04/11/2015 Scottish Questions


04/11/2015

Highlights of Scottish Questions from Westminster.


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Hello and welcome to a slightly damp Westminster for November's Scottish

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Questions. Plans to give the Scottish parliament extra powers are

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occupying the thoughts of MPs as plans to restrict the role of

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Scottish at Westminster. Proceedings began with a question about energy

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and specifically the planning regulations surrounding wind in

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Scotland. Questions to the Secretary of State for Scotland. Before I and

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Sir can I come end you not just on your attendance at the Davis cup

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semifinal in Glasgow but for the enthusiasm with which you got behind

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Team GB in that mum enters that -- great win? I am sure you will join

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me in wishing the team the best. Glasgow is a great sporting city.

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After that we get onto a question about wind farms. ... New onshore

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wind developments in England. Planning for onshore wind is

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devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government have

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kept that power to themselves. I would ask them to look closely at

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this government's policy of an of audible energy mix that protects our

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landscapes. I shall be there in person I hope to support the team.

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True devolution means that power should rest as closely as possible

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to the people. In Scotland, will Wales and Northern Ireland. Does he

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deplore the policies of the current Scottish and with governments who

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seemed to think they no better than the people and the communities of

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Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales? I agree. The current Scottish

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government is one of the most centralising governments on record.

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Routinely overruling the wishes of local people and local authorities.

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We are delivering devolution to Scotland. Let us see devolution

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delivered within Scotland. As Lord Smith recommended. He will be aware

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of the case of the park in my constituency that has the support of

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the local community and the developers worked diligently to

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secure planning permission from Perth Kinross Council. Despite

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this the development is threatened by the aggressive approach of

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government has taken on energy, putting local jobs at risk. Would he

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agree to look again at this case, which has been penalised I it's

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responsible approach to community engagement around planning issues? I

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am always happy to look at individual cases raised by members

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from Scotland and I will be delighted to meet with her and hear

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more about the case that she is setting out. With he agree that the

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Scottish parliament could learn a lot from the devolution debate

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within England? Would he encourage the Scottish Parliament to devolve

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more responsibilities and powers to local government, which may even

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include elected mayors in the great cities of Scotland? I agree and the

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response of SNP MPs says it all. They know best, they no better than

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local bebop. Let us see local decision making. Let us see Lord

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Smith's recommendation about devolution within Scotland ordered

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by the Scottish Government. In addition to this question there is

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question after question on the order paper questioning the powers of the

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Scottish Parliament. The truth is they have missed the A waiting

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time for six years. More they have missed the A waiting

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children leave primary school unable to read properly.

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children leave primary school unable families get a particularly bad deal

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under devolution. families get a particularly bad deal

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Labour MP for Dudley North. What is required is to hear from the SNP and

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the Scottish Government how they will use these parliaments. They the

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fair arguments about process and do not want to tell us what they are

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going to do and do not follow that through with action.

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going to do and do not follow that a vote on... Genuinely I am trying

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to be helpful to members but can I urge members to look at the terms of

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the question on the paper? It is very specifically about onshore wind

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planning. We must move on. This is about the role of Revenue and

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Customs in Scotland. HMRC will be making face-to-face announcements to

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all staff explaining why my kids future officers will be. The largest

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employer in Cumbernauld, good quality jobs are in danger because

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of debt management and proposed office mergers. What is he going to

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do to be take the jobs of hard-working employees and the local

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economies of towns such as Cumbernauld?

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HMRC will be making an announcement in the next few days in terms of its

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long-term plan that it seeks to find savings in terms of its property

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costs which is right to ensure that that money can be used to improve

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customer service and get the taxes in. Question three. A question on

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the work of the Smith commission. Amendments that strengthen the bill

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and look forward to returning to the house for debate next week. This

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represents another milestone in making the Scottish Parliament

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Parliament one of the most powerful in the world. The Smith commission

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identified that Scotland's budget should be no larger or smaller as a

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result of the initial transfer of new powers and recommended the

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Scottish and UK governments work together to agree a fiscal and

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funding framework for Scotland. Can you reassure my constituents that

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this framework will be in place so that Scotland's funding is not

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adversely affected? Yes. Would he agree that rather than relying on

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subsidies from London the Scottish Government should use its

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tax-raising powers to pay for the services provided to the Babel of

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Scotland? I do not recognise his description of the Barnett formula

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which of course will remain in place, but the reality is that the

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Scottish parliament will have significant powers over tax,

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welfare, and it is about time the SNP told us what they are going to

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do with them. It is interesting the Secretary of State did not take the

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opportunity to condemn the views of his Conservative colleagues who

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believe that Scotland is subsidised. Only 9% of people in Scotland

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believe the vote has been delivered so once prising Labour government is

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having belatedly to accept amendments. The financial framework

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for casual. He was only to be able to give one wide and so, so will he

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elaborates and tell us exactly when the UK Government will update this

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Parliament on the progress that has been made on the fiscal framework? I

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am sorry that he did not read my written ministerial statement that

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was launched in the House on Monday which updated the House on the

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progress of the fiscal framework. What I recognise in relation to his

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comments are these words from the Daily Record editorial. Moan, moan,

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winge, winge. A cynic might argue that the SNP do not actually want

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those now powers because it makes them accountable to the people of

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Scotland. The Secretary of State for Scotland has had a second

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opportunity to condemn the views from his own backbenchers that

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Scotland is subsidised. I challenge him in this reply to come to the

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dispatch box and its associate himself with the views of his

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colleagues. If his government is bringing in detrimental measures

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that will impact on families and individuals not just in Scotland but

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the length and breadth of the UK. Can he give us some detail on what

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is going on between the Treasury and the Scottish Government and give an

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assurance that there will be no detrimental implications for people

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in Scotland as part of the fiscal framework? Not only does he not read

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written ministerial statements, he did not even listen to my answer to

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my colleague. He did not listen to the answer to my colleagues, so

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perhaps he can read it. The reality is the powers that are being

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delivered to the Scottish parliament will make it the most powerful

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devolved parliament in the world. Rather than tell us what they will

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do with those powers it is grievance and grudge. We'll tax credits, which

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the Scottish parliament themselves like knowledge can be topped up,

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will they be topped up by the FNP, yes or no? -- SNP. Can I take this

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opportunity to be tribute to our armed forces? For the sacrifice for

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this country. UK ministers have said the fiscal framework negotiations

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would be concluded this autumn. Can he explain why they have been

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delayed until January at the earliest? As I set out in my written

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ministerial statement, the position is that the UK Government is

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proceeding at the moment towards the comprehensive spending review, which

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I am sure you accept there is a major task, and shortly thereafter

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the Scottish Government will proceed with the Scottish draft budget. When

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I met with the Deputy First Minister John Swinney last week he gave me

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the confidence that he wants to reach a fiscal framework agreement

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and that is certainly the position of the United Kingdom government and

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that is why I was able to answer the lady from Hamilton east as I did.

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Scotland's First Minister has warned that the SNP government may reject

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the Scotland bill if the accompanying fiscal framework is not

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there to Scotland. They are looking for any excuse to delay further

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powers for Scotland. Can he assure that how is that the fiscal

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framework will be agreed before the Scottish Parliament is dissolved in

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March and can he explain why both he and the SNP are conspiring to make

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this agreement the Tartan delivered behind closed doors with no public

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transparency? What are they trying to hide? As he knows, a statement

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has been published after each meeting of the joint exchequer

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committee. I take John Swinney and the Scottish Government at face

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value that they want to reach their agreement for Scotland. UK

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Government wants to reach for agreement for Scotland. It is an all

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other interests and I am confident that be achieved.

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With permission, I will answer question for and 11 at the same

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time. I have regular discussions with John Swinney and our officials

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are in close contact on provisions in the Scotland Bill. I have tabled

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changes to strengthen the bill. Having failed technology the

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question for my right honourable friend two times already, does the

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Secretary of State now disassociates himself from the comments from his

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colleague, suggesting Scotland is subsidised? The fiscal framework

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will allow the Scottish Government the flexibility to pursue separate

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fiscal policies from the damaging policies progressed by this UK

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Government, ensuring the highest levels of transparency. Will he

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provide the house with a timetable for draft fiscal framework? The

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comments that were made in the written ministerial statement on

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Monday set out that the fiscal framework agreement is likely to

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come after the Comprehensive Spending Review and the draft

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Scottish budget has been completed. This is the fourth opportunity now

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for the Secretary of State to disassociate himself with those

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comments about Scotland being subsidy junkies. Will he do so? Will

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he also confirmed the negotiations around the fiscal framework are

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happening between the Treasury and the Scottish Government, and he is

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relying on a Scottish lord to advise those negotiations? Will he confirm

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that? It is obviously clear that the Scottish National Party don't listen

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to answers. If they read Hansard, they will see the response I gave to

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my colleague. In relation to the fiscal framework, it is an

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agreement. Who is negotiating on behalf of the Scottish Government?

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John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister. From the comments of SNP

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members, they don't have much confidence in his ability to reach a

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fair deal for Scotland. At the weekend, the leader of the Scottish

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Labour Party announced that a future Scottish Labour government would use

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the powers of the Scotland Bill to compensate people for money they

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will lose because of the Tory cuts to tax credits. I'm sure the

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Secretary of State will not like to see that happen, but can he confirm

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the new powers contained in the Scotland Bill will give the Scottish

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Parliament the ability to top up tax credit? She has the guts to say she

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will put up taxes and tax credits -- she does not have. The SNP has said

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nothing. They want an argument about process instead of telling us what

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they are going to do with these important new powers. Ministers have

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had discussions with the leader of the house over English votes on the

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implementation. These are sensible and pragmatic steps which do nothing

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against Scottish MPs ability to represent their constituents. Is he

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as concerned as I am that the Barnett, is angels which affect all

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three devolved nations are not clearly spilled out in the new EV

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ELN arrangements. Will he take this fifth opportunity to explain what is

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happening with the fiscal compact -- EVEL arrangements. The leader of the

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house challenged honourable members to provide examples where the rugby

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difficulty -- where there would be difficulties, yet none were

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submitted. As the procedure committee is planning to hold an

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enquiry on the manner in which this house deals with this issue, can I

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urge my honourable friend to defer having any discussions with Cabinet

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colleagues until the report is to hand? The government will look

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closely at what the procedures committee has to save. And in terms

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of reforms on the estimates process, which is ultimately a

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matter for the house. This is a question about the health service.

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The Scottish Government is responsible for the NHS in Scotland.

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It is up to them regarding how best to spend their funding. The UK

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Government is happy to share good practice with the Scottish

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Government to help ensure the people Scotland receive high-quality health

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care. I thank the minister for that answer. Has he seen the recent audit

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Scotland report which shows the Scottish Government has failed to

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pass on health spending increases, resulting in a 0.7% real terms

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health spending reduction in Scotland between 2009 and 2015? I

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have seen that report. He is right to bring that to the attention of

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the house. The reality is that a Conservative government has shown

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more commitment to public spending on the NHS in England than an SNP

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led government has done in Scotland. We now have English votes for

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English laws on issues such as health in England? Is it not time

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for a Scottish ministers to answer Scottish Questions in this house? I

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noticed the honourable gentleman raises the issues of English votes

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for English laws and get very worked up about it, but can I remind him of

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what he said a year ago, and issue the Scottish people could not care

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less about. That does not seem to be his approach any more. This is a

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specific question about anti-Semitism in Scotland. Recorded

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incidents in Scotland are thankfully low. I am not complacent. Tackling

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anti-Semitism was right to the heart of what we stand for as a country.

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Whatever our politics and faith, we must look to defeat it. 15 Scottish

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MPs attended an all-party group on anti-Semitism last week. With the

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goodwill that clearly exists, will the minister topped with the

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Scottish Government about how the system of state funded security in

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Jewish schools in England could be emulated in Glasgow? I certainly

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well and I'm happy to do so. I should say to him that despite the

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many robust exchanges we have in this chamber, all MPs from Scotland

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are united in our view that we cannot tolerate anti-Semitism. The

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Secretary of State will be aware that I represent Scotland's largest

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Jewish community in East Renfrewshire. I was pleased to hear

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of the good intercommunity relations and positive support from the police

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in my area. Will the Secretary of State join me in applauding our

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Jewish communities for the work they do against discrimination? I

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absolutely do. I commend her on her engagement with that important

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Jewish community in Scotland. I commend the work of the Scottish

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Government in that regard. This is a matter on which we are all united,

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supporting Jewish communities and not accepting anti-Semitism. This is

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another question reflecting the Scotland Bill. The UK Government is

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delivering the cross-party Smith agreement in full, giving the

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Scottish Government substantial new powers over tax and spending. The

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devolution of powers should be accompanied by a fiscal framework.

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The UK and Scottish governments are discussing this. I'm going to offer

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the Secretary of State six opportunity to disassociate from the

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subsidy claims from his own party in this chamber. Will he do so? Does he

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agree with me that the Treasury's eight meant for funding policy over

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the years has been a creaking mess? Will he recommit to a more open and

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transparent process as he refused to do repeatedly? There is a process.

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It involves UK Treasury ministers in negotiations with the Scottish

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Government. We are continuing to work on that process. We will update

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the house when there is further news. This is a question about

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abortion in Scotland. The issue needs to be handled sensitively

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between the governments. I wrote to interested parties. As I have

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confirmed already, there will be ongoing engagement with women's

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groups as this matter is taken forward. We believe that a woman's

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right to choose should be universal. Does the Secretary of

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State envisage any change in abortion law in Scotland? Mr

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Speaker, I think it would be helpful if I just confirmed that because

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abortion law is being devolved does not mean there will be any change.

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The existing arrangements will continue to apply in Scotland are

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changed by the Scottish Parliament. I am pleased to note the First

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Minister of Scotland has confirmed she has no plans at all to change

:26:28.:26:34.

existing abortion law in Scotland. Can I urge the minister to think

:26:35.:26:38.

again about the devolution of abortion to Scotland? This is to

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have smaller jurisdictions making decisions so sensitive on health

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care is deeply unwise. It will allow those who want to lobby against the

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interests of health care to undermine the interests of women,

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both in Scotland and in England. I would urge him to consult far more

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widely before he makes this very big step. I recognise of course the

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concern is the honourable lady shots, but the Scottish Parliament

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already has responsibility for criminal justice and health issues,

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and has dealt with some very sensitive issues extremely well in

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my view. I have spoken to women's groups in Scotland and they believe

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that the devolution can take place, but they want to be consulted about

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that and they will be. Have not forgotten the honourable gentleman.

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I never do. Mark Menzies. B this is a question about access to

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university education. The most recent UCAS statistics show a record

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year for university entry for disadvantaged students domiciled in

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England. 18.2% compared to 13% in 2009. Unfortunately the situation in

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Scotland is not as good. Only 10% of the poorest 20% of Scots attend

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university, very concerning. As someone who went to university from

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a working-class background, I am deeply concerned about how Scotland

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is now lagging behind England. Working-class per people are losing

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out. It may sound strange, an English Tory elected to a Scottish

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university, but as a former honorary president of Stirling University, an

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outstanding university, I share his concerns and the Scottish Government

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could do a great deal of learning from the experience of the English

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university system. That is all we have time for. Let me remind you

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about the next Scottish Questions on Wednesday 16 December. That will be

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the final one of 2015. We will see if there is any pre-Christmas cheer

:29:16.:29:19.

by then. Join us then if you can. For now, from all of us at

:29:20.:29:23.

Westminster, goodbye. The knives are sharpened and the heat

:29:24.:29:28.

is on. It can only mean one thing. Britain's best chefs

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are back in town. They're here because they want

:29:32.:29:36.

this title. I'm really excited. MasterChef: The Professionals

:29:37.:29:41.

starts cooking...

:29:42.:29:46.

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