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Summary

  1. The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee take evidence on the Forestry and Land Management (Scotland) Bill.
  2. Transport Minister Humza Yousaf gives evidence on the National Transport Strategy
  3. Opposition MSPs quiz Nicola Sturgeon during first minister's questions
  4. Economic growth, studying medicine and the amputation of tails in health puppies are raised during general questions
  5. Portfolio questions features culture, tourism and external affairs ministers and then justice and law officers

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

Good night from Holyrood Live

Holyrood
PA

That ends our coverage of the Scottish Parliament for Wednesday 7 June 2017.

Parliament is suspended tomorrow due to the general election.

We'll be back next week.

Minister says the overall trend in terms of homicide is going down

Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing
bbc
Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing

Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing says the overall trend in terms of homicide is going down, as is non-sexual crimes of violence.

Background: Violent crime rises after long-term fall

Police said violent crime was down over the past five year
Police Scotland
Police said violent crime was down over the past five year

Serious assaults, murder and robbery are increasing in Scotland, according to documents obtained by the BBC.

After more than a decade of violent crime and knife use falling, the papers show that the use of weapons in west central Scotland is also up.

Police Scotland said violent crime was down over the past five years.

They said much violent crime was "common assaults" and many were domestic assaults which had been under-reported in the past.

Police said crime overall was down to a 40-year low.

Read more here.

Violent crime prevention

Conservative MSP Annie Wells asks the Scottish government whether it will provide an update on its work to prevent violent crime.

Minister says HMCIS's report will be published by 22 June

SNP MSP George Adam asks when HMCIS's report on the SPA.

Mr Matheson says HMCIS has been asked to bring forward its governance review.

He says it has agreed to publish its report by 22 June.

Wrong to say there has been no improvements with SPA says Michael Matheson

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson
BBC

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson says the government will give consideration to the reports on the SPA before reaching a decision.

Ms Baillie says Mr Matheson appointed Mr Flanagan so she understands his frustration and asks what lessons have been learned.

Mr Matheson says HMICS set out improvements that have been made in the SPA so it is wrong to say otherwise.

The justice secretary says Mr Flanagan has set out where he feels he has not met standards expected of him.

Background: MSPs renew calls for Scottish Police Authority chief to go

Andrew Flanagan
BBC

MSPs renewed calls for Andrew Flanagan to leave his role as chairman of the Scottish Police Authority last week.

During a question session at Holyrood, members from all four opposition parties said it was time for Mr Flanagan to go.

Two committees issued scathing reports about his leadership of the police authority after transparency probes.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said issues would be considered carefully before the government made a decision.

Read more here.

Question of confidence in the chair of the Scottish Police Authority

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie asks the Scottish government whether it has confidence in the chairperson of the Scottish Police Authority.

Rise in rape victims between 16 to 24 year olds who met the perpetrator online

Tory MSP Peter Chapman
bbc
Tory MSP Peter Chapman

Mr Chapman says Police Scotland reported a rise in rape victims between 16 to 24 year olds who met the perpetrator online.

He asks the justice secretary what the government is doing about online security.

The minister points to Police Scotland's 2026 strategy.

He says there needs to be a much sharper focus on sexual crimes.

Minister says the government will publish the validated figures for crime in September

Mr Matheson says the government will publish the validated figures for crime in September.

The justice secretary says the full reasons for the growth inn reported sexual offences are complex but historic and online crimes are part of it.

He says victims of sexual crimes must be able to come forward and report in confidence.

The justice secretary says victims need specialist report and the government has invested record levels in third sector organisations.

Background: Number of sex crimes reported to Police Scotland at record high

Women with protective hand outstretched
Getty Images
The number of sex crimes recorded last year was the highest since Police Scotland was created

The number of sex crimes recorded by Police Scotland has gone up, according to the force's own figures.

In 2016/17 there were 10,822 cases reported - an increase of 5.2% on the previous year and a record high.

Two reports containing the latest statistics are due to be presented to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) next week.

They also highlight the fact that much of the increase came from non-recent cases and online offences.

BBC Scotland's home affairs correspondent Reevel Alderson said the persistent rise in sexual offences, including rape, was against a general trend of reduced crime and had caused concern among police.

Read more here.

Increase in reported sexual offences

Tory MSP Peter Chapman asks what the government's response is to the increase in reported sexual offences in 2016-17.

£140m unrecoverable VAT paid by Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue

Michael Matheson
BBC

Mr Matheson says the amount of unrecoverable VAT paid, between April 2013 and March 2017, is of the order of £140m and the government will continue to make its case to the UK government.

Mr Torrance asks if the justice secretary agrees that the system should be changed to allow Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service recover VAT.

Mr Matheson says he does agree and that it has been changed for other organisations.

Background: Police Scotland cannot reclaim £76m VAT bill from last three years

Police
Getty Images

Last June we reported that Scotland's single police force had paid £76.5m in VAT since it was formed three years ago and remained unable to reclaim the tax.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Phil Gormley revealed the figure in a letter to the Commons Home Affairs Committee.

Local police and fire services were exempt from VAT but this ended with the creation of national bodies in 2013.

The VAT issue remains controversial as Audit Scotland recently warned Police Scotland faced an £85m funding gap.

Westminster's Home Affairs Committee recently requested information from Police Scotland regarding its work training police forces of foreign governments.

Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service VAT

SNP MSP David Torrance ask the Scottish government how much Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have paid in VAT that they have not been able to claim back.

Police complaints

SNP MSP Linda Fabiani
BBC

SNP MSP Linda Fabiani asks the Scottish government what recourse there is for people who are dissatisfied with the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner's response to a complaint.

Justice and the Law Officers

It is now the turn of justice ministers and law officers to face questions from MSPs.

Expansion of SEC

Ms Hyslop says the Scottish government recognises that business events are an excellent way to promote Scotland.

The culture secretary says that the government supports its partners in business events.

Mr Tomkins asks what the government can do to support the expansion of the SEC.

Ms Hyslop says the expansion was not part of the Glasgow City Deal and that he may wish to speak to the UK government about additional support.

Background: Glasgow's SECC to be renamed 'Scottish Event Campus'

SEC chief executive Peter Duthie said the new name reflected changes to the business over the past 30 years
SEC
SEC chief executive Peter Duthie said the new name reflected changes to the business over the past 30 years

In January we repoerted that the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow was to be renamed the Scottish Event Campus (SEC).

The iconic events venue has developed over the past 30 years and the site now includes the Clyde Auditorium (Armadillo) and The SSE Hydro.

Live entertainment has now become a significant part of its business.

SEC chief executive Peter Duthie said the rebrand aimed to reflect these changes and showcase its ability to stage large-scale events.

He said the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Ignition Festival of Motoring were both "great examples of utilisation of all areas of our campus, internally and externally".

Read more here.

Scottish Event Campus questions

Tory MSP Adam Tomkins asks the Scottish government how it supports the Scottish Event Campus to increase business tourism in Glasgow.

Call for the agenda and minutes of the meeting with Israeli ambassador to be published

Labour MSP Richard Leonard
bbc
Labour MSP Richard Leonard

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop says among other things she discussed the Israel Palestine conflict and she expressed concerns about settlements on Palestinian land.

Mr Leonard calls for the agenda and minutes of the meeting to be published.

The cabinet secretary says she was fairly open and transparent in her answer about the agenda and says ambassadors must have diplomatic space in discussions.

Ambassador of Israel discussions with Scottish government

Labour MSP Richard Leonard asks the Scottish government what issues were discussed during its recent meeting with the Ambassador of Israel to the UK.

Scotland's reputation as a welcoming nation is vitally important says minister

Fiona Hyslop
BBC

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop says the Scottish government works with the UK government to bring events to Scotland.

Mr Lyle says Scotland has a record in delivering domestic and international events. He asks what action is taking to promote Scotland as a host for international events.

Ms Hyslop says Scotland's reputation as a welcoming nation is vitally important.

Major events

SNP MSP Richard Lyle asks the Scottish government what discussions it is having with UK government agencies regarding bringing major events to Scotland.

Minister says the UK has taken some steps forward in its relationship with Cuba

International Development Minister Alasdair Allan
bbc
International Development Minister Alasdair Allan

Ms Smith compares Cuba to Scotland and says it ranks better in health and education statistics.

International Development Minister Alasdair Allan says the UK has taken some steps forward in its relationship with Cuba in recent years.

Mr Allan formal relations do not exist at the moment.

Background: Scottish MSPs in dispute over Fidel Castro legacy

Fidel Castro
bbc
Fidel Castro

Scottish parliamentarians clashed over the legacy of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro last December.

The former president of Cuba died, aged 90, on 26 November.

Labour's Elaine Smith lodged a Holyrood motion hailing Mr Castro as "a champion of global social justice", calling Cuba an "inspiring" example of socialism.

But Conservative Ross Thomson submitted an amendment, calling the Cuban leader a dictator and slamming his human rights record.

Mr Castro led the Communist revolution which toppled the Cuban government in 1959, and became one of the world's longest-serving and most iconic leaders - but his legacy is a divisive one.

Ms Smith, who has lodged a number of Scottish Parliament motions praising Mr Castro over the years, put forward a glowing tribute which won support from Labour and SNP members.

Read more here.

Relations between Scotland and Cuba

Labour MSP Elaine Smith asks the Scottish government what steps it is taking to strengthen relations between Scotland and Cuba.

No active partnerships between National Galleries Scotland and Inverclyde

Fiona Hyslop
BBC

Ms Hyslop says there are no active partnerships between National Galleries Scotland and Inverclyde but the government is always interested in opportunities across Scotland for partnerships.

National Galleries Scotland question

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan asks the Scottish government how National Galleries Scotland helps to promote culture and tourism in Inverclyde.

Government provides ongoing support to cultural assets in East Lothian

Ms Hyslop says the government provides ongoing support to East Lothian she says the assets in the area are marketed by Visit Scotland.

Mr Beattie asks if the minister will agree that cultural events in the area provide financial benefits to the constituency.

Ms Hyslop agrees with this.

Midlothian and East Lothian culture

SNP MSP Colin Beattie asks the Scottish government what recent steps it has taken to promote culture and tourism in Midlothian and East Lothian.

Culture Secretary says there are great opportunities in relation to the hoard

Tory MSP Finlay Carson says it is vital a large portion of the hoard is brought back to Galloway

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop says there are great opportunities in relation to the horde.

Opportunity for the local area says minister

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop
BBC

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop says the control of this is independent of ministers and it is inappropriate for ministers to get involved.

Labour MSP Colin Smyth says Dumfies and Galloway are concerned over this and offers to loan the hoard back are "very vague".

Mr Smith asks for assurances that any proposal will meet the needs of the council and the local areas.

Ms Hyslop says she understands the disappointment of the local area but that this presents an opportunity for the local area.

The culture secretary says the requirements for the rest of Scotland also must be taken into account.

Background: Galloway Viking Hoard to go on display in Edinburgh

Parts of the hoard will go on display in Edinburgh this month
bbc
Parts of the hoard will go on display in Edinburgh this month

A selection of artefacts from a Viking treasure hoard uncovered in Galloway three years ago is to go on display in Edinburgh next month.

National Museums Scotland, which saw off a Dumfries and Galloway Council bid to display the haul, is trying to raise nearly £2m to cover the finder's fee.

NMS said it would be exhibiting part of the treasure until October.

However, it added it would hold further talks with the council about displaying some items in Kirkcudbright.

The treasure will be on display at the National Museum of Scotland from 16 June to 1 October.

It is on loan from the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer and will give visitors a first glimpse of the unique hoard discovered by a metal detectorist.

Read more here.

Galloway Viking hoard

Labour MSP Colin Smyth asks the Scottish government what representations it made to the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer and National Museums Scotland regarding the acquisition and display of the Galloway Viking hoard.

Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

First up today we have culture, tourism and external affairs ministers facing questions from MSPs.

We now move to portfolio questions.

We now move to portfolio questions.

Economy Secretary says the final report will be published in late June.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown
bbc
Economy Secretary Keith Brown

Economy Secretary Keith Brown says the final report will be published in late June.

Mr Brown says significant progress has been made across all areas.

He says the review will now enter its implementation phase.

Background: Scotland's enterprise agencies to keep boards following government u-turn

welder
Thinkstock

In March we reported that plans to replace Scotland's enterprise and training agencies with one national board have been abandoned.

Minister Keith Brown said Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland would continue with their own boards.

He also announced that a national strategic board would be set up, to "align the work" of the agencies.

Opposition parties welcomed the news but said the minister had been forced to make the u-turn.

Read more here.

Phase 2 of the enterprise and skills review

Tory MSP Dean Lockhart asks when the government will publish the findings of phase 2 of the enterprise and skills review.