Question S5O-00149: Universal Basic Income

29 Sep 2016

To ask Scottish Government what consideration it has given to the feasibility of a universal basic income.

Answered by Jeane Freeman (15/09/2016):Tackling poverty and inequality is a top priority for this Government, and we give serious consideration to all ideas that could help us to do so. The Universal Basic Income is an interesting concept and we will certainly pay attention to research being carried out and the different models of UBI being piloted in other countries. We also recognise that there would be significant challenges with piloting a Universal Basic Income in the devolved context, whilst we do not have full control of tax and social security.


Current Status: Answered by Jeane Freeman on 15/09/2016

Question S5O-00090: Industrial Action at Scotrail

05 Jul 2016

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the industrial action at ScotRail.

Answered by Humza Yousaf (30/06/2016):RMT industrial action commenced on Tuesday 21 June 2016, the first of seven planned strikes involving ScotRail conductors over the extension of Driver Controlled Operation when new electric trains are introduced on the Edinburgh – Glasgow route.Safety is paramount and, as such, the Scottish Government’s priority will always be to ensure the safety and efficient running of our railways. I have chaired five meetings of the government’s Resilience Committee on this issue and have a further such meeting tomorrow.

Following further strikes on Thursday 23 June, Saturday 25 June and Sunday 26 June the remaining dates are Sundays 3, 10 and 17 July with additional action short of strike action on a number of dates through June and July.

ScotRail’s plans have been successful in easing the impact of the industrial action with around 70% of services operating, and this is anticipated to increase on future strike days.

A multi-agency response team has and will continue to operate on each of the strike dates when all modes of transport have continued to perform well. It monitors the situation throughout the day to help ensure the public has the latest information and agencies are equipped to respond to any major incidents, aiming to help to mitigate the impact on planned major events in July.

Current Status: Answered by Humza Yousaf on 30/06/2016

John asks what ScotGov will do to tackle attainment gap

01 Jun 2016


  • 11. John Mason (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP):

    To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to ensure that its policy on children’s attainment takes account of the impact of poverty. (S4O-05666)

  • The Minister for Children and Young People (Aileen Campbell):

    The Scottish Government’s policy on raising attainment will continue to take account of children, families and communities that are affected by poverty.

    In the Scottish attainment challenge, we have used the Scottish index of multiple deprivation—a long-established set of indicators that show levels of deprivation in communities across Scotland—to identify the seven authorities with the greatest concentration of children of primary school age living in the 20 per cent most deprived areas in Scotland. Using the SIMD, we identified an additional 57 primary schools outside the seven challenge authority areas that are serving the most deprived communities, and they have been allocated moneys through the attainment Scotland fund.

    An additional £100 million a year will be invested in schools across Scotland as a result of a package of reforms to council tax that the First Minister outlined earlier this month. Further, the Education (Scotland) Bill, which Parliament passed unanimously last month, places legal duties on the Scottish ministers and education authorities to reduce inequalities of outcome that are caused by socioeconomic disadvantage.

    The national improvement framework focuses on raising attainment and closing the gap—on delivering both excellence and equity. It will provide the evidence to make substantial progress in eliminating the attainment gap within a decade.

  • John Mason:

    Can the minister say anything specifically about what the Government is doing on the impact of poverty in children’s learning in the early years, which also has a significant bearing on their attainment in key basic skills?

  • Aileen Campbell:

    We have already set out ambitions to further expand early learning and childcare provision to 1,140 hours per year. That is building on the previous expansion to 600 hours for three and four-year-olds and the 27 per cent of two-year-olds who benefit the most. In the previous session of Parliament, we delivered free school meals for those in primaries 1 to 3, which benefits 135,000 children and saves families £380 a year for each child.

    If we are re-elected, we will expand early learning and childcare to fully include day provision and will ensure that our youngest children get access to a healthy and nutritious meal that improves their capacity to learn without the stigma of means testing. We will also replace the sure start maternity grant with a new and expanded maternity and early years allowance for those on lower incomes—40 to 50 per cent of families might qualify. The payment on the birth of a first child will increase from £500 to £600 and we will restore payments of £300 for second and subsequent children. We will also make payments of £250 to help to meet additional costs that low-income parents face at two further stages in a child’s life: when they start nursery and again when they start school.

    We have a comprehensive range of measures, because we understand completely that, to allow children to flourish, we have to act early and effectively to address the attainment gap in the earliest years of children’s lives. The Government is completely and utterly focused on that comprehensive package.

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John asks about strengthening Community Councils

23 Mar 2016


  • 9. John Mason (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP):

    To ask the Scottish Government what consideration it has given to strengthening community councils. (S4O-05704)

  • The Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment (Marco Biagi):

    Although local authorities have statutory oversight of community councils, the Government has been working with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the Improvement Service and Edinburgh Napier University to further enhance their role.

  • John Mason:

    Does the minister share my concern that, although we want to push power down to local communities below the city council level, it is difficult when many community councils are not active, or are kept going only by a very small band of people?

  • Marco Biagi:

    I share that concern. Community councils that do not feel listened to will not attract people and will struggle to recruit. Our work includes a website to support community councils; digital engagement workshops to support them in recruiting new people; and a fairer Scotland community council event that we are hosting, to which all community councils are invited.

    Last year, I met the national body for English parish and town councils to learn more about their system. I would describe myself as actively interested, but any further work would be for the next Administration, of which I will clearly not be a part, to take forward.

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