Alex Neil MSP

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Alex Neil MSP

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  • Member for: Airdrie and Shotts
  • Region: Central Scotland
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Alex is a member of the following Committees:

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

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Alex Neil

Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing (Alex Neil)

NHS Highland is considering service change proposals that will affect Skye, Lochalsh and south-west Ross. The board carried out a three-month consultation exercise, which concluded on 29 August 2014.

Following the conclusion of the consultation period, NHS Highland is considering the feedback. The board will then consider all the evidence and make a recommendation on how to proceed. NHS Highland expects that its board will consider the proposals at its meeting on 2 December 2014.



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Alex Neil

I have received a copy of Dave Thompson’s letter to the chair of NHS Highland on the topic to which he refers, and I will reply in detail in due course.

NHS Highland has stated that it has reluctantly decided to suspend endoscopy service provision at the Mackinnon memorial hospital because the decontamination facilities there are no longer compatible with current standards and are not sufficiently reliable. I will ask NHS Highland as a matter of urgency to provide me with a full report on why that decision has been made and what other options it has considered, and I will be happy to share that report with the member.



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing (Alex Neil)

Ministers and Government officials regularly meet representatives of NHS Lanarkshire to discuss matters of importance to local people.



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Alex Neil

The member has a bit of a cheek, given that the main budgetary challenge for NHS Lanarkshire is the £50 million a year that it has to pay in private finance initiative charges, which we inherited from the previous Administration.

With regard to privatisation, I have made it absolutely clear that the percentage of money that is spent on the private sector in Scotland is well under 1 per cent of the entire near £12 billion budget. South of the border, the Government is privatising the NHS staffing, estate and facilities, but we are not doing that in Scotland. When we purchase private sector capacity, it is because we do not have sufficient capacity in the national health service in a particular area—for example, NHS Lanarkshire’s use of Ross Hall hospital for certain procedures. That is not privatisation; it is topping up our own capacity.



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing (Alex Neil)

Read on.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing (Alex Neil)

Much has rightly been made of the remarkable shift that took place during the referendum campaign. The people of Scotland led an energised and engaging debate. The future of our nation was discussed with passion, vibrancy and wit across the country, and the balance of power shifted from politicians and political institutions to the people of Scotland. Ninety-seven per cent of those who were eligible to vote made sure that they were registered to vote and 85 per cent turned out to make their choice—a record for any election or referendum in these isles. That unprecedented engagement has fundamentally changed the political landscape in Scotland.

I accept—the Scottish Government accepts—that independence was not the choice, at that moment, of a majority of the Scottish people in the referendum. However, a no vote was not a vote for no change. Between the 45 per cent of the Scottish people who voted yes and those who were persuaded to vote no on the basis of the “vow” to deliver significant new powers for the Scottish Parliament, there is a powerful majority for substantial further constitutional change in Scotland. The Smith commission provides an opportunity to deliver that change, and the Scottish Government will work in good faith with Lord Smith and the other parties involved to secure the best possible deal for Scotland.

In the past few days, we have seen compelling evidence of what the people of Scotland see as real change. For example, in a Panelbase poll that was conducted last week, 66 per cent of respondents backed extensive new powers for the Scottish Parliament; 71 per cent backed “Control of all taxation”; 68 per cent backed

“Control of oil and gas tax revenues generated in Scottish waters”;

and 75 per cent backed

“Control of the welfare and benefits system”.

Our engagement with the Smith commission will therefore start from a position of arguing for change that lives up to the expectations of the Scottish people—change that will transform the ability of the Scottish Parliament to improve the economy and create jobs by giving us real levers to match economic policy to the specific circumstances of Scotland. We will demand change that will give the Scottish Parliament the tools to make Scotland a fairer and more equal society and protect us from unfair policies that are imposed from Westminster. We will also demand change that will enhance Scotland’s voice on the world stage and allow us to put forward Scotland’s interests where key decisions are being made.

A minute ago, I referred to the so-called “vow” that was made by the unionist parties in the last week of the referendum campaign. That vow sets a test of good faith for the unionist parties’ participation in the Smith process. The parties that opposed independence must enter the Smith commission process ready to move significantly beyond the limited powers that they offered early in the campaign and later in the campaign. They must demonstrate that they can live up to the language of “home rule”, “near federalism” and “devo max”. They must show that they are serious about giving this Parliament the tools to improve Scotland’s economy, support jobs, enhance our voice in the world and make Scotland a fairer, more equal society. In our view, the proposals that are currently on the table from Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats fall well short on all counts.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Alex Neil

Johann Lamont clearly has not been listening to my speech. I certainly hope that we get the powers that mean that we do not need to implement the welfare policies that were outlined at the Labour and Tory conferences, which will be extremely damaging to the people of Scotland.

We must have the levers that are most fundamental to strengthening our economy and creating jobs. The current proposals leave most of the decisions on welfare and social protection in the hands of a Westminster Parliament that imposed the bedroom tax on Scotland and mean that the Scottish Parliament would be responsible for only between 20 and 30 per cent of the taxes raised in Scotland. That is not good enough for us or for Scotland.

I started my remarks by highlighting the energy that the public and civic society brought to the referendum debate and campaigns. That conversation with the people of Scotland did not end with the referendum. As Patrick Harvie rightly says, their voice must be heard in the work to deliver additional powers for the Scottish Parliament. We will support his amendment to our amendment because we fundamentally believe in what it says.

I am also delighted that Lord Smith has made engagement with wider civic society and the people of Scotland a priority in the work of his commission. I encourage everyone to make their voice heard as part of that process, because the people of Scotland are the guarantors of real change.

The Smith commission process sets a challenge for all the parties in the Scottish Parliament—[Interruption.]



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Alex Neil

That challenge, set by the Scottish people, is to deliver real change that will improve their lives, to bring decisions closer to the people that they affect and to work together across political boundaries.

Only by individually and collectively rising to those challenges can we secure the best deal for Scotland. Parties that fail that challenge, that lack ambition for Scotland or that fail to listen to the voices of people and grass-roots organisations in Scotland will pay a heavy price if they ignore the demands and wishes of the Scottish people, including people who voted no as well as people who voted yes.

I move amendment S4M-11116.1, to leave out from “recognises” to end and insert:

“recognises the result of the independence referendum; agrees on the need for a strengthened Scottish Parliament; acknowledges that people on both sides voted for change; notes the response to a recent Panelbase poll in which two thirds of respondents backed extensive new powers for the Parliament; agrees that the language, ‘devo-max’, ‘home rule’ and ‘near federalism’, used during the referendum campaign has raised expectations of significant change; agrees that the process commenced by The Smith Commission offers a real opportunity to deliver substantial further powers and responsibilities for the Parliament, and agrees that it is now incumbent on all parties to deliver on the clear promises made to the people of Scotland to ensure that Scotland has the powers needed to improve its economy, support jobs, enhance its voice in the world and make Scotland a fairer, greener, more equal society.”



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Alex Neil

I begin by reiterating what I said in my opening speech: the Scottish Government accepts the result of the independence referendum, and we will participate positively in the Smith commission process to ensure that we increase the Parliament’s powers and use them to promote economic growth and a fairer society. That is the Scottish Government’s clear position.

If I may say so, I think that by far the best speech from the front benches of the three unionist parties came from Willie Rennie, who I think is trying to get the tone right and find a positive approach. As he pointed out, this is the first time in Scotland’s modern history that the five major political parties have got together in one room to have this kind of discussion.

Of course, I qualify that with the point that Patrick Harvie very rightly made that no matter what we agree as political parties we have to take the people with us and involve them in the process. They should not be simply handed the results of the discussions and the party politics.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Alex Neil

No, I do not have time.

Willie Rennie also talked about the 45 plus the 55. Part of our job in this Parliament is to ensure that those who voted yes and those who voted no in the referendum can take Scotland forward together not only on the powers agenda, but on the economic and social agendas.

We know that a significant number of people who voted no are very much in favour of this Parliament having substantially more powers than it has at the present time. In fact, I have here last week’s Wishaw Press, in which there is a headline from Frank Roy, the Labour MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, that says,

“Working together to deliver the promise made for devo max”.

That is from a Labour MP in Scotland. It is clear that he believes that the promise was devo max.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

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

S4M-11116 Johann Lamont: Scotland’s Future—That the Parliament recognises the result of the independ
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YesCarried

Amendment 61 moved by Elaine Murray on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland) Bi
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NoDefeated

Amendment 62 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
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NoDefeated

Amendment 63 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Amendment 64 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Alex Neil
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-10156: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09336: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09334: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09222: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09115: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08915: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 31/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08752.3: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08674: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08580: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08389: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S3W-20481: Alex Neil, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/02/2009 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-20180: Alex Neil, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/01/2009 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-20020: Alex Neil, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/01/2009 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-19295: Alex Neil, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/12/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-19297: Alex Neil, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/12/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-19296: Alex Neil, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/12/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-19293: Alex Neil, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/12/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-19294: Alex Neil, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/12/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-19298: Alex Neil, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/12/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-19299: Alex Neil, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/12/2008 Show Full Question >>

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