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Summary

  1. Nicola Sturgeon tells businesswomen about plans to boost the economy
  2. Promise from Scottish Labour to build 60,000 houses
  3. Ruth Davidson highlights plans to back tourism businesses
  4. A penny on income tax will increase education spending, says Willie Rennie
  5. In this evening's Reporting Scotland, Sally Magnusson will interview SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon

Live Reporting

By Colin Bell and Sandy Murray

All times stated are UK

Good night from the Holyrood election team

Exhausted runner
Thinkstock

We've almost made it to the last lap.

Join our live coverage of the final week of the election campaign from Monday. More on radio, television and the BBC Scotland News website over the weekend.

Political leaders give their ideas for business ahead of next week's Scottish parliament election

Scotland's political leaders have been discussing their policies to support business after calls for a review of tax rates. Here's the roundup of today's main themes.

Organisations, including the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and Scottish Engineering, have called for a "fundamental and comprehensive" review of business rates to boost Scotland's "underperforming" economy.

The county's politicians offered up a range of policies to boost business while campaigning ahead of May's Holyrood election.

Party leaders
BBC

What are the key questions on the health service to be answered before the election?

Polls suggest that the health service is one of the issues which matters most to voters. 

BBC Scotland health correspondent Eleanor Bradford looks at some key questions ahead of the 5 May Holyrood election.

Hospital scene
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Constituency debate hosted by BBC Scotland looks at issues in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire

BBC Scotland's Cameron Buttle has chaired a debate in Selkirk with the four candidates for the Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire constituency. 

He was joined by Labour's Barrie Cunning, Jim Hume of the Lib Dems, the Conservatives' John Lamont and Paul Wheelhouse of the SNP in the town's Victoria Hall. 

Selkirk debate
BBC

BBC's Philip Sim has been admiring the political leaders' choice of campaign clothing

SNP leader will not be rushed into a second referendum but does believe the country will be independent

Sally Magnusson asks, with so much to do, why are the SNP promising this summer putting the argument to people for independence.  

Nicola Sturgeon says she believes independence is the best way forward for the country and that she think some voters "want to be persuaded by that". 

Ms Sturgeon says she respects the fact that people voted "all be it narrowly" to remain in the UK.

Sally Magnusson
BBC
Sally Magnusson

She says if opinion does not shift her party will not win the right to call a second referendum.

SNP leader says her party is proposing a transformation in childcare

On childcare Nicola Sturgeon says she would not say the system is not working.

Ms Sturgeon says it is not incoherent but there is more flexibility needed in the system.

Child colouring
Getty Images

She says she wants to double provision from half day to full day and wants childminders to become more involved.

The SNP leader says by the end of the next parliament an additional £500m per year will be spent on childcare.

Ms Sturgeon says "this is a transformation we are proposing".  

SNP leader wants more money to go to head teachers to narrow attainment gap

Nicola Sturgeon says she is not proposing to take education away from local government but she wants more money to go directly to head teachers because they know what's needed to narrow attainment.

Nicola Sturgeon
BBC

Nicola Sturgeon tells Reporting Scotland about the need to look at improving local government

Nicola Sturgeon addresses crowd
BBC

The first minister told Sally Magnusson that, campaigning around the country, she has become convinced of the need for improvement in the way councils work.

But she insisted "it's not about by-passing councils".

Ms Sturgeon said it could involve new ways of improving democratic input for local people.

"I want to see community councils have much greater status," she said.

She also said communities further from the centre of power should also see a new deal.

The first minister added: "I want an islands bill to get more power in the hands of people who live on our islands."

SNP leader says attainment gap not narrowing quickly enough

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is in the Reporting Scotland host seat tonight to be interviewed by Sally Magnusson.

Sally begins by asking about education and the challenge of closing the attainment gap.

Nicola Sturgeon and Sally Magnusson
BBC

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon says the attainment gap has narrowed and more pupils from deprived areas are going on to university.

Ms Sturgeon says it is not narrowing quickly enough. 

She says it is frustrating that there is no data for how well primary children are performing which is why the SNP have plans to gather this data via testing. 

Nicola Sturgeon says it is not just in the past nine years that the attainment gap has been there and she is proud of her party's record. 

Kezia Dugdale promises Scottish Labour would build 60,000 new houses during the next parliament

Scottish Labour leader has been speaking about her party's plans for housing.

Visiting Aberdeen earlier, she said: “Scotland faces a housing crisis and it’s a crisis that can’t be fixed with more cuts. 

"That’s why Labour has a plan to use the powers of the parliament to build 60,000 homes over the lifetime of the next parliament, 45000 of which would be like this one, affordable and for social rent."

Kezia Dugdale
BBC

Brian Taylor has been looking at the politics of one of the Holyrood Borders constituencies

BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor has been taking the political temperature in one of the Borders constituencies.

Hawick balls
Walter Baxter

In his blog, Brian says Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire comprises a series of clear, proud communities, interspersed by vast tracts of land.

He doesn't make any firm predictions on the outcome of next week's vote, perhaps because he found himself talking balls about a local delicacy.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will be interviewed on tonight's Reporting Scotland by Sally Magnusson

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will be interviewed on this evening's Reporting Scotland.

Here she is coming up in our lift at PQ headquarters.... but not today! 

View more on twitter

Scottish Labour are the subject of today's one minute manifesto...

This week we've been bringing you one minute manifestos from BBC Scotland's The Social.

Today Nathan looks at the Scottish Labour party manifesto.

View more on twitter

UKIP want to reintroduce grammar schools...

Nigel Farage head shot with UKIP logo
BBC

Every day this week we've looked at the party's policies on key issues.

Today we take a look at education.

  • reintroduce grammar schools
  • create technical schools on the German model for those not academically inclined
Pupils in classroom
BBC

Nicola Sturgeon says breaking the 'glass ceiling' will lead to greater prosperity in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon
BBC

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has claimed greater equality can bring economic benefits.

Speaking to an audience of businesswomen earlier, she said: "If we want to see more people in Scotland paid the Living Wage, if we want our workforce to be more representative with more roles for women, and if we want more business investment in internationalisation and innovation, then government and business need to work with a shared purpose.   

"We will only reach our full potential when we are truly inclusive - when everyone has an equal opportunity to fulfill their ambitions and when the glass ceiling has been firmly broken."    

Scottish Greens want more full-time school teachers...

Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman head shots along with Scottish Green Party logo
BBC

Every day this week we've looked at the party's policies on key issues.

Today we take a look at education.

  • an additional 4,000 full-time equivalent school teachers to be hired over the course of the coming parliament
  • statutory guarantee of minimum education hours for every Scottish child of 27.5 hours a week during secondary and 25 hours during primary
  • all students will be entitled to a non-repayable living grant as a step towards a Citizen's Income
  • resist plans for a return to standardised national testing in schools
Teacher in classroom with pupils
BBC

Unison says there should be a reinvigoration of local democracy following the Scottish election

Voting
Thinkstock

The union believes there should be a reinvigoration of local democracy. The idea is part of its "manifesto" for local government issued ahead of next week's election.

Unison Scotland local government convenor Mark Ferguson said: “Local government has been starved of cash and the price for that has been paid  by staff and service users alike.

He added: "As part of that we should be looking at all of the PFI/PPP deals that have been signed by councils the Scottish government should be looking at how we can buy these back. 

"That will save money and increase accountability.”

Scottish Conservatives want to unfreeze council tax to fund education...

Ruth Davidson head shot with Scottish Conservatives logo
BBC

Every day this week we've looked at the party's policies on key issues.

Today we take a look at education. 

  • attainment money should follow the pupil
  • unfreeze council tax to fund education
  • graduates to pay £6,000 towards their education once they are earning more than £20,000 a year
  • reverse cuts to Scotland's further education sector
Classroom with pupils studying
BBC

Union calls for full inquiry into the use of private funding for local government projects

Crumbling school
PA

Unison wants a full inquiry into all PFI/PPP/NPD projects and for the Scottish government to look at how these contracts can be bought back to provide greater value for money.

The union has issued a manifesto on local government to coincide with the Scottish elections.

The call comes after 17 Edinburgh schools were closed on safety grounds.

Scottish Liberal Democrats say a penny on all income tax rates will raise more than £500m for schools, nurseries and colleges

Willie Rennie head shot with Scottish Liberal Democrats logo
BBC

Every day this week we've looked at the party's policies on key issues.

Today we take a look at education.

  • 1p on all rates of income tax for education leading to raise more than £500m for schools, colleges and nurseries
  • £170m per year for Pupil Premium to provide extra help to children who need it at school and no national testing
  • reverse college cuts with £108m investment in a year
  • extend free nursery provision to all two-year-old children, with extra support for the most vulnerable families from an earlier age

Pupils in classroom with teacher
Thinkstock

Council workers' union Unison issues its local government 'manifesto' for the Scottish elections

Unison logo
BBC

The Unison union has issued its manifesto for local government in the Scottish elections.

It covers cuts, private finance, and the union's ideas for local democracy.

On what it says are real-term cuts of £500m to council budgets in the next year, it argues they are "not sustainable and are unfair on both those who use local services and those who deliver them".

Scottish Labour want a penny on every tax band to be invested in education...

Kezia Dugdale head shot with Scottish Labour logo
BBC

Every day this week we've looked at the party's policies on key issues.

Today we take a look at education. 

  • 1p on all rates of income tax for education, 50p top rate for those earning more than £150,000
  • Fair Start Fund of £300 for every nursery pupil from a deprived background, with head teachers receiving £1,000 for every primary pupil from a deprived background
  • universal Scottish graduate certificate encompassing academic, vocational and voluntary achievement
  • every child in care that wants to go to higher education given full grant support of £6,000
Nursery
BBC

A gentleman visits the country: Political Editor Brian Taylor's video blog from the Borders

SNP say university education will remain free of tuition fees...

Nicola Sturgeon head shot and SNP party logo
BBC

Every day this week we've looked at the party's policies on key issues.

Today we take a look at education. 

  • a baby box of essential items for every newborn
  • increase early years education and childcare to 30 hours per week
  • expand the Attainment Fund and invest an additional £750m in the next parliament to close the gap in educational attainment
  • university education will remain free of tuition fees
Student studying
BBC

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale is drawing attention to the party's plans on housing

Kezia Dugdale
BBC

Labour's proposals include:

  • Building a minimum of 60,000 affordable homes over the next five years
  • Helping first time buyers save for a deposit

Labour believes 17,200 first-time buyers will benefit each year.

BBC's Philip Sim spots a technical flaw in the Scottish Sun's Star Trek analogy

Prof Curtice and his colleagues at What Scotland Thinks mark voters as left or right

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale says Labour party 'stands against all forms of racism and anti-semitism"

Lord Jeremy Purves of the Lib Dems says his party want to give power back to front line staff

On healthcare Lord Jeremy Purves of the Scottish Lib Dems says his party would protect the health budget.

Nurses in ward
Thinkstock

Lord Purves says it is absolutely fundamental that mental health is treated with a parity to physical health.  

He says his party want to keep the NHS localised and give power back to front line staff which has been taken away by the SNP.

SNP manifesto on education at complete odds with their record over the past nine years

On education Jackson Carlaw says the SNP have been a "calamity".

Mr Carlaw says their manifesto now is almost completely at odds with their record over the past nine years.  

The Big Debate in PQ studio
BBC

"Suddenly they are in favour of an attainment fund", he says. 

He says every time opposition parties are critical of education the SNP says it is a criticism of teachers but it is not. 

Greens co-convener says teachers must be given the correct support to implement new education strategies

On education Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie says one of the most important thing is give teachers support so they don't have to jump through hoops.

Mr Have says the curriculum for excellence is a great idea but teachers are not being given enough support to implement it.

He says the SNP are now talking about "standardised testing" which is "another set of hoops for teachers to jump through".

Classroom with teachers and pupils with hands in the air
PA

Presnter Gordon Brewer asks if "standardised testing" is still the SNPs policy given it is not in their manifesto.

Mr Yousaf says it is not "standardised testing" but SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon makes the point that to tackle the gap of inequality you have to have the data which is currently not there. 

He says his party is still looking to bring in tests but it is not "standardised testing". 

Anas Sarwar of Scottish Labour says the education system in Scotland is currently failing too many children

BBC Radio Scotland's Big Debate moves to public services and education.

Anas Sarwar of Scottish Labour says the reality is that the SNP don not want to raise taxes at the top.

Presenter Gordon Brewer asks Mr Sarwar asks why Scotland need to pay more tax than England to get what it has. 

College class
BBC

Mr Sarwar says the reality in Scotland is there has been a cut to 152,000 college places and there has also been cuts to bursaries and grants and numeracy levels are plummeting.

He says children from a working class background are less likely to go to university is Scotland than in other parts of the UK and this is "unacceptable" and requires extra resource.

Humza Yousaf of the SNP says the last time Scottish Labour were in control of education they built PFI schools which people are still paying for and are starting to crumble. 

Lord Purves of the Scottish Lib Dems sees merits of named persons but urges caution in implementation

The debate now moves to the named persons act. 

Lord Jeremy Purves says the Lib Dems have given it a cautious acknowledgment but in many ways it has come from ground level and parents wanting a one-stop shop.

Lord Purves says it is right to keep the named persons act under formal review as we have seen public bodies go beyond the legislative powers provided to them. 

The Big Debate in PQ studio
BBC

He says we recognise there are merits but there are also concerns about the use of those powers. 

Lord Purves says there are concerns about the use of this act and therefore it is right to protect the liberties of parents and the safety of children.

Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie says local accountability and independent complaints process required for Police Scotland

Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie says he thinks a single Scottish police force was a bad idea but it has been done now.

He says you cannot wind the clock back without serious consequences. 

Police Scotland
BBC

Mr Harvie says we need to work out the priorities now for local accountability. 

He says we now need to look at ways at holding the police to account and an independent complaints process. 

Lack of accountability in Scotland's single police force says Jackson Carlaw of the Scottish Conservatives

The Big Debate now moves to policing and Jackson Carlaw of the Scottish Conservatives says consolidating Police Scotland into a single force left a lack of accountability.

Police officers
BBC

Mr Carlaw says there is also a lack of accountability locally. 

Humza Yousaf of the SNP does not believe antisemitism is treated the same way as racism

Humza Yousaf of the SNP says he does not think there is a major antisemitism problem among Scottish political parties. 

Mr Yousaf says he does agree with some of those in Scotland's Jewish community that antisemitism is not treated the same way as racism in the country. 

Humza Yousaf
BBC

Anas Sarwar of Labour says suspension of Ken Livingston the correct course of action

Anas Sarwar of Labour says there is still a challenge with antisemitism in society and it should not be tolerated.

The Big Debate studio in PQ
BBC

Mr Sarwar says there should be a zero tolerance approach to it and the suspension of Ken Livingston is the right course of action.

He says Mr Livingston has had a long and successful political career and now is the time for him to take a prolonged or indefinite silo. 

Lively discussion on BBC Radio Scotland's Big Debate