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  1. 2.30pm: Continuation of the Scottish government’s programme for government 2014-15 debate

Live Reporting

By Ailsa Brown and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

That's all folks

That's it from

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live. until next week, on a day when the Smith Commission and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon dominated the headlines.

The Smith Commission reports
The Smith Commission reports

Ms Sturgeon's

programme for government 2014-15 will now have to be delivered by her and her cabinet colleagues.

Nicola Sturgeon will outline her programme for government 2014-15.

Have a good weekend and we will be back on Tuesday morning.

Smith Commission

The deputy first minister says he went into the Smith Commission, accepting it would not deliver independence, an act of compromise from the very beginning.

John Swinney

Mr Swinney says the Smith Commission listened, but it did not take heed of the many requests from people in Scotland and it ignored what they heard.

Clearly the Smith Commission does not fulfil all of the ambitions of the people of Scotland, he says.

Health issues

Mr Swinney is now focusing on health highlighting the "terrible situation around C Diff at the Vale of Leven" and says the recommendation by Lord McLean to close wards if the inspectorate says to do so, has been taken on board.

Vale of Leven
Vale of Leven

He goes on to point out that the hospital standardised mortality rate has fallen by 16%, testament to the staff in the NHS.

Dog control

Labour MSP Jenny Marra asks about the absence of a dog control bill in the programme.

Mr Swinney says the government will update the parliament on the issue in due course.


Pelamis wave generation device

The deputy first minister says he regrets very much what happened at Pelamis but says he believes the creation of Wave Energy Scotland will allow its achievements to be sustained.

Deputy First Minister

Deputy First Minister John Swinney says he was surprised at the length of time he has to close for the government, but Tory MSP Liz Smith had suggested her party would help with interventions.

Mr Swinney says : "On a day when promises made by politicians are under great scrutiny" he hopes the Conservatives keep this one.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney
Deputy First Minister John Swinney

Ms Smith intervenes on cue and asks if the deputy first minister whether he has not got enough to say on the government's programme?

Not at all says Mr Swinney.

Labour closing

Labour MSP James Kelly says we heard much rhetoric yesterday from Nicola Sturgeon, the key to whether it becomes a reality is whether the Scottish government understand what is happening on the ground in Scotland's communities and then brings forward the policies necessary to tackle the issues.

Mr Kelly says 140,000 college places have been axed since 2007, health issues need to be addressed and the issue of low pay must be tackled.

On low pay, he says there are 400,000 people who are not on the living wage, including 64% who are women, substantial issues the government must address.

Labour MSP James Kelly
Labour MSP James Kelly

Mr Kelly says he wants to see leadership from the SNP government on low pay and accuses the "ranks of the SNP group" of having voted against the living wage 5 times in the process of this parliament.

The Labour MSP calls on the Scottish government to have a review of the NHS.

Conservative closing

Conservative MSP Gavin Brown says there area number of areas he positively endorses in the government's programme, such as votes for 16/17 year olds, the human trafficking legislation and addressing domestic abuse.

However he says there are key issues that need to be tackled and "it's important we start to think about the powers we do have" and start to use them.

Conservative MSP Gavin Brown
Conservative MSP Gavin Brown

On education, he says birthday discrimination for pre-school is a "serious issue" and that the government should acknowledge it.

He says that a child getting six terms of pre-school "must have a better prospect" than children getting five or only four.

Lib Dem closing

Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume says there is much in the government's programme he can broadly agree on.

Mr Hume backs the first minister's pledge to tackle delayed discharges as a priority but calls for a "specific action plan to deal with bed shortages".

Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume
Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume

Mr Hume then turns to mental health saying 1 in 5 patients face waiting over 18 weeks to start treatment of psychological difficulties, according to the latest figures.

"That's not good enough." He says.

Literacy and numeracy

Labour MSP Neil Bibby says whilst action on domestic violence and human trafficking are "particularly welcome" he would have liked to have seen measures to address the serious issues in the private rented sector.

Mr Bibby also says he wants to focus on education as there are "huge challenges" in the current education system.

Labour MSP Neil Bibby
Labour MSP Neil Bibby

He says whilst there have been marginal improvements in some areas, in other areas like numeracy standards are falling.

"Literacy and numeracy and the early years are absolutely key" he says.

Equality aspirations

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson says there is so much to be welcomed in the bills in the programme.

Mr Robertson highlights Ms Sturgeon's phrase of "Fairness, prosperity and participation"

He praises the engagement of so many people in politics in all our communities during the independence campaign.

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson
SNP MSP Dennis Robertson

However Mr Robertson says he met a group with disabilities at a hustings who said their voices had not been heard during the campaign.

We must try to move forward the aspirations of some of our people with disabilities and something needs to be done to ensure we do have a sense of equality in Scotland, says the MSP.

Mr Robertson says people with disabilities had asked him to be their voice today.

'Vow max'

Lib Dem MSP Alison McInnes says the Smith Commission has "delivered on the vow and more, vow max".

Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes
Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes

Ms McInnes welcomes many measures including on land reform, votes for 16 and 17 year olds and on revenge porn and the anti-human trafficking legislation, in the programme.

She then lays down a challenge to the first minister and her new justice minister to change direction and be more liberal.


Conservative MSP Liz Smith says that she particularly welcomes two aspects of the Scottish government's announcements yesterday - those being the growing issue about how to best support children with additional support needs and addressing the attainment gap.

Ms Smith says these are both critical issues.

Conservative MSP Elizabeth Smith
Conservative MSP Elizabeth Smith

She also says whilst it is "undoubtedly good" to hear about the Scottish government's proposal to expand on childcare, birthday discrimination "is absolutely wrong" and she says she will keep going on this issue "until we get some progress".


Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm criticises the absence of a lobbying bill in the government's programme.

Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm
Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm

Mr Chisholm says it is quite wrong for the government to take over his colleague Neil Findlay's bill and then do "absolutely nothing about it".

Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee member and SNP MSP Fiona Macleod says that until the inquiry into lobbying is completed it would be inappropriate to introduce a bill.

Programme for government analysis

Our political editor Brian Taylor

analysed the programme, here is a flavour:

Ms Sturgeon said in presenting her Programme for Government that she wanted to achieve "participation, prosperity and fairness".

Perhaps inevitably, it is the rhetoric about fairness and distribution which comes to the fore. That is partly because it is more eye-catching and ear-grabbing to talk about helping the poor than to calibrate business rates.

nicola sturgeon
Getty Images

It is also partly because of the nature of Nicola Sturgeon. She stressed she remained a passionate advocate of independence. But she is also fired up by social justice. Talking of relative poverty, she ad-libbed a description of current circumstances. They were, she said, a "scandal".

Hence, an Education Bill designed to improve attainment all round - but especially for the most disadvantaged. Hence measures to promote the living wage.

'Style and tone'

Labour MSP Ken Macintosh says he has noticed a "change in tone and style" in the Scottish government over the last two weeks, notwithstanding the SNP response to the Smith Commission.

Labour MSP Ken Macintosh
Labour MSP Ken Macintosh

"I want to work with the government when it's taking action to support the lives of people in Scotland" says the Labour MSP.

He welcomes the help to mitigate welfare cuts, efforts on the living wage, the move to gender equality, votes for 16/176 year olds, moves against human trafficking and the response to care costs and in fighting Motor Neurone Disease.

Programme for government summary

The land reform legislation was part of a series of 12 bills Ms Sturgeon announced to parliament, including:

A Community Charge Debt Bill to end collection of debts from non-payment of the poll tax

An Education Bill to give new rights to children who may have additional support needs.

A Higher Education Governance Bill to ensure the governing bodies of universities are transparent, democratic and accountable

A Public Health Bill to strengthen the ability to reduce the attractiveness and availability of tobacco products and e-cigarettes and a "duty of candour", where people have suffered from ill treatment or neglect

A Carers Bill to give carers support and a say in the planning and delivery of services

Gender quotas

Ms Sturgeon yesterday said her government doesn't have the power to legislate for gender quotas, as she made her s

tatement on her programme for government.

But she outlined a partnership for change pledge called 50-50, which challenges businesses and boards to have gender balance.

The first minister said this would lead to stronger leadership.

Alex Neil

The cabinet secretary says he will work with all parties to tackle domestic abuse and revenge porn.

He says in terms of public sector appointments, getting more women on board is essential.

Mr Neil concludes by saying we need to do more in terms of equalities and women on boards, concluding these are some of his priorities for the last 17 months of the government.

Programme for government bills

Land Reform Bill banning business rates exemptions for shooting and deerstalking estates'

Community Charge Debt Bill end collection of debts from non-payment of the poll tax

An Education Bill to give new rights to children who may have additional support needs

Higher Education Governance Bill to ensure that the governing bodies of universities are transparent, democratic and accountable

Public Health Bill strengthen ability to reduce the attractiveness and availability of tobacco products and e-cigarettes and duty of candour where people have suffered from ill treatment or neglect

Carers Bill, to give carers support and a say in the planning and delivery of services

Community Justice Bill to transfer responsibility to 32 community planning partnerships, will consult on domestic abuse offence and on revenge porn

Budget Bill

Fatal Accidents Inquiries Bill

Succession Bill

Harbours Bill

Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill to strengthen ability to help victims and bring offenders to Justice

'Real hunger'

Mr Neil begins by criticising Labour MSP Jackie Baillie's statistics from the debate yesterday.

Social Justice, Communities and Pensioner's Rights Secretary Alex Neil
Social Justice, Communities and Pensioner's Rights Secretary Alex Neil

The cabinet Secretary goes on to say there is a real hunger out there for the people of Scotland to be engaged in politics.

Continuation of the Scottish Government's Programme for Government 2014-15 debate

Social Justice, Communities and Pensioner's Rights Secretary Alex Neil gets us underway again in the debate about Nicola Sturgeon's programme for government.

Debate concludes

Mr Yousaf points out St Andrew is not just the patron saint of fisherman, fishmongers, singers, spinsters, maidens, old maids, women wishing to become mothers and sore throats, as the debate comes to an end.

He wishes us all a happy St Andrew's Day.

Ministerial response

Europe and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf congratulates Bruce Crawford.

Mr Yousaf says its been 7 years approve the bill national holiday on or around St Andrew's day.


St Andrew's Day Bill was passed in 2006.

The act made St Andrew's Day a day of national celebration in Scotland

Europe and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf
Europe and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf

The then Falkirk West independent MSP Dennis Canavan, who first introduced the bill, agreed to a compromise with the Scottish Executive.

Instead of a full public holiday, MSPs agreed to make 30 November a voluntary public holiday.

Many local authorities observe the day's holiday and Mr Humza hopes many more will.

There are Scots and those who wish they were Scottish says the minister claiming up to 50m people around the globe claim they are Scottish.

Annabelle Ewing

SNP MSP Annabelle Ewing
Youth and Women's Employment Minister Annabelle Ewing

Annabelle Ewing is unable to lead her member's debate as she has become minister for youth and women's employment.


St Andrew's Day, 30 November, is Scotland's national day - or, rather, one of Scotland's national days.

In the gently rolling hills of the Scottish Lowlands in AD 832, King Angus and his small army of Scots and Picts were preparing to face their enemy, the Angles and Saxons, near the town of Athelstaneford.

Scottish flag

Legend has it that, just before the battle, Angus prayed for help in overcoming their opponents.

And there it was: centuries before jet engine vapour trails, a giant white diagonal cross - the same kind of cross that Andrew had been crucified on - appeared in the blue sky

The Scots won the battle; Andrew became Scotland's patron saint, and this alliance was later formalised in the Saltire, Scotland's flag - a material representation of the emboldening Athelstaneford cloud formation.

St Andrew's fact file

Carved oak figure is of St Andrew and his cross, National Museums Scotland
NAtional Museums Scotland
Carved oak figure is of St Andrew and his cross, National Museums Scotland
  • St Andrew was born between AD 5 and AD 10 in Bethsaida, Palestine
  • Brother of St Peter
  • Crucified on a diagonal cross as he felt unworthy to die on the same cross as Christ
  • Believed to have been crucified on 30 November AD 60
  • Never set foot in Scotland

ANALYSIS: BBC Scotland's Political Editor Brian Taylor

During the independence referendum campaign our Political Editor Brian Taylor took a look at what St Andrew's Day actually means.

St Andrew's Day has decided competition in the field of Scottish patriotism and self-expression. Frankly, the commemoration of Scotland's patron saint has some way to go before trumping Hogmanay and the annual celebration of Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns.

Hogmanay - Auld Lang Syne and the rest - is Scotland's festive gift to the world. Scots everywhere see in the New Year in fine form - and the habit has spread.

Brian Taylor

Burns Night suppers now straddle the poet's birth date, January 25, and form an extended season of Scottish culture, from the poetic to the popular.

There have been repeated efforts to draw these disparate strands together, to brand St Andrew's Day as a unified celebration of all things Scottish. Such efforts have been particularly aimed at the diaspora, Scots abroad and those of Scots origin around the globe.

To date, though, St Andrew's Day has yet to displace the existing strong brands: Hogmanay and Burns.


Mr Crawford says we must always strive to ensure a diverse society is celebrated and never something to divide us.

Scots have left these shores to make a huge contribution around the globe, says the Stirling MSP.

Map of Chile
80,000 people in Chile can claim Scottish descent, says Mr Crawford

He says 28 to 40 m people may be able to claim Scottish descent throughout the globe.

80,000 people in Chile can claim Scottish descent, says the MSP.

"It is not beyond our wit to designate St Andrew's day as a national holiday", he concludes.

'Celebrating Scotland'

SNP MSP Bruce Crawford says 2014 has been a year like no other for celebrating Scotland

The independence referendum was a magnificent renewal of Scotland's democracy watched in awe from around the world, says Mr Crawford.

Commonwealth games

He highlights the "best Commonwealth Games ever" and the success of the Ryder Cup.

Bruce Crawford

Because Annabelle Ewing has been promoted to Youth and Women's Employment Minister, SNP MSP Bruce Crawford has stepped into the breach.

SNP MSP Bruce Crawford
SNP MSP Bruce Crawford

Mr Crawford congratulates Ms Ewing on her promotion.

He says he will reflect on Scotland's place in the world during his speech.

Annabelle Ewing: St Andrew's Day 2014 motion in full

St Andrews flag

S4M-11565 Annabelle Ewing: St Andrew's Day 2014-That Parliament notes the view that St Andrew's Day should be celebrated as a full national holiday and for it to be celebrated at home and throughout the world; believes that St Andrew's Day is a valuable opportunity to showcase all that is great about Scotland and promote economic and cultural opportunities, and considers that, with St Andrew's own roots in Asia, Scotland's national day is an opportunity to celebrate diversity of cultures, faiths and ethnic origins and in this momentous year for Scotland, in which it has welcomed the world to the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup and voted in a historic referendum, that St Andrew's Day offers a great opportunity for Scotland and its friends at home and abroad to celebrate together.

Welcome back and coming up

Welcome back to

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live website coverage of Holyrood, where you can already watch first minister's questions by
clicking here.

Holyrood chamber
MSPs will continue to debate First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's programme for government

MSPs will continue to debate First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's programme for government, after a member's debate on St Andrew's day celebrations.

Ms Sturgeon's statement and the first part of the debate can be viewed here.

That's lunch

Flag in the sky

That's lunch, but remember we will be back early today at 2pm for a timely debate on St Andrew's day and then the continuation of the debate on the programme for government for 2014-15.

New transport minister

New Transport Minister Derek Mackay says he understands how important the reopening of the East Linton and Reston railway stations is to local communities.

Transport Minister Derek Mackay
Transport Minister Derek Mackay

Mr Mackay says the Scottish government has opened six new train stations since 2007 and plan nine more as part of the Borders Railway project.

He says the scheduled 2 hourly service between Edinburgh and Berwick is major step bringing these stations in East Linton and Reston back to life.

The minister highlights the government's commitment to rail travel highlighting some £5bn funding and investment until 2019.


A south of Scotland MSP has said the reopening of stations at Reston in the Borders and East Linton in East Lothian is a "step closer".

The SNP's Paul Wheelhouse said services for the stops had been written into the next ScotRail franchise.

He said timings for stops at East Linton and Reston were part of the new planned timetable.

Train tracks

Mr Wheelhouse said that could mean trains running through both stations as soon as December 2016.

Both East Linton and Reston are on the railway line between Edinburgh and Berwick. The stations were closed after the Beeching report in 1964.

Earlier this year Dutch firm Abellio won the ScotRail franchise and will take over services from April next year.

Paul Wheelhouse
Paul Wheelhouse MSP

Iain Gray

Labour MSP Iain Gray says the inclusion of a proper local service between Edinburgh and Berwick stopping at new or restored stations at Reston and East Linton is "a victory for common sense and a victory for persistence".

Mr Gray pays tribute to the RAGES campaign, but says their acronym is not "rages" for no reason - they have raged against arguments not to improve the line and their persistence was also seen on the pare of West Lothian and Borders Councils.

Labour MSP Iain Gray
Labour MSP Iain Gray

"This has been a gradual victory." Says the East Lothian MSP.

"My message to the new minister is this: "RAGES will stay on the case, make no mistake, and they will not rest or nor will we until this victory is finally complete and literally on track".


Mr Hume says: "Today's debate marks a seminal moment for rail travel in the South of Scotland."

He says: "We are tantalisingly within touching distance" of trains coming back to East Linton and Reston.

The South of Scotland MSP praises the

Rail Action Group East of Scotland (RAGES) campaign for all their efforts.

Walter Baxter
The return of services to Reston station is "tantalisingly within touching distance" says Jim Hume

The Rail Action Group, East of Scotland (RAGES) website says it was formally established at an inaugural meeting in Dunbar on 13th January 1999 and now has around 170 members.

One of the main stated aims of RAGES is: To have East Linton and Reston stations re-opened for active use.

Waverly line

Mr Hume says he has supported efforts to reopen stations at Reston in the Borders and East Linton in East Lothian, stressing the potential "significant socioeconomic benefits".

Services to the Scottish Borders stopped when the Waverley line closed
Waverley Route Heritage Association
Services to the Scottish Borders stopped when the Waverley line closed

He calls for the Waverly line extending to Hawick and indeed as far as Carlisle and calls on the Scottish government to at least conduct a feasibility study into that.

Jim Hume's motion in full

Motion S4M-11550: Jim Hume, South Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014

One Step Closer to Trains at Reston and East Linton

Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume
Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume

That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Government's agreement in the ScotRail franchise contract to provide a two-hourly service between Edinburgh and Berwick-upon-Tweed that will call at Reston and East Linton stations; further welcomes the Scottish Government's commitment to having the service operational by December 2016; notes what it considers the socioeconomic benefits that this will undoubtedly bring to the Scottish Borders and East Lothian, a view that was echoed in the 2011 report that was commissioned by Network Rail, The Value of Station Investment, which suggested that stations can have a significant impact on the towns and cities that they serve by acting as regional gateways, attracting businesses and helping to stimulate economic growth; further notes that the Scottish Government's document, Rail 2014 - Public Consultation, states that "new stations assist with a number of strategic aims such as stimulating sustainable economic growth or encouraging modal shift"; recognises the joint feasibility study launched in December 2013, which recommends that this local service with the reopened stations should be taken forward to the next stage; praises what it considers the tireless work of the local campaigners, Barrie Forrest and Tom Thorburn, and all their volunteer colleagues from the Rail Action Group East of Scotland (RAGES), in driving forward this rail transport vision for south-east Scotland, and notes the collaborative funding bid to the Scottish Stations Fund by Scottish Borders Council, East Lothian Council and the South East Scotland Regional Transport Partnership.