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  1. Next: Next: Members' Business: Welcoming a more energy efficient retail sector

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Ailsa Brown

All times stated are UK

Good night

That concludes our live coverage from the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 10 March 2015.

Remember you can watch all the day's business from the parliament at

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live.

Holyrood at night

We will be back tomorrow morning, until then have a good night.

Ministerial close

Environment and Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod congratulates SRC members who have met and exceeded their environmental targets.

Ms McLeod says she is holding discussions with the British Retail Consortium and the SRC about how best to develop a route map for manage waste.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod
Environment and Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod

The environment and climate change minister highlights the introduction of a charge for carrier bags as a successful initiative.

Government targets

Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor commends the SRC report which he says is very welcome from a sector that is so important to the Scottish economy.

Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor
Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor

Maybe the Scottish government could take a leaf out of the SRC's book and meet its climate targets, he chides gently.

Better Retailing Climate Initiative

SNP MSP Angus MacDonald also praises the retailers that have signed up to the Scottish Retail Consortium's Better Retailing Climate initiative and beat the targets that were set.

SNP MSP Angus MacDonald
SNP MSP Angus MacDonald

Huge changes

Labour MSP Margaret McCulloch says the fact the targets have been exceeded which is a testament to the ingenuity of the signatories to the initiative.

Labour MSP Margaret McCulloch
Labour MSP Margaret McCulloch

The scale of the changes these retailers can make is huge, says Ms McCulloch.

Scottish Retail Consortium

SNP MSP Graeme Dey
SNP MSP Graeme Dey

Mr Dey praises members of the Scottish Retail Consortium for their efforts to meet environmental targets.


Mr Dey says that the report sets out targets to reach by 2020, which include reducing carbon emissions from retail operations by 25% and ensuring that less than 1% of retail waste goes to landfill.


The SNP MSP commends the SRC meeting its targets that it sets out in the 2008 report, such as limiting landfill waste to 6% and reducing supermarket refrigeration emissions by 55%, and welcomes this encouragement for all those in the retail sector to commit to lowering their environmental impact.


In his motion Mr Dey welcomes the launch of the Scottish Retail Consortium's (SRC) report,

A Better Retailing Climate: Driving Resource Efficiency.

Mr Dey congratulates the SRC on producing a commitment to reducing the environmental impact of the retail industry and he recognises that the report provides examples of this commitment throughout Scotland.

The Angus South MSP gives an example in Arbroath, where local farmer Peter Stirling, has reduced waste, invested in Biomass boilers and extended the shelf life of his produce.

Welcoming a more energy efficient retail sector debate

SNP MSP Graeme Dey is leading a debate on a more energy efficient retail sector.

Decision time

Chamber shot

MSPs back the government motion from the oil and gas industry debate is passed.

Oil and gas industry

Mr Swinney says Labour do not know what action they would take to help the oil and gas industry.

The deputy first minister says the Scottish government has been engaged with oil and gas companies throughout its time in office.

Man looking up at rig

He highlights the investment in the sector over recent years.

Fiscal regime

Mr Swinney say he set out a credible and attractive fiscal regime for the North Sea to the chancellor of the exchequer last week, as the current one is not fit for purpose.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney
Deputy First Minister John Swinney

The deputy first minister says he told George Osborne about the importance of an investment allowance and called for an immediate reversal of the misguided supplementary charge tax hike in 2011 and the introduction of an exploration tax credit.

Government closing

Finance Secretary John Swinney says there is just a whiff that there is a desire to prey on the difficulties facing the oil and gas industry due to the falling price.

Too slow

Ms Baillie says we would all agree the oil industry is a great Scottish success story which sustains thousands of jobs and is essential to our economy.

The Labour MSP says both government's have been slower than was needed.

She says she was surprised at the SNP government being so slow as this is the biggest economic crisis facing Scotland.

Labour's finance spokesperson says she was disappointed the Scottish government had not supported her call for a resilience fund.


Labour MSP Jackie Baillie says the coming seven days will be key to defining the future of Scotland and will be crucial for the oil and gas industry.

Tomorrow sees the Gers figures revealed and next week sees the UK government's budget.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie

This will show the importance of revenues from the oil and gas industry to our public services.

She says it is evident for the previous and the coming year that, without doubt, our expenditure exceeds our income.

GERS figures

Scottish Conservative MSP Gavin Brown says the Scottish government has worked hard behind the scenes to make sure this debate took place the day before Gers (Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland) figures were published.

This government was extremely slow off the mark when the crisis hit, says Mr Brown.

He adds this is a government who have not kept on top of the energy jobs task force.

Conservative closing

Conservative MSP Gavin Brown says both governments must work together and with industry to make sure we get things right in the short, medium and long term.

Conservative MSP Gavin Brown
Conservative MSP Gavin Brown

Mr Brown says the Aberdeen City Deal bid would help Aberdeen build new infrastructure and be seen as a global energy hub.

It is why we need to hear about the energy task force.


Mr Harvie says Scotland knows what it means to an economy and a community when an industry, upon which it is reliant on, goes.

But the worst thing we can do is dig ourselves ever deeper into this hole, says the Green MSP.

The oil and gas industry is valued on its reserves and the world has far more fossil fuel than it can afford to burn if we are remotely serious about handing on to the next generation an ecosystem in which it can live.


Green MSP Patrick Harvie says his heart sinks just a wee bit when he sees topics like this one to be debated.

Mr Harvie says this debate is coming to an end, this period in human history, this aberration, this blip is coming to an end.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie
Green MSP Patrick Harvie

He says everyone knows this industry will eventually go, it will not last for ever.

Instead we see the same basic policy between Scottish and UK governments which is maximum extraction of oil, instead of discussing transition and decommissioning.


Sir Ian Wood recommendations:

  • In his report, Sir Ian recommends a series of improvements, including:
  • Revitalising exploration to ensure recoverable oil and gas resources in the UK are fully explored and exploited
  • Ensuring oil operators maximise economy recovery from the fields they hold licences for
  • Developing resources on a regional basis, rather than by individual field, to maximise their value
  • Investing in prolonging the life of the existing infrastructure to process oil and gas resources
  • Exploiting the use of existing technologies to maximise recovery of oil and gas.


A number of MSPs have pointed to comments and

the report of Sir Ian Wood.

In February 2014 the UK government said it would fast-track the implementation of

retired businessman Sir Ian Wood's recommendations for maximising the UK's remaining offshore oil and gas resources.

Sir Ian Wood
Sir Ian Wood

This will include setting up a new regulator to oversee the industry.

It will also include improving collaboration between the government and the energy industry.

Sir Ian said the changes would add "at least" £200bn to the economy over the next 20 years.

Lib Dems

Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott
Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott

Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott calls for three pillars of support:

  • changes to the fiscal regime
  • cost competitiveness with rest of the world's oil industry
  • Scottish government support for the industry

Tax cuts

Mr Fraser says: "We need to recognise that tax cutting is not a panacea for all the North Seas problems."

'Reeks of complacency'

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser says the fall in oil prices benefits those on the road and people's pockets, creating up to 10,000 new jobs.

However it is bad news for the oil and gas industry creating acute pressures, with Sir Ian Wood warning that up to 15,000 jobs could go, says Mr Fraser.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser

The Conservative MSP says the UK and Scottish government's must act.

He accuses the energy minister of not detailing what the Scottish government will do and blaming everything on the UK government.

"This just reeks of complacency presiding officer." Says Mr Fraser.

Conservative amendment

The conservative amendment says that the industry, and both the Scottish and UK governments, all have a responsibility to work together to help safeguard jobs.

It supports calls for fiscal measures to encourage future investment and calls on the Scottish government to resume publication of its regular Oil and Gas Analytical Bulletin.

It also backs the Aberdeen City Region Deal bid to assist economic growth in the city and wider area.

City Deal

Mr Macdonald calls for a city deal for the Aberdeen city region to help create new infrastructure and attract investment.

View of oil/gas

The Labour MSP says both the Scottish and UK governments need to get behind the creation of a city deal.

Labour amendment

Labour's amendment calls on the Scottish government to undertake a full assessment of the impact of the current low oil price on employment and economic activity.

It again calls for the establishment of a resilience fund to support local and regional economies hit by sudden economic shocks.

Nice silhoutte oil pic
Getty Images

It also urges the UK government to go beyond fiscal measures and to support continuing production by working in partnership with operators, including where appropriate through co-investment in marginal fields.

Finally it calls on the oil and gas industry to pursue cost savings and efficient working by increased collaboration and sharing data, not by driving down the terms and conditions of the offshore workforce.

Too little too late

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald he is sharply aware of the crisis in oil and gas industry, whose health affects the whole economy.

Mr Macdonald says everyone who works in the sector agrees action is required.

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald
Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald

He accuses the Scottish government of taking too long to recognise the scale of the crisis and did too little to deal with it when they acted.


Mr Ewing details the efforts of the Scottish government to bolster the oil and gas sector.

He points to the

taskforce set up to support jobs in Scotland's oil and gas sector, announced by the first minister.

Nicola Sturgeon also made the offer of a funded guarantee to support apprenticeships in the North Sea during a visit to Aberdeen.

The announcement in January came as Bank of England boss Mark Carney said the fall in oil prices represented a "negative shock" to the Scottish economy


The Scottish economy will continue to pick up pace, despite the

lower oil price having an adverse impact on the oil and gas industry.

The Fraser of Allander Institute's regular forecast shows the boost to oil users in Scotland outweighs the harm to North Sea producers.

The institute said tightening public spending could still hurt the economy.

But it said "strengthening" investment was a reason to expect higher growth than it had forecast in November.

Call for reform

Another platfrom
Getty Images

Mr Ewing details the proposals the Scottish government want to see in the UK government's budget:

  • Announce in the forthcoming 2015 Budget the immediate introduction of a substantial package of fiscal measures, including an immediate reversal of the misguided supplementary charge tax hike in 2011,
  • The introduction of a basin-wide investment allowance with a single rate of 62.5%
  • The introduction of an exploration tax credit.

Fiscal regime

Energy Secretary Fergus Ewing says the oil and gas industry makes an enormous contribution to the Scottish and UK economy.

With a week to go until the UK government's budget, Mr Ewing reiterates the Scottish government's call for a "transparent, predictable and competitive fiscal regime".

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing

"For too long the UK government has used the North Sea as a cash cow - picking short term tax grabs against and instead of a considered and collaborative approach."

Government motion

The Scottish government motion highlights the Oil and Gas UK Activity Survey, which was published on 24 February 2015 and highlighted the challenges facing the North Sea oil and gas sector.

The report also highlighted the impact on investment and exploration from a lack of action.

Oil platform
Getty Images

The motion urges the UK government to announce in the forthcoming 2015 Budget the immediate introduction of a substantial package of fiscal measures, including an immediate reversal of the misguided supplementary charge tax hike in 2011, the introduction of a basin-wide investment allowance with a single rate of 62.5% and the introduction of an exploration tax credit.

Oil and gas sector debate

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing leads a debate on action needed to support the oil and gas sector.

Environmental impact

Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone asks if the government will seek to work with the UK government to seek abolition of APD across the board instead of just in Scotland.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie
Green MSP Patrick Harvie

Green MSP Patrick Harvie says the report is "spurious" and it is astonishing there is no environmental element to the report.

He says the report is a "transparent piece of industry spin"

Route development fund

Labour MSP David Stewart asks if Scotland's airports would benefit from a route development fund.

Labour MSP David Stewart
Labour MSP David Stewart

Mr Brown says the government has done a great deal to increase passenger numbers.

Ministerial response

Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown says the government welcomes the report on APD and has long called for the devolution of APD to the Scottish Parliament.

Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown
Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown

Mr Brown says he plans to reduce APD by 50% over the term of the next parliament.


Slashing the tax paid by air travellers could boost Scotland's economy by £1bn by 2020 and create almost 4,000 new jobs, the report has suggested.

The figures emerged from research carried out on behalf of Edinburgh Airport.


The report looked at the impact of cutting air passenger duty (APD) by 50%.

Powers over APD are to be devolved to Holyrood following recommendations by the Smith Commission.

Topical questions

SNP MSP Colin Keir asks the Scottish Government what its response is to the Edinburgh Airport report, The impact of reducing APD on Scotland's airports.

Time for reflection

Father Vincent Lockhart from St. Monica's Parish in Coatbridge is delivering time for reflection.

Father Vincent Lockhart, St. Monica's Parish, Coatbridge
Father Vincent Lockhart, St. Monica's Parish, Coatbridge