23/11/2016 Scottish Questions


Highlights of Scottish Questions from Westminster.

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Very warm welcome to Westminster for November's Scottish questions. A


busy day, Philip Hammond delivering his Autumn Statement. The first one


since the Brexit vote five months ago. You will not be surprised if I


tell you that Scottish questioned also had and economic theme.


Devolution and independents also on the agenda. Proceedings began with a


very specific question about how fines being levied on banks could be


used to help Art galleries and museums in Scotland. Lots of good


causes across Scotland have put bids into the Treasury for a extra round


of allocations. We will need to be patient and wait for this


afternoon's Chancellor's Autumn Statement. Be patient. He knows


there is no greater cause in my constituency than that of Holmwood


house. Given that next year is the bicentenary of the architect's birth


and he knows how keen I am and the Thomson Society are on the promotion


of that internationally, will he try to make that happen? You should be


commended for trying to make Alexander Greek Thompson known. I


can assure the honourable gentleman, particular after my own visit to


Holmwood house and meeting with the Thomson Society that we will do all


we can to promote the bicentenary. The Chancellor of extractor suggests


that it could be used... Open casket since 2016? The UK Government have


done a great deal to work with East Ayrshire Council to ensure that


opencast restoration could proceed in that area following the collapse


of various companies involved in opencast mining. We continue that


dialogue with both the Scottish Government and east Ayrshire Council


to bring this to a satisfactory resolution. Scotland has wonderful


tourist attractions. Many in the border region. Same price to


Cumbria. The Secretary of State agree that there are real


opportunities to promote the border area, but it requires close


corporation between both sides and it is not just about finance. I am


very keen to promote cross-border working between Cumbria County


Council, Dumfries and Galloway Council. That is why I am a big


supporter of the so-called borderlands initiative to bring


those together and help significant economic development in that area.


Tourism would play a important part. We have made significant process to


transfer powers in the Scotland act of 2016 to the Scottish parliament.


A large number of provisions of the act are already in force and we will


continue to work with the Scottish Government for the smooth transition


of remaining powers. As the SNP Government has failed to introduce a


single piece of legislation in the last six months, the First Minister


prepares grandstanding across Europe in order to block Brexit. Isn't it


time she used the powers devolved to her in Scotland to start governing


rather than engaging in pointless photo opportunities? Mr Speaker, I


can update the honourable gentleman. This cottage Government have now


brought forward one piece of legislation since the Scottish


Parliament elections in May. We may be interested that this Government


has 19 pieces of legislation before this Parliament. Of course, I agree


with him and I think that the majority of people in Scotland who


want the First Minister and the Scottish Government to get on with


the day job of running Scotland and the devolved responsibilities and


not constantly talk about independence. The Scottish


Government has announced that new powers over benefits would be used


to end the misery being meted out on disabled Scots by the UK Government.


Our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to reduce the need for


assessments for personal independence payment and disability


living allowance, particularly for those with long-term illness. Bobby


Secretary of State take the opportunity to welcome this and


urges UK colleagues to follow suit? What I will welcome when I see it is


some detail behind these fine words. We have heard lots of fine words,


but to date on welfare we have absolutely no detail as to what the


Scottish Government plan to do. He believes that they are fine words.


Perhaps he will follow the initiative of the Scottish


Government. It is fair to say that the majority of welfare and economic


powers are not being devolved to the Scottish parliament. So, will the


Secretary of State confirm that he has no plans to devolve powers to


deal with Scottish legal partnerships and the risks that they


pose in the fight against global money-laundering and organised


crime? I've raised this with the Prime Minister, I have spoken to him


about this. Will he now tell the house what he and the UK Government


will now do about it? As he knows, the settlement in relation to the


Scotland axe 2016 was the outcome of the commission and the Scottish


legal partnerships was not part of that and will not be devolved. I do


take the issue extremely seriously. I commend him for the way in which


he has highlighted it in this house and elsewhere. I commend the Herald


newspaper for the way in which they have highlighted the issue.


Colleagues within the UK Government are looking at how we can best take


the situation forward to end the abuses which are evident. I was


concerned to read in the Sunday Times that the Scottish Government


are delaying the introduction of the devolved welfare powers. Can my


right honourable friend confirm that this is the case? All members will


have access to the minutes of the last meeting of the last joint


welfare group between myself and the Scottish Government ministers. Those


minutes confirm that the introduction of the welfare powers


in Scotland are indeed being delayed potentially until 2020. The transfer


of powers of these is over to the Scottish Government. The UK


Government will not allowed non-EU fishermen to come in. People would


be welcome and required, but this Government is threatening jobs and


industry in the outer Hebrides. Willie deserving about it or will


you do nothing as usual? I recognise the concerns. Others have expressed


them. There are specific rules about who can work on fishing boats, but


immigration does remain a reserved issue and the responsibility of the


Home Office. Always a pleasure to follow hurricane came Angus. Thank


you for your generous to allow us to stand here. I have been immersing


myself in Scottish legislation and Irn-Bru for the last week. Mr


Speaker, can I tell the Secretary of State that many of us on this site


would give our right TV to get the powers contained in 2016. Does he


feel like the reluctance of Scotland to use their powers is a lack of


ambition or modesty? I welcome the member here. The one question I


would have is who is next? Because we have had a selection of


individuals. What I would say to the honourable gentleman is that these


are very significant powers over tax and welfare. Although today in the


Autumn Statement here in this house is a very important event, on the


15th of December, we will see the Scottish budget for the first time.


The Scottish Government able to raise income tax at its will in


relation to the Scottish budget. That I think is a very significant


moment in terms of taking responsibility and accountability.


The Government will continue to provide an environment when S M Es


everywhere can thrive. Cutting red tape, keeping taxes low, tackling


late payment and improving access to finance. We are committed to making


sure the whole of the UK is a great place to start and grow a business.


Figures produced by the Scottish Government show that SME take up


more than... If there is any sort of setback and the Chancellor is


predicting one, these enterprises are hardest hit. Given their


importance, what is the Minister doing to reduce uncertainty and to


support their growth? The UK economy is strong in spite of uncertainty.


Scottish SMEs are currently benefiting from more than ?400


million of investment from the business bank. It will help


capitalise on new technologies and new export markets. Does the


Minister agree that the UK market is four times the size of the U market


in Scotland. It is very clear why businesses are saying loud and


clearly that they do not want talk of another independence referendum,


but instead wants stability to strengthen the economy. I do agree.


SMEs in Scotland trade four times as much in the single market of the


United Kingdom as they do in the European Union. Indeed, they trade


more with markets and the rest of the world than they do across the


entire EU. One of the key thing is that the Scottish Government and the


UK Government could do to take away uncertainty for the SMEs across


Scotland is to take off the table the second independence referendum.


Another thing that the Government could also do is to conclude the


Edinburgh city deal so that we want to make sure that we hear that in


the next few minutes. I share the enthusiasm for that city deal. But


the honourable gentleman, we will have to wait for another hour to


hear more detail on that. I could not agree with him more the


uncertainty in Scotland is coming far more from talk of another


referendum than it is from the EU referendum outcome. Thank you, Mr


Speaker. Yesterday it was announced that over 500 jobs in the tannic


side area of my constituency are under threat. Kwik-Fit insurance


have announced plans to axe their entire Scottish operation. If these


plans proceed it would be a devastating brooch at the local


community just before Christmas. -- devastating blow. What can you offer


to comfort these people in this tickled time? It will be a very


difficult time for the Kwik-Fit workforce and their families. At the


moment, particularly because the honourable gentleman mentions it is


in the art elite Mac run-up to Christmas. I understand Kwik-Fit are


consulting on closure by the end of March by the end of next year. I


hope they will be able to quickly move into alternative on climate.


The UK Government will assist with support with the Jobcentre plus


rapid reaction service, working also with North Lanarkshire Council to


help all those being made redundant. What is my honourable friend's


estimate in the number of jobs action involved in this process and


does that not demonstrate the importance to Scotland and the


economy of Scotland and staying in the United kingdom? Specifically to


SMEs which the honourable gentleman I'm sure intended to mention. The


employment rate is less in Scotland than in United Kingdom. Two free


benefit for this. On the 12th of October in response


to a question about the deal struck at Nissan the Secretary of State


said, and I quote, it whatever support is put in place for


businesses in the north-east will be put in place for Scotland. Is the


Secretary of State or minister willing to confirm this is still the


case and, if so, will she provide more detail of the. SMEs need to


know. My right honourable friend was right in what he said about the


Nissan deal. That level of support will be available to Scottish


businesses. As the detail, the honourable gentleman will have to


wait until the Autumn Statement for that. I am grateful, especially for


promotion to the Privy Council. Welcoming back commitment and I am


sure businesses of all sizes will be reassured, but in view of the


commitment there must've been an analysis of costs. Will the minister


informed the house what assessment has been made of the cost of


supports? My right honourable friend the Secretary of State will make an


assessment of costs and benefits of all such deals on an ongoing basis.


Mr Speaker, the Secretary of State for Scotland has had discussions


with me about the intra- UK budget allocations under the CAP and I've


had discussions with the National Farmers' Union Scotland, Scottish


members of Parliament and the Scottish Government's Cabinet


Secretary. The convergence uplift is worth 230 million euros. The UK


Government has withheld that money that should support Scotland's rural


economy. When will Scotland's man in the Cabinet do something about this?


Or will he continue to do nothing? I said to the honourable gentleman we


will give an update on the review of CAP allocations. The context has


changed following the decision to leave the EU and some argue the area


based payments as required have never suited Scotland well and NFU


Scotland have previously raised concerns about the level of payments


going to large landowners and argued we should instead direct support to


farmers and producers through livestock payments. We have an


opportunity to look at these issues and I will work with NFU Scotland


and officials. What we are seeking in Scottish questions is the


confirmation the Scottish Secretary of State backs Scottish farmers and


will get this promised money delivered. It is fantastic we have


the farming minister here but we have had so far is no detail, just


words. Can we have the detail? I disagree. As I make clear the


Secretary of State discusses this issue with me regularly. I am


passionate about Scotland and I discussed this with NFU Scotland


from January onwards and we are working on joint proposals and


agreements when it comes to post Brexit agricultural policy. Number


six, please. My right honourable friend has held 60 meetings with


well over 100 Scottish organisation since the referendum to hear their


views and the Business Secretary has met businesses in Aberdeen and the


Trade Minister has met business leaders in Edinburgh. Will my


honourable friend encouraged Scottish businesses to seize the


opportunities of our new relationship with Europe? And the


wider world. Including golf course my own constituency of Louth and


Horncastle? Will she urged the Scottish Government to support their


businesses, stop moaning about referenda and get on with


government. I thank my honourable friend and I am happy to give that


encouragement. The message the UK Government has heard is businesses


in Scotland want stability and not another divisive referendum. Talk of


independence is disrupted. People want economic stability that can


only be provided by Scotland remaining in the UK. Spit it out,


man, coming on this question, yours was similar. In July this Secretary


of State's party leader told the BBC, I want to stay in the single


market even if the consequence is maintaining free movement of labour.


Can the Secretary of State explain the U-turn? No U-turn on that


whatsoever, the UK Government will seek the best deal for all parts of


the UK and that will include limits on free movement and the best access


to and trade within the single market for British companies. The


creative industries in Scotland are one of the most successful areas of


Scottish business. There is concern about the regulatory regime that


off, preside over and its future relationship with the EU and what


that looks like. What discussions has she had concerning that


regulatory regime? My ministerial colleagues in the Department will


have had discussions and I will ask one of them to notify the honourable


member of the outcome. In the Northern Isles some of our most it


sporting -- important exporting distances are in the successful Food


and drinks sector but they say it is almost impossible to plan for the


future until they know what access they will have two EU markets. Will


the minister ensure their voices are heard in these negotiations as well


as the big boys in financial services and the automotive industry


is? The Darfur minister has regular meetings with the Scottish fishing


industry and agricultural sector. Across government there are


discussions with the Scottish whisky association about how they can


continue to build on the strengths of their exports beyond the EU as


well as within the single market. During a live televised debate two


days before Brexit, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said the EU


provides a level Plainfield for small businesses and if the UK left


the EU, the rest of the EU would impose tariffs and taxes. Can the


she advised the house how many of the 1.2 million jobs provided by


SMEs in Scotland are estimated to be at risk once these tariffs and taxes


coming? As I have said, the government is committed to gaining


the maximum access to the single market and trade within the single


market for all British companies, including Scottish SMEs. Order.


There is far too much noise in the chamber, a number of loud private


conversations. Let's have order for a senior and respected member of the


house of 33 years standing, Sir David Amis. Question number seven,


Mr Speaker. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for


Scotland held round tables with the Scottish food and drink industry and


in addition my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for


environment met with a range of food and drink businesses in a visit to


Scotland this month. With Scotch whiskey being the finest in the


world and a valuable export, would my honourable friend agree that as a


result of the UK deciding to leave the EU, there may be further export


opportunities? I very much agree with my honourable friend and the


truth is Scotch whiskey is a fantastic success story for this


country with overseas sales worth 3.9 billion in 2015. I attended an


event in Tokyo to promote great British drinks and it included


Scotch whiskey, which is popular in Japan. I wonder if the... I think


the honourable lady never fully realise the extent of her own


popularity on the government benches. Does the Secretary of State


for Scotland realise the value of exports from the rest of the UK to


Scotland are more than ?50 billion? That is more than Scotland exports


to the rest of the UK, so with the Secretary of State agree that


regardless of constitutional arrangements in the future, the


Scotland rest of UK trading relationship is an important one? I


think the fact is the honourable lady highlights underline the fact


the union that is vital to this country is the United Kingdom


because we have close trade. Number eight, Sir. I have regular meetings


with the Scottish Government ministers and last met the Cabinet


Secretary financing Constitution on the 21st of October. Both


governments are committed to providing all support to the


Scottish Fiscal Commission and Office for Budget Responsibility.


Does my right honourable friend agree that a core principle of


stable and accountable, but sure government must be government should


not bid its own forecasts but answer for its choices and consequences to


the people they govern? I absolutely agree and the transfer of income tax


and welfare powers to the Scottish Parliament does just that. No longer


will the SNP and Scottish Government simply be able to complain if they


genuinely have ideas, they will be able to do something about it and


the people of Scotland will understand what their tax


implications are. Exports from the services sector could be cut by 60%


of the UK is out of the single market. That would be a 2.3 billion


hit for Scotland and given that, can he tell us why his Conservative


colleagues at Holyrood voted against the Scottish Government motion to


protect Scotland's position. With reference to the work of the


independent Fiscal Commission. I am sure the independent Fiscal


Commission will have noted my colleagues, the Conservative group


in Holyrood, voted against the SNP motion because we have no idea where


the SNPs stand in relation to the UK's future relationship with the


EU. I am afraid that is all we have time for. That is the final Scottish


Questions of 2016, because of the Christmas break we will not be back


again for two months, when we will be back on the 18th of January. Join


us then. From all of us at Westminster, goodbye.


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