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  1. 10am: Public Audit Committee
  2. 2pm: Portfolio question time
  3. Next: Scottish apprenticeship week debate
  4. Next: Members' Business: Supporting see me in work debate

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Caroline Henderson

All times stated are UK

That's good night from us....

And that concludes our live coverage from the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 13 May 2015.

Holyrood at night

Remember you can catch up on business from Holyrood at

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live.

We will be back at 10am tomorrow morning, until then have a good evening.

Unemployment and mental health

Mr Hepburn says people struggle to get a job if their mental illness is known about, but he points to some positive advances to address them.

The mental health minister says unemployment is linked with poor health and mental distress, so getting into work is important.

SNP MSP Denis Robertson intervenes asking if the minister accepts some work places can induce mental health problems.

Mr Hepburn agrees, but stresses employment is better than unemployment for mental health overall.

Minister closes

Mental Health Minister Jamie Hepburn praises the See Me campaign.

SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn

Mr Hepburn says he is proud this debate is the fifth this year on mental health.

The minister says we need to be as comfortable talking about mental health as we are talking about physical health.

Stress, anxiety and depression

Labour MSP Hanzala Malik says last year alone over 11m working days were lost stress, anxiety or depression.

Labour MSP Hanzala Malik

Mr Malik says many businesses struggle to develop a healthy mental health strategy.

Mental health needs

Mr Robertson says he lived for many years through mental health issues like eating disorders, which reminded him of his daughter.

The SNP MSP's 18-year-old daughter Caroline died from a severe eating disorder.

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson
SNP MSP Dennis Robertson

He says his daughter's employer at the time had "no idea, had just no recognition of her specific or special needs".

He says it is vital to ensure employers are equipped to deal with mental health problems as well as employees.

Stigmas around mental illness

Dennis Robertson, SNP MSP, says his research suggests that when a person is given support and confidentiality around that support, generally speaking that person can "come back" from mental health problems.

There is, Mr Robertson says, still a stigma associated with mental health and mental illness and, he adds, "we need to move away from that".

'Much more work to do'

The Lib Dem MSP concludes saying important progress has been made in raising awareness of mental health recently but he is convinced there is much more work to do.

Mental health at work: The numbers

Mr McArthur points to research which suggests 1 in 4 employers would not employ someone with a mental health problem, particularly if they have contact with members of the public.


Mr McArthur says the efforts being made to stamp out stigma in the workplace deserves our attention at this time.

Mental illness remains the major health problem affecting people of a working age, he says.

The Lib Dem MSP praises See Me at Work.

However he says he hopes See Me does not see itself as a creature of government.

Lib Dems and See Me

Scottish Liberal Democrat Liam McArthur says the cross party consensus on mental health issues is highly valued from the sectors working on the issue.

The Scottish Lib Dems, he says, have been particularly proactive, having invested £350m more in mental health services in Scotland as part of a UK wide increase in funding for the NHS under the former Westminster coalition government.

Scottish Liberal Democrat Liam McArthur

BACKGROUND: Call to end mental health 'stigma'

Nine out of 10 people with mental health problems suffer from

stigma or discrimination, according to a national campaign.

In October 2014, anti-stigma campaign, See Me, said discrimination was still present in work, education, health care and at home.

The group launched a campaign to encourage people to "take action and change lives".

BACKGROUND: The See Me campaign

See Me is Scotland's programme to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination.

It is funded by the Scottish Government and Comic Relief, and managed by SAMH and the Mental Health Foundation.

The body says its vision is to end mental health stigma and discrimination, enabling people who experience mental health problems to live fulfilled lives.

See Me web page
See Me

Supporting workers

Mr McArthur says, while many businesses and organisations understand the impact of mental health in the workplace, it can be challenging to develop a mentally-healthy working environment.

He says he believes that See Me in Work, which has a programme that is designed to support staff and improve working environments, can make a positive contribution to improving conditions for people with mental health issues.

He also says he understands that one in four will experience a mental health illness at some point in their lives and says that such initiatives have the potential to be of real benefit to a great many people when they need it.

Two engineers working on a railway line
Getty Images

See Me in work

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur is leading a debate titled 'Supporting See Me in Work'.

Mr McArthur says that Mental Health Awareness Week 2015 runs from 11 to 17 May ad he supports all efforts during that week, and throughout the rest of the year, to stamp out stigma and discrimination regarding mental health issues of whatever kind.

In his motion Mr McArthur highlights the campaign, See Me in Work, which aims to end stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health issues in the workplace.

Man with head in hands

Supporting See Me In Work debate

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur is leading a debate titled 'Supporting See Me in Work'.

Decision time

No explanation is forthcoming from the ministerial benches so the Conservative amendment from the Scottish Apprenticeship Week debate is defeated with 52 MSPs backing it and 61 against.

Holyrood chamber

Labour's amendment and the Scottish government amended motion are unanimously passed.

Point of order?

Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon calls for an explanation for the technical reason that the government will not back her amendment to the apprenticeship debate.

Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick says that is up to the minister.

Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon

Ministerial close

Youth and Women's Employment Minister Annabelle Ewing says it has been a largely consensual debate and her party will back the Labour amendment not the Conservative one, but only due to technical issues.

Youth and Women's Employment Minister Annabel Ewing
Youth and Women's Employment Minister Annabel Ewing

Ms Ewing says the commitment to expanding the Modern Apprenticeship Programme of the Scottish government is part of the commitment to further vocational training.

She says the seven year change programme will remove the structural problems that led to high youth unemployment in the past.

Labour closing

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson says: "there needs to be more work done by our government to ensure our young people are ready for employment".

He adds that Scotland needs young people to participate fully in the working environment in order to "develop our economy in a fast-changing world".

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson

Conservative closing

Conservative MSP Liz Smith says her party will support both the government motion and Labour amendment in this debate on such an important issue.

Ms Smith says there must be a change of approach to ensure there is a qualitative dimension to the apprenticeship programme.

Conservative MSP Liz Smith

Access for those with disabilities

Scottish Liberal Democrat MP, Liam McArthur, says that while there are "good and positive stories to tell," the quality of apprenticeships on offer, where those opportunities are and who can access them are key issues.

Mr McArthur says, "opportunities are not being created for people who are disabled".

Man with a physical disability at work
Getty Images

'Defining moment'

SNP MSP George Adam says he welcomes the debate in the run up to the Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

Apprentice bricklayer

Mr Adam says his father became an apprentice at 15 years old which was a defining moment in his life.

Value of apprenticeships

Labour MSP Iain Gray relates the story of his father's apprenticeship which was valued less than Mr Gray's degree by some, which is a "nonsense" he says.

More apprentices

Mr Gray says it is not just time to remember apprenticeships but to get real about them as well.

Disabled disparity

The Conservative MSP recognises that there is a gender imbalance in the delivery of modern apprenticeships, both across the frameworks and the levels, with significantly fewer women training to levels 4 and 5 and in subjects including construction and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries.

Ms Scanlon says that less than 1% of apprentices in Scotland have a declared disability, compared with 7.8% in England, and considers that this disparity should be reviewed as a priority.

She says the decision by the UK government to abolish employers' national insurance contributions for apprentices aged under 25 from April 2016 will enable businesses to employ more apprentices.

Conservative view

Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon
Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon

Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon urges the Scottish government to have a renewed focus on delivering more higher level apprenticeships as promised in its response to the final report of the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce in June 2014.

Achieve more

Ms McMahon says the challenges facing those with a disability or a mental health problem are so different they should not be lumped together in a standardised questionnaire.

The Labour MSP says if the support networks are in place young Scots from all backgrounds could achieve much more.

Gender matters

Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon says she acknowledges that the government offers apprenticeships to people of all backgrounds but, she says, she has concerns that there are still issues around gender segregation.

Ms McMahon also raises the issue of cuts to colleges and the subsequent impact that she says that has on helping women access apprenticeships.

Apprentice stonemasons

Labour view

In her amendment, Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon says the Scottish government should use Scottish Apprenticeship Week as a platform to draw attention to the findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission report,

Modern Apprenticeships, Equality & The Economy: Spreading the Benefits.

Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon
Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon

The report raised concerns regarding low levels of disabled people in modern apprenticeships, and recognised that more work needs to be done in raising the number of apprenticeships being taken up by women and LGBT and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people.

Minister concludes

Ms Cunningham says the funding will assist SDS to work with experts in equality issues to better support a range of groups to tackle long-standing issues with their under-representation in vocational education, including the MA programme.

Funding announcement

Ms Cunningham announces that an additional £500,000 will be available to Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to develop and implement a new action plan for better equality within the programme.

Apprentice mechanic

According to the Scottish government, the funding will go towards a number of actions including:

•implementing specific initiatives to open up opportunities for each under-represented group

•marketing campaigns to raise awareness among the disabled, ethnic minorities and care leavers

•a national event with training providers to share best practice.

A work in progress

Roseanna Cunningham, cabinet secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training, says significant progress has been made in youth unemployment in Scotland in recent years.

Ms Cunningham says the government is committed to reducing youth unemployment by 40% in 2020.

Vocational education system

The minister supports the Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce's ambitions for a world-class vocational education system.

Roseanna Cunningham

Ms Cunningham says that is combined with support for the Scottish government's ambitions for the expansion of the programme to provide 30,000 new MA starts each year by 2020.

She says she will celebrate this success by supporting the activities taking place next week through the fifth annual Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

Modern Apprenticeship Programme

In her motion, Fair Work, Skills and Training Secretary Roseanna Cunningham says the modern apprenticeship (MA) programme has been a success and it contributes to addressing youth unemployment while allowing young people to earn while they learn.

An apprentice metalworker
An apprentice metalworker

Ms Cunningham says she encourages employers to consider workforce development and higher workforce skills that support long-term sustainable growth.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week

The Scottish government is leading a debate on Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2015 celebrates the opportunities and benefits that Modern Apprenticeships bring to businesses, young people, and the economy.

The first minister concludes.......

The Conservatives cannot carry on with business as usual as everything changed last week, concludes the first minister.

'Democratic outrage'

Ms Sturgeon says the House of Lords is a democratic outrage.

The first minister says it would be deeply democratically wrong for defeated MPs to return to Westminster via the House of Lords.

House of Lords
Getty Images

She calls for a commitment from the opposition parties not to send defeated MPs to the Lords.

Further devolution

The first minister reiterates her view that the Smith Commission did not go far enough.

Lord Smith holding the report again

Ms Sturgeon says the people in Scotland will be appalled if the UK government does not agree, following the emphatic performance by the SNP in the general election.


Ms Sturgeon says the Scottish government has used every power and resource it can to mitigate against cuts coming from Westminster.

Nicola Sturgeon

This includes supporting foodbanks and tackling food poverty, says the first minister.

She warns that within a fixed budget there is a limit to what she can do.

STUC agreement

Ms Sturgeon says she agrees with Patrick Harvie and gave an assurance to the STUC earlier in the day.

The first minister says she will stand against any attempt by the Conservatives to crack down on trade union rights.

Patrick Harvie

Trade unions

Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Greens asks the first minister is she will help to ensure that a crackdown on right to strike proposals have no place in Scotland.