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Summary

  1. MSPs take evidence on type 2 diabetes prevention
  2. Ministers are quizzed during topical questions
  3. A ministerial statement is given on reaching 100% broadband coverage
  4. MSPs debate the Social Security Bill at stage 1
  5. Street Pastors Scotland's 10th anniversary is marked by MSPs

Live Reporting

By Louise Wilson and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

That's all from Holyrood Live!

Wheelchair user overlooking a loch
Science Photo Library

That's all from Holyrood Live today.

The general principles of the Social Security Bill were agreed unanimously, taking a step closer to setting up a Scottish social security agency.

Minister praises the contribution of volunteers like Street Pastors

The minister praises Street Pastors
BBC
The minister praises Street Pastors

Ms Constance says the governnment recognises the important contirbution volunteers make.

The minister says without the contirbution Street Pastors make communties would be worse off.

She says people give freely of their time without fanfare or reward.

The minister concludes saying this is not just about government action, but about the whole of society.

Communites secretary praises the work of the Street Pastors

Communities Secretary Angela Constance praises the work of the Street Pastors.

Ms Constance says Murdo Fraser has whetted her appetite for a kebab.

She says she agrees the work of Street Pastors is absolutely invaluable.

The minister jokes that she was a little worried, at first, about where Stuart McMillan was going with his comments on women's footwear.

Her colleague Stewart Stevenson then admires the minister's foot work.

The minister says it is an example of Scotland's faith communities supporting the vulnerable.

Stewart Stevenson takes a closer look at Angela Constance's shoes
BBC
Stewart Stevenson takes a closer look at Angela Constance's shoes

Mum knows best

Threatening to tell your mum can deter bad behaviour on a night out in small communities, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson says.

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson
BBC

2,101 pairs of flipflops given out by street pastors

SNP MSP Sandra White commends the street pastors work in Glasgow.

2,101 pairs of flipflops have been given out to women in need of a change of shoes, she says.

SNP MSP Sandra White highlights briefing provided by Street Pastors ahead of debate
BBC
SNP MSP Sandra White highlights briefing provided by Street Pastors ahead of debate

Tory MSP says Street Pastors are modern day version of Good Samaritan

Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour
BBC
Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour

Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour says he has reached the age where a chip shop and a good DVD is enough for a night out for him.

Mr Balfour says, as a councillor, he took to the streets of Edinburgh late at night and was surprised by what he saw.

He says welcomes the Street Pastors to the gallery and says they are a modern day version of the Good Samaritan helping everyone without hesitation.

Street Pastors
bbc

SNP MSP recalls experience of debating politics at 1:30am

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan
BBC

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan recalls his own experience patrolling with the street pastors.

He tells the chamber about one gentleman approaching him to talk at length at 1:30 in the morning about politics.

Background: Who are Street Pastors?

The Street Pastors help those in need, such as homeless people or those under the influence of alcohol.

BBC Scotland recently spent a night with the Glasgow street pastors, as some people were merry on their Christmas night out.

Spending a night with Glasgow's street pastors

'Street Pastors are as much a part of a Scottish night out as a kebab on the way home'

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser
bbc
Tory MSP Murdo Fraser

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser says Street Pastors now operate in 23 different locations

"Street Pastors are as much a part of a Scottish night out as a kebab on the way home."

He praises all the teams for their hard work.

Mr Fraser says the debate marks 10 years since the Ascension Trust was launched.

Background: Street Pastors Scotland

Street Pastors Scotland is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

Since 2010, Ascension Trust (Scotland) has held responsibility for the 23 teams across Scotland.

Street Pastors website
Street Pastors

Street Pastors was pioneered in London in 2003 by Les Isaac.

It operates in over 300 towns and cities across the UK.

Quote from patron of Ascension Trust
Street Pastors

Tory MSP opens street pastor members' debate

Street Pastors
bbc
Street Pastors are in the gallery for this debate

Tory MP Murdo Fraser highlights the festive season as one of the busiest times of year for street pastors and welcomes several volunteers to the chamber.

He says street pastors provide a "vital release valve" for the emergency services.

"Street pastors are not street preachers", he adds, noting the volunteers offer a listening ear rather than using it as an "opportunity to evangelise".

Street Pastors Scotland, 10th Anniversary

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser highlights the tenth anniversary of Street Pastors Scotland.

Motion text
Scottish Parliament

Parliament agrees to reappoint Lady Susan Rice as chair of the Scottish Fiscal Commission

Lady Susan Rice
NCUB

MSPs agree general principles of Social Security Bill

Social security
bbc

MSPs unaimously agree the general principles of the Social Security (Scotland) Bill.

Minister calls for MSPs to back general principles of the Social Security Bill

Ms Freeman
bbc
Ms Freeman

Ms Freeman says the government will bring amendments to bring forwad a super affirmative procedure to address some of the concerns expressed.

The social security minister says she wants an independent scrutiny body and a duty on ministers to consult on any regulations or changes to social security, with no exemptions and no fast tracking.

Not enough time for eligibility to be put on face of Bill, minister says

Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman
BBC

Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman says she is "sympathetic" to the idea that social security can lift people out of poverty.

However, she adds that "we cannot be held responsible for those powers and those benefits we do not have".

Ms Freeman says is it important the new system is transparent, describing the DWP system as "opaque" and "incomprehensible".

Ms Freeman argues the the Scottish government will not put eligibility onto the face of Bill because there is not enough time.

Tory MSP cuts out those who would give evidence

Mr Tomkins
bbc

Mr Tomkins says secondary legislation cuts out those who would come and give evidence about primary legislation.

The Tory MSP says at the end of a debate MSPs can only say yay or no to secondary legislation, no amendments can be made.

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson points out secondary legislation can be sent back if MSPs choose to do so and then be brough back.

'There is still a huge degree of uncertainty about who is going to be entitled to what'

Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins
bbc
Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins

Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins says many MSPs have highlighted that this is very important for the parliament.

Mr Tomkins says he agrees with Mark Griffin who said there would only be one chance to get this right first time.

He says: "There is still a huge degree of uncertainty about who is going to be entitled to what."

The Tory MSP asks when the minister will bring forward draft regulations.

Time for closing speeches..........

Labour MSP Mark Griffin
BBC

Labour MSP Mark Griffin confirms his party will seek to work with the Greens to improve the Bill.

He lends his support to the Give Me Five campaign, which wants to see child benefit topped up by £5 a week.

Defining palliative care on the face of the Bill would go a long way on changing benefits for this group of people, he argues.

Background: Scots social security agency legislation published

The legislation will place a duty on Scottish ministers to provide assistance to people who are entitled to it
LUKASSEK
The legislation will place a duty on Scottish ministers to provide assistance to people who are entitled to it

Legislation to set up a Scottish social security agency was published on 21 June 2017.

Holyrood is taking on a range of welfare powers under the Scotland Act 2016, and is setting up a dedicated body to oversee them.

TheSocial Security (Scotland) Billwill give the Scottish government the power to deliver 11 benefits.

These include disability living allowance, personal independence payments, carer's allowances and winter fuel payments.

Social Security Secretary Angela Constance has announced the timetable for delivery of the first benefits to be devolved.

Under the plans, an increased carer's allowance would be payable from the summer of 2018, while the Best Start Grant, a replacement for the maternity grant to target child poverty, and the Funeral Expense Assistance grant would be paid from the summer of 2019.

Social Security Secretary Angela Constance said the timely payment of the correct benefits is the top priority

Social mobility must be embedded into welfare system

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton says the social security system must be built around the principle of social mobility.

He refers to the "stress" caused by the roll-out of Universal Credit and says the Scottish system must aim higher.

Mr Cole-Hamilton backs stakeholder calls for the right to access advocacy services.

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton
BBC

Charter in Bill 'seems fairly meaningless' says Green MSP

Green MSP Alison Johnstone
bbc
Green MSP Alison Johnstone

Green MSP Alison Johnstone says: "We must sieze this opportunity."

"We have the opportunity to restore dignity and respect to our socials security system."

She says the Bill makes a reasonable start but says there is much more to be done.

The Green MSP says the charter does not confer any rights on the applicants and recipients.

She says the status of the charter is entirely unclear.

"At the moment it seems fairly meaningless."

Benefits recipients demonised

Labour MSP Johann Lamont
BBC

Labour MSP Johann Lamont says the Bill will have a direct impact on communities, describing a working social security system as a "mark of decency".

She criticises the demonisation of people on benefits, saying the division of "workers and shirkers" is false.

"We need to see social security not just in its social, but in its economic context."

The Scottish government can play in role in creating secure work, she says, adding the economy should create greater equality.

People must not face never-ending round of assessments

SNP MSP Sandra White
bbc
SNP MSP Sandra White

SNP MSP Sandra White says says people must be treated with fairness, dignity and respects under the new social security system.

The former Social Security Committee convener says people who have conditions that will not improve must not be subjected to the neverending round of assessments, medicals and appeals.

She says she is pleased the Scottish government will bring amendments to the Bill including a super affirmative procedure.

Ms White says people are entitled to transparency and plain speaking.

Future of some benefits still unclear, says Tory MSP

Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour - who is currently a recipient of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) - says the Bill still leaves a lot of uncertainty.

He says people like himself do not know whether they will be in receipt of PIP in a few years time.

Mr Balfour says more must go into the face of the Bill, rather than solely in regulations.

Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour
BBC

He condemns the decision to prevent private contractors from undertaking face-to-face assessments, arguing they are needed to gain a proper understanding of a person's disability.

Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman intervenes to say face-to-face assessments will not be abolished, but there will be fewer than in the current system.

Mr Balfour says medical evidence alone is not enough and asks who will do the assessments if not a private contractor.

Improving uptake of benefits must be strengthened

Labour MSP Mark Griffin welcomes the consensus around improving take up of benefits, but adds more can be done.

He confirms Labour will push for the duty to be strengthened, alongside a guarantee for annual uprating.

Mr Griffin also suggests plans to prevent private companies providing elements of the system must be reinforced in legislation.

Young children in a housing estate
Getty Images