Rhoda Grant MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 Business until 15:29 : 25 November 2014
Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

I join others in paying tribute to the families who fought so hard for the inquiry. I hope that lessons can be learned so that, in future, families do not have to fight so hard for inquiries at such a difficult time for them.

Will the chief nursing officer, as part of the work being done with the nursing director, consider the standards for testing, to ensure that individual cases are identified and isolated so as to stop outbreaks in the future? Will she also examine how patients and their relatives can raise concerns and request testing if they are concerned about an outbreak occurring in a ward that they are in?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : 20 November 2014
7. Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the Highland Council about the A890 Stromeferry bypass. (S4O-03727)



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : 20 November 2014
Rhoda Grant

The minister will know about the recent landslide, which is one of many landslides over many years—indeed, going back to when I went to high school in the area. He will also know that the A890 is the access road for the local high school and hospital, as well as a well-used tourist route, and that the only available diversion is 130 miles long—which is not really a diversion at all.

The price of rerouting the road would be high, but the economic benefit for the area and for the rest of Scotland would be enormous. Will the minister consider helping Highland Council with the funding of the project, perhaps through joint funding by the Scottish Government and Highland Council, so that we can bring that about as quickly as possible and ensure that disruption ceases?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : 20 November 2014
Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

I very much welcome this debate in the year of food and drink 2015. I hope that the year will highlight what is best about Scottish products. We have a lot to be proud of, as we have heard pretty much all afternoon. We have high-quality produce that is recognised world wide, and we have producers that aspire to excellence as well as to building on our traditional fare—and what is there not to like about whisky?

I was proud to pursue the EU protected geographical indication for Stornoway black pudding. When Brian Wilson discovered an Edinburgh butcher selling “Stornoway-style” black pudding, something had to be done. It was not only misrepresentation; it was a pretty shoddy imitation and nothing like the real thing. The campaign took off and I pay tribute for their hard work to the butchers who drew up the successful application, which means that the economic benefit of the high-quality product is kept for the good of the island of Lewis. They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but it is not when it damages someone economically, and it can also be a disadvantage if it damages someone’s reputation and the reputation of their product.

The campaign attracted pretty much universal backing from the islands and beyond, as well as support from the Scottish and UK Governments. It took a number of years and a great deal of hard work to apply and to have the application granted, but it was worth while: Stornoway black pudding is now protected. Unique and excellent products need to be protected from poor imitations. Lessons can be learned from that and we now see that Dundee is following suit, with its famous Dundee cake. Orkney cheese and Arbroath smokies have already achieved success. It is important that we recognise where we have excellence and that we protect it.

We also have areas that revel in their pursuit of excellence, like Orkney. I mentioned Orkney cheese, but Orkney Island Gold is a well-known brand that covers Iamb and beef but also encapsulates how the Orcadians market their food and hospitality: they aspire to excellence. The brand recognises the impact that joint marketing can have; people are not competing against each other but are competing jointly against everyone else.

Although they have many advantages, islands also have a natural disadvantage when it comes to communications. However, I am lucky that island groups in my region are blazing a trail to show how they jointly market their excellent products to the benefit of the whole community. We need to learn from that for different products, including our wonderful shellfish, which is still exported to the continent when we should be using it at home. Many people come to Scotland hoping to experience it. We have done much, but there is much still to do.

As a Highlands and Islands MSP, I cannot speak in a debate about food and drink without mentioning whisky. Our region is home to the best whiskies in Scotland, whether one’s taste is for the peaty malts of the west and the Argyll islands, or for the mild honey of a Speyside, there is something in the region for everyone. Whisky provides well-paid jobs throughout the Highlands and Islands, where well-paid jobs are rare. The export market provides income to the country and the excise duty helps to provide our schools and hospitals. It is an all-round success.

In recent years, Scotch whisky has been much in demand, leading to the creation of jobs, as distilleries work round the clock to meet demand. Maybe that expansion has peaked, but the jobs that it created were very welcome to people in some of the worst-off areas in our country.

We now have microbreweries growing successfully all over the Highlands and islands, and blazing a trail behind whisky is gin. Who would have thought that the Highlands would become famous for gin? Even Bruichladdich Distillery Company is considering marketing its own gin.

We have a lot to celebrate in 2015, our year of food and drink, and it will provide huge global marketing opportunities. However, what would give us real cause for celebration next year would be all Scots having access to good quality food. It is sad that while those of us who can afford it are celebrating this success, many of our constituents are living out of food banks, and even access to them is being rationed. It would be a real cause for celebration if next year we could eradicate food banks from Scotland.

If we are to do that, we need to tackle the cause. We need to drive up skills and pay in our food and drink industry, but also in our hospitality industry. Often, the people who are using food banks are working people, but they are earning low wages. It is important that we recognise that a fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. We should aspire to every worker earning the living wage. We are some way towards that in the public sector, but we have to find ways of increasing wages in the private sector—more so in our food industry. If we are to aspire to excellence we need a motivated workforce who can afford to remain in the industry, and who can build their skills and expertise.

The year of food and drink gives us opportunities and challenges. To reach excellence we need good produce and we need to market it. We need to ensure that we all have access to a good diet. We can meet those challenges if we work together.

16:14  

Meeting of the Parliament 19 November 2014 : 19 November 2014
Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

The cabinet secretary stated that the £40 million was additional funding. My understanding is that it came out of the integration fund and that it is, therefore, not additional funding. He made that point to the Health and Sport Committee a couple of weeks ago.



Meeting of the Parliament 19 November 2014 : 19 November 2014
Rhoda Grant

Given that the issue concerns urban and rural areas, is it not time that the cabinet secretary took control of it and gave us an NHS that is fit for the 21st century?



Health and Sport Committee 18 November 2014 : 18 November 2014
Rhoda Grant (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

I am an MSP for the Highlands and Islands.



Health and Sport Committee 18 November 2014 : 18 November 2014
Rhoda Grant

Professor Britton talked about harm and the differences in Sweden. Were you comparing figures for lung cancer or all cancers? Some argue that nicotine can enhance tumour growth and the like.



Health and Sport Committee 18 November 2014 : 18 November 2014
Rhoda Grant

Lung cancer is obviously a by-product of smoking tobacco, but I was keen to know whether the figures for other cancers were the same.



Health and Sport Committee 18 November 2014 : 18 November 2014
Rhoda Grant

I am an MSP for the Highlands and Islands.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Rhoda Grant
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11515: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11490: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11445: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11444: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11441: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11430: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11429: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11428: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11427: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11162: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Rhoda Grant
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-23426: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 25/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23425: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 25/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23424: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 25/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03727: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23023: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23022: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23020: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23021: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03680: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03620: Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>

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