The Scottish Parliament might be in recess but we're already thinking about the issues that will be at the top of the agenda when members return in September. Below, we look at the likely workloads of three more committees.
Culture, Tourism, Europe & External Relations Committee
Last term saw the Committee undertake inquiries into Creative Scotland funding and the screen sector, concluding with the publication of the Making Scotland a Screen Leader report. The recent resignation of Janet Archer from her post as Chief Executive of the arts body after a “string of controversies” and the imminent arrival of the new BBC Scotland channel may well mean the Committee continues its consideration of these areas when it meets again in September. Although no work programme has been published, we can expect the inquiry into immigration to get more attention, particularly as concerns are growing in a number of industries dependent on migrant workers. The Migration Advisory Committee is due to report on the impact of Brexit on the UK labour market and how the immigration system should be aligned with the modern industrial strategy by September, at which point the Committee is expected to revisit this issue.
Education & Skills Committee
John Swinney’s decision to shelve the Education (Scotland) Bill in the final week before recess has freed up some time for the Education & Skills Committee, which had anticipated scrutinising the legislation after the summer. While members will consider the full agenda on return from recess, an evidence session with the Cabinet Secretary is expected early in the new session as a follow-up to his statement in June. Expect John Swinney to face some searching questions from members, who will be keen to probe the detail of his agreement with local authorities to fast-track reforms without the need for statutory guidance. The Committee will also conclude its inquiry into the senior phase of school and young people's pathways, which has elicited responses from teaching unions, schools and public bodies. Meanwhile, scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s policy of widening access to university for those from disadvantaged backgrounds will continue, with the Committee requesting annual reports on progress towards targets and milestones. An evidence session on funded childcare is also expected.
Local Government & Communities Committee
The Planning (Scotland) Bill will continue to sit high on the agenda for the Local Government & Communities Committee after recess. Consideration of the Bill at Stage 2 is currently scheduled to take place on Wednesday 12th September. The deadline for submitting amendments is Thursday 6th. This topic remains contentious so expect to see amendments coming in from all parties at Holyrood. The Committee’s inquiry into building regulations and fire safety, launched in the wake of the Grenfell disaster last year, is ongoing and evidence will be sought from the UK Government.
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