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Summary

  1. The Equalities and Human Rights Committee takes evidence on destitution, asylum and immigration status in Scotland
  2. Child fares on public transport and A&E waiting times are among the issues raised in general questions
  3. Nicola Sturgeon is quizzed by opposition MSPs during first minister's questions
  4. Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie leads this afternoon's member's debate on the future of Elmwood campus
  5. The Scottish government delivers four ministerial statements on the mental health strategy, transvaginal mesh implants, unconventional oil and gas and the Enterprise and Skills Review

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from the Holyrood Live team

Holyrood night
BBC

That's all from the Holyrood Live team for Thursday 30 March 2017.

We'll be taking a break during the parliamentary recess and will return on Tuesday 18 April 2017.

Have a good night. 

Summary: Scotland's enterprise agencies to retain own boards


          Economy Secretary Keith Brown confirmed to MSPs that Scotland's enterprise agencies would retain their boards
bbc
Economy Secretary Keith Brown confirmed to MSPs that Scotland's enterprise agencies would retain their boards

Highlands and Islands Enterprise is to retain its board but also work with a new strategic set-up.

The Scottish Funding Council and other enterprise and skills public bodies will also keep their boards and "have a seat" on the new strategic board.

HIE, along with the other bodies, has been the subject of a review.

The process has been the source of  a political row  with opposition MSPs accusing the Scottish government of centralisation.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown confirmed to MSPs that Scotland's enterprise agencies would retain their boards.

Read more here.

After that political feast ..... time for the Easter recess

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh
bbc
Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh

There is now a wee delay before decision time before the parliamentary bureau motions are passed unanimously.

With that, Ken Macintosh closes the meeting of the parliament and that is the Easter recess.

And finally........ Tory MSP Dean Lockhart gets his chance to ask his question

Tory MSP Dean Lockhart is back from the naughty step and gets the last question when he expected the first.

Deputy Presiding Officer Christine Grahame put him to the back of the queue for missing the top of the statement.

Keith Brown and Dean Lockhart
BBC
Tory MSP Dean Lockhart (right) finally gets to ask Economy Secretary Keith Brown (left) his question.

Mind you the statement did start early, Ms Grahame says Mr Lockhart has learned the hard way because business always follows on.

Mr Lockhart says he was busy reading the statement and he starts on the u-turn and asks if Audit Scotland was right when it said the agencies were performing well, but the Scottish government needs a better strategy.

The minister says that is the point and purpose of the review and he says he is grateful for the engagement with Dean Lockhart.

SNP MSP raises duplication and asks if there will be more alignment

SNP MSP John Mason
BBC
SNP MSP John Mason

SNP MSP John Mason says the review found there is duplication amongst the agencies and asks if there will be more alignment. 

Economy Secretary Keith Brown says he thinks everyone agrees that there is duplication and that this needs to be rectified. 

Lib Dem MSP asks what the boards of HIE and the Funding Council are going to do

Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott
BBC
Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott

Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott says he welcomes the u-turn but he is struggling to square that with another line in the statement.

He asks what the boards of HIE and the Funding Council are going to do. 

Mr Brown says the boards will continue to do what they are doing now and there is potential for them to be more powerful than they are now. 

Green MSP thanks the cabinet secretary for listening on HIE board

Green MSP John Finnie
bbc
Green MSP John Finnie

Green MSP John Finnie thanks the cabinet secretary for listening on HIE board and asks for a meeting to hear Green concerns.

Mr Brown thanks Mr Finnie for his engagement and confirms he will be happy to meet him. 

SNP MSP raises HIE Moray

SNP MSP Richard Lochhead
BBC
SNP MSP Richard Lochhead

SNP MSP Richard Lochhead asks the economy secretary to recognise the work of HIE Moray and confirm that it will continue its good work.

Mr Brown says he can confirm that. 

Minister says there is no intention to change the functions or the structures of the SFC

Conservative MSP Liz Smith welcomes the retention of the boards of the enterprise and skills agencies.

Ms Smith asks if it will still be for Parliament to allocate the funding to the Scottish Funding council.

Mr Brown says there is no intention to change the functions or the structures of the SFC.

Labour MSP has sympathy for Keith Brown following 'difficult week'

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie
BBC
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie says she feels some sympathy for Keith Brown after a difficult week and that he appears to have made a series of u-turns on a new board.

Ms Baillie asks the minister to confirm that the new board will not be statutory and says she is surprised that he is not chairing this board.

Mr Brown says he believes it is important that a minister does not chair the board and these feelings are shared by the review group.

SUMMARY: Individual boards like HIE and the Scottish Funding Council will remain

Purpose of this review is to drive a step change in the performance of our economy

The minister says he recognises the value in bringing the Agencies together quickly to form an Implementation Board.

He says: "The core purpose of this review is to drive a step change in the performance of our economy, and to deliver strong, vibrant and inclusive growth."

Minister confirms the boards, of HIE, the SFC and the other agencies will remain

Keith Brown
BBC

Mr Brown says: "I confirm today that the boards, of HIE, the SFC and the other agencies will remain but there is an absolute expectation that the agencies will work to align their delivery to maximise their positive impact on the economy. 

"As I have previously promised, HIE will continue to be locally-based, managed and directed, and the new arrangements will protect and enhance their unique service."

Minister reiterates intention is to establish a strategic board

Energy Secretary Keith Brown says productivity growth is at the centre of the Enterprise and Skills Review and he says he wants it to increase the role of the agencies, including HIE and the Scottish Funding Council.

Students at lecture
BBC

Mr Brown says the commitment to create a strategic board will deliver benefits and he accepts there have been concerns about HIE and the Scottish Funding Council boards being merged.

He says he has relfected on the views in this chamber about the merger.

The minister reiterates intention is to establish a strategic board.

Parliament made its view clear over two debates says Keith Brown

Economy Secretary Keith Brown
BBC
Economy Secretary Keith Brown

Economy Secretary Keith Brown says, since January, there has been two debates in parliament during which MSPs have shared their views.

Mr Brown says phase one of the review set out the challenges faced.

The economy secretary says, despite challenges, the Scottish economy continues to perform. 

He says the status quo will not deliver the step change necessary. 

Background: Second defeat for Scots government over enterprise plans

Shirley-Anne Somerville
BBC
Earlier this month Shirley-Anne Somerville said the government would be "going forward in listening mode"

MSPs voted to demand the Scottish Funding Council retain its own board earlier this month , handing the government a second defeat over its enterprise and skills review.

Ministers want a new management body to oversee all of Scotland's enterprise and skills agencies, but opposition members want individual boards to stay.

Holyrood previously  voted to "reverse" the plans  as they relate to Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The government has pledged to set out its intentions in the coming weeks.

Background: New board to co-ordinate enterprise work in Scotland

Welder
Thinkstock
Highlands and Islands Enterprise supports businesses across north and west Scotland

The Scottish government set out plans to reform Scotland's enterprise and skills agencies in October.

It proposed setting up a new Scotland-wide statutory board to co-ordinate the activities of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The government said services already provided in the Highlands and Islands would be protected.

A new service was also proposed for the south of Scotland.

Enterprise and Skills Review Statement

Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Secretary Keith Brown will now give a ministerial statement on the Enterprise and Skills Review.

Has energy minister had his ears boxed for floughting the will of the parliament asks Rennie

Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie
bbc
Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie

Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie says there is nothing new here and says the minister continues to flought the will of the parliament and he asks has he had his ears boxed by the first minister for doing so.

Mr Wheelhouse says the government is sticking to the deadlines the committed to and he is respecting parliament by giving a statement during the consultation.

He says: "We are doing what we promised to do and I think we are doing it well."

Minister once again says 'now is not the time for a decision' says Greens MSP

Greens MSP Mark Ruskell
BBC
Greens MSP Mark Ruskell

Greens MSP Mark Ruskell says the minister has once again said "now is not the time for a decision".

Mr Ruskell says he respects the fact that the government has a timeframe but asks how important the consultation is for a legal outcome.

Mr Wheelhouse says there is very strong participation in the consultation exercise and it is only right that the public have their say.

The energy minister says the recommendation will be made to parliament and MSPs can debate on that.

Call for ban on fracking bill to be recognised as best way forward from Beamish

Labour MSP Claudia Beamish
bbc
Labour MSP Claudia Beamish

Labour MSP Claudia Beamish calls on the minister to recognise that her bill calling for the banning of fracking onhsore is the best way forward.

Mr Wheelhouse says the consultation is the best way forward and expert advice examined. 

Labour MSP says the parliament has already voted to ban fracking

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie
bbc
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie says the parliament has voted to ban fracking.

Ms Baillie says the minister is again saying he is cautiously consulting.

He says there is nothing new and nothing that that delivers on the will of parliament.

She says is this like the independence referendum saying there will be vote after vote until the SNP get the answer they want.

Mr Wheelhouse says the opposition called for a statement and the consultation is ongoing.

It is customary to let a consultation conclude before taking a decision and he says he would have thought Ms Baillie would want to hear the opinion of the Scottish people. 

Scottish Tories disappointed by the lack of information in statement

Tory MSP Alexander Burnett
BBC
Tory MSP Alexander Burnett

Tory MSP Alexander Burnett says he is disappointed with the lack of information in the statement.

Mr Burnett asks if the minister if information on a date will finally be given to those who are awaiting the decision. 

Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse says the Scottish Conservatives made no reference to underground coal gasification in their recent climate change strategy.

Mr Wheelhouse says he will leave Mr Burnett to "sit and scream from the sidelines". 

Energy minister says he will respect the will of parliament on fracking

Mr Wheelhouse
bbc

Mr Wheelhouse says after this the Scottish government will come to a carefully considered approach.

The energy minister says he will respect the will of parliament on this issue.