Motion S5M-06824: Independence of Judiciary in Poland

27 Jul 2017

That the Parliament is greatly concerned by the news that Poland’s lower house of parliament has voted through reforms to its legal system, which it understands many fear will lead to a major erosion in the independence of the judiciary; believes that the current system sees the National Judicial Council, which is responsible for enforcing legal and ethical guidelines in the country, appoint judges; understands that the changes proposed by the Law and Justice Party would instead see the power to appoint judges transferred to the Parliament, with another bill being progressed that would see the Justice Minister given the power to replace the heads of the country’s courts; believes that this news has sparked concern from a wide variety of human rights groups as well as the European Commission, which it understands has raised the possibility of disciplinary action being taken against the country, which could result in the loss of its EU voting rights; believes that the independence of the judiciary is one of the key building blocks for a healthy functioning democracy, and calls on the Law and Justice Party to step back from implementing the legislation, which it believes damages this independence.

Motion S5M-06837: Increased UK Borrowing

27 Jul 2017

That the Parliament acknowledges the Office for National Statistics figures, which show that public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, increased by £2 billion to £6.9 billion in June 2017 compared with the same month in the previous year; notes that previous forecasts had predicted £4.8 billion and that the total UK debt, excluding banks, stood at £1.75 trillion which is equivalent to 87.4% of GDP; believes that public borrowing itself is not necessarily a bad thing if kept to manageable levels and, if used to stimulate the economy, is in fact a tried and tested method for climbing out of a recession; considers, however, that the UK Government’s economic policy provides the worst of both worlds, as the country faces increased borrowing alongside what it considers a horrendous level of debt at a time when household incomes are falling at their fastest rate since 1976; believes that this is the latest in a long line of economic mismanagement from successive UK administrations, and considers that an independent Scotland would be very unlikely to mismanage the economy as badly as the UK has done.

Motion S5M-06811: Anti-Semitism in Scotland

20 Jul 2017

That the Parliament deplores the reported UK-wide rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the last year to what it understands is the highest level on record; understands that Scotland recorded 26 anti-Semitic incidents over the last year, 15 of which led to a criminal charge, with another 19 “non-criminal” anti-Semitic incidents; believes that many within the Jewish community are increasingly worried about facing discrimination due to their religion, with many choosing to keep their faith secret; understands that the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism compiled the analysis, which found that many of those surveyed had stopped attending their synagogue due to a fear of anti-Semitic incidents; considers this to be unacceptable, and calls on governments at all levels to ensure that action is taken to ensure that the problem of anti-Semitism is tackled head-on.

Motion S5M-06800: 21% of Scots Not Saving

20 Jul 2017

That the Parliament notes the findings from the Bank of Scotland’s annual How Scotland Lives study, which shows that a growing number of people in Scotland have no savings; understands that the study shows that 21% of people have not put any money away, which is up 3% on the previous year; notes with concern that those resident in Glasgow were found to be saving the smallest amount, with 27% saying that they had no savings; considers this to be due primarily to the inequality of income and wealth in society so that those less well-off are not able to maintain savings of three to six months’ wages, which is the recommended amount, and considers that a more equitable sharing of the UK’s and Scotland’s income and wealth must be a high priority for both parliaments.