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Summary

  1. The Social Security Committee takes evidence on the Scottish welfare fund
  2. The first minister faces questions during FMQs
  3. An SNP MSP leads a debate on perinatal mental health
  4. A ministerial statement on veterans health and wellbeing
  5. Final debate on the LBTT (Relief from Additional Amount) Bill

Live Reporting

By Louise Wilson and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

That's all from Holyrood Live this week

Nicola Sturgeon during FMQs
BBC

That is all from us on the Holyrood Live team on Thursday 17 May 2018.

The first minister confirmed the suicide prevention strategy will look at the better signposting of support in light of increasing numbers of websites encouraging people to take their own lives.

The issue was raised by SNP MSP Clare Haughey during first minister's questions.

It follows her colleague Gillian Martin MSP backing a mother who lost her daughter to suicide calling for internet providers to take a tougher stance.

Ms Sturgeon said: "Search engine providers should always take responsibility for preventing access to any form of dangerous content."

Point of order

Ken Macintosh
bbc

Labour MSP Daniel Johnson raises a point of order in relation to civil servants working on the Scottish government named person policy.

Mr Johnson says civil servants have allegedly made inappropriate requests to clerks.

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh says he will inform the chamber of his decision next week.

SNP MSP James Dornan asks why this is not a matter for him to deal with, as Education Committee convener and accuses Mr Johnson of "grandstanding".

Mr Macintosh again says he will deliberate on this issue.

Greens to back the Bill

Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie
bbc
Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie

Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie says he has learned something in this debate, something that he never thought to hear, that someone has a sense of affection for LBTT.

Mr Harvie regards it as a small step in a more progressive direction, but fails to address the need for a tax policy to unlock the cash in the property marker.

Labour will back Bill

Labour MSP James Kelly
BBC
Labour MSP James Kelly

Labour MSP James Kelly backs the Bill, saying it is right the parliament is addressing the anomaly.

Two issues to be aware of going forward are ensuring people know about the change and the impact it will have on the Budget, he says.

Background: Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Relief from Additional Amount) (Scotland) Bill

Houses for sale
PA

The Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Relief from Additional Amount) (Scotland) Bill seeks to amend the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Act 2013.

The Act has not been not working as intended in relation to economic units and the ability to reclaim tax after a former main residence has been sold.

An order came into effect in June 2017 to ensure that, when the additional dwelling supplement is paid, it can be reclaimed when a main residence is being replaced.

However, this did not apply retrospectively. This bill seeks to change this to ensure relief can be claimed retrospectively.

Tories to back the Bill

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser
bbc

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser warmly welcomes the Bill before the chamber today.

Mr Fraser points out that there are no amendments at Stage 3 and there were no amendments at Stage 2.

"The shortest Stage 2 I can ever remember."

The Tory MSP says given the sunshine all members will welcome the opportunity to end early, particularly the minister who he believes has an allotment to attend!

Mr Fraser says the legislation was necessary to address an oversight that left couples being charged an additional dwelling supplement in the scenario that only one of them had their name on the property being sold.

In conclusion, Mr Fraser says the Tories will support the Bill at 4pm.

Background: MSP back general principle of Bill

Cash in saltire purse
PA

MSPs unanimously agree to the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Relief from Additional Amount) (Scotland) Bill at stage 1 in March.

Look back at the debate on Holyrood Live.

Finance Minister Derek Mackay said the Bill will deliver parity for all taxpayers regardless of when the transaction took place.

It was welcomed by Tory finance spokesperson Murdo Fraser and Labour finance spokesperson James Kelly.

Bill will fix 'unintended consequences' of original legislation

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay
BBC
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay says the Bill addresses unintended consequences and only applies retrospectively to those not covered by a 2017 Order.

Revenue Scotland will publish figures a year after the law comes into effect, he says.

Noting issues in identifying taxpayers who are eligible for repayment, the cabinet secretary confirms there will be a wide range of communication and activity on the issue.

Regarding other concerns raised by stakeholders during the passage of the Bill, Mr Mackay states the government does not intend to bring forward further legislation on the additional dwellings supplement.

Stage 3 debate on LBTT Bill begins

For sale sign
PA

MSPs will now take part in the final debate on the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Relief from Additional Amount) (Scotland) Bill.

Rather unusually, there were no amendments lodged on this Bill at stage 2, nor are there any at stage 3.

Lib Dem MSP says veterans most likely to end up homeless

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole- Hamilton
bbc
Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole- Hamilton

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole- Hamilton says it is a source of collective shame that veterans are more likely than most to join the ranks of the homeless.

Mr Cole-Hamilton asks what action is being taken to help homeless veterans.

Ms Robison replies that the Scottish Veterans Fund has given £1.3m to 150 projects and organisations supporting veterans across Scotland, some of which has gone toward homelessness prevention.

Green MSP asks about early service leavers

Green MSP Mark Ruskell
BBC
Green MSP Mark Ruskell

Green MSP Mark Ruskell asks about early service leavers and ensuring they have access to the best quality of care.

Ms Robison agrees such people are a particularly vulnerable group.

She says a key part of helping them is about sharing information and offering peer support.

Minister says Scottish government have pressed MOD for full medical records

Health Secretary Shona Robison
bbc
Health Secretary Shona Robison

SNP MSP Graeme Dey says it is essential the MOD pass on full and accurate medical records when requested.

The health secretary says the Scottish government has been pressing the MOD on this issue for some time.

Labour MSP David Stewart raises the issue of PTSD.

Ms Robison says a range of treatments are available on the NHS for PTSD.

Labour MSP requests info on action plan

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar
BBC
Labour MSP Anas Sarwar

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar notes the recommendation from the Commissioner's report on an action plan.

He raises concerns about geographic inequalities in services and a lack of understanding about veterans' specific needs by NHS staff.

What will be the time frame for the action plan, he asks.

Ms Robison responds that the recommendations are being looked at in detail and the action plan will be taken forward through the network on veterans' health.

They will bring forward a time scale, she adds.

She also highlights specialist services are available through the NHS.

Background: Veterans service Grampian branch closed

Veteran Jack Dunlop told BBC Scotland's Fiona Stalker of his fears before the closure was confirmed

The Grampian branch of a service which provides support to former service men and women has closed.

Eight Veterans First Point centres were set up in Scotland using cash from the UK government's Libor fund.

But that money is running out and local health boards are now covering costs - with help from the Scottish government.

However the Aberdeen centre folded after NHS Grampian said it was unable to pick up the running costs.

Read more.

Concerns about closure of Veterans First Point centres in Grampian and Highland

Tory MSP Maurice Corry
bbc
Tory MSP Maurice Corry

Tory MSP Maurice Corry welcomes the recommendations in the report.

The Tory MSP highlights a YouGov survey for SSAFA which found 34% veterans felt overwhelmed by their feelings and that 27% admitted to having suicidal thoughts after finishing their military service.

He calls on the government to do more for the mental health of veterans.

Mr Corry says Veterans First Point is begin considered for cuts in some health areas and he highlights the loss in of Veterans First Point in Grampian and Highland.

Ms Robison says that when Libor funding came to an end last year, the government offered partnership funding to Veterans First Point.

The health secretary says she has nothing to suggest the remaining Veterans First Points' funding arrangements will change.

She says the government provides £835,000 to support the Veteran's First Point centres, in match funding with health boards.

Minister warns against complacency

Ms Robison ends by thanking Eric Fraser for this important work in highlighting how to continue providing high quality services for veterans.

"We have much to be proud of, but cannot be complacement."

Managed network for veterans being explored

Shona Robison
BBC

Ms Robison emphasises the need to support veterans in the long-term.

A managed network approach to create a more sustainable service is being explored, she confirms.

A range of stakeholders will be involved in developing such a proposal she adds.

Turning to mental health, the health secretary confirms the long-term action plan will be established.

She believes the wider mental health strategy will have a positive impact on veterans too.

The cabinet secretary points to £8.5m being invested in the mental healthcare services being delivered by Veterans First Point and Combat Stress over the next three years.

Health secretary welcomes veterans' health and wellbeing report...........

Health Secretary Shona Robison
bbc
Health Secretary Shona Robison

Health Secretary Shona Robison begins by thanking Scottish Veterans Commissioner Eric Fraser for his report on Veteran's Health and Wellbeing.

Ms Robison tells the chamber veterans are an asset to Scotland.

She says the Scottish government is committed to ensuring veterans get the best support, including health care.

The minister points out that the report calls for a greater sustainable healthcare for health care.

She says the report makes the point strong leadership is required to deliver veteran's healthcare.

Background: Distinct approach to veterans' healthcare needed

Report front cover
Scottish government

The Scottish Veterans Commissioner's latest report on veterans' health and wellbeing was published last month.

It concluded there needed to be a distinct approach to veterans' health to raise awareness of veterans, expressing concern that the ambition and innovation has "waned" in recent years.

The report also urges for veterans with the most severe and enduring injuries to be at the centre of any approach.

18 recommendations are made in the report, ranging from strategy and funding to access and inequalities.

Read the full report here.

Statement on veterans' healthcare

Health Secretary Shona Robison will now deliver a statement following the publication of the Scottish Veterans Commissioner's report on health and wellbeing.

Soldier silhouettes
AFP

Coming up in the chamber...........................

Soldiers
PA
The statement is on the health and wellbeing of former soldiers

After lunch, Health Secretary Shona Robison will make a statement on the Scottish Veterans Commissioner's report on veteran health and wellbeing.

The day will end with the final debate on the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Relief from Additional Amount) (Scotland) Bill.

Prevention and early intervention crucial says minister

Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt
BBC
Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt

Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt praises the Everyone's Business campaign for playing a significant part in raising awareness of perinatal mental health.

Ultimately we want that raised profile to result in better support for women, she says.

Issues can have a long-lasting effect on the women, their partners and their children, the minister highlights.

Ms Watt suggests perinatal mental health has been prioritised in the Scottish government's wider mental health strategy, hence the funding for the management clinical network.

We want there to be a focus on prevention and early intervention, she adds.

'It is clear there is much more to be done'

Green MSP Alison Johnstone
bbc
Green MSP Alison Johnstone

Green MSP Alison Johnstone says it is clear there is much more to be done on perinatal mental health.

Ms Johnstone states prioritising maternal mental health is a preventative approach.

The Green MSP argues there is very good work going on in Scotland, but adds in seven health boards there are no specialist community perinatal mental health care at all.

She welcomes the new neonatal care fund, but calls for the basics to be in place for all new families.

More healthcare staff must be trained in perinatal mental health

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton
BBC
Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton raises the mental health issues that come with miscarriage.

Every first six week check for new mothers is essential, he says, but more staff need to be adequately trained in perinatal mental health.

He says less than half of mothers are served by adequate services in the local hospitals.

Timely response to mental health issues can be difference between life and death

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar
BBC
Labour MSP Anas Sarwar

Perinatal mental health issues will impact on people and their families for the rest of their lives, begins Labour MSP Anas Sarwar.

There needs to be a change of culture in how we think about our mental health, he states.

The Labour MSP expresses concern about treatment times for mental health, saying people can wait days for a GP appointment and then weeks for specialist treatment.

When someone has a serious mental health crisis and the response is not immediate, it can be life or death, Mr Sarwar says.

He concludes by welcoming the Everybody's Business campaign and calls for action to be backed by resources.

Background: 'Third of mothers' experience mental health issues

Pregnant woman looking out a window
Getty Images

More than a third of mothers have experienced mental health issues related to parenthood, according to an online survey of 1,800 British parents by the BBC Radio 5 live and YouGov.

The study revealed that, in comparison, 17% of fathers had experienced similar issues.

More than two-thirds of the affected mothers sought professional help - suffering from conditions such as acute stress, severe anxiety and postpartum depression.

Many of the parents surveyed reported feeling criticised by a large number of people.

Mothers said their parents were the most critical of their parenting (26%), followed by their spouse/partner (24%) and other family members (18%).

About 14% said they had been criticised by strangers, compared with 5% of the 800 fathers who responded to the survey.

Read more here.

Tory MSP calls for improvements in antenatal and postnatal health services

Tory MSP Annie Wells
bbc
Tory MSP Annie Wells

Tory MSP Annie Wells offers her support to the Everyone's Business Campaign.

Ms Wells shares her personal experience after the birth of her son admitting she "felt alone, isolated and was not sure I was doing the right thing"

She says she did not want to tell anyone she was not coping, but adds she is pleased to see the issue is being discussed more openly now.

Ms Wells calls for improvements in antenatal and postnatal health services, so we get it right for every mother.

Background: 'I was in a really negative terrible place'

Woman in counselling
Getty Images

"I was in a really negative terrible place.... and couldn't see a way out."

This was the experience of one woman who suffered from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder during her second pregnancy.

A quarter of pregnant women suffer from mental health problems, a study by King's College London suggests.

Anxiety and depression were not the only conditions to affect these women, with some suffering eating disorders, OCD and bipolar disorder.

Read more here.