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Summary

  1. The Education Committee will take evidence from RICS and the Scottish Building Federation on school infrastructure
  2. Green MSP Mark Ruskell leads this afternoon's member's debate on National Clean Air Day 2017
  3. Portfolio questions focuses on education
  4. The Scottish government leads a debate on Scotland’s economy and opportunities for growth
  5. This will be followed by a series of Scottish parliamentary corporate body motions
  6. Tory MSP Alexander Burnett leads this evening's member's debate entitled 'Lyme Disease, The Need To Do More'

Live Reporting

By Colin Bell and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

Goodnight from Holyrood Live...

Holyrood
BBC

That ends our coverage of the Scottish Parliament for Wednesday 14 June 2017.

We'll be back tomorrow morning at 9am with the Equalities and Human Rights Committee as it takes evidence on bullying and harassment of children and young people in schools.

Have a good night.

Funding for hill farmers important to keep sheep on Scotland's hills

Maureen Watt
BBC

Ms Watt says it is important to support hill farming because sheep act as a control of Lyme disease.

The mental health minister says the sheep collect the ticks and that it is no coincidence that cases increased in 2006 and have stayed at similar rates since.

She says this is when we moved to the Single Farm Payment and, due to the abandonment of hill farms, this resulted in there being less sheep on Scotland's hills.

Ms Watt says that it is important to avoid further hill farm abandonment and the Scottish government have asked the UK government for guarantees on funding for hill farmers post-Brexit.

She says the Scottish government are awaiting a reply on this.

'The more people talking about Lyme disease the better'

Ms Watt says that it is equally important that awareness is raised amongst the public and there is work going into this.

The mental health minister says "the more people talking about Lyme disease the better."

She says the sub-group are looking at data to ensure there is the best possible surveillance information on the disease.

Tory MSP John Scott intervenes to ask if there is any work ongoing on a vaccine.

Ms Watt says she is not aware of any work on a vaccine.

'We must be sure health professionals know how to spot and treat the disease'

Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt
BBC

Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt says no one is being complacent about Lyme disease.

She says it is an important issue and a complex disease.

Ms Watt says there are many challenges being grappled with by Scotland and other countries.

The mental health minister says, in terms of workforce education, "we must be sure health professionals know how to spot and treat the disease".

She says work is going into raising awareness amongst health professionals.

Lyme disease could hit epidemic proportions by 2028 if it keeps increasing at current rates

Tory MSP Liam Kerr
BBC

Tory MSP Liam Kerr says he know a bit about Lyme disease before today but not a lot.

Mr Kerr says this could be at epidemic proportions by 2028 if it keeps increasing at current rates.

The Tory MSP says it is vital that people are provided with knowledge and that doctors must be equipped to spot symptoms earlier.

There is a balance to be struck between providing the information and scaring people

Green MSP John Finnie
BBC

Green MSP John Finnie says the symptoms of Lyme disease are often non specific and can overlap with other diseases.

Mr Finnie says there is a balance to be struck between providing the information and scaring people.

He says it is about providing the knowledge and about early intervention.

The Green MSP says this disease knows no boundaries and collaborative working with other countries is important.

Background: Lyme disease sufferer claims bee stings help control her symptoms

Ingrid Watt says the bee sting therapy gives her more energy
bbc
Ingrid Watt says the bee sting therapy gives her more energy

A woman with Lyme disease has claimed being stung by bees helps ease her symptoms.

Ingrid Watt, 36, who grew up in Orkney and now lives in Inverness, believes she has had the disease, which be transmitted to humans by tick bites, since she was 18.

Underlying health problems became worse five years ago and included reoccurring shingles and neurological issues.

She believes properties in the bee venom help control her Lyme disease.

Read more here.

Perhaps a vaccination could be developed for those most at risk of this disease says Tory MSP

Tory MSP John Scott
BBC

Tory MSP John Scott says raising awareness of this disease is what this debate is succeeding in doing.

Mr Scott says perhaps a vaccination could be developed for those most at risk of this disease.

He says there would be a worldwide interest in such a vaccination.

Background: 'How I was floored by a tick'

Alan Little
bbc
Alan Little

When Allan Little began to feel ill, he knew almost immediately what it was - Lyme Disease. But getting a medical diagnosis, and treatment, took a lot longer.

Read his story here.

GPs estimate that only 20-40% of cases are referred says Labour MSP

Labour MSP Colin Smyth
BBC

Labour MSP Colin Smyth says early intervention is so crucial and that, if left untreated, it can lead to problems with the heart.

Mr Smyth says Lyme disease is a growing problem in Scotland and GPs estimate that only 20-40% of cases are referred.

The Labour MSP refers to two young boys near his area of Dumfries who contracted Lyme disease playing in a local park.

He says one of the boys woke up and his face was paralysed before he was diagnosed with Lyme disease.

Background: If you have been bitten

Tick
istock

If you have been bitten:

  • Remove the tick as soon as possible - the safest way is to use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, or a tick removal tool
  • Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, pull upwards slowly and firmly, as mouthparts left in the skin can cause a local infection
  • Once removed, apply antiseptic to the bite area, or wash with soap and water and keep an eye on it for several weeks for any changes
  • Contact your GP if you begin to feel unwell and remember to tell them you were bitten by a tick or have recently spent time outdoors

'Early intervention is essential'

Tory MSP Donald Cameron
BBC

Tory MSP Donald Cameron says Lyme disease affects the Uists more than any other part of Scotland.

Mr Cameron says that the rash is often an early sign of Lyme disease, sometimes in the style of a bullseye.

"Early intervention is essential," he says.

The Highlands and Islands MSP says he makes a point of checking his young children every night for ticks, particularly in the summer if they have been out and about.

Background: Why is Lyme disease so hard to diagnose?

Why is Lyme disease so hard to diagnose?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to humans by infected ticks.

It is estimated that up to 3,000 new cases of the disease are diagnosed in England and Wales each year.

Symptoms can include a distinctive rash, tiredness, muscle pain or headaches.

The disease can be treated effectively if it is recognised early on, but diagnosis is difficult because so many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions such as chronic fatigue.

Victoria Derbyshire reporter Nicola Beckford went to meet two women to find out what it is like living with the disease.

Blood testing cannot be relied upon because the disease does not show up early in a lot of cases

SNP MSP Maree Todd
BBC

SNP MSP Maree Todd says she grew up in the Highlands where it is often described as "tick heaven".

Ms Todd says if you do not check for ticks they can remain on the skin sucking blood for a few days before falling off.

She says that this increases the risk of Lyme disease.

The SNP MSP says blood testing cannot be relied upon because the disease does not show up early in a lot of cases.

Background: Tick and Lyme disease awareness events for South Uist

Advice on what to do to avoid ticks was given at one of the two planned events
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Advice on what to do to avoid ticks was given at one of the two planned events

Events raising awareness about the risk of ticks and Lyme disease were held in part of the Western Isles where problems with both were indentified.

The incidence of Lyme disease on Uist was found to be far greater than that on neighbouring islands, according to figures gathered by BBC Gaelic News.

The infection can be transmitted to humans through a bite from a tick.

NHS Western Isles is to hold the events later this month at Stoneybridge Hall in South Uist.

Background: Lyme disease on North Uist, South Uist and Benbecua

Last year an investigation by BBC Alba suggested that over four years a total of 165 individuals on North Uist, South Uist and Benbecula were diagnosed with Lyme disease.

In that same period, Lewis and Harris have recorded just one case and Barra three.

The figures for incidence of Lyme disease on the Western Isles were provided by medical practices across the islands.

NHS Western Isles and other groups have been investigating the reason for the higher numbers on Uist.

Background: Lyme Disease UK

Lyme Disease UK
Lyme Disease UK

From the Lyme Disease UK website:

"Welcome to Lyme Disease UK, a not-for-profit patient support network for Lyme disease sufferers and their loved ones around the United Kingdom.

"On this site you will find information and news about Lyme disease as well as details regarding local face to face support groups.

"The LDUK team also attends public events, meetings and conferences, liaises with other Lyme disease organisations and campaigns for an increase in knowledge and advancements in patient care."

Backbground: Lyme Disease

A tick bite
bbc
A tick bite

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to humans by infected ticks.

Flu-like symptoms and fatigue are often the first noticeable signs of infection. An untreated bite often shows as a distinctive red circle-like mark on a person's skin.

Diagnosed cases of Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, but, if left untreated, neurological problems and joint pain can develop months or years later.

Ticks are small arthropods related to spiders, mites and scorpions and Britain has a number of different species.

People are most likely to come across sheep ticks, which feed on mammals such as deer and also birds, in open spaces with long grass or bracken.

Hillwalkers and climbers organisation, Mountaineering Scotland, regularly issues advice on how to avoid and deal with ticks.

It suggests people can protect themselves better by tucking trousers into socks or wearing gaiters, and also by making thorough checks of their bodies once back home. It recommends that these checks should be repeated over several days.

If a tick is found attached to a person's skin, it can be removed with a tick hook. If in doubt, seek advice from a doctor, Mountaineering Scotland says.

Tory MSP calls for public education on the dangers of tick bites

Ticks sign
ALAMY

Mr Burnett uses his motion to say Lyme disease is affecting many people across Scotland.

The Tory MSP says there is a lack of awareness and education to prevent further infections in 2017.

He also calls for the issues surrounding diagnosis and treatment to be explored further and for public education on the dangers of tick bites.

Dcotors should become better informed so that patients are not left undiagnosed, says Mr Burnett and he expresses his support for Lyme Disease UK’s campaign to help increase awareness of this disease.

'Devastating disease' silently affecting thousands of people across the UK

Tory MSP Alexander Burnett
BBC

Tory MSP Alexander Burnett says Lyme disease is a "devastating disease" silently affecting thousands of people across the UK.

Mr Burnett says this disease is the most common tick related disease in the northern hemisphere and that people can live for years with the symptoms.

The Tory MSP says, if not treated correctly, serious implications can occur yeas after being bitten.

He says all mediums promoting our outdoor areas must give information on ticks and that it is vital that people know how to protect themselves.

Mr Burnett says there is a 65% increase in Lyme disease cases every year worldwide.

Here is the motion for this evening's debate...

Motion
Scottish Parliament

Lyme disease debate

Lyme disease can be transmitted to humans through a bite from a tick
Thinkstock
Lyme disease can be transmitted to humans through a bite from a tick

Conservative MSP Alexander Burnett will now lead a debate highlighting the dangers of Lyme disease.

The government motion from the economy debate is agreed to

The government motion is agreed to with 62 MSPs backing it and 56 against.

Government motion
Scottish Parliament

The Lib Dem amendment is also rejected

The Lib Dem amendment is also rejected.

Lib Dem amendment
Scottish Parliament

The Green amendment is rejected

The Green amendment is also rejected.

Green amendment
Scottish Parliament

The Labour amendment is rejected

The Labour amendment is rejected.

Labour amendment
Scottish Parliament

The Tory amendment is not agreed to

The Tory amendment is not agreed to.

Tory amendment
Scottish Parliament

Decision time...

We now move to decision time.

Scottish Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund

Three motions now calling for the appointments of Green MSP Mark Ruskell, Labour MSP Pauline McNeill and Tory MSP Alison Harris as Trustees to the Scottish Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund.

Membership of the Scottish Commission for Public Audit

Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body motion: Membership of the Scottish Commission for Public Audit.

Brexit is now a 'Shexit because its a shambles'

Brexit
bbc
More Shexit than Brexit according to the cabinet secretary

Mr Brown says the OECD says Brexit is the major threat to the economy.

The economy secretary highlights the down swing in business confidence by the "shambles" of the UK government.

He says Brexit is now a "Shexit because its a shambles".

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie asks if Mr Brown if for or against independence.

The minister says that is all that Mr Rennie talked about in his speech, forgetting the economy.

Mr Brown says the SNP has been getting on with the day job, which is met with laughter and then by applause.

Minister highlights 'underlying strengths of the Scottish economy'

Economy Secretary Keith Brown
bbc
Economy Secretary Keith Brown

Economy Secretary Keith Brown says none of the opposition parties highlighted the underlying strengths of the Scottish economy.

Mr Brown says Scotland is a world leader in industries of the future like life sciences.

He concedes the economy faces pressures with the downturn in oil and gas and the potentially disastrous consequences of a hard Brexit.

Mr Brown says the Small Business Bonus Scheme helps businesses grow by taking 100,000 businesses out of rates altogether.

'Why is it that Scotland alone is seeing a downturn in the economy that is not affecting the rest of the UK?'

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser says over the past 12 months the economy in Scotland flat-lined, "we are simply not doing as well as we should," he says.

Mr Fraser says Brexit is being blamed, but surely it would be affecting the rest of the UK if that's the case.

"Why is it that Scotland alone is seeing a downturn in the economy that is not affecting the rest of the UK?" He asks.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser
BBC

Mr Fraser says Scotland are doing "relatively well" with investment and that we struggle to attract migrants.

He says "we have to get Brexit right" and maintain the fullest possible access to the single market.

The Tory MSP says last week's general election was the clearest possible message that the people of Scotland do not want a second independence referendum.

Watch the evidence session on bullying with us from 9am tomorrow morning......

Labour MSP says SNP should 'remove the threat of a second divisive referendum'

Labour MSP Richard Leonard says one in five workers in Scotland are paid below the living wage.

He asks why the Scottish government does not use the powers that it has got and lists them all.

The Labour MSP says complacency rises from the SNP benches and self-congratulation from the government motion.

Labour MSP Richard Leonard
bbc
Labour MSP Richard Leonard

He says: "Wages are being squeezed harder than ever while prices are rising."

Mr Leonard demands a living wage for all.

He says the Scottish government should "remove the threat of a second divisive referendum".

Climate crisis is adding to economic decline says Green MSP

Green MSP Andy Wightman says although this is a debate on the economy, it is unsurprising that other parties have made it about the constitution.

Mr Wightman says the Tories are trying to deflect from the "chaos" they have created.

Green MSP Andy Wightman
BBC

The Green MSP says the climate crisis is adding to economic decline.

Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles intervenes to ask if the Greens see oil and gas as an asset or not.

Mr Wightman says they have been an asset to the Scottish economy but that they are not part of the future.

Willie Rennie says the SNP should cancel the referendum right now

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie
bbc
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie says there are some weaknesses in the Scottish economy even if the SNP MSPs choose to ignore them.

Mr Rennie says the SNP government are hardly making any difference in tackling the stubborn performance of the Scottish economy which is lagging behind the rest of the UK.

He says the performance of Scottish education has dropped down the international rankings and a modest 1p on income tax could raise it up again.

The Scottish Lib Dem leader says the real threat to the Scottish economy comes from the SNP with its plans for another divisive referendum.

He says the SNP should cancel the referendum right now.

Background: Scottish business output hits three-month high

Ubiquitous welder
Thinkstock
The figures relate to changes in combined manufacturing and services output

Scotland's private sector grew last month, with output reaching the highest level since February, according to a new report.

Businesses put the growth down to expansion in the services sector, while manufacturing production also remained strong.

Meanwhile, cost pressures eased marginally, remaining steep overall.

The findings are contained in the Bank of Scotland's regional purchasing managers' index (PMI) for May.

However, growth remained below that of the UK as a whole.

The PMI for Scotland stood at 51.5 last month, up from March's four-month low of 50.1. It was 50.6 in April.

Read more here.