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Summary

  1. The Health Committee took evidence on the impact of air pollution on our health and setting the minimum price for a unit of of alcohol at 50p
  2. Ministers are quizzed during topical questions about Pinneys in Annan, proposals for a substation in Cockenzie and the closure of the 2 Sisters factory in Cambuslang
  3. Shona Robison delivers a statement on NHS Tayside management
  4. MSPs debate the Air Quality in Scotland Inquiry
  5. Keith Brown provides an update on BiFab
  6. Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the Aberdeen Trades Union Council during his member's debate

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

That's all from Holyrood Live

Health Secretary Shona Robison
BBC

That's from us at Holyrood Live on Tuesday 17 April 2018.

Health Secretary Shona Robison confirmed a formal inquiry into the use of the endowment fund by NHS Tayside is underway.

The cabinet secretary also said there was nothing to suggest that other health boards had misused the funding.

The deal was announced by Nicola Sturgeon as she visited the BiFab yard in Methil
bbc
The deal was announced by Nicola Sturgeon as she visited the BiFab yard in Methil

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon annoucned troubled BiFab engineering firm was being taken over by a Canadian company in a move that could save hundreds of jobs in Fife and on Lewis.

BiFab had warned workers at its yards in Methil, Burntisland and Arnish that they faced possible redundancy,

Economy Secretary Keith Brown updated Holyrood on details of the deal in a ministerial statement.

Economy secretary congratulates members of ATUC on 150th anniversary

Economy Secretary Keith Brown
bbc
Economy Secretary Keith Brown

Economy Secretary Keith Brown congratulates members of ATUC, past and present, on its 150th anniversary.

Mr Brown highlights the campaign on safety unions and workers undertook after the Piper Alpha disaster.

He stresses the governemnt is committed to effective industrial realtions in Scotland.

The minister says the efforts of trade unions in Scotland have contributed to much progress, but adds challenges still exist, including tackling zero hours contracts.

Aberdeen has a proud industrial history says Tory MSP

Tory MSP Tom Mason
BBC
Tory MSP Tom Mason

Tory MSP Tom Mason says that while he has not always agreed with decisions taken by ATUC, he is happy to celebrate its anniversary.

Aberdeen has a proud industrial history, Mr Mason says.

ATUC has been a part of many successes in Aberdeen's history, the Tory MSP adds.

Labour MSP says it's an honour to lead ATUC anniversary debate

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald
bbc
Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald says it is an honour to lead this debate celebrating the 150th anniversary of the ATUC.

Mr Macdonald says joining hands is symbolised in the badge of the ATUC.

He says the creation of a single council in Aberdeen in 1868 was the culmination of years of effort in that direction.

This took place earlier in Aberdeen than nearly anywhere else, he says.

Here's the motion for the debate...

Motion for the debate
Scottish Parliament

Aberdeen Trades Union Council debate

Aberdeen Trades Union Council
Aberdeen Trades Union Council
Aberdeen Trades Union Council

Labour MSP :Lewis Macdonald will now lead a member's debate marking the 150th anniversary of the Aberdeen Trades Union Council.

The ATUC was formed in 1868 as the first permanent alliance of organised workers in different trades and industries in the north east and it continues to represent the interests of workers today

The celebrations started with a civic reception, which was hosted by the Lord Provost and city council at the Town House on 7 March and will continue throughout the year at regular annual events.

Mr Macdonald commends all who have been involved with the ATUC throughout its long and illustrious history.

Rennie welcomes the news for the workers in Fife and Lewis

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

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie welcomes the news for the workers in Fife and Lewis.

The North East Fife MSP says the minister is right to be measured about this progress, as there are difficult times ahead and he asks about future pressure points.

Mr Brown thanks Mr Rennie for his efforts on BiFab.

The economy secretary says making sure the BOWL contract is completed is crucial.

Green MSP asks about offshore wind sector deals

Green MSP Mark Ruskell
BBC
Green MSP Mark Ruskell

Green MSP Mark Ruskell says investment will be needed to secure the future of the company.

He asks when Scottish Enterprise will be able to finalise its plans for these yards and asks about securing a sector deal for offshore wind coming from the UK government.

Mr Brown says the investment by the Scottish government, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise is considerable.

The Scottish government will collaborate with DF Barnes to consider its future further, he says.

On sector deals, the minister suggests the Economy Committee question UK Business Secretary Greg Clark on the matter when he appears before it on Thursday.

Labour MSP praises workers and unions for campaign to save BiFab

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie
bbc
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie welcomes the deal and salutes the efforts of the workers and unions for their campaign to save BiFab.

Ms Baillie calls for the continuation of skilled labour at BiFab and a continued role for trade unions at the company.

She says the government has provided loans and asks if the original £19m loan is the equity stake in the company.

Mr Brown says: "The quantum of monies which is eventually provided by the government will be dependent on the extent to which it is drawn out as it is required by the company itself."

He says DF Barnes have had a very productive relationship with unions in Canada and there is a very good opportunity for future collaboration.

BiFab news welcomed by Scottish Conservatives

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser
BBC
Tory MSP Murdo Fraser

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser welcomes the "good news" for BiFab.

Mr Fraser asks what assurances have been given about the number of jobs secured across the three sites.

The Tory MSP also wonders about the total value of Scottish government support for the new purchaser.

The economy secretary says jobs follow winning contracts and adds there is a commitment to growing the number of staff.

He is unable to give information on the total value of support as it is commercially sensitive.

'The Scotish government believes BiFab can be a thriving business'

Keith Brown recieves applause from first minister following BiFab statement
bbc
Keith Brown recieves applause from first minister following BiFab statement

Mr Brown says he and the first minister met with the new owners, the existing management and the unions and everyone is commited to the future of BiFab.

The economy secretary says the government will pressure the UK government to recognise the renewables sector in its industrial strategy.

He says today's announcement shows perseverence can achieve results.

"The Scotish government believes BiFab can be a thriving business."

He is confident this agreement will deliver for BiFab's future in Fife and the Western Isles.

Background: JV Driver, through subsidiary DF Barnes, takes over BiFab

The Scottish government says the deal with JV Driver and DF Barnes will allow the yards to seek new fabrication and construction work in the marine, renewables and energy sectors.

JV Driver is one of Canada's largest independently owned industrial construction companies.

Its subsidiary, DF Barnes has been a consistent employer in the oil and gas, fabrication and marine industries for over 80 years.

DF Barnes
DF Barnes
DF Barnes

DF Barnes chief executive Jason Fudge said the firm was excited to now have a major presence in Scotland.

He added: "Scotland has been an admired world leader in the offshore oil and gas and renewable energy sectors and we are delighted to join with the employees of BiFab and the people of Scotland to ensure the continued growth of BiFab for the benefit of all. This is a great day for us."

The agreement was welcomed by the GMB and Unite unions, who said they hoped it was the start of a "very bright future for our members and their families".

Cabinet secretary confirms takeover of BiFab

Economy Secretary Keith Brown
BBC
Economy Secretary Keith Brown

Economy Secretary Keith Brown says a series of commitments made to BiFab back in November 2017 allowed the firm to delay its decision about going into administration.

BiFab has now been acquired by DF Barnes, a subsidiary of a Canadian firm called JV Driver, the cabinet secretary confirms.

The Scottish government is to expand a loan facility available to BiFab to complete the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Development contract, Mr Brown says.

Background: First minister announces BiFab deal in at Methil yard

The deal was announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as she visited the BiFab yard in Methil, where she met representatives of the Canadian firms as well as union officials.

Ms Sturgeon said the government had been in talks with DF Barnes for several months, and described the agreement that had been reached as a "significant step forward in our efforts to restore BiFab to its place at the centre of Scotland's marine energy industry".

The deal was announced by Nicola Sturgeon as she visited the BiFab yard in Methil
bbc
The deal was announced by Nicola Sturgeon as she visited the BiFab yard in Methil

The first minister also stressed that there was "a lot of hard work ahead", and that there was "no magic bullet for these yards".

But she said the commitment of DF Barnes gave BiFab the best chance of winning future contracts and securing new work.

Here's how the economy secretary tweeted the news....

Background: Canadian firm takes over BiFab yards

Burntisland Fabricators or BiFab
Thomas Nugent/Geograph
Burntisland Fabricators or BiFab

The troubled BiFab engineering firm has been taken over by a Canadian company in a move that could save hundreds of jobs in Fife and on Lewis.

BiFab had warned workers at its yards in Methil, Burntisland and Arnish that they faced possible redundancy.

But JV Driver, through its subsidiary DF Barnes, has now acquired BiFab as part of an agreement brokered by the Scottish government.

BiFab in Arnish on the Isle of Lewis
bbc
BiFab in Arnish on the Isle of Lewis

The Scottish government will remain a minority shareholder in BiFab.

BiFab builds large-scale equipment for the offshore oil and gas industry, as well as platforms for offshore wind turbines and tidal generators.

The government offered BiFab a £15m loan in November to help it avoid going into administration, but the firm remained under threat as its order book dried up with the completion of the Beatrice Wind farm contract in the Cromarty Firth.

Read more here.

The BiFab ministerial statement is next......

BiFab
PA

Economy Secretary Keith Brown will now give a ministerial statement Bifab being taken over by a Canadian firm.

Cabinet secretaries must work collaboratively to deliver clean air strategy

Tory MSP John Scott
bbc
Tory MSP John Scott

Tory MSP John Scott closes for the Environment Committtee in his capacity as deputy convener.

Mr Scott says the various cabinet secretaries responsible for delivering the clean air strategy must work together in a more integrated and collaborative way on planning.

It is far from clear local authrorities have enough funding to deliver, suggests the Tory MSP.

The debate draws to a close with Mr Scott saying solving air pollution in Scotland will not happen with any one measure alone, but increased bus usage is a major opportunity and future planning and legisaltion must work for families.

'Radical measures' being brought forward by Scottish government

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf
BBC
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf says there is a clear downward trend for air pollution in Scotland.

"Radical measures" are being brought forward from a transport perspective, the minister states.

On low emission zones, he says the Scottish government is collaborating with local authorities.

Noting the LEZ is going to be introduced by 23:59 on 31 December 2018 in Glasgow, the minister points out that the introduction is distinct from lead-in times.

Tory MSP calls for more progress on electric cars

Tory MSP Maurice Golden
bbc
Tory MSP Maurice Golden

Tory MSP Maurice Golden says it is clear there is poiltical consensus that air pollution must be tackled.

Mr Golden welcomes the SNP's promise to phase out new diesel and petrol cars by 2032.

He says more progress is required on electric cars and calls for more detail on progress being made by the Scottish government on this issue.

We must make sure rushing LEZs does not push up bus fares, he concludes.

Joined up approach to air quality is key says Labour MSP

Labour MSP Alex Rowley
BBC
Labour MSP Alex Rowley

Labour MSP Alex Rowley says there must be a joined up approach in relation to the Cleaner Air For Scotland strategy, particularly in relation to planning.

The Scottish government must set out clearly how targets will be measured and met, he says.

The Labour MSP concludes by emphasising the importance of raising public awareness of the issue.

Background: Pollution experts quit clean air group

Exhaust fumes
Getty Images

Two environment experts have resigned in protest from the Scottish government's clean air strategy team.

Prof James Curran and Emilia Hanna said they were frustrated by slow progress and lack of "ambition" in the planned low emission zone (LEZ) for Glasgow.

They were advisers from Scottish Environment Link which represents 35 environmental groups.

The Scottish government said it remained committed to protecting the public from harmful air pollution.

Background: UK government loses clean air court case

London pollution
PA

Campaigners have won a third High Court victory over the UK government's plans to tackle air pollution.

The judge in the case said the government plan was "unlawful" and that more action was needed in 45 English local authority areas.

He said ministers had to ensure that in each of the areas, steps were taken to comply with the law as soon as possible.

The case was brought by ClientEarth, a group of activist lawyers.

Read more here.

LEZs must include private cars says McArthur

Car exhaust
GETTY IMAGES

Mr McArthur says the LEZs, have to at the very least, include private vehicles.

The Lib Dem MSP says the LEZ proposals seem to fall far short of the governemnt's original proposals.

He says he hopes Glasgow will be "miles bolder".

Air pollution is a health emergency says Lib Dem MSP

Lib Dem Liam McArthur
BBC
Lib Dem Liam McArthur

Lib Dem Liam McArthur jokes that while clean air is not an issue in his part of the world, the speed at which it moves often is!

The MSP calls for air pollution to be treated as a health emergency.

Air quality must be embedded in planning structures, the Lib Dem MSP argues.

Mr McArthur also says the Glasgow LEZ will "set the tone" and must be ambitious to encourage others to follow suit.

Call for new focus to tackle air pollution

Mr Ruskell
bbc
Mr Ruskell

Mr Ruskell says this inquiry is an important milestone on our journey to consigning deaths to air pollution to the history books.

To make this happen, elucidates the Green MSP, a new focus from government to make this a priority is required.

Background: First low emission zone labelled 'no ambition zone' by campaigners

Campaigners from Friends of the Earth Scotland have raised concerns about air quality
Friends of the Earth Scotland
Campaigners from Friends of the Earth Scotland have raised concerns about air quality

Plans for Scotland's first low emissions zone will not ban any single class of vehicle in its first four years of operation.

Draft plans published by Glasgow City Council reveal that only the most polluting buses will be targeted.

And it will be 2022 before they are prevented from entering the low emissions zone.

Friends of the Earth Scotland said it falls short of the SNP's pledge to create a low emissions zone by 2018.

The Scottish government vowed to deliver low emission zones in four Scottish cities by 2020.

The Glasgow city centre plan, launched on Friday, will be the first and is due to be voted on by councillors next week

CAFS must be strengthened by right action and budget says Green MSP

Green MSP Mark Ruskell
BBC
Green MSP Mark Ruskell

Green MSP Mark Ruskell says the CAFS strategy has the "right approach" but it must be strengthened by actions and budgets.

He welcomes the announcement that 70% of the LEZ fund could be used for retrofitting to ensure the majority of Glasgow's bus fleet would be green.

An urban environment which is easy to get around on foot and by bike will lead to improved air quality, he says.

Mr Ruskell asks whether discussions have been had regarding planning reform and the role of air quality within this.

Call for a modal shift to active travel

Cycling in Amsterdam
bbc
Cycling in Amsterdam

Mr Stewart says there are a great many health conditions linked with living and working in polluted areas.

The Labour MSP calls for a modal shift to active travel, citing Amesterdam's example.

2000 early deaths a year due to poor air quality says Labour MSP

Labour MSP David Stewart
BBC
Labour MSP David Stewart

Labour MSP David Stewart says poor air quality and pollution are responsible for 2,000 early deaths in Scotland each year.

Describing himself as a champion of LEZs, he welcomes the Scottish government's commitment to implementing them.

Enforcement of LEZs is "vital", Mr Stewart states.

On active travel, the Labour MSP calls for investment in cycle paths and walkways.

Background: Operator warns polluting bus ban in Glasgow 'could hike costs'

Poor air quality is blamed for the death of 300 Glaswegians each year
Getty images
Poor air quality is blamed for the death of 300 Glaswegians each year

The most polluting buses will be banned from Glasgow city centre if plans to introduce a so-called low emission zone in the city are given the go ahead.

Councillors will put forward a proposal next week to ban all but the cleanest buses by the end of next year.

It follows claims that poor air quality leads to the deaths of about 300 Glaswegians each year.

Operators are warning that the plan could lead to a reduction in the services available and a rise in costs.

Earlier this month the Scottish government released a consultation on how to deal with traffic pollution in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.