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Fàilte don bhlog 60 diogan

by Aidan Reid

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this welcoming to the latest 60 seconds blog but after Tuesday’s debate on a National Plan for Gaelic, perhaps I will be able to string a few words together. The plan itself has been in development since last year and will outline measures to increase its usage and the number of people learning it. We can expect a few turns of Gaelic phrase and perhaps some sradag (sparks) to fly regarding the duties the plan places on local authorities. The debate is then followed by a Members’ Business on the Jayden Orr campaign for defibrillators to be provided in schools.

The committees which precede these debates are also of interest. The Economy, Jobs & Fair Work Committee begins taking oral evidence on bank closures in Scotland from the FSB, the Scottish Grocers Federation and Scotland’s Towns Partnerships. The importance of these banks to rural communities in particular, and models to sustain some form of physical banking service, are likely to be prominent in discussions. The Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform Committee also continues its considerations of the National Performance Framework National Outcomes with Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham.

Wednesday’s committees are an example of the diversity of work they conduct. Passenger representatives inform the Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee of current satisfaction with transport services, as well as consider the food and drink implications of salmon farming. Meanwhile, the Education & Skills Committee looks at the educational attainment of children in poverty with organisations such as the Princes Trust and Dare2Lead.

The plenary which follows is no less diverse. Portfolio Questions jump from Justice & the Law Officers to Culture, Tourism & External Affairs. Then comes a critical Stage 3 debate on the Social Security (Scotland) Bill. While there is expected to be little opposition come the final vote, a number of amendments have been proposed, with Decision Time already having been pushed back to 18:00 to ensure full scrutiny can take place.

After a late day for MSPs, Thursday takes on a similarly busy form, with General Questions and FMQs followed by more Stage 3 scrutiny, this time of the Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill. This follows the Equalities & Human Rights Committee taking a double evidence session on human rights and the Scottish Parliament’s role in enabling greater awareness of these rights, as well as ensuring future legislation reflects a human rights-centred approach.

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