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This Week in 60 Seconds

Alasdair McKillop

There’s nothing of interest happening in the Scottish Parliament this week so feel free to go about your business so long as it’s not criminal in nature. When I say nothing what I really mean is we’re finally getting the titanic, intergovernmental, intergalactic (!!) Brexit Showdown we’ve all been waiting for. If you feel a tremor under your feet at tea-time tomorrow, then worry not – it will just be the Scottish Parliament refusing its consent for the UK Government’s Brexit Bill. Other things will happen but only if we make it to Wednesday. A debate about Erasmus+ takes place on D-Day+1 and a Ministerial Statement about the health and wellbeing of veterans will be the first item of business after FMQs on D-Day+2. The Veterans Minister is Keith Brown who is also the Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs & Fair Work. Is he demoted so he can make the statement? We’ve never understood how it works so answers on a postcard if you can explain*. Fans of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Relief from Additional Amount) (Scotland) Bill – and there are many tens of them – will be hollering from the public gallery when it is passed after the statement.


This week’s committee business isn’t fully confirmed yet but Economy, Jobs & Fair Work will take further evidence on European Structural and Investment Funds when it meets parliament-early on Tuesday morning. The witnesses are academics so here’s a secret: Team ND likes a panel of professors because sometimes our old teachers appear and we can revisit our younger days for a sunshine moment. Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles and Ayrshire & Arran are the next health boards to present themselves for scrutiny from the Health & Sport Committee thankful in the knowledge they are not NHS Tayside. The Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform Committee is meeting in private session to consider a draft Stage 1 report on the Scottish Crown Estate Bill so expect to see that published soon. It’s a private meeting so members can talk about anything they want really – they might even talk about you. Elsewhere, Delegated Powers is doing what Delegated Powers does: ensuring society continues to function.


On Wednesday (or D-Day Plus 1 for those of you joining from the first paragraph), Kevin Stewart gives evidence to the Local Government & Communities Committee about the Scottish Government’s work to improve housing supply and the the revised Code of Conduct for Councillors. He might get nostalgic for his time on Aberdeen City Council, but he doesn’t seem like the wistful type (unlike Team ND). Rural Economy & Connectivity will get an update on transport issues from Humza Yousaf. The officials scheduled to appear alongside the Minister suggest questions will focus on ferries and active travel or active travel and ferries. The Education & Skills Committee will take evidence on widening access from university figures with important titles before and after their names.


The Equalities & Human Rights Committee will consider Stage 2 amendments to the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) (Scotland) Bill which will pardon people convicted of certain historical sexual offences and provide a process for convictions to be disregarded. The Social Security Committee will take evidence on the Scottish Welfare Fund from the Child Poverty Action Group, Homeless Action Scotland and the Scottish Refugee Council. Council representatives will appear during a second session on the subject. I’m on 59 seconds so…


*Please don’t send us stuff.

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