Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Ailsa Brown

All times stated are UK

Debate closes

The minister draws the debate to a close highlighting one planning decision is not a precedent for another, with all of them having to be considered individually.

A stag ponders Rannoch Moor

The conclusion of this member's debate ends BBC Scotland's coverage of Holyrood today.

We'll be back tomorrow live from 10am with the

Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee taking evidence on climate change.

Please visit our website and watch all today's videos at your leisure and have a pleasant evening.

Live planning application

Local Government and Planning Minister Derek Mackay stresses this is a live planning application, therefore he cannot comment as a minister.

Loch Tay
Loch Tay

Mr Mackay says he will ask the Standards Committee whether live planning applications should be part of a member's debate.

The minister insists he is preserving the integrity of the planning system, rejecting an intervention from Labour MSP Neil Findlay who says not to debate these issues would not be open.

Planning Minister Derek MacKay
Local Government and Planning Minister Derek Mackay


Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander novels which were adapted for a 16-part television series partly filmed at Loch Rannoch, has also opposed the wind farm development.

Diana Gabaldon
Diana Gabaldon

The American author said: "Light-bulbs need energy; human souls need wildness and beauty.

"While I appreciate the need for sustainable energy development, I very much oppose such a project on Rannoch Moor."

A spokesman for Talladh-a-Bheithe Wind Farm Limited said the "carefully balanced project" would minimise views of turbines from key areas around the loch.

He said: "Our proposals have developed throughout an extensive consultation process in response to community and statutory consultee feedback.

"We have worked hard with our team of technical experts over the last six years to develop a carefully balanced project and have sought to design the wind farm in a natural bowl of the estate - minimising views of the turbines from key areas around Loch Rannoch.

"Should our proposals be consented, they will make a valuable contribution towards Scottish and UK government energy targets."

Talladh-a-Bheithe estate

Plans were submitted to the government for 24 turbines on the Talladh-a-Bheithe estate, near Rannoch Moor.

Hillwalkers, Scottish Natural Heritage and the John Muir Trust have all voiced opposition to the plans.

Rannoch Moor

However the developer said the "carefully balanced project" was drawn up with community feedback in mind.


Mountaineering Council claim the 125m tall turbines would affect views from Schiehallion, Ben Alder, Glen Lyon and Loch Tay, and would be visible from the A82.

Packed gallery

A packed gallery listens intently to the debate on the wind farm application.

People in gallery

Rannoch Moor

The Tory MSP says it is unusual to have a debate on a live planning application, which means no MSP can say anything which prejudices the application.

Murdo Fraser MSP

However he says this planning application is a "test case for whether the Scottish government is actually serious about protecting our wild land".

The proposal to erect 24 turbines, erected in an area SNH has designated as wild land in Rannoch Moor, has met with much objection, with 1,000 statements in opposition and only 23 in support.

Wind farm location
Rannoch Moor


Mr Fraser said in his motion that this case presents the Scottish government with its first real test following the announcement of the Third National Planning Framework (NPF3), in which 19% of Scotland was identified as national parks and national scenic areas and therefore out of bounds to developers.

He is calling for the Scottish government to reaffirm its commitment to preserving Scotland's precious natural heritage.

Wind farm debate

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser is leading a debate on objections to Talladh-a-Bheithe Wind Farm and NPF3.

In his motion Mr Fraser says objections to the planned Talladh-a-Bheithe wind farm on Rannoch Moor from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and the John Muir Trust.

Wind farm
Wind farms often prove controversial with local residents

They said that, if granted, the Talladh-a-Bheithe project would be visually detrimental to an area of outstanding natural beauty and one that is included in Scottish Natural Heritage's wild land map.

They also believe that the 24 turbines planned for two kilometres north of the Loch Rannoch and Glen Lyon National Scenic Area would be visible from 30 Munros and Corbetts, including the popular Schiehallion mountain.

Decision Time result

MSPs passed the government motion from the housing supply debate, with 60 MSPs backing it, 52 against and 2 abstentions.

All the opposition party amendments fell.

Decision time

Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick leads us into decision time.

MSPs vote

Coming up with next is decision time at 5pm, where MSPs will vote on the motion and amendments from the housing supply debate.

'Affordable rents'

Ms Burgess says she accepts that "everything in the bed is not rosy" and goes on to detail some of the practical steps the government has taken to address the challenges in the housing sector.

The minister says the Scottish government is not the landlord, but it is doing "what we can using government resources to ensure houses are brought up to standard".

Margaret Burgess

She says it has been working very hard with the financial innovation unit to bring forward house building schemes and financing.

Ms Burgess says she is very much aware rent levels in some private rented areas like Aberdeen and Edinburgh, which is why the government continues to support affordable rents.

Government conclusions

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess is closing for the government.

'Housing crisis'

Mr Kelly says the contributions of MSPs in the debate has told the real story of the "housing crisis".

"First and foremost we have to actually look at the issue of how do we build more homes."

James Kelly

The Labour MSP says the planning system must also be looked at, using "best practice from around the country".

He says the problems in the private rented sector must also be addressed, accusing the SNP of slow progress on this and other issues.

Labour closing

Labour MSP James Kelly takes his turn at the microphone, closing the debate for his party, before the minister sums up the debate.

Capitalist thoughts

Mr Johnstone does not shock the chamber by admitting he is not a socialist.

The Tory MSP explains he is a capitalist, saying use of "capital can deliver for us".

Alex Johnstone

He goes on to say "houses should be collateral for their own borrowing".

Housing is a "perfect place for capital to be properly used".

Conservative closing

Scottish Conservative housing spokesperson Alex Johnstone takes to his feet.

Social housing

Mr Hume says hundreds of thousands of people are on social housing waiting lists and the SNP are delivering less social housing than their 2011 manifesto commitment promised.

Jim Hume

Closing speeches

Lib Dem housing spokesman Jim Hume is the first to deliver his party's closing speech.

Referendum housing

House sellers in Scotland received offers for their property "subject to referendum", ahead of the vote on 18 September.

Buyers were trying to shield themselves from the risk of house prices falling if the answer to the independence question had been "yes", according to surveyors and solicitors.

Flat on the Royal Mile
Getty Images
Cities like Edinburgh were particularly affected by the uncertainty according to some surveyors

In some areas, business dropped by 50% since the start of September, according to Edinburgh firm Allied Surveyors.

Bricks demand

Earlier this year BBC Scotland reported Scottish brick suppliers were having to look as far afield as Spain to keep up with demand.

The Help to Buy scheme in Scotland has been popular with house builders who've seen orders soar, and with first time buyers who've been able to get on the housing ladder.


The Scottish Government recently increased the amount of money they were putting into the scheme to £275m because the demand was so high.

Scotland's last brick manufacturer can only supply 15% of the demand in Scotland at the moment.

Bucking the trend

Demand for new homes in Scotland also bucked the UK trend, with a net balance of 52% more surveyors seeing a rise in new buyer demand.

Getty Images

Earlier this year Rics said prices in Scotland are holding up as a result of growing demand and a lack of supply of homes, according to Scottish surveyors.

Scottish housing

The Scottish housing market has lost some momentum but continues to show "greater resilience" than other parts of the UK, according to surveyors.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said activity last month was affected in part by a rise in the time taken to process transactions.

Building site

But more surveyors reported a rise in property prices, while new buyer demand remained firm.

According to Rics' latest residential market survey, properties coming onto the market in Scotland remained in positive territory in August, with 7% more surveyors reporting an increase in new stock coming onto the books.

This compared with the UK average of 11% more surveyors reporting a decline in supply.

Cheaper to heat

A £4.5m energy efficiency initiative that will benefit almost 1,700 council and housing association homes was announced by the Scottish government earlier today.

The Green Homes Cashback Scheme will give grants to 24 councils and social landlords.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess announced the £4.5m scheme

A total of 1,677 homes will be made warmer and cheaper to heat.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said the initiative "will make a real difference to families who are struggling to make ends meet".

She announced the project ahead of this debate.

Jim Hume

Jim Hume says we have seen that social housing completions have declined every single calendar year since 2009 with the total number of completions last year being 30% of that 5 years ago

"At a time when housing policy experts are talking of at least 10,000 homes for social rent needed each year they have now fallen below 4,500."

Jim Hume MSP
Jim Hume MSP

Mr Hume says the minister's motion states: "that housing is and will remain a high priority for the current administration".

"I welcome that commitment from the Minister but those words do not chime with the Scottish Government's actions.

"If housing truly was a priority for the Scottish Government then it would have merited greater coverage in the 670 page tome that was the White Paper rather than the cursory 3 page mention it actually received."

Biggest challenge

Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume rises to speak to his amendment saying "tackling Scotland's housing crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing the Scottish government".

Alex Johnstone

Mr Johnstone says: "The reality is the Scottish government has failed at one of the most important portfolios under its control and its those on the housing lists who are having to pay for it."

Alex Johnstone MSP
Alex Johnstone MSP

The Tory MSP says the Scottish government's help to buy scheme was no sooner introduced that there was a shortage of bricks, which in fact was a shortage of money.

'Lamentable record'

Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone says the Scottish government has a "lamentable record" on housing.

'Housing crisis'

Mary Fee, Labour's housing spokesperson at Holyrood, says the Scottish government has cut resources to house building by a greater amount than the cut at Westminster.

The Labour MSP says there is "no direction or vision for housing" adding Scotland is facing a "housing crisis".

Mary Fee
Mary Fee MSP

Demand for housing is rising across all sectors, adds Ms Fee, saying the previous Labour administration's record of house building "far outstrips that of the SNP".

Margaret Burgess hits back saying Ms Fee is referring to pre-recession private house building.

Mary Fee

Labour MSP Mary Fee is now on her feet to speak to her amendment.


Ms Burgess says "Homelessness has been falling in Scotland".


The minister adds: "UK Welfare reform does pose a threat to the progress we made".

'Affordable housing'

Ms Burgess says: "Housing is and remains one of the Scottish government's top priorities."

The minister says the Scotland has outperformed the rest of the UK on housing, adding the rate of house building per head outstripped rest of the UK also.

Margaret Burgess

She says spending of over £1.7bn on affordable housing in the current parliamentary session will support an estimated 8,000 jobs each year, and has delivered 21,322 affordable homes, including 15,088 social rented homes.

Housing Supply Debate

Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess takes to her feet to lead the debate on Scotland's housing supply.

Coming up

MSPs will shortly debate Scotland's housing supply in a Scottish government led debate.

The motion and amendments for the Housing Debate are as follows:

S4M-11023 Margaret Burgess: Housing Supply-That the Parliament recognises that housing is and will remain a high priority for the current administration; welcomes the fact that the Scottish Government plans to spend over £1.7 billion on affordable housing in the current parliamentary session, which will support an estimated 8,000 jobs each year, and has delivered 21,322 affordable homes, including 15,088 social rented homes; notes that Scotland is outperforming other parts of the UK, with the rates of all home completions and social housing completions much higher than the equivalent in England or Wales; acknowledges that the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 will protect the existing stock of social rented homes by ending the right to buy and enable social landlords to do more to help people in need of social housing; welcomes these achievements by the Scottish Government, despite the drastic reduction in its capital budget over the current spending review period as a result of the UK Government's spending cuts, and calls on the UK Government to increase capital spending so that the Scottish Government can make a greater investment in housing.

Getty Images

The Presiding Officer has selected the following amendments

S4M-11023.1 Mary Fee: Housing Supply-As an amendment to motion S4M-11023 in the name of Margaret Burgess (Housing Supply), leave out from "is and will remain" to end and insert "supply is not meeting the demand that Scotland faces; notes that the Scottish Government has failed to make tackling the housing crisis a priority and that, in 2014-15, the budget for affordable housing is over 25% less than it was in 2008-09; acknowledges that, in 2013, the lowest number of homes were built since 1947 and that, if the current reduction in house building continues, it will result in a shortfall of 160,000 homes by 2035; acknowledges that public sector housing stock has also decreased by nearly 600 homes in the year to 31 March 2014; further notes that the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 was a missed opportunity to tackle the housing challenges that the people of Scotland face, including the housing shortage and reform of the growing private rented sector, and calls on the Scottish Government to produce a national housing action plan to ensure that these matters are fully addressed."

S4M-11023.3 Alex Johnstone: Housing Supply-As an amendment to motion S4M-11023 in the name of Margaret Burgess (Housing Supply), leave out from "is and will remain" to end and insert ", as evidenced by its treatment in previous budgets, has been a low priority for the Scottish Government and that this is demonstrated by the sharp fall in housing association construction, the fall in sheltered housing numbers against an ageing demographic and only a modest increase in public authority construction; believes that spurious comparisons with other parts of the UK, where needs and priorities are not comparable, are simply an attempt by the Minister for Housing and Welfare to deflect attention from the failures of the Scottish Government to deliver a comprehensive housing policy that delivers homes and sustainable communities; further believes that the Scottish Government's obsession with public spending and public borrowing as its preferred means of funding affordable housing has blocked progress toward private and institutional investment in the sector, which by now should have provided tens of thousands of affordable homes for rent in the highest pressure areas of Scotland, and calls on the Scottish Government to stop blaming both a housing policy of the 1980s and the UK Government for its apparent inability to meet its housing obligations while people languishing on housing waiting lists pay for this failure."

S4M-11023.2 Jim Hume: Housing Supply-As an amendment to motion S4M-11023 in the name of Margaret Burgess (Housing Supply), leave out from "recognises" to end and insert "is concerned by the lack of progress made by the Scottish Government on housing since 2007; notes that over 13,000 households have been waiting for a decade or more on local authority housing lists for a home; further notes that there are 11,000 fewer houses available for social rent since 2007; welcomes the decision of the Parliament to end the right to buy under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, and commends the commitment in the Liberal Democrat Pre-Manifesto 2014 for the UK general election to setting out long-term plans for capital expenditure to ensure that investment in infrastructure, including housing, continues to rise both in absolute terms and as a share of the economy."

DEC Syria

In response to Mr Doris's questions, International Development and External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf says the Scottish government supports people the people of Iraq and Syria and says there must be a" long term strategic plan, which of must of course include a plan for peace".

Humza Yousaf MSP

Mr Yousaf highlights the response of the Scottish government to the

DEC Syria appeal by donating £200,000.

Humanitarian efforts in Iraq

SNP MSP Bob Doris asks the Scottish government whether it will provide an update on how it will support humanitarian efforts in Iraq in light of the UK Parliament's approval of air strikes in the country.

Iraqi army parade in Baghdad

Games budget process

Commonwealth Games Minister Shona Robison says there has been no withholding of the policing costs, the budget process is ongoing.

Ms McInnes asks when will the costs be revealed.

Alison McInnes MSP
Alison McInnes MSP

The minister says the figures "will be finalised as soon as possible".

Commonwealth games policing

Lib Dem MSP Alison McInnes asks the Scottish Government what its position is on Police Scotland's decision not to make details of the cost of policing the Commonwealth Games public.

Armed police officers have been deployed to Games venues across the city
Armed police officers have been deployed to Games venues across the city

Conspiracy theories

Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnsone calls on the government not to give in to "misinformation and conspiracy theories" about fracking.

Fracking for gas and oil has been connected with contamination of drinking water in the US

Mr Swinney reiterated his commitment to an evidence based approach.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie questions whether this decision to allow fracking under landowner's land should be made at all, given public opposition to it.

'Gung ho'

Finance Secretary John Swinney says the Scottish government opposed UK government proposals to remove landowners' rights regarding drilling under their land.

Mr Macdonald says the UK government is "riding roughshod" on the issues and asks for a "considered evidence based action" as opposed to the "gung ho" attitude of the Westminster coalition.

Angus MacDonald
Angus MacDonald MSP

Mr Swinney reassures the member saying the issue will be dealt with on an "evidence based, evidence led process".