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Live Reporting

By Louise Wilson and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live!

    Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville
    Image caption: Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Tuesday 23 April 2019.

    Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville told MSPs the Scottish government could not afford to alleviate all of Westminster's "staggering" cuts in benefits spending.

    Ms Somerville said £125m of Scottish government cash was going towards mitigating reductions in welfare spending imposed by the Conservatives in London.

    She warned work being done by the SNP administration to try to help poorer families could be at risk if ministers in Edinburgh limited their ambition to merely "mitigating the decisions another government".

    Ms Somerville spoke out as MSPs debated a report by Holyrood's Social Security Committee on the impact of the introduction of the Universal Credit system.

  2. 16,000 Scots enrolled on OU courses in 2017-18

    Higher and Further Education Minister Richard Lochhead
    Image caption: Higher and Further Education Minister Richard Lochhead

    Higher and Further Education Minister Richard Lochhead says the Open University has welcomed over two million students across 157 countries.

    In 2017-18, 16,000 Scots enrolled in OU courses he adds.

    Universities play such a huge role in ensuring we have a skilled population and that is why improving education and closing the attainment gap is a priority, the minister insists.

    Mr Lochhead concludes saying he is confident the OU will continue to build on the legacy left by Jennie Lee.

  3. Background: One of world first distance learning universities

    Arts minister Jennie Lee welcoming the Queen
    Image caption: Arts minister Jennie Lee welcoming the Queen to the OU campus in Milton Keynes in 1979

    The Open University was one of the world’s first successful distance teaching universities.

    It was founded to bring degree-level learning to people who had not had the opportunity to attend traditional campus universities.

    On 23 April 1969, the Queen approved the creation of the Royal Charter of The Open University. 23 April has since been celebrated as the official birthday and Charter Day of the University.

    Read more about the OU's story.

  4. Background: Open University: Photos issued to mark 50th anniversary

    The OU's late-night TV programmes became cult viewing for students and insomniacs
    Image caption: The OU's late-night TV programmes became cult viewing for students and insomniacs

    The Open University, the UK's largest educational institution, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

    It was set up to bring degree-level learning to people who had not had the chance to go to a traditional campus, and pioneered long-distance study.

    The university teamed up with the BBC to produce course programmes, famously shown late at night for many years.

    Photos released to mark the occasion show the early days and tell the story of some of its current students.

    Read more.

    Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski
    Image caption: Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski earned a social science degree during a 16-year jail sentence for drug importation and is now working on a PhD
  5. Open University is 'a great avenue of learning for non-traditional students'

    Oliver Mundell

    "The Open University has been pushing the case for equity and excellence in education since long before it was fashionable," explains Oliver Mundell.

    The Tory MSP says: "Its work today is as important today as it was 50 years ago."

    "It's a great avenue of learning for non-traditional students."

  6. Background: Jennie Lee

    Jennie Lee, Baroness Lee of Asheridge
    Image caption: Jennie Lee, Baroness Lee of Asheridge

    Jennie Lee, Baroness Lee of Asheridge (3 November 1904 – 16 November 1988) was a British politician.

    Born and educated in Scotland, she graduated from the University of Edinburgh and worked as a teacher before becoming a professional politician.

    She served as an MP for the Independent Labour Party from 1929 to 1931 and for the Labour Party from 1945 to 1970.

    Ms Lee was appointed Minister for the Arts in Harold Wilson's government of 1964 and played a key role in the formation of the Open University.

    In 1934 she married the Welsh Labour MP Aneurin Bevan, and the couple remained married until his death in 1960.

    On the 13 November 1980 Jennie came onto Woman’s Hour to talk to Sue McGregor about her life in politics.

  7. 'It is truly a University of the Air'

    Ms Baker

    Ms Baker refers back to Harold Wilson's speech over 55 years ago in Glasgow that paved the way for the establishment of the Open University.

    "Today it is exactly 50 years since the Open University was given its Royal Charter."

    It was Jenny Lee, the Minister for the Arts that established the Open University, explains Ms Baker, who goes on to says she is related to the former Labour MP.

    She stresses the importance in widening access to education that the Open University provides.

    "It is truly a University of the Air."

  8. Debate: The Open University at 50

    Labour MSP Claire Baker is marking the 50th anniversary since the signing of the Royal Charter of the Open University.

    Motion
  9. FM's statement confirmed for tomorrow

    The business motion is agreed with 83 votes for it and 31 votes against.

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will make a statement tomorrow titled 'Brexit and Scotland’s Future'.

    Join Holyrood Live at 1:30pm.

  10. 'We'll take no lessons from the Tories when it comes to getting on with the day job'

    Graeme Dey

    Parliamentary Business Minister Graeme Dey says the Conservatives are arguing against providing Holyrood and the country as a whole with an update on the impact of the confusion Brexit has created.

    Mr Dey points out the first minister gave a specific undertaking she would provide an update in January.

    This week provides the first opportunity since the extension of the Brexit deadline to 31 October, he explains.

    "We'll take no lessons from the Tories when it comes to getting on with the day job."

  11. Tory MSP speaks against FM making statement tomorrow

    Tory MSP Maurice Golden
    Image caption: Tory MSP Maurice Golden

    Tory MSP Maurice Golden is speaking against the business motion which will allow the first minister to make a statement tomorrow.

    He says schools, the economy and hospitals are "the things that really matter" and criticises Nicola Sturgeon for planning a statement on indyref2.

    We want to move on from the SNP's "constitutional grandstanding", the Tory MSP states, which is why his party plans to vote against the motion.

  12. Education committee calls for clarity around standardised assessments

    Child working

    Education committee convener Clare Adamson is highlighting a report published by the committee today calling for clarity on the purpose of standardised assessments.

    The committee has been exploring the evidence for the introduction of assessments which are completed by school pupils in P1, P4, P7 and S3.

    MSPs expressed concern that there appeared to be differing views among stakeholders regarding the original purpose of the assessments and whether this has evolved since their introduction.

    The committee is now asking the Scottish government to give clearer guidance as to the role of the assessments as well as reassuring parents, pupils and indeed teachers, that the SNSAs are not high stakes.

  13. Background: What did the committee report call for?

    The social security committee called for the UK government's benefits freeze to be lifted as MSPs say it is not realistic for the Scottish government to keep topping up welfare payments.

    It also argued that those who receive tax credits should not be moved over to universal credit unless the threat of sanctions which could lower payments is removed.

    However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) claims people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system and that universal credit remains on track to be fully rolled out by 2023.

    UC application

    The committee said there was a case to be made to review local access to the DWP to allow for more support in their community, in place of a digital system.

    Concerns were also raised about the strains universal credit placed on "over-stretched" JobCentre staff amid closures.