Clare Adamson MSP

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Search for other Speeches made by 1. Clare Adamson (Central Scotland) (SNP)

Local Government and Regeneration Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Clare Adamson (Central Scotland) (SNP)

Thank you, Dr Cooper, for helping sort out what we have covered already this morning.

The Scottish Government has stated that it believes that services run by the community, social enterprises and voluntary services, such as cancer transport services, should still be exempt from the hire car licensing regime. Do you agree with its position on those organisations?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Clare Adamson

I want to take us back to an earlier part of the discussion in which we talked about the knowledge test. Given that we are also talking about apps, and given that most cars and smartphones now have satellite navigation systems, is the knowledge test still fit for purpose?



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
Clare Adamson (Central Scotland) (SNP)

I welcome the opportunity to contribute to my first committee debate in my role as deputy convener of the Welfare Reform Committee. I thank the previous members of the committee for their hard work in producing both of the reports that we are discussing.

I may be new to the post, but I am certainly not new to the concerns and issues around welfare reform. We all hear similar stories in our constituencies about the hardships that people face. There cannot be an MSP or councillor in Scotland who does not understand the level of the problems, because our surgeries are full of people who are seeking help and our mailboxes are full of letters from them.

In the debate earlier this week, I referenced the Citizens Advice Scotland briefing for this week’s debates on welfare. It talked about the need for food banks and the level of poverty being destitution that goes beyond poverty.

While I have been getting up to speed with the committee’s work, some things have really struck me in the evidence. In his opening speech, our convener Michael McMahon mentioned the severity of the new sanctions regime. I want to raise a point about proportionality. As the committee heard in oral evidence from Dr David Webster of the University of Glasgow, the loss of income that sanctions can lead to is now twice the maximum that can be imposed by the fines in our courts. He said:

“the JSA scale of fines runs higher than that which is available to the mainstream courts, yet claimants have none of the protections that an accused in the mainstream courts would have. I am referring to the presumption of innocence, the entitlement to legal representation and the fact that—as I mentioned in my submission—in a mainstream court, before someone is sentenced, the sheriff will call for reports so that the sentence is appropriate.”—[Official Report, Welfare Reform Committee, 1 April 2014; c 1404.]

We have also heard about the DWP shifting the social responsibility and the costs of dealing with the effects of welfare reform, particularly the costs of dealing with sanctioned claimants.

One area where the cost has clearly been put on to the third sector is food banks. The DWP argues that there is no causal link between the increase in food bank use and welfare reforms, but the committee heard different in oral evidence. Dr Filip Sosenko of Heriot-Watt University told the committee that the “strongest evidence” for a link between welfare reform and the demand for food aid was the growth of food aid at a faster rate post April 2013. As we know, April 2013 was when significant changes were made to the welfare system, including the introduction of the so-called bedroom tax, the uprating of benefits by 1 per cent rather than in line with inflation, the assessment of people on disability living allowance and the benefit cap. Those were four significant changes to the welfare system.

To bring the issue down to local level, Community Food Moray said in its written submission that

“The impact of the welfare reform was evident almost overnight.”

It pointed to an increase in referrals post April 2013 from 10 per month to an average of 15 per week.

I will address some of the issues that my colleagues have raised during the debate. In the minister’s opening speech, she framed the Government’s approach to welfare reform within three main priorities: making a prosperous Scotland, tackling inequality and protecting and reforming our public services. The minister ably brought to light some of the work that the Scottish Government is already doing with the powers that we have. She had hoped that the Smith commission would give a significant opportunity to move away from mitigation of the welfare reforms to a system that suits Scotland’s needs. However, in the minister’s assessment, the commission is a missed opportunity.

Ken Macintosh almost broke into consensus. He ably highlighted the work of the charity the Pavement and its word on the streets project. He told us about the plight of Caroline, who had 15 months under sanctions—an apt example of some of the problems that people are experiencing. Mr Macintosh also referenced the committee’s visit to the Parkhead citizens advice bureau, which I am sure was extremely informative and helped the committee in its work.

We heard from two esteemed members of the Smith commission: Annabel Goldie and Linda Fabiani. Ms Goldie looked to future actions and how to influence change and provide mitigation. I share Dr Simpson’s concern about paragraphs 55 and 56 of the Smith commission report, which are on top-up benefits. The concern is whether such benefits may be offset in the future. Ms Fabiani also mentioned that as a concern.

Kevin Stewart highlighted the number of disabled people who have been affected by the reform. He referred to the moving evidence to the committee from John Lindsay and James Nisbet, who ably told us of their experience as people suffering from mental ill health going through the system and having to deal with what they said were punitive measures and often insulting questions.

Cara Hilton thanked the volunteers who work in the food bank sector. She mentioned that we should all regret the need for food banks, and spoke of the great work of volunteers across Scotland. There is a food bank drive in my Central Scotland region on Saturday morning, which I hope to take part in and which I hope is a success. The issue was also highlighted by Joan McAlpine in relation to South Scotland.

Christina McKelvie reminded us of the disproportionate effect that welfare reform has had on women’s incomes, with an estimated £22 billion of the £26 billion of cuts so far being shouldered by women, many of whom are also disabled. Ms McKelvie pointed to the inequality of that and said that it leads to further discrimination against women in our society.

Siobhan McMahon gave us an informed history of the establishment and the growth of food banks in the world and, as Michael McMahon did in his opening speech, Siobhan McMahon said that the three-year period up to which people can be sanctioned is a completely disproportionate and punitive length of time. She also reminded Parliament that use of food banks and third sector organisations to address issues of need that should lie within the responsibilities of the DWP should not be normalised or accepted as the way forward for our society, because those societal burdens should lie with the DWP.

Ms Fabiani talked about the growth in the number of food banks and highlighted the work of a constituent of hers in East Kilbride, Denis Curran, who has worked in food banks for many years. She said that his experience made it impossible to understand how anyone could deny that the austerity policies of Westminster and welfare reforms are linked to the current rise in the number of food banks and their use.

Anne McTaggart spoke passionately about the wider aspects of fuel poverty and the complications of poverty, and Joan McAlpine highlighted the case of Annemarie, who was left in debt for years because of problems arising from the large number of sanctions that had been applied to her.

I come to Alex Johnstone’s summing-up speech. I was interested in the use of language throughout the debate. When we hear members using words such as “punitive” and “inhumane”, it is difficult not to share some of their concerns about how inhumane the sanctions reform is. However, I hope that the consensus and willingness to move forward that Mr Johnstone talked about will work across the chamber. I hope that, in my time on the committee, I will be able to work with all its members to try to solve some of these very difficult problems.



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
Clare Adamson

Thank you, Presiding Officer. As I said, this has been my first opportunity to speak on behalf of the committee, and I hope that I have reflected the debate this afternoon. I look forward to continuing that work with the committee.



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Clare Adamson (Central Scotland) (SNP)

Given the commercial viability of premises, the difficulties that are caused in terms of what has been said about the licensing boards, and the effect that a large supermarket can have on an area, has any consideration been given to how minimum unit pricing of alcohol might change the situation? Have the licensing boards given any consideration to that?

Will minimum unit pricing of alcohol reduce consumption?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Clare Adamson

At our evidence session last week, representation was made about changes in the way in which private members’ clubs are operating. Because such premises are subject to a less vigorous regime than an on-trade pub or club, occasional licences may have an impact. It has been said that such situations are not being taken into account when overprovision is being considered by the licensing boards. I would like to get your comments and your view on that.



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Clare Adamson

You cannot comment on overprovision, Ms Watson, but could you give us an indication of whether you have seen an increase in the number of occasional licences for members’ clubs?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Clare Adamson

I will push a wee bit on one issue. You have all given examples of how your legitimate businesses operate and comply with all the regulations. I am not an expert on industry, but my understanding from what has been said is that, in the pyramid of recycling, it is the ones at the bottom who do not have to comply with the same regulations that you have to.

Mr Hetherington mentioned smartphones; obviously technology is becoming much cheaper. In your opinion, are there regulations that you as larger operating businesses have to comply with that could be pushed down easily to the broker level?



Local Government and Regeneration Committee 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Clare Adamson

Mr McCann, when you talked about a level playing field, did you mean the smaller businesses in the pyramid that was described or the ones that are external to the metal industry?



Meeting of the Parliament 16 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 16, 2014
1. Clare Adamson (Central Scotland) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the United Kingdom Government on devolving the power to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in Scottish parliamentary elections. (S4T-00877)

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

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

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

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
NoDefeated

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

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

Selection of John Pentland MSP for appointment to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12060.2 Hugh Henry: Commending the People who Keep Scotland Safe in Emergencies—As an amendment
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12045.3 Shona Robison: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Rich
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12045.2 Jackson Carlaw: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Ric
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Clare Adamson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11841: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11760: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11644: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11526.1: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11572: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11329: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11173: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11151: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11148: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11147: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Clare Adamson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4T-00877: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23570: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23525: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23526: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02459: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03668: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03625: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22588: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22356: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22167: Clare Adamson, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/07/2014 Show Full Question >>

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