Motion S5M-06834: Early Deaths Due to Alcohol Problems and Cheap Alcohol

02 Aug 2017

That the Parliament notes the findings of the report published by Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems, Mortality among a cohort of heavy drinkers in Edinburgh & Glasgow; understands that the study followed over 600 heavy drinkers over two-and-a-half years who used services of the NHS in Glasgow and Edinburgh; notes that over 100 of these people died at an average age of 51, which is 25 years below the standard Scottish life expectancy, and understands that these people who died younger bought significantly lower-cost alcohol compared with those who survived, in particular cheap white cider and vodka.

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.

Bus Pass and Universal Benefits

26 Jul 2017