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Summary

  1. MSPs take evidence on a petition calling for the introduction of individual risk-based blood donation in Scotland
  2. Nicola Sturgeon is quizzed by opposition ministers during first minister's questions
  3. Labour MSP Neil Findlay leads this afternoon's member's debate entitled 'Flawed Airport Consultation'
  4. Social Security Minister Jeanne Freeman will no giver a ministerial statement on Scotland's Social Security Agency
  5. MSPs debate the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill at stage 1

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from Holyrood Live

Holyrood Live
BBC

That brings our coverage of the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 27 April 2017 to a close.

We'll be back next week.

Until then, have a good weekend. 

MSPs back the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill Financial Resolution

The Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill Financial Resolution
Scottish Parliament

MSPs back the financial resolution for the bill.

MSPs unanimously back the general principles of the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill

MSPs unanimously back the general principles of the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill. 

The Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill is
Scottish Parliament

Minister says MSPs back the general principles of the bill

Ms Ewing says there is consensus in backing the general principles of the Limitation (Childhood Abuse)(Scotland) Bill.

'Not all cases identified by police will result in civil actions'

Annabelle Ewing
BBC

Ms Ewing says she absolutely recognises that the estimates of cases is "not an exact science" and that the government have "no way of knowing" the exact figures at this stage."

The community safety and legal affairs minister says that the government have used a range of sources to reach this estimate and there has been no other way of doing this.

"Not all cases identified by police will result in civil actions," she says. 

Ms Ewing says she also recognises that the costs may exceed the estimates. 

Minister says it is important that the definition of abuse sends the right signal

Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing says decisions around civil actions are complex.

Ms Ewing says the government is looking at ways to improve the support for survivors.

She says it is important that the definition of abuse sends the right signal while avoiding unintended consequences.

The minister says she will reflect on the definition of abuse.

'Pursuing justice for this group of people should not be obscured'

Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing
BBC

Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Annabelle Ewing says "pursuing justice for this group of people should not be obscured." 

Ms Ewing says she will give consideration to the issues raised during the debate and she is grateful to contributors for their tone.

The community safety and legal affairs minister says the the government have invested in support for survivors. 

Tory MSP says there must be support in place for survivors

Ms Wells says pursuing a civil action will not always be the right solution for all survivors.

The Tory MSP says there must be support in place for survivors.

She asks hat the Scottish government can do for those abused before 1964.

'Conservative estimate' of cases presents financial and practical concerns

Annie Wells
BBC

Ms Wells says underpinning this bill is the unique challenges that survivors face. 

The Tory MSP says it takes survivors an average of eight years to tell someone about their abuse.

She says the committee has highlighted what it sees as a "conservative estimate" on the survivors that may come forward.

Ms Wells says this presents financial and practical concerns. 

Tory MSP highlights unanimous agreement to lift the three year time bar

Conservative MSP Annie Wells
bbc
Conservative MSP Annie Wells

Conservative MSP Annie Wells joins other MSPs praising the survivors who gave evidence to the commitee.

Ms Wells reiterates her party's support for the Limitation (Childhood Abuse)(Scotland) Bill.

The Tory MSP says everyone understands the rationale for the three year time bar, however MSPs are in unanimous agreement that the time limitation for survivors of childhood abuse should be lifted.

Labour MSP supports the inclusion of neglect

Mary Fee
BBC

Ms Fee says Labour would like to see a model suiting Scotland's needs and, more importantly, survivor's needs. 

The Labour MSP says she supports the inclusion of neglect.

She says there are serious concerns that there will be financial implications and that the government should confirm, in due course, how it intends to deal with that. 

There must be support for survivors to make the right decision says Labour MSP

Labour MSP Mary Fee says the bill will give survivors further choices.

Ms Fee says for some civil action could bring about more harm than abuse.

There must be support for survivors to make the right decision, she says.

The Labour MSP says survivors must be helped to make the right individual choice.

Labour MSP salutes the "outstanding bravery" of survivors

Mary Fee
BBC

In closing for Labour, Mary Fee says she salutes the "outstanding bravery" of survivors. 

The Labour MSP says these are highly sensitive and emotive issues and clearly a priority that everyone in the chamber shares.

Ms Fee says she has a few reservations about some of the small technical details of the bill.

She says the current three year limitation rule is a barrier to justice and, by removing it, survivors can take their civil rights to the courts.

SNP MSP says he welcomes the aims of the bill to improve access to justice

SNP MSP Ben Macpherson
bbc
SNP MSP Ben Macpherson

SNP MSP Ben Macpherson says the Justice Committee worked collaboratively and constructively on this important bill.

Mr Macpherson praises the survivors who gave evidence in private, which was "incredibly moving and upsetting".

The SNP MSP says he welcomes the aims of the bill to improve access to justice by removing the three year time limit.

He says: "This bill will rightly address that injustice."

'The law should be a facilitator and not a barrier to survivors'

Tory MSP Gordon Lindhurst
BBC

Tory MSP Gordon Lindhurst says he welcomes the government seeking to address the issue of child abuse past, present and future. 

Mr Lindhurst says "the law should be a facilitator and not a barrier to survivors."

The Tory MSP commends the Justice Committee for the way they have approached this issue and the comprehensive report provided.

He says the government has sought to estimate the number of survivors who may raise an action and says it should be prepared for more survivors coming forward. 

Background: Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill

The Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill would:

  • end the three-year limitation period for personal injury actions where the person raising the action was a child (under the age of 18) at the time the injury occurred and the act or omission to which the child's injuries were attributable constituted abuse
  • remove the limitation period whether the abuse occurred before or after the commencement of the new provisions
  • and apply to abuse that took place after 26 September 1964.

Scottish Greens will support the general principles of the bill

Green MSP John Finnie
BBC

Green MSP John Finnie says the Scottish Green Party will be supporting the general principles of the bill at decision time. 

Mr Finnie says the policy is about removing barriers and that the balance has been struck here. 

The Green MSP says it is important to remember that all survivors are individuals. 

He refers to an individual who is a survivor and, because of the system, he was passed around and not dealt with properly. 

Mr Finnie says the committee has asked the government to look at the group who suffered abuse before 1964 and consider what other redress may be available. 

Background: Time bar on child sex abuse damages cases 'should be lifted'

Head in hand
Thinkstock

Plans to scrap the time bar on child sexual abuse survivors suing for damages have been backed by Holyrood's justice committee.

The Scottish government wants to end the three-year limit on bringing a civil action.

It would mean that cases from as long ago as 1964 could be heard in court.

A justice committee report has now supported the government bill, which it is hoped would "remove a barrier" for survivors to access civil justice.

It said : "Survivors have been let down by the justice system and denied the opportunity to have their voices heard."

Lib Dems strongly support the general principles of the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur
bbc
Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur says his party strongly supports the general principles of the Limitation(Childhood Abuse)(Scotland) Bill.

Mr McArthur offers special thanks to the survivors for their strength and courage in giving evidence.

He says these changes to the law are essential.

The Lib Dem MSP says the courts have discretion to remove the time bar, but it has scarcely been used.

He says the bill needs to go further to include neglect.

Background: No change to focus of child abuse inquiry, Swinney says

Mr Swinney told MSPs that he would not be expanding the inquiry to include abuse in non-residential settings
bbc
Mr Swinney told MSPs that he would not be expanding the inquiry to include abuse in non-residential settings

The Scottish child abuse inquiry will remain focused solely on the abuse of children who were in care, John Swinney confirmed last November.

The education secretary told MSPs he would amend the terms of reference of the inquiry to "clarify" its remit.

He said including abuse in non-residential settings would make the inquiry take much longer.

The probe into the nature and extent of abuse of children in care in Scotland is expected to last four years.  

Read more here.

Bill marks 'progress' in attitudes and understanding'

Labour MSP Johann Lamont
BBC

Labour MSP Johann Lamont says this bill marks progress and that survivors should be saluted for speaking up and speaking out.

Ms Lamont says the bill represents a change in attitude and understanding. 

The Labour MSP says time bar only served to tell survivors that their abuse did not count. 

She says this is a powerful message that it is unacceptable. 

'This is a matter of principle, not a matter of money'

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson
BBC

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson says he welcomes the bill but takes no pleasure that it has had to come to this.

Mr Stevenson says "the courts are one way of getting peace after abuse" pointing out that support should also be offered to people outside the court process.

The SNP MSP says he wonders if there may be an opportunity to extend the scope to people who may be over 18 but have a more limited capacity. 

He says this is a principled matter where we want to support people and the practicalities will have to be worked out. 

"This is a matter of principle, not a matter of money," he says. 

Labour support the bill

Claire Baker
BBC

Ms Baker says the bill will not apply to cases prior to 1964.

The Labour MSP says the committee raised concerns about the financial impacts of the bill.

She says the government will have Labour's support on the bill.

Background: Child abuse inquiry: Survivors have 'no trust left'

Survivors groups say they feel failed by the inquiry
Thinkstock
Survivors groups say they feel failed by the inquiry

Child abuse survivors' groups  said they had "no trust left" in Scotland's Child Abuse Inquiry in February.

White Flowers Alba and In Care Abuse Survivors Group both called for urgent answers from the Scottish government on the future of the inquiry.

The probe has been plagued by problems and all three original panel members have now resigned.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said he understood the concerns but told the BBC the inquiry was gathering momentum.

Read more here.

Labour MSP says there is a further debate to be had around the definition of abuse in the bill

Labour MSP Claire Baker says the bill is welcome it is regrettable it has taken so long to come to fruition.

Ms Baker says the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has been hugely problematic.

She says she supports the broad principles of the bill.

Ms Baker says there is a further debate to be had around the definition of abuse in the bill.

Time bar does not recognise that it can take survivors years to come forward

Labour MSP Claire Baker
BBC
Labour MSP Claire Baker

Labour MSP Claire Baker says access to the civil justice system is something survivors should have access too and that is something this bill seeks to achieve.

Ms Baker says this is may not be a path that all survivors have to take.

The Labour MSP says time bar does not recognise that it can take years for some survivors to realise that what has happened to them is wrong.

The bill is an important step forward for many as an access to justice

Douglas Ross
bbc
Douglas Ross

Mr Ross says there is a compelling argument that many people who have waited decades will want to raise an action after the bill becomes law.

The Conservative MSP says this bill is no panacea, it will not be a solution to everyone, but there can be no doubting the bill is an important step forward for many as an access to justice.

Concerns have only received 'superficial responses' from the government

Mr Ross says while there is support for this legislation there are also concerns that he hopes the government will continue to consider. 

The Tory MSP says some of the concerns have only received "superficial responses" from the government so far.

He says that one such concern is around the financial memorandum. 

Mr Ross says it is essential that those who will now be able to bring forward cases that they previously couldn't because of time bar are not left frustrated because it is not properly resourced. 

Conservative MSP says his party supports the bill and its aims.

Conservative MSP Douglas Ross
bbc
Conservative MSP Douglas Ross

Conservative MSP Douglas Ross says his party supports the bill and its aims.

Mr Ross also pays tribute to everyone who gave evidence and praises the bravery of the victims.

He says the committee heard powerful evidence that the time bar was a barrier to justice.

The Tory MSP says victims often do not come forward until many years, or indeed many decades, after the abuse.

Committee call on the government to make sure the bill is properly resourced

Ms Mitchell says suffice to say that the minister told the committee that this bill is about striking balances and the Justice Committee recognises this.

The Justice Committee convener says there may be an administrative burden and the report highlights the impact that there may be on the bill's provision of services.

She says the committee called on the government to make sure the bill is properly resourced.

Ms Mitchell says the bill is fully supported by the committee.

Tory MSP says the definition of abuse includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse

Ms Mitchell
bbc

Ms Mitchell says if a survivor does not decide to pursue a civil action they will have the option of pursuing other avenues through the Scottish Childhood Abuse Inquiry or the Apologies Act.

The Tory MSP says the definition of abuse includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

She says the committee heard strong evidence calling for neglect to be included.

The Justice Committee convener says there is no precedent for legislating away decrees of absolvitor.

Time bar a 'barrier to justice'

Ms Mitchell says survivors have been let down by the justice system and therefore the bill removes limitation referred to as time bar.

The Justice Committee convener says the committee is unanimous in the need for this bill to removes time bar which is a "barrier to justice".

The Tory MSP says it is extremely important to realise that survivors should have the choice to seek justice through the courts and that, if they do decide to take this course, they should be supported.

Justice Committee convener pays tribute to the survivors of child abuse who gave evidence

Justice Committee convener Margaret Mitchell
Justice Committee Margaret Mitchell
Justice Committee convener Margaret Mitchell

Justice Committee convener Margaret Mitchell pays tribute to the survivors of child abuse who were willing to share their experiences with the committee.

Ms Mitchell says: "We fully recognise the immense courage it took to appear before the committee."

The Tory MSP says the courts have not accepted delay resulting from shame, fear or psychological difficulties arising from the abuse.

She says the discretion for judges has virtually never been used.

The bill is about recognising the unique position of survivors

Ms Ewing says there will be cases where issues of fairness and prejudice will have to be carefully assessed. 

The minister says section 17d is a difficult area and each case will have to be considered on its own circumstances.

She says she is keen to avoid a checklist approach .

Ms Ewing says this bill is about recognising the unique position of survivors. 

The minister says the legislation already goes further than other jurisdictions

Annabelle Ewing
bbc

Ms Ewing says she is satisfied the provisions in the bill are convention compatible.

The minister says the legislation already goes further than other jurisdictions.

Minister has considered evidence on different forms abuse can take

Ms Ewing says she has considered the evidence about the different forms that abuse can take.

The minister says it is important to point out that for types of abuse not included in the bill, the language is inclusive.

Ms Ewing says cases that have previously been raised and affected by time bar can be relitigated.

She says this includes those that have a decree of absolvitor.