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

Welfare Reform Bill – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 09 November 2011

I have three—short, I hope—points. Incapacity benefit is a terrible system to operate. It has been around for years and I am familiar with households in my ward and constituency that have had no work for two and sometimes three generati…

Draft Budget 2012-13 and Spending Review 2011 – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 02 November 2011

I have two questions. Preventative spend is an extremely difficult thing to measure, as you have all indicated. As a former salesman, I am concerned that it is possible to dress almost anything up as preventative spend. Could you give us your ideas on some simple criteria fo…

Public Services Reform – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 02 November 2011

I, too, associate myself with all the positive comments that have been made about Campbell Christie and his report, especially on its readability.

The foreword to the Government’s response refers to the “greater integration of public services”. That is an important a…

Education (Qualified Teachers’ Contact Hours) – Public Petitions Committee, 01 November 2011

I agree with the previous two speakers. Having been exposed to teaching and tutoring in schools and colleges, I want other people to be able to help in teaching. Many valuable people act as instructors and trainers, particularly in vocational areas. I do not want to cut teachers out, but we have to …

Access to Insulin Pump Therapy – Public Petitions Committee, 01 November 2011

 I do not like the phrase “postcode lottery”, because it gives postcodes and lotteries a bad name. I do not know what the alternative is; it seems to be part of the culture now.

I would like to pursue what our visitors have discussed and give them a little more opportunity. Clearly there i…

Question S4F-00208: Longannet Carbon Capture and Storage

Bill Walker: To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government’s position is on the decision by the United Kingdom Government not to proceed with the proposed carbon capture and storage project at Longannet.

Current Status: Taken in the Chamber on 27/10/11 Read more of this post

Scottish Local Government Elections Order 2011 – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 26 October 2011

I  have a supplementary question. I mentioned fraud because of the huge increase in postal voting, which is now way over 10 per cent. I did not think that it would ever get to that level, but people can now freely apply for postal votes and there is more scope for it, so the percentage is going up an…

Draft Budget 2012-13 and Spending Review 2011 – Local Government and Regeneration Committee 26 October 2011

Good morning. I am sorry that this is perhaps not as specific a question as you would like, convener. I think that we are all in favour of that great concept of prevention rather than cure. However, as a councillor, I can think of all sorts of clever ways of dressing up spending as preventative inve…

Heritage (Digital Technology) – Meeting of the Parliament 06 October 2011

Does Mark Griffin agree that the problems with broadband exist not only in the Highlands and that there are broadband problems in the central belt, due to the distance along the copper wires to the exchange? Does he agree that everyone in this chamber should back the Scottish Government in pressurin…

Draft Budget 2012-13 and Spending Review 2011 – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 05 October 2011

At a national level, everyone has agreed that preventative spend is a good thing. We need to separate out preventative spend, with regard to the causal links to the benefits, from the general revenue support that we provide on a day-to-day basis. Kevin Stewart mentioned earlier that different counci…

Victims of Crime (Support and Assistance) – Public Petitions Committee, 04 October 2011

I have great sympathy for what can happen during a court case, where people are basically just milling around. It is not right; it is just not fair to victims or potential victims because, at that time, you do not know what will be the outcome of the case. It is quite wrong and I know of it happenin…

St Margaret of Scotland Hospice – Public Petitions Committee, 04 October 2011

My concern is the business of discussions and decisions being made without consultation of those who should have been consulted; I believe that allegations have been made about that. Unfortunately, that kind of thing happens in local government, where I have been working, and I would certainly like …

Magazines and Newspapers – Public Petitions Committee, 04 October 2011

I am sympathetic to the petition, but I wonder whether the Equal Opportunities Committee has the powers to deal with the issue. Is it a devolved matter on which we can properly take a view, convener?

 

Youth Football – Public Petitions Committee, 04 October 2011

I am interested in getting closer to the actual consumers of this activity—in other words, the boys in question and their parents—and hearing their views. After all, a lot of this is driven by the boys—and, indeed, a number of girls these days—who want to get involved with clubs.

Paroxysmal Nocturnal Haemoglobinuria (Access to Therapy) – Public Petitions Committee, 04 October 2011

We are talking about rare conditions that involve patients in their twos and threes—or maybe fives and sixes. I have a business background in medical technology. Are there opportunities for economies of scale? Can we get health boards to bring in more patients? Is there scope for the unit cost per t…

Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services – Local Government and Regeneration Committee, 28 September 2011

What we have heard from our two guests is fascinating. To change the subject slightly, I am interested in the change funds that are coming along. One is already in place and seems to be working well, and two more are pretty well defined.

I notice that the Christie commission suggested tha…