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Summary

  1. The public audit committee takes evidence on the SPA
  2. MSPs question ministers in general questions
  3. The first minister faces questions from the opposition leaders and backbench MSPs

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. The first minister wishes 'everybody across the country a very happy Christmas'

    Ms Sturgeon says: "We value very highly the contribution seasonal workers make throughout the year."

    The first minsiter says the UK government's position on Brexit and immigration will make recruitment of seasonal workers harder.

    Mr Mountain says police, ambulance, NHS and the armed forces should be thanked for what they do on our behalf.

    Merry Christmas
    Image caption: Merry Christmas

    He calls on the first minister to wish them a merry Christmas and she agrees, in the spirit of consensus.

    She thanks everyyone that works in the emergency services, the hospitality sector and to keep our roads open over Christmas.

    Ms Sturgeon wishes "everybody across the country a very happy Christmas."

    The presiding officer wishes everyone "a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".

    The team at Holyrood Live and our colleagues in Glasgow would like to join in with that sentiment and wish you all best for the festive season and 2018.

  2. Background: Scottish firms voice fears over Brexit

    Brexit

    Scottish businesses have voiced their fears about the impact of Brexit on staffing, profitability and growth.

    The ability to attract and retain staff was cited as a major concern for a number of businesses, including shortbread firm Walkers of Aberlour, which employs around 500 seasonal workers from the EU.

  3. Tory MSP Edward Mountain asks about seasonal workers over Christmas

    Edward Mountain's question
  4. Sturgeon says illegal money lending will not be tolerated in Scotland

    Ms Sturgeon says illegal money lending will not be tolerated in Scotland.

    She says the government is working hard to raise the profile of credit unions.

    The first minister adds that if anyone has concerns they can contact the Trading Standards website.

    Ms McNeill asks if the government will consider a higher profile public campaign on credit unions.

    Ms Sturgeon says she will consider any proposals to highlight the role of credit unions.

  5. Background: More families turn to loans to fund Christmas

    Christmas presents under a tree

    New research from Scottish Friendly found six in ten UK households make sacrifices to buy Christmas presents, including taking out loans.

    The average household will take until April 2018 to pay off Christmas debts.

    Families are also sacrificing paying household bills or delaying rent or mortgage payments to purchase gifts.

    Read the full report here.

  6. Labour MSP Pauline McNeill queries protection from money lenders over the festive period

    Pauline McNeill's question
  7. First minister accepts there is more for all to do in keeping young children safe

    The first minister says the statistics suggest victims of abuse now have greater confidence that they will listen to and action will be taken.

    She says it is vitally important that the services required are put in place.

    The first minister says the statistics are of deep concern and she encourages more people to come forward.

  8. If you are concerned about a child......

    From the NSPCC website:

    "Don't wait until you're certain if you are worried about a child. If you have any concerns or suspicions, contact our free helpline service to speak to an NSPCC counsellor 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    "We will listen to your concerns, offer advice and support and can take action on your behalf if a child is in danger.

    "If you think a child is in immediate danger... Don't delay - call the police on 999 or call us on 0808 800 5000, straight away."

    NSPCC website screenshot
  9. Background: 42% rise in sex abuse referrals, NSPCC Scotland reveals

    Crying child

    NSPCC Scotland referred 265 children in Scotland to police and children's services after being contacted by members of the public in 2016-17.

    This is a 42% increase from 187 referrals made in 2015-16.

    Across the UK, there was a 31% increase.

  10. Increase in child sex abuse referrals raised by Tory MSP Alexander Stewart

    Alexander Stewart question
  11. Slippery pavements

    SNP MSP Christine Grahame calls for gritting of pavements, "which would not cost an arm and a leg", and would see less visits to A&E for breakages to said appendages.

    Ms Sturgeon say this is an important point and Scottish councils have responsibility for footpaths.

  12. Background: Police Scotland recorded rise in Christmas drink-drivers

    Police officer with breathalyser

    Last year, there was a rise in the number of drink-drivers caught by police over Christmas and new year.

    Police stopped almost 19,000 drivers during a four-week campaign. A total of 625 - or one in 30 - were found to be over the limit.

    This compares to the one in 36 caught drink-driving during the same period in 2015.

  13. First minister says drink driving is simply unacceptable

    The first minister says the government works with a range of partners on road safety and she points to Police Scotland's campaign which is already underway.

    Mr McMillan says the Scottish government should never stand still and should continue to try to improve road safety.

    Ms Sturgeon says drink driving is simply unacceptable.

  14. SNP MSP Stuart McMillan asks about road safety of the festive period

    Stuart McMillan's question
  15. Background: Scots online shoppers pay £36m more in delivery charges

    Packages

    Scots pay £36.3m more per year than online shoppers in the rest of the UK due to "eye-watering" delivery charges, new research suggests.

    The Scottish Parliament's information centre estimated the annual cost of delivery surcharges in Scotland relative to other parts of the country.

    A study for Citizens Advice Scotlandrecently found that those living in the north and north-east pay at least 30% more for delivery than consumers elsewhere, with the figure rising to 50% more on average for the Scottish islands.

  16. 'At least Santa Clause will be delivering presents free of charge'

    Santa claus with a reindeer

    SNP MSP Richard Lochhead says this time last year he raised the issue of parcel delivery surcharges in Scotland.

    Mr Lochhead accuses some retailers of being "Scrooge like".

    "At least Santa Clause will be delivering presents free of charge."

    Ms Sturgeon pays tribute to Mr Lochhead for his campaigning on this issue.

    She says: "Let's hope we see concrete action from the UK government soon."