Holyrood Highlights: The normal folk's guide to Tuesday in parliament

Rates, fuel poverty and rare diseases – with all the fun that implies

WITH Holyrood denizens returning in earnest following last week’s recess, Scotland’s parliamentarians dive into a bustle of activity this Tuesday on all fronts. Without further ado, let’s see what’s in store.

Parliamentary business

Today’s Topical Questions will see Labour MSP Colin Smyth raise the record amount of financial penalties paid by ScotRail over the past nine months and ask the Scottish Government for its response. Meanwhile, SNP MSP David Torrance will be seeking answers over what assistance the Scottish Government is providing to Burtisland Fabrications, following reports that redundancy notices have now been issued to staff.

Tuesday’s major debate will focus on Scottish rate resolution, with parliament expected to back a further reform of Scotland’s tax arrangements. Following the deal between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Greens, it now seems assured that those earning between £24,000 and £44,273 in Scotland will see a 21p income tax rise, further distinguishing Scotland’s tax system from elsewhere in the UK. Tories believe the increase is unjustified, while Labour believe it is insufficient; we can all look forward to them saying so, at great length.

Lastly, SNP MSP Christina McKelvie will bring member’s business on the Quick Credit Voucher scheme offered by Scottish Power, which offers a £49 credit payment to those referred to food banks, and who may be suffering as a result of fuel poverty. McKelvie will be seeking recognition for the scheme and encouraging other energy companies to offer their own response.

Committee business

The delegated powers and law reform committee will be taking fresh evidence on the Planning (Scotland) Bill, which has seen widespread calls for Public Land Value Capture to be included in its proposed reforms. Meanwhile, the justice committee will continue to assess the impact of Brexit on law and policing, before presumably returning to something more relaxing, like being chained a rock and having their liver eaten by birds every day.

Visits and events

SNP MSP Ash Denham will be hosting a Healthcare Improvement Scotland event in the Garden Lobby, focusing on helping health and social care organisations to redesign and improve their services as well as encouraging people to make informed decisions about their own health and treatment.

In a somewhat complimentary event, Holyrood will also host a reception to mark the 10th International Rare Disease Day… also in the Garden Lobby. Anyone who has seen the movie Outbreak knows where this is going.

Picture courtesy of Graeme Maclean

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