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Summary

  1. MSPs debate whether to call for a second independence referendum, in a debate entitled 'Scotland's Choice'
  2. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addresses MSPs, saying she had not taken her decision "lightly"
  3. Nicola Sturgeon insists that Scotland's future should be decided by the people who live there rather than being "imposed upon us"

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. That concludes Holyrood Live's coverage for today

    
          Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson will clash over indyref2 again tomorrow.
    Image caption: Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson will clash over indyref2 again tomorrow.

    That concludes Holyrood Live's coverage of the Scottish Parliament on 21 March 2017,

    Join us tomorrow for round two of the Scotland's Choice debate.

  2. National strategy must recognise the challenges for those in rural communities - minister

    Maureen Watt

    Ms Watt says the forthcoming national strategy must recognise the challenges for those getting out and about in rural communities. 

    The mental health minister says it is important to continue to support the concessionary travel scheme for older and disabled people.

    She says very close connections are being made with the mental health strategy and that may just be low level interventions and the befriending service.

    Ms Watt says there need to be a holistic look at loneliness and social isolation and stakeholders are continuing to champion the agenda.

  3. Increasing awareness of the importance of social connections for health and well being says minster

    Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt

    Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt says there is an increasing awareness of the importance of social connections for health and well being. 

    Ms Watt says "the debate in Scotland is ahead of the curve on this as it is on so many other issues."

    The mental health minister says members contributing to the debate have identified so many different triggers for loneliness and there are a number of groups in society that work against isolation.

    Labour MSP Anas Sarwar asks if the minister recognises that cuts have an impact on third sector organisations.

    Ms Watt says the government are supporting those organisations and there is a national strategy on loneliness and isolation. 

  4. Background:Tackling loneliness - some ideas

    Loneliness in the UK is an epidemic affecting people
    Image caption: Joining a club or learning something new helps some people overcome isolation

    Loneliness in the UK is an epidemic affecting people of all ages and backgrounds,  according to a commission  started by the murdered MP Jo Cox.

    But if you find yourself feeling lonely, what can you do about it?

    For many people, loneliness is not solved overnight - but people from all walks of life, including single fathers, millennials in a new city, widows, teenage mothers, and happily married husbands, have told the BBC their tips for making their days a bit brighter.

    Click here for some ideas to tackle loneliness.

  5. Background: 'Down and anxious' - when loneliness hits

    
          Molly Forbes is a sociable person - but became very lonely when she had a baby
    Image caption: Molly Forbes is a sociable person - but became very lonely when she had a baby

    A commission started by murdered MP Jo Cox is  investigating loneliness  in the UK, which it says is an epidemic affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. Here, two young women share their stories.

    In 2010 Molly Forbes had her first child, Freya. But after the birth she was confronted with something she had not prepared for: loneliness.

    A "sociable person", Molly - then 26 - was one of the first of her friends to have a baby. Her husband was out at work all day and she did not have any close family living by.

    "The loneliness of being a new mother was a real surprise for me. It just hit me," she said.

    "You're suddenly at home with a baby. You feel safer there so you stay home - but it makes you more isolated.

    "When you go out, you want to be seen to be doing a good job and being happy. If you admit you're lonely, you might be labelled as not coping."

    Read more here.

  6. Background: MPs launch Jo Cox Commission to tackle loneliness

    Video content

    Video caption: Kim Leadbeater, Jo Cox's sister, tells Radio 4’s Today about how she wants to 'eradicate' loneliness

    Colleagues and family members of the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox  have launched a campaign to tackle loneliness .

    Mrs Cox had started work on the cross-party campaign before she was killed in her constituency last year.

    The commission, in her memory, will work with 13 charities including Age UK and Action for Children to come up with ideas for change.

    They will provide findings as part of monthly campaigns on people such as new mums, carers and the elderly.

    Read more here.

  7. Background : The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness

    Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness
    Image caption: Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness

    The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness  says:

    "Loneliness is described by the Campaign to End Loneliness as a subjective, unwelcome feeling of lack or loss of companionship, which happens when we have a mismatch between the quantity and quality of social relationships that we have, and those that we want.

    "Loneliness can affect anyone at any stage of their life.

    "It can affect people of all ages and from all backgrounds - from the bullied school child, to the new mother, to the pensioner who has outlived her friends and immediate family. 

    "Feeling lonely becomes a major problem when people are overwhelmed by it – when it is chronic - and can’t, for many reasons, take action to tackle it."

  8. Labour MSP commends the Jo Cox Commission

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant
    Image caption: Labour MSP Rhoda Grant

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant says "we all need to be needed," and have a role to play.

    Ms Grant says "we are getting better at recognising triggers" and employers recognise the need for phased retirement. 

    The Labour MSP says there is no formal commitment from local or national governments to tackle loneliness. 

    The Jo Cox Commission was set up to tackle loneliness and was set up after the MP's death as a fitting tribute because she was passionate about this. 

  9. Call for a society-wide response to loneliness

    loneliness

    Ms Grant uses her motion to say there is growing interest in dealing with the problem of loneliness.

    She highlights the launch of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness .

    The Labour MSP also welcomes the publication of Trapped in a bubble: An Investigation into the Triggers for Loneliness in the UK by the British Red Cross and the Co-operative Group .

    Ms Grant will use the debate to highilght the biological, psychological and behavioural impacts of loneliness and calls for a a society-wide response.

    The Scottish government and others must take action on the issue, she says. a

  10. 'We need to recognise the triggers' of loneliness

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant says it may seem strange to some that the Co-op have been involved in this report but they have a rich history in community work. 

    Ms Grant says loneliness impacts on old age particularly with bereavement and illness.

    The Labour MSP says the birth of a child and retirement are positives but both can change someone's life and social circle. 

    She says at the extreme loneliness has been linked to suicide. 

    "We need to recognise the triggers" and ensure there are interventions in place, she says.

  11. Lonely Life Stages: New study reveals triggers for loneliness epidemic in the UK

    From the British Red Cross website:

    • New  in-depth study  by the Co-op and the British Red Cross reveals epidemic levels of loneliness and social isolation in the UK  
    • Over 9million [1]  people in the UK (almost one fifth of the population) report they are always or often lonely
    • Life transitions can be key triggers for loneliness such as becoming a new mum, empty nest syndrome or retirement, long-term health issues or mobility limitations, bereavement, and divorce or separation
    • Without the right support, loneliness can transition from a temporary situation to a chronic issue and can contribute to poor health and pressure on public services
    British Red Cross
    Image caption: British Red Cross
    • Study found loneliness is made worse by difficulties accessing public services and support, disappearance of social spaces and inadequate transport infrastructure
    • The partnership is calling for everyone to play a role in preventing loneliness in their communities
    • The British Red Cross is responding with new services funded by Co-op to provide vital support to reach over 12,000 adults who are suffering from loneliness in the UK
    • The Co-op is also enhancing its services and membership offer to help tackle issue
  12. Triggers for loneliness debate

    Motion

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant will now lead a debate entitled 'Triggers for loneliness'.