Annabel Goldie MSP

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Annabel Goldie MSP

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Parliamentary Activities

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Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
8. Annabel Goldie (West Scotland) (Con)

To ask the Scottish Government how it is planning to meet any increase in demand for national health service services over the next five years. (S4O-03938)



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Annabel Goldie

One area where demand for NHS services is expanding dramatically is my home village of Bishopton, an area of urban expansion where 2,500 new houses are being built. Approximately 300 of those houses are now up and occupied while the building work continues.

Bishopton has one small health centre that is creaking at the seams; there is anecdotal evidence that people are going directly to accident and emergency, which is the very thing that we all want to avoid; and, to date, not one sod has been cut to create a new health centre. Indeed, there seems to be no health board plan for one to be built. Will the cabinet secretary investigate, intervene and revert to me with proposals for resolving that intolerable situation?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Annabel Goldie (West Scotland) (Con)

This has been a contrasting debate of many shades of opinion—some predictable, yet some unexpected and perhaps from unexpected parts of the chamber.

I want to set the backdrop. We are emerging stronger from one of the most significant economic downturns of modern times and the most challenging financial period in 60 years. There are still huge challenges, but today we have a growing economy that is delivering growing employment created from skilled, good quality, full-time jobs. As the minister said, youth unemployment is at a five-year low, and we have rising wages and controlled inflation. That is a solid basis on which to approach the testing and perplexing issue of inequalities.

With the increased income tax personal allowance, people are keeping more of their earnings. That is a tax cut for 2.3 million people in Scotland and it takes 242,000 low-paid workers out of paying income tax altogether. I want to see those numbers increase, as they will from April this year, and go beyond that.

These policies of aspiration and opportunity are how we address inequality. They are in sharp contrast with the Scottish Government’s relentless focus on the paradox that Willie Rennie rightly identified. On the one hand, the Scottish Government indicates in word that it wants a higher, unquantified and apparently uncontrolled spend on welfare, but, as Willie Rennie says, that is never borne out by a specific spend commitment anywhere, such as in its pre-referendum documentation or its welfare commission report. To say that

“there has been very little change in income inequality since 1998”

jars with the speeches of many members today, particularly from the Government benches, but that is a direct quote from the Scottish Government’s most recent “Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland” publication.

Christine Grahame and Duncan McNeil thoughtfully reflected on the long-standing, enduring nature of inequalities, their diverse form and their complexity. I felt that there was an honesty in doing that and recognising that there is no silver bullet. Economic inequality trends are increasingly global, but Scotland has seen less of an increase in economic inequality than other countries. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has acknowledged that

“most industrialised countries saw increases in inequality between the mid 1980s and the late 2000s”.

The Government’s motion also mentions

“£6 billion of welfare cuts”—

a figure produced, perhaps inevitably and predictably, by the Scottish Government’s analysis after the most recent budget in July 2014. However, its welfare paper, from where that figure originates, admits that by a considerable margin the biggest saving was made by the changing of the method of benefits uprating from the retail prices index to the consumer prices index. The Scottish Government’s motion is particularly bizarre given that the Scottish Government’s pre-referendum welfare report supported the use of the consumer prices index rather than the retail prices index.

Another large saving that was identified by the Scottish Government’s analysis was from changes to child benefit entitlement. That was a tapered reduction for families where one person has an income of more than £50,000, reducing to zero child benefit for earners over £60,000. I do not recall the SNP campaigning on a platform of restoring child benefit for some of the top earners in our country. I would be interested to hear what it believes the impact of that “cut” has been on inequality.

In combination, those two areas account for more than half of the £6 billion figure. The SNP has not lifted a finger to oppose those savings, and that is true of a number of other changes that fall under the umbrella of welfare reform.

My colleague Mr Johnstone’s amendment also touches on the conclusion of last week’s Finance Committee report. The Parliament voted for £500 million to make a real shift towards preventative spend, which is a good thing, in order to support a transition across public services away from dealing with symptoms of disadvantage and inequality, and towards tackling the root causes, something that we all approve of. Despite that, however, the Finance Committee concluded that the project across the three change funds has produced a “lack of measurable outcomes” and it has expressed “concerns” over a lack of progress.

Therefore, where the Scottish Government has real powers to end inequalities in education and health, to which Christina McKelvie referred, we see a great deal of talk but little achievement. Mr Macintosh rightly referred to education, where we have lost 140,000 college places in Scotland. Further education colleges are a vital component of building vocational skills and allowing people to return to education to prepare them for the workplace. In accessing university in Scotland, the most disadvantaged are now the most excluded and England is doing better than we are in that regard. In health, we have seen not only the problems with the change funds but a real-terms cut to the health budget while the same budget in England is growing.

That is just a reality check, and I know from the murmurs that it does not suit members on the Government benches to hear those observations. I do welcome the Scottish Government’s conclusion that work should be a route out of poverty, and Mr Neil and I agree on that priority. However, the Scottish Government seems to have failed to address opportunity in terms of the opportunities presented by job creation and provided by education and skills, and the opportunity for intervention by the NHS, such as using health visitors and improving health education. Those are issues that are controlled by this Parliament and they directly affect constituents, to whom Margaret McCulloch referred. I have to say that I thought Roderick Campbell made an eloquent plea for those devolved issues, such as health education, to have much more focused attention.

The Scottish Government has become a ritual critic of the United Kingdom Government—indeed, that is the Scottish Government’s default position whenever it is confronted by any challenge—but the reality is an inert, passive Scottish Government, blind to opportunity and failing across a whole range of devolved issues for which it has been responsible for the past eight years. The Scottish Government should take a long, hard, collective look in the mirror and start finding answers.

I support the amendment in Alex Johnstone’s name.



Meeting of the Parliament 15 January 2015 : Thursday, January 15, 2015
10. Annabel Goldie (West Scotland) (Con)

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to alleviate the planned disruption to Glasgow to Edinburgh rail services in summer 2015. (S4O-03910)



Meeting of the Parliament 15 January 2015 : Thursday, January 15, 2015
Annabel Goldie

We understand that the Winchburgh tunnel will be closed between 13 June and 27 July. Trains will be diverted via Dalmeny and will then have to reverse. Some journeys are expected to take up to 50 per cent longer and some trains may have to be cancelled. In the meantime, thousands of fans will be heading to the open golf championship at St Andrews. Surely First ScotRail, as a matter of urgency, should be contemplating express services and, if appropriate, special golf excursion trains via some of the alternative rail lines between Glasgow and Edinburgh.



Welfare Reform Committee 13 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Annabel Goldie (West Scotland) (Con)

I have no relevant interests to declare.



Welfare Reform Committee 13 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Annabel Goldie

Good morning, cabinet secretary. I, too, congratulate you on your new role.

Convener, before I pose my questions to the cabinet secretary, I should mention that something rather glaring occurred to me about my earlier declaration of interests: it might astound everyone, but I am of pensionable age, and perhaps that should be mentioned.



Welfare Reform Committee 13 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Annabel Goldie

How gallant of you, cabinet secretary.



Welfare Reform Committee 13 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Annabel Goldie

I noticed his reference to that, which was rather discomforting to me. However, I apologise for the lack of clarification earlier.

Cabinet secretary, it might surprise you to learn that I found myself agreeing with a considerable element of what you said. Two of your early observations were that preventative measures are best and that we need to concentrate on welfare to work. I was struck by those. You also mentioned the interesting Danish labour market approach.

I want to ask a general question—I am not making a political point. We accept that there is a skills shortage in Scotland and that this Parliament is responsible for the provision of education and skills. Will it be necessary to review the approach to colleges? Many of the people who need help to get back to work would benefit from the availability of part-time courses. I emphasise that I am not making a political point here; I am simply speaking from awareness of the people who need additional skills, of where they live and of where they would be likely to access those skills. The answer is probably from the local college.



Welfare Reform Committee 13 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Annabel Goldie

I gather from what the cabinet secretary is saying that he recognises that, in consequence of the very welcome transfer of powers, there may have to be a review of how better to dovetail what we are trying to do at the Scottish end as we prepare people to try and get back to work. That was a positive response from the minister.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
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NoDefeated

S4M-12101 John Swinney: Budget (Scotland) (No.4) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the general prin
>> Show more
AbstainCarried

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095.2 Alex Johnstone: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12095.1 Willie Rennie: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12095 Alex Neil: Tackling Inequalities—That the Parliament agrees that a strong, sustainable eco
>> Show more
NoCarried

Selection of John Pentland MSP for appointment to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.
YesCarried

S4M-12060.2 Hugh Henry: Commending the People who Keep Scotland Safe in Emergencies—As an amendment
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12045.3 Shona Robison: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Rich
>> Show more
AbstainCarried

S4M-12045.2 Jackson Carlaw: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Ric
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Annabel Goldie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12143: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 22/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11843: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10422: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10309: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 12/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09934: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 02/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09844: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09748.2: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09714: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 10/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09431: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08887: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Annabel Goldie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03946: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03938: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 12/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03910: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 05/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03528: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 15/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03491: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03445: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03371: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03318: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 22/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21259: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03180: Annabel Goldie, West Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/04/2014 Show Full Question >>

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