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Summary

  1. The Social Security Committee takes evidence on the Citizen's Income
  2. Prisoner's privileges, the British Transport Police in Scotland and the GP out-of-hours service are all raised during general questions
  3. Deputy First Minister John Swinney stands in for Nicola Sturgeon during first minister's questions
  4. Tory MSP Adam Tomkins leads this afternoon's member's debate on community jobs in Scotland
  5. The government leads a debate on the Local Government Finance (Scotland) Order 2017
  6. MSPs debate biodiversity

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from Holyrood Live

Holyrood night
BBC

That brings Holyrood Live's coverage of the Scottish Parliament to an end on 9 March 2017.

We'll be back next week.

Have a good night and a lovely weekend.

The government motion on biodiversity, as amended, is agreed to

The government motion on biodiversity, as amended, is agreed to.

All the amendments were passed unanimously.

Government motion
Scottish Parliament
Tory amendment
Scottish Parliament
Labour amendment
Scottish Parliament
Greens amendment
Scottish Parliament

BreakingThe government's local government finance order is agreed to

The government amendment on the local government finance order is agreed to with 66 MSPs backing it and with 26 against and with 31 abstentions.

Government amendment
Scottish Parliament

The Labour motion on the local government settlement is not agreed to

The Labour motion on the local government settlement is not agreed to with 57 MSPs backing it but 66 against.

Labour motion
Scottish Parliament

Decision time

We now move to decision time. 

'We should all shoulder responsibility' for improving biodiversity

Scotland's diversity
bbc

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham says she can confirm that groups are continuing to meet regularly on the 2020 challenge.

Ms Cunningham says biodiversity contributes significantly to the economy.

She says some areas are not progressing as quickly as the government would like.

"We should all shoulder responsibility" for improving biodiversity, she says. 

Minister says she is a champion of all species in her role

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham
bbc
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham says MSPs referred to urban green space.

Ms Cunningham says it was the Scottish government that introduced the Central Scotland Green Network

She goes on to say MSPs have mentioned which species they champion and says she is champion of all species in her role.

'We must be wary of the introduction of new species without thought'

Tory MSP Peter Chapman says there are less than helpful regulations when it comes to farming. 

Mr Chapman says "we must be wary of the introduction of new species without thought." 

Tory MSP says there is room in Scotland for another national park

Tory MSP Peter Chapman
bbc
Tory MSP Peter Chapman

Tory MSP Peter Chapman says there has been a great degree of agreement on biodiversity across the chamber today.

Mr Chapman says he will focus on land but accepts the importance of our seas.

He calls for new forestry schemes with accessibility at its core.

The Tory MSP says there is room in Scotland for another national park. 

Debate has been an opportunity to do a report card on biodiversity says Labour MSP

Labour MSP David Stewart
BBC

Labour MSP David Stewart says it has been an opportunity to do a report card on biodiversity.

Mr Stewart says climate change has already has an effect on our native species. 

The Labour MSP says Scotland's eco-systems have fallen below the point that they meet society's needs.

He says what happens after Brexit is a key point.

Mr Stewart says that every Labour MSP is now a species champion. 

'The world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children'

Wendell Berry
bbc
Wendell Berry

The world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children."

Wendell Berry An American philosopher, poet, essayist, farmer, novelist and social activist.

Labour MSP David Stewart quotes an American philosopher at the start of his closing speech.

'A strong marker has been put down in terms of the National Ecological Network'

Mr Ruskell highlights the importance of the planning system in terms of biodiversity and says it does not get the precedence that it should. 

The Green MSP says he is glad a strong marker has been put down in terms of the National Ecological Network.

There is a need for due process and strong partnership working says Greens MSP

Greens MSP Mark Ruskell
BBC
Greens MSP Mark Ruskell

Greens MSP Mark Ruskell says there is a need for due process and strong partnership working.

Mr Ruskell says communities are getting increasingly involved in the management of parks.

"That's the good news," he says, pointing out that there are challenges and the quality of parks is going down.

Background: Scientists warn of 'unsafe' decline in biodiversity

An international team of scientists has issued a warning that biodiversity is dropping below safe levels for the support and wellbeing of human societies.

As a species we are inextricably connected with the processes of our local ecosystems, such as crop pollination, waste decomposition and regulation of the carbon cycle.


          The majority of the Earth's land coverage was found to be below safe values of 90% biodiversity
Science - T Newbold
The majority of the Earth's land coverage was found to be below safe values of 90% biodiversity

These ecosystems depend on the biological diversity within them to function.

The planetary boundaries framework updated in 2015 states that losing more than 10% of the biodiversity in an area places the local ecosystem at risk.

A report in  Science  this week states that 58% of the world's land coverage already falls below this safe level. They find that the global average of biodiversity has dropped to 85% of that of unaffected ecosystems.

A national ecological network should be the jewel in the crown of Scotland's infrastructure

Mr Ruskell says the land use strategy has been pushed to the back of the climate change plan so far.

The Green MSP says there should be sustainable land use.

He says SNH are starting the conversation this year about how a national ecological network could look like.

The Green MSP says this should be the jewel in the crown of Scotland's infrastructure.

'We need to plan for our green infrastructure'

Greens MSP Mark Ruskell
BBC

Greens MSP Mark Ruskell says it appears it will be a unanimous vote on biodiversity which is good. 

Mr Ruskell says the decline in key species is not something that any one government should feel responsible for but putting nature first has never truly taken place. 

The Greens MSP says "we need to plan for our green infrastructure". 

He says the land use strategy should underpin this. 

Here is the Scottish Greens amendment.

Here is the Scottish Greens amendment.

Greens amendment
Scottish Parliament

Labour MSP praises Scottish Wildlife Trust on bee protection

Honey bee populations have fallen sharply in recent years
Thinkstock
Honey bee populations have fallen sharply in recent years

Ms Beamish says the Scottish Wildlife Trust is trying to protect bees.

She says this is an encouraging model that should be adopted across Scotland.

Scottish Wildlife Trust
Scottish Wildlife Trust
Scottish Wildlife Trust

'The government must raise awareness of biodiversity'

Labour MSP Claudia Beamish
BBC

Labour MSP Claudia Beamish says her amendment highlights the need to embed biodiversity in land decisions.

Ms Beamish says biodiversity should be embedded to all marine activities and sectors.

The Labour MSP says 16% of our marine protected areas are now under protection. 

She says continued monitoring, funding and resourcing is essential. 

Ms Beamish says "the government must raise awareness of biodiversity" and encourage people to do what they can to help. 

Here is the Labour amendment

Labour amendment
Scottish Parliament

Here's a reminder of some of the MSPs that are species champions...

Scottish Environment Link Species Champions
Scottish Environment Link
Scottish Environment Link Species Champions

Last November  Scottish Environment Link  Wildlife Subgroup Leader Deborah Long said 

“Scotland’s biodiversity is under more pressure than ever before, from human activities including climate change, over-exploitation of the sea, intensive agriculture and development. 

"One in 11 Scottish species is at risk of extinction."

Read our report on the re-launch of the species champion initiative member's debate here  and remember to refresh the page a couple of times!

Tory MSP says lets build consensus on biodiversity

Garden disttict of Edingurh
Murray Estates
Murray Estates, controlled by former Rangers owner Sir David Murray, has been granted planning permission for the first phase of the new 600-acre "garden district" by councillors.

Mr Golden says we are seeing the steady erosion of our cherished green belt.

The Tory MSP says yes there is a need for new housing, but not at the expense of our green belt or biodiversity.

He calls for a biodiversity baseline to be established and protections to be put in place for endangered species.

Mr Golden says lets build consensus on biodiversity.

'SNP government has come up short'

Tory MSP Maurice Golden
BBC

Tory MSP Maurice Golden says there is increasing evidence that access to nature can promote wellbeing and mental health.

Mr Golden says he agrees with the motion and his amendment seeks to make clear that while there has been progress there is more to be done.

The Tory MSP says he believes the Green and Labour amendments contribute and improve to the motion.

He says setting an ambitious target is not the same as achieving it and the "SNP government has come up short". 

Here is the Conservative amendment

Here is the Conservative amendment
Scottish Parliament
Here is the Conservative amendment

Background: One in 11 Scottish species 'at risk of extinction'

The study says 18% of butterflies are at risk of dying out
Iain H Leach
The study says 18% of butterflies are at risk of dying out

One in 11 native species of animals and plants in Scotland is at risk of extinction , a report by 50 wildlife and research organisations suggested last September.

The group's State of Nature 2016 report says 18% of butterflies, 15% of dragonflies and 13% of plants face dying out.

Across the UK, 13% of species assessed are under threat of disappearing.

The report calls for "significant investment in the environment to ensure year-on-year improvement".

It says changes in agricultural practices - including the use of pesticides and the loss of hedgerows - are among the biggest factors behind the "widespread decline" of nature.

The minister says she will shortly lay a report on all the aspects of biodiversity

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham
bbc
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham

Ms Cunningham says she has asked Scottish Natural Heritage to lead on biodiversity.

The minister says she will shortly lay a report on all the aspects of biodiversity. 

She says she is minded to simply accept all three amendments as she doubts there is much difference on these issues.

Reintroduced beavers to stay after being granted native species status

Beavers were reintroduced in Argyll in 2009
Laurie Campbell
Beavers were reintroduced in Argyll in 2009

Beavers reintroduced to Scotland will be allowed to remain and will be given protected status, the Scottish government announced last November.

Eurasian beavers taken from Norway were released at Knapdale in Argyll in 2009. An illegally-released population has also been discovered in Tayside.

Both groups will be allowed to expand naturally but will be managed to protect farmers and land owners.

Native Scottish beavers were hunted to extinction in the 16th century.

'The killing of raptors remains a national disgrace'

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham says she cannot ignore the reintroduction of the beaver.

Ms Cunningham says thanks to the joined up working of the stakeholder this has been possible.

poisoned eagle
RSPB Scotland

The environment secretory says there is a long way to go in reintroducing the Scottish wildcat. 

She says the government would not hesitate to take action against illegal releases. 

"The killing of raptors remains a national disgrace," she says. 

'We should celebrate our biodiversity'

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham
bbc
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham says we should celebrate our biodiversity and address any challenging issues.

Ms Cunningham says 13 Marine Protection Areas have been implemented.

Shes says the Marine Acts make provisions for marine planning.

The minister moves on to peatland restoration.

Ms Cunningham says the government has identified an additional £8m to support peatland restoration.

Here is the government motion

Here is the government motion.

Government motion
Scottish Parliament

Biodiversity debate

The Scottish government will now lead a debate on biodiversity.

Housing minister asks parliament to approve the order

Kevin Stewart
BBC

Mr Stewart says if the Scottish Conservatives were doing their jobs properly they would be lobbying the chancellor for more money.

The housing minister says all local authorities have finalised there own budgets apart from Clackmananshire. 

He says 11 councils have decided not to increase council tax by the full 3% available to them. 

Mr Stewart says Mr Rumbles talked about voting against the order which shows his impotence. 

He encourages parliament to support the order to ensure local authorities can get on with providing services. 

Minister says the Scottish government has treated local government very fairly

Money
Getty Images

Mr Stewart says today's local government finance order seeks agreement to the main allocation of revenue funding for 2017-18.

The total funding amounts to over £10.4bn with revenue funding of £9.6bn, says the local government minister.

He says there will be an additional £107m for social care and health, as well as supporting the attainment gap. 

Mr Stewart says the Scottish government has treated local government very fairly.

Housing minster says there should have been more talk of Westminster cuts today

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart
BBC

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart says the government are looking for support for this settlement for an additional £9.3bn for the 32 local authorities in Scotland. 

Mr Stewart says there should have been more talk about Westminster cuts today. 

Tories to back local government order but also Labour amendment


          Tories to back local government order but also Labour amendment
bbc
Tories to back local government order but also Labour amendment

Mr Simpson says local government is getting a "rum deal".

He asks if any of the £350m coming to Scotland will go to local government.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay asks when the Tories had this conversion to more money for local government, as it was not asked in discussions with me.

Mr Simpson says the finance secretary did not answer the point and "we can assume there will be no more money."

He says the Tories will back the order but also Labour's amendment, as they agree with every word of it.

'If we were to vote this down local government would not get any money'

Tory MSP Graham Simpson says Derek Mackay looks more like he is in the Proclaimers than he does like Superman, referring to Murdo Fraser's earlier comparison.

Derek Mackay and the Proclaimers
BBC
Tory MSP likens Finance Secretary Derek Mackay to the Proclaimers

Mr Simpson goes on to say the local government settlement, despite the smoke and mirrors, which sees another year on year cut and he cites the Accounts Commission report which he says highlights 15,000 jobs lost.

Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles asks why the Tories will not vote against the order and provide strong opposition. 

Mr Simpson says: "If we were to vote this down local government would not get any money."

Local authorities being 'penalised'

Local government services
BBC

Labour MSP James Kelly says there is an accumulation of decisions made by the government which means local authorities are being penalised.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart says Labour have been disingenuous and asks if it would be fair to increase the taxes for those earning £11,500 to pay for Tory austerity.

Mr Kelly says it is not true to say people on that level of income would pay more under Labour plans.

The Labour MSP says the finance secretary has done nothing with the additional powers.