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 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Alex Neil

I absolutely agree. As the member knows, we have a range of initiatives, including the expansion of nursery entitlement, the early years collaborative and the early years change fund. It ill behoves the UK Government to impose such a restriction at a time of need, particularly when it preaches the values of family life. Our view is that family life should be promoted and protected at every opportunity and that fathers should get the maximum opportunity to look after their children at such a young age. I totally agree with the member and think that, from a humanitarian point of view, the UK Government should think again on its policy.



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights (Alex Neil)

The Scottish Government believes that, ideally, all fathers, including those on out-of-work benefits, should be able to spend quality time with their new babies. I urge the Department for Work and Pensions to examine the policy again and to consider whether it is in the best interests of children. This UK Government policy threatens to be detrimental to low-income, vulnerable families.



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Alex Neil

I have a lot of sympathy with the fair points that Margaret Mitchell makes. A wider issue is the social care charge increases in Glasgow City Council in recent times. As she knows, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has strict guidelines on how care charges should be applied. Clearly, an issue has to be addressed in Glasgow, because some of the increases have been extremely steep, and they apply to the most vulnerable members of our community. Therefore, I have a great deal of sympathy with the member’s point but, as the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights, I have no powers to intervene.



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Alex Neil

The local government finance settlement remains the responsibility of my colleague the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy, John Swinney. It would be entirely wrong of me to pre-empt the statement that he will make to Parliament.



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights (Alex Neil)

I have not had the pleasure of meeting representatives of Glasgow City Council since assuming my current ministerial responsibilities.



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Alex Neil

First, I emphasise Sarah Boyack’s point about the ageing population. The figures for the next 20 years show that the number of 75-year-olds will increase very significantly. In fact, the registrar general estimates that one fifth of all the babies born in Scotland today will live until they are 100 years of age. That increase is a permanent feature of our society, not a short-term phenomenon.

On public sector pensions, Sarah Boyack will know that we have in the past two or three years been in detailed discussions with the Treasury, because the United Kingdom Government has responsibility for most of those pensions and for deciding the employer and employee contributions. She will know that the employee contribution has been rising in recent years, even at a time of pay restraint, which we have opposed. That is one of the reasons why the funding situation has changed. The UK Government is now increasing the employer contribution, which is one of the major reasons why there is such pressure on our health budget, for example.



Meeting of the Parliament 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights (Alex Neil)

Before I answer the question, I wish Ms Boyack all the best in the Labour Party leadership election. Had I a vote, I would have voted for her.

The Scottish Government routinely uses emerging evidence on demographic change in its policy development process. As a consequence, we have undertaken a range of actions to support pensioners’ rights.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 December 2014 : Thursday, December 04, 2014
Alex Neil

The issue extends into a wide range of policy areas. As an MSP for a constituency that has many pockets of deprivation, I see many aspects of the operation of housing policy, for example, that frankly do not provide the human rights of tenants or of potential tenants in some situations. That is another example of the many areas in which we all have to be on our guard and take whatever action is necessary at whatever level is necessary to ensure that the human rights of our citizens are promoted and protected.

There is a distinction between our overall attitude and the consensual basis in Scotland and the approach of at least some UK politicians. In David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party conference earlier this year, he committed his party to scrapping the Human Rights Act 1998 and replacing it with a so-called British bill of rights and responsibilities. I place on record again the Scottish Government’s strong opposition to the idea of a British bill of rights to replace the Human Rights Act 1998, because we believe that that would be a cover to scale back current protections. Last month, the Parliament united around the principle of refusing consent for that.

We are also part of the Council of Europe, which, of course, predates the European Union by a considerable time—at least 10 years. Some 47 countries across Europe have committed themselves to democracy, human rights and the rule of law through the Council of Europe. As the cabinet secretary with responsibility for human rights, I will stand shoulder to shoulder with the Scottish Human Rights Commission and others to ensure that the Human Rights Act 1998 remains on the statute book in our country and that we continue to be part of the convention system that upholds our fundamental rights on a daily basis. When I am in London next month, I intend to seek meetings with human rights organisations so that I can make that position clear, as well as establishing closer co-operation on cross-border issues in relation to human rights with some notable organisations at the forefront of the human rights agenda.

We are not unique in the values that we hold and the commitments that we display. We are no more precious than anyone else. As I have implied, these are features of many of our closest European neighbours, who take a similar, if not identical, approach to human rights and the role of human rights legislation throughout Europe in protecting the rights of our citizens.

However, we have something that can probably be called a Scottish approach. It is not necessarily better than everyone else’s, but it fits with our approach to serving our communities in that it focuses on achieving outcomes and delivering real improvements. Our approach is grounded in an assets-based response to the challenges facing individuals and communities and seeks solutions through co-production. Those are all part of a human rights view of the world, which puts real people at the centre of everything that we do and works to empower, include and enable. That perspective is one of the fundamental strengths of SNAP. It is a co-produced response to the challenge of delivering on human rights for everyone in Scotland, not a top-down approach to human rights from Government or Parliament.

Ultimately, it is for nations, through their institutions and public services, to ensure that human rights are protected, respected and realised for our citizens. SNAP will play a central part in turning the values and principles of the legislation into a practical reality for the people of Scotland. We are committed to playing our part in that journey, and I look forward to returning to the chamber annually to discuss the progress that we are making in pursuit of SNAP’s ultimate vision of a Scotland where everyone lives with fundamental human dignity. When we next return to this matter, I hope that we will have made progress on a range of the issues that have been discussed this afternoon.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 December 2014 : Thursday, December 04, 2014
Alex Neil

I think that we would all agree with that. I am reminded of the tremendous philosopher Albert Camus, whose theory about rebellion was that, no matter what shade of Government is in power, even if one agrees with it, the best source of progress to ensure that citizens’ rights are protected is always to have one or two rebels to challenge the Government and Parliament. I actually think that Christine Grahame may be related to Albert Camus.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 December 2014 : Thursday, December 04, 2014
Alex Neil

As the issue of survivors of historic child abuse has been mentioned a couple of times, I confirm that Angela Constance, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, will update the chamber on that before the Christmas recess. I am sure that a specific time will be set aside for that through the Parliamentary Bureau.

The debate has been a good one, albeit very short. It has been broadly consensual, although there have been one or two barbs, but that is always the case and it is the sign of a healthy debate. I slightly disagree with Graeme Pearson’s point that there will, hopefully, come a day when we do not need commissions, watchdogs and all the rest of it. I think that human rights is one of those areas in which, no matter who is in power and how much is written into legislation, we all need to be continually on our watch, individually and collectively, to ensure that there is no erosion of human rights and that there is continuing enhancement.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11901.3 Neil Findlay: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
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NoDefeated

S4M-11901.1 Mary Scanlon: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11830.2 John Swinney: The Smith Commission—As an amendment to motion S4M-11830 in the name of Ru
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
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YesCarried

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825.3 Claire Baker: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Alex Neil
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11641: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11570: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11569: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11459: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11458: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11457: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11456: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11455: Alex Neil, Airdrie and Shotts, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
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 >>
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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