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Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Ailsa Brown

All times stated are UK

That's all folks

Not surprisingly the motion and amendment from the accessible tourism debate are passed unanimously, after a very consensual debate.

We will be back next Tuesday 30 September 2014, until then have a lovely weekend.

Decision time

With the debate concluded, MSPs are voting on the amendment and motion of the debate with both expected to be passed unanimously.

Education and attitudes

Mr Ewing says one of the keys to improving access to tourism comes through education and changing attitudes in society.

Fergus Ewing

He says good practice in Scotland should be copied throughout the country and be seen as a good business opportunity.

Smith commission news

The BBC understands that the SNP is to appoint a cabinet minister to the commission set up to agree new powers for Holyrood.

The finance secretary, John Swinney, is expected to be confirmed as one of the SNP's two representatives on Lord Smith's cross-party panel on further devolution.

He'll sit alongside the former Scottish Conservative leader, Baroness Goldie and the former Scottish secretary, Michael Moore among others.

Labour and the Greens have yet to make their appointments.

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing congratulates the preceding speakers, as he closes the debate on accessible tourism for the Scottish government.

Labour closing speech

After a very consensual debate, Labour MSP Jenny Marra is closing on behalf of her party.

Ms Marra praises Stewart Stevenson for his speech when he said success will be when there is no need for disabled access signs as everywhere will be accessible.

Jenny Marra

The North East Scotland MSP says people with disabilities and elderly people do face increased travel insurance premiums and asks if discussions with the EU on a cross-party basis could address this.

Euan's Guide

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser says four out of five people with a disability don't get the chance to have a holiday

Mr Fraser says: "We have to work hard with businesses to make sure we have accessible accommodation and attractions."

The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP praises the work of

Euan's guide.

The guide was the idea of Euan MacDonald and his sister Kiki, after he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

Euan's guide

Despite being in a wheelchair due to Motor Neurone Disease, he still wants to go out to bars, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, music festivals and sports grounds.

Mr Macdonald is always looking for new places to go out but can only find out if access is suitable through a process of trial and error, which led to his creation of a local directory on disabled access, which he is keen to share with others with accessibility needs.

Mark MacDonald

SNP MSP Mark MacDonald tells the chamber about his son, who has autism, and the fact that he is an "escape artist" which requires checking hotel rooms before booking.

Mark McDonald

Stewart Stevenson

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson tells his fellow MSPs he disagrees with all who have spoken before him saying "we have been utterly without ambition in our contributions" so far, an error he intends to remedy.

Mr Stevenson quotes his colleague Rob Gibson who said "we are not there yet" on attaining accessible tourism for all.

Steart Stevenson
Stewart Stevenson MSP

The Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSPs adds: "Nobody described what there is, nobody says what the world would be like if we drew it on a blank canvas".

He says it would be a world where there were no special facilities because "every facility meets the needs of everybody and everybody uses them".

Accessible Tourism spend

According to Fergus Ewing, in 2009-10 the accessible tourism spend in Scotland was £325m.

Mr Ewing says: "By 2013 this spend had risen to £370m, an incredible increase of £45m."

Holiday money

"However the most significant aspect of these figures is the percentages of the overall spend - in 2009 it was only 6% of the overall figure and by 2013 this had increased to 14%."

Dennis Robertson

Dennis Robertson
SNP MSP Dennis Robertson

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson, who is blind, says basic accessibility to normal places people "take for granted", like shops or cafes, can pose problems for some.

Mr Robertson says he has been involved with access panels for nearly 40 years, which has allowed him to see the progress that has actually happened.

When he goes on holiday he says he "looks at venues that don't require me to cross busy roads", because he tends to leave his guide dog, Mr Q, at home because "he probably deserves a holiday from me as much as I deserve a holiday with my family!".

Mr Q
Mr Q

Mr Q has his own

twitter account and has 961 followers.

Royal Yacht Britannia

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing visited the Royal Yacht Britannia which VisitScotland says is leading the way in accessible tourism in Scotland.

Fergus EWing
VisitScotland's picture of the Royal Yacht Britannia

The yacht is the UK's No.1 Attraction 2014 (TripAdvisor) and Scotland's Best Visitor attraction.

Patricia Ferguson

Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson says she is delighted with the efforts Scottish tourism is making, with VisitScotland leading this.

Crathie access

A number of members have referred to

Crathie Opportunity Holidays who have "carefully prepared an Access Statement for each of the cottages as well as the Courtyard."

They also have a range of special equipment for use.

Crathie lies at the heart of Royal Deeside in the Cairngorm National Park.

Cairngorm National Park

It is situated between the villages of Braemar and Ballater on the A93, approximately 50 miles West of Aberdeen.

Mark Griffin

Labour MSP Mark Griffin says he will soon bring his British Sign Language Scotland Bill to the parliament for scrutiny.

Mark Griffin

Scottish Parliament

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing opened the debate by praising the Scottish Parliament:

"We are very grateful that the Scottish Parliament has provided its assistance to allow British Sign Language users to follow the debate in their language; a palantypist is also providing text content to other visitors and the gallery is fully accessible to visitors using wheelchairs.

Scottish Parliament

"I know we are all proud of the continued efforts that the Parliament makes to be accessible to all, with a range of facilities that are freely available to enhance the visitor experience and engagement. "

Indeed, only recently I gather the Parliament has made some significant improvements to its Main Hall to improve the accessibility for all visitors, this work including the installation of the Parliament's second Changing Places Facility.

This will accommodate the needs of visitors with severe and multiple disabilities.

Graeme Dey

Graeme Dey says accessible tourism must be provided as it "is the right thing to do".

Graeme Dey

Mr Dey says there is no denying there has been an improvement in access at holiday destinations and he has noticed an attitudinal change across the country, but adds there is still much to be done on behalf of people with a number of conditions.

Nanette Milne

Scottish Conservative MSP Nanette Milne is speaking.

Nanette Milne

Access statement tool

An access statement is a detailed description of your business facilities and services, as well as information about the surrounding area and travel advice.


You can create your own access statement using VistScotland's

access statement tool.

Accessible Tourism Project

Labour MSP Jenny Marra pays tribute to he work of the Accessible Tourism Project in trying to make Scotland the most accessible tourist destination in Europe.

Ms Marra says it identifies the barriers faced by disabled people holidaying in Scotland and promoting the business benefits of accessible tourism to the industry.

Jenny Marra

She says the UK was one of the top three contributors to accessible tourism in the EU.

Jenny Marra

Labour MSP Jenny Marra is on her feet speaking to her ammendment.

Access statement

The minister says: "If you have a disability an access statement tells you what you need to know."

"That's why access statements are important."

They positively influence people with particular needs to help them choose a holiday.

Disability access

Mr Ewing says "An estimated 70% of disabled people are able to travel, but due to a lack of accessible accommodation and basic facilities they do not.


"Disabled are people often accompanied by carers, family or friends providing extra revenue to the accommodation provider."

The minister says the "most important matter is of social responsibility to seek to enable and facilitate a holiday or break for everyone with a disability", which also brings business opportunities.

Fergus Ewing

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing says this is the first occasion in a government motion where "we have debated this most important topic".

He tells MSPs there are 11m disabled people living in the UK, adding only 2m of them enjoy an annual holiday.

Fergus Ewing

On the global stage 1.3bn people with a disability, an emerging market the size of China, Mr Ewing points out.

He says in 2013 £391m was spent on accessible tourism.

Accessible Tourism

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing is on his feet opening the debate on accessible tourism.

Accessible Tourism refers to tourism that caters to the needs of a full range of consumers.

The accessible market not only encompasses people with permanent physical disabilities, but also families with young children and senior travellers.

Motion and amendment

Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing: Accessible Tourism-That the Parliament recognises the important contribution to the Scottish economy that accessible tourism makes across many sectors; further recognises that disabled people should be able to enjoy a holiday or break in the same way as others do; acknowledges the work underway and notes the progress made by VisitScotland and partners in developing the accessible tourism online training tools for managers and staff in individual enterprises; recognises that the whole tourism sector and wider public and private sectors need to work together closely to make accessible tourism ever more successful, and notes the efforts made to ensure that the tourism industry recognises the mutual benefit to businesses and consumers from the opportunities for accessibility being maximised for all events taking place during the next four themed years.

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendment

Labour MSP Jenny Marra: Accessible Tourism-As an amendment to motion S4M-10988 in the name of Fergus Ewing (Accessible Tourism), insert at end "; applauds the work of the Accessible Tourism Project in trying to make Scotland the most accessible tourist destination in Europe by identifying the barriers faced by disabled people holidaying in Scotland and promoting the business benefits of accessible tourism to the industry, and recognises the importance of accessible tourism to securing delivery of opportunities for sustainable economic growth and employment in communities across Scotland".

Welcome back!

Welcome back to BBC Scotland's Democracy Live coverage of the Scottish Parliament.

Shortly MSPs will debate accessible tourism, the motion and amendments for the debate willl be coming shortly.

Accessible Tourism

We'll be back, after a quick lunch in the Scottish Parliament canteen, with a debate on accessible tourism from 2.30pm.

Lunch time!

Mr Ewing highlights the severity of conditions endured by the men who worked to deliver Scotland's dams and tunnels, paving the way for renewable hydro energy.

The minister closes the debate on tunnels and dams by highlighting the tourism benefits of them.

Fergus Ewing

He says hydro electricity is one of the great successes of Scotland and the workers who delivered the scheme deserver our praise, finishing by saying he is very pleased his sister brought the debate to the chamber.

Minister closes

Enterprise and Energy Minister Fergus Ewing thanks SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing for bringing the debate to the chamber and MSPs for their contributions in the debate.

Hard graft

The "Tunnel Tigers" were hard men doing a very difficult and dangerous job and were employed after the Hydro Electric Development (Scotland) Act of 1943,

Tunnel Tigers

Last year saw the 70th anniversary of the legislation, which kick started major hydro electric schemes across Scotland, is on 8 May.

It was marked with a renewable energy conference in Perth, and an exhibition exploring the history of hydro power.

Fort Augustus abbey, built in 1891, was the home of the first ever public hydro-electric supply in Scotland.

Legend has it that when the monks played their electric organ, the lights in the village went dim.

For more stunning pictures of hydro developments go to

In pictures: 70 years of hydro power .

"Tunnel Tigers"

Ms Ewing respects the contribution made by the men, of many nationalities, who built the dams and tunnels, such as the Lednock "Tunnel Tigers", who set a world record by tunnelling 557 feet in seven days in 1955 while working on the St Fillans section of the Breadalbane Hydro-Electric scheme.

Annabelle Ewing

She also says that this was hard, dangerous work and that a number of men lost their lives and countless others experienced injury or illness that affected them for the rest of their lives.

Annabelle Ewing

SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing is leading the debate on remembering the contribution of those who built the dams and tunnels.

In her motion Ms Ewing highlights plans by Scottish and Southern Energy to develop a new state-of-the-art visitor centre at Pitlochry Dam and salmon ladder.

John Allan

She recognises the contribution that this and other hydroelectric dams and tunnels throughout Scotland can make as tourist attractions as well as their primary function contributing to Scotland's renewable electricity generation.

Time for the Member's Debate

That concludes first minister's questions and we move on to the member's debate.

Ryder Cup

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser raises the issue of the positive impact of the Ryder Cup

The first minister says golf should be open to everyone in Scotland, adding the benefits reaped from the Commonwealth Games would be emulated by the Ryder Cup.

Ryder cup

Minimum wage

Scottish Labour MSP Jackie Baillie raises the issue of Labour's policy of increasing the minimum wage to £8.

Jackie Baillie

Mr Salmond points out the Labour policy is to be phased in over a number of years.

'Power house parliament'

Alex Salmond replies by saying Scotland needs home rule as close to federalism as can be, adding a "genuine power house parliament" must be delivered by Westminster.

He says he will stand "shoulder to shoulder" with William Gladstone, Gordon Brown and Willie Rennie on the matter

Willie Rennie

Willie Rennie, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, brings up federalism and home rule.

Willie Rennie

NHS row

Earlier Ms Lamont says when the first minister is "long gone" she will still be the leader of the Scottish Labour party.

She praises the whistleblower she says revealed the £450m pounds worth of cuts coming to the NHS in Scotland.

The first minister says an IT system does not represent privatisation.


Mr Salmond adds "Nor does £450m of cost pressure over the next two years", due to pensions and ending the National Insurance rebate, both decisions taken by the Westminster government.

He stresses the cost pressures from Westminster have a "huge impact on the Scottish health service", adding there has been an increase in NHS front line spending in real terms.

Ruth Davidson

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson asks about the delay in the Scottish government's programme until the election of a new first minster, she says he has no plan for the next eight weeks.

Ruth Davidson