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The Week Ahead in 60 Seconds

Richard Pia

Last week saw the inevitable post-recess frenzy in the Scottish Parliament, as MSPs were presented with their first opportunity to question the Scottish Government since the launch of the Consultation on a Draft Referendum Bill, and Audit Scotland released a damning report on the state of the NHS in Scotland. After dominating discussion at FMQs last week, the Audit Scotland report is expected to be a key topic of the Conservative led debates on Wednesday, which will be split between Health and Justice, while the Public Audit & Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee will take evidence on the report at its meeting on Thursday. Also on the Committee’s agenda is the 2015-16 Audit of NHS Tayside, which appropriately comes after news that senior managers and executives at NHS Tayside have received bonuses, despite the health board’s severe financial troubles.

The regular fixture of a Scottish Government debate on Brexit will take place on Tuesday, this week covering the Impacts on Justice and Security in Scotland, while the Equalities & Human Rights Committee will discuss the implications of Brexit on its remit. The economic impact of Brexit will be discussed by the Economy, Jobs & Fair Work Committee, which will also take evidence from a range of enterprise and skills bodies in light of the Government’s Report on Phase 1 of the Enterprise and Skills Review.

Thursday’s debate will be on Realising Scotland’s Full Potential in a Digital World, with discussion expected to centre on the delivery of superfast broadband access to remote and rural areas. The varied focus of Members Business debates this week include the recognition of the 100th Anniversary of the Cub Scouts (Jeremy Balfour), the recent Welfare Conditionality Study (Sandra White) and the costs of burial and cremation in Scotland (Alex Rowley).

After David Mundell gave evidence to the Culture, Tourism, Europe & External Relations Committee last week, fellow UK Cabinet Minister Damian Green will sit before the Social Security Committee ahead of the devolution of welfare powers. Elsewhere, the Justice Committee will consider the future of British Transport Police in Scotland, the Local Government & Communities Committee will have a round-table session on increasing voter turnout for next year’s local government elections and the Health & Sport Committee will continue to take evidence on recruitment and retention.

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