Motion S5M-17296: Longest Parliamentary Session Since the Wars of the Three Kingdoms

14 May 2019

That the Parliament notes that 14 May 2019 marks the 300th sitting day of the current UK parliamentary session, which is the longest parliamentary session since April 1653 at the time of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms; believes that this is due to a senseless impasse that has left the UK without a functioning government; commends the Scottish Parliament for, it considers, getting on with the day job, focusing on what really matters to people and not being obsessed with the constitution, while, it believes, the Conservative and Labour parties continue to talk without apparently really negotiating, and urges the UK Government to bring an end to what it sees as this fiasco by agreeing to a so-called People’s Vote.

Motion S5M-17182: World Press Freedom Day

03 May 2019

That the Parliament notes that 3 May 2019 is World Press Freedom Day; understands that, according to the International Federation of Journalists, 95 journalists and media workers were known to have been killed while doing their job in 2018, with 15 deaths, including the tragic killing of Lyra McKee on 18 April, already confirmed for this year; acknowledges that, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 250 were imprisoned in 2018, with Turkey and China the worst offenders, jailing 68 and 47 respectively; believes that journalists play a vital role in society by conveying accurate and indispensable information to citizens around the world, to help create a society that is both transparent and accountable, and agrees that journalists should always be protected from persecution.

Motion S5M-16913: Personal Debt in Scotland

12 Apr 2019

That the Parliament notes the recent publication of StepChange’s annual analysis of personal debt, Scotland in the Red, which shows that the charity’s clients had an average of £11,754 in unsecured debt in 2018; understands that over 60% of its 30,000 clients are in debt due to circumstances outwith their control, such as ill health, wage reductions, welfare payment changes or unemployment; further understands that council tax arrears, up from 36% to 46% between 2014 and 2018, are of particular concern to the charity due to the considerable increase in the number of clients affected; agrees with StepChange that local authorities in Scotland need to work with the advice sector to address the current council tax arrears dilemma, and further agrees with StepChange that earlier signposting to free debt advice is urgently required to help tackle personal debt at the earliest opportunity.

Motion S5M-16772: Assisted Dying Law

03 Apr 2019

That the Parliament considers that the public is split in its views concerning the current laws regarding assisted dying; understands that, while some people support assisted dying and would like to see the current law changed, others are concerned that it would be impossible to put adequate safeguards in place, and considers that the abuse of vulnerable people would probably take place; acknowledges that the Parliament has twice decided that the law should remain as it is; believes that opposition to changing assisted dying laws has support from a wide cross-section of society outwith Parliament and from MSPs of various parties; considers that, while recent legal changes in a number of countries, including Canada, the United States and Australia, mean that over 100 million people around the world now have access to assisted dying, Scotland should not just follow what it sees as the current fashion, but should decide on the merits of the case; acknowledges the view that, while there is a strong desire from some to continue the conversation in Parliament on assisted dying, considers that there must be a question as to how frequently it returns to the same issue; understands that, historically, there have been some families that wished the early demise of an elderly relative for financial gain and that there could be strong budgetary pressures on the state and others to save on care costs by encouraging the assisted dying of vulnerable individuals; recognises the excellent palliative care provided by nursing homes, hospices and others to help those suffering from degenerative and terminal illnesses, and notes the view that dying is a serious matter worthy of proper recognition and discussion.