Annabelle Ewing MSP

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Annabelle Ewing MSP

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  • Member for: Mid Scotland and Fife
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Annabelle is a member of the following Committees:

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

Parliamentary Activities

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Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
The Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment (Annabelle Ewing)

 

Annabelle Ewing has identified an error in her contribution and provided the following correction.

 

At col 10, paragraph 1—

Original text—

About £3 million has been allocated directly in response to the recommendations of the commission on developing Scotland’s young workforce, to address wider underrepresentation across our employability programmes.

Corrected text—

About £3 million has been allocated directly in response to the recommendations of the commission on developing Scotland’s young workforce, including specific activity to address wider underrepresentation across our employability programmes.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Annabelle Ewing

No. I am sorry, but I have only seven minutes.

Mr Findlay would prefer to have the important powers over employee rights and pay and conditions to be determined even by a Tory Government at Westminster rather than by the democratically elected Scottish Parliament. Mr Findlay’s problem is that in every debate of this kind he has to try to square a circle that just cannot be squared.

In terms of the action that the Scottish Government is taking within the powers that we do have, we will be setting up the fair work convention. Members may be interested to note that we are currently finalising the membership and the remit of the convention, in which employers and unions will work together to promote progressive workforce policies and, of course, the living wage.

We will also introduce the Scottish business pledge, which the First Minister confirmed as part of the Scottish Government’s programme for government and which at its heart is a partnership or compact. The Government will indicate its support for a strong and competitive economy so that Government and employers together are able to support a fairer, more prosperous Scotland. In return for support from the Scottish Government and its agencies, such as Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, we want companies to commit to the Scottish approach by, for example, paying the living wage, by not using the unacceptable zero-hours contracts and umbrella contracts, and by implementing other progressive workforce policies.

On procurement, which has been mentioned in the debate, it is clear that the key problem, as I said only a couple of weeks ago in a members’ business debate that Mr Findlay took part in, is that we do not have the power to set the minimum wage rate. If we did have that power, which the Scottish Government sought for this Parliament through the Smith commission process, we would not have to approach the issue on a denuded basis in terms of what we can do on guidance on the procurement front. On that issue, I think that Mr Findlay suggested that we had not published guidance or that there had been some delay in it. I do not know whether he is aware that there is guidance on the Government’s website in the form of a Scottish procurement policy note that deals with workforce issues, including umbrella contracts. I recommend that he has a read of that.

We are determined to continue to do what we can, using the powers that we have, to ensure that workers have the rights that they are entitled to expect in the 21st century. However, with our hands tied behind our backs, we do not have the employment law powers that, as we heard from Gordon MacDonald, even Northern Ireland does, although we would really like those powers. Notwithstanding the publication of the vow plus, if we can call it that—I do not know what it is called or what the Labour Party was up to the other day—the Labour Party does not support the devolution of powers over employment policies. Not even in the vow plus did Labour call for that. The Labour Party needs to have a long, hard look at where it is going in terms of seeking to protect the rights of workers in Scotland.

We are clear that we want to have the power to protect workers’ rights. I suspect that, in the months ahead, the people of Scotland will be considering these matters very carefully as we approach the Westminster elections in May.

Meeting closed at 17:38.  

Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Annabelle Ewing

I listened to Mr Findlay, and I know that his heart probably lies somewhere else on the constitutional aspect of the issue that we are debating, but the fact of the matter is that the party that he represents in the Scottish Parliament does not seek for the Parliament to have the powers to deal with the important issues under discussion. If we had those powers, their impact would benefit workers in Scotland.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
The Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment (Annabelle Ewing)

I welcome the union representatives who I understand are in the public gallery watching the debate. I am sorry that I was not able to come out to meet them outside the Parliament today; I was in a meeting with the cabinet secretary and some Unite members, further to a meeting that had been arranged at the request of Christina McKelvie MSP.

We discussed a number of workforce issues, including umbrella contracts, and we heard about the unacceptable and abusive practices that are going on in the construction industry and other sectors. In particular, we heard about problems of compulsion, workers being denuded of their rights, and workers receiving reduced pay and worse conditions. I therefore thank Mr Findlay for bringing this important members’ business debate to the Parliament.

The UK Government has pursued a programme that has resulted in the slow dismantling of employee rights that have been built up over many decades. To cap it all, the advances in employee rights legislation in recent years have been undermined by the introduction of significant fees for employment tribunals, which in effect have priced workers out of justice.

I want to pick up on some points that were made in the debate, for clarification. I think that it was Cara Hilton who mentioned the situation in Wales. Scottish Government officials have been speaking to their counterparts in Wales and have tried to obtain a copy of the draft guidance on procurement policy on which the Welsh Assembly Government is working, but people were not keen to give us a copy. I understand that the statement that the Welsh Minister for Economy, Science and Transport made the other week might shortly be subject to clarification in relation to the powers that the Welsh Assembly Government has to do what the minister wants to do.

The Scottish Government is taking action on workforce matters, against a backdrop in which power over employment law still lies with the Westminster Government, as members said. We are committed to pursuing the fair work agenda, and in the months to come the fair work convention will be established, further to the publication of the report, “Working Together Review: Progressive Workplace Policies in Scotland”.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Annabelle Ewing

It is kind of Linda Fabiani to extend the offer of a visit. I am always happy to visit examples of local good practice. Whether I do so during apprenticeship week would depend on my diary commitments, but I shall ask my office to get in touch with her. I noted the member’s motion on the subject, and I offer my congratulations to the young apprentices who have completed their sign making apprenticeship and wish them the very best for their future careers.

I also acknowledge the efforts of private training providers such as East Kilbride and District Group Training Association in supporting the Government’s ambitions for the modern apprenticeship programme and, indeed, the ambitions of our young people. The target to which I referred, which we have exceeded, is not where we are going to sit. We have set a further, more ambitious target of 30,000 modern apprenticeship starts by 2020.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
The Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment (Annabelle Ewing)

Through Skills Development Scotland, we have exceeded our ambitious target to deliver more than 25,000 modern apprenticeship starts each year, with 77,402 new opportunities delivered over the past three years. The number of apprentices starting engineering frameworks has gradually increased in recent years. There were almost 500 more engineering apprentice starts in 2013-14 than in 2010-11.

In August 2014, Skills Development Scotland published the skills investment plan for the engineering and advanced manufacturing sector. Developed in partnership with industry, the skills investment plan provides the necessary blueprint for addressing skills supply issues in the sector, including a specific action to better meet employer demand through the promotion of modern apprenticeships in engineering.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Annabelle Ewing

As a former member of the Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, it is clear to me that the UK Government’s changes to the welfare system continue to cause hardship for a significant number of people in Scotland, with disabled people suffering disproportionately. That is unacceptable.

The Scottish Government will continue to do what it can to help those who are most affected, but it is clear that, whatever the exact nature of the powers that may come to the Parliament, they will come with a 20 per cent cut across the board that Westminster will impose. It is sad that, for the Westminster parties, spending £100 billion on new nuclear weapons takes precedence over providing a safety net for some of the most vulnerable people in our country.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Annabelle Ewing

The specific recommendations that have been incorporated in the refreshed youth employment strategy are being actively worked on. It might interest the member to know that there are a number of funding streams. About £3 million has been allocated directly in response to the recommendations of the commission on developing Scotland’s young workforce to address wider underrepresentation across our employability programmes. [Annabelle Ewing has corrected this contribution. See end of report.] The Scottish Government has provided £2 million for the targeted employer recruitment incentive, to facilitate transitions to sustainable employment. There is also the community jobs fund, which the Scottish Government delivers in partnership with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and which creates targeted opportunities for those who face additional barriers to employment, including those with a disability.

Of course, more can always be done. The Scottish Government is determined to do all that we can to improve access for disabled people to apprenticeships and therefore to the world of work.



Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
The Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment (Annabelle Ewing)

The commission for developing Scotland’s young workforce recognised the need for more action to support young disabled people and made specific recommendations to achieve that. In response, “Developing the Young Workforce: Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy” sets out the framework for how we intend to tackle the issue. For example, Skills Development Scotland is working with Barnardo’s, Remploy and training providers to increase the take-up of modern apprenticeships by disabled young people. Skills Development Scotland has also met the BRITE—Beattie resources for inclusiveness in technology and education—initiative and Capability Scotland to discuss ways in which the accessibility of SDS’s My World of Work web service can be improved to ensure that it is accessible to all customers.



Meeting of the Parliament 15 January 2015 : Thursday, January 15, 2015
Annabelle Ewing

Thank you, Presiding Officer.

It is important that we recognise the key problem, which is that this Parliament does not have power over pay. That power is still held in Westminster, which is a position that the Westminster unionist parties wish to maintain.

Of course, the alternative would have been to ensure that we in Scotland could get power over pay, but, again, the Westminster unionist parties did not seek that power during the Smith commission process. Indeed, it appears that the Labour Party would rather have a Tory Government at Westminster than a Scottish Government here in Scotland in charge of pay for Scottish workers. As we look to the months ahead, with the Westminster election looming, the voters of Scotland will find that increasingly difficult to understand.

In addition to our work on statutory guidance for procurement, we will hold a summit with business leaders to see what further work we can do to ensure that the living wage becomes the norm for pay policy in Scotland. I referred to the fair work convention, which we will set up to look at workforce matters further to the publication of the report, “Working Together Review: Progressive Workplace Policies in Scotland”.

I had many other things to say today, Presiding Officer, including on the important issue of the pay gap and female employment, so I hope that there will be another opportunity at hand. I remind members that I am always happy to come to the chamber to speak about the important issues of fair work, fair pay and gender equality in the workplace.

I thank John Mason for bringing this important debate to the chamber today. The way forward is to ensure that we in Scotland have the pay and employment powers that are necessary to tackle inequality in our country. At present, we operate with our hands tied behind our back. As I said, the voters of Scotland will, in the months ahead, give some thought to where they wish those powers to lie.

13:04 Meeting suspended.  14:30 On resuming—  
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Amendment 2 moved by X on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill—That the
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Amendment 3 moved by X on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill—That the
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Amendment 4 moved by X on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill—That the
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Amendment 5 moved by X on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill—That the
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Amendment 7 moved by X on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill—That the
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Amendment 8 moved by X on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill—That the
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12423.1 Alex Rowley: Commission on Local Tax Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-12423 in the n
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12423 Marco Biagi: Commission on Local Tax Reform—That the Parliament supports the establishment
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12385 Liz Smith: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament agrees that a solid grou
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12395.1 Fergus Ewing: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in the
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Annabelle Ewing
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11565: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11294: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11292: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11291: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11187: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10942: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10709: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10694: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10672: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10307.1: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
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EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03709: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22948: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22797: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00804: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03545: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03477: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03417: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02203: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03356: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03259: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/05/2014 Show Full Question >>

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