Week ahead at Holyrood: Call for school abuse inquiry

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Child abuse inquiryImage source, Thinkstock

MSPs will be urged to back a public inquiry into historic child abuse in state schools this week, as they return from recess.

A woman who says she was abused as a child has said excluding state schools from the current Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is "unfair".

Maryanne Pugsley is also calling for a review of the law of corroboration, which means two separate sources of evidence are needed for a case to go to trial.

She will appear before the Public Petitions Committee on Thursday morning.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is looking in detail at historical abuse of children in residential care in Scotland and does not cover schools without boarding facilities.

Last September, 17 more institutions were identified as requiring investigation, including some special schools.

Earlier this month, campaign group Speak Out Survivors backed the scrapping of the need for corroboration.

Ms Pugsley wrote in her petition that without an inquiry covering state schools, "the government are prolonging the victimisation rather than enabling those without a voice to come forward".

What else is happening at Holyrood this week?

Tuesday - BiFab problems

Image source, PA

The future of the BiFab yards will be under scrutiny on Tuesday morning by the energy committee.

DF Barnes - the relatively new owners of BiFab - and trade unions GMB and Unite will be among those giving evidence.

Last year BiFab yards faced closure due to concerns its order book had dried up with the completion of the Beatrice Wind farm contract in the Cromarty Firth.

The Scottish government brokered an agreement with DF Barnes in April 2018, but ministers said the firm needed to secure new work if the yards would survive long-term.

But in March this year it was confirmed BiFab had lost out on contracts to build multi-billion pound offshore wind farms.

The company has two mothballed fabrication yards in Fife.

After topical questions in the afternoon, the Social Security Committee leads a debate on welfare and in-work poverty.

The committee raised concerns in a report in February about the switchover to Universal Credit and urged the Department for Work and Pensions to demonstrate resources were available before claimants were moved over.

Labour MSP Claire Baker will be leading the evening member's debate to mark the 50th anniversary of the Open University.

Wednesday - Brexit and indyref2 update

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to make a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday afternoon. The BBC understands it will focus on the implications for Scotland from the current Brexit deadlock.

A meeting of the parliamentary bureau on Tuesday will consider the requested change to scheduled business, but this is expected to be a formality.

The Scottish Greens have the floor for the rest of the afternoon and have chosen to split their debating time over two topics.

First, Alison Johnstone MSP will lead one on resources for GP retention and recruitment, warning not enough support is being made available to allow GPs to deliver the quality of care expected.

Image source, BBC
Image caption,
Climate change protests took place in Edinburgh last week

After that, party co-convener Patrick Harvie will call for a Green New Deal for Scotland.

The Green New Deal on climate change and jobs has sparked a lively debate in US politics of late. It is a large scale re-imagining of how economies should work to deal with the root causes of climate change.

The Scottish Greens want to see such a policy developed by the Scottish government to achieve rapid transition to a zero-carbon economy.

The debates are sandwiched by questions to justice and constitution ministers and SNP MSP George Adam highlights MS awareness week.

In the morning, the education committee continues its inquiry in school subject choices.

MSPs are examining what effect the range of subjects on offer has on young people and whether choice has narrowed.

At most schools, students in fourth year get the chance to do six or seven qualifications. Occasionally, they get the chance to do only five.

Thursday - getting active

Image source, Getty Images

First minister's questions will provide the usual entertainment from noon, to be followed by a sombre member's debate marking international workers' memorial day led by SNP MSP Bill Kidd.

After lunch, culture and tourism ministers face portfolio questions before the Hutchesons' Hospital Transfer and Dissolution (Scotland) Bill undergoes its final stage.

The rest of the afternoon will be focused on sport and physical activity.

Updated guidelines on getting active from the four chief medical officers across the UK are due to be published shortly.