Proposed High Hedges (Scotland) Bill – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 01 February 2012

Good morning, Mark. I have two follow-up points. In my mailbag, I have had lots of correspondence on the issue in Fife. Unfortunately, trees are often part of the problem, because they can form a neat barrier. The issue is not just shadow, but the views that people should be able to enjoy from their…

A92 Upgrade – Public Petitions Committee, 24 January 2012

I hear everything that Claire Baker says and agree with much of the feeling behind it. I am the local member at the Dunfermline end of the road but, unfortunately, I do not see what more we can do with the petition. Things are happening, albeit too slowly, and I do not know what more the committee c…

Youth Football – Public Petitions Committee, 24 January 2012

I declare an interest as a long-serving, longsuffering fan of Heart of Midlothian Football Club.

Sandra White put it well, and I am all for helping to develop football, too. There are many positive aspects, despite some of the negative stuff—I am thinking about recent behaviour. I am conc…

Staffordshire Bull Terriers – Public Petitions Committee, 24 January 2012

I agree with what has just been said. The problem is that such steps could apply to other breeds. We are talking about Staffies, but all sorts of other dogs—I could probably list six or seven breeds—should be included in the action. From my purchasing and rehoming of dogs over the years, I know what…

Access to Insulin Pump Therapy – Public Petitions Committee, 24 January 2012

I agree with what has just been said. I hate the phrase “postcode lottery”—I think that you used the word “passport” just now, convener—but, when the petitioners spoke to us, I was shocked by the idea that the availability of insulin pumps is so variable. That just seemed wrong.

Question S4O-00585: Year of Homecoming 2014

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made regarding the programme for the year of homecoming 2014.

Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 19/01/2012 Read more of this post

Living Wage Inquiry – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 18 January 2012

I am interested in what you have said, and would be interested to hear your comments on one thing that you did not touch on. Most people agree that, broadly speaking, the living wage is a good idea; it is just a matter of how, when, how much and so on. You did not mention competition from outwith th…

Dangerous Buildings and Building MOTs – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 18 January 2012

Some of my questions have been answered in the responses to Anne McTaggart. I agree with David Gibbon that a great deal of work on buildings is reactive. To some extent, it is the same with cars, but I remind John McKinney that at least cars must have MOT tests when we are required to do things, so …

Question S4O-00684: Support for Dairy Farmers

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government what measures are in place to support dairy farmers.

Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 19/01/2012 Read more of this post

Question S4O-00521: Radioactive Contamination at Dalgety Bay

 Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the radioactive contamination detected at Dalgety Bay.

Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 22/12/2011 Read more of this post

Living Wage Inquiry – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 21 December 2011

I am very much in favour of the living wage—either now, or as an aspiration in some areas. It is to be welcomed.

The Scottish Government has experience of the issue, so I will ask two questions about the cost of the living wage. Cabinet secretary, you are known as a master of numbers; can…

Living Wage Inquiry – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 14 December 2011

I have a devil’s-advocate question about the level of the living wage. I do not know quite how you established the London living wage. Have you discovered that, in terms of differentials, the amount that is paid is enough to attract applicants for the work? You mentioned …

Education Staff (Training in Learning Disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Disorder) – Public Petitions Committee, 13 December 2011

You have partly answered my question, because I wanted to establish what level of knowledge mainstream teachers need. You appear to suggest not that all mainstream teachers become specialist teachers, but that they are trained to such a level that they can recognise the problems, following which the…

Fruit Tree Planting – Public Petitions Committee, 13 December 2011

 Apologies for my interruption earlier. I was extremely keen to speak and was trying to attract the convener’s attention.

This is a no-brainer project. It is all win-win. I am pleased with the answers that have been given so far.

I was pleased to participate in the recent openi…

Wild Land (Protection) – Public Petitions Committee 13 December 2011

I, too, have met the lady concerned. I am interested in the whole topic, because the protection of wild land is obviously an important thing in any country. We do not have much legislation in that regard in Scotland, so the petition should definitely be continued. We should seek more information fro…

Living Wage Inquiry – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 07 December 2011

Good morning, gentlemen. I am keen on the concept of the living wage and its implementation. However, the issue has been raised with me several times that when a whole family is living on benefits it is just not worth going out to work for an extra 50p or whatever an hour. Will the living wage be en…

Question S4O-00445: Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government how the refurbishment of the Scottish national portrait gallery will improve the visitor experience.

Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 01/12/2011 Read more of this post

School Uniforms Policy – Public Petitions Committee, 29 November 2011

I agree with what Sandra White said, and we did not talk before the meeting. Basically, I think that school uniforms are a good idea, and I reject the idea that they are somehow more expensive. Virtually all the schools in my constituency have a school uniform policy. I remember that, when I was a v…

Rail Noise and Vibration (Larbert) – Public Petitions Committee, 29 November 2011

 I declare an interest in that the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine line runs through both my council ward and my parliamentary constituency, so I know quite a lot about the subject.

The first petition, PE1273, on the overnight running of trains, should not be taken any further, because the railw…

Mosquito Devices – Public Petitions Committee, 29 November 2011

Yes. I disagree with John Wilson. The company and its product have been mentioned by name and it is only right to give it a chance to respond. As Mark McDonald said, we know a sales pitch when we see it. The company has been criticised and we will listen to what it has to say.

 

Lesser-taught Languages and Cultures – Public Petitions Committee, 29 November 2011

I support what Sandra White said. I am very sympathetic to the issue. That does not mean that we should necessarily continue the petition, but we should do so for further investigation, as other avenues for how the activities can be funded are being explored with the Government. Much of that comes d…

Institutional Child Abuse (Victims’ Forum and Compensation) – Public Petitions Committee, 29 November 2011

You have answered most of what I wanted to ask about. Are there any issues that you feel are not being properly addressed in the development of proposals to secure justice? Is there anything else that you want to put on the record?

Planning Circular 3/2009 – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 23 November 2011

Good morning, and welcome to the committee. Adjacent local authorities are often in competition in the sense of being for or against certain projects, especially in the economic development area. It has been put to me that what you propose could be a recipe for increased antagonism—let us put it tha…

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 16 November 2011

I am new to this committee and the Parliament, so I ask the witnesses to forgive my naive questions. First, I thank the ombudsman for the report, which was highly educational and very …

Question S4O-00349: Longannet Power Station Carbon Capture Project

Bill Walker: To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the United Kingdom Government regarding the withdrawal of funding from the Longannet carbon capture project.

Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 10/11/2011 Read more of this post