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Summary

  1. The bill to ban smacking is debated, and passes stage 1
  2. Topical questions on water contamination at a school and EU election results
  3. The Justice Committee takes evidence on mental health services at HMP YOI Polmont
  4. A Labour MSP leads a debate on universal credit and mental health

Live Reporting

By Louise Wilson and Bryn Palmer

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live

    Upset child

    That's it from Holyrood Live on Tuesday 28 May 2019.

    MSPs have backed the general principles of the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill.

    The bill will give children "equal protection from assault" by removing the legal defence for smacking.

    MSPs speaking in support of the bill say it will bring Scotland into line with the UN rights of the child.

    But Tory MSPs and two SNP MSPs expressed concerns that the bill will criminalise parents.

    At decision time, 80 MSPs voted in favour of it while 29 voted against. SNP MSPs Christine Grahame and Richard Lyle abstained.

  2. Sanctions cause 'profound anxiety' says cabinet secretary

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

    Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville says it is "sad but very true" that the current social security system does not support people.

    The minimum five-week wait for the first payment of universal credit is unacceptable, she states, before highlighting that many go much longer than five weeks.

    Ms Somerville says the sanctions system is causing "profound anxiety" for many and there is "mounting evidence" that such an approach pushes people further into poverty.

    The Scottish government is building a social security system to ensure we have a service that meets the needs of people in Scotland, she adds.

  3. No evidence that sanctions work says Green MSP

    Green MSP Alison Johnstone

    Green MSP Alison Johnstone says social security should be there to provide support and security.

    But too often it does the opposite, she argues.

    Universal credit increases the scope of benefit sanctions without any evidence they lead to positive outcomes, suggests the Green MSP.

    Ms Johnstone says the SAMH report should be used to inform the Scottish social security system going forward.

  4. Changes to training have already been implemented says Tory MSP

    Michelle Ballantyne

    Tory MSP Michelle Ballantyne points out that mental health impacts on an individual's ability to deal with stressful situations and "navigating the maze of benefits will never be anything but demanding".

    She argues that supporting evidence for the report pre-dates many of the changes that have been implemented.

    Ms Ballantyne adds that over 19,000 staff tasked with delivering universal credit have completed extensive training to prepare them for the role, with plans for delivery of training to a further 34,000 staff.

  5. Backround: What's the problem with universal credit?

    bbc

    The UK government's overhaul of the welfare system to create one universal benefit has not had an easy roll out.

    The aim was to create a smoother benefits system that encourages people to stay in work. But it's years behind schedule, linked to rise in food bank use and rent arrears, and critics claim it might make millions poorer.

    The controversial new benefits systems completed its rollout for new claimants across Scotland last December.

  6. Background: SAMH 'It Was A Confusion' UC and Mental health report

    SAMH
    Image caption: SAMH

    The SAMH report contains eight recommendations for the UK government, DWP and Scottish government.

    The overall message is that no person on legacy benefits should be transferred to universal credit while it exists in its current form.

  7. Meanwhile...two MSPs quit Scottish Labour front bench

    Two MSPs have quit Scottish Labour's front bench team with the party in turmoil after the European elections.

    Neil Findlay quit as Brexit spokesman and also said he would step down from Holyrood at the 2021 election.

    He insisted he had made the decision in March, but hit out at "eternal internal fighting" and a "toxic culture of leaks and briefings" by some MPs and MSPs.

    Daniel Johnson later resigned as the party's justice spokesman, criticising Labour's "current direction and leadership".

    Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said he was "prepared to take the flak for what was a poor result" in the European elections, but insisted that he would not be resigning.

    Read the full story here.

    Neil Findlay and Daniel Johnson
  8. Here's the motion

    Motion
  9. Universal credit causes 'more stress, more anxiety and more pressure on mental health'

    Labour MSP Mary Fee
    Image caption: Labour MSP Mary Fee

    Labour MSP Mary Fee says the SAMH report highlights the concerns and fears of those with poor mental health.

    Universal credit is creating new and additional barriers leading to more stress, more anxiety and more pressure on mental health, she explains.

    Ms Fee highlights that some people are expected to spend 35 hours a week searching for jobs, arguing this is unfair for those with serious and complex problems.

    Regarding differences which have been instigated by the Scottish government to elements of universal credit, she highlights calls for issues with delivery to be corrected to ensure it will not harm people's mental health.

  10. SAMH Report on Universal Credit and Mental Health debate

    Universal Credit

    Labour MSP Mary Fee will now lead a member's debate welcoming the SAMH report,'It Was A Confusion’ Universal Credit and Mental Health: Recommendations for Change'.

    View more on twitter
  11. Smacking ban bill passes stage 1

    Smacking

    MSPs back the general principles of the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill.

    80 vote in favour, 29 were against and 2 abstained.

  12. 'Reasonable chastisement' is antiquated, says Finnie

    John Finnie, the member in charge of the bill, concludes the debate by thanking all the contributors and highlights key points made by Mary Fee, Ross Greer and Alex Cole-Hamilton, among others.

    The Green MSP, a former police officer, reiterates that 'reasonable chastisement' is antiquated, and argues there should be the same legal protection for all individuals, regardless of their size.

    John Finnie
  13. Physical punishment of children is unacceptable says minister

    Children's Minister Maree Todd

    Children's Minister Maree Todd says the government does not expect there to be an increase in prosecutions, in line with previous legislation on child protection and the experience of other countries.

    The Crown Office's prosecution code sets out when to take forward prosecutorial action, she tells the chamber.

    She points to stakeholders agreeing this bill will bring clarity to the law but send a clear message that physical punishment of children is unacceptable.

  14. Many have 'grave reservations' about bill, says Tory MSP

    Liz Smith

    Closing for the Conservatives, Liz Smith MSP maintains legislation has to be clear and uncomplicated, based on fairness and the common good, acceptable to the public, and easily enforceable.

    She says many in the chamber have "grave reservations" about the bill before them, because it does not meet the "good legislation test"

    The bill will remove parental discretion and exposes some fundamental weaknesses in the manner in which it has been scrutinised so far, Ms Smith argues.

  15. Parliament should change law before forced to by courts says Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Iain Gray

    Closing for Labour, Iain Gray MSP highlights the right to family life is not an "absolute right" but a "qualified right".

    Passing this bill will not achieve improvement of child rights alone, he argues, pointing to child poverty as one challenge children face.

    We should change this law before we are forced to do it by a court, the Labour MSP concludes.

  16. Background: Smacking ban bill published at Holyrood

    Smacking

    Legislation to ban the smacking of children in Scotland was published at Holyrood on 7 September 2018.

    The bill, lodged by Green MSP John Finnie, has been backed by the government and looks certain to pass.

    Mr Finnie said children should be given "the same legal protection from assault that adults enjoy".

    Other parties are expected to give members a free vote on the issue, with MSPs from across the political spectrum voicing support for the move.

  17. Background: Holyrood committee backs Scottish smacking ban bill

    Smacking

    Legislation banning smacking children in Scotland has won the backing of a Holyrood committee.

    A majority of members on the equalities committee backed a bill, put forward by Green MSP John Finnie, to give children "equal protection from assault".

    The group's report said that the right to family life does not include "a right to hit children".

    The Conservative MSPs on the committee dissented from the report, saying they were "unconvinced" by the bill.

    Mr Finnie said he was "delighted" with the support, saying that "prohibiting physical punishment will bring substantial benefits for individuals and society".

    The bill looks set to pass into law, with the Scottish government pledging to support it.