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Live Reporting

Louise Wilson and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. New group to consider firework use restrictions

    Community Safety Minister Ash Denham

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Tuesday 29 October 2019.

    A "full and frank debate" around the sale of fireworks in Scotland is needed as part of efforts to improve safety and crackdown on antisocial behaviour, it has been suggested.

    Community Safety Minister Ash Denham made the comments as she announced a new group will consider restrictions on the use of fireworks on private property. Former chief fire officer Alasdair Hay will lead the review.

    It follows a public consultation on the use of fireworks in Scotland, in which 94% of respondents said they would welcome increased control on the sale of fireworks.

    Ms Denham said she would consider a ban on the general sale of fireworks in the country if the power to choose to do so was devolved to Scotland.

  2. Fair work drives economy says minister

    Public Finance and Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes

    Public Finance and Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes says in a growing economy there must be a clear balance between workers right and business demand.

    Fair work drives productivity and growth which is critical to the success of Scotland's economy, she adds.

    The minister says the Scottish government must use all the levers at its disposal to embed fair work.

  3. Background: Asda's contract changes are 'just not fair'


    Cathy Murphy has worked for Asda for the last 44 years and says it has been an "absolutely amazing employer".

    However, recently the supermarket chain told Ms Murphy she will be fired unless she signs up to a new contract that will strip her of her long-service benefits, paid tea breaks and Bank Holidays off.

    She is one of thousands of employees who have been told to sign the new contract before 2 November or leave the business. But Ms Murphy describes it as "just not fair".

    The GMB union says up to 12,000 workers face a choice between signing the new contracts - which increase wages to £9 an hour but scrap many other perks - or being sacked in the run up to Christmas.

    Read more.

  4. Background: Asda contract protesters deliver petition to Leeds HQ

    Image caption: The GMB union said Asda wants to introduce a "retail poverty contract"

    Asda workers protesting against a new contract have marched to the supermarket's headquarters to hand in a 23,000-signature petition.

    The petition was pushed through Leeds in a shopping trolley by objectors waving flags and blowing horns.

    Demonstrators fear they will be sacked if they do not accept the new contract that will see them lose paid breaks.

    Asda said the contract "ensures we are able to adapt to the demands of the highly competitive retail industry".

    Read more.

  5. 'They have a gun to their heads'

    Pauline McNeill

    Pauline McNeill praises the character of the Asda employees who have stood against the "blackmail" of the company.

    The Labour MSP says Asda is trying to enforce vastly inferior terms and conditions on its mainly female staff.

    She points out male distribution workers have not been affected in this way.

    The Labour MSP says Asda is threatening dismissal if store workers don't sign the new contracts.

    "They have a gun to their heads."

    She points out the GMB union says thousands of staff face the sack and she warns if Asda are allowed to get away with this it will set the bar for other companies.

  6. Asda contract changes debate begins

    Till worker

    Labour MSP Pauline McNeill is leading a debate to highlight a row over changes to Asda employee contracts.

    The supermarket offered its staff a pay rise in 2017 - but workers were told they would lose other benefits as part of the deal.

    Ms McNeill's motion, below, says this plan runs counter to the fair work agenda and urges Asda to take the threat of dismissal off the table for those who refuse to sign the new contract.

  7. Tory amendment passes while Labour's is defeated

    The Tory amendment on disability assistance is agreed unanimously.

    The Labour amendment is defeated, with 28 MSPs back it but 80 voting against.

    The Scottish government motion, as amended, is passed unanimously.

    Scottish government motion
    Image caption: This is the Scottish government motion
    Tory amendment
    Image caption: And this is the agreed Tory amendment
  8. Point of order

    Labour MSP Jenny Marra raises a point of order about two submitted questions due to be answered by 4pm today.

    Ms Marra says letters she wrote to the health secretary and HIS relating to the breast cancer service in Tayside have not been replied to.

    Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh says he is disappointed Ms Marra has only received a holding response in four weeks.

    An expert reviewing the deaths of 14 Tayside breast cancer patients said it was "highly unlikely" variations in chemotherapy dosages were to blame.

    Dr David Dunlop told NHS Tayside the deaths between 2016 and 2018 were not linked to treatment variation.

    Read more here.

  9. Government is reviewing mobility assessment options

    Shirley-Anne Somverville

    The social security secretary says policy officials and Social Security Scotland are working with stakeholders on how to support people with fluctuating conditions, such as MS or epilepsy.

    Ms Somerville says there is a lack of consensus around the mobility rules but confirms the government will continue to look at improving the assessment of mobility, not just with regards to the 20m rule.

    She insists it is not appropriate to scrap one area of the mobility assessment without looking at wider changes or having a plan in place for what will replace it.

    The Labour amendment is too prescriptive in its nature and therefore the government will not support it, she explains, but lends her support to the Tory amendment on delays.

  10. Call for timetable update

    Michelle Ballantyne

    Michelle Ballantyne says there are some good points in the Scottish government's consultation, which she says is an excellent starting point.

    However it is the wave 2 of disability assistance that will be the most challenging, argues the Tory MSP.

    She warns against MSPs being overly adversarial about this as it is essential to get this right, but calls for no further delay in the transition of powers.

    Ms Ballantyne calls for an update on the devolution of disability support timetable.

  11. More to be done to improve Scottish social security system

    Labour MSP Alex Rowley

    Labour MSP Alex Rowley says failure to make significant changes to the replacement benefit for PIP will leave the government open to the challenge that it is simply introducing PIP in a kilt.

    I hope the Scottish government will address this issue, including by accepting Labour's amendment on the 20m rule he adds.

    He says the incoming system will be far superior to the system put in place by the Conservatives in the UK government.

    But there is a lot more to be done on the Scottish system, he concludes.

  12. Background: Plans for new Scottish disability support assessments set out

    Wheelchair user

    Changes to the way assessments for disability support will be carried out under Scotland's new social security agency were announced in September 2018.

    The new body is to take responsibility for a range of welfare benefits, including disability support.

    Ministers have set out plans for how assessments will be run in-house by the agency, rather than by external firms.

    Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said these moves would help ensure people have trust in the system.

    Read more.

  13. Background: Why I secretly taped my disability assessment

    Nev Cartwright
    Image caption: Nev Cartwright has been left with complications including chronic infections and emphysema

    In 2015, Nev Cartwright sat down with his specialist at a hospital in Leeds. He was told his hacking cough and breathing difficulties were caused by a tumour in his left lung. He was 45.

    Since then he has had three operations and a lung removed. Nev was awarded the highest rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - a benefit meant to pay for the extra costs of his condition.

    But a year later he received a letter saying the DLA was being replaced by a new benefit, the Personal Independence Payment, and his needs would have to be reassessed by a private company.

    Read more.

  14. Background: PIP appeal delays: 'I had to sell my belongings to live'

    Denise Edwards
    Image caption: Denise Edwards said she was forced to sell her jewellery to make up the £480 per month she lost when she was refused PIP

    A visually impaired woman said she had to sell her belongings to get by as she waited 17 months to appeal a decision to refuse her disability benefits.

    Helpline support worker Denise Edwards, 53, was left £480 a month out of pocket after she was refused the higher rate of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

    Figures show one in 10 disabled people who challenged a PIP decision had to wait more than 10 months for money.

    The UK government said it was "continuously improving the process".

    Read more.

  15. 'Clearly something is broken in the current assessment scheme'

    Alex Cole-Hamilton

    Alex Cole-Hamilton says the current system is not serving its constituents as it should, adding it lacks humanity.

    The Lib Dem MSP points out it struggles with hidden disabilities like MS.

    He says: "Clearly something is broken in the current assessment scheme."

    "I'm very grateful for the government taking this on," posits Mr Cole-Hamilton, who adds he'll back Labour's amendment.

  16. DWP shows 'contempt' for people it is meant to help - Green MSP

    Green MSP Alison Johnstone

    Green MSP Alison Johnstone highlights the stress and anxiety often caused by the current assessment system.

    The "contempt" the DWP shows for the people it is there to help is "breathtaking", she argues.

    Ms Johnstone goes on to highlight the average waiting time for appeals is 69 days and over 70% result in the initial decision being overturned.

    The Green MSP highlights support for limiting the number of face-to-face assessments required, as well as reducing travel times to these assessments when they are necessary.

    She also calls for a wider, national conversation on the level of social security payment.