Anne McTaggart MSP

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Search for other Speeches made by Anne McTaggart (Glasgow) (Lab)

Meeting of the Parliament 29 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Anne McTaggart (Glasgow) (Lab)

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in today’s debate. The subject is of great interest to me, given that I am a mother of three, all of whom are currently in full-time education—well, I hope they are. [Laughter.]

Devolution has brought positive change in education and early years. The Labour Party has sought to raise the level of achievement through increased public investment and to reduce inequality by providing resources for students from less fortunate backgrounds.

In the Parliament’s first session, Scottish Labour made significant reforms in school education. It maintained its commitment to education by launching a national debate in 2002, which assessed the future of school education in Scotland and gave policy makers the opportunity to consider further reform. As a result, there was an agreement to review the school curriculum, end national testing for five to 14-year-olds and increase the emphasis on vocational skills and subject choices for 14 to 16-year-olds.

In Scottish Labour’s second term of office in this Parliament, the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 was passed. Since 1999, Labour’s approach has demonstrated its commitment to reforming and improving education in Scotland.

Since 2007, there has been a failure to meet targets on childcare provision, class sizes and free school meals. It could also be argued that university education has been prioritised at the expense of other areas, as the recent cuts in college places demonstrate. Colleges are dear to my heart. The 37 per cent cut has deprived 140,000 potential students of the opportunity for further education.

I understand that Scotland’s devolved education system compares reasonably with systems in the rest of the United Kingdom and that Scotland continues to succeed. We are concerned about the lack of comprehensive progress, despite the best efforts of schools, teachers and Governments. There remain high levels of inequality across all areas of the Scottish education system. It is unacceptable that children from poor backgrounds do significantly worse than other children do, at all stages of learning. That potentially limits their life chances and perpetuates the poverty cycle.

The challenge is clear and the key point remains: if schools are to meet society’s needs, there must be a change in culture and outlook that goes beyond the classroom, as Kevin Stewart and Kezia Dugdale said. What is needed if we are to improve education in Scotland is clear to me. We should continue to promote social inclusion and we should provide more high-quality childcare to families throughout Scotland. Kezia Dugdale has outlined the Labour Party’s plans in that regard. Our commitment to investment of £45 million in childcare places for mothers who want to take up a college place will help our most vulnerable potential students and tackle high levels of inequality.

The Scottish Labour Party has played a key role in reforming education in Scotland. Although its work has been diluted somewhat, I hope that we will be able to ensure a better education system for all in the very near future. It is the responsibility of every elected member to make that a priority—we do not do so at our peril, because our children are our country’s future.

15:59  

Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Anne McTaggart (Glasgow) (Lab)

One of the Scottish Parliament’s fundamental values is transparency in government for the benefit of the Scottish people. The petition is an important step towards upholding the simple value of honesty.

At its core, the petition calls for the creation of a register of interests for members of the judiciary in order to ensure fairness in our courts. With a register, potential biases can be immediately identified and the potential for a conflict of interest is entirely avoided in bringing cases to court. Such a process would result in simple, fairer and more transparent courts, where the concern of possible bias is no longer a concern.

Although I fully support the petition, I believe that we cannot ignore the need for appropriate checks and balances in order to protect the personal information from being used for other, inappropriate purposes. In addition, in seeking to protect the privacy of judicial officials, the register should not be available for use by a member of the public to contact a member of the judiciary. The information that is collected for the register should be provided explicitly for identifying possible bias with the goal of promoting fairness and accountability, and not for violating the privacy of a judge.

I have always been committed to promoting transparency and accountability in government, most recently in supporting the lobbying transparency bill, for which my colleague Neil Findlay lodged a proposal for a private member’s bill in 2012. The bill, which attracted support from members on all sides of the Parliament, was a great step forward in the direction of open government.

However, more than a year after the Scottish Government said that it would introduce another bill on that subject, we are still waiting for a proposal. Just as the goal for a register of interests is not to scrutinise the judiciary but rather to promote fairness, the goal of Neil Findlay’s bill was not to make it harder for charities to promote good causes but to increase transparency with regard to who is lobbying parliamentary officials.

Having worked on Neil Findlay’s bill when it first came before the Public Petitions Committee, I am a keen advocate of its aims. It promotes the simple democratic values of fairness, transparency and accountability. In Scotland, claims continue to emerge of trials that have been unfair as a result of religious, ethnic or national bias. As long as those claims continue to exist, it is the Parliament’s job to promote fair government.

In conclusion, I declare my support for the petition and encourage support from all the other MSPs.

16:10  

Local Government and Regeneration Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Anne McTaggart (Glasgow) (Lab)

I thank Mr Hosie for what he said, which leads me on to the next question.

You have illustrated the fact that some of our communities do not have the capacity to take advantage of the provisions in the bill. What will your organisation do to assist those communities?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Anne McTaggart

What would you do proactively to encourage community members?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Anne McTaggart

Welcome, panel. I have a few questions. I might dot all over the place. My first question is for Maggie Paterson. In your submission to the committee, you said that the bill’s provisions

“do not directly facilitate community empowerment.”

Throughout your submission you talk about national standards. Can you tell me how they could co-relate and work together?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Anne McTaggart

Yes.



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Anne McTaggart

Yes.

We have heard a lot that less-deprived communities will suffer as a result of the bill. What will your organisation do to combat that?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Anne McTaggart

I will reiterate what the convener said. Given how prominent your organisations are in your communities and how hard you work, what plans—if any—did you put in place to gather information for the consultation?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Anne McTaggart

Has that made you think about how to inform your communities about the bill?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Anne McTaggart (Glasgow) (Lab)

I thank Jackie Baillie for securing this evening’s important members’ debate. The development of appropriate respite services for young adults is an on-going matter that is of great concern to many of my constituents in Glasgow. At the outset, I record my admiration for the dedication of carers throughout Scotland and for the outstanding work that they achieve daily. Let us recognise how important it is that we do everything in our power to find solutions to problems when and as they arise, because we as a country owe a huge debt to their devotion.

As a member of the Public Petitions Committee, I have been involved in the progress of the petition that was lodged by Robert Wilson on behalf of CHAS young adult council, and I heard the petitioners’ wonderful presentation. The petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to work with charities to help to create suitable respite facilities for younger disabled adults who have life-shortening conditions and are aged between 21 and 45. Parliament and the Government should be working together with hospices and care providers to see how we can provide facilities for young adults, or committing funds to creating new purpose-built facilities to support that group.

Robert Watson and Kyle Kelly spoke at the committee about the need for respite facilities that are appropriate for younger adults who have severe physical disabilities. They brought to the committee’s attention the need for those facilities both for carers and younger adults. I had the pleasure of being invited, along with constituency MSP Jackie Baillie and my colleague Siobhan McMahon, to visit the Robin house children’s hospice in Balloch. The work that is done there for young people is amazing and the staff are to be congratulated.

A constituent of mine who had recently been to Leuchie house, which does an equally wonderful job, had not enjoyed the experience because my constituent was younger than the age group that was receiving respite there at the time. As Robert Watson said, there is a gap in the respite that is available for younger adults. That is a huge concern, because one of the main parts of respite is about getting together to socialise with friends and peers.

I share the view that provision of respite should be a positive experience for both the carer and the younger adult. Carers and those who receive care both need breaks from the routine. As Robert Watson pointed out, for the carer, respite is a chance to relax, recharge their batteries and generally take a break. Likewise, for the young adults, respite care allows for a change from everyday living. The positive effects of respite care should not be restricted to the families of those who are under 21 and over 45.

It is my hope that all of us across Parliament should continue, with the Scottish Government, to close the gap that is left behind by CHAS’s policy change, and that we should support the creation of respite facilities that are geared towards young adults. I hope that the minister will concentrate his efforts on working with charities, hospices and care providers to co-ordinate resources and create a solution to the gap for young adults with disabilities.

18:14  
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11332.2 Jenny Marra: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11332.1 Gavin Brown: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11332 Fergus Ewing: Supported Business—That the Parliament recognises the economic and social va
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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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NoCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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NoCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
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NoCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
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NoCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
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NoCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Anne McTaggart
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11356: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11345: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11287: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11286: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11204: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11177: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11136: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11061: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10961: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10917: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Anne McTaggart
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-22949: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22909: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22531: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22516: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03398: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21732: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03370: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00732: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21458: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21387: Anne McTaggart, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/05/2014 Show Full Question >>

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