Brexit and the Budget are once again high on the agenda this week, with a Ministerial Statement on Scotland's Place in Europe scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and Committee sessions focused on the Draft Budget across various portfolios. The statement will coincide with the Scottish Government’s proposals for maintaining the UK’s relationship with Europe. The options paper is expected to propose the devolution of further powers to the Scottish Parliament.
Tuesday's Chamber business will begin with a motion of condolence for the late Alex Johnstone, followed by Topical Questions, the aforementioned Brexit statement, a debate on care for looked after children and Kezia Dugdale’s members’ business on devising a mesothelioma strategy. Following last week's statement on the Draft Budget, most of Tuesday's Committees will have spent the morning hearing related evidence, including from Keith Brown at Economy, Jobs & Fair Work, Lord Advocate James Wolffe at Justice, Shona Robison at Health & Sport and Roseanna Cunningham at Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform
Budget evidence continues on Wednesday, with Kevin Stewart and Derek Mackay appearing before the Local Government & Communities Committee. Further sessions will also be held by the Finance & Constitution, Education & Skills and Rural Economy & Connectivity Committees. Back in the Chamber, we will hear Bill Bowman’s oath/affirmation, followed by Portfolio Questions on Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform and Rural Economy & Connectivity. Wednesday will see two members’ business debates to make up for the lack of such on Thursday, with Alison Johnstone calling for maternity and paternity leave extension for parents of prematurely born babies and Emma Harper leading on ending illegal puppy trade. Wednesday's business will close with a Ministerial Statement on Protecting Scotland's Livestock.
Thursday's business is slightly curtailed ahead of recess but there is still time for both General and First Minister’s Questions. Topics under discussion at General Questions include support for hotel businesses, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, attracting higher rate tax-payers to Scotland, the disability delivery plan and preventing death from drowning.
Barring any last minute additions, FMQs on Thursday marks the end of proceedings in the Parliament for 2016, with Chamber business recommencing on Tuesday 10th January.
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