1. Welfare benefits for people living with disabilities debate
  2. Next: Members' Business: World Diabetes Day 2014

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

Scottish Parliament is adjourned

The minister says an update to the

Diabetes Action Plan will be published by the end of the month.

The Scottish Parliament is now adjourned, we'll be back tomorrow morning with the Smith Commission sitting at Holyrood and later for Alex Salmond's final first minister's questions.


Until then, goodnight.

Scottish Diabetes Group

Mr Matheson praises the clinicians of the Scottish Diabetes Group and the "very active patient voice" in the country.

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson
Public Health Minister Michael Matheson

The work of the Scottish Diabetes Group is to make sure Scotland's treatment of diabetes is second to none.

Public health minister

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson says the debate is an opportunity to underline the very serious challenge of diabetes but also to focus on the work being done to fight the illness.

Ticking time-bomb

The Highlands and Islands MSP says steps are being tackle to tackle diabetes in the global action plan after the International Diabetes Forum signed a Melbourne declaration saying Scotland has a strong track record in medical advances but "international collaboration is where real strides can be made".

Mr Stewart highlights the cost to the NHS in Scotland adding "We have to tackle the ticking time-bomb" through awareness and advocacy.

Diabetes statistics:

The most recent statistics suggested nearly a quarter of a million people in Scotland now have diabetes, almost 5% of the population.

The majority of sufferers, about 220,000, have type 2 diabetes.

Obesity is the biggest risk factor driving the disease, which develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly.

A different form of diabetes - type 1 - is caused by the body's own immune system rebelling and destroying the cells needed to control blood sugar.

A total of 3.34 million items were dispensed to treat diabetes in Scotland in 2013-14.

More cases

NHS Scotland has spent nearly £230m on drugs to treat diabetes and obesity within three years, figures released in the summer have shown.

The diabetes drugs bill was £75.7m in 2013-14, £73.2m last year and £74.2m in 2011-12. Another £6.1m went on obesity prescriptions in the three-year period.

Blood test
Nearly a quarter of a million people in Scotland have diabetes, with the majority suffering from Type 2

The figures were obtained by the Tories, who said the conditions were harming both sufferers and the NHS.

The Scottish government said obesity and diabetes were on the rise across Europe and Scotland was no exception.

It said the problem was being taken seriously and a range of measures had been implemented to try to tackle it.


The Labour MSP welcomes the launch of Diabetes UK's campaign that focuses on children and young people and its aim to increase awareness of the symptoms and warning signs for type 1 diabetes and believes that in many cases type 2 diabetes can be prevented through healthy eating and physical activity.


In his motion he says that there are almost 268,000 people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in Scotland and that access to good healthcare and treatment is key to helping them manage their condition

Diabetes epidemic

The Labour MSP says the campaign is aimed at drawing attention to diabetes: "We are facing a global epidemic with 382m people are living with diabetes and another 360m are at high risk of developing the disease."

David Stewart

Mr Stewart says the condition causes over 5m deaths worldwide, every 6 seconds someone dies with diabetes.

Members' Business: World Diabetes Day 2014

Labour MSP David Stewart is leading a debate on World Diabetes Day 2014.

14 November 2014 is

World Diabetes Day, which is being led by the International Diabetes Federation and its member associations, including Diabetes UK, and is recognised as an official United Nations Day.

Mr Stewart said that World Diabetes Day was established in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to concerns about the escalating health threat that diabetes poses.

Decision time

MSPs vote to pass the motion from the Scottish government's debate on welfare benefits for people with disabilities unamended, with 64 MSPs backing it and 46 against.

The amendments from Labour and the Conservatives were defeated.

Debate ends

Ms Robison says the Scottish government has put in a comprehensive submission to the Smith Commission based on fairness and equality, as he closes the debate and takes us towards decision time.

Scottish government

Equalities and Pensioners' Rights Secretary Shona Robison is closing for the government.

Ms Robison says the Scottish government has provided £50m to mitigate the "bedroom tax", but what would be better would be to have the powers to abolish the tax at Holyrood.

Shona Robison

The cabinet secretary criticises Labour for not wanting those powers to be devolved.

"This place is the best place to decide on going forward on welfare policy."

'care tax'

The Welfare Reform Committee convener says there have been failures of the Scottish government.

Mr McMahon says it has to take its share of responsibility, as it has not prevented the so-called "care tax".

He says the Scottish government, rather than look to what they can do themselves, call on others to act.

Labour closing

Labour MSP Michael McMahon, the Welfare Reform Committee convener, is closing for Labour.

Mr McMahon says: "There is no doubt that the 'bedroom tax' has been a disaster".

Michael McMahon

He says the Nationalists say they want welfare completely devolved to Scotland, but fail to tell us how much they would raise taxes to pay for this.

Alex Johnstone

Alex Johnstone says if we are to have a welfare system that serves its purpose then we need to take account of cyclical events, shocks to the system and an ageing population.

The change from DLA to PIP, 20% cut in budget is most likely to be achieved through fewer people being eligible for PIP though they will still be eligible for other support as PIP is "designed to put the resources in the hands of those who need it most."

Conservative closing

Scottish Conservative Alex Johnstone is closing for his party and says the delays to introducing PIP are not acceptab

Mr Johnstone says Jackie Baillie's attack on Lord Freud was unjustified and he had apologised unreservedly for the offence he caused.

Alex Johnstone

The repeated complaints that DWP ministers will not come before the Welfare Reform Committee he takes seriously, but Mr Johsntone says Scottish Conservative MP and Scottish Office Minister David Mundell had come before the committee and is now being attacked by the committee convener and deputy convener.

Committee convener Michael McMahon says the attacks were due to Mr Mundell's office having been asked ten times when he was going to fulfil his commitment to meet with people affected by sanctions.


SNP MSP Mark McDonald begins his speech declaring an interest, saying his son is a recipient of DLA.

Mr MacDonald details case studies which he says highlights why the roll out of PIP must be stopped.

He goes on to talk about autism which he says is not a condition that is visible but nonetheless the person has serious challenges to surmount.

'Scottish government cuts'

SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing ask Labour MSP Ken Macintosh if he backs the devolution of welfare to the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Macintosh says the Labour party has called for the devolution of housing benefit, attendance allowance and the work programme.

Ken Macintosh
Labour MSP Ken Macintosh

The Labour MSP says he thinks the overwhelming result of the referendum was the pooling and sharing of resources.

He says some of the stress and anxiety heaped on our citizens has been the result of decisions due to Scottish government cuts.

George Adam

SNP MSP George Adam says his involvement in the debate is personal as his wife has Multiple Sclerosis.

George Adam

Mr Adam says the debate is about the extra powers the parliament should be receiving, part of the vow was the ideal that the parliament could make a transformational change in our society, says Mr Adam.

UK government 'has listened'

Conservative MSP Nanette Milne said that throughout the process of replacing DLA with PIP, the UK government has listened to people and has made changes accordingly.

Ms Milne said that the Scottish Conservatives recognise there is a backlog in the system but: "It would be wrong to suggest that the British government is sitting on its hands and ignoring the genuine concerns of those in the sector because it has made significant changes to speed up the process."

Nanette Milne

These steps include increasing the number of assessors and assessment centres, extending working hours, evening and weekend opening and clearing the oldest cases first.

Ms Milne says the welfare changes are necessary and can be beneficial for those with disabilities: "Instead of spreading fear on the matter of welfare reform and disabled people... the Scottish government should acknowledge the necessary action the British government has taken, has the potential to deliver positive change and improve the lives of people with disabilities."


Scottish Conservative MSP Nanette Milne has spoken to her colleague Alex Johnstone's amendment.

Mr Johnstone had called for recognition that the replacement of disability living allowance (DLA) with personal independence payment (PIP) would result in the better targeting of support to those in greatest need

Care campaign

Ms Baillie calls for the cancellation of "Scotland's care tax", or care charges for those with disabilities under 65 years old.

The Labour MSP says councils have increased the introduction of care charges due to underfunding and she highlights the charges are "wildly inconsistent" across the country.

She calls for an urgent need to review support and, in particular, charging for care services.

The Public Petitions Committee heard from petitioner Jeff Adamson, who on behalf of

Scotland Against the Care Tax gave evidence on
PE1533 calling for the abolition of non-residential social care charges for older and disabled people.

The evidence session can be

viewed here.

Jeff Adamson
Jeff Adamson gives evidence

PIP replacement

Ms Baillie asks what would the Scottish government do to replace PIP and asks how it would get money to disabled people in its absence.

Lord Freud

Welfare minister Lord Freud apologised for "foolish and offensive" remarks in which he suggested people with disabilities could be paid less than the minimum wage.

Labour has called on the Conservative peer to resign after he said some workers were "not worth the full wage".

Lord Freud
Getty Images

David Cameron distanced himself from the comments, saying they "were not the views of anyone in government".

Lord Freud said he was "profoundly sorry" and supported the minimum wage.

Jackie Baillie

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie says for many months disabled people have endured hardship, hostility and fear.

Jackie Baillie

They are becoming anxious and despairing of the impact of welfare reform, the Labour MSP says.

It was Lord Freud's recent remarks that caused outrage, to suggest disabled people should not be paid the minimum wage is wholly wrong says Ms Baillie.

"I am clear Lord Freud should not be in office."

Labour amendment

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie gets to her feet to lead the debate for her party

Ms Baillie's amendment: As an amendment to motion S4M-11494 in the name of Margaret Burgess (Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities), leave out from "and calls on" to end and insert "; recognises the need to reform PIP in order to support independence for disabled people, rather than cutting costs and restricting support; regrets the UK Government's failure to seriously consult and respond to disabled people's concerns about the eligibility criteria; further regrets the delays in assessment that have caused disabled people stress and hardship; recognises that the Scottish Government has a range of policy and service responsibilities for disabled people, and believes that there is an urgent need to review support and, in particular, charging for care services."


In her motion Ms Burgess says around 105,000 working age disabled people will lose some or all of their disability benefits by 2018 as the result of the replacement of disability living allowance with personal independence payment (PIP).

That would mean a loss of at least £1,120 per year and, as a consequence of changes in eligibility to the mobility component, 47,000 disabled people are expected to lose up to £2,964 per year says the minister

Scottish government

More than 100,000 people in Scotland will lose disability benefits under UK-wide welfare changes, according to the Scottish government.

Scottish ministers said the personal independence payment, which replaces disability living allowance, would result in thousands losing benefits.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the cuts were "simply wrong".

The UK government has said the new system would target help at those who needed it most.


Over the next few years the government is moving around 3.3 million Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants, aged 16-64, to the new benefit - the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

DLA - worth between £21 and £134.40 a week - is available to disabled people who have difficulty walking or need help to look after themselves.

Wheelchair user getting in to car
Getty Images

Under the PIP system, which introduces regular written and face-to-face medical assessments, claimants will receive a daily living component of either £53 or £79.15 and a mobility component of either £21 or £55.25.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) says the new system will be simpler and fairer and is essential to control costs to the taxpayer, which have risen to £13bn a year since DLA was introduced in 1992.

Charities and campaigners have argued it is unfair that millions of vulnerable people face a long period of anxiety while they wait to be reassessed and to find out if their benefits will be cut or withdrawn.


Last month it was announced disability welfare changes for England, Scotland and Wales had been delayed because the government has been unable to assess claimants in time.

Personal Independence Payments replaced Disability Living Allowance last week, for claimants in certain areas, rather than across Britain.

Ministers said assessments were taking longer than expected and the scheme would now be phased in gradually.

Labour's Rachel Reeves MP said it showed there was "chaos" in the department.

Welfare cuts

Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess begins her speech for full powers over social security and tax powers to come to Scotland.

Ms Burgess highlights the impact of Westminster cuts on disabled people in Scotland and calls for a halt to the roll out of the Personal Independence Payment.

Margaret Burgess

The minister says the cuts to welfare in Scotland from 2010-11 to 2015-16 will reach £6bn with "our disabled people bearing much of the burden".

She criticises Labour for not backing the halt to the roll out of PIP and says the party backs the welfare cuts.

Welfare benefits and disabilities debate

Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess leads the Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities debate:

Her motion is: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities-That the Parliament notes the damaging and destructive impact of the UK Government's welfare policies on disabled people across Scotland; recognises that around 105,000 working age disabled people will lose some or all of their disability benefits by 2018 as the result of the replacement of disability living allowance with personal independence payment (PIP), with a loss of at least £1,120 per year and, as a consequence of changes in eligibility to the mobility component, 47,000 disabled people are expected to lose up to £2,964 per year; notes that wider benefit reforms are having a disproportionate impact on disabled people, who already face higher costs of living, and calls on the UK Government to halt the roll out of PIP, which will severely disadvantage disabled people across Scotland.

Historic child abuse

Labour MSP Hanzala Malik asks if the government will hold a public inquiry on historic child abuse allegations.

Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Roseanna Cunningham says: "It's our intention that we will consult with survivors" about all aspects of what kind of enquiry is needed and who will sit on that enquiry.

Roseanna Cunningham

Ms Cunningham goes on to say that a decision on whether to hold an inquiry will be made by the end of the year.

Yesterday Education Secretary Mike Russell outlined a national action plan to tackle child sex abuse.

Mr Russell said a public awareness campaign formed part of a strategy to tackle the issue with "ruthless determination".

Concerns were raised after systematic child sexual exploitation was uncovered in Rotherham.

Coming up

The Scottish government will shortly lead a debate on welfare benefits for people living with disabilities.

Police Scotland


Labour MSP Elaine Murray asks what the government's position is on changes to the workload of officers and support staff since the establishment of Police Scotland.

Mr MacAskill says the legislation to create Police Scotland had been introduced by him and praises the work of the police.

He says the chief constable has said there will be no back filling and says the police are doing an "outstanding job".

Puppy farms

Conservative MSP Nanette Milne asks what action Police Scotland is taking to address the issue of puppy farms and puppies being imported illegally.


Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill says enforcement of the legislation concerning puppy breeding is largely down to local authorities rather than the police, but the government will offer assistance when it is requested.

Domestic abuse

Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm asks what action the Scottish government is taking to speed up access to domestic abuse courts.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill says the number of domestic abuse cases has risen due to better reporting of the crimes.

Woman defending herself
Women between the ages of 22 and 25 are most at risk of domestic abuse

Mr Chisholm raises concerns about long delays and the post-code lottery in the way domestic abuse cases are dealt with.

The justice secretary details additional funding to prevent long delays in bringing domestic abuse cases to court.

Justice and the Law Officers

It is now the turn of justice ministers and the law officers

1. SNP MSP Roderick Campbell: To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on how the legal aid system is operating. (S4O-03673)

2. Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm: To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to speed up access to domestic abuse courts. (S4O-03674)

3. SNP MSP Colin Keir: To ask the Scottish Government whether it is aware of youth antisocial behaviour in western Edinburgh including joyriding and motorcycle theft. (S4O-03675)

5. Conservative MSP Nanette Milne: To ask the Scottish Government what action Police Scotland is taking to address the issue of puppy farms and puppies being imported illegally. (S4O-03677)

6. Labour MSP Elaine Murray: To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on changes to the workload of officers and support staff since the establishment of Police Scotland. (S4O-03678)

7.Labour MSP Hanzala Malik: To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on holding a public inquiry on historic child abuse allegations. (S4O-03679)

8. Labour MSP Rhoda Grant: To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to establish domestic abuse courts across the country. (S4O-03680)

9. Labour MSP Graeme Pearson: To ask the Scottish Government when it will bring forward proposals to tackle revenge pornography and what timescales will apply. (S4O-03681)

10.Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur: To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has carried out of the impact in rural and island areas of the proposed reduction in the drink driving limit. (S4O-03682)

Regional average support payments

Conservative MSP Alex Fergusson asks how the Scottish government will use the National Reserve to ensure that farmers who were disadvantaged under the previous common agricultural policy are put on regional average support payments from 2015.

Richard Lochhead
Rural Affairs Minister Richard Lohhead

Rural Affairs Minister Richard Lohhead says the National Reserve will be used in three categories of farmers including new entrants and young farmers.

Radioactive waste

Labour MSP Margaret McDougall: To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on EDF's application to SEPA that would allow it to transport intermediate-level radioactive waste from other sites to Hunterston to be stored.

Mr Lochhead says it is a matter for SEPA.


Ms McDougall says people in Hunterston are concerned it may become a dumping ground for radioactive waste and seeks reassurance.

The minister says he does not detract from the seriousness of the issue but says he wishes we did not have the waste in the first place, adding the Labour party had supported nuclear power.

Mr Lohhead says the Scottish government takes the issue of dumping radioactive waste very, very seriously.