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Summary

  1. 2.30pm: Supported business debate

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Ailsa Brown

All times stated are UK

Parliament is adjourned

The parliament is now adjourned.

Don't forget you can watch today's chamber business on demand at

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live website.

Until next week, have a lovely weekend.

MSPs pass government motion

MSPs pass the government motion from the supported business debate, with 90 MSPs backing it and with 15 voting against it.

The Labour and Conservative amendments fell.

Decision time

Its decision time, with MSPs voting on the motion and amendments from the supported business debate:

They are as follows:

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing: Supported Business-That the Parliament recognises the economic and social value of supported businesses in Scotland; welcomes the recent success of many of these businesses in enhancing their commercial viability through business support and action to increase public and private sector procurement; commends the work of the new third sector supported business, Haven Protective Technology Solutions (Haven PTS Ltd), which has been developed in response to the enforced closure of the five Stage Two Remploy factories, and agrees the importance of continuing to support these businesses.

MSPs
BBC

Labour MSP Jenny Marra: Supported Business-As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergus Ewing (Supported Business), insert at end "; notes the importance of public procurement in sustaining supported businesses; notes the slow progress of public authorities to award contracts to supported businesses, and requests an amendment to the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 requiring all 118 public authorities in Scotland to award at least one contract to a supported business".

Conservative MSP Gavin Brown: Supported Business-As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergus Ewing (Supported Business), leave out from "which has been developed" to end and insert "and supports the central theme of the 2011 review by Liz Sayce that disability employment funding by government should follow the individual so that they have the freedom to select the support that best meets their needs."

Scottish government closing

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson explains why the government does not make it mandatory to make every public body sign a contract with a supported work place.

Michael Matheson
BBC

Mr Matheson says there is a need to take this forward with a sustainable approach and it is a complex issue.

He says the government is intending to do what it can do to monitor the situation through the IT system and it will encourage more public bodies to sign contracts with a supported work place.

Labour closing

Labour MSP Jenny Marra says it is Labour's vision for modern work places, sheltered work places workers can share their skills with other people with disabilities and also with young people.

Ms Marra says it is modern sheltered work places with innovative solutions like this and blending the skills of both groups of people that will make a difference.

Jenny Marra
BBC

She says the government have not made nearly enough progress.

The North East MSP says at least 40 public bodies have not made a contract with a supported business and calls again for every public body to have such a contract.

Conservative closing

Scottish Conservative Gavin Brown begins by criticising the Scottish government for not ensuring every public body has a contract with a supported business.

Mr Brown again asks how many public bodies have not yet signed such a contract.

He says while he does not wish to see a requirement put in statue, he says the Scottish government should do more.

Gavin Brown
BBC

The Lothians MSP says the UK government's actions in closing Remploy factories was built on a principle of those with those with disabilities getting on in work.

He says the coalition followed the underlying principles of the

Sayce Review and by focussing the efforts on the individual rather than on the Remploy factories more people would be helped.

Nigel Don

SNP MSP Nigel Don says when he worked for Unilever it had contracts with Remploy so he saw firsthand the quality of its work.

Mr Don says Remploy was a very flexible business and it had a long term working relationship with Unilever and "it worked very, very well".

Nigel Don
BBC

He says if you take away people who need social support from a supportive environment like Remploy it actually costs our health services and our social services, never minding the obvious social advantages of continuing to support people.

Richard Baker

In 2012 it was announced Remploy was planning to close 36 of its 54 factories.

The then Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller said the sites were not financially viable.

Labour MSP Richard Baker says "I was involved with others in the campaign to save the factory in Aberdeen, which was unsuccessful".

Richard Baker
BBC

Siobhan McMahon

Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon says she campaigned against the closure of the Remploy factories.

Ms McMahon pays warm tribute to the late Labour MSP Helen Eadie, saying Ms Eadie would have delivered a passionate speech in this debate had she been here.

Siobhan McMahon
BBC

She echoes the call from Jenny Marra for the government to amend the

Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act to require all 118 public authorities in Scotland to award at least one contract to a supported business.

Remploy

The closure of the last five remaining Remploy factories in Scotland was announced by the UK government in 2013

The businesses affected were the Marine and Frontline Textile factories at Leven, Cowdenbeath, Stirling, Dundee and Clydebank.

Haven PTS Ltd factory

NHS staff generic
Getty Images
The new factory will provide 150,000 tunics and 100,000 pairs of trousers for NHS workers each year

Haven PTS Ltd factory in Stirling manufactures nurses' uniforms for the Scottish NHS and in June took on a group of former Remploy staff.

The 26 disabled workers were recruited after the UK government withdrew

Remploy funding last year.

The company has been awarded a three-year contract worth up to £1.5m a year.

Supported businesses directory

The supported business directory is intended to help buyers in satisfying the needs of social policies and providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The Scottish government is working hard to ensure that public sector buyers are informed and supported when procuring from the third sector.

Scottish government's: Supported Business Directory
Scottish government
Scottish government's Supported Businessess Directory

Mr Ewing says in the foreword of the directory: "Scottish public bodies are required by the Scottish Sustainable Procurement Action Plan to make the maximum possible use of reserved contracts for supported factories and businesses.

"At the very least, every public body should aim to have at least one such contract".

Public bodies

Mr Brown says Fergus Ewing should be able to easily answer the question which public bodies have contracts with the supported businesses.

The minister intervenes but does not give a number, leaving Mr Brown somewhat frustrated.

The Conservative MSP concludes by saying the funding should follow the individual rather than funding directly institutions.

Conservative view

Gavin Brown leads the debate for the Scottish Conservatives says it is important to hear which local authorities have never awarded a contract to a supported business.

Gavin Brown
BBC

He says he would be surprised if there were some public bodies who did not require some goods that are manufactured by a public body.

Mr Brown began by praising the Scottish government for some of the work they have done in area of supported businesses but warned against complacency.

'Sluggish progress'

The North East Scotland MSP says the government has only made "sluggish progress" on getting public procurement contracts to supported business in Scotland.

Jenny Marra
BBC

Ms Marra says it is not beyond the minister's wit to have an amendment to the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 requiring all 118 public authorities in Scotland to award at least one contract to a supported business.

'Passing the buck'

Labour MSP Jenny Marra is leading the debate on supported businesses for her party.

Ms Marra welcomes the debate, but says she is "dissappointed" with the minister's contribution, saying he is "really guilty of passing the buck on this issue".

DWP funding

Mr Ewing says supported businesses receive £2.9 million of income annually through DWP's Workchoice programme.

However, funding for the programme is soon to be reviewed and Mr Ewing has called on the DWP to address the future of funding for businesses employing disabled workers.

The minister says there has been "no response, no assurances" from the DWP, adding it was surely only fair to the 900 employees in supported businesses that they continue to receive support.

Mr Ewing criticised the UK government welfare minister Lord Freud for his comments, which the Scottish government did not agree with.

Public sector

The enterprise minister says supported businesses are successful businesses with a turnover of £33m per year.

"These are not hobby businesses, these are not amateur businesses."

He says the public sector procured £2.7m of contracts from supported businesses, which is promising "but, yes wee need to do more".

'High quality work'

Mr Ewing starts by focusing on the closure of Remploy factories referring back to the last debate on the closure of the factories paying tribute to the late MSP Helen Eadie who spoke so passionately for the Cowdenbeath factory.

He goes on to praise the dedicated staff working hard to deliver high quality products in supported businesses.

Fergus Ewing
BBC

The minister says: "People with a disability often work even harder than those who do not,"

He adds he struggles with the perception these are sheltered work places as "that is plainly not the case".

Mr Ewing praises the 20 supported businesses in Scotland, employing over 700 people with a disability, adding "we all have a duty and a desire to do everything we can to support these businesses".

Supported Business debate begins

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing gets the debate underway.

Motion and amendments

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing: Supported Business-That the Parliament recognises the economic and social value of supported businesses in Scotland; welcomes the recent success of many of these businesses in enhancing their commercial viability through business support and action to increase public and private sector procurement; commends the work of the new third sector supported business, Haven Protective Technology Solutions (Haven PTS Ltd), which has been developed in response to the enforced closure of the five Stage Two Remploy factories, and agrees the importance of continuing to support these businesses.

Labour MSP Jenny Marra: Supported Business-As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergus Ewing (Supported Business), insert at end "; notes the importance of public procurement in sustaining supported businesses; notes the slow progress of public authorities to award contracts to supported businesses, and requests an amendment to the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 requiring all 118 public authorities in Scotland to award at least one contract to a supported business".

Conservative MSP Gavin Brown: Supported Business-As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergus Ewing (Supported Business), leave out from "which has been developed" to end and insert "and supports the central theme of the 2011 review by Liz Sayce that disability employment funding by government should follow the individual so that they have the freedom to select the support that best meets their needs."

DWP plea

Currently supported businesses, which are companies where at least 50 per cent of the workforce is made up of disabled employees, also receive £2.9 million of income annually through DWP's Workchoice programme.

DWP
PA

However, funding for the programme is soon to be reviewed.

Mr Ewing made the plea to DWP ahead of his opening speech at today's Parliamentary debate on building a stronger future for supported business.

Supported businesses

Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing is urging the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to address the future of funding for businesses employing disabled workers.

Over the past two years the Scottish government says it has supported businesses employing predominately disabled workers by launching of a new national framework agreement for supported businesses.

It also set up a supported business directory, as well as investing £2 million in a new supported business enterprise.

Welcome back

Scottish Parliament
BBC

Welcome back to

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live coverage of Holyrood, where the entire afternoon's proceedings will be taken up by a Scottish government debate on supported business.

Public Health Minister

Public Health Minister offers his congratulations to the Neilston and Uplawmoor First Responders for the terrific work they do.

Michael Matheson
BBC

Mr Matheson says there are 127 first responder schemes across the country with over a thousand volunteers, adding there is always room for more.

Neilston and Uplawmoor First Responders

Neilston and Uplawmoor First Responders operate in East Renfrewshire & East Ayrshire covering Barrhead, Lugton, Neilston, Shillford, Stewarton & Uplawmoor.

They were established in July 2013 and have recruited more than 30 volunteers from the local area.

The First Responder Group went live on 4th January 2014 and they have responded to more than 140 emergency call outs in just 10 months.

They are a self funding volunteer group in Partnership with the Scottish Ambulance Service and they rely on the generosity of the local community and local business to raise funds to buy their equipment and help pay for their running costs.

Praise and tributes

Mr Carlaw praises first responders generally in his opening remarks and then focuses on paying tribute to the leadership of Stuart McLellan and Ross Nelson in growing Neilston and Uplawmoor First Responders and the over 30 volunteers.

Jackson Carlaw
BBC

He also praises Sir Arnold Clark for his companies support via a 4x4 vehicle to respond to calls and St John Scotland (Glasgow), which has provided financial support for training and set-up costs.

Debate motion

Jackson Carlaw's motion in full:

Jackson Carlaw: Neilston and Uplawmoor First Responders Reaches 100th Emergency Call-out-That the Parliament congratulates Neilston and Uplawmoor First Responders on dealing with their 100th emergency call since becoming operational on 4 January 2014; notes that a Community First Responder is a member of the public who volunteers to help their community by responding to medical emergencies while an ambulance is on its way; pays tribute to the leadership of Stuart McLellan and Ross Nelson in growing Neilston and Uplawmoor First Responders from an idea to an active organisation providing frontline medical care; pays further tribute to the over 30 volunteers who ensure that this vital organisation remains fully staffed; considers that they have further benefited from, among others, the support of Arnold Clark Car and Van Rental, which has loaned them a 4x4 vehicle to respond to calls, and St John Scotland (Glasgow), which has provided financial support for training and set-up costs, and looks forward to seeing Neilston and Uplawmoor First Responders continuing to serve their community above and beyond this 100th call milestone.

First responder's debate

That's all from our team covering first minister's questions, Democracy Live will now cover the member's debate on first responders, led by Scottish Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw.

First minister's questions will be available to view on demand at

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live website shortly.

'Proud'

The first minister says MSPs should be "proud of our track record as a Parliament for supporting veterans".

Help for veterans

SNP MSP Christine Grahame asks "what resources the Scottish government has in place to assist service personnel and their families who have been affected by the conflict in Afghanistan".

She says "75,000 service personnel could suffer mentally and physically" from their experiences.

SQA charges

Mr Neil says charges for Scottish Qualifications Authority marking are a "disincentive" to pupils wishing to appeal results.

Charges are paid by local authorities, the first minister responds, and argues that the system is better "than the old appeals process".

A83 troubles

Alastair Ross, Director of Public Policy, Pinsent Masons LLP,

tweets: Surprised at the absence of Rest and Be Thankful landslip traffic disruption in constituency questions during #FMQ

SQA review charging

Pupils
Thinkstock

Labour MSP Neil Bibby asks what the Scottish government's position is on concerns regarding the impact that charging for SQA exam marking reviews could have on students.

Drink-driving background

The Scottish government has announced plans to reduce the country's drink-drive limit in time for Christmas.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has taken steps which, if approved by the Scottish Parliament, would mean a new limit being introduced on 5 December.

Under the plans, Scotland's blood alcohol limit would be cut from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.

It would mean the legal limit in Scotland would be lower than in England - where the limit is 80mg in blood.

Drink-drive limit

The SNP's Jim Eadie welcomes the decision to lower the drink-drive limit in Scotland.

Mental health services

Alison McInnes raises the topic of mental health patients taken into emergency detention.

She asks that "mental health services for young people" be a priority for Mr Salmond's successor, Nicola Sturgeon.

Scotsman background

Front pages
Other
The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News will retain their separate identities in print

Up to 45 journalists are to lose their jobs as The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News merge operations.

It is understood the three titles will merge operations by March next year, with a reduction of between 35 and 45 roles.

The three titles will continue to retain their separate identities in print.

Owners, Johnston Press, broke the news to staff earlier.

Lib Dem tribute

Alison McInnes, speaking for the Lib Dems, says Johann Lamont can be "proud" of many achievements.

Constituency questions

MSPs are putting constituency questions to the first minister, including Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnston, who adds her own tribute to Johann Lamont "on behalf of the Green and Independent group of MSPs".