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  1. 10am: Welfare Reform Committee
  2. 2.05pm: Topical questions
  3. Next: A framework for entrepreneurship and innovation debate
  4. Next: Youth football's contribution to men's and women's football debate

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Ailsa Brown

All times stated are UK

That brings us to the end of our coverage on a sad day for Scottish politics

That's it from us on this sad day for Scottish and UK politics, as it emerged that former Liberal Democrat Party leader

Charles Kennedy had died at his home in Fort William aged 55.

His family said they were devastated to lose a "fine man and loving father".

David Cameron said politics had lost a man of "immense ability", while Nick Clegg said his opposition to the Iraq war had been "enormously courageous".

Charles Kennedy
Charles Kennedy

Mr Kennedy, who led his party from 1999 to 2006, lost his seat last month.

No cause of death has been given but police said it was not suspicious.

Mr Kennedy led the party to its best-ever election result in 2005 on the back of his opposition to the Iraq War two years earlier but he resigned early in 2006 after revealing he had been receiving treatment for a long-standing alcohol problem.

Registration forms

Sports Minister Jamie Hepburn says on the issue of youth football registration forms, he says it is a bit premature to comment at this stage, until the Children's Commissioner Tam Baille comes to Holyrood to give evidence on his report.

Women in football

Sports Minister Jamie Hepburn says he agrees with Malcolm Chisholm and his call to get more girls into football.

Women football team
SNS Group

Mr Hepburn says Sport Scotland are now taking on the work of the government appointed work group looking into women in sport.

Ministerial close

Sports Minister Jamie Hepburn says Mr Brodie has told him that he was a good footballer as a child.

Mr Hepburn says young people, both girls and boys, taking part in football are the life-blood of the sport and they must be encouraged to participate.

Sport Minister Jamie Hepburn
Sport Minister Jamie Hepburn

He says there are thousands of volunteers across the country devoting their time to support youth football.

Mr Hepburn thanks all the volunteers for their efforts.

Youth football

SNP MSP Graeme Dey says there has been considerable improvement in Scottish youth football in recent times.

Mr Dey says notwithstanding the problems with the youth registration progress, things have improved.

SNP MSP Graeme Dey
SNP MSP Graeme Dey

He says the Scottish football authorities need to listen to Scotland's children's commissioner and his report.

'National obsession'

Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan says football "is not just our national game - it's our national obsession."

Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan
Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan

Mr Buchanan says that football has the power to cross barriers and that youth football helps youngsters learn transferable skills.

He says youth football has never been run so professionally - there is still a long way to go but we are on the right track."


SNP MSP Kenny MacAskill says the game remains strong at grassroots.

SNP MSP Kenny MacAskill
SNP MSP Kenny MacAskill

Mr MacAskill says the game is built upon its grassroots and the individuals who put in so much to the sport.

He says we all appreciate and welcome their commitment.

Girls and football

Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm praises the

Spartans Football Academy for the work they do in Edinburgh.

Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm
Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm

Mr Chisholm goes on to say: "We need to do a great deal more to encourage girls to have opportunities in football".

BACKGROUND: Youth football players contracts

Last year MSPs examined claims that

contracts given to youth football players in Scotland were unfair and could breach human rights regulations.

The authors of a petition to the Scottish Parliament said players under the age of 16 were not allowed to change club without compensation being paid.

They argued this "transfer market" breaches Scots law and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Young people

The issue was discussed at the Public Petitions Committee.

Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People has also previously called for compensation payments for young players moving between clubs to be "abolished immediately" on the grounds that they are "overly restrictive and unfair".

Dickensian no longer

Mr Brodie says we are Dickensian no longer and children's rights should be protected and indeed will be protecte

The SNP MSP says they are children - not investments, not commodities.

SNP MSP Chic Brodie
SNP MSP Chic Brodie

He says we will not wait a further five years to seek a statutory solution if the problem is not addressed.d.

'Exosets aimed at dreams'

Mr Brodie thanks the organisations who work tirelessly to support youth football.

He says he is seeking answers and change in football to try and address the lack of young players coming through to be great players.

Teenage boys playing football

The SNP MSP says he has been told registration forms for young people in football today are worthless.

He says: "Registration forms are Exosets aimed at the dreams of the young and their parents."

Youth football debate

SNP MSP Chic Brodie is leading a debate on youth football.

In his motion Mr Brodie says he recognises the contribution made by youth football to developing both men's and women's football across the country.

Boy and girl playing football

He says that creating the right environment for developing players is important in all levels of youth football and that youth football can not only develop players in a sporting manner but also in terms of teamwork, discipline and drive.

Decision time

MSPs unanimously pass the government motion from the entrepreneurship and innovation debate.


They rejected the amendment from the Scottish Conservatives, with 19 MSPs backing it, 58 against it and with 31 abstentions.

Debate concludes

Mr Swinney concludes saying there is good progress being made on the business development agenda, particularly in terms of the broadband network.

He says the Can Do framework highlights the approach where good ideas can be absorbed which makes a significant difference.

Women's Enterprise Scotland

The finance secretary commends the work and success of

Women's Enterprise Scotland.

Women's Enterprise Scotland
Women's Enterprise Scotland

Women's Enterprise Scotland works to create an entrepreneurial environment where women-led businesses can flourish and grow.

Scottish Edge Fund

The deputy first minister says the government is very much open to find the ways in which the constructive role of government can help entrepreneurship and innovation.

Mr Swinney says he presents the cash awards frequently in the Scottish Edge Fund which has led to great insight about Scotland's new businesses.

Coins on saltire

He says he accepts that all the strands must be joined up to provide businesses with the progress they desire.

Government closing

Mr Swinney says Scotland is now seeing the renewed focus and intensified support being put in place to benefit start up businesses.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney
Deputy First Minister John Swinney

He says there is great strength to be found in drawing together all the agencies and organisations throughout the country.

Outcomes measurement

Ms Baillie says we have to measure outcomes and monitor the progress of the Can Do framework, especially as Scotland appears not to be doing as well with business start ups as the rest of the UK.


Labour MSP Jackie Baillie says at the heart of the debate is the importance of education.

Ms Baillie says the lessons learned at school are applied in college and university and then in life.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie

She says a quick look at our history shows the breadth and depth of Scotland's innovation.

The Labour MSP lists the usual suspects of Fleming and Bell before highlighting the fact that Scotland invented stamps, post-cards and post-marks too.

Labour closing

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie says this has been an interesting debate.

"I confess I didn't expect to hear discussion about Napoleon, Star Trek, unicorns, colostomy bags and umbrellas for whirligigs."

Star Trek

This, she says, is testament to the innovation of the members speaking in this debate.

Conservative closing

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser says despite the great long list of Scottish inventors and scientists we are not doing as well at entrepreneurship as the rest of the UK.

Mr Fraser says universities in Scotland punch above their wait in terms of research and he says we have more spin outs from our universities.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser

He says role models are absolutely necessary, they need to be in schools, but entrepreneurs are extremely busy and we must be sensitive to demands on their time.


SNP MSP Dennis Robertson says we need to look at our communities and where they live and look at the opportunities for our young people where they live.

SNP MSP Dennis Robertson
SNP MSP Dennis Robertson

Diversity must be nurtured within our communities, says the MSP for Aberdeenshire West.

Time scales

Labour MSP Elaine Murray says progress needs to be measured and the government should challenge itself with time scales as it endeavours to improve the country's entrepreneurship environment.

Labour MSP Elaine Murray
Labour MSP Elaine Murray

'Positive trend'

SNP MSP Mark McDonald says his father set up his own business which is thriving and has grown, which explains his interest in entrepreneurship has developed.

Mr McDonald says there is a positive trend in terms of business startups in Scotland, there has been progress, although undoubtedly there is still work to be done.

SNP MSP Mark McDonald
SNP MSP Mark McDonald

He says the Small Business Bonus Scheme has been a very important factor in helping new businesses to weather the early days of development.

Entrepreneurial Spark

Labour MSP Margaret McDougall spends much of her debating time to praise

Entrepreneurial Spark.

Entrerpreneurial Spark
Entrerpreneurial Spark
Entrerpreneurial Spark

Entrepreneurial Spark's website says it is the world's largest free business accelerator for early stage and growing ventures.

It has developed a proprietary 'entrepreneurial enablement' programme that takes entrepreneurs through a cognitive and action centred development process.

he Entrepreneurial Spark programme lasts for 6 months and can continue for up to 18 months.

The focus of the Entrepreneurial Spark programme is on the individual, developing entrepreneurial mindsets and behaviours to enable acceleration and growth.Entrepreneurial Spark Accelerator

BACKGROUND: Scotland Can Do

The purpose of Scotland Can Do Framework is to see Scotland become a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation - a CAN DO place for business.


The ambition is to achieve:

  • an increase in entrepreneurship and innovation activity from individuals and businesses in Scotland resulting in more businesses being formed and new products and services from existing businesses
  • more people from all walks of life with the ambition and skills to create, lead and grow successful businesses
  • an education system with entrepreneurship and innovation at its core, seizing the opportunities presented by Curriculum for Excellence, college reform and the world-leading strength of our universities
  • more of our knowledge and intellectual capital being commercialised and greatly increased collaboration between business and the academic sector
  • a greater focus on, and share of, global markets as our business leaders grow in confidence and expand their horizons internationally

Town centres

Mr Pearson says the inevitable decline of so many of our town centres must be addressed, through development plans.

He also says crowd funding should be encouraged.

'A grand service'

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson congratulates entrepreneurs, many of whom operate unseen, saying they do a grand service on our behalf.

The government support of entrepreneurships is welcomed by those on this side of the chamber, says the Labour MSP.

Labour MSP Graeme Pearson
Labour MSP Graeme Pearson

Scotland and the wider UK economies are beginning to move forward - but the recovery is fragile and tentative at this stage he stays.

'Crowd funding and angel investors'

Mr Fraser says companies are trying to get more innovative via using crowd funding and angel investors.

Crowdfunding investment schemes are where people invest their money through online business platforms.


It gives businesses access to funding opportunities and investors a chance to share in the profits.

Angel investors are affluent individual who provide capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity.

Lagging behind

Mr Fraser says while we are getting better we still have some way to go to match the UK average.

He says "Scotland is lagging behind" the rest of the UK.

The Conservative MSP says it would be interesting to know is if this Scottish government have done any recent research in to why Scotland perform relatively poorly.

'Much to be done'

Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser says it is clear there is much to be done to raise the level of entrepreneurship in Scotland.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser

Mr Fraser says tough decisions by the previous UK government have paid off and the new Conservative government will continue to deliver.

Conservative amendment

In his amendment Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser expresses concern that Scotland lags behind the rest of the UK in business start-ups, with only 49 new business registrations per 10,000 of the adult population in 2013, compared with a UK figure of 67.

This contributes to Scotland having a lower underlying number of business enterprises compared with the rest of the UK he says, where Scotland accounts for a 7% share of the UK total, lower than its population share should merit.

Mr Fraser says that Scotland's ambition should be to raise its level of entrepreneurship to at least the UK average".

Scotland Can Do Framework

Mr Swinney says the Scotland Can Do Framework will, he hopes, continue to generate the entrepreneurial success and innovation required to grow Scotland's enterprise.

Women entrepreneurs

Mr Swinney highlights the

Women Enterprise Action Framework and its role in encouraging more women to become entrepreneurs.

Man and women walking

It has the objective of increasing the contribution of women's enterprise to the Scottish economy, this document outlines the foundation for action involving all the key stakeholders in the enterprise eco-system.

BACKGROUND: Bridge 2 Business


Bridge 2 Business is an interactive and engaging programme to inspire, connect and support college students into business.

Bridge 2 business
Bridge 2 Business

The Bridge 2 Business programme offers college students first hand opportunities to engage with appropriate entrepreneurial role models.

Colleges and universities

Mr Swinney says the greatest resource is not just the buildings put in place but the people who work in them and the support they receive.

The finance secretary says Scotland's colleges and universities play a vital role in the support of enterprise and entrepreneurship.

He highlights the Bridge To Business programme.

Edge Fund

The finance secretary says the Scottish

Edge Fund provides awards of up to £100,000 for Scotland's most talented entrepreneurs.

Business plan heading

The Edge Fund is a grant-making body with a difference.

They support efforts to achieve social, economic and environmental justice and to end imbalances in wealth and power.

Government motion

In his motion, the finance secretary says progress has been made in implementing the Scotland Can Do framework.

It makes clear Scotland's ambition and sets out the priority areas where the Scottish government continues to support and act to see Scotland become a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation

Scotland Can Do report screengrab
Scottish Government

He wants to see Scotland become "a can do place for business" and he commends the collaborative impact of all the stakeholders in the Scotland Can Do ecosystem to date.

The cabinet secretary welcomes the enthusiasm and commitment received at the inaugural annual Scotland Can Do assembly on 20 February 2015.

Entrepreneurship and innovation debate

Deputy First Minister John Swinney is leading a debate on entrepreneurship and innovation.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney
Deputy First Minister John Swinney

Trail blazing?

Mr Harvie says that next week's climate change statistics are likely to show Scotland falling further behind the targets.


He asks how can the targets be trail blazing, when they are yet to blaze a trail.

Mr Lochhead highlights the progress being made by the government, saying "good progress" is being made.