorer backgrounds into university,


tackling child poverty. So we will continue to take the action that


Scotland needs and we will leave Labour whining on the sidelines. A


constituency question from Edward Mountain. To ask the First Minister


whether the management of the whip campus project which costs in excess


of 40 million and was due to open in October, but was only handed over to


the Highland Council this month causes concern? In light of the


problems with Edinburgh schools, parents are concerned to hear of


supporting scaffolding being found behind a staircase and hidden behind


a plasterboard wall. Will she join me in asking for an independent


enquiry into this project? This is a Highland Council project. There has


been delays and I know the council has engaged with the local community


regarding the reasons for the delays. I'm happy to look into those


issues, although in the first instance it will be a matter for the


Highland Council, but I will ask the Education Secretary to answer that


specific question to him in writing. What issues will be discussed at the


next meeting of the Cabinet? Matters of importance to the people of


Scotland. Yet again this week this Parliament and this government has


been dominated by independence. It has been like that... They laugh,


they laugh, but it is this government that is obsessed with


independence, not with solving the problems in this country. It has


been like that for almost every day of every week for the years of this


government, but this week we hear about college places cuts, economic


growth being week and unemployment rising. Threats about independence


won't solve those problems. It is the budget for the economy and young


people that will. Cost the budget proposals are urgent. Yesterday her


government failed to command a majority for her budget in this


Parliament. It is not looking good for next week's vote. Does she


recognise that? Firstly, I don't know how Willie Rennie has spent his


week. Mine has been dominated we're talking about nurses, getting


students into university. I did not answer Scotland to be in the


position of facing being taken out of the European Union against


Motherwell. In 2014 Willie Rennie, Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale looked


the Scottish people in the eye and told them that if they vote no, the


place in the European Union would be protected. It was not me, it was not


this government or the people of Scotland who asked to be in this


position. I will apologise to know one for standing up for Scotland's


interests and trying to protect Scotland's interests. And in terms


of the budget we will continue to talk to other parties if they are


willing to talk to us in a constructive manner and it's part of


the tone of his question, I know Willie Rennie has been doing with


the Finance Secretary. We will continue to look for compromise, we


will continue to take appropriate compromises, but we will also be


very clear that as the largest party in this Parliament by a considerable


distance, we have a duty to the people of Scotland to deliver on our


manifesto. With that principle in mind we will continue to talk to


other parties about budget positions over the course of this week. She


started off answering that question by saying that she denied she was


obsessed about independence and then spent almost the rest of the answer


doing exactly that. If the SNP members can calm down


just a little bit, I will try and finish my answer. I am afraid this


First Minister is so focused on her lifelong mission of independence,


she is incapable of seeing the problems on her own doorstep. Look


at the child health report today. The death in prison, the mental


health sickness rates, the list goes on. Each and every one is a human


tragedy. These are the things that need her time, not scheming about


independence. A week to go until the budget, the clock is ticking. Will


she change in time? Will she looked at the proposals from the other


parties seriously rather than the way that she is doing just now, will


independence be first? Can I give Willie Rennie a bit of a tip. If he


does not want me to answer on a particular issue, he should not ask


me about that issue. If he asks me a question, I tend to try to answer


it. If he had wanted to talk about the child poverty report or the


depths: in prisons, he should ask these questions are asked me about


this important issues because these are the important issues that I


spent every single day looking at and considering and committing


Scottish Government action to. In terms of the budget, Willie Rennie


knows that we are carefully and seriously considering his proposals,


as we will with any reasonable proposals that come forward. I must


say we are not getting any reasonable proposals from Labour or


the Conservative Party because they've already decided the position


on this budget, but as long as reasonable proposals come forward we


will consider them and we will seek to continue to build compromise


across this Chamber. We will also take seriously our duty to the


people of Scotland and as the largest party in this Chamber we


will try to deliver on the manifesto we were elected on. And I asked the


First Minister for her reaction on the clause regarding rape. A woman


should not be forced to disclose whether or not she has been raped in


order to receive Social Security. It's yet another example of how the


conservatives come to this Chamber demanding action on these kind of


issues when their colleagues at Westminster are taking action that


is undermining all the attempts to tackle child poverty and improve


equality in this country. Is the First Minister aware that rape


crisis Shetland want to ensure women who have been sexually assaulted


don't need to travel to Aberdeen for forensic examination. Will she


accept the prospect of travel by plane or overnight ferry is a


barrier to rape survivors contacting the police and will she ensure that


medical equipment and medical staff are provided so that the teams of


sexual assault can be examined quickly and sensitively in Lerwick.


We are reviewing the way that forensic examinations are undertaken


for victims of rape to ensure they are carried out sensitively. I


understand absolutely that there are particular issues and particular


challenges when we are dealing with our island communities, but someone


who has been the victim of rape in the island communities has the same


right in terms of the access to justice as anyone anywhere else. I


will be happy to asked the Justice Secretary to discuss the issues as


they relate to Shetland in more detail. The First Minister will be


aware that her Cabinet Secretary for finances due to visit Aberdeen


tomorrow to meet with members of the Chamber of commerce. At that meeting


Mr Mackay will be handed a letter signed by every member of Aberdeen


city centre safety group Unite with some venues facing 300% increase in


the rates. Some businesses have already been forced into


administration and rate rises means more will disappear. Come the First


Minister give a commitment that her Cabinet Secretary will do more than


pay lip service to affected businesses and will instead take


expedient and immediate action to seek a solution to mitigate a


potentially devastating impact. The Finance Secretary will have these


meeting, but the member presumably heard the exchanges at First


Minister's Questions last week. This is an independently -- revaluation


process. The Scottish Government cannot intervene and all businesses


if they think the valuation for the property is wrong have until


September of this year to issue an appeal with the Scottish Government


does have the power to act. We have taken action to lift 100,000 small


business premises out of business rates altogether and we will


continue to make sure we have a business rates regime, including


lowering the poundage rates, that supports economic growth in this


country. To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government


position is on the UK Government's new strategy on industry. It's


underpinned by our manufacturing strategy and a willingness to


intervene in key sectors to save steel plants and other industries.


The UK has lacked a strategic approach for many years and


therefore be publication of the industrial strategy this week is


welcome. That said there was lack of engagement from the UK Government


with the Scottish Government over the consultation paper which covers


many devolved policy areas. We have written to the secretary of state


for business, energy and industrial strategy and we will work with the


UK Government on this for the benefit of the Scottish economy and


the wider UK economy. Does she agree it is vital any


industrial strategy aiming to reduce regional strategy must be compatible


with economic development projects? Can she advised the Chamber whether


an industrial strategy which the Prime Minister claims will reach


every corner of the UK despite their record on regional development is


more likely to succeed in attracting investment while increasing


innovation, research and development and employment and productivity with


Scotland in or out of the single market? I agree about the growth


deal, any industrial strategy has to be built on recognising and


supporting regional economic strengths. As I said in my initial


answer, we have been disappointed by the limited consultation so far. The


first time the Secretary of State for Business got in touch was on


Monday morning, hours before the document was published. Keith Brown


has written to request stronger in gauge went which is in the interest


of the Scottish and UK Governments. On the final point, there is a


danger the UK Government's proposed hard Brexit would jeopardise the


Scottish economy, businesses and jobs they provide and that is why we


continue to call on the UK Government to deliver membership of


the single market with its market of 500 million people, ideally for the


UK as a whole, but certainly for Scotland. What is the Scottish


Government's response to the recent claim that three quarters of the


country's neonatal units do not have enough nurses? I welcome the


publication of the report and I would want to take this opportunity


to commend Bliss on the work they do supporting parents with babies in


neonatal care. They played a vital part in our own review and


recommendations published last week. Boards must ensure the neonatal


units are appropriately and stay -- safely staffed. To ensure babies


receive safe levels of care. The networks have put processes in place


to manage and escalate concerns if any units are under pressure at any


time. I thank the First Minister for that answer but can I quote to her


direct you what the chief executive of Bliss Scotland has said about the


reality facing the service? She said, neonatal units are


understaffed and under resourced now and this is putting babies across


Scotland at risk. The report also states that just two of the units


have plans to recruit the necessary nurses to meet the bad binman


standards for adequate neonatal service provision. After ten years,


will she apologise to parents across Scotland who see this workforce


crisis in the NHS? -- to meet the bare minimum standards. They were


fully involved in the review and the member quoted the chief executive of


Bliss and I will quote her as well in terms of what you said about the


review, it sets out an ambitious and progressive vision for Sam Murray


centred care which is good news for the future of the services -- for


family centred care. Bliss are involved in making sure we take the


action that ensures high-quality neonatal care is therefore babies


when they need it and we will press on with exactly that action. Thank


you. Can I thank Bliss Scotland for a powerful report? The Scottish


covenant published the review last week of maternity and neonatal


services, there is a lot in the report that deserves consideration.


Can I urge the First Minister to bring it forward in a statement to


the Parliament? A key recommendation was round local services and I


quote, a number of choices should be available to all women in Scotland,


including birth at home, but in and alongside midwifery units, hospital


birth. It goes against the proposals to close the maternity units at


hospitals, will the First Minister finally accept the will of this


Parliament and call for proposals in and reject them? The proposals


talked about in terms of Glasgow are not firm proposals. We cannot call


in something that has not been made in a firm proposal and the reason


for that is we made very clear that we expected health boards to have


regard to the maternity and neonatal review recommendations before they


took decisions of that nature and that is what they are going to do.


Looking at the recommendations and assessing any decisions they may


what to take in light of the recommendations -- they may want. We


have had the opportunity to consider the recommendations. There is an


awful lot of detail in the report. The Health Secretary will come to


Parliament and set out the Government's thinking in how we take


it forward but we are determined to act on the review, the key


recommendation in it is that every woman has continuity of care from a


primary midwife who provides the majority of their antenatal cover


childbirth and postnatal care as part of a new model of care. That


presumably is why the chief executive of Bliss described it as


an ambitious and progressive vision, and one we would be proud to


deliver. To ask the First Minister what the impact would be on


redevelopment plans for universities following its decision to ask the


Scottish funding council to pay back ?50 million. There was no impact on


our commitments to colleges and universities. The underspend was


primarily because of the difference between academic and financial years


and it was only recouped on the basis of explicit assurances from


the council that all financial commitments had been met. I thank


her for that answer. Education committee last month, John Swinney


said all of the financial commitments universities and


colleges had been met in full, but this week, we have learned objects


to develop a campus of the University of Westminster and and a


campus of the Scottish rural University College, they were thrown


into jeopardy as a result of this claw-back. Why did her deputy failed


to mention these two projects shelved as a result of the decision?


At a time when universities are describing the funding package as


unsustainable, why did the Scottish Government take this money out of


the university system? I read explained the reason for the


underspend and I do not think the characterisation of the member in


the capital projects, I do not think it is correct. -- I ready explain.


If we take the Hamilton College, that project is taking its course


and I hope to see it progress. I repeat what I said earlier which is


what the Education Secretary said to Parliament in committee, no changes


to the planned allocation of funding to universities or colleges, no


institution has lost out and I hope that reassurance is welcome to the


Chamber. Thank you. The First Minister has just been made aware of


the shameful attempts of Labour to link the campus in Hamilton to this


issue. While I am saddened at the campus will no longer continue in


the town centre, does the First Minister agree that the solution


arrived at to build a brand-new state of the art hampers at Hamilton


which will accommodate more students and the potential to bring


substantial economic and social benefits? Can she advised that while


the support and advice provided by Scottish funding council throughout


the process has been most welcome, should capital funding be required


to complete the project, she might consider that favourably? She has


just underlined the point I made, this issue in terms of the Hamilton


College campus, it is with the council still yew College and the


funding council. I am pleased they will be developing the campus


because it brings the potential benefits she highlights,


particularly for young people in her constituency. It has been fully


involved to date and I would expect the support to continue, as the


project develops, to ensure this project is realised. Thank you. The


financial report to the Scottish funding council board dated the 20th


of February, 2014, confirms the Scottish covenant had advised the


Scottish funding council not to apply any of the 50 million funds --


the Scottish Government. Until the 2nd of October, 2014, when the


Scottish Government issued further confirmation it wanted the money


back, funding council was discussing how to spend the money. Who is


responsible for the gross mismanagement? The Scottish funding


council knew throughout that this was money that would be returned to


the Scottish Government. As I said in my previous answer, the decision


to do that did not affect the planned allocation of funding to


universities or colleges. This government will continue to make


sure we give fair funding settlements to universities and


colleges. I said in an earlier answer, the budget currently before


Parliament proposes an increase in investment in our colleges of ?20


million in resource funding and ?20 million in capital funding.


Throughout the lifetime of this covenant, we have invested half ?1


billion in modernising our college is state -- government. We have


brand-new campuses in Glasgow, one in my constituency. I opened the new


airship campus just a matter of weeks ago -- Ayrshire. The evidence


of the investment speaks for itself. To ask the First Minister what the


Scottish Government's position is on reports of NHS boards spending over


?1500 on a single agency nurse shift. We are clear with boards they


must make every effort to drive agency spending down but we


recognise there may be times because of peaks in demand of staff illness


for example in highly specialised areas that agency staff are used to


ensure safe care of patients. Agency usage remains very low, 0.4% of


nursing and midwifery capacity in 2015-16. We are working with NHS


national services Scotland on a nationally coordinated programme for


temporary staffing. I think my constituents will have been shocked


by that figure and also by the fact some ?4.8 million was spent in the


last year on agency nurses and midwives in Lothian alone and that


is four times the amount spent three years ago. It is an increasing and


humongous amount of money spent on supposedly temporary measures which


cannot be spent using the First Minister's words on investing in the


NHS. The First Minister, as a former Health Minister responsible for


cutting student nurse places, she surely has the humility to accept


some personal responsibility for that? As I said, spending on agency


staffing is very low in the NHS and agency usage amounts to less than


half of 1% of nursing and midwifery capacity in 2015-16. As I said


earlier, we have increased the number of qualified nurses and


midwives. But we want to see reliance on agency staffing reduced


even further which is why we are committed to investing even further


in staffing. I take personal response will for everything in my


responsibility. I have not heard the member asked the Prime Minister or


Health Secretary South of the border to take responsibility for the


report in July when NHS trusts paid over ?2000 for a single agency


shift. We will continue to take the action to make sure our NHS is


properly staffed, delivering the excellent care they do to patients


across the country. The close of questions of the first


list, closing as they began with discussions about the health service


-- First Minister. Alternative fact, it has come across the Atlantic it


is being used even by the Trump team and the Prime Minister is going to


see the US president in the next day or so. She is in Washington now for


talks with the Republican party. I'm joined by two colleagues, Lindsay


McIntosh and Robbie Dinwoodie. Alternative fact is, let us go to


Kezia Dugdale, she raised that subject, she is saying huge cuts in


local government, Nicola Sturgeon saying huge increases in local


services. The great irony. The figures come from the same analysis.


Fraser of Allander looked at it and think you can see it as cuts to


local services, but if you look at it another way, because of the money


going into merging the NHS and the care budgets, you could say... And


money from schools. It is a fact that the figures can be interpreted


in different ways, hence you get the claim alternative facts. A bit


baffling for the listeners. To be fair, the two ways to interpret it,


unlike the original etymology of alternative facts which was the two


pictures of the capital. That is just black and white. There is a bit


of wiggle room. Kezia Dugdale getting very exercised


in the attack. She was and I think Nicola Sturgeon struggled more


against Kvyat Dugdale than she did against Ruth Davidson. It felt that


when Kezia attacks Nicola from the left, she gets more uncomfortable


than when she can slap down the evil Tories on the right. She describes


Kezia Dugdale's approach is being scatter-gun. What do you make of the


approach she was making? She was trying to build upon a series of


points. What she was trying to do was tied the problems that we are


seeing in the health service at the moment directly back to Nicola


Sturgeon when she was Health Secretary Fred Gray number of years


under Alex Salmond's administration. What Ruth did was bring up a Times


story about what is really difficult situation in NHS Grampian about


theatre is going despite patients needing operations because there


aren't enough staff to fill them. And, Robbie, Ruth Davidson pursuing


a tactic that has become almost standard week after week. I don't


expect you to comment on an individual case, but here is an


individual case. The point is there is never a tactic that has become


almost standard week after week. I don't expect you to comment on an


individual case, but here is an individual case. The point is there


is another way to completely satisfy or demand in the NHS. This easy to


attack the previous administration, but the SNP, we are getting the same


mantra. Ten years is a long time in power. It is on your watch now. It


is not an easy thing to say, but the great comeback as Lynsey rightly


says that Nicola has got against Ruth Davidson is alimony, you want a


10% tax for the wealthiest in this country. You will make things worse.


Let's talk about that. It was a contrary distinction. Ruth Davidson


arguing for expenditure in the health service and Nicola Sturgeon


fighting back with the tax point, a reflection of the fact that this


government now has tax powers as well as spending powers. The point


is that she says big your side. Do we spend money on the NHS or giving


tax cuts to the rich. You have to call that one, Ruth. I thought it


was a good stance. On the budget generally. It was the background to


it because Nicola Sturgeon was saying you are in favour of this in


the middle of these budget negotiations. What I think was quite


clear is that they have given up on getting any deals with Labour. They


are entrenched, but they do see an opportunity to reach out to the


Liberal Democrats and the Green Party to get them onside. Willie


Rennie was contributing today. The expectation is that he might be the


most likeliest deal maker. Nicola Sturgeon was at pains to say he was


seriously negotiating. He said it is not looking good at the moment. I


think the Green Party is the more likely deal maker because of this


independence issue that permeates everything at the Scottish


Parliament. Because they might need them for an independence bill?


That's right. They don't want to knock down an SNP government because


is the best chance of getting a referendum. Nicola's answer was


interesting because she kept stressing that they don't have the


largest majority, but they are the biggest party. There were requests


for details on spending, but the Green Party want to know about the


movement contacts. There may be some reluctance to do that. It is


interesting to look at which tax powers the Green Party are looking


for. I can't see Derek Mackay making any movement on income tax, but


could there be anything with the other taxes? Property taxes and


things like that? Or maybe just the upper right bands? They made such a


big deal about this being a balanced package during the election. You


also have to remember that the penny for Scotland will be a shadow that


always hangs over him. They wanted to reverse the penny cut proposed by


Gordon Brown? Yes, and they were burned and it will take a lot


together again. He will be having a wee word with his successor. What


was interesting and it is a running theme is that it is really Nicola


that raises the question of independence. That is a good one.


She is attacked for it all the time. Willie Rennie accused her of


obsessing about it. And then asked about ten questions on it! He spoke


about the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament being


overshadowed by this independence issue. He is not of the Scottish


parliament and he is the one raising it there. Ruth Davidson got into


opposition by making it her campaign about saving the union. To be fair,


she was saying I don't know what you have been talking about this week,


but I've been talking about nursing and education, but she hasn't


forgotten independence, has she? No, particularly in the context of


Brexit. We hear incremental language from her. She turned to Kezia


Dugdale and said that Labour are rolling over on all opposition to


Scotland been yanked out of the European market. The Labour leader


will be -- the Labour leader was unhappy at that point. We have some


breaking news on Brexit. David Mandel the Scottish Secretary has


been commenting following talks he had this morning with Mike Russell.


There is Mike Russell in the background having a chat there.


Anyway, the pair of them were having a talk and David Mandel suggested


whether Holyrood should have a say on the Brexit bill, the bill being


published today by the UK Government. He says there is no role


for Holyrood on that, but there could be a role on the great repeal


bill, the bill down the road that would disentangle the UK, including


Scotland's involvement with the European Union. While we have been


on-air Mr Mondale has been speaking to my colleague Kirsten Campbell.


The Scottish Parliament house to determine for itself its processes


in terms of legislative concern. I don't believe that a so-called


legislative concern motion is required for the notification bill.


That's because that bill is just about notifying the EU that we


intend to negotiate an exit and that is clearly a reserved matter. Legend


Steve consents required when Westminster is legislating on


devolved issues that are within the responsibility of the Scottish


Parliament. -- legislative consents. When it comes to the great repeal


Bill, will that be different? I assume it is a bill that will cover


significant areas that impact on the powers of the Scottish parliament


and the responsibilities of Scottish ministers. Therefore I would


anticipate it will be a bill that requires legislative consent because


there will be changes to the powers of this Parliament and the


responsibilities of Scottish ministers and we will be looking to


go through that motion process in the Parliament when that bill comes


forward. What happens if the Scottish parliament withholds its


consent? What I have said is that negotiation of our fiscal framework


we were told we would not get that consent. I want to be able to


persuade Parliament this bill is the right one. It will be delivering for


this Parliament additional powers and it will be ensuring that


ministers have responsibilities once we leave the EU for matters that are


currently dealt with in Brussels. It will also incorporate the body of


existing law into our Scots law system. It's something Parliament


will want to embrace and I will be spending my time persuading them to


do that. Persuasion, persuasion. David Mondale speaking to my


colleague Kirsten Campbell. He is talking about a legislative content


motion, not on the bill being published today, the build-up begins


the process of taking United Kingdom out of the EU, he's talking about


the wider bill, the great repeal bill back on pixel the relationships


between Scotland, the UK and the European Union. Much of the


legislation involved in European discussions is legislation that


perhaps potentially would reside here at Holyrood rather than at the


UK level. I'm still joined by my two colleagues. What do you make of it.


Robbie first. The fact there is no LCM on today's bill, it means that


once it goes through, it is sold. That's a key point. When the great


repeal Bill comes forward this Parliament will be in Abeid because


it won't be able to rock anything by withholding an RCM. This is about


repatriating laws from Europe to Westminster. The repeal Bill will


stay we need to put in new mechanisms and that will be either


the UK or in terms of devolved matters, the Scottish parliament.


Where does that put Scottish ministers? Do they want to withhold


legislative consents? The key thing here is that it is not the principle


that Scotland gets a say on, once the decision has been taken and the


clock is ticking on Article 50, it will be too late? That is a good


point. The gun is to be head of the ministers here because if they don't


sign of the great repeal bill or if it doesn't go through, we will have


great laws in -- we will have great holes in our laws. I was surprised


that David Mondale went as far as he did. He spoke to the print press


earlier and I think he was even stronger in his interview that yes,


there will be an LCM. To commit was quite interesting. He is making it


as an offer, but the LCM legislative consent is just that. The UK will


carry on regardless. The Power does reside there? Yes, and he was asked


about the implications if the LCM was not passed and he said it would


be significant. Maybe what he means is that maybe not legally


significant because as you say it will still be pushed ahead with that


bill, but it will be politically significant because we will be in


yet another constitutional crisis. The LCM is provided for in the


Scotland act. He wanted to appear as if he is making an offer, but they


have no real choice but to bring radical changes to Scots law... If


by then the European thing looks like going through. It sounds good


concession, but identikit tes. By the time this becomes an issue


article issue -- becomes an issue, Article 50 would have been


triggered. Our option is beginning to vanish? They are, especially of


the Theresa May's unit speech when she ruled out membership of the


single market. I think people were surprised that Theresa May was that


categoric, both in Scotland and the rest of the UK. It pushed Nicola


Sturgeon perhaps in a direction that she did want to go to which was to


put an independence referendum front and centre of this debate again.


Thank you both very much indeed. A good programme there. Great to get


Mr Mondale's rence. From me Brian Taylor, goodbye.


Timeline is the new current affairs show for you.


Thought-provoking and challenging... On the issues that matter.


Relevant, engaging and sharp... On TV, social and online.


Join us in Scotland's newest conversation.


Download Subtitles