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Summary

  1. Scottish Secretary David Mundell and UK Constitution Minister Chloe Smith give evidence to two Holyrood committees
  2. Government ministers are in the hot seat during general questions
  3. Opposition party leaders and backbench MSPs quiz Nicola Sturgeon during first minister's questions
  4. The Save the Hampden Roar campaign is the subject for this lunchtime's debate
  5. MSPs debate Scotland's digital connectivity

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

That's all from Holyrood Live

RIchard Leonard in chamber
BBC

That's all from Holyrood Live on Thursday 3 May 2018.

Scottish Labour has renewed calls for a public inquiry into mental health services at NHS Tayside, accusing the government of silence over the issue.

Party leader Richard Leonard raised the case of David Ramsay, who took his life in 2016 at the age of 50, during first minister's questions at Holyrood.

Mr Ramsay killed himself four days after he was twice rejected for treatment at the Carseview psychiatric unit at Ninewells in Dundee.

His family has been campaigning for a public inquiry into services at NHS Tayside and were present in the Holyrood chamber.

Ms Sturgeon said her "deep condolences" went out to Mr Ramsay's family and that the government had been in contact with them.

On the individual case, she said it would be up to the law officers to order a fatal accident inquiry.

Decision time

Chamber
SP

MSPs reject the Scottish Conservative amendment from the digital connectivity debate.

28 MSPs backed it and 84 voted against.

The Labour amendment is agreed to and the Lib Dem amednment is prempted.

The government motion as amended by Labour is agreed to.

£600m investment is largest of its kind says Ewing

Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing assures members that the Scottish government takes the issue of poverty and broadband access very seriously.

The new Scottish social security agency will also offer support for those without the technological tools or skills to be able to access help through other routes, he says.

Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing
BBC
Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing

The £600m investment is the largest of its kind in the UK, Mr Ewing states.

He suggests a UK body is essential to align a 10 megabit universal service obligation with those who we will not be able to connect by fibre.

The £600m is also only the first phase of the investment and will not deliver 100% coverage on its own, he states.

The cabinet secretary reiterates that once the tender process for R100 is complete there will be an announcement of when plans will take place.

Mr Ewing concludes by saying the 3% contribution from the UK government is insufficient.

'I say yes to digital connectivity but also yes to digital ambition'

Tory MSP Jamie Greene
bbc
Tory MSP Jamie Greene

Tory MSP Jamie Greene welcomes the Scottish government and UK government ambitions on closing the digital divide.

Mr Greene states: "I do wonder if in this afternooon's tit for tat we've missed a trick."

He says he still does not understand some issues around R100, for example the economic model for reaching Scotland's most remote rural and Island communities.

The Tory MSP wants a discussion about value for money in the tender process and detail about how the money will be spent.

Labour MSP calls for public ownership of fibre

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant
BBC
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant welcomes the narrowing of the gap between Scottish and rUK connected premises and calls for more work to close it.

She suggests asking contractors to work with community companies and social enterprise to help them roll out further into harder to reach areas.

Ms Grant also warns about deprived communities in cities being left behind because companies know these people cannot afford some internet packages.

The Labour MSP also calls for public ownership of fibre which has been laid, suggesting that some of it has been laid over and over again.

Background: Small businesses call for mobile phone coverage boost

Mobile phone
PA

The UK government must act to fix Scotland's "unacceptable" mobile phone coverage, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is set to tell MPs.

The FSB says official figures show 17% of Scotland's landmass has 4G mobile coverage, compared to 60% in England.

It will also tell Westminster's Scottish Affairs Committee that superfast broadband availability still lags behind the UK as a whole.

The UK government say coverage where people live and work is improving.

Read more here.

Timetable should be included in the contracts says Lib Dem MSP

Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles
bbc
Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles

Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles says people need to know over the next three and half years when the rollout of superfast broadband will reach them.

This should be included in the contracts, adds Mr Rumbles.

Background: Aberdeen first in Scotland to get full fibre broadband 'for nearly all'

Fibre
Getty Images

Aberdeen is to be the first city in Scotland to receive "full fibre" internet connections to nearly all its homes and businesses, we reported in February.

Broadband network specialist CityFibre is investing at least £40m in the project in partnership with Vodafone.

Work on building the network will begin this summer, with customers expected to receive gigabit speeds - 1,000 megabits per second or higher.

The companies said it would mean a "superior product at a lower cost".

Aberdeen is the second of 12 UK cities to be included in the rollout.

Read more here.

Background: Digital technology 'is Scotland's fast-growing sector'

Mobile phone and laptop
Getty Images

Last July we reported that Scotland's digital technology sector was forecast to grow twice as fast as the Scottish economy overall in the years to 2024.

Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish government-backed Digital Technologies Skills Group, in their joint report, said it was the economy's fastest-growing sector.

Their report found that it accounted for 5% of Scotland's total business base.

It also suggested that the sector now employed 2% of the national workforce.

Read more here.

Background: Edinburgh and Stirling next for ultrafast broadband

Wires
Thinkstock

Edinburgh and Stirling are to be next cities for installation of ultrafast broadband cabling into customers' homes and businesses.

CityFibre announced the Scottish cities will follow Aberdeen in getting one gigabit per second potential speeds, along with Coventry and Huddersfield.

Those already set for the roll-out - in a tie-up with Vodafone - are Aberdeen, Peterborough and Milton Keynes.

CityFibre said it aimed to make digital inadequacy "a thing of the past".

'We need to invest in technology infrastructure'

Tory MSP Tom Mason
bbc
Tory MSP Tom Mason

Tory MSP Tom Mason commends the decision to push for 100% superfast connection.

Mr Mason warns: "We need to invest in technology infrastructure."

He says: "It does strike me as odd then that the Scottish government has only begun phase 2 of the broadband procurement recently, given that they received funding from the UK government four years ago."

Mr Ewing says it was not possible to proceed with the R100 programme earlier, as it had to wait for the DSSB programme to be completed.

Mr Bowman welcomes this new information and goes on to say that what is important is getting it done.

Labour MSP calls for wider debate on tech access and poverty

Labour MSP James Kelly
BBC

Labour MSP James Kelly focuses his contribution on the link between poverty and the lack of access to technology.

He highlights schemes which have seen cheaper internet packages to people leading to higher uptake.

There are fundamental challenges around deprivation and poverty Mr Kelly says, and he calls for proper investment in IT facilities in libraries.

If we really want to open up the advantages of technology, we need a much wider debate he concludes.

Background: Scotland's broadband made progress in 2016

Digital guru
BT

Scotland made faster progress on broadband coverage than any other part of the UK last year, according to the Scottish government.

More than 800,000 homes and businesses can now benefit from fibre broadband as a result of a £428m rollout programme.

Ministers say the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband scheme is on track to hit its target of supplying 95% of premises by the end of this year.

Their goal is 100% coverage in Scotland by 2021.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said Scotland was heading towards that success rate quicker than any other part of the UK.

He said: "Fast internet connection is vital to the economic and social wellbeing of our rural communities, supporting businesses and improving lives of local people.

Read more here.

'Grossly unfair' if Scotland excluded from USO says SNP MSP

SNP MSP Gillian Martin
BBC
SNP MSP Gillian Martin

The north of Scotland has been allocated £384m of the £600m programme, SNP MSP Gillian Martin notes.

It would be "grossly unfair" if the people of Scotland were excluded from the UK government's universal service obligation, she states.

However, Ms Martin goes on to criticise the UK Universal Service Obligation for only being for 10 megabits per second.

What is the R100?

Connection
Thinkstock

Good question. The R100 is the Reaching 100% (R100) programme, a committment to superfast broadband for all.

The Scottish government says: "We want every home and business in Scotland to have access to superfast broadband by 2021 – this is our “Reaching 100%” (R100) commitment. By superfast, we mean speeds greater than 30 Mbps.

"No other part of the UKhas matched our commitment - this is unique to Scotland.

"This will deliver a future-proofed, national fibre network, placing Scotland as one of the best connected places anywhere in Europe, and underpinning our future economic growth."

Lib Dem MSP calls for detailed timetable for rollout

Mr Rumbles
BBC

Mr Rumbles welcomes the £600m investment in the R100 programme despite it being a reserved responsibility.

However, he expresses doubt that it will be done within the anticipated timescale.

Customers want to know when they will be part of the rollout and that is why his amendment calls for a clear timetable, the Lib Dem MSP explains.

There must be a detailed and published rollout programme, he asserts.

Lib Dem MSP says Scottish government contribution less than one fifth of total

Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles
bbc
Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles

Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles says last November, the cabinet secretary said more than 800,000 houses had superfast broadband thanks to the Scottish government.

Not once have we heard that the vast majority of funding for the programme came from the UK coalition government, the EU, local authorities and BT, he insists.

Mr Ewing intervenes to reiterate that he has made it clear the investment was by the Scottish government because they were running the main contact.

The minister makes it clear the UK government provided £100m, the Scottish government and Scottish public sector, including local authorities and HIE, provided £160m.

Mr Rumbles hits back saying that the Scottish government contribution is less than one fifth of the total.

Here is the Lib Dem amendment

Lib Dem amendment
Scottish parliament

Rural and deprived communities missing out on broadband says Labour MSP

Cables
Reuters

It's not just rural Scotland where there is a digital divide, Mr Smyth says.

A disproportionate number of deprived households have no access to the internet, explains the Labour MSP.

Whether rural or deprived, too many communities are being prevented from accessing the benefits superfast broadband can provide, he says.

He adds that the commitment to provide 30 megabits per second is welcome.

The cabinet secretary offers his assurances that the parliament will be provided with information on rollout as soon as the tender process is complete.

This is welcomed my Mr Smyth, criticising the lack of communication in the previous rollout.

He accuses both the Scottish government and Conservatives of trying to blame each other for the lack of connectivity.

Labour MSP says broadband gap in provision still remains

Labour MSP Colin Smyth
bbc
Labour MSP Colin Smyth

Labour MSP Colin Smyth ponders that every aspect of life is changing as a result of access to broadband.

Mr Smyth says he could go on about the frustrations his constituents have about broadband provision and criticises the government motion for not addressing this.

He says the gap in broadband provision has been reduced, but a gap does still remain.

The R100 can help to address this, he says.

Here is Labour's amendment

Labour's amendment
BBC

Background: A DIGITAL STRATEGY FOR SCOTLAND

Digtial Scotland
Digtial Scotland
Digtial Scotland

The Scottish government's Digital Strategy, Realising Scotland's full potential in a Digital World sets out the goernment's plans for putting digital at the heart of everything it does.

Including the way in which it delivers inclusive economic growth, reform ofr public services and preparin g children for the workplace of the future.

Rural Scotland takes second place to central belt under SNP says Tory MSP

Phone line connection
Thinkstock

The reality on the grounds in constituencies across this country shows the digital divide has never been greater, Mr Carson says.

The Tory MSP argues the Scottish government's programme have seen their speeds improve when they already had a good connection.

There are still over 130,000 premises in Scotland on 10 megabits per second or below, Mr Carson says.

Like on so many other issues, rural Scotland takes second place to the SNP's preferred central belt he claims.

Thank goodness we have the commitment for at least 10 megabits everywhere from the UK government, he states.

Scotland has larger proportion of premises that fall below 10 megabits per second

Tory MSP Finlay Carson
bbc
Tory MSP Finlay Carson

Tory MSP Finlay Carson says Scotland lags behind England and Wales in terms of superfast speeds above 24 megabits per second

Mr Carson says Scotland also has a larger proportion of premises that fall below 10 megabits per second.

'It is clear that Scotland is still lagging behind the rest of the UK'

Finlay Carson standing in chamber
BBC

Tory MSP Finlay Carson says missing out on digital connectivity is missing out on the benefits of modern society.

The Scottish government has failed to prioritise and accelerate the rollout of superfast broadband across the most remote parts of the country, he asserts.

He warns this impacts negatively on the economic sustainability of rural Scotland.

The Conservative digital economy spokesperson reflects on a local medical practice having to take physical records because it was unable to access online records.

This government has widened the digital divide by not accelerating the establishment of broadband where it is needed most, Mr Carson claims.

"It is clear that Scotland is still lagging behind the rest of the UK."

Here's the Tory amendment

Tory amendment
BBC

Tory MSP says it is a myth digital connectivity is a solely reserved matter

Tory MSP Jamie Greene
BBC
Tory MSP Jamie Greene

Tory MSP Jamie Greene says it is a myth this is a soley reserved matter.

Mr Greene says there was an agreement between the UK and Scottish governments that the Scottish administration would deliver the contracts for DSSB (Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband).

Mr Ewing
bbc

Mr Ewing says it is not a matter of any dubiety that digital telephony and the internet are reserved matters.

The minister refers to section 5 of the Scotland Act where the words are mention.

He says the UK minister has accepted it was reserved.

This is a reserved matter and the UK government are only putting in a "piffling, paltry, stingy 3%", he says.

UK government contribution to R100 is 'paltry' and 'unfair' says cabinet secretary

Mr Ewing
BBC

Procurement will take time but dialogue is key to getting the right outcome, says Mr Ewing.

The aim is to have suppliers in place for R100 by early next year, he confirms.

Reaching every premise in Scotland will require a variety of methods, supported by vouchers available to individuals and communities he states.

Mr Ewing says the UK government contribution to the R100 scheme is "only" 3% of the total.

Tory MSP Finlay Carson asks how much was contributed to the first phase of superfast broadband rollout.

The cabinet secretary confirms the UK government contributed £100m then, which was a "solid amount of money".

However, he says the relatively small amount going towards R100 is "paltry" and describes it as "unfair".

'I won't be satisfied until every home and business has access to superfast broadband'

Workers on broadband
BT

Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing says: "Scotland has caught up and caught up dramatically with the rest of the UK."

"I won't be satisfied until every home and business has access to superfast broadband."

We've committed £100m to the first phase of the R100 programme which he says is "momentous".

The R100 will focus on the hardest to reach rural areas, he says.

Minister says superfast broadband coverage is now over 93% in Scotland

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing
bbc
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing

Rural Economy and Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing outlines the importance of better digital connections, in terms of health, safety, work and leisure.

Mr Ewing thanks those who have helped to bridge the digital gap through the digital Scotland roll out.

The vast majority of people in Scotland can now access superfast broadband of 30 megabits or above, he says.

The minister says superfast broadband coverage is now over 93% in Scotland.

Here is the Scottish government's motion

Rural Economy and Connectivity Secretary Fergus Ewing is leading this debate on digital connectivity, primarily focused on superfast broadband.

Here is Mr Ewing's motion.

Scottish government's motion
Scottish parliament

After lunch MSPs will debate digital connectivity

Cable
Thinkstock

The Scottish government is leading a debate on digital connectivity from 2.30pm.

Decision must be consensual says minister

Sports Minister Aileen Campbell
BBC
Sports Minister Aileen Campbell

Sports Minister Aileen Campbell says Hampden holds a unique place in Scottish football which should be celebrated.

The SFA decision in principle between Murrayfield and Hampden is expected later this summer, she notes.

The Scottish government's preference is for the decision to be a consensual one with Scottish football at its heart, says Ms Campbell.

Hampden is a great venue but there are concerns about fan experience the minister states, in particular transport and seating behind the goals.

We will continue to keep members updated as the issue progresses, she concludes.

Background: Celtic's win over Rangers made Hampden roar like a lion, say sound experts

Rangers and Celtic
SNS
The noise at Hampden far outstripped that at England's noisiest ground, Old Trafford

The much-eulogized Hampden Roar reached the levels of a wild lion at close quarters during Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final between Celtic and Rangers.

Sound experts recorded what they described as an "incredible" 115-decibel peak during Celtic's 4-0 win over their city rivals.

All 20 English Premier League stadia pale by comparison, they claim.

They were called in by Hampden Park Limited as it looks to safeguard the future of Scotland's national stadium.

The Scottish FA had been considering an alternative of using the home of Scottish rugby, Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, instead of renewing its lease for Hampden.

Owners Queen's Park agreed in principle last month to sell the Glasgow stadium to the governing body, but campaigners are continuing their campaign to prove the venue's worth.

Background: SRU make case for Murrayfield replacing Hampden as national stadium

Phil Goodlad

BBC Scotland

A decision will be made on whether the SFA will move to Murrayfield this summer
SNS
A decision will be made on whether the SFA will move to Murrayfield this summer

Murrayfield should become the new home of Scottish football because it is the "largest and best stadium in Scotland," according to the Scottish Rugby Union.

The Scottish FA is considering a move away from Hampden and will decide between the current national stadium and Murrayfield this summer.

Football fans are being given a tour of the home of rugby today.

And SRU chief operating officer Dominic McKay insists the venue has a "number of unique selling points".

Read more here.