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Summary

  1. MSPs take evidence on the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill
  2. The Scottish government is asked about what action it is taking following the London terrorist attack, during topical questions
  3. At 11am the Scottish Parliament will observe a one minute silence as a mark of respect to those who died and those who have been affected by the incident in London on Saturday night
  4. The Justice Committee leads a debate on its inquiry into the Role and Purpose of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service
  5. SNP MSP Ivan McKee leads a member’s debate entitled ‘UK Green Deal, Supporting Aggrieved Householders’

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from Holyrood Live

FMQs collage
PA/Scottish Parliament
Join us tomorrow at 1.30pm for extensive coverage of first minister's questions

That ends our coverage of the Scottish Parliament for Tuesday 6 June.

We'll be back tomorrow morning with the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee at 10am.

Nicola Sturgeon will then be quizzed by opposition MSPs at 1:30pm in an unusual Wednesday edition of first minister's questions.

This will be followed by general questions and portfolio questions before the Scottish Parliament is suspended for the general election.

Have a lovely evening.

The minister says the UK government must resolve the situation

Some of the people in the gallery have been affected by the Green Deal scheme
bbc
Some of the people in the gallery have been affected by the Green Deal scheme

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart says the government has written to the current and previous UK secretary of state calling for the issue to be resolved urgently.

Mr Stewart says the government has also written to the Green Deal Ombudsman.

He says the Energy Savings Trust has been asked to provide support to those affected.

The minister says UK government must act on and resolve the situation and ensure it never happens again.

He says he hopes there will be satisfactory outcomes for those concerned.

'Failure of this defective scheme fully rests with the UK government'

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart
BBC

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart says this matter has seen many constituents being let down by the Green Deal.

Mr Stewart says the problems have been highlighted to the UK government.

The housing minister says the "failure of this defective scheme" fully rests with the UK government.

He says the Scottish government has made every effort to try and support those affected by the scheme.

The Tory MSP says nobody should get a raw deal when they are trying to improve their home

Conservative MSP John Scott
bbc
Conservative MSP John Scott

Conservative MSP John Scott says the Green Deal was launched in 2013 and strived to achieve the right balance, but it turned out it did not provide value for money.

He says a strict code of practice was put in place, but some companies ignored that.

Mr Scott cites the example of Home Energy Lifestyle Management.

He says the Green Deal Ombudsman can make companies wave charges and provide up to £25,000 in compensation.

The Tory MSP says nobody should get a raw deal when they are trying to improve their home.

Background: Green energy company fined £200,000 for nuisance call campaign

Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Limited made calls regarding solar panels
bbc
Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Limited made calls regarding solar panels

In 2015, a green energy company was issued with a record fine for making nuisance sales calls.

Home Energy and Lifestyle Management (Helms), based in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, was fined £200,000 for breaking marketing call regulations.

An Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) investigation found it made over six million automated calls as part of a marketing campaign for solar panels.

The company blamed another firm it had hired to make calls.

The watchdog received 242 complaints between October and December 2014.

Read more here and see a video story on the issue.

'It wasn't much of a deal and it turned out to be not very green at all'

Green MSP Mark Ruskell
BBC

Green MSP Mark Ruskell says "they say there is few things more stressful than moving house" but that this issue has left people unable to sell their houses.

Mr Ruskell says many home owners have been unable to get building warrants as a result of this.

The Green MSP says there was concerns before the Green Deal scheme was actually put in place and there was a failure to address them.

"It wasn't much of a deal and it turned out to be not very green at all," he says.

SNP MSP says Green Deal resulted in 'huge energy bills and huge debt'

SNP MSP Clare Haughey
bbc
SNP MSP Clare Haughey

SNP MSP Clare Haughey says 60 people attended a meeting for disgruntled people who took the Green Deal in her constituency.

Ms Haughey says solar panels were fitted to rooves in "Blantyre, which is not exactly the Costa del Sol".

She says home owners were not only charged for energy used but also energy produced.

This resulted in "huge energy bills and huge debt".

Background: Green Deal Ombudsman

Ombudsman Services
Ombudsman Services
Ombudsman Services

From the Ombudsman Services website:

"Our job is to help resolve complaints if a Green Deal Provider is unable or unwilling to help when something goes wrong with a Green Deal Plan.

"This includes complaints which have been considered by the Green Deal Provider and not resolved to the satisfaction of the customer, or, where the customer has been unable to register a complaint with the Green Deal Provider.

"We can also accept complaints where the seller or landlord of a house fails to disclose key information about a Green Deal Plan, which they should do by giving the new bill payer a copy of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)."

The ombudsman can give compensation to consumers of up to £25,000 says Tory MSP

Tory MSP Alexander Burnett
BBC

Tory MSP Alexander Burnett says the green deal was set-up with the best intentions at heart and that strict processes were in place for regulating the deal.

Mr Burnett says that rogue organisations have been issued with sanctions.

SNP MSP Clare Haughey intervenes to ask what will be done about those who have already fallen foul of these organisations.

Mr Burnett says the Green Deal Ombudsman can give compensation to consumers of up to £25,000.

He says that even if a rogue organisation has gone into liquidation then consumers can still be helped.

Mr Burnett says it is right that we should aspire for all homes to meet band C or better.

SNP MSP says the 'Green Deal mis-selling scandal' has affected may across Scotland

The SNP MSP welcomes many of the affected constituents to the parliament.

He says the UK government must be held responsible and must compensate those affected adversely by the Green Deal.

Mr McKee says the "Green Deal mis-selling scandal" has affected may across Scotland.

He says: "We must ensure such a state of affairs must never happen again."

Approval of contractors was the responsibility of the UK government says Mr McKee

Ivan McKee
BBC

Mr McKee says the approval of contractors was the responsibility of the UK government and the Scottish government had no say over who is approved.

The SNP MSP says in worst case scenarios some home owners have had to have work redone.

He says he has raised awareness of the issues and encouraged home owners to come forward.

Mr McKee says many of the so-called guarantors have point-blank refused to recognise the concerns of home owners.

Background: Green Deal funding ends

insulation
CENTRICA/BRITISH GAS

In 2015 the BBC reported that the government had announced it was to cease funding for the Green Deal, spelling the end for its flagship energy household efficiency programme.

The scheme offered cashbacks and incentives on such things as double-glazing, insulation and boilers.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change said it took the decision to protect taxpayers, citing low take-up and concerns about industry standards.

Labour said ministers' approach to energy efficiency had been a "failure".

Read more here.

'The Green Deal scheme is a tail of good intentions badly gone wrong'

SNP MSP Ivan McKee
bbc
SNP MSP Ivan McKee

SNP MSP Ivan McKee says: "The Green Deal scheme is a tail of good intentions badly gone wrong."

Mr McKee says householders have saught his help in his constituency due to Green Deal misselling.

He says shoddy workmanship showed people had become victim to unsrcrupulous contractors.

The SNP MSP says the scheme was poorly managed from the start.

Calls for compensation for Green Deal households

insulation
bbc

SNP MSP Ivan McKee uses his motion to say the UK government’s Green Deal scheme was intended to help households reduce their energy bills.

Mr McKee says the public engaged with this initiative, confident that, in using contractors from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change’s approved list of installers, they would be guaranteed good quality work.

However he says much of the work was substandard and of no economic or environmental benefit to consumers and industry-backed guarantees have proven to be worth very little.

He says the UK government needs to strengthen its consumer protection processes, and further notes calls for it to compensate the affected householders across Scotland.

Background: Green Deal cost £17,000 per household, says NAO

Insulation on the roof
Getty Images
The Green Deal offered households the opportunity to insulate their homes

The Green Deal - the government's flagship energy-saving programme - cost taxpayers £17,000 for each home that was improved, a watchdog found.

The National Audit Office (NAO) concluded that "the Green Deal has not therefore been value for money".

Under the scheme, householders were encouraged to take out loans to pay for measures such as insulation or double-glazing.

But only 14,000 households took up the offer, well below expectations.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) spent £240m on the programme, which ran between 2013 and July 2015.

But it did not test it with consumers beforehand, said the NAO, and the scheme saved "negligible" amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Savings

The NAO report said the parallel Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programme also increased costs for energy suppliers, and so put up household bills.

Read more here.

Here is the motion to the debate.....

Motion
Scottish Parliament

'UK Green Deal, Supporting Aggrieved Householders' debate

SNP MSP Ivan McKee will now lead a debate entitled 'UK Green Deal, Supporting Aggrieved Householders'.

That concludes the debate on COPFS

Crown Office
bbc

Justice Committee deputy convener Rona Mackay says she agrees with Claire Baker when she says all rape should be dealt with in criminal courts.

Ms Mackay says the Victims and Witnesses Scotland Act enshrined certain rights, for example allowing some witnesses to give evidence via video link.

She says she would welcome child witnesses being able to give recorded evidence, recorded well in advance of the trial.

There are highs and lows in the report says deputy committee convener

Justice Committee deputy convener Rona Mackay
BBC

Justice Committee deputy convener Rona Mackay says she hopes that that this debate has got to the core of the issue.

Ms Mackay says there are highs and lows in the report.

The SNP MSP says there has been a very "gloomy view" from the committee convener Margaret Mitchell and Tory MSP Douglas Ross.

Tory MSP Oliver Mundell intervenes to say it is not just about the targets but how victims are treated and how far they have to travel.

Ms Mackay says she accepts that view but that there is no evidence that travel has an adverse affect on victim's view of the service.

'I'm confident in the staff and in the expertise and skill of the staff of the fiscal service'

Mr Wolffe says: "Without for a moment being complacent, and without failing to recognise the challenges highlighted by the committee, I'm confident in the staff and in the expertise and skill of the staff of the fiscal service."

Labour MSP Mary Fee says one concern was the loss of local knowledge.

The Lord Advocate says the national marking system can accommodate local knowledge.

Mr Wolffe says he is committed to working with others in order to secure reform.

He says he is responsible for COPFS not the justice secretary.

Mr Wolffe does not sense any loss of morale in the service

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC
BBC

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC says he has trust and confidence in those who prosecute in Scotland and they have a responsibility to apply the law.

The Lord Advocate says he relies on the judgement and expertise of individual prosecutors.

Mr Wolffe says the review is taking concrete steps to return decision making to front line prosecutors and he does not sense any loss in morale.

Tory MSP says it is estimated there will be 200 job losses over the next five years

Tory MSP Donald Cameron says it is estimated that there will be 200 job losses in the COPFS over the next five years.

Mr Cameron says there has been a lowering of morale in local procurators' offices.

The Tory MSP says witnesses perceive that the service is "just about managing" which should "shake us into action".

Mr Cameron says the report provides a lot of positive feeback, but also a lot of recommendations that must be acted on to ensure the COPFS gets a clean bill of health.

Report points to pressure within the service

Tory MSP Donald Cameron
BBC

Tory MSP Donald Cameron says, despite the fact that this is a committee debate, it does seem a shame that the Justice Secretary Michael Matheson is not here.

Mr Cameron says the nature of the COPFS work is sensitive and can have life changing consequences for people.

The Tory MSP says that 10 years ago there was a small number of staff dealing with a large number of cases.

He says the report has identified various issues still remain and that it also points to pressure within the service.

Ms Fee says the Crown Office must protect the workforce from further cuts

Labour MSP Mary Fee says the evidence tells us that the effectiveness and efficiency of the COPFS has been hampered by cuts.

Ms Fee says the Crown Office must protect the workforce from further cuts.

She says there was much praise for the staff of the Victim Information and Advice Service.

However the Justice Committee heard that some domestic abuse victims were traumatised by the court process, says the Labour MSP.

She says there is a problem with the communication between the COPFS and victims.

Targets are being met but at a high cost to those working within the service

Labour MSP Mary Fee
BBC
Labour MSP Mary Fee

Labour MSP Mary Fee says this inquiry is long overdue and that the recommendations have been made in the sincere wish that the system can meet the needs of victims and witnesses whilst being fair to the accused.

Ms Fee says she is pleased to hear the Lord Advocate acknowledge the concerns of the report.

The Labour MSP says there has been a real-terms cut of 21.5% to the COPFS and that the organisation is struggling.

She says targets are being met but at a high cost to those working within the service.

SNP MSP says there is a disconnect between prosecution and victims

SNP MSP Mairi Evans
bbc
SNP MSP Mairi Evans

SNP MSP Mairi Evans says the COPFS is regarded as a hard working, professional and rigorous prosecutor of crimes in Scotland.

Ms Evans says there were still areas that could be developed and she says she will focus on one of these, the treatement of victims.

She says the demands on the Victim Information and Advice Service have grown.

The SNP MSP says there is a disconnect between prosecution and victims.

The COPFS accepts there is a gap between the service it would like to provide victims and the one it does she says.

Ms Evans says one domestic abuse victim said she would rather take another beating than go through the court process again.

'Cracks are beginning to show' in the service

Tory MSP Alexander Stewart
BBC

Tory MSP Alexander Stewart says the COPFS service is a rigorous and fair service but that "cracks are beginning to show."

Mr Stewart says staff resilience is at breaking point and that victims must have confidence in the system.

"Extra training is required so that we can all benefit from the service," he says.

The Tory MSP says that staff are overworked and funding has declined.

The number of crimes have fallen to the lowest level in 40 years

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson
BBC
SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson says the number of crimes have fallen to the lowest level in 40 years.

The SNP MSP says some parts of the system are startlingly efficient and he welcomes the planned reduction in temporary staff.

Mr Stevenson says that Tory MSP Douglas Ross had criticised local closures.

Tory MSP Douglas Ross intervenes to say that he was quoting the bar service who are concerned by local closures.

Mr Stevenson says he accepts that is a useful intervention.

Lib Dem MSP says the committee heard 'horror stories' around COPFS staffing

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur
bbc
Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur

Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur says he is particularly grateful to the victims who shared their experiences with the committee.

Mr McArthur says gaps still remain and the provision for children and vulnerable witnesses improvements must be made.

He says there were horror stories around COPFS staffing, but he says the Crown agent did not seek to duck this criticism.

The Lib Dem MSP says there is a move towards permanent contracts and ensuring staff are valued and looked after.

'The public should have confidence that it is a rigorous and fair prosecutor'

Green MSP John Finnie
BBC

Green MSP John Finnie says the Justice Committee met with COPFS this morning over the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Mr Finnie says the COPFS is being seen as the complainer's lawyer and the role of the Crown is to act in the public's interest.

The Green MSP says the citizen has a role to cooperate with police, the COPFS and to participate in the system.

Mr Finnie says "the public should have confidence that it is a rigorous and fair prosecutor."

He says the justice committee welcomes the fact that there will be an independent review of legal aid.

Challenges that have been identified must not damage the COPFS says Ms Baker

Ms Baker says the committee's view is that the failings brought forward by the victims of crime are "entirely unacceptable".

The Labour MSP says there needs to be greater progress to meet the needs of children and young people.

She says the challenges that have been identified must not damage the service.

Labour MSP says COPFS must make it clear rape is a criminal matter

Labour MSP Claire Baker
bbc
Labour MSP Claire Baker

The Labour MSP says there is a concern that more rape victims will go to a civil court as they feel let down by the court system.

She says this means they will lose anonymity.

Ms Baker says the Scottish government and COPFS must make it clear rape is a criminal matter.

The increased pressure on the Crown Office has led to delays in decision making

Ms Baker says there has been a 59% increase in jury trials.

The Labour MSP says the number of adjournments and delays are increasing and this is a matter, not only for COPFS, but also for the government.

She says the increased pressure on the Crown Office has led to delays in decision making.

Ms Baker says only 12% of reported and attempted rapes make it to court in Scotland.

Labour MSP says the COPFS funding has reduced by a fifth in real terms

Labour MSP Claire Baker
bbc
Labour MSP Claire Baker

Labour MSP Claire Baker says the report says the Justice Committee heard praise for COPFS and its hard working and dedicated staff.

Ms Baker says the report also says "the service remains under considerable pressure, there can be no room for complacency".

She says the prosecutors union says the COPFS funding has reduced by a fifth in real terms.

The Labour MSP says number of trials being adjourned due to a lack of court time has increased by 66%.

IPS has a 'poor profile'

Mr Ross says many witnesses had never heard of the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland (IPS).

The Tory MSP says "it is surely a very poor reflection of a body that was established in 20013," that it has such a "poor profile".

Mr Ross says there is more to do and the Scottish Conservatives will keep an eye over changes to make sure they bring about changes.

The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland is 'almost anonymous'

Tory MSP Douglas Ross
bbc
Tory MSP Douglas Ross

Mr Ross says witnesses give up their time to attend court only to be told the case is not proceeding.

The Tory MSP says some witnesses may be deterred from reporting a crime due to their experience as a witness to a previous crime.

He says witnesses were disappointed by the service before, during and afterwards and says this was due to to few staff.

Most witnesses said they had never heard of the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland and he says the IPS is almost anonymous.

The court system is 'not fit for purpose' when it comes to technology

Tory MSP Douglas Ross says witnesses who work with COPFS suggested that more resource would be required for the changes necessary.

Mr Ross says the Scottish government have cut the budget.

The Tory MSP says the court system is "not fit for purpose" when it comes to technology.

Tory MSP asks why the government delivered a real terms cut to COPFS

Conservative MSP Douglas Ross
bbc
Conservative MSP Douglas Ross

Conservative MSP Douglas Ross congratulates the Lord Advocate on his maiden speech.

Mr Ross says everyone praised the staff of COPFS.

The Tory MSP says the committee also heard of the difficulties they face.

He highlights the issue of lack of resource and under staffing.

The Tory MSP asks why the Scottish government delivered a real terms cut to COPFS.

Lord Advocate says COPFS is a robust service

James Wolffe
BBC

Justice Committee convener Margaret Mitchell asks for timetables for the changes and the digital changes.

Mr Wolffe says it will depend on current reviews.

Scotland's Lord Advocate says COPFS is a robust service.

He says he looks forward to working with the committee on the changes.

Prosecutors cannot do their job without witnesses and victims coming forward

Mr Wolffe says prosecutors cannot do their job without witnesses and victims coming forward.

The Lord Advocate says the indications are that the service is meeting the challenges, but it will continue to build on this.

It will also try to obtain better feedback from victims, he says.

Mr Wolffe says prosecutors understand vulnerable witnesses, like children, can find it traumatic to give evidence and this is being addressed.