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Summary

  1. MSPs take evidence from witnesses including FSB and the Scottish Retail Consortium on non-domestic rates
  2. Portfolio questions focuses on justice and the law officers and then culture, tourism and external affairs
  3. The Scottish Greens lead a debate on carers and social care
  4. SNP MSP George Adam leads this evening's member's debate on MS Awareness week

Live Reporting

By Colin Bell and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

'We have a hugely professional and committed workforce within our NHS'

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell
BBC

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell pays tribute to SNP MSP George Adam and to others in the chamber.

Ms Campbell says the government believes everyone living with MS should be able to access the support that they need.

The public health minister says specialist nurses work within multi-disciplinary teams. 

She says additional funding was provided for specialist MS nurses. 

Ms Campbell says the number of specialist neurological nurses have increased and the government knows more needs to be done.

She says "we have a hugely professional and committed workforce within our NHS."

SNP MSP shares concern of MS specialist nurse shortages in NHS Lanarkshire

SNP MSP Claire Adamson
BBC

SNP MSP Claire Adamson says she shares the concerns of others on the shortage of specialist nurses at NHS Lanarkshire.

Ms Adamson says she ha written to NHS Lanarkshire and believes that there should be clarity around how it plans to meet provision going forward. 

Ms Adamson says her older sister who is 59 suffers from MS and explains the importance of the support that specialist nurses provide saying that "it is someone on the end of the phone".

More research is needed in MS says Lib Dem MSP

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur
BBC

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur says more research is needed in MS. 

Mr McArthur says there is a specialist nurse dealing with MS in Orkney. 

The Lib Dem MSP says Orkney appears to be meeting the MS standard of provision but that is not to say more cannot be done. 

He says pays tribute to Angela Montieth who campaigned and raised awareness of MS in Orkney, 

Mr McArthur says Ms Monteith, who suffered from MS herself, sadly passed away recently but she left a lasting legacy. 

Tory MSP pays tribute to his father's courage in living with MS

Donald Cameron
BBC

Tory MSP Donald Cameron refers to his father who has suffered from MS for 32 years.

Mr Cameron says he was diagnosed at the age of 40 and this is the age that he is now.

The Tory MSP pays tribute to his fahter's courage in living with the condition, saying, "I have never heard him complain".

Mr Cameron says he has seen first hand how it can affect families and the challenges that sufferers face in everyday life.

SNP MSP commends 'innovating and pioneering' MS research at Edinburgh University

SNP MSP Ben Macpherson
BBC

SNP MSP Ben Macpherson congratulates Dean Reilly who ran the London marathon at for the MS Society to raise awareness of his campaign Dean vs MS. 

Mr Macpherson says it is important to celebrate the work at Edinburgh University to find a cure to this disease.

"It is innovating and pioneering," he says. 

'We want to see independence in mobility'

Green MSP John Finnie
BBC
Green MSP John Finnie

Green MSP John Finnie congratulates SNP MSP George Adam on his work in the area and his positive outlook which, he thinks, "is an essential characteristic of a St Mirren fan". 

Mr Finnie says "we want to see independence in mobility," adding that the challenges in bus travel are well known.

He says there is a lot of partisan ground that recognise the real benefits that carers provide and today's earlier debate showed that.

'It is not acceptable that things have gotten to this stage'

Labour MSP Monica Lennon
BBC

Labour MSP Monica Lennon says she is concerned about the picture is NHS Lanarkshire.

Ms Lennon says she is the first to defend the NHS but that she was very upset that NHS Lanarkshire had a go and accused unnamed people of scaremongering.

The Labour MSP says she has emailed her concerns to NHS Lanarkshire and she has had a reply saying that remarks were not aimed at MS sufferers.

"it is not acceptable that things have gotten to this stage," she says.

MSPs should listen to those who suffer from MS says Clare Haughey

SNP MSP Clare Haughey
BBC

SNP MSP Clare Haughey refers to Sharon saying she has the same responsibilities as many, working as a nurse and caring for a family but that she has MS.

Ms Haughey says MS can be difficult when people do not understand it or expect her to constantly get worse.

The SNP MSP says that Sharon was diagnosed when her son was four and he has grown up knowing his mum cannot do certain things.

She says the MSPs should listen to those who suffer from MS and that she is also concerned by the lack of specialist MS nurses in Lanarkshire. 

Background: Scottish universities to lead MS and MND research

Scientist
Thinkstock

Scottish universities are to lead research into the debilitating neurological conditions multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease.

Sixteen research programmes were announced in December to tackle the two conditions.

MND is a rare condition affecting the nervous system, while MS causes the immune system to attack the lining of nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

Training will be led by the University of Edinburgh, with involvement from Glasgow, Dundee and St Andrews.

Three Phds into motor neurone disease and three which will research multiple sclerosis will be led by the University of Edinburgh.

Call for a review of all specialist nurses in Scotland

Tory MSP Miles Briggs
bbc
Tory MSP Miles Briggs

Tory MSP Miles Briggs congratulates George Adam for his consistent campaigning on MS.

Mr Briggs says he shares Mr Adam's concern about the number of MS specialist nurses in Scotland.

He says he has called on a the government to carry out a review of all specialist nurses in Scotland.

The Tory MSP calls for the implementation of Frank's Law to apply to MS sufferers under 65 years old as well as those with Alzheimer's. 

Background: MS Trust

MS Trust homepage
MS Trust

Taken from the MS Trust website:

"The MS Trust is a UK charity that believes that no one should have to manage MS alone. We provide trusted information to help people with MS live the best life possible; train and educate MS health professionals to offer the best care and fund MS nurses in the areas of greatest need."

SNP MSP will continue to fight the case for specialist nurses in NHS Lanarkshire

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor
BBC

SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor says MS is a lifelong neurological condition affecting 11,000 people living in Scotland. 

Mr MacGregor says Scotland should take the lead in tackling this issue and he pays tribute to the health professionals that provide support. 

The SNP MSP says he will continue to fight the case for specialist nurses in NHS Lanarkshire. 

'No matter what life throws at us it is not going to get us down'

George and Stacey Adam
bbc
George and Stacey Adam

Mr Adam says he understands that neurological standards are being reviewed at the moment.

The SNP MSP says NHS Lanarkshire only had one MS nurse and that individual left to another MS specialist role.

He says that the specialist nurses caseload is heavy because there are not many of them. 

Mr Adam says there is no cure for MS but that research is advancing fast. 

"No matter what life throws at us it is not going to get us down," he says. 

SNP MSP says there are not enough MS specialist nurses in Scotland

SNP MSP George Adam
bbc
SNP MSP George Adam

Mr Adam seems to stray into St Mirren Football Fandom, but brings it back to talk about MS again.

The SNP MSP says an MS nurse can monitor your condition and offer specialist help, but there are not enough MS specialist nurses in Scotland

He says11,000 people living with MS in Scotland need this support.

Background: MS Society Scotland

MS Society website
MS Society

Taken from the MS Society Scotland website:

"There are over 11,000 of us with MS in Scotland. This makes MS more common in Scotland than most other countries in the world.

We understand what life’s like with MS. From the Borders to Shetland, our community is here for you through the highs, lows and everything in between.

Together we’re stronger."

Stacey 'never backs off from a challenge and, unfortunately for me, a fight'

Stacey Adam
BBC
SNP MSP George Adam's wife Stacey watches her husband's opening speech from the gallery.

SNP MSP George Adam says he welcomes what has become known as "Stacey's MS Awareness week" referring to his wife, Stacey, who suffers from MS.

Mr Adam says he has been told by colleagues that he always says that and his response is "yes and I've been married for 21 years."

The SNP MSP says MS does not define his wife Stacey and that no one sees her as a vulnerable adult.  

"She never backs off from a challenge and, unfortunately for me, a fight," he says. 

SNP MSP concerned about nurse provision in some areas

Mr Adam says that, due to factors such as improved diagnosis, consensus around early treatment, and increased monitoring requirements, the role of the nurse has changed significantly over the years.

The SNP MSP believes that the provision of these nurses is vital to ensuring that there is appropriate support for people across the country.

Nurse
Thinkstock

He says he is concerned that some areas might not have adequate provision.

Mr Adam commends charities such as the MS Society Scotland and the MS Trust for championing the cause of people living with the condition.

He calls for members of all parties to get loud for tackling MS during the awareness week.

MS Awareness Week

SNP MSP George Adam uses his motion to highlight that MS Awareness Week 2017 will run from 23 April to 1 May.

Mr Adam says that this is an opportunity to put multiple sclerosis (MS) on the agenda and raise awareness and understanding of the neurological condition.

MS patient with nurse
BBC

The SNP MSP says that MS affects more than 11,000 people in Scotland.

He pays tribute to the significant role that health professionals play in helping people with MS manage their condition, in particular the MS-specialist nurses who often provide frontline support.

Background: MS Awareness Week 2017: 24–30 April

MS Trust
MS Trust

Taken from the MS Trust website:

"2017 is the 25th anniversary of the beginnings of MS specialist nursing in the UK. In this time we've seen MS nurses change the lives of thousands of people affected by MS. This year we want to celebrate this work, and with your help build on these achievements to make sure no one has to manage MS alone. Look out for further details very soon."

MS Awareness Week debate begins...

SNP MSP George Adam will now lead a debate on MS Awareness Week.

Here is Mr Adam's motion:

Motion
Scottish Parliament

Approval of SSI on International Organisations draft is agreed to

The Approval of SSI on the International Organisations (Immunities and Privileges) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2017 [draft] is agreed to with 104 MSPS backing it and with  6 against.

Motion
Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Green motion, as amended by the government, is agreed to

The Scottish Green motion, as amended by the Scottish government, is agreed to with 82 MSPs backing it and 28 against.

Motion
Scottish Parliament
Amendment
Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Labour amendment is not agreed to

The Scottish Labour amendment is not agreed to with 48 MSPs voting for it and with 62 against

Labour amendment
Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Tory amendment is not agreed to

The Scottish Tory amendment is not agreed to, with 28 MSPs backing it and 82 against.

Tory amendment
Scottish Parliament

The Scottish government amendment is agreed to

The Scottish government amendment is agreed to with  66 MSPs backing it and 44 against.

Amendment
Scottish Parliament

We now move to decision time

We now move to decision time

Green MSP speaks against parliamentary bureau motion on international organisations

Green MSP John Finnie
bbc
Green MSP John Finnie

Green MSP John Finnie speaks against the SSI S5M-05333.

Which states that the parliament agrees that the International Organisations (Immunities and Privileges) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2017 [draft] be approved.

Legal Affairs Minster Annabelle Ewing defends the order and calls for its approval.

Green MSP says all social care staff must be paid at least a Living Wage Plus

Green MSP Patrick Harvie
bbc
Green MSP Patrick Harvie

Mr Harvie says the chronic and long term undervaluing of care services must be redressed urgently.

The Green MSP says all social care staff must be paid at least a Living Wage Plus to a level of £9.20 and lifting the care allowance by 50%.

He expresses concern about the hidden caring that is going on in society.

Greens will not support government and Tory amendments

Mother and child silhouette
BBC

Mr Harvie says there are aspects of this that so far only exist on paper.

The Green MSP says paid and unpaid care is mostly provided by women and has an impact on women's lives.

He says it also has acute impacts on young people. 

Mr Harvie says the government amendment deletes support for the Living Wage Plus and therefore the Greens will not support it.

He says his party will also not be supporting the Tory amendment. 

Call for a timetable for the topping up of the carers allowance for unpaid carers

Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie
bbc
Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie

Green MSP Patrick Harvie says people caring for each other is fundamental to human existence. 

Mr Harvie says there is a vast gap between the value of care and the support or pay carers receive.

He says nobody should face poverty because of the care they give.  

The Green MSP  says there is a degree of consensus on this in today's debate as none of the amendments take out these statements from the Green motion.

He calls for a timetable for the topping up of the carers allowance for unpaid carers.

Carers need to be part of the dialogue in creating a fairer Scotland says minister

Aileen Campbell
BBC

Green MSP Patrick Harvie intervenes to say the government amendment says that all those providing social care should get the Real Living Wage.

Mr Harvie says currently this is only extended to adult carers.

Ms Campbell says that it has already been confirmed that the government will extend this to as many as possible. 

The public health minister says more needs to be done and carers need to be part of the dialogue in creating a fairer Scotland.