That the Parliament welcomes the news that Sweden’s population has passed 10 million for the first time; understands that immigration accounted for 75% of the growth from nine to 10 million over the previous 13 years; understands that there were more women in Sweden when the country reached nine million people in 2004 but that this has now changed with more men than women; notes that 82% of the population were born in Sweden; further notes that Sweden has kept detailed population records since 1749; acknowledges what it considers the success that smaller independent countries have achieved economically, culturally and socially, with small nations dominating the top ten of the GDP per capita tables, and considers that Scotland has been held back in many ways, including in population terms, since the Union in 1707.
That the Parliament understands that the Airdrie Savings Bank is closing down because its relatively small size has led to it finding it difficult to compete with much larger players and that it has been unable to deal with the complex regulations that were introduced in reaction to the failings of larger banks; appreciates the important role that smaller businesses play in the economy and their potential for its future growth; understands that, in March 2016, there were 348,045 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in Scotland, bringing an estimated 1.2 million jobs; believes that SMEs make up 99.3% of all private sector enterprises and that they and other relatively small organisations require particular support in a world of globalisation; thanks the founders, staff, customers and board of Airdrie Savings Bank for their commitment to the organisation over many generations, including to the branch previously in the Shettleston constituency, and welcomes the work of SMEs throughout the country.
That the Parliament notes the comments by the television presenter and cancer campaigner, Lynn Faulds Wood, who, it understands, turned down an MBE in the New Year Honours; agrees with her comments that the current UK Honours system is “not a fair system” and that she “would love to have an honour if it didn’t have the word empire on the end of it. We don’t have an empire in my opinion”; understands that she said she “just wouldn’t accept it while we still have party donors donating large amounts of money and getting an honour”; further understands that she would like to see an appraisal of the Honours system and said “let’s drag us into the 21st century”; agrees with her statement that “we are a very backward looking country at the moment. We shouldn’t have lords and ladies and sirs. We should give people honours, yes, because plenty of people deserve them”, and is impressed by her integrity as somebody who would deserve an honour but considers that the present system is far too flawed to take part in it.
That the Parliament notes the publication of the report, An Analysis of CEO Pay Arrangements and Value Creation for FTSE-350 Companies, which was commissioned and funded by the CFA Society of the United Kingdom, and which examines the link between executive pay and performance; understands that the report was carried out by Weijia Li and Steven Young of Lancaster University Management School and is based on analysis of CEO pay structures and value created for FTSE-350 companies over the period from 2003 to 2014-15; further understands that the report found that the median pay for a CEO over this period has increased by 82% in real terms, that the median FTSE-350 company generated little in the way of profits over the period from 2003 to 2009 after adjusting for full cost of funds and, from 2010 onwards, the median firm generated less than a 1% economic return on invested capital; believes that simplistic, short-term metrics are frequently used to measure performance of CEO remuneration contracts; considers that the figure of £1.9 million for median executive pay in 2014 is unacceptable at a time of stagnant wages for those working on low incomes, and calls for action to be taken to ensure that CEO pay is more closely aligned to results and is within reasonable distance of a company’s average employee pay.