Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. 10am: Justice Committee
  2. 2.05pm: Topical question time
  3. Next: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill
  4. Next: Members' Business: Celebrating Mary Slessor on International Women's Day 2015

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Ailsa Brown

All times stated are UK

Good night

That's all from the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 3 March 2015.

holyrood at night
BBC

Remember you can catch up on all the day's business at

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live website.

Mary Slessor

Ms Hyslop says Ms Slessor's work with twins was what she was most proud of.

Slessor often set herself up in remote areas other missionaries were afraid to visit
BBC
Slessor often set herself up in remote areas other missionaries were afraid to visit

'Amazing woman'

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop says she is very clear she wants to see women of Scotland recognised.

Ms Hyslop says there is a need for equality for girls across the world.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop
BBC
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop

She says Mary Slessor was an amazing woman and a great role model for today's girls.

Hospital name proposal

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald says today he has proposed to NHS Grampian that the replacement for Aberdeen maternity hospital be named the Mary Slessor woman's hospital.

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald
BBC
Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald

BACKGROUND

International Women's Day (IWD) represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality.

Each year IWD is celebrated on March 8 and the theme this year is 'Make It Happen'.

The first IWD was held in 1911.

Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.

Family

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser
BBC
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser says he understands the parliament has a family connection with Mary Slessor, as the deputy presiding officer John Scott says he is her cousin, twice removed.

'Many friends'

Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson says Mary Slessor chose to live outside the missionary compound, to dress and eat as those around her.

Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson
BBC
Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson

Ms Ferguson says Ms Slessor made many friends amongst the Nigerian people.

Ms Slessor is as remarkable as David Livingstone, says the Labour MSP.

Memorial

A memorial commemorating Scots missionary Mary Slessor was unveiled in Dundee in January.

The Mary Slessor Foundation commissioned the city centre memorial with help from a number of city groups.

Memorial
BBC

The stone carries a bronze plaque detailing the life and work of the former jute weaver.

Twins

Slessor took in hundreds of sets of twins who were left to die due to local superstition
BBC
Slessor took in hundreds of sets of twins who were left to die due to local superstition

Mary Slessor was a pioneer in the area of twins, fighting beliefs that twins were the work of the devil, requiring one twin to die.

Missionary and mother

Ms Marra says Mary Slessor set out to teach, worship and help those around her in Nigeria, adopting children, working as a missionary and a mother.

Labour MSP Jenny Marra
BBC
Labour MSP Jenny Marra

Ms Slessor saved many lives in her time in Nigeria.

International Women's Day

The Labour MSP says the importance of Mary Slessor's as a historical figure as a Scot, a woman and the first female magistrate in the British Empire should be recognised.

Mary Slessor's compassionate approach is credited with changing how missionaries did their work
BBC
Mary Slessor's compassionate approach is credited with changing how missionaries did their work

She says that her accomplishments should especially be highlighted on International Women's Day 2015 to celebrate her work in helping create a future for women that is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.

Mary Slessor

In her motion Ms Marra highlights the centenary of the death of Mary Slessor, the missionary who left the slums of Dundee at the age of 28 and went on to save hundreds of lives and promote women's rights in Calabar in Nigeria.

Her red hair and blue eyes made Slessor instantly recognisable among the tribes of Calabar and Okoyong
BBC
Her red hair and blue eyes made Slessor instantly recognisable among the tribes of Calabar and Okoyong

Ms Marra commends the Mary Slessor Foundation's work with a number of people, companies and organisations to organise a series of events throughout the centenary year and welcomes the launch of these events with the unveiling of a commemorative standing stone and plaque in front of Dundee's Steeple Church.

Celebrating Mary Slessor on International Women's Day 2015 debate

Labour MSP Jenny Marra is leading a debate on celebrating Mary Slessor on International Women's Day 2015.

Decision time

MSPs unanimously pass the

Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill.

Vote

MSPs will now vote on the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill at decision time.

End of the debate

Ms Burgess says she does not appreciate the message that Labour are putting out that the government does not care about families under exceptional pressure.

The minister says the government is very clear that cash should be the default payment for crisis grants.

Minister

Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess says the support across the chamber for the principles of the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill is strong.

Ms Burgess says she wants to make absolutely clear that families under exceptional pressure will be able to access welfare funds.

Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess
BBC
Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess

If we don't get royal assent we wont be able to help vulnerable people, she insists.

Principles

Mr Macintosh says the legislation is a nod in the right direction but it is critical we get the principles right from the start, but he is not sure we have.

Labour closing

Labour MSP Ken Macintosh says he hopes the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill will be passed unanimously at decision time.

Mr Macintosh says this is not a particularly earth shattering piece of legislation but it's an important one.

Labour MSP Ken Macintosh
BBC
Labour MSP Ken Macintosh

He says he has some optimism the appointment of an ombudsman will help.

Conservative closing

Conservative MSP Annabel Goldie says the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill rightly recognises the relevance and importance of using local authorities for key welfare provision.

Conservative MSP Annabel Goldie
BBC
Conservative MSP Annabel Goldie

The bill provides a vital local link to people, she says.

Lib Dems

Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott says he strongly supports the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill.

Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott
BBC
Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott

Mr Scott says it is without doubt painful and extremely difficult for people who need to access the funds.

Independence

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie says currently the welfare funds provide a vital means of support for vulnerable, low income households who are in or at risk of crisis.

SNP MSP Christian McKelvie
BBC
SNP MSP Christian McKelvie

Ms McKelvie says the funds play an important and preventative role providing a safety net, enabling people to live independently.

Conservatives

Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone says not many people were opposed to moving away from the concept of loans to grants.

Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone
BBC
Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone

Mr Johnstone says he disagrees with most of his fellow MSPs on the issue of outsourcing the administration of the welfare funds.

'Dignity and choice'

Mr McMahon says Scottish Labour very much backs the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill but he says the principles of dignity and choice for applicants should have been enshrined on this bill.

'Cop out'

Mr McMahon says to put families in exceptional need in guidance but not on the face of the bill is a "cop out".

'Disappointments'

Mr McMahon says there are disappointments with the bill.

Labour MSP Michael McMahon
BBC
Labour MSP Michael McMahon

He says it is completely incomprehensible why dignity has not been enshrined by the bill and why the government refused to put families in exceptional need on the face of the bill.

Labour

Welfare Reform Committee convener Michael McMahon is leading the debate for Labour.

Scottish Welfare Fund

From April 2013, changes to the DWP Social Fund scheme meant that Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants stopped.

These have been replaced by the Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF), delivered by councils. The fund provides two types of grant:

  • Crisis Grants to provide a safety net when someone experiences a disaster or emergency situation, such as a fire or flood and there is an immediate threat to health and safety.
  • Community Care Grants to enable independent living or continued independent living and prevent the need to go into care. A CCG may also be able to help a family facing exceptional pressure.

'Budget limited fund'

Ms Burgess says items awarded must meet the need of the individual.

The Scottish Welfare Fund is a budget limited fund and it needs to be able to help as many people as it can, which for many local authorities is helped by providing goods, she says.

However in terms of crisis grants cash payments should be the norm, she says.

Families

Ms Burgess says the competence around putting families under pressure on the face of the bill are well rehearsed, but families under exceptional pressure can access the crisis funds.

No private sector firms

The ministers says many of the stakeholders say they do not wish private sector firms to provide welfare funds.

'Supportive'

Ms Burgess says the majority of evidence the Welfare Reform Committee heard on the legislation at Stage one had been supportive.

'Safety net'

Ms Burgess says the Welfare Funds Bill will provide a permanent and reliable safety net for vulnerable people.

Welfare Minister Margaret Mitchell
BBC
Welfare Minister Margaret Mitchell

Debate

We now move to the final debate on the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill.

Annual reporting

Ms McDougall is speaking to her amendment calling for the annual reporting on the delivery of welfare funds.

Amendment not agreed

Ms McDougall's amendment is defeated.

'Needs and choices'

Labour MSP Margaret McDougall
BBC
Labour MSP Margaret McDougall

Labour MSP Margaret McDougall says her amendment emphasises that the particular needs and choices of applicants are to be considered, allowing cash rather than by kind help, treating people with dignity and respect.

Amendment on timescale passed

Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess says the government has been clear that speed is key for applicants accessing crisis grant.

Ms Burgess says the maximum of two days to access crisis grants is to make clear the importance of speedy access.

She says the amendment supports the approach of the current guidance and therefore she accepts the amendment.

It is duly passed unanimously.

Timescale

Labour MSP Ken Macintosh speaks to his amendments relating to the timescale for dealing with applications for assistance.

Labour MSP Ken Macintosh
BBC
Labour MSP Ken Macintosh

Mr Macintosh says the affect of his amendment would mean that decisions on crisis grants were made immediately or by the next day at the latest.

'Qualifying individuals'

Mr Macintosh sees his amendments relating to qualifying individuals for welfare funds defeated.

He had argued to put families under exceptional pressure on the face of the bill.