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Summary

  1. MSPs took evidence from Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on welfare.
  2. Granddaughter of Nelson Mandela, Ms Nandi Mandela, gave time for reflection
  3. MSPs questioned Scottish government minister's during topical question time
  4. The Scottish government led a debate entitled 'The economic opportunities of Independence'
  5. 5.05pm: Member's debate: Gaza

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. Post update

    That concludes our coverage of Holyrood today, thank you for watching the proceedings with us at Democracy Live.

  2. Post update

    Mr Yousaf says the UK government must bring more urgency to its actions adding he agreed with Baroness Warsi that it had been "painfully silent".

  3. Post update

    Mr Yousaf says the Scottish government has donated £500,000 of aid funding to help the people of Gaza.

    The money will go towards providing water, food, shelter and medical assistance.

    The UK government is giving an extra £3m of aid for Gaza, taking its total to £10m.

  4. Post update

    The minister said "rockets that are fired into Israel are wrong" and called for both sides to continue the cease-fire and for Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza.

  5. Post update

    Mr Yousaf said 458 children had been killed in Gaza and 200,000 are in need of emergency food aid.

    "The Scottish government cannot and will not stand idly by".

  6. Post update

    External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf is now closing the debate on behalf of the Scottish government, saying this was a debate "we'd rather not be having" but praised the exemplary tone of his fellow MSPs.

  7. Post update

    SNP MSP James Dornan condemned Israel's "completely indiscriminate and completely disproportionate" attacks on Gaza.

  8. Post update

    Mr Finnie says on his trip to Gaza with Labour MSP Claudia Beamish, he saw "first hand the consequence of so called smart weapons and that was the death of 11 members of the same family".

    He adds that he is proud of the Scottish government's call for an arms embargo on Israel which "contrasts with the silence elsewhere".

  9. Post update

    Independent MSP John Finnie, who visited Gaza in 2012, is now speaking.

  10. Post update

    Mr Macintosh said the Jewish community in Scotland were "feeling increasingly let down" and some live in fear at the moment.

  11. Post update

    Labour MSP Ken Macintosh said some Jewish people in Scotland were concerned and anxious at the moment.

  12. Post update

    Colin Keir, the SNP MSP is talking.

  13. Post update

    Sarah Boyack, the Labour MSP, says many members support the two state solution, but the "challenge is we are as far away from that solution as we have ever been".

  14. Post update

    Mr Mason focuses on the complexity of the situation in the Middle East and asks for Israel to be treated the same way as other countries.

  15. Post update

    SNP MSP John Mason is delivering his speech.

  16. Post update

    Labour MSP Cara Hilton says 456 children have been killed in this latest conflict and condemned the "brutal Israeli government".

  17. Post update

    Ms Johnstone highlights the need for psychiatric treatment for 400,000 children in Gaza due to the conflict.

  18. Post update

    Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone is speaking.

  19. Post update

    Mr Findlay condemns the Israeli government and violence on both sides.

  20. Post update

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay says "this is a humanitarian disaster unfolding before our eyes" and criticises the Israeli government.

  21. Post update

    "We must have justice for the people of Gaza and Palestine" concludes Mr Eadie.

  22. Post update

    SNP MSP Jim Eadie has the floor in the debate.

  23. Information

    For more information and analysis of the crisis in Gaza from the BBC click here.

  24. Post update

    Labour MSP Alex Rowley welcomes the debate and the Scottish government actions.

  25. Post update

    SNP MSP Christine Grahame is making her speech.

  26. The Gaza debate motion

    Labour MSP Drew Smith's motion:

    That the Parliament regrets and unreservedly repudiates the ongoing violence and loss of human life in Gaza and Israel, which, according to journalists running risks to their own safety to report from the area, stood, as at 28 July 2014, at more than 1,000 Palestinian deaths and 45 Israelis; considers that the continuation of violence will further escalate the already severe and enduring humanitarian catastrophe in the densely populated Gaza Strip; believes that the number of Palestinian civilian fatalities, including many women and children, indicates a disproportionate action by the Israeli military; condemns both indiscriminate rocket attacks and military bombardment of civilians and believes that hospitals and schools, in particular, should be places of safety and therefore also condemns attacks on them or their use to store or fire weapons; confirms its view that the continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is rooted in the continued failure to achieve a political solution to a problem that cannot be solved by violence; supports the comments made by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on 24 July, who has described the situation as an "intolerable, unacceptable crisis" and agrees with him that it is imperative for the killing to stop; notes calls for the international community to fully use its influence to break the cycle of failed talks, continuing occupation and outbreaks of violence that threaten the prospect of a two-state solution by renewed and robust efforts to broker peace and justice in the region with the objectives, amongst others, of an immediate interim ceasefire, a long-term plan to prevent further violence, efforts to aid the necessary rebuilding of Palestinian civilian infrastructure, including the importation of vital humanitarian supplies into Gaza, and crucially a process that can finally lead to the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel in accordance with previous UN resolutions, and notes calls for the UK Government to support these objectives and to prohibit the supply of equipment or parts of equipment that are likely to be used against civilians and for the Scottish Government to do all that it can in support of the same and to foster and maintain good community relations between all religious and ethnic groups who have their home in Glasgow and across Scotland and who, in common with people around the world, wish to see a settlement that respects the right of all human beings, irrespective of religion or race, to live in peace with both dignity and security.

  27. Post update

    The Palestinians have "suffered too much for too long", says Mr Hume who repeats calls for a two state solution.

  28. Post update

    It is the turn of Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume in the debate.

  29. Post update

    Independent MSP Jean Urquhart is now making her speech, saying she is proud so many people want to speak in this debate.

  30. Post update

    Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm says he is forced to use words like "obscene and grotesque" to describe the "massacre" in Gaza.

  31. Post update

    Mr Fraser stresses the fault is not all on one side, highlighting Hammas's attacks on Israel.

  32. Post update

    Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser welcomes the tone of Drew Smith's motion and speech and says the "overriding concern is for the innocent civilians caught up in the strife" in Gaza.

  33. Post update

    Ms Beamish visited Gaza in November 2012 as part of a Europe-wide delegation of parliamentarians, along with independent MSP John Finnie.

  34. Post update

    Labour MSP Claudia Beamish is speaking, highlighting acutely injured children and long term health issues arising in Gaza.

  35. Post update

    "Gaza is a prison camp and the people of Gaza deserve our support." Ms White adds.

  36. Post update

    "The suffering of the Palestinian people must stop, the people of Gaza are being left with nothing." says the Glasgow Kelvin MSP.

  37. Post update

    SNP MSP Sandra White is now giving her speech, calling for the support of the people in Gaza facing a "huge humanitarian crisis".

  38. Post update

    Ms Ferguson says she holds all human life dear and mourns for the dead on both sides.

  39. Post update

    Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson is now making her speech on Gaza.

  40. Post update

    Mr Smith calls on the Scottish government to do all that it can to maintain good community relations between all religious and ethnic groups who have their home in Glasgow and across Scotland.

  41. Post update

    According to the Labour MSP, a viable Palestinian state can only happen with a stable and secure Israel.

  42. Post update

    Mr Smith asks MSPs to imagine being born into the Gaza Strip.

  43. Post update

    Drew Smith says he supports the comments made by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on 24 July, who has described the situation as an "intolerable, unacceptable crisis" and agrees with him that it is imperative for the killing to stop.

    In his motion he calls for the international community to fully use its influence to break the cycle of failed talks, continuing occupation and outbreaks of violence that threaten the prospect of a two-state solution by renewed and robust efforts to broker peace and justice in the region.

  44. Motion

    In his motion Mr Smith says he regrets and unreservedly repudiates the ongoing violence and loss of human life in Gaza and Israel, which, according to journalists running risks to their own safety to report from the area, stood, as at 28 July 2014, at more than 1,000 Palestinian deaths and 45 Israelis.

    He considers that the continuation of violence will further escalate the already severe and enduring humanitarian catastrophe in the densely populated Gaza Strip and believes that the number of Palestinian civilian fatalities, including many women and children, indicates a disproportionate action by the Israeli military.

    The Labour MSP condemns both indiscriminate rocket attacks and military bombardment of civilians and believes that hospitals and schools, in particular, should be places of safety and therefore also condemns attacks on them or their use to store or fire weapons.

  45. Information

    Fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip is currently on hold after both sides agreed to a short-term ceasefire. The conflict has seen the deadliest violence in years and there is no sign of a long-term truce yet.

  46. Member's debate

    Labour MSP Drew Smith is leading a member's debate on Gaza.

  47. Post update

    Finance Secretary John Swinney's motion was passed, unamended, with 63 MSPs backing it and 46 voting against it.

  48. Post update

    Labour MSP Iain Gray's amendment was defeated, with 46 MSPs voting for it and 63 voting against it.

  49. Decision time

    Scottish Conservative Gavin Brown's amendment is defeated, with 45 MSPs backing it and 63 voting against.

  50. Post update

    Mr Russelll closes his speech, ending the debate and ushering in decision time.

  51. Post update

    Ms Ferguson says she holds all human life dear and mourns for the dead on both sides.

  52. Post update

    "Scotland must be independent", says the education secretary.

  53. Post update

    Mr Russell repeats the phrase Alex Salmond repeated last week at first minister's questions:

    "It's our pound and we are keeping it."

  54. Post update

    The education secretary says the positive view in the debate has come from his colleagues in the SNP and there had been an "endless destructive negativity" from Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems.

  55. Post update

    The final speaker in this afternoon's debate is Education Secretary Michael Russell, who is closing for the Scottish government.

  56. Coming up

    MSPs will debate the tragic events in Gaza after decision time.

  57. Post update

    Ms Marra says the "case for breaking up this union has completely fallen apart" in the last week, "leaving the SNP naked and panicking".

  58. Post update

    Labour's turn to close, with Jenny Marra MSP on her feet.

  59. Post update

    The issue of Scotland walking away from its fiscal debt if there is no currency union, if there is a "Yes" vote, forms the closing of the Tory MSP's speech.

  60. Post update

    Mr Brown says the Institute for Fiscal Studies says an independent Scotland would have a greater fiscal deficit, not just for the first year, but for the years there after.

  61. Post update

    Scottish Conservative Gavin Brown is making the closing speech for his party.

  62. Post update

    SNP MSP Roderick Campbell is now on his feet.

  63. Look ahead

    For Labour's Margaret McDougall, the name of the debate should have been the economic uncertainties of independence.

  64. Post update

    Stewart Stevenson, the SNP MSP, is outlining his arguments as to why an independent Scotland would strengthen the economy.

  65. Information

    If you're looking for more information on the debate around the currency union and Scotland's economy, BBC Scotland decides has a dedicated section on the issues.

  66. Post update

    It is now the turn of Scottish Labour MSP Elaine Murray to make her speech.

  67. Post update

    SNP MSP Clare Adamson.

  68. Post update

    Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser is now speaking.

  69. Post update

    Chic Brodie is the SNP MSP on his feet at the moment.

  70. Not a point of order

    SNP MSP Colin Beattie follows a failed attempt by Labour MSP Neil Findlay to raise a point of order, claiming no-one from the finance team of the SNP is in the chamber.

  71. The pound

    Money
    Image caption: Currency in an independent Scotland has become the central issue of the referendum debate

    No surprise that the proposal of a currency union has repeatedly dominated this afternoon's proceedings.

  72. Post update

    Labour MSP Hugh Henry says its 36 days to a "pig in a poke referendum".

  73. Post update

    An intervention from Willie Rennie asking whether Mr Mackenzie has stolen Jamie Hepburn's and Maureen Watt's speech, to which the SNP MSP replies "great minds think alike".

  74. Post update

    SNP MSP Mike Mackenzie responds to the debate.

  75. Post update

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay.

  76. Post update

    It is now the turn of SNP MSP Kenny Gibson, who is also the Finance Committee Convener, to give his speech.

  77. Post update

    Willie Rennie is now making his speech in his role as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

  78. Post update

    SNP MSP Maureen Watt is speaking.

  79. Post update

    Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm is now on his feet.

  80. Post update

    SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn is speaking.

  81. Information

    To read more about the "10-point plan" for independence being cited in this debate just click on the highlighted link.

    Mr Swinney unveiled the report saying a "Yes" vote in the September referendum would allow Scotland to build on its strengths by gaining control over tax and economic policy.

    Pro-Union campaigners said ministers had "zero credibility" until questions on Scotland's currency were answered.

  82. Post update

    The finance secretary intervenes saying the White Paper contains all the answers Mr Brown needs are there and says warnings about businesses avoiding Scotland during the year of the referendum have been proved wrong.

  83. Post update

    The Tory MSP says: "There is a gaping hole in the Scottish government's position."

  84. Conservative amendment

    Gavin Brown's amendment states

    "that, in May 2014, the Scottish Government published Outlook for Scotland's Public Finances, in which it claimed that an independent Scotland could be £5 billion a year better off as a result of increases in productivity, employment rate and population, and calls on the Scottish Government to release the details of the modelling and workings on which this claim was based, particularly the detail of policies that would lead to increases in productivity, employment rate and population".

  85. Gavin Brown

    Scottish Conservative finance spokesperson Gavin Brown now has the floor.

  86. Post update

    Mr Gray concludes by listing the reasons he thinks people should vote no in the referendum.

  87. Iain Gray

    "Scotland's best economic prospects lie with a currency union and the Bank of England as the lender of last resort."

  88. Post update

    SNP MSP Chic Brodie intervenes briefly.

  89. Post update

    As long as Mr Swinney has no answers on currency his propositions have "feet of clay", says Mr Gray.

  90. Iain Gray's amendment

    Here is Mr Gray's amendment for the debate

    "leave out from ―can be‖ to end and insert ―benefits from being part of the UK currency union, which is one of the oldest, strongest and most successful in history; considers that keeping the pound and the current arrangement within the UK economic and political union is in the best interests of Scotland and that the only way to keep the pound on present terms is to vote to stay in the UK; believes that Scotland benefits from being part of the deeply integrated UK economy, which is the third largest economy in Europe and the sixth largest in the world; considers that being part of the large and diverse UK economy provides strength and stability to Scotland's finances; believes that, as part of the UK economic union, Scotland is afforded protection from unexpected economic and financial shocks; considers that Scottish businesses have unfettered access to a domestic market 10 times the size of Scotland's population and that it is imperative that this remains the case; believes that Scotland benefits from being part of an integrated economic union and that the pooling of tax income ensures that public spending in one part of the UK is not exclusively dependent on the taxes raised in that area, meaning that, if one part of the UK is disproportionately impacted on by an economic downturn or slow growth, public services in that area are not forced to assume all of its impact, and considers that the best future for Scotland is for a Scottish Parliament with more powers and enhanced accountability within a strengthened union‖.

  91. Post update

    Labour's finance spokesperson Iain Gray is on his feet putting forward his parties economic views.

  92. Currency union

    The finance secretary puts the case for a currency union, pointing out that the majority of Scottish people want to see one, according to the Scottish Social Attitudes survey.

    The annual survey showed 68% favoured using the pound in an agreement with the rest of the UK, with just 14% favouring a new currency.

    Support for independence had increased slightly compared to 2013.

    However, 39% of people thought they would be financially worse off under independence, up from 29% last year.

    Mr Swinney closes by saying Scotland needs the "all the remaining powers" misused by Westminster to create a "prosperous and just society all of us want to live in".

  93. Post update

    Mr Swinney says the levels of child poverty are a "scandal".

  94. Post update

    Labour's Neil Findlay introduces tax rates to the discussion.

  95. Post update

    Gavin Brown again intervenes, this time on the issue of an innovation centre.

  96. Post update

    Mr Swinney says independence will ensure economic policy is designed for the needs of the Scottish economy.

  97. Post update

    Labour's Jenny Marra asks why Scottish unemployment figures "have gotten worse".

  98. Post update

    Mr Swinney hits back saying "there are strong foundations from which an independent Scotland can emerge".

  99. Post update

    Conservative MSP Gavin Brown also intervenes on the currency union question.

  100. Post update

    Scottish Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie intervenes and asks about what currency Scotland would use in an independent country.

  101. John Swinney's motion

    That the Parliament agrees that Scotland can be a successful independent country and that, while Scotland is among the wealthiest nations in the world, levels of inequality are too high; recognises the improvements in Scotland's economic performance that have resulted from transferring limited powers to the Scottish Parliament, and believes that this demonstrates that decisions about Scotland's economy are best made in Scotland by the people of Scotland and that independence presents new opportunities to build a more secure economy because for the first time ever Scotland will have the job-creating powers and an economic policy that will put Scotland first.

  102. Post update

    Mr Swinney says: "the debate is not about can we be independent but should we be independent".

  103. Post update

    Finance Secretary John Swinney is leading the debate on the economic opportunities of Independence.

  104. Coming up

    The Scottish government will shortly lead a debate entitled "Economic Opportunities of Independence".

  105. Post update

    Mr Matheson says the issue of Ebola was discussed in cabinet today.

  106. Public health

    Public Health Minister Michael Matheson says no cases of Ebola have been reported in the UK, but says Scotland is well placed to respond and additional steps are being taken.

  107. Ebola Virus

    Conservative MSP John Scott asks what precautions the Scottish government is taking to reduce the threat of the Ebola virus.

  108. Royal Mail

    Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing says he would be very concerned if there were further reductions to rural mail services.

  109. Post update

    SNP MSP Rob Gibson asks the government what it considers the economic impact will be of Royal Mail's decision to bring forward rural post box collection times.

  110. Post update

    Mr Neil insists the average time in hospital is at a record low.

  111. Post update

    Labour health spokesperson Neil Findlay says "more and more people are stuck in hospital when they should be at home".

  112. Post update

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant asks a follow up question.

  113. Post update

    Mr Neil says care at home services are an important part of rehabilitation.

  114. Health secretary

    Health Secretary Alex Neil says he does not agree with Mr Hume who said the government was failing to help the elderly live independently.

  115. Topical questions

    MSPs are questioning Scottish government minister's at topical question time.

    Liberal Democrat MSP Jim Hume asks the Scottish Government what its response is to the latest reports on waiting times to access support services that allow older people to live independently at home.

  116. Post update

    Ms Mandela earlier said it was an "honour and a privilege" to address Holyrood

  117. Post update

    Ms Mandela says her grandfather said to her young people do not have time for old people and therefore miss out.

    Nelson Mandela told her it was important to take time with the older generation.

  118. Presiding officer

    In May Tricia Marwick, Presiding Officer of the Parliament, said: "We are delighted to offer members of the public this rare opportunity to hear from eminent speakers, including Nandi Mandela, as they explore the power of culture on nations."

  119. Nandi Mandela

    Ms Mandela is a businesswoman and the daughter of the late South African president's eldest son, Thembi.

  120. Culture Summit

    The first culture summit took part in 2012 and attracted contributors from 33 countries.

  121. Information

    Ms Mandela is in Scotland to address a culture summit at the Scottish Parliament.

    She is scheduled to take part in a public session on the ways in which culture and the arts can foster international understanding.

    The address is part of the three-day event which ends today.

  122. Mandela address

    Nelson Mandela
    Image caption: Nelson Mandela

    This afternoon's Time for Reflection will be delivered by Nelson Mandela's granddaughter Nandi Mandela in Holyrood's debating chamber.

  123. Welcome back

    Welcome back to BBC Scotland's Democracy Live coverage of the Scottish Parliament.

  124. Post update

    Mr McMahon moves the committee into private session and our coverage will take a break, until 2pm.

  125. Committee Convener

    Labour MSP and committee convener Michael McMahon is asking his final questions.

  126. Safety net

    The benefits safety net has developed "gaping holes" says Ms Sturgeon.

  127. Post update

    It is now the turn of Annabelle Ewing, the SNP MSP, to put questions to the cabinet secretary.

  128. Affordable welfare

    "Scotland can afford a welfare system", according to the deputy first minister, who also says it is "deeply, deeply insulting" when people say Scotland cannot.

  129. Post update

    Ms Sturgeon replied: "We are very clear we want to be in a position, in a short period of time" to bring about the changes to create a Scottish welfare system.

  130. New welfare system

    Ms Baillie asks how the Scottish government would create a new welfare system in 18 months.

  131. Post update

    Labour MSP Jackie Baillie is also raising the issue of carers and set up costs.

  132. Post update

    The deputy first minister says that there will clearly be upfront cost implications, but savings to be made and more economic growth is expected if there is a "Yes" vote.

  133. Post update

    Mr Macintosh asks if there will be extra costs to implement the Scottish government's plans for welfare in an independent Scotland.

  134. Post update

    Labour MSP Ken Macintosh begins his questions focussing on benefits sanctions and carers allowances.

  135. Post update

    Ms Sturgeon calls for a "holistic" approach, calling for responsibilities across all services to be retained in Scotland.

  136. Post update

    SNP MSP Kevin Stewart is currently posing the questions to Ms Sturgeon.

  137. Earlier

    The committee began by questioning Ms Sturgeon on the Scotland Act 1998 (Transfer of Functions to the Scottish Ministers etc.) Order 2014.

    This order transfers the overall limit on the total amount of expenditure that may be incurred by a local authority in Scotland in awarding discretionary housing payments to the Scottish minister.

    MSPs unanimously backed the order after the evidence session.

  138. Post update

    First up this morning is Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who has been giving evidence to the Welfare Reform Committee since 10am.

  139. Welcome

    Good morning and welcome to BBC Scotland's new Democracy Live coverage of the Scottish Parliament.