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Summary

  1. 10am: Finance Committee
  2. 2pm: Portfolio question time
  3. 2.40pm: Ministerial statement: Historic child abuse
  4. Next: Developing Scotland's young workforce debate
  5. Next: Members' Business: Creating jobs in Glasgow's East End

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Rachael Connors

All times stated are UK

That's all folks

That's it from our coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 17 December 2014.

Holyrood
BBC

Remember you can watch all the chamber business and the Finance Committee on demand at

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live website.

Minister's response

Youth and Women's Employment minister Annabel Ewing says the government is providing jobs and thanks the member for bringing the debate.

She says the Commonwealth Games has been key for the area.

The government has invested money in maximising this legacy, she adds.

Ms Ewing continues that Clyde Gateway is running many projects to support people in getting in to work.

M&S

Mr Martin says he has written to the Chief Executive of M&S, Marc Bolland, who will be one of the biggest employers in the shopping complex.

Marc Bolland
M&S
M&S Chief Executive Marc Bolland

The Labour MSP welcomes the positive reply he received.

Glasgow Fort

Mr Martin says there are many Christmas bargains to be had at the Glasgow Fort Shopping Centre and urges MSPs to pop in on their way home.

Paul Martin
BBC

The MSP for Glasgow Provan highlights the £45 million expansion of the Glasgow Fort Shopping Centre that is expected to create up to 500 new jobs and he is hopeful that retail bosses will provide some Christmas cheer for his constituents in the north-east of Glasgow.

Mr Martin calls for local job opportunities to go to local youngsters.

Creating Jobs in Glasgow's east end debate

Labour MSP Paul Martin is leading a member's debate on creating jobs in Glasgow's East End.

Fort Shopping centre artists impression
BBC

In his motion Mr Martin welcomes the news that the £45 million expansion of the Fort Shopping Centre in the east end of Glasgow is expected to establish around 500 new jobs.

Mr Martin says there is a need to ensure that large-scale developments such as this are not missed opportunities for local jobseekers and that there is a need to bring together businesses, employers, social enterprises and charities to create more jobs and apprenticeships in the east end.

Decision time

MSPs back the government's motion from the developing Scotland's young workforce, unamended at decision time.

MSPs
BBC

The Labour and Tory amendments fall.

Government closing

Youth and Women's Employment Minister Annabelle Ewing says narrowing the attainment gap in schools is vital, adding the first minister takes a keen interest in the subject and the Scottish government has made it a priority.

One of the government plans is to introduce an attainment adviser for each local authority, says the minister.

Annabel Ewing
BBC

The minister highlights the government target of reducing youth unemployment by 40% by 2021.

That would put Scotland in the top five nations in Europe with regard to lowering youth unemployment.

Labour closing

Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm says there is a danger we go back to two streams in school, something the Wood report doesn't advocate.

He says it is important schools connect more directly with employment.

Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm
Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm

Mr Chisholm continues by explaining that Colleges Scotland has said funding policy changes has led to a reduction in school college partnerships.

In terms of contribution rates he tells the chamber about a briefing that stated there was a 75% completion rate of apprenticeship programmes and he wonders why that hasn't been discussed.

Conservative closing

Conservative MSP Liz Smith says perhaps the greatest impact of the economic crisis has been on many of our young people.

Ms Smith welcomes the "very encouraging statistics" highlighting the definite improvement in youth employment, but she adds unemployment in 16 to 25 year olds is twice as high as the rest of the population.

Liz Smith
BBC

She then highlights the 29,000 youngsters not in work, education or training.

Snobbery

Ms Scanlon calls for a "parity of esteem", where the skills of a bricklayer are seen on the same level as those of a lawyer.

Bricklayer
BBC

The Conservative MSP calls for a stop to the snobbery where an apprentice or a trade is somehow less worthy than a degree.

Lawyers outside glasgow Sheriff court during Tuesday's boycott
Glasgow Bar Association

"Can we all agree we equally value the skills of every person" and not assume that a degree is the only way forward.

Conservative view

Scottish Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon says her amendment focuses on employability and the deterioration of literacy.

Mary Scanlon
BBC

Here it is in full:

S4M-11901.1 Mary Scanlon: Developing Scotland's

Young Workforce-As an amendment to motion S11901 in the name of Roseanna Cunningham (Developing Scotland's Young Workforce), insert at end ―; understands that employers are calling for more emphasis on employability to help prepare education leavers for the complex demands of the labour market; is particularly concerned with weaknesses in basic literacy standards and with the comparative evidence, noted in the recent Audit Scotland report, School education, which highlights some decline in overall numeracy standards between P7 9 and S2; recognises the urgent need for more, fully trained science teachers in primary schools to help address the weak uptake of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, and urges the Scottish government to use the excellent training facilities, expertise and experience of Scottish colleges to help deliver this strategy for young people.

Labour's amendment

Neil Findlay has lodged an amendment to the government motion which states that any young workforce strategy should make every attempt to ensure that young people in the most deprived and rural areas have equal access to opportunities

It calls on the Scottish Government to address the 140,000 places cut from Scotland's colleges, cuts that have disproportionately affected women, young people and disabled adults from deprived backgrounds.

The amendment says vocational education should be given the same prominence and stature as academic education and that vocational education and training are critical to improving opportunities but that a world class system can only be achieved by appropriately funding Scotland's colleges.

It calls on the Scottish Government to tackle the issue of underemployment and promote sustainable, secure and safe employment for young people.

It says this will best be achieved by joint working between employers, schools, colleges, universities and trade unions in an education and training system that is responsive to economic and labour market need.

Sustainable employment

Mr Findlay continues he has concerns with some of the issues highlighted in the report. These include:

  • short timescales of placements
  • more modern apprenticeships needed at level 3 and above
  • explore whether apprentices are staying on after completion
Young apprenticeships
Thinkstock

Scottish Labour's new Skills and Training spokesperson asks if the government will use "sustainable employment" as a measure of the success of the modern apprenticeship programme.

'Top priority'

Labour's fair work, skills and training spokesman Neil Findlay says 67,000 young people are unemployed.

Mr Findlay says they are full of enthusiasm but lacking in opportunity.

This has to be a top priority for any government, he says.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay
BBC
Labour MSP Neil Findlay

Learning about careers and work , he continues, should begin in primary schools.

Mr Findlay says he shares the desire to put vocational training and academic qualifications on the same footing.

Government motion

Ms Cunningham says above all it is the Scottish government's mission to create a fair and more prosperous nation and supporting young people into the workplace is very important.

The cabinet secretary moves the following motion:

S4M-11901 Roseanna Cunningham: Developing Scotland's Young Workforce-That the Parliament endorses the ambitions set out in the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce report, Education Working for All.

It notes the progress made in reducing youth unemployment in Scotland since the publication of Scotland's youth employment strategy; recognises that there is more to do in tackling youth unemployment and improving the number and quality of youth employment opportunities.

It also states that the refreshed strategy must take into account the changing economic conditions, focus attention on supporting young people who need more help to participate in the labour market and address legacy issues from the recession.

It says that critical to improving youth employment is a world class vocational education system, providing more opportunities for young people; further believes that this will best be achieved by supporting close working between employers and an education system that is responsive to economic and labour market need, and welcomes the Scottish Government's implementation plan developed with a broad range of partners, including local government, for reducing youth unemployment and unlocking social mobility as set out in the newly published youth employment strategy.

Resources

Ms Cunningham tells the chamber : "We've agreed a package of £6.5m for 2015/16 with local authorities."

Sir Ian's commission noted the progress being made with Curriculum for Excellence, she says.

She says he recommended making sure schools and colleges prepare young people for world of work and improving employer engagement.

Work experience is important for doing this, she says, and details some pilots which are ongoing.

£6.5m vocational funding

Ahead of the publication of the strategy, government ministers also

announced a further £6.5m for local authorities to help improve vocational education.

Apprentices
Thinkstock

Sir Ian's report, published in June, made a total of 39 recommendations, including providing quality work experience, increasing recognition of colleges' role in developing the workforce and providing more modern apprenticeships.

The Scottish government said the recommendations had informed the strategy's aims to enable young people of all backgrounds to succeed in a stronger, fairer and more equitable society.

Key measures

Key measures which will be put into place over the next seven years include:

  • Increased uptake of work-related learning and qualifications in the senior phase of school.
  • Earlier careers guidance available from 2015/16.
  • New standard for work experience by 2015/16.
  • New "pre-apprenticeship" pilot to help those furthest from the labour market by 2015/16.
  • All secondary schools to have active partnerships with employers by 2018/19.

BACKGROUND

A plan aimed at

cutting youth unemployment in Scotland by 40% by 2021 has been unveiled by the Scottish government.

The new youth employment strategy will focus on forging closer links between schools, colleges and employers.

More young apprentices
PA

It comes in response to a report by Sir Ian Wood's Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce.

The commission concluded that Scotland was not preparing or equipping its young people for work.

Strategy is working

Skills and Training Secretary Roseanna Cunningham begins her statement on the government's plans to develop Scotland's young workforce.

She says the strategy for developing youth in Scotland's workforce is working.

Roseanna Cuningham
BBC

But we want to do more, she says:

  • We want to tackle barriers for young women and men getting in to jobs,
  • We want 30,000 modern apprenticeships a year by 2020
  • We want to raise attainment for all

Our seven year programme is a collaborative effort, she says.

Time bar

Scottish Labour's new finance spokesperson Jackie Baillie brings up the issue of the time bar, which she explains is a "real barrier" for survivors getting justice.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie
BBC
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie

Ms Constance says the time bar in civil cases is "a huge issue" for survivors, and something being pursued by government ministers.

BACKGROUND

The Scottish government announced support for abuse survivors in October as part of its response to the action plan produced by the two-year InterAction process.

The National Strategy for Survivors of Child Abuse has now been in place for nine years.

Over the next year the government proposes to review the strategy to consider what has been achieved since its launch in 2005 and to consider what still has to done.

Jack McConnell
PA
Lord McConnell

A comprehensive apology to all abuse survivors was made by then First Minister Jack McConnell in 2004.

This was a key part of recognising the need to reconcile modern society with past abuses in care.

An independent inquiry and systemic review were published, in 2007 and 2009 respectively, and explored historic cases of abuse in care and addressed the particular challenges faced by the care system in Scotland which delivered major improvements in the protection of young people in care.

Abuse survivors

Ms Constance also confirmed that work to develop a survivor support fund, a suitable commemoration and to consult on how the dispensation on the time-bar on civil cases is used will continue while the inquiry progresses.

Assurances were given that the inquiry would run in parallel and complement the hearings of the National Confidential Forum, where survivor's experiences of abuse will be heard.

Abuse survivors Frank McCue, Jim Buckley and Frank Docherty have fought for years for an inquiry
BBC
Abuse survivors Frank McCue, Jim Buckley and Frank Docherty have fought for years for an inquiry

The Centre of Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland - CELCIS - has been asked to provide logistical support, academic input and expert advice throughout the inquiry process.

The inquiry will be statutory under the Inquiries (Scotland) Act 2005. It will have the power to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence, if needed.

"Shining a light on the darkest recesses of our recent history"

Education Secretary Angela Constance says: "I am grateful to the survivors of institutional child abuse who have taken the time to meet me and other ministers and who have spoken bravely and eloquently about why they consider a public inquiry is needed.

"Of course, as vital as their voices have been in getting us to this point - and they have been - I am also conscious that there are many more survivors who remain silent; as abused children they had no voice, no-one to cry out on their behalf at the appalling injustices they suffered while growing up, and today they await the right circumstances for their experiences to be heard.

Unhappy boy
Science Photo Library

"I sincerely hope the public inquiry will provide just such an opportunity for them."

"And as a society we have an opportunity to confront the mistakes of our past and to learn from them.

"It will not be easy but only by shining a light on the darkest recesses of our recent history will we fully understand the failures of the past, enabling us to prevent them happening again and ensure a brighter future for every child and young person in Scotland, today and in the future."

Inquiry timings

Education Secretary Angela Constance says the public inquiry will be held to examine historical cases of abuse of children in care in Scotland.

Education Secretary Angela Constance
BBC
Education Secretary Angela Constance

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, the Cabinet Secretary for Education Angela Constance said the full remit and appointments for the inquiry would be confirmed by the end of April, following consultation with survivors of abuse.

Arrangements for meetings with survivors will begin in January.

Ms Constance also announced that the inquiry would be given the power to compel witnesses to appear and give evidence.

Risk of "re-trauma"

Lib Dem MSP Alison McInnes asks for further information about the support for survivors, and makes a point about a risk that survivors could be re-traumatised by the inquiry process.

placard
BBC
A placard carried by abuse survivors quotes a judge's unease at the treatment of abuse victims

Ms Constance says survivors will not be compelled to attend and give evidence.

We must not have an inquiry that compounds trauma, she says.

Survivor support

Ms Constance tells the chamber there is a range of views in the survivor community about how the inquiry is organised.

She says the Scottish government is committed to provide the "necessary emotional and financial support" for survivors to participate in the inquiry process and also as they go forward to process of recovery.

Learn from Westminster's mistakes

Ms. Constance says the government would not make the same mistakes as those made by Westminster which has announced two chairs of a child sex abuse inquiry, only for them to resign under pressure from victims' groups.

Labour question

Labour's new education spokesman Iain Gray says it is ten years since former first minister Jack McConnell apologised to survivors and it has taken too long to take the steps that are being taken today..

Survivors must all have faith in the process announced today, the former Scottish Labour leader says.

Iain Gray
BBC

He asks how widely the inquiry will investigate and which institutions will be investigated.

Mr Gray asks how the Scottish government can ensure "these shameful events are not and can not occur in Scotland".

Wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity

Ms Constance quotes Archbishop Desmond Tutu who said: "If you're neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor"

Desmond Tutu
BBC
Desmond Tutu said "you have to ask questions about the quality of life being experienced"

She says this parliament must always be on the side of truth after institutions failed them so catastrophically.

Mace
Scottish parliament
The mace in the Scottish Parliament bears the words: wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity

The cabinet secretary says "Wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity" are the words on the mace before the presiding officer and they must be the words that resound around this inquiry.

'Vital voices'

Ms Constance emotionally relays how she has consulted survivors over this inquiry.

I am aware, she says, there are "many more survivors who have remained silent".

The public inquiry will provide an opportunity to tell thier stories, she says.

Angela Constance
BBC

"Only by shining light on the darkest recesses of our recent history will we be able to fully understand the mistakes of the past, she adds.

Ms Constance says the inquiry will have the power to compel witnesses to attend.

Angela Constance

Education Secretary Angela Constance says there have been national investigations into child abuse before and it is important any inquiry builds on this work.

She says the Scottish government has already given a commitment to create a support fund for survivors.

"We have witnessed the pitfalls when an administration rushes to create an inquiry." The cabinet secretary says.

A child on a swing
Getty Images
Charities have called for an action plan on tackling child exploitation and abuse

The Scottish government does not "believe in haste at the expense of sense".

"Of course the case for an inquiry is strong and we owe it to survivors to find the truth and speak that truth."

We must also be mindful inquiries are major undertakings, the decision to launch them must not be taken lightly.

Inquiry into historical abuse of children announced

Angela Constance
BBC

Education Secretary Angela Constance Says: "We will launch a national public inquiry into historical abuse of children in institutional care."

Historic child abuse

Education Secretary Angela Constance begins her statement on historic child abuse.

ANALYSIS

BBC Scotland's home affairs correspondent Reevel Alderson said earlier in the week: "It is no secret that the Scottish government favours holding an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse involving children.

"There's support from opposition parties too. It follows the scandal surrounding schools run by the Roman Catholic Church and other care institutions.

"But so far ministers haven't committed themselves to a timetable."

The government will announce their intention to hold an inquiry, although it will only take place after the terms of reference can be worked out.

This will include setting out the types of abuse which can be investigated, as well as the remedies Holyrood could put in place for those who have survived childhood sexual abuse.

Alan Draper said he hoped the inquiry would lead to a cascade of change
BBC
Alan Draper said he hoped the inquiry would lead to a cascade of change

Alan Draper, an academic who compiled a report for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland on how to deal with historical child abuse, said he anticipated that this could be a "momentous week".

Coming up

The Scottish government will deliver a ministerial statement on historical child abuse from 2.40pm.

BBC Scotland expects a public inquiry into historical abuse to be announced.

Girl upset (generic)
Thinkstock

The announcement is expected to confirm a timetable, although the precise terms of reference have yet to be drawn up.

The move follows a number of scandals involving the abuse of children in care, including at institutions run by the Roman Catholic church.

A spirit of 'agreement'

Finance Secretary John Swinney says the commission will commence in early 2015 and reports in Autumn.

On local authority funding, local authorities have been "well supported financially by the Scottish government", he says.

John Swinney
BBC

Mr Swinney says the government wants to include all political parties in the process and go forward in a broad spirit of "agreement".

Council tax

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson asks when the independent commission to examine council tax alternatives will begin its work, and what timetable it will work to.

Council tax
BBC

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced an independent commission to examine "fairer" alternatives to the council tax would report by autumn 2015 during the programme for government statement.

Oil and gas industry

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing says Scottish Enterprise staff have an excellent team which are delivering a wide range of support to the oil and gas industry.

Oil and Gas report

Labour MSP Richard Baker asks the Scottish government what action it is taking to support employment and the economy in the north east in response to Oil & Gas UK's report, Fuelling the next generation.

As many as 35,000 oil and gas industry jobs could go in the next five years, according to a new report.

The study - commissioned by industry body Oil and Gas UK, industry skills and safety body Opito and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, says jobs could fall from 375,000 to 340,000 by 2019.

Total Elgin-Franklin oil and gas platform and tug in the North Sea
Total oil

It also estimates 12,000 new workers will be needed for the UK sector.

The study is called 'Fuelling the next generation'.

Oil and Gas UK said the sector has a £35bn supply chain and provides one in every 80 jobs in the UK.

The report concludes there will be a contraction of the workforce because of a decline in capital expenditure.

However, the amount spent on decommissioning will increase, and the potential development of onshore shale could open up new opportunities.