Alex Johnstone MSP

Welcome to Alex Johnstone MSP's biography pages

Parliamentary Activities

Member of the Scottish Commission for Public Audit
Trustee of the Scottish Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund

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Welfare Reform Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Alex Johnstone (North East Scotland) (Con)

Thank you very much for coming along. I think that we have covered most of the subjects, but I want to go back and ask questions about a couple of things. Some of you had experience of the previous scheme and have now had experience of the new scheme. We have talked a lot about knowledge of the fund and its availability. How much have the problems relating to accessing the fund and knowledge of the fund been caused by the fact that there was a change?

Is it a situation in which everyone knew about the predecessor fund and what they could do to apply for it, and it was the change in the name and the administration of the fund that left people not knowing that it existed? Would that be fair to say?



Welfare Reform Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Alex Johnstone

We have already heard that at least a couple of you are training up to pass on information on the new funds to other people. Do you think that, if we get continuity for a year or two, knowledge of the availability of the fund will widen and people will not be left in a position in which they need something and qualify for it but simply do not know that it exists?



Welfare Reform Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Alex Johnstone

There is a new fund coming in with this bill. I hope that it will not be too different from the one that we have been working on for the past year or two. However, there is a danger that if there are radical changes—if we give it a different name or if we have a different process—we might find ourselves back at square 1 as far as knowledge of the scheme is concerned.



Welfare Reform Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Alex Johnstone

The other issue that interested me as we were talking earlier is the 48-hour wait. One difference between the scheme that we have now and its predecessor is that the earlier scheme had a 24-hour waiting limit, which has been extended to 48 hours. We have heard various explanations for why it was extended. Do you feel that it took the full 48 hours to process your claim, or were they just waiting for 48 hours because that is what is said in the scheme?



Welfare Reform Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Alex Johnstone

The reason for extending the limit to 48 hours may be valid, but, even if the limit is 48 hours, if they can turn a claim around in an hour, they should.



Welfare Reform Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Alex Johnstone

Thank you.



Welfare Reform Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Alex Johnstone

I hope that you gave them 48-hours’ notice. [Laughter.]



Welfare Reform Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Alex Johnstone

We heard from the previous panel that some people who apply are turned down, for various reasons. It is reasonable to consider what alternatives we might provide for people in those circumstances. A short-term crisis loan seems like a sensible approach. I think that there is a demand for that, but we are trying to establish who might meet that demand.

Payday lenders were mentioned. Anybody who is driven into the predatory world of payday lenders is getting into a difficult set of circumstances. There probably is demand from people who wish to secure a loan at a reasonable cost to achieve their objectives, but there seems to be a vacuum. We have heard that it is not appropriate to steer everybody in the direction of a credit union. Is there an unmet demand that needs to be met?

11:30  

Welfare Reform Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Alex Johnstone

I will ask you a straight question. If there is the demand that you described, should we try to prevent it from arising in the first place or should we provide a means to satisfy it?



Welfare Reform Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Alex Johnstone

The approach is about managing, not satisfying, demand.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

 
NoDefeated

 
YesDefeated

 
NoCarried

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Search for other Motions lodged by Alex Johnstone
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11295: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 24/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11023.3: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10777.2: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 12/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10185.1: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10051.2: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 14/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10003: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 08/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09747.1: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09593: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 02/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09447.1: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 24/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09209.2: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 03/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Alex Johnstone
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03568: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03503: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 12/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03476: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03383: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03350: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21386: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21384: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21385: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03258: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 12/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-20939: Alex Johnstone, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 30/04/2014 Show Full Question >>

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