With the ceilidhs and haggis of Burns Suppers now past and the end of January upon us, any remaining Christmas cobwebs at Parliament will be shaken off as the Budget faces its first legislative hurdle on Wednesday. While it is likely to be approved at this stage, which party offers a hand of friendship, and what offerings they expect from the “hand o’ thine” of the Government in return, will be clearer by Decision Time.
Tuesday also offers a variety of business to occupy members. In the morning, the Justice Committee has back-to-back panels on the legal implications of Brexit for family law and consumer/commercial law, with the realities of a post-Brexit legal system to be teased out. In the afternoon, MSPs will consider the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Bill at Stage 3. This will be followed by a Members’ Business debate about the efforts of St Andrew’s First Aid to promote first aid training.
On Wednesday, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy & Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, will discuss the Government’s digital strategy with the Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee, with progress on the R100 programme likely to dominate discussions. Later in the Chamber, Portfolio Questions on Communities, Social Security & Equalities are followed by the main event, Stage 1 scrutiny of the Budget. A debate about rising fares on west of Scotland bus services will then close off the day.
Finishing the week, the Public Audit & Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee will look at Transport Scotland’s ferry services and the Social Security Committee begins considering the numerous amendments lodged to the Social Security (Scotland) Bill at Stage 2. It would be unsurprising if FMQs is shaped by the previous day’s Budget debate. A Members’ Business debate marking World Cancer Day and Stage 3 consideration of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill follow later in the afternoon.
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