Tracker 8 march 2017

Useful info

Spring Budget

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP, delivered his Spring Budget Statement to the House of Commons on 8 March.

Named persons

John Swinney MSP announced in a ministerial statement on 7 March that a bill will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament by summer recess 2017 to provide for a named person for every child within information-sharing laws.

BSL National Plan

The Scottish Government has launched the consultation on its draft British Sign Language National Plan. The deadline for responses is 31 May 2017. These will inform the final National Plan, which will be published in October 2017.

Disabled Access Day

The Scottish Parliament will be taking part in Disabled Access Day on Saturday 11 March. We are providing free tours in British Sign Language, and the Edinburgh Signing Choir will also be performing.

Social security panels

Registration is now open for recruitment to Experience Panels to help shape Scotland’s new social security system. Panels will be made up of at least 2,000 people who use the current system and will work closely with the Expert Advisory Group on Disability and Carers’ Benefits.

Brexit

In its report ‘Determining Scotland’s future relationship with the European Union’, the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee calls for a bespoke Brexit solution for Scotland and for the repatriation of EU powers in devolved areas.

The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill passed its third reading in the House of Lords on 7 March and now returns to the Commons for consideration of Lords amendments. These include an amendment to give Parliament a vote on the deal the UK secures in its negotiations with the European Union.

A report by the Exiting the EU Committee of the House of Commons calls on the UK Government to make a unilateral decision now to safeguard the rights of EU nationals living in the UK.

The EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee of the House of Lords has published a report on Brexit and the EU budget. It considers that the budget will be a contentious issue in the negotiations and looks at what the UK’s financial commitments might be at the point of and after leaving the EU.

In its report on the Great Repeal Bill and delegated powers, the Constitution Committee of the House of Lords recommends that enhanced scrutiny processes should be created for secondary legislation laid under the Great Repeal Bill.

The EU Committee of the House of Lords heard from a former Secretary of State for Scottish Affairs and a former Deputy First Minister of Scotland on 6 March as part of its ongoing inquiry into Brexit and devolution. Topics covered included repatriation of powers and the role of the devolved legislatures in relation to the Great Repeal Bill.

First Minister mentoring programme

Women aged 18 to 23 can now apply to be mentored by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP. Interested young women can apply through Young Scot. Applications close on 30 May 2017.

Child protection

The Scottish Government is to introduce legislation to update the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937 by recognising the impact of emotional abuse and neglect, as well as physical harm. Consultation on the scope and nature of the legislation will take place later in 2017.

Supreme Court to sit in Scotland

The UK Supreme Court is to sit in Edinburgh’s City Chambers in June this year. This will be the first time that the UK's highest court has sat outside London.

The list of cases to be heard in Edinburgh is still being finalised. Court staff will also offer public talks about its work when the Justices are not sitting.

Nutritional standards in schools

The Scottish Government has set up a working group to review the nutritional standards of food and drink in schools. Wider stakeholder views will be sought after the group reports in summer 2017.

English votes for English laws

MPs debated and agreed a motion on 7 March to amend Standing Orders on English votes for English laws to take into account that in future there may be legislation relating to income tax rates that are exclusive to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Big data and data protection

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published a new paper on the implications of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning for data protection.

Effective Ministers report

The Institute for Government (IfG) has published a report based on more than 70 interviews with former Whitehall Ministers exploring what Ministers do and what can be done to help them be more effective in their jobs.

Scottish Diaspora Tapestry

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, a community artwork chronicling the impact of Scots throughout the world in 305 panels, will be on public display in Westminster Hall from 20 March to 29 April 2017.

Enquiries

Can you advise when the next quarterly publication of MSP allowances will take place?

Allowances data for the next quarter is due out at the end of the third week of March.

Petitions

PE01642: Sale and marketing of energy drinks to under sixteens

PE01643: Introduce individual risk-based blood donation in Scotland

SPICe briefings and resources:

SB 17-14 Scotland’s Exports

SB 17-15 Contract (Third Party Rights) (Scotland) Bill

Parliamentary questions

Non-binary gender legislation

S5W-7514 Daniel Johnson: To ask the Scottish Government when it will introduce legislation regarding legal recognition for non-binary genders.

Angela Constance: The Scottish Government is committed to reviewing and reforming gender recognition law to ensure that it is in line with international best practice. We expect to publish a wide ranging consultation on the Gender Recognition Act 2004 this summer. We aim to take action on reforming gender recognition law soon after the consultation process is completed, with the aim of implementing new arrangements by 2020.

Scrappage schemes

S5W-7457 Liam McArthur: To ask the Scottish Government how it plans to use scrappage schemes to encourage drivers to switch to electric cars.

Humza Yousaf: We have no current plans to introduce a vehicle scrappage scheme in Scotland.

School bullying

S5W-7261 Neil Findlay: To ask the Scottish Government what recourse there is for parents of children who are the victims of bullying at school.

John Swinney: It is the responsibility of head teachers, teachers, other school staff and local authorities to decide how to address bullying in their schools. We expect that all schools develop and implement an anti-bullying policy, which should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. The policy should indicate how the issue of bullying will be raised within the curriculum and how incidents will be dealt with and recorded.

If parents or carers are not happy with how the school has addressed bullying incidents, then they should contact their local authority. If they are not happy with the Council’s response then they may wish to consider asking for their complaint to be reviewed by the council. If they are still not happy with the Council’s response to the review then they can contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) who will look at the complaint.

The refreshed “National Approach to Anti-Bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People”, which is due to be published later in 2017, makes clear the role of all adults (including parents and carers) in preventing and dealing with bullying as well as what they can expect from others.

Feedback and comments

If you have any comments or suggestions about the Weekly Tracker or if there is something you would like to contribute, please email sp.info@parliament.scot by the end of Tuesday.

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