Christian Allard MSP

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Christian Allard MSP

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  • Member for: North East Scotland
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Christian is a member of the following Committees:

Christian is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Christian Allard

Meeting of the Parliament 29 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 29, 2014
9. Christian Allard (North East Scotland) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government what recent discussions it has had with the European Commission regarding equalities issues. (S4O-03609)



Meeting of the Parliament 29 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Christian Allard

Does the minister agree that it is important that all European Union workers have equal rights? That applies as much to those, like me, who come from Europe to fill the skills gaps in our buoyant economy—in the north-east, in particular—as it does to our young people who decide to work abroad in Europe.



Meeting of the Parliament 29 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Christian Allard (North East Scotland) (SNP)

I want to talk about local schools and the Conservatives’ demonisation of schools. Like Stewart Stevenson, I can talk about what happened in rural Aberdeenshire in 2010 and 2011, when the Liberal Democrat and Conservative-led Aberdeenshire Council targeted two schools, Logie Coldstone school and Clatt school, for closure.

The communities managed to save the schools, but only after months of hurt for the parents, pupils and teachers. They were demonised month after month, week after week, by the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats, who were trying to find fault with the schools and were claiming that the quality of teaching was not good enough. We heard that again today. They tried to claim that the building was not good enough and that the problem was the number of pupils, but I can tell members that the numbers of pupils have grown since then. Logie Coldstone primary school was supposed to be too small to survive, but it increased its roll by 50 per cent in 2011 and again by 50 per cent in 2012. I have learned not to trust the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition when it comes to choices for parents.

Today, Liz Smith told us that in order to close the attainment gap we should focus on delivering parental choice, greater diversity in schools and renewed emphasis on improving literacy and numeracy skills. However, she also talked about targeting poverty and said that the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition at Westminster will focus on tackling poverty. I am sorry to say that, as the communities that I represent in the north-east of Scotland see it, the coalition is targeting not poverty but the poorest in our communities. The welfare reforms that we have are not the way to target poverty. I concur with Kevin Stewart that children going to school without having eaten should not happen in 2014.

Liz Smith said that we do not like Conservative ideas on education, but I remind her of what happened to Michael Gove down south. Nobody likes the Conservatives’ ideas on education. What matters is poverty. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation report “Closing the attainment gap in Scottish education” states:

“Who you are in Scotland is far more important than what school you attend”.

That is at the core of the problem and is what we should have been talking about today. I could stop there in answering the Conservative motion—in fact, there is nothing to add: it all comes down to the level of poverty that too many of our young people suffer. The solution to the issue of closing the attainment gap is certainly not to give more choice to parents to select the right type of school in the right type of neighbourhood or to blame our teachers; the solution is for parents to choose a Government with a track record of closing the attainment gap and to show the door to Tory politicians such as Michael Gove. I remind the chamber that increasing parental choice and ending the one-size-fits-all approach were at the core of the education reforms of Mr Gove down south. That agenda did not work there and it will not work here.

Who you are in Scotland is far more important than what school you attend. Today, over one in five children live in poverty. It affects their health, their education, their connection to wider society and their future prospects for work, yet we know from the OECD programme for international student assessment—PISA—that Scotland is narrowing the attainment gap while the rest of the UK is not. We also know that Scotland is above the average of participating countries in maths, science and reading. Poverty impacts adversely on the attainment of too many of our young people, but curriculum for excellence and getting it right for every child are policies that are making a difference in our schools and progress is being made across Scotland. Still, who you are in Scotland is far more important than what school you attend.

Reducing child poverty and addressing the inequality gap are the keys to closing the attainment gap in Scottish education, but we can go only so far in mitigating the damage caused by decisions made at Westminster. Children and families in deprived communities are suffering. I know, because in the rich north-east there are lots of pockets of poverty.

There is no question but that we need more powers. We need full responsibility over welfare and social policy to tackle child poverty. We cannot put a price on education. I will vote with the cabinet secretary tonight.

16:05  

Justice Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Christian Allard (North East Scotland) (SNP)

Good morning. I will ask a specific question and a more general one.

I was surprised by the views, in the written submissions of the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates, on section 24, which is headed “Savings for certain mistakes and things done in good faith”. The faculty said that section 24 as drafted might expose

“a person to the risk of prosecution.”

Both bodies suggested that section 24 be changed. Can you elaborate a bit on what you mean?



Justice Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Christian Allard

Yes.

I am particularly interested in whether it is possible that ignorance of the law could be a defence in relation to the bill.



Justice Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Christian Allard

Could ignorance of the law be a defence in relation to the bill if people are prosecuted?



Justice Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Christian Allard

Would the Faculty of Advocates like to comment?



Justice Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Christian Allard

The witness from the Faculty of Advocates mentioned pills. I have seen a lot of evidence—from the Law Society and the faculty—about the lack of clarity in the bill about the types of pills that should be administered, and who should decide how they should be administered. The bill also contains no indication of when such pills should be given. That seems to be a huge omission.



Justice Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Christian Allard

I know that it will be difficult to answer such a general question at this stage, but we have talked a lot about clarity and, indeed, what seems to be a lack of it in this bill. Is it simply a matter of making some amendments to the bill, or is it the case, as different people have suggested in evidence, that the bill contains a lot of omissions and that a lot more should be drafted? I do not know whether the volume of the omissions can be addressed in amendments. Does the bill need to be redrafted altogether because it contains not enough clarity and too many omissions? I know that it is difficult to make such judgments at this time, but I would like to hear your point of view.



Justice Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Christian Allard

I have just a couple of questions. I can see that there could be implications in respect of life insurance. Do you want more clarification in the bill regarding the consequences, particularly on whether the life insurance benefits could be for the licensed facilitator, which could happen without the licensed facilitator knowing about it?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11332.2 Jenny Marra: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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NoDefeated

S4M-11332.1 Gavin Brown: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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NoDefeated

S4M-11332 Fergus Ewing: Supported Business—That the Parliament recognises the economic and social va
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YesCarried

S4M-11304.3 Michael Russell: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to mo
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YesCarried

S4M-11304 Liz Smith: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament believes
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YesCarried

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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YesCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
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YesCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
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YesCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
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YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Christian Allard
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11019: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10952: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10900: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10892: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10785: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10781: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10741: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10725: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10711: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10510: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Christian Allard
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03609: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03544: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03489: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03193: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/04/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03037: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/03/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02997: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/03/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02980: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/02/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02941: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/02/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02836: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/01/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02763: Christian Allard, North East Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/12/2013 Show Full Question >>

Further information

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