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Live Reporting

Craig Hutchison and Rachael Connors

All times stated are UK

  1. That's it from us for today

    That concludes our coverage of the Scottish Parliament on 3 December 2014.

    The Local Government Committee and all today's chamber business at BBC Scotland's Democracy Live website.

    Holyrood at night
    Image caption: Holyrood at night

    We'll be back bright and early to bring you coverage of the Devolution Committee from 9am tomorrow morning, as it takes evidence from Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael and Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

    Until then have a lovely night.

  2. 'Ashamed'

    In conclusion Mr Ewing says we can all do more in this area and it is one of the more "serious challenges" in Scotland today.

    He pledges to work with colleagues Sarah Boyack, Jim Eadie, Marco Biagi to use the vast resources of Scotland to do "far better" for supported employees.

    The minister says he feels "ashamed" that a better outcome has not been achieved for the Engine Shed.

    "We must do better", he concludes.

  3. PACE services

    Mr Ewing continues by saying while good things are happening we must address this more effectively, and we must do "far better" in Scotland.

    He recognises a range of support services needs to be in place and there is no one size fits all.

    I'm a "passionate supporter" of supported businesses, he says.

    The minister says we've heard in the debate the Engine Shed is a social enterprise which has helped many people get into mainstream employment, but changes of funding has led to it closing.

    Supporters of the Engine Shed
    Image caption: Supporters of the Engine Shed

    On business support he says there are potential support packages available from Scottish Social Enterprise.

    Thirty employees are threatened with redundancy, he says, and PACE services have been offered to help them.

  4. Business Minister Fergus Ewing

    Business Energy and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing says this is an "extremely important" debate.

    The minister says he believes all people of working age should be supported to work when they wish to.

    He says the "respect and sense of wellbeing" that comes from work are recognised.

    Business Minister Fergus Ewing
    Image caption: Business Minister Fergus Ewing

    Mr Ewing says it is quite shocking that the level of employment of those with disabilities is at 42%, but even more shocking those with learning disabilities is "shockingly low".

  5. Engine Shed petition

    SNP MSP Jim Eadie asks how do we ensure people moved in to jobs get the support to stay in the job.

    He says without the Engine Shed the good record of placing people in to jobs would not be possible.

    MSP Jim Eadie

    The Engine Shed was helpful to prepare people for the workplace, he says.

    He says there were online and paper petitions in Edinburgh with thousand of signatures to keep the Engine Shed open.

  6. Supported employment

    Ms Boyack says supported employment for adults with disabilities has never had a source of funding and that needs to be addressed.

    The Lothian MSP says the danger is people will fall out of job market in absence of Blindcraft, Remploy and Engine Shed.

    In January a company that will manufacture nurses' uniforms for the Scottish NHS took on a group of former Remploy staff.

    Remploy sign

    The 26 disabled workers were recruited by the Haven PTS Ltd factory in Stirling after the UK government withdrew Remploy funding last year.

    Ms Boyack says there is a gap between the Scottish government's policy objectives and policy delivery on supported work.

    The Labour MSP says there is an urgent need to review the situation.

  7. The Engine Shed

    The Engine Shed website explains it is a social enterprise that helps young people with learning disabilities gain skills in a real work environment and supports them to move into mainstream, paid employment.

    Trainees work alongside staff in our vegetarian café, organic bakery, organic tofu production unit and conference centre and help deliver a great service to customers while developing skills for life.

    It says its young trainees are extra special and take pride on the quality of everything we do.

    The website says:

    "We have had to come to the regrettable decision that it is not feasible to continue our current operations because of lack of financial viability.

    "This will mean that we will now plan how to wind down the current operations, which will in reality mean the closing down of the Engine Shed, over the next six months".

  8. 'Wind down'

    Ms Boyack says she is pleased staff, family and volunteers from the Engine Shed are in the gallery.

    She outlines the work of the Engine Shed, taking on trainees for up to three years and then finding placements with mainstream employers.

    The Labour MSP says she has been a strong supporter of the Engine Shed and it's work and has heard much praise from families who have used the service.

    Edinburgh city council building
    Image caption: Edinburgh City Council

    Ms Boyack says the value of the grant from Edinburgh Council to the Engine Shed has reduced to less than it was in 2003.

    Following its failure to secure funding, the management of the Engine Shed regretfully decided to wind down the operation.

  9. Engine Shed and Supported Employment debate

    Labour MSP Sarah Boyack is leading a debate on The Engine Shed and supported employment.

    In her motion Ms Boyack says she is disappointed by the announcement by the Edinburgh-based training organisation, the Engine Shed, that it is to cease operation.

    Ms Boyack understands that the organisation, which has offered individuals with learning disabilities a successful transitional work-based training route into paid work with a variety of local employers since 1989, will be wound up over the next six months due to funding pressures.

    Labour MSP Sarah Boyack

    She is concerned that the Engine Shed is the latest supported employment project in Edinburgh to cease operation following the recent closures of BlindCraft and Remploy in the city and is also concerned at the reported continuing gap between employment rates for disabled and non-disabled workers in Scotland.

    The Labour MSP acknowledges the role of supported businesses in tackling the barriers that prevent many disabled workers from accessing employment and highlights the Scottish government's policy that every public body should have at least one contract with a supported business.

    In her motion she says she is disappointed in response to freedom of information requests earlier in 2014 indicating that some 44 public authorities, including NHS boards, local authorities and central government organisations, do not meet this policy aim.

    Ms Boyack says there is a need for a renewed effort to grow the supported employment sector in Scotland and prevent closure of further providers.

  10. Decision time vote

    The amendment, from Housing Minister Margaret Burgess, to Labour's private sector rent reform motion was passed with 64 MSPs voting for it and 53 MSPs voting against it.

    This caused the Conservative amendment to fall.

    Thus Labour MSP Mary Fee's motion was duly amended and then passed with 64 MSPs voting for it and 53 MSPs voting against it.

    MSPs vote during decision time
    Image caption: MSPs vote during decision time

    Health Secretary Shona Robison saw her amendment, to Labour's motion on the NHS, passed with 65 MSPs backing it, 38 against and 13 abstentions.

    The amended motion was duly passed with 67 MSPs backing it, 37 against and 13 abstentions.

  11. Decision time

    Decision time is underway, with nine questions to be voted on.

  12. Not a point of order

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay asks to bring a point of order about the numbers of bed days lost and says Minister Maureen Watt accused him of getting the figures wrong.

    The Presiding officer says that is not a point of order.

  13. We need change now

    Dr Simpson lists cuts that have been made to junior doctors, nurses and some senior posts.

    Hospital corriodor
    Image caption: NHS Dumfries and Galloway spent 14% of its medical staff expenditure on agency locums in the last year

    He warns the consequences will be felt in coming years.

    "We need a root and branch review", he concludes.

  14. Dr Simpson

    Dr Simpson says there has never been a situation where the NHS has been described by the chair of the BMA as a "slow car crash over the past five years".

    The outgoing chairman of the British Medical Association in Scotland has warned that tough decisions need to be made if the NHS is going to survive.

    Image caption: The NHS in Scotland spent a record £82m on locums last year - an increase of £18m on the previous year

    Dr Brian Keighley told the association's annual conference that it is time for all politicians to face up to some "hard questions".

    "What I have seen over the past five years is the continuing crisis management of the longest car crash in memory - and it is time for our politicians to face up to some very hard questions." he said.

    Dr Simpson says Dr Keighley also said the situation was like "rearranging the deckchairs on titanic".

    He says we need an independent inspection agency, but not one that needs to be charged by the government in order to go in to a place.

  15. Coming up: Decision time

    MSPs will shortly vote on the motions and amendments from Scottish Labour's debates on the private rented sector and this debate on the NHS.

  16. Labour closing

    Dr Richard Simpson sums up the debate by saying regrettably since 2007 there have only been a tiny amount of health debates initiated by the government.

    Dr Richard Simpson
    Image caption: Dr Richard Simpson

    He says the government came in to power in 2007 under a false prospectus.

    The public sector model is "radically different" to the path being folllowed by NHS in England and Wales, he says.

    Dr Ryan Fields wears the goggles during a surgery
    Image caption: Dr Ryan Fields has used the goggles during the pilot study in America

    Dr Simpson says there has been improvements in the area of waiting times.

  17. Scottish government

    Public Health Minister Maureen Watt criticises Labour MSPs and says that you can't praise staff on one side and say the NHS is failing on the other.

    Public Health Minister Maureen Watt

    She says she is not denying there are challenges, but the government has a clear vision for the NHS which has been highlighted by those on the Health Committee who contributed in the debate.

    Dr and nurse in hospital corridor

    Ms Watt says the government is focussing its efforts to ensure the right people are available to do the right work at the right time.

    The new minister says she hopes the opposition will agree to work in a cross party way to tackle delayed discharges.

  18. Scottish Conservative Closing

    Scottish Conservative MSP Nanette Milne is closing the NHS debate for her party.

    Tory MSP Nanette Milne

    Conservative MSP Nanette Milne says the fact that the NHS has grown into the complex organisation it is, is a testament to the hard working staff.

    Nurse pushing hospital trolley

    She says SNP speakers have made predictable speeches and she does not think it is right to use the NHS as a political football.

    Lets cut out the political points scoring, she says.

  19. 'New ways'

    Scottish Conservative MSP Nanette Milne says by and large staff gain a large satisfaction from their work in the NHS, despite not being well paid.

    Nurses on a ward
    Image caption: The guidelines say there must be enough nurses to give patients the assistance they need

    She says more people are living longer and the NHS is under pressure so we need a new approach.

    Ms Milne explains that the pinch points are well known in the NHS and she doesn't like the inflammatory language of Labour's motion.

    She says "new ways" need to be found to use resources well moving forward.

    The Conservative MSP rejects Labour's proposal for a review of the NHS.

  20. Conservative view

    Scottish Conservative MSP Nanette Milne's amendment says for the successful integration of health and social care, there needs to be a clear focus on primary care, including allied health professionals and the third sector.

    Nanette Milne

    It goes on to highlight the interrelationships between the health and social care professionals.

    Ms Milne also highlights Audit Scotland's call for a major overhaul in the running of the NHS to cope with future needs, particularly those of an ageing population,and calls on the Scottish government to work urgently and constructively with all parties to achieve a long-term effective plan to secure the future of Scotland's NHS.

  21. No to review

    Ms Robison concludes her speech saying Labour carry on calling for a Beveridge style review of the NHS, but the Beveridge review took four years and insists she does not want to put the NHS on pause.

    The minister says the government knows what the problems are in the NHS and will act now.

  22. 'Delayed discharges'

    Ms Robison says that under this government there are 7.6% more staff working in the NHS.

    She says the NHS is treating more people and reducing the amount of time people have to wait for treatment.

    "We are ensuring all NHS staff are paid at least the living wage and we are ensuring staff are well motivated and rewarded."

    Hospital corriodor

    But the health secretary says she is not complacent.

    She tells MSPs she wants to focus on delayed discharges and drive forward health and social care integration.

    "Delayed discharges are my top priority", she says.

  23. 2020 Vision

    Ms Robison's amendment also highlights that the successful integration of health and social care will be key to the delivery of the long-term sustainable solution to delayed discharge, improved patient flow and effective and coordinated care at home.

    Operating theatre

    The minister calls on the parliament to support government's aim to work with stakeholders to take forward the continued development of the 2020 vision, as it has in the past, to reflect the increasing demands from patients and the new way that services will be delivered under integration.

    The Scottish government's 2020 Vision is that by 2020 everyone is able to live longer healthier lives at home, or in a homely setting.

  24. Health Secretary's amendment

    New Health Secretary Shona Robison's motion says that to give certainty to future health service planning, the NHS revenue budget should rise in real terms for the remainder of the current parliamentary session and the next.

    Her amendment welcomes that the protection of the NHS budget in Scotland which it says has seen the health workforce rise to a record high.

    It further welcomes that, in the last year alone, NHS consultant numbers have increased by 6.6%.

    The health secretary points out that, while delayed discharges today are significantly lower than they were in 2006, action between the Scottish government, the NHS and local government is required to reverse recent increases.

  25. 'NHS frontline resource budgets will be protected'

    Health Secretary Shona Robison says she wants to put on record her appreciation for hard working NHS staff.

    Ms Robison says the NHS must always "strive for improvement" but we must not forget that "progress is being made".

    Health Secretary Shona Robison
    Image caption: Health Secretary Shona Robison

    She says the aims are clear within the government's 2020 vision for health and social care.

    NHS frontline resource budgets will be protected, she says.

  26. 'Whole scale review of the NHS'

    The Labour MSP says we now have staffing shortages across many disciplines - GPs, midwives, specialist nurses, paediatricians, psychiatrists, emergency medicine, anaesthetists the list goes on.

    Mr Findlay insists vacancies for consultant posts have doubled, spending on locums up by 60%, spending on agency staff up 106% over the last two years and money continuing, in all sorts of ways, to leak out of the system to the private sector.

    Image caption: New data reveals most health boards have increasingly relied on locums to fill staffing gaps since 2009

    "In the last few days we have had the report into the Vale of Leven, Aberdeen Royal infirmary and NHS Grampian and there are serious issues in Fife, Lanarkshire, the Lothians and across Scotland."

    "If ever there was a time to accept our argument for a whole scale review of our NHS and the establishment of a truly independent health regulator then that time is now."

  27. Council funding cuts

    Mr Findlay says the first mnister last week announced an extra £5m would be put in to deal with delayed discharges but that councils would have to match fund the governments contribution.

    Elderly hands

    "Presiding officer what planet is the First Minister living on?"

    Council budgets are being hammered by this government, says the Labour MSP andservices are closing, jobs being slashed and assets sold - so where is the money going to come from?

  28. Care crisis

    The Labour MSP says council budgets have been cut by 11%, with authorities shackled and unable to raise money.

    "15 minute care visits, a minimum wage sector with carers only staying in the job long enough until they can get another job elsewhere."

    He says he met a young girl last year who got a job in social care - she received 4 days training in an office 1 and a half day shadowing another carer and was then on out on her own.

    "On day one she had 30 clients to visit - the first was a man with a catheter in - she didn't know what it was, never mind able to deal with it. "

    Elderly woman being comforted by a carer

    "The next person she went to had a personality disorder and was abusive to her - she didn't know what to do.

    "Her day went on like that - she was paid until 5pm only but finished at 10. £5:13 pence an hour was what she received.

    "That is what we are doing to our elderly loved ones and to the young carers of the future. "

  29. A and E

    Mr Findlay says "Accident and Emergency departments are full to bursting unable to cope with increased demand and expectations."

    Hospital corriodor

    "Staff are frazzled, there is a recruitment crisis and junior doctors are under huge pressure, looking after up to 100 beds while still working far too long hours."

  30. Audit Scotland

    Mr Findlay says Audit Scotland states "the current level of focus on meeting waiting time targets may not be sustainable when combined with additional pressures of increasing demand and tightening budgets".

    "There are signs that NHS boards are facing increasing difficulty meeting their financial targets, and some are doing this in unsustainable ways.

    "Four boards required additional funding from the Scottish Government to break even, and five continue to rely on high levels of non-recurring savings".

  31. State of the NHS

    Labour's health spokesperson Neil Findlay is leading a debate on the state of the NHS.

    Neil Findlay

    "The NHS is under pressure like never before."

    "From the front door of the GP surgery to the social care sector the pressures across system are immense and show no sign of abating. "

  32. End of the debate

    Mr Kelly says the SNP amendment is staggering in terms of its complacency.

    Ms Burgess intervenes saying the government had done a number of things to improve the private sector and is currently consulting tenancy regime and rents

    There was nothing in the government programme to address rent rises and security of tenure, it is on a go slow in terms of housing.

    "It is not enough to chat about it, it's time we had some action."

  33. 'Staggering figure'

    Labour MSP James Kelly says there are important issues being faced in the private rented sector.

    Mr Kelly says because of a shortage of housing supply and poverty there are 368,000 people living in the private rented sector.

    Scottish Labour MSP James Kelly

    The two main problems are rising rent levels and security of tenure, he says.

    The Labour MSP says rents have been going up in every region, the average level is £537 a month throughout Scotland a "staggering figure".

  34. Scottish government closes

    Housing Minister Margaret Burgess says the Scottish government has been working with Shelter in developing its strategy to reforming the private rented sector

    Ms Burgess says the government is currently consulting on rent levels in the sector and a bill will be brought forward in the life time of this parliament, with the consultation being published next April.

    Housing Minister Margaret Burgess

    The minister says: "We have built more houses in the last seven years than any previous administration."

    She says the Help to Buy scheme is boosting the housing supply.

    "I am also proud that we ended the right to buy", she added.

  35. Conservative closing

    Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone says we heard much about the average rents in the private sector in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, but the nature of some of the tenants is that they are "extremely rich" and those figures distort the average.

    Mr Johnstone says the private rented sector does different things in different parts of the country, this is a complex market place.

    "The sector has by accident or design has become an essential part of our housing strategies."

    Some members blame the private rented sector for every problem in a kind of witch hunt, says the Conservative MSP.

    The primary issue is a lack of investment into bricks and mortar, insists Mr Johnstone.

  36. Scottish Greens

    Green MSP Patrick Harvie says we can not afford to treat housing like any other commercial transaction.

    Green MSP Patrick Harvie
    Image caption: Green MSP Patrick Harvie

    Housing impacts on our health, our employment, our dignity and our very identity, Mr Harvie says

    He says many people no longer have access to social rented housing, private rented housing is all they have access to.

    The Scottish Green party co-convener says good landlord would have nothing to fear from the imposition of a decent regulatory regime for the private rented sector.

  37. 'System is not broken'

    Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone says that there seems to be confusion between "rent control", which the Labour party says it is against, and restricting rent increases per year.

    Mr Johnstone says rent control has had an adverse effect and introducing it today would make it difficult for landlords to access finance.

    More houses

    Mr Johnstone says Shelter has a more "sophisticated and realistic understanding of the issues" than some MSPs.

    The Tory MSP says despite Labour's claims "the system is not broken" and landlords are ready to engage.

  38. Conservative amendment

    Scottish Conservative Alex Johnstone's amendment says that the demand for private rented properties is expected to continue to grow, which is why private landlords are a vital part of the Scottish housing sector and should be given the flexibility and support necessary from the Scottish government to flourish in Scotland.

    Alex Johnstone

    It says many of the government's proposals for a complete reform of the current tenancy regime are welcome and will improve the private rented sector in Scotland.

    However, Mr Johnstone is concerned that some of the provisions are very inflexible and will act as a disincentive for landlords, and he is opposed to the introduction of rent caps as international and historic evidence indicates that this will have a catastrophic impact on the available rented housing stock."

  39. Stakeholders

    Ms Burgess considers that the government's approach to reforming the private rented sector will deliver the outcomes sought by Shelter Scotland's campaign, Make Renting Right.


    Her amendment encourages stakeholders from all sides to respond to the government's consultation, and looks forward to stakeholders' views being reflected in the bill to reform private tenancies that the Scottish government plans to bring forward later in the parliamentary session.

  40. 'Good progress'

    Housing Minister Margaret Burgess says the Scottish government recognised the growth of the sector in 2010.

    She says it developed the first strategy for the sector in 2013.

    Three aims were identified:

    • improve quality
    • deliver for tenants and landlords
    • increase investment for housing supply

    She says rent rises were not recognised as an issue in consultations.

    Ms Burgess says the government remains committed to implement a new tenancy regime for the private rented sector.

    Increasing supply is very relevant where rents are high, she says.

  41. 'A Place to Call Home

    Housing Minister Margaret Burgess's amendment is answering the questions put by Mary Fee.

    The minister's amendment says in May 2013, the Scottish Government published A Place To Stay, A Place to Call Home which is Scotland's first ever strategy for the private rented sector.

    A model of a house

    Ms Burgess's amendment welcomes the progress that has been made in implementing the strategy, in particular the publication by the government of the consultation on its plans to improve security of tenure for tenants in the sector while providing appropriate safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors.

    It notes that, in most parts of Scotland, rents rose by less than inflation between 2010 and 2014 and that the consultation invites views on rent levels in the sector.

  42. Disability

    Ms Fee says those with disabilities are having to increasingly look at private lets.

    The average length of time for medical adaptations in private lets is 65 days which is "shameful", says the Labour MSP.

    "I worry many disabled people in private housing are not having there needs met."

  43. Families in poverty

    Mary Fee tells MSPs that almost half the people in the private rented sector are families with children.

    Rent increases are not a London or England problem as the SNP would lead us to believe, she says.

    Ms Fee says the cost of rent increases pushes more families into poverty.

    She says the average price for a two bedroom property in Aberdeen is £898, while the Scottish average is £547.

    A cap on rent rises to one per year would allow tenants to manage finances better, she says.

  44. poverty

    In April the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) published a referendum briefing which looked at the households suffering poverty.

    It said fewer people were now living in local authority or housing association accommodation - from 830,000 households in 1991 to 575,000 in 2013.


    At the same time households in privately rented homes had more than doubled from 137,000 to 325,000.

    JRF said about a third of these (120,000) were living in poverty.

    Tom MacInnes, co-author of the report, said: "Affordable housing, often social housing, has been key to tackling poverty in Scotland."

  45. 'Broken'

    Labour MSP Mary Fee says Labour thinks a minimum duration of tenancy should be three years.

    She says a 28 day period for repossession is "too short" in some circumstances.

    Ms Fee says the "private rented sector in Scotland is broken".

    She tells MSPs the number of people in the private rented sector has doubled in the last decade, yet the Scottish government has brought forward housing bills which fail to address this pressure.

  46. Shelter campaign

    Shelter Scotland's Make Renting Right campaign

    • Stability for people wanting to make rented housing their home.
    • Flexibility for people to stay in their home as long as they need.
    • A modern tenancy that gives security and flexibility for tenants AND landlords.
    • A fair system for sorting out renting problems when they occur.
    • Predictable rents for tenants and landlords.
  47. Private rented sector debate

    Ms Fee's motion states that "over the last 10 years, the number of households in the private rented sector has doubled to 368,00."

    It notes with concern that the number of households in poverty in the private rented sector has doubled in the last decade to 120,000.

    Labour MSP Mary Fee
    Image caption: Labour MSP Mary Fee

    It says in parts of Scotland, rents have risen by nearly 40% in four years and that the average Scottish rent now stands at £537 a month.

    The motion welcomes Shelter Scotland's Make Renting Right campaign and supports its calls for reform of the private rented sector, and, in particular, believes that private rented sector tenancies should be reformed to provide tenants with greater security of tenure.

    This should include longer standard tenancies and predictable rents for tenants and landlords, including supporting in principle the introduction of a cap on rent rises and the limitation of rent reviews to one per annum.

  48. NHS Grampian

    SNP MSP Mark Macdonald says he is concerned about leadership and the board holding to account the new regime.

    Shona Robison says non-executive members around the board table will play a key role asking questions of the new leadership.

    There is an opportunity to "reset relationships" around NHS Grampian.


    The Royal College of Surgeons of England review team, which was brought in by NHS Grampian medical director Dr Roelf Dijkhuizen earlier this year, found no information that the General Surgery Service at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary was unsafe.

    However, there were concerns about the lack of team-work or the breakdown in functional relationships with some consultant surgeons.

    Other concerns related to surgeons not attending case meetings and data being reliably gathered.

    Concerns were raised about the professional conduct of some of the general surgeons.

  50. Alex Salmond

    In his first question as a backbencher, SNP MSP Alex Salmond mentions the legacy of the Vale of Leven tragedy.

    The former first minister says that health improvements now have to be identified before they impact on public safety.

    Alex Salmond asks his first question as a back bencher, following his resignation.
    Image caption: Alex Salmond asks his first question as a back bencher, following his resignation.

    The Aberdeenshire East MSP says it is essential MSPs rally behind the staff at NHS Grampian to implement changes.

    Ms Robison agrees there have been huge lessons learned from the Vale of Leven and the hard work of staff in Aberdeen is the reason public safety has not been impacted.


    Treating older people with compassion, dignity and respect

    The management of patient flow and capacity in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Woodend Hospital is not fit for purpose and puts patient safety at risk.

    The review witnessed inappropriate language being used to describe patients, such as referring to them by their bed number or as 'decants' - a term used by NHS Grampian to describe when a patient is moved from one ward to another.

    Nursing staff were seen spending considerable time trying to resolve and follow-up problems with patient flow.

    However, senior management and senior clinical staff had little involvement and gave little support to nursing staff in these issues.

    Elderly people

    There were examples of patients with cognitive impairment or dementia being "boarded" on other wards in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

    "Boarding" on other wards can lead to delays in medical care for patients, including pain relief, fluids or providing a discharge letter because their doctor will be on a separate ward.


    Ineffective processes are affecting timely discharge.


    The review said the care provided in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary was only possible because of medical and nursing staff's commitment and dedication in repeatedly covering gaps.

    It was concerned about the sustainability of safe patient care and the impact on staff wellbeing.

    Staff said wards were continually short staffed.

    Ward staff were under pressure and being asked to deliver care in extremely difficult circumstances.

    Staff regularly work more than their contracted hours.

    When on duty, they are unable to leave the ward for breaks.


    Not all documentation seen was easy to read because some documents were poor quality photocopies rather than printed copies of assessments.

    Staff said they did not always have time to complete documentation because of pressures from staffing shortages.

  52. Conservative questions

    Conservative public health spokesperson Nanette Milne says the reports are "concerning and upsetting" and clearly point to a number of areas where improvements can be made.

    They highlight difficulties in recruiting specialist nurses and doctors, says Ms Milne.

    There were a number of failures in the strategic leadership in NHS Grampian, she says

    Nanette Milne

    The Conservative MSP asks whether the Scottish government will undertake a review of all services in NHS Grampian.

    The minister says it is absolutely clear NHS Grampian accept all the recommendations in reports without reservation

  53. Whistleblowing

    Health Secretary Shona Robison emphasises again public safety has not been adversely affected at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

    Ms Robison says no-one, no matter who they are, is above the rules.

    In terms of whistleblowing, she says there is already procedures in the NHS to make sure people can inform on bad practice.

    The health secretary says she is sure NHS Grampian, while taking forward its 'implementation plan for change', will be good at communicating what is happening and she will happily keep parliament informed.

  54. 'Grim picture'

    Labour MSP Neil Findlay says the reports paint "a grim picture" including no accountability, a dysfunctional surgery unit, ineffective discharge systems, short staffed wards.

    Labour health spokesperson Neil Findlay
    Image caption: Labour health spokesperson Neil Findlay

    Mr Findlay asks what the cabinet secretary is doing to make sure everyone can speak up without fear for jobs and how she will ensure the parliament is kept up to date.

  55. Additional funding and support

    Ms Robison says as well as additional funding the government has put in place a comprehensive support team to help the new Chief Executive.

  56. Changes

    Ms Robison says as well as additional funding the government has put in place a comprehensive support team to help the new Chief Executive.

    She says these are serious actions and while she expects immediate changes in certain areas, some areas we cannot expect things to change overnight.

    The health secretary says she's confident NHS Grampian will implement changes.

  57. Job market challenges

    Ms Robison says the high cost of living and competitive job market is bringing challenges.

    NHS Grampian is recruiting using every means possible, she says.

    She says the review highlights this Scottish government's "unflinching resolve" to shine a light on poor practices.


    Leadership and culture

    The HIS review said there were weaknesses in the leadership and management of the health board, the executive team and the senior management team.

    It said a small number of consultants had acted to undermine management and exhibited poor behaviour.

    Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

    The board was insufficiently aware of the problems facing Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, especially in the emergency department.

    In some departments at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary the review heard of low morale, disengagement from management and a forceful style of management which some said was "bullying".

    The review also heard of difficulties in transferring patients from the emergency department to wards.

    It said senior doctors needed to accept that managers had the right to manage and a legitimate expectation that clinicians co-operated with change.

    Governance and accountability

    The review said some systems of accountability, governance and performance management within Aberdeen Royal Infirmary were "absent or weak".

    The management team, which is seen as remote by frontline staff, went four months without having a formal meeting.

    Minutes of the meetings which did take place suggested that the management team did not consider data or make meaningful decisions.

    This was of "significant concern" given the known issues with scheduled surgery, cancer waiting times, nurse staffing and the emergency department.

    The executives gave the impression that they believed the problems that Aberdeen Royal Infirmary faced were due to external factors and not management issues.

    A common complaint was that emails and letters to managers raising important concerns went unanswered and unaddressed.

    ARI reception

    Actions were not taken until a crisis was imminent and then senior managers were drawn in to "fire-fight" and that responses were "knee jerk".

    Staff governance

    The review said there were considerable staffing difficulties, particularly within the emergency department at Aberdeen Royal.

    It said it recognised that there was difficulty nationally in recruiting at both consultant and senior trainees in A&E.

    However, the review said that depending on cover by registrars from other departments, who may not be trained in emergency or trauma medicine, was not sustainable.

    The arrangements are considered by many staff to be unsafe.

    According to HIS, the board appeared unaware of the depth of the developing crisis in the emergency department.

    The review said it was unsurprising that doctors who experienced poor training and an unsupportive atmosphere choose to find consultant jobs elsewhere and do not recommend Aberdeen as a place to work to their peers.

  59. Behaviours not tolerated

    Ms Robsion says: "Make no mistake the behaviours highlighted in the review will not be tolerated in the NHS in Scotland."

    She says she has been assured NHS Grampian accepts all the recommendations.

  60. 'Significant failings'

    New Health Seecretary Shona Robison says the reports highlight "significant failings" and they show the importance of the inspection regime.

    New Health Secretary Shona Robison
    Image caption: New Health Secretary Shona Robison

    She says the HIS review does not highlight issues about patient safety but it does highlight issues with management structures, processes which could, if not addressed, "pose a risk to the quality of patient care".

  61. NHS Grampian statement

    Health Secretary Shona Robison is giving a ministerial statement on the Healthcare Improvement Scotland Reports on NHS Grampian.

    Three reports into health care in the north-east of Scotland have highlighted "extremely serious" issues and "make stark reading" for NHS Grampian.

    These three reports have highlighted a range of issues requiring immediate attention
    Image caption: The three reports highlighted a range of issues requiring immediate attention

    Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) conducted a review of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and also an unannounced inspection of services for older people in acute hospitals in the NHS Grampian region.

    A separate review from the Royal College of Surgeons looked at General Surgery.

  62. 'Not acceptable'

    Education and Lifelong Learning Secretary Angela Constance says inequity anywhere in the education system is "not acceptable".

    My top priority is attainment for all and to close the inequity in attainment gap, she reiterates.

    She says she regrets the Scottish government has not got more powers over welfare.

  63. BreakingEnd Child Poverty

    Labour MSP Michael McMahon asks the Scottish government how it will tackle the link between child poverty and educational attainment

    Child playing football in front of boarded up homes in Glasgow
    Image caption: New statistics suggest one in three children in the Glasgow area are living in poverty

    End Child Poverty published a child poverty map of the UK last month, which they said showed "shocking levels of hardship" across the country.

    Glasgow was the worst-affected area in Scotland.

  64. Modern studies

    Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages Minister, Alasdair Allan says young people learn about politics and political systems as past of wider school life.

    He says 80% of schools teach modern studies as specific subject but democracy and political literacy are in the curriculum up to S3.

    The minister tells MSPs we deserve a generation of people engaged in political debate.

  65. 16 and 17 year olds voting

    SNP MSP Rob Gibson asks the Scottish government what its position is on whether modern studies should be made available at all secondary schools if 16 and 17-year-olds have the right to vote in elections.

    Young voter
    Image caption: More than 100,000 teenagers registered to vote in the Scottish referendum

    A record 3.6 million turned out to vote in the Scottish independence referendum.

    More than 100,000 of the total were 16 to 17-year-olds who had registered to vote.

    Learning Minister Alasdair Allan says he is pleased the Smith Commission calls on the UK parliament to devolve the power so that 16 and 17 year olds can vote in Holyrood's 2016 election.

  66. Access to Education Fund

    Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale asks how many applications to the Access to Education Fund it has received, how many were successful and how much has been awarded in grants.

    Pupils at Williamwood High School

    The Access to Education Fund aims to reduce the barriers to learning experienced by pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

    It is important that learning is about the ability to learn, not the ability to pay, and pupils should not have to miss out on educational experiences for financial reasons.

  67. 'Confidence' in the inspection regime

    Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages Minister, Alasdair Allan says he has confidence in the inspection regime.

    He notes there are pros and cons to unannounced inspections. The pro being it reduces stress for teachers and provides an accurate impression. The con being the impact on relationships between inspectors and schools.

    The minister says inspectors should be inspecting "with" schools.

  68. School inspections

    SNP MSP Ken Gibson asks what consideration the government has given to making school inspections without giving prior notice

    primary school pupils in classroom
    Image caption: School inspections
  69. Schools for the Future

    SNP MSP Mike MacKenzie asks the Scottish Government how much will be invested in the programme,

    Children on climbing frame
    Image caption: GIRFEC aims to improve the lives of Scotland's children

    The first wave of schools to benefit from the expanded Scotland's Schools for the Future programme was announced by Learning Minister Alasdair Allan last month.

    A further £330 million funding, confirmed by Finance Secretary John Swinney, brings the total investment for the programme between the Scottish government and local authorities to £1.8 billion.

    The first 13 local authorities to receive funding to allow them to either rebuild or refurbish some of the poorest condition schools in their estate, was announced by the Minister for Learning at Waid Academy in Fife, one of the schools which will be replaced.

  70. 'Hobby Courses'

    Mr Findlay says short non-certificated courses can get people back into education.

    These he says have been crudely described by SNP colleagues as "hobby courses".

    Angela Constance says she makes "no apologies for prioritising young people" but there are short courses available.

  71. Further Education


    Labour MSP Neil Findlay asks the Scottish government what action it is taking to encourage people to attend further education courses.

  72. Ministerial response

    Children and Young People Minister Aileen Campbell says Homestart is carrying out good work across Scotland.

    This work, and the other work of non statutory bodies is a "crucial component" for GIRFEC, she says.

  73. GIRFEC

    SNP MSP James Dornan asks whether the government will provide an update on progress with the Getting It Right for Every Child strategy.

    GIRFEC is a national programme to improve outcomes for all children and young people in Scotland.

    Blackboard in classroom

    GIRFEC is Scotland's approach to supporting children and young people.

    It is a consistent way for people to work with all children and young people and requires all services- social work, health, education, police, housing and voluntary organisation- to work together

  74. Consultation

    Children and Young People Minister Aileen Campbell says the part of the Children and Young People Act relating to child's plan and wellbeing -will be consulted on next year.

  75. Children and Young People Act

    Labour MSP Jayne Baxter asks the Scottish government whether it will provide an update on the progress of the accompanying guidance for the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

    The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill was passed with 103 MSPs voting for it and with 15 abstention in February.

    The legislation increased support for young people in care and the appointment of a "guardian" for every child in Scotland .

    Labour MSP Jayne Baxter
    Image caption: Labour MSP Jayne Baxter

    The Scottish government said the bill aimed to "transform" services.

    However, some of the proposals have been heavily criticised.

    The Act saw an increase in free childcare for three, four and vulnerable two-year-olds, from 475 to 600 hours - around 16 hours per week - from August.

  76. Autism toolbox

    Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages Minister, Alasdair Allan says there is support for teachers to deal with pupils with autism.

    Autism picture

    He says all teachers can access awareness sessions on the Autism toolbox website,

    The Autism Toolbox website was created by the Scottish government in partnership with the national charity, Scottish Autism with support from Autism Network Scotland.

  77. Autism

    Image caption: Individuals with autism have less activity in the amygdala (shown in red), which plays a key role in processing emotions

    SNP MSP Christina McKelvie asks the Scottish government how it assists general teaching staff in helping them to ensure that pupils with autistic spectrum disorders receive full support

    Autism and Asperger syndrome are part of a range of conditions known as autistic spectrum disorders (ASD).

    They affect the way the brain processes information.

  78. Raising Attainment

    New Education and Lifelong Learning Secretary Angela Constance says the 'Raising Attainment for All' programme was launched in June this year.

    It is a priority for the government, Education Scotland and all working in education, she says.

    New Education Secretary Angela Constance
    Image caption: New Education Secretary Angela Constance

    In terms of poverty acting as a barrier to attainment, she tells MSPs poverty doesn't stop at the school gates and she says Westminster policies are making the situation more challenging.

    Education can and should be the key to getting out of poverty, she says.

  79. Raising Attainment for All programme

    SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson asks how the Raising Attainment for All programme is raising the standards of education in schools.

    The Raising Attainment For All Programme was launched in June 2014.

    Pupils with hands raised

    Twelve Local Authorities and over 100 schools across Scotland have committed to becoming part of this learning community which will support the implementation of improvement methodology and enable shared learning across the country.

    This work aims to support consistent improvement in attainment and achievement through the development of a collaborative learning system.

  80. 'Unprecedented' support

    Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages Minister Alasdair Allan says there is an "unprecedented package of support" for teachers implementing the Curriculum for Excellence.

    In terms of teachers unions concerns over cuts, the minister said the numbers have stabilised since 2011.

    He says the government works with local authorities to ensure numbers are maintained in terms of teacher pupil ratio.

    The minister adds that the work done in introducing Curriculum for Excellence has been "entirely positive".

  81. Teacher workload

    Labour MSP Richard Simpson asks what action the government it is taking to address teachers' workload issues.

    In June Scotland's teachers said they were "at breaking point" over increased workloads and the new qualifications.

    Teacher in classroom

    The AGM of their largest union, the EIS, heard several motions raise the spectre of eventual industrial action if concerns are not addressed.

    The government has announced an additional in-service day for primary teachers.

    General secretary Larry Flanagan said there was evidence many teachers were struggling to cope.

    Teachers have been critical of the level of support provided to implement the Curriculum for Excellence and introduce new qualifications.


    Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages Minister, Alasdair Allan answer Siobhan McMahon, saying the national bullying approach is updated to remain relevant.

    Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon
    Image caption: Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon

    In addition, he says a national anti-bullying service, Respect Me ,has been set up.

    He also says promoting positive behaviour is central to what we do.

  83. Bullying question


    Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon asks the Scottish government what measures it is taking to combat bullying in schools.

  84. Language Minister

    Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages Minister, Alasdair Allan says the government wants all young people to have access to learn foreign languages and is investing £9m over two years in this area.

    Languages Minister Alasdair Allan
    Image caption: Languages Minister Alasdair Allan

    Mr Allan says he is enthusiastic to have more native speakers in the classroom.

  85. Foreign language teaching

    Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor gets portfolio questions underway by asking the Scottish government how it supports the teaching of foreign languages in schools.

    Last year the European and External Relations Committee said it was hard to assess whether there was adequate funding to teach pupils two foreign languages from primary school.

    Foreign dictionary

    The Scottish government wants primary pupils to learn two languages in addition to English.

    It allocated £4m to the proposals - which head teachers have described as a "a drop in the ocean".

    School pupils
    Image caption: School pupils

    A lack of language skills is costing the economy more than £500m a year, the Scottish government estimated in 2013.

  86. Portfolio questions

    So first up this afternoon will be portfolio questions, with new Education Secretary Angela Constance in the hot seat.

    Here's a full list of the queries expected to be asked:

    1. Jamie McGrigor: To ask the Scottish Government how it supports the teaching of foreign languages in schools. (S4O-03761)

    2. Siobhan McMahon: To ask the Scottish Government what measures it is taking to combat bullying in schools. (S4O-03762)

    3. Richard Simpson: To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to address teachers' workload issues. (S4O-03763)

    4. Angus MacDonald: To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with Falkirk Council regarding its obligation to provide a flexible approach to parental choice for early learning and childcare. (S4O-03764)

    5. Willie Coffey: To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to introduce software engineering as part of the school curriculum. (S4O-03765)

    6. Stewart Stevenson: To ask the Scottish Government how the Raising Attainment for All programme is raising the standards of education in schools. (S4O-03766)

    7. Christina McKelvie: To ask the Scottish Government how it assists general teaching staff in helping them to ensure that pupils with autistic spectrum disorders receive full support. (S4O-03767)

    8. Jayne Baxter: To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the progress of the accompanying guidance for the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. (S4O-03768)

    9. Margaret McCulloch: To ask the Scottish Government what discussions the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning has had with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and the Economy regarding the 2015-16 draft budget. (S4O-03769)

    10. James Dornan: To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on progress with the Getting It Right for Every Child strategy. (S4O-03770)

    11. Neil Findlay: To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to encourage people to attend further education courses. (S4O-03771)

    12. Gavin Brown: To ask the Scottish Government what the budget priorities are for the Education and Lifelong Learning portfolio in 2015-16. (S4O-03772)

    13. Mike MacKenzie: To ask the Scottish Government how much will be invested in the programme, Scotland's Schools for the Future. (S4O-03773)

    14. Kenneth Gibson: To ask the Scottish Government what consideration it has given to making school inspections without giving prior notice. (S4O-03774)

    15. Bruce Crawford: To ask the Scottish Government what agreements are in place with COSLA regarding the funding of education services. (S4O-03775)

    16. Alex Rowley: [Withdrawn]

    17. Kezia Dugdale: To ask the Scottish Government how many applications to the Access to Education Fund it has received, how many were successful and how much has been awarded in grants. (S4O-03777)

    18. Rob Gibson: To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on whether modern studies should be made available at all secondary schools if 16 and 17-year-olds have the right to vote in elections. (S4O-03778)

    19. Michael McMahon: To ask the Scottish Government how it will tackle the link between child poverty and educational attainment. (S4O-03779)

    20. Gordon MacDonald: To ask the Scottish Government how the expansion of funded early learning and childcare will benefit the most disadvantaged people. (S4O-03780)

  87. Welcome back and coming up

    Welcome back to BBC Scotland's Democracy Live coverage of this afternoon's parliamentary proceedings on Wednesday 3 December 2014.

    Portfolio questions will be fascinating as we see the new Education Secretary Angela Constance get to grips with one of the toughest briefs at Holyrood.

    Health Secretary Shona Robison will then give a ministerial statement on the NHS Grampian - Healthcare Improvement Scotland Reports.

    Scottish Parliament debating chamber
    Image caption: Scottish Parliament debating chamber

    Scottish Labour have the floor for the rest of the afternoon and will lead debates on Private Sector Rent Reform and State of the NHS.

    The Engine Shed and supported employment is the member's debate to round things off.

  88. Committee in private sesssion

    Convener Kevin Stewart says some people claim the bill will only affect law abiding citizens.

    Asst Ch Cons Wayne Mawson says we know there are a lot of air guns in circulation but it is an unknown number.

    The gun trade says half a million, he says.

    Police Scotland witnesses
    Image caption: Police Scotland witnesses

    He tells MSPs people will either register their guns, or a huge number will be sent to police for scrap and there will be a third group of guns still lying around.

    But this, he says will be a much reduced number. adding this bill will "definitely have a positive impact on people keeping safe".

    And with that the committee goes into private session.

  89. Tulliallan training

    Asst Ch Cons Wayne Mawson says departments across Scotland are now more "joined up" and says all firearms licensing staff attend training events at Tulliallan and they have the same training, guidance, and share experiences.

    Police volunteering event at Tulliallan.
    Image caption: Police volunteering event at Tulliallan.

    This reduces any "subjectivity."

  90. 'Smoothing approach'

    The panel is asked is there anything more needed in the bill.

    Asst Ch Cons Wayne Mawson says the strategic issue is the issue of "smoothing."

    He says police can nothave thousands of applications coming in on one day and struggling with resources, and then five years later the same thing happening.

    Ass Ch Cons Wayne Mawson
    Image caption: Ass Ch Cons Wayne Mawson

    There needs to be a "phasing in" or "smoothing" approach, he says.

    Ch Insp Fraser Lamb says having different lengths of time the certificates are valid would help in this area.

    He explains, so one certificate lasts 12 months and the next 14 etc.

  91. Inappropriate gun use

    Ch Insp Fraser Lamb says if we are told someone is using a gun inappropriately "we are all over it".

    And that information never goes away and stays on the system, as will the names of people who have been unsuccessful in applications he says.

    Ch Insp Lamb
    Image caption: Ch Insp Lamb

    "We are dealing with this on a daily basis in relation to the 53,000 people who have firearms in Scotland at the moment."

    He tells MSPs "we are not looking to reinvent the wheel" in relation to airguns.

  92. Wide ranging bill

    The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill would require anyone who owns an airgun to have a licence.

    alcohol sales
    Image caption: Researchers found death rates are more than double the average in areas where alcohol is most readily available

    The bill will also change the licensing of alcohol, taxis, lap dancing clubs and scrap metal dealerships.

  93. Fit and proper test

    Ch Insp Fraser Lamb says there will be a "fit and proper test" to assess "is this person a responsible person?"

    And in relation to the given reason for accessing the airgun, he says this will be "extremely important".

    He says "we are used to dealing with good reason tests" in relations to firearms at the moment, so will adapt it to airguns without any difficulties.

  94. Animal cruelty

    Scottish SPCA officers launched an investigation after a cat was shot with an airgun in Fife.

    The cat, called Chubby, returned to its home at Upper Steeland Farm, Dunfermline, on Thursday, with a pellet lodged between its shoulder blades.

    It later had the pellet removed by a vet.

    X-ray showing airgun pellet
    Image caption: The pellet was lodged between the cat's shoulder blades

    At the time Senior Inspector Steven Gray said the cat was lucky not to have a severe injury as the pellet narrowly missed its spine.

    He said: "This was an extremely cruel act and we would advise other cat owners in the area to be vigilant.

    "Anyone who thinks it is acceptable to use an airgun in this way should not be in possession of such a dangerous weapon."

    He added: "We welcome the Scottish government's proposal to introduce an airgun licensing scheme as we believe this will help prevent horrific attacks like this."

    Anyone with information should contact the Scottish SPCA.

  95. Air rifle incidents

    Wayne Mawson tells MSPs the numbers of cases recorded in the last four month period recorded, from April to July, show 84 incidents occurred.


    We will be ready for any likely introduction of the bill's measures in 2016, he says.

  96. 'Real threat'

    Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson is unequivocal about the risks airguns can pose:

    " It is a real threat, people are getting hurt."

    air rifle

    He says it is very difficult to distinguish between an air rifle and a new weapon.

    "The proposed legislation will further reduce the risk of harm to people, including to my officers and reduce the drain on our resources."

    About half of firearms incidents in the last year are down to airguns.

  97. Surrendering weapons

    Sup Int Alick Irvine says at the moment we have "unfettered access to airguns" across Scotland.

    He says the bill will undoubtedly lead to some people surrendering weapons. and then control of those who continue to access air weapons.

    Superintendent Alick Irvine
    Image caption: Superintendent Alick Irvine

    This will reduce the number of incidents, he claims.

  98. 'Extremely lethal'

    Ch Insp Fraser Lamb says airguns are "extremely lethal" at close range.

    air rifle
    Image caption: There are estimated to be about 500,000 air weapons in Scotland

    He believes in terms of checks it would be a "lighter touch" than in relation to shotguns which can be lethal from greater distances.

  99. Investigation costs

    Ch Insp Fraser Lamb says costs in relation to investigations of air gun incidents varies depending on the cases and how much investigation needed.

    He says the core aspect of these incidents is proving a gun involved, they have ballistic costs, each time £180.

    Police Scotland witnesses
    Image caption: Police Scotland witnesses

    There are significant costs in that process, he says.

    Asst Chief Cons Wayne Mawson says if the case leads to homicide investigations it leads to "tens of thousands of pounds".

    He agrees the costs involved are not insignificant.

  100. Andrew Morton

    Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson tells MSPs the bill is about public safety.

    He says it is about stopping "inappropriate people" getting hold of lethal weapons.

    Andrew Morton
    Image caption: Andrew Morton was killed after being shot in the head by an airgun in 2005

    He recounts the tragic story of Andrew Morton.

    The Air Weapons and Licensing Bill was introduced following the death of two-year-old Andrew Morton, who was shot in the head with an airgun in Glasgow in 2005.

    Mark Bonini was later convicted of murdering the toddler.

    Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson says he welcomes a provision in the bill which means current certificate holders could get air gun licenses on those certificates, reducing the pressure on police resources.

  101. Police Scotland submission

    Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson
    Image caption: Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson

    Police Scotland:

    The criminal use of air weapons can have a devastating effect on those who are victims of that criminality.

    Criminals have used air weapons to kill and injure people.

    Pets and wildlife are also targeted by those who use air weapons irresponsibly.

    Property is also damaged.

    It would appear that the contents of the bill, as it relates to air weapons, is to ensure that those who should not have air weapons will not be authorised to possess them.

    Applicants will require to be deemed fit to be entrusted with an air weapon and have a good reason for the possession of an air weapon.

  102. Police Scotland

    The committee is suspended briefly before taking evidence from Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson, Superintendent Alick Irvine and Chief Inspector Fraser Lamb from Police Scotland.

  103. Case studies

    Michael Flynn says "If your pet at home has been shot, that's an attack on you as well."

    We have no idea how many starlings, birds are found dead, because of this, he continues.

    He tells some stories of other cases.

    He says there was a Staffordshire bull terrier who he believes was tied to a tree and shot 14 times in the head.

    He says there are cats with eyes taken out and "swans seem to be a particular target".

    One example he recounts of a swan with 14 separate pellets in it.

    He emphasises this isn't like a machine gun and would take 14 loads, 14 shots, and he concludes that swan had to be put down.

  104. Airgun incidents

    Dr North says he can supply a list of incidents showing the casual nature of the use of airguns.

    Committee Convener Kevin Stewart says that would be useful and the committee would be very grateful for that.

  105. Scottish SPCA submission

    The Scottish SPCA fully supports the introduction of a licensing system for air weapons.

    It accepts that there are lawful purposes that people may wish to own and use an air weapon, however, a licensing system should ensure that such a person has a legitimate reason for using an air weapon and a lawful place to use it, be that a gun club or on land with landowners permission.

    Currently the Police have no power over the ownership of airguns, until a crime has been committed and the perpetrator identified.

    Air weapons are potentially dangerous weapons and should only be held by a fit and proper person who has a legitimate reason for possessing one.

  106. League Against Cruel Sports submission

    League against Cruel Sports

    We believe the licensing scheme itself, as well as measures to prevent shooting in back gardens, are sensible and robust.

    However, we show below that:

    · Attacks on animals using airguns occur in significant numbers, but are underreported

    · Airgun attack on animals also have an impact on their owners and feelings of public safety, and that only controls on where air guns can be used will address these concerns

    · There is a need for legislation to reflect the danger posed by air weapons to animals, and to be strengthened so that previous convictions for wildlife crime and animal cruelty are taken into account when applying for a licence

    · There is little justification for allowing animals to be hunted for sport with air guns generally, and particularly by young and inexperienced shooters.

    Overall, we believe that the Air Weapon component of the Bill is a positive step, but the legislation should be amended to make it more stringent, and the proposals should not be diluted in any way.

  107. On licensing age:

    Jennifer Dunn says she believes you need to have a level of maturity and responsibility before you can take the life of an animal, an 18 year old restriction would fit with this.

  108. British Shooting Sports Council

    Previously MSPs eard evidence from David Penn of the British Shooting Sports Council, who argued that the government's plans would make little difference to the crime rate.

    Mr Penn said: "One has to remember that there is widespread continuing use of air weapons in pony clubs, boy scouts, cadet units as well as the individual use of them.

    "We never hear about this. Why? Because nothing is going wrong. There is a huge amount of use of air weapons and very, very little misuse in comparison.

    "Most other countries do not see the need to licence air weapons."

    The proposals follow a long-running campaign by the Scottish government to crack down on the misuse of airguns in the wake of the death of two-year-old Andrew Morton, who was shot in the head with an airgun in Glasgow in 2005.

    Mark Bonini was later convicted of murdering the toddler.

  109. The bill

    The panel is asked what they might change in the bill.

    "I'm satisified with the bill, there's nothing I would change", says Dr Michael North.

    The league would like a provision for the banning of shooting live animals during sport, says Jennifer Dunn.

    A definition of a pest species is needed, says Michael Flynn.

  110. Air Weapons and Licensing Bill

    A senior police officer has said thousands of people could fall foul of the new laws on airguns.

    Under the Scottish government proposals, anyone who owns an airgun will need a licence.

    Calum Steele of the Scottish Police Federation told MSPs that the changes could affect people across the UK.

    He also said the change in the law could harm the future prospects of young people who own an unlicensed airgun.

    There are an estimated 500,000 air weapons in Scotland.

    Under the Scottish government plans, anyone wanting to own an air gun would need to demonstrate they had a legitimate reason for doing so.

    Mr Steele, the general secretary of the federation, was speaking at a meeting of the Local Government and Regeneration Committee at Holyrood.

    The committee is currently taking evidence on the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill, which was introduced to the Scottish Parliament by former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in May.

  111. Gun Control Network submission

    MSPs will hear from Dr Michael North from Gun Control Network, Senior Public Affairs Officer at League Against Cruel Sports, Jennifer Dunn, and Chief Superintendent Michael Flynn, from the Scottish SPCA.

    Also giving evidence are Assistant Chief Constable Wayne Mawson, Head of Policing, West of Scotland Superintendent Alick Irvine from the Licensing and Violence Reduction Division, and Chief Inspector Fraser Lamb from Firearms and Explosives Licensing, Police Scotland.

  112. Ricochet

    Michael Flynn from Scottish SPCA says he doesn't believe animals are hurt due to plinking, a ricochet or accident.

    But he thinks young people who are taking part in plinking, get a bit bored and then choose to fire at moving targets, a cat or swan.

  113. Plinking definition

    Plinking refers to informal target shooting done at nonstandard targets such as tin cans, glass bottles, and balloons filled with water.

  114. Plinking

    The act of "plinking" is brought up by MSP Willie Coffey.

    He says this is the casual use of airguns in people's back gardens, and asks if licensing would reduce this.

    Air weapon
    Image caption: There are thought to be about 500,000 air weapons in Scotland

    Dr Michael North from Gun Control Network says this is the only form of shooting some airgun owners undertake.

    He urges them to think of their behaviour in context and consider how intimidating that can be for neighbours.

  115. League Against Cruel Sports

    Jennifer Dunn from League Against Cruel Sports says one of the attractions of airguns is that they are "fairly cheap" and easier to get hold of than a shot gun.

    Jennifer Dunn from the League Against Cruel Sports
    Image caption: Jennifer Dunn from the League Against Cruel Sports

    She says it seems unlikely that an air gun user would "trade up" to a shotgun as a result of licensing air guns.

  116. Scottish SPCA

    Michael Flynn from Scottish SPCA says he would welcome any "trading up" as it would be regulated.

    Michael Flynn from Scottish SPCA
    Image caption: Michael Flynn from Scottish SPCA

    If you want to own a weapon you should be willing to take on cost of licensing and be monitored by police, he continues,

    He tells MSPs, no-one has a right to own a gun, and says if you want to own something that kills something, you should be prepared to pay.

  117. Fatalities

    Dr Michael North says he thinks there is probably an average of one fatality a year because of airguns.

    Image caption: Dr Michael North from the Gun Control Network

    He mentions the case of Andrew Morton, and says some cases are not criminal acts and can be accidental but he tells MSPs even if a victim sustains a minor injury, it is still extremely stressful.

  118. Gun Control Network

    The Gun Control Network was established as a small non-profit making organisation in July 1996 in the aftermath of the Dunblane tragedy.

    The founders included lawyers, academics and the parents of victims killed in Dunblane and Hungerford.

    It was the first gun control organisation in the UK.

    Dr North's daughter was killed in the Dunblane shooting.

  119. Apologies

    Apologies for the loss of video, the technical issue has now been resolved.

  120. Witnesses

    In the opening statements, Jennifer Dunn from League Against Cruel Sports says she believes licensing air guns would reduce the number of animals being injured.

    Dr Michael North from Gun Control Network says "anything that is potentially lethal, that could maim and injure, should be licensed."

    He says that he feels registration "sends out the right message" and reflects the dangers involved, and would lead to the reduction of weapons and therefore incidents.

    Chief Superintendent Michael Flynn from the Scottish SPCA says there has been a rise in the number of air weapon cases particularly in relation to cats.