Alex Salmond MSP

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Alex Salmond MSP

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  • Member for: Aberdeenshire East
  • Region: North East 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

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Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 General Question Time and First Minister's Question Time : Thursday, October 30, 2014
The First Minister (Alex Salmond)

Engagements to take forward the Government’s programme for Scotland.

As this is my first parliamentary opportunity to do so, I would like to pay tribute to Johann Lamont following her stepping down as leader of the Labour Party at the weekend.

I have always found Johann Lamont to be a spirited opponent in the Scottish Parliament, strongly dedicated to her party but in particular to championing key issues such as the eradication of child poverty and providing support for carers. I have absolutely no doubt that she will continue to play an active role in Scottish public life and I wish her well for the future. [Applause.]



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 General Question Time and First Minister's Question Time : Thursday, October 30, 2014
The First Minister

We should start by looking at the Audit Scotland report, and at where it identified substantial progress

“in a number of areas, including improving outcomes for people with cancer or heart disease and reducing healthcare-associated infections.”

It continues:

“Patient satisfaction with hospital inpatient services has ... increased since 2012 ... Waiting time targets have reduced over the past ten years and the length of time that people wait has decreased considerably ... Between 2003 and 2012, the death rate for all forms of heart disease fell by 38 per cent”,

and on the report goes to identify where the national health service has made substantial progress.

Of course it is true that Audit Scotland, quite rightly, draws attention to the fact that despite the success of our NHS in terms of managing its finances—success that has not been replicated elsewhere in either England or Wales—the Scottish national health service faces challenges for the future. How could it be otherwise in the current situation?

Perhaps Jackie Baillie should have paid close attention to page 32 of the Audit Scotland report, which states:

“Reductions in spending at a UK level will affect the level of funding available in Scotland. The Scottish Government will need to plan for health spending within an overall reducing budget.”

The very heart of the financial challenge facing our national health service is the retrenchment and austerity at the United Kingdom level and the financial pressures that that imposes on our national health service in Scotland.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 General Question Time and First Minister's Question Time : Thursday, October 30, 2014
The First Minister

Every statement that I read out earlier to Jackie Baillie was from the Audit Scotland report. For that matter, I can quote Caroline Gardner from Audit Scotland, who said in a very reasonable and considered interview on Radio Scotland this morning:

“I think it’s important to say that the times that the patients are waiting on average now are much shorter than they have been in the past ... The Government has managed to protect the”

national health service

“budget, certainly the revenue budget, in real terms up until the current budget period.”

We know, of course, what happened in the current budget period. To pass on the consequentials from Westminster, the national health service would have required an additional £202 million in its revenue budget. I agree that Mr Swinney did not do that—he put forward £288 million. That means that, in the current year, we are exceeding in terms of passing on the consequentials.

All the facts that I have stated are from the Audit Scotland report, and that guarantee of an increase in real-terms funding for the national health service has helped it withstand the financial pressures that are undoubtedly there. No such guarantee was in place from the Labour Party in 2007, and no such guarantee was in place from Iain Gray in the run-up to the 2007 election.

Jackie Baillie should really try to consider this. Yes, there are, of course, pressures on our national health service. How could it be otherwise? We are in the maw of financial control from Westminster. How much greater would the pressures have been if we had had the disaster of a continuation of a Labour Administration in Scotland? We might even have had a national health service in Scotland facing the same almighty pressures that are prevalent in Wales under Labour control.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 General Question Time and First Minister's Question Time : Thursday, October 30, 2014
The First Minister

NHS staff have increased by 6.9 per cent. That is an increase of 8,818 between September 2006 and June 2014. As we pledged to do, the Scottish National Party has protected the national health service revenue budget in real terms and has added to that this year.

Yes, of course there are pressures on our national health service. How could it be otherwise, given that we are imprisoned in UK Government austerity? However, with regard to being in denial, I point out that I quoted exactly from the Audit Scotland report about the financial pressures that are bearing down on the health service.

That was exactly the argument that took place in the referendum campaign. I took a screengrab of a picture on the BBC website that showed Jackie Baillie against a background of signs saying “SNP NHS LIES”. The caption under the picture reads:

“MSP Baillie denies Labour disunity—A Holyrood politician denies there are rifts between Labour MSPs and MPs and insists they are ‘joined at the hip’”.

Any politician with the gall to make that argument cannot be trusted on the Labour Party or, indeed, the finances of the national health service.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 General Question Time and First Minister's Question Time : Thursday, October 30, 2014
The First Minister

Jackie Baillie mentioned that delayed discharges were increasing in the national health service, but they are much less than they were when the SNP came to power. She also said that there were vacancies among consultants, but the number of consultants is much greater than it was when the SNP came to power, as indeed is the number of nurses and doctors. The number of NHS staff has increased by 6.9 per cent since the SNP came to power. Those things have been achieved against the austerity from the Westminster Government.

I repeat that quote from the Audit Scotland report:

“Reductions in spending at a UK level will affect the level of funding available in Scotland. The Scottish Government will need to plan for health spending within an overall reducing budget.”

Is that not exactly the kernel of the debate that we had in the recent referendum campaign, in which Jackie Baillie and the Labour Party were in denial about the impact of Westminster funding cuts on the Scottish national health service? If we take the Audit Scotland report as a very considered and objective analysis, will Jackie Baillie accept Audit Scotland’s pointing out the reality that a 7 per cent decline in revenue budgets in Scotland will have a severe impact across the public sector? That makes it all the more laudable that the SNP in government has managed to protect our national health service.

As far as the Labour Party is concerned, it goes without argument that, in 2007, Jack McConnell said that the NHS would have to “cut its cloth” and would get no additional consequentials. As for Iain Gray, on 8 September 2010, he said on “Newsnight Scotland”:

“We wouldn’t ring fence the health budget.”

Only when Labour was on the run during the election campaign did it start to change its tune.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 General Question Time and First Minister's Question Time : Thursday, October 30, 2014
The First Minister

No plans in the near future.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 General Question Time and First Minister's Question Time : Thursday, October 30, 2014
The First Minister

That strategic vision will be published within the next few days. I promise Ruth Davidson that it will be published within my remaining term of office, which means that there is an extremely urgent and immediate commitment on that.

This issue is about the future of a substantial part of the Scottish economy, as well as the Ayrshire economy. I ask Ruth Davidson to think about this as—apart from anything else—one of the local members who has been most adamant about, and supportive of, the Government’s intervention regarding Prestwick airport.

The alternative course was closure of the airport—I hope that Ruth Davidson understands that—and the Government stepped in because the last private sector bidder was unable to move forward. The significant thing that broke the deal and that made that private sector bidder unable to go forward was the impact of air passenger duty on flights from Prestwick. [Interruption.] Ruth Davidson looks perplexed, but I know that she has studied the issue. APD was identified by that bidder as the straw that broke the camel’s back in the takeover of Prestwick airport.

Let us not underrate the challenges in building a strategic vision to keep Prestwick airport as an important part of the Scottish economy. Nevertheless, I reassure Ruth Davidson that that vision will be published in the next few days. It will set out an exciting future for Prestwick airport that would be considerably assisted if Prestwick airport did not have its hands tied behind its back by the imposition of the outrageous air passenger duty and its impact on the carriers at Prestwick airport.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 General Question Time and First Minister's Question Time : Thursday, October 30, 2014
The First Minister

I thought that Ruth Davidson would have known that the Deputy First Minister will appear before a parliamentary committee on the 12th of next month to talk about exactly this issue. That is an important consideration.

I do not understand Ruth Davidson’s attitude. If there had not been a private market failure, and we had not been unable to secure a private sector bid, the airport would have closed, thousands of people would have been out of work and the highly successful aerospace industry around Prestwick would have been placed in substantial jeopardy.

I had a conversation with Howard Davies, the Tory appointee who is considering whether to spend £40 billion, £50 billion or £60 billion on another runway for Heathrow or Gatwick, or on building Boris’s airport somewhere in the River Thames. I put it to him that if the UK Government were to reduce air passenger duty for the north of England or give the Scottish Parliament the power to do something about it in order to increase competition for direct international flights, that would immediately relieve some of the pressure on the London airports. Howard Davies looked at me and said that that would be a distortion of competition. Unfortunately, Ruth Davidson and her party live in a world where spending £40 billion, £50 billion or £60 billion on infrastructure in the south of England is not a distortion of competition, but allowing airports such as Prestwick to survive and prosper by having a competitive rate of air passenger duty somehow is. That is the topsy-turvy world of London bias that the Conservative Party has imposed on Scotland. [Applause.]



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 General Question Time and First Minister's Question Time : Thursday, October 30, 2014
The First Minister

I share Graeme Dey’s concern regarding the developments at John M Henderson and the impact that they will have on the affected employees, their families and the surrounding economy. Through the partnership action for continuing employment initiative, we have been liaising closely with the administrators. A redundancy support event was held yesterday, which provided an opportunity for employees to speak with local agencies. The event was attended by 67 employees and 17 modern apprentices. I am pleased to report that three of the MAs have found jobs following their discussions at the event.

I assure Graeme Dey that Scottish Enterprise and the industry secretary will be fully engaged, as will PACE, to try to ensure that as many as possible of the highly skilled workforce follow the three apprentices into secure employment as quickly as possible.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 General Question Time and First Minister's Question Time : Thursday, October 30, 2014
The First Minister

I will, today, secure from Scottish Water a further update on its efforts to secure the water supply in Murdo Fraser’s area. I will communicate that update to him as quickly as possible.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

 
Not VotedDefeated

 
Not VotedDefeated

 
Not VotedCarried

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
>> Show more
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
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Alex Salmond
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-10843: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09773: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09774: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Parliamentary Bureau, Date Lodged: 22/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08707: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08559: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08407: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07721: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-06450: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/05/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-05981: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/03/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-04011: Alex Salmond, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/09/2012 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 S1W-15120: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/04/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-14237: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/03/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-14124: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/03/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-14125: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/03/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1O-03120: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/03/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-13760: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/02/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-13761: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/02/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-13483: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/02/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-13698: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/02/2001 Show Full Question >>
Question S1W-13069: Alex Salmond, Banff and Buchan, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/02/2001 Show Full Question >>

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