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Live Reporting

Craig Hutchison, Colin Bell and Patrick Cowling

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live

    Holyrood night

    That's all from Holyrood Live for Tuesday 31 January. 

    We'll be back tomorrow.

    Have a good night. 

  2. SMEs recruiting veterans 'is essential' - Minister

    The minister addresses the point made during in the debate about the ability of veterans to transfer qualifications acquired during their service into civilian life. 

    He tells the chamber that the government is examining this issue at a strategic level and that there are discussions underway "right now". 

    On the issue of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) being encouraged to employ veterans, Mr Hepburn says "this is essential". 

    The minsiter says that the government funds a recruitment incentive to provide employers with funding to encourage them to take on young people and service leavers.

    He says that this support is open for veterans but admits that perhaps access to this funding source could be better understood by veterans.  

  3. The minister says veterans should be seen as an asset and a resource

    Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn
    Image caption: Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn

    Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn says the ambition is to make Scotland the destination of choice for service leavers.

    Mr Hepburn says veterans are a true assset for Scotland. 

    He welcomes the The Veterans Community - Employability, Skills and Learning report.

    The minister says veterans should be seen as an asset and a resource.

  4. Report has vindicated the role of the Scottish Veterans Commissioner

    Richard Lochhead
    Image caption: SNP MSP Richard Lochhead

    The SNP's Richard Lochhead rises to speak in the debate.

    He says that his constituency of Moray probably has more Scottish veterans per head of population than anywhere else in the country, and tells MSPs that they are a huge part in the local community, and help underpin the local economy.

    Veterans should be viewed as an enormous resource that could fill the skills gap in parts of Scotland's economy, Mr Lochhead argues.

    The MSP also tells the chamber that the report and the debate vindicate the decision to create the role of Scottish Veterans Commissioner. 

  5. Tory MSP calls on UK government to stop pursuing Northern Ireland veterans

    Conservative MSP Edward Mountain
    Image caption: Conservative MSP Edward Mountain

    Conservative MSP Edward Mountain says he classifies as a veteran as he spent five years in the army and his son will, with time, also become a veteran.

    Mr Mountains says he wishes to take the chamber back to London in 1982 on 20 July when soldiers rode to Hyde Park where some of his fellow soldiers were killed.

    Two blasts in Hyde Park and Regent's Park were timed to cause maximum devastation and left 11 soldiers and seven horses dead.

    He says it is time the UK government stopped pursuing Northern Ireland veterans.

  6. MSP calls for specific programmes for female veterans

    SNP MSP David Torrance
    Image caption: SNP MSP David Torrance

    SNP MSP David Torrance says that despite billions of pounds a year being spent on the UK's defence budget, only "a tiny fraction" is spent ensuring that veterans are employed. 

    He says that it is the obligation of policy makers to help veterans adapt to economic, political and social life after service.

    Mr Torrance says that although figures show improvement in this area, they continue to highlight the gap between veterans and non-veterans in employment.

    He also speaks about female veterans - saying that they experience military service in different ways to men and that there need to be specialised programmes to address the specific needs for female veterans. 

  7. Scottish veterans at greater risk of deprivation, finds study

    Video content

    Video caption: Scottish veterans at greater risk of deprivation, finds study

    New research has found strong links between mental health issues among ex-service personnel and high levels of deprivation.

    The study by Combat Stress found Scottish veterans were at a higher risk of deprivation than those in other parts of the UK.

    On average, it takes 11 years for a person to seek help for mental health issues after leaving the military.

    Andy Smith, the charity's regional operations manager in Scotland, says more veterans are coming forward to ask for help due to better education on the issue and increased access to services.

  8. Call on the Scottish government to have a veterans debate every year

    Labour MSP Jackie Baillie
    Image caption: Labour MSP Jackie Baillie

    Labour MSP Jackie Baillie welcomes the report from the Veterans Commissioner.

    She says it is important to regenerate the opportunities for employment and increase skills.

    The Labour MSP says it is right to highlight the importance of transition and we should not be failing veterans.

    She calls on the Scottish government to have a veterans debate every year.

  9. Reluctance to hire veterans is "worrying" - Tory MSP

    Tory MSP Maurice Corry
    Image caption: Tory MSP Maurice Corry

    Tory MSP Maurice Corry says that employment is one of the most important factors in ensuring a positive transition from military life to a civilian one.

    He says that this is not a group that should have any difficulty in finding work; telling MSPs that veterans are an "incredibly highly trained group".

    Veterans often have experience in highly skilled work that business is screaming out for, he says - suggesting that this could be used to fill the skills gap that we know Scotland has.

    He also says that the reported reluctance in hiring veterans is "worrying". 

  10. Call for help in transition to civilian life

    SNP MSP George Adam
    Image caption: SNP MSP George Adam

    SNP MSP George Adam says veterans worked in an envirnonment like no other and leaving the services can be a culture shock.

    Mr Adam says veterans must have an opportunity to work together and be given help in their transition to civilian life.

  11. Using veterans as an asset

    Mr Dey says that he hopes the government takes up ideas to help Scotland's veterans and their families, such as using the Scottish veterans fund to prioritise proposals that promote employability in the veterans community.

    He says that veterans and their families should be seen as an asset rather than merely being catered too, going on to suggest that veterans could be well suited to fill employment gaps in education and healthcare. 

  12. Background: Armed forces veterans in Scotland to receive £600,000

    Organisations in Scotland supporting veterans will be able to apply for a share of £600,000 funding, delivered over the next three years.

    The Scottish Veterans Fund helps projects provide services in areas such as employment, housing, and wellbeing.


    Veterans Secretary Keith Brown said the Scottish government had pledged £360,000 - its largest contribution yet.

    The fund will open for applications this autumn.

    The boost includes a three-year £240,000 contribution from Edinburgh-based investment company Standard Life for employment schemes.

  13. What can be done to help veterans into work?

    SNP MSP Graeme Dey says the report looks at what needs to be done for veterans to help them get into work. 

    Mr Dey says the commissioner identified issues with the public sector who do not tend to employ veterans.

  14. Leadership on veterans' issues is required

    The SNP's Graeme Dey kicks of the debate by congratulating Scotland's Veterans' Commissioner for his report and its recommendations, but also by warning that turning it into something tangible requires leadership. 

    Graeme Dey
    Image caption: Graeme Dey
  15. Background: Scottish veterans need 'more help' to find jobs

    Image caption: Veterans could help fill "skills gaps", the report says

    Veterans of the armed forces should be given more help to find meaningful employment after they have left the services, according to a report.

    Scotland's Veterans' Commissioner said employers could benefit from the talents and skills of former servicemen and women.

    Eric Fraser, published 19 recommendations in his report.

    They include an employability pilot scheme and a plan to increase the number of veterans at colleges.

  16. Scotland's veterans debate begins

    Here's SNP MSP Graeme Dey's motion.

  17. Gender balance on the Parliamentary Bureau and SPCB motion is agreed to.

  18. The celebrating our past motion, as amended, is unanimously agreed to

    The celebrating our past motion, as amended, is unanimously agreed to.