English Subtitles for First Minister's Questions - Scottish Parliament: 5th June 2014

Subtitles / Closed Captions - English

homes officers who work directly with owners of empty homes to bring their properties back

into use, particularly for affordable homes. Johann Lamont (Glasgow Pollok) (Lab): To ask the First Minister what engagements he has planned for the rest of the day. The First Minister (Alex Salmond): Later today, I will travel to France, where I will attend a series of events at Bayeux cemetery and Sword beach to mark the 70th anniversary of the D day landings. Those fitting events remind us of the sacrifice of those who died during

the biggest amphibious assault in military history and, of course, they remind us of the necessity never to forget the sacrifice that was made by those who fell in conflict. Johann Lamont: I thank the First Minister very much for that information. Our thoughts will be with all those for whom it is a particularly painful day. However, it is a proud opportunity to commemorate an important time in our history. Last week, we found out that the First Minister does not know what it will cost to set up a separate Scottish state. This week, we found

out that he does not know how he will pay for his promises to those in greatest need of welfare. Can the First Minister now reveal what he will tell us next week that he does not know? The First Minister: We published the framework of an independent Scotland in the white paper described as "Scotland's Future". If Johann Lamont consults chapters 6 and 10 of the white paper, she will see the extensive information that was presented on how we would go about

producing a modern democracy in Scotland. Above all, she will see the arguments for why Scotland, as a modern democracy, will be able to build a more prosperous and, above all, a more equal country for all its citizens. Johann Lamont: Most of us, when we looked at the white paper, found that it answered a lot of questions that we were not asking but addressed none of the main questions that really matter. Last week, my colleague Neil Bibby asked Aileen

Campbell a simple question. He asked her what her childcare policy would cost. She answered: "'Independence is the answer.' That is exactly right."—[Official Report, 28 May 2014; col 31494.] We asked for a figure and we got back nonsense. Every policy that the First Minister unveils to try to persuade Scotland to vote yes is uncosted. Either he has a plan to reverse the rules of arithmetic or he has no intention of delivering those policies. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has told us that after

independence the First Minister will not be able to deliver what we have now, but the uncosted promises still tumble from his lips. Let me put it another way. When will the First Minister announce a money tree for every garden in Scotland? The First Minister: I remind Johann Lamont of what we have delivered as far as childcare in Scotland is concerned. We inherited 412.5 hours for three and four-year-olds, which is moving this year to 600 hours. That is a substantial achievement. We will move on

provision for two-year-olds in workless households this year and over the next two years, which is a very substantial advance. I remind the Labour Party that in January it said that that was not enough. Indeed, so desperate was Labour to make that point that it was prepared to sacrifice school meals for primary classes 1 to 3 in the vote in January. Labour said that there was the ability, within the consequentials, to move immediately to 50 per cent coverage for two-year-olds. We now find that those consequentials do not

even approach what would have happened if we had followed Johann Lamont's advice. I think that people who are looking at the considerable advances that have been made by this Government, within the restricted budget and the austerity programme that is coming down from Labour and the Tories at Westminster, will see a track record of substantial success that will give people every confidence that, as we move forward to independence and controlling our finances, we will be able to do even more for the families of Scotland.

Johann Lamont: This, of course, is the Scottish Government that decided that it was not in the public interest to know what its childcare policy will cost. That is simply an insult to people who are concerned every day about childcare. However, let us take the k out of the First Minister's Eckonomics and listen to some real economists. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said this week: "Scottish government ministers have also not always been as careful as official Scottish

government publications when referring to these figures". It says that Nicola Sturgeon, in particular, is bad with figures. The IFS says that the deficit in an independent Scotland would be £1,000 more for every person in Scotland. [Interruption.] The Presiding Officer (Tricia Marwick): Order. Johann Lamont: That does not stop the First Minister, for he has a referendum to win.

So we have got more childcare and increased welfare. What is next week's offer? Whatever people want, and it will not cost us a coin. Why, when the IFS says that an independent Scotland could not afford what we have now, does the First Minister—[Interruption.] The Presiding Officer: Order. Johann Lamont: Why does the First Minister try to dupe the people of Scotland by offering things that he knows he cannot deliver? The First Minister: I remind the Labour Party that it was Johann Lamont who said that we

could not afford the social gains of devolution and set up a cuts commission to examine them. I have not heard from Arthur Midwinter for some considerable time, but I am fully expecting that report to emerge and tell us what Johann Lamont wants to do. Will she sacrifice free tuition in Scotland? Will she sacrifice free transport and free personal care for the elderly? The Labour Party has had all the social gains of devolution in its sights. As we remember it, those social gains were part of the something-for-nothing society that Johann Lamont said is not sustainable.

I believe that people seeing the track record and the social democratic gains of devolution will recognise that, in this Government, we have a Government with ambition for Scotland that knows that if we match and marry the natural resources of this country with the talents of our people, we can create a better, more prosperous and more equal society. It is about having confidence in the ability of Scotland to govern its own affairs, like any other nation. It is about stopping talking down the country. It is about getting some

sort of recognition from the Labour Party that it could not run Scotland when times were good—who would trust it to run Scotland now? There needs to be some sort of dawning realisation that, after almost a century of political dominance in Scotland, the Labour Party loses election after election and the reason for that is that it has no ambition for the people and the country of Scotland. [Applause.] The Presiding Officer: Order. Order.

Johann Lamont: We ask the First Minister a serious question about the cost of his proposals and we are treated to the First Minister's greatest hits of the past two years. It is about time that he was serious about the job that he is supposed to be doing. If the symbol for the United Kingdom is the pound sign, the symbol for Alex Salmond's separate Scotland is crossed fingers. But the fingers are not crossed in the hope that things might work out well, but in the hope that the people of Scotland will be daft enough

to believe a word that the First Minister says. [Interruption.] The Presiding Officer: Order. Johann Lamont: Most people in the real world know that we need to know what things cost. What have we got? The childcare policy is uncosted, and there has been no attempt to find out what the figures would be. John Swinney doubts that he can afford pensions, but still we get an assertion that they will be better. On welfare, there are big cynical problems

for those who are in greatest need, but there is no clue about how to pay for the solutions. I agree with the First Minister when he says that the people of Scotland are talented, ambitious and bright—[Interruption.] The Presiding Officer: Order. Johann Lamont: It is not always in evidence. However, I do believe that people in Scotland are talented, ambitious and bright. Where I disagree with him is on the key quality that his plans rely on: his unerring belief that the people of Scotland are gullible and

will believe anything that he says. The First Minister: Let us agree that the people of Scotland are talented, ambitious and bright. It is just that this side believes that these talented, ambitious and bright people are capable of making a success of running our country. I do not think that Johann Lamont should have described our proposals for welfare in the way that she did. I think, for example, that the recommendation to increase the carers allowance from £61.35 a week to £72.40 a

week, which is worth £575 a year to 57,000 individuals in Scotland, is a substantial investment in Scotland's future. The cost of that policy, which is very important, is £32.9 million a year. I believe that we should afford that. Incidentally, Mike Brewer, a research fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, was a member of the expert working group on welfare that produced that policy. That commitment and recommendation is an important declaration of faith in the work done by carers in Scotland, which people across this chamber

should support and aspire to. Yes, it will cost £32 million but, in my estimation, that is £32 million well spent to help those people. Johann Lamont should have a care about the company that she keeps. We know that Danny Alexander exaggerated the set-up costs of an independent Scotland by 12 times. We know that because the source, Professor Dunleavy, told us that. We know that Danny Alexander did that and that they have been running from that reality ever since. I have been looking at what Danny Alexander

has been saying about his allies' plans. For example, earlier this year Danny Alexander said: "Labour's new borrowing bombshell will pile another £166bn of extra borrowing on to the debt mountain left by their catastrophic mismanagement of the UK economy." All I am saying to Johann Lamont is that she presumably does not believe that Danny Alexander is correct in his assessment of Labour's borrowing bombshell, so why on earth should she believe that he is correct in his assessment of the

cost of an independent Scotland? Professor Dunleavy does not believe it; we do not believe it; and, above all, the Scottish people do not believe it. Prime Minister (Meetings) Ruth Davidson (Glasgow) (Con): To ask the First Minister when he will next meet the The First Minister (Alex Salmond): No plans, near future. Ruth Davidson: We already know that the impartial and independent Institute for Fiscal Studies—[Interruption.]

The Presiding Officer: Order. Ruth Davidson: It is impartial and independent when it suits the First Minister. We know that the IFS has concluded that Scotland would have an £8.6 billion black hole in its finances in the first year of independence, but it is not just the IFS—those are similar findings to work that has been done by other impartial and independent bodies such as the Centre for Public Policy for Regions and Citigroup. It is part of a trend. On the one hand are

expert groups with sober analysis of the facts and on the other hand is the Scottish National Party with shrill assertions and bully-boy bluster. I ask in all seriousness, why does the First Minister think that all those people are wrong and only he is right? The First Minister: I have a range of quotations from independent experts who make the point that Scotland is not just a sustainable country in economic terms but a highly prosperous country and, in many cases, more prosperous than the United Kingdom in terms of the potential

that we have in the economy and people. Even Standard & Poor's, which is not known for its sunny optimism, in its economic outlook for various countries pointed out that Scotland would qualify for its highest economic assessment, even without North Sea oil and gas. The characteristic that is common to the assessments that Ruth Davidson quotes is that they are all based on the Office for Budget Responsibility figures. If something is based on the same figures, of course it comes up with the same conclusion.

The track record of the OBR is such that we should have confidence, when looking at the oil industry in Scotland at present, that our estimates for revenues in 2016-17 are a great deal more reasonable than those of the OBR, since we do not assume a collapse in oil prices to less than $100 a barrel. We do not assume that the Department of Energy and Climate Change is right either—we do not assume that the price will go up to $130 a barrel. We assume that it is $110 a barrel. We follow the industry estimates for increased

investment over the next few years, which will result in a substantial increase in production. That is what Sir Ian Wood pointed out in his recent report, too. The industry estimates—followed, incidentally, by 80 per cent of the companies in the Oil & Gas UK survey recently—are reasonable estimates to follow, unlike the OBR figures, which rely on the Department of Energy and Climate Change when it comes to production but disregard the forecasts when it comes to price. We have put forward a reasonable perspective,

which will give us a grand starting position for an independent Scotland. The policies that we follow will be the policies that grow the economy, increase the welfare and economic health of the country and, above all, bring about a more equal and just society. Ruth Davidson: I am delighted that the First Minister brought up oil and the issue of reasonable estimates. It is not just independent and impartial experts who take issue with the First Minister but his own advisers. One of those advisers is Professor Andrew Hughes

Hallett, who wrote the First Minister's fiscal commission report, who is a key member of the First Minister's Council of Economic Advisers and who was described by the First Minister as "the most formidable intellectual firepower ever to have tackled Scottish economic underperformance."— We know, then, that the First Minister thinks that he is a big deal. Professor Hughes Hallett revealed to the Finance Committee just yesterday that the First Minister's oil figure is wrong. Professor Hughes Hallett

wrote: "It would be reasonable to expect North Sea revenues to rise to £4.5-5bn between 2016/20". Let us just remind ourselves that only last week, after months of stalling, the Scottish Government claimed that that figure would be £7 billion a year. Alex Salmond's own adviser says £5 billion and Alex Salmond says £7 billion. It is a total farce. The First Minister has wildly overestimated beyond the expectation of any rigorous analysis in order to try to plug the gaping holes in his

white paper. Professor Hughes Hallett—the First Minister's own man—says that he is £2 billion out. Is he wrong as well? The First Minister: The Conservative Party has been predicting the demise of the North Sea oil industry since the 1980s. Professor Hughes Hallett is voting yes in the referendum because he believes that the Scottish economy will be better managed and governed from Scotland. The scenarios pointed out in the papers released last week, based on the price assumption that

I have already spelled out, and production and investment in line with industry expectations, are a great deal more robust than the OBR's estimates. Ruth Davidson wanted independent experts. Well, I have got one or two here. [Interruption.] The Presiding Officer: Order. The First Minister: John Howell, chair in petroleum geology at the University of Aberdeen—presumably someone who knows something about the oil industry and its future production levels—said

that "with upwards of 35 billion barrels equivalent remaining in the North Sea and surrounding waters and an annual production of 600 million, there is at least 40 years of production, with significant yet-to-find resources which may be added." I merely offer that to Ruth Davidson because Professor Howell's estimate is well in advance of our production estimates, which indicates the caution of the Scottish Government's forecast. We look forward to seeing the results of that

for the economy of Scotland—[Interruption.] The Presiding Officer: Order. Can we just settle down? The First Minister: The final difference, which perhaps indicates— The Presiding Officer: First Minister, can you sit down? Can we please hear the First Minister without the barracking? Everyone needs to be heard in this chamber and I am determined that that will happen.

The First Minister: In the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce survey—a survey of 700 firms in the industry—more companies believe that independence will benefit the industry than believe that it will not benefit the industry. Is that why the industry and the people believe that having those huge quantities of oil and gas in our economy and our waters is an advantage for Scotland, like it is for every other oil-producing country, as opposed to the crushing liability that the Tory Party have told us that it is for the past 40 years?

Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab): This week, a large group of women, including several from my region, attended the Public Petitions Committee calling for the suspension of polypropylene mesh implants, which are fitted to treat pelvic prolapse. Given the appalling injuries that those women experienced, will the First Minister instruct the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing to issue new guidance that would have the effect of suspending the use of the product until an inquiry is held into its safety?

The First Minister: As Neil Findlay should know, the matter is under serious consideration. We intend to move on it in conjunction with the other health departments across these islands. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing would be more than prepared to meet directly with the women concerned and explain the consideration that is being given to this fundamental and serious issue. Policing (Stop and Search) Alison McInnes (North East Scotland) (LD): To ask the First Minister what recent discussions

the Scottish Government has had with Police Scotland regarding the use of stop and search. The First Minister (Alex Salmond): The Scottish Government regularly meets the Police Service of Scotland to discuss a range of issues, including stop and search. The most recent meeting took place on 15 May. Stop and search is an important tool for the police in the prevention and detection of crime. The Scottish Police Authority's report acknowledges that the tactic makes a contribution towards the reduction of violence and antisocial

behaviour. Scotland is a safer place for people to live in since 2006-07, with violent crime down by almost half and crimes of handling offensive weapons down by 60 per cent. Of course, we welcome the Scottish Police Authority's scrutiny review of stop and search, which was published last week. Police Scotland has established a new national stop and search unit to ensure consistency of approach to that important policing tactic to tackle violent crime and antisocial behaviour.

Alison McInnes: The First Minister has spent the year saying that the policy cuts crime. The Scottish Police Authority says that there is "no robust evidence" that it does so. Reports show that hundreds of children, even some aged under six, have been searched in Scotland. Is it not time for the First Minister to move and change the law? Will he tell me how a child of six can give informed consent to a police search? The First Minister: Alison McInnes says that there is no argument to support the statement

that the policy helps to prevent crime. I disagree fundamentally with her on that. More importantly, some of her former colleagues in the Parliament disagreed fundamentally. Robert Brown, the Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson in the previous session of the Parliament, said on 30 June 2010: "The single thing which deters people from criminal behaviour is the likelihood of being caught ... The stop-and-searches carried out by Strathclyde Police have been very effective". That strikes me as a significant voice who

understood the importance of stop and search. The reduction in the carrying and use of weapons has been a major success for the police services of Scotland. Of course, it is right and proper that we review policy and that the Scottish Police Authority does that. However, not to believe that one of the aspects of young people's carrying of weapons was their fear that other people were doing it is to neglect the overwhelming burden of evidence, which is supported by Alison McInnes's former colleague and the vast majority of people who argue for the

policy. On the impact of stop and search and the reduction in the carrying of weapons, perhaps Alison McInnes should listen above all to some of the families of the victims of violent crime, such as Lisa McLean, the sister of Barry McLean, who was killed in a knife attack in May 2011: "the police get a lot of stick for the number of searches they are carrying out but I am very supportive. If they can stop just one person from carrying a knife then it has been worth it. Barry's death changed my life irreversibly."

At some point in the argument, Alison McInnes might face up to the fact that the victims of crime celebrate the fact that knife carrying in Scotland has been substantially reduced and the fact that our young people do not have the same fear that other people are carrying weapons, which is a substantial advance for justice in Scotland. Margaret Mitchell (Central Scotland) (Con): The SPA report estimates that, with 15 minutes per stop and search on average, the process takes approximately 250,000 police hours per

year. Does the First Minister think that that is a proportionate use of police time? The First Minister: I note the Conservative Party's ever-moving aspect on the matter, but I think that the police service is using proportionate methods in implementing the stop and search policy. Margaret Mitchell, along with Alison McInnes, should consider that the statistics rather speak for themselves. Since 2007, violent crime is down by almost half and crimes of handling offensive weapons are down by 60

per cent. When we debated the issue before the 2011 elections, a variety of suggestions were put forward on how to arrive at the position that the police service means to arrive at. Some people suggested mandatory jail sentences: an uncosted commitment that resulted in some confusion from the Labour Party spokesperson and might well have resulted in the jailing of people who were carrying garden implements—[Interruption.] The Presiding Officer: Order.

The First Minister: I refer the Labour Party to Richard Baker's famous interview during the election campaign. Stop and search is a proportionate policy that has contributed to the huge and welcome reduction in violent crime and in the carrying of offensive weapons. Expert Working Group on Welfare Graeme Dey (Angus South) (SNP): To ask the First Minister how the Scottish Government will respond to the report of the expert working group on welfare.

The First Minister (Alex Salmond): As we announced yesterday, the Government will take forward and consider carefully the recommendations of the expert working group. Those include increasing the carers allowance; abolishing the current regime of sanctions; ending the 1 per cent cap on benefits and uprating using the consumer prices index; ending the current work capability assessment; and establishing a national convention on social security. As members know, we have already taken action on abolishing the bedroom tax, and the group's

report supports that. The report is progressive and comprehensive and indicates that, with independence, Scotland can choose to take its own path on social security, thereby rejecting the negative discourse that dominates the Westminster system and taking substantial strides towards building a more equal society that values all our citizens. Graeme Dey: As we have heard, the report recommends an increase in carers allowance to bring it into line with jobseekers allowance. The Scottish Government has responded fairly to that recommendation,

which I am sure will be warmly welcomed by the many Scots who are eligible to receive that benefit. However, does the First Minister agree that the very fact that the report has had to recommend that measure, along with the consideration of a number of other carer-related measures, is a damning indictment of the treatment by successive Westminster Governments of a sector of society to which we all owe so much? Should Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats not be ashamed that an independent Scotland, rather than inheriting a fair welfare

system from the UK, will have to create one? The First Minister: I am trying to reconcile the reactions from members on the Labour side of the chamber to the discussion that we had on carers allowance. The recommendation strikes me as one of the stand-out immediate and welcome recommendations in the report. I cannot see how, when we have recently discussed the iniquity of the bedroom tax and a series of demands for this Government to provide the compensation to mitigate that Westminster measure, we cannot

have the same unanimity on—or at least majority support for—addressing the clear inequity towards Scotland's carers. The report spells out the valuable contribution that carers make to Scottish society. I hope that when a Scottish National Party Government, or any Government of an independent Scotland, introduces the carers allowance proposals—we would require to control social security to do so—they will meet with a massive resounding majority among members in the chamber and, above all, among the Scottish people.

Vale of Leven Hospital (Inquiry Report) Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab): To ask the First Minister when the Vale of Leven hospital inquiry will be published. The First Minister (Alex Salmond): As Jackie Baillie will know, the handling of the inquiry is a matter for its chair, Lord MacLean. That is important for a statutory inquiry. It is an independent public inquiry, and it has been carefully examining all the issues in

a tragic and serious case. It has taken longer than anyone would have wanted, which will be a source of frustration to many, not least the families who were affected. Lord MacLean has advised that he is currently considering the responses to the warning letters that were issued by the inquiry, and that he will make any necessary amendments to his report. In keeping with the Inquiries Act 2005, Lord MacLean will advise the Scottish Government when that final process has been concluded and what the timetable is for publishing

the report. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil, will then inform Parliament of the timetable once it has been finalised and provided by Lord MacLean. Jackie Baillie: The First Minister will be aware that the first death from Clostridium difficile at the Vale of Leven hospital was in December 2007. The public inquiry was granted, after lobbying from the families, in April 2009, and it was due to report in May 2011, three years ago. Now, here we are, with no sign of publication and spiralling costs of

almost £10 million, seven years after the families lost loved ones. Will the First Minister agree with me—I hope that he will—that, although we want to retain public inquiries, perhaps it is time to review how they can operate more effectively, not least so that the families can get answers? The First Minister: I think that there is a very fair point to be made about the length of time taken by a number of public inquiries set up under the Inquiries Act 2005, which I remind Jackie Baillie is a United Kingdom

act. However, she will understand that the principle behind that act makes the inquiry chair responsible for the timing and timescale of the inquiry. She will also understand that, in inquiries such as the Vale of Leven inquiry or, indeed, the Penrose inquiry into blood products where there have been casualties and fatalities and people have suffered the deaths of family members, there can be many issues that require a huge amount of scrutiny. Jackie Baillie will know and accept that the inquiry into the hugely serious issues affecting

the Vale of Leven hospital has not prevented serious action from being taken in the Scottish health service to reduce hospital-acquired infection. That has not awaited the inquiry's recommendations. However, the findings and recommendations of the inquiry will be hugely important to the family members concerned. I agree that we have to find a mechanism beyond the Inquiries Act 2005 for having inquiries that are strenuously pursued and independently checked but which take place within a timescale that can provide resolution and closure to

those who are immediately affected and, in many cases, provide recommendations about how we move forward on important public issues. Edinburgh Trams Project (Public Inquiry) Marco Biagi (Edinburgh Central) (SNP): To ask the First Minister whether the Scottish Government plans to order a public inquiry into the handling of the Edinburgh trams project. The First Minister (Alex Salmond): I am sure that everyone in Edinburgh and, indeed, all over Scotland will be delighted to see that the Edinburgh trams are fully operational

and carrying passengers. We cannot, however, lose sight of the considerable public concern over the conduct of the project and the disruption that it has caused to households and businesses in Edinburgh. I have therefore recommended to the Cabinet—and it has been decided—that a judge-led public inquiry be established into the Edinburgh trams project to establish why the project incurred significant overruns in terms of cost and timing requiring, in particular, a considerable reduction in the original scope. It is important that lessons

are learned from the conduct of the Edinburgh trams project, and I think that the course of action that we are proposing will be of substantial assistance in doing that. Marco Biagi: I welcome the First Minister's decision and announcement. All of us who opposed the tram project from the start as risky and overengineered have been disappointed almost daily to be shown to be right. However, does he agree that now that the trams are indeed rolling, if there is to be any public faith in the future management of, or potential

cost estimates for, projects like this, we need to know for sure that those mistakes will never be repeated? The First Minister: I welcome Marco Biagi's welcome for the public inquiry. We have taken the decision that it will be a non-statutory inquiry, and that is for two reasons. The first is to do with timescales, which we just discussed for the previous question. Secondly, the Minister for Transport and Veterans has been assured by the City of Edinburgh Council of its full co-operation and full documentation

of all aspects of the long process of the trams project. That gives us the opportunity to have a judge-led inquiry that will give us a proper examination and a public account of what has happened to the trams project. Although it is particularly important for any projects like the trams project that are considered in the future that lessons are learned, it is simply not the case that other major public projects in Scotland are running over time and over budget. The Forth replacement crossing, for example, which is the biggest

infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation, is being built on time and under budget. A total of £145 million-worth of savings has been released from the Forth replacement crossing project since construction started in 2011, and it is also the case that the M74 completion, the Dunragit bypass, the Symington and Bogend Toll scheme and huge numbers of other public investments in Scotland are being completed on time and, in many cases, under budget. It is therefore important that we have an inquiry to see how the Edinburgh trams project

went astray. I know that the whole chamber will await with great interest the findings of that inquiry. The Presiding Officer: That ends First Minister's questions. Members who are leaving the chamber should do so quickly and quietly.

Video Description

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk -- Scottish Parliament First Minister's Questions:

1. Johann Lamont: To ask the First Minister what engagements he has planned for the rest of the day. (S4F-02144)

2. Ruth Davidson: To ask the First Minister when he will next meet the Prime Minister. (S4F-02140)

3. Alison McInnes: To ask the First Minister what recent discussions the Scottish Government has had with Police Scotland regarding the use of stop and search. (S4F-02149)

4. Graeme Dey: To ask the First Minister how the Scottish Government will respond to the report of the Expert Working Group on Welfare. (S4F-02143)

5. Jackie Baillie: To ask the First Minister when the Vale of Leven Hospital inquiry will be published. (S4F-02161)

6. Marco Biagi: To ask the First Minister whether the Scottish Government plans to order a public inquiry into the handling of the Edinburgh Trams project. (S4F-02142)

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