David Stewart MSP

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Member of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body
Member of the Conveners Group

Search for other Speeches made by David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
David Stewart

Last year, a report from the Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists highlighted in stark terms that the number of trained educational psychologists in Scotland is “dangerously low” while, at the same time, demand for services is soaring. What words of comfort can the cabinet secretary give to the young trainee educational psychologist I met recently who has spent a lot of time and effort to get a place on her course but is at risk of being unable to complete it because, as she told me, the £49,000 bursary was removed by the Scottish Government in 2012?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
1. David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government what support it provides to people who want to train as educational psychologists. (S4O-03721)



Meeting of the Parliament 18 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 18, 2014
David Stewart

I welcome the work that Dave Thompson has done on drink driving. As Dr Richard Simpson mentioned, there are strong arguments for devolving day-to-day administration of the matter, so I support the thrust of Dave Thompson’s comments.

It is important to view drink driving in the broader context of the public health implications of alcohol abuse, so the solutions must take into account drinking patterns and those groups that are particularly at risk.

As a Highlands and Islands road safety campaigner, I welcome any measures that will improve road safety and reduce fatalities and serious injuries as a result. It is a tragedy that, every year, one death in 10 on Scottish roads involves a driver who is over the drink-driving limit. Every year, an average of 30 deaths on Scottish roads are caused by drivers who are over the legal limit. In 2010, there were 750 casualties and 20 deaths as a direct result of drink driving. In 2011, there were 680 casualties and 20 deaths as a direct result of alcohol.

Of course, I heartily welcome the proposal to lower the permitted blood alcohol level in Scotland—a power conferred by the Scotland Act 2012—and look forward to the UK Government following our lead for the rest of the UK as soon as possible. I would welcome the speedy introduction of such legislation.

We need a clear and unambiguous message. If someone is driving, they should not drink. They should not do the lottery with their career or force other road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, to do the same. If they do, they will face the consequences.

International best practice suggests that the countries that have the lowest drink-driving figures have three things in common: a long track record of drink-driving enforcement; a high level of detection; and mass media support for enforcement.

For young drivers in particular, graduated licence schemes with restrictions on passengers, night driving and zero tolerance of alcohol will, along with increased education, reduce the carnage on our roads and reduce deaths and injuries throughout Scotland.

16:17  

Meeting of the Parliament 18 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 18, 2014
David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

As a veteran road safety campaigner, I very much welcome the debate this afternoon and, of course, I will be supporting the Scottish Government’s motion.

I will focus my remarks on young driver safety. It is appropriate that we are having this debate in road safety week. I will begin by reading part of a blog that was posted by the best friend of a drink-driver. It states:

“We all enjoy our nights out but my mate takes it way too far, he’s never aggressive or anything when he’s drunk but last Friday night was the tipping point for many of us that go out.

We found out that after 18 pints of Caffreys, 10 JD & Cokes and various shots of liqueurs that he actually drove the 3 miles home. All that started at 5pm and ended at 4am.

This has got to stop, if he’d hit anyone or anything then he would never have known about it.”

The blog went on:

“My take on it is that if he is stupid enough to do it then he will have to face the consequences, but it’s not just him that would suffer ... So would his wife, his three kids and god forbid the poor ... family of the person that he hits.”

Having spent years campaigning for driver safety, I have learned a lot about the tragedies that are involved in drink driving and have spent a lot of time thinking about the solutions to this crucial aspect of driver safety. The trigger for me was the tragic death of two 17-year-olds in March 2010, which were directly linked to drink driving.

It is a truism that is not depleted by repetition that there is no greater tragedy, no greater sorrow and no greater loss than for a parent to lose a child. That tragedy in the Highlands led me to set up a local group called the north of Scotland driver awareness team, which led to local campaigns in the Highlands and Islands called sensible driving, always arriving.

Although drink driving appears to be a single issue, as many members have mentioned it is in fact a diverse problem that includes various dimensions such as alcohol abuse, underage drinking and other social concerns, as identified in the North review and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence report of 2010. Therefore, the solutions need to be equally intricate and wide-ranging. The issue demands a comprehensive, creative and flexible approach.



Meeting of the Parliament 18 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 18, 2014
David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

Does the member share my view that we should introduce a graduated driving licence scheme for young drivers? The member will know that the proposal is that no alcohol be allowed in a young driver’s blood during the training period until they have a full, unrestricted licence.



Meeting of the Parliament 13 November 2014 : Thursday, November 13, 2014
David Stewart

I will write to the member on the specific points, but perhaps it will be useful if I give the wider picture.

The year, the corporate body introduced changes to the criteria attached to the regular visitor pass category, which is known as the parliamentary support pass for MSP-sponsored applications. The primary change is that, for the visitor to qualify for a pass, the sponsor is required to confirm the parliamentary purpose for which the pass will be used and that the visitor will attend Parliament at least weekly, with the condition that parliamentary support pass holders do not use their access to the Parliament to act as lobbyists—paid or unpaid—for any individual or organisation that might seek to influence the political process. The pass is issued for an initial period of three months instead of 12 months, which was the period under the original arrangements.

Similarly, for other, non-parliamentary building users, the requirement for the continuance of a pass will be challenged at the point of receipt of an application for renewal.



Meeting of the Parliament 13 November 2014 : Thursday, November 13, 2014
David Stewart (Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body)

The security office, on behalf of the corporate body, continuously reviews the issuing of passes. That process forms a critical part of the overall security measures and is based on the advice received from the security services.

As requested by the corporate body, the security office is currently reviewing the policies around the issuing of passes, including to those who do not work in the parliamentary complex.



Meeting of the Parliament 13 November 2014 : Thursday, November 13, 2014
David Stewart

Perhaps I can give a bit more background about the scheme to try to answer the member’s question.

The trustees of the Scottish parliamentary pension scheme appointed Baillie Gifford as fund managers for the scheme and have delegated the responsibility for day-to-day investment management to them.

The pension contributions are invested in a pooled fund, which means that the Scottish parliamentary pension scheme is one of a number of investors in the fund. Under those arrangements, the Scottish parliamentary pension scheme does not directly own any stocks and therefore cannot direct investment.

In order to do that, the scheme would need to change to a segregated portfolio arrangement, but doing so would be a decision for the fund trustees and depend on a number of factors, such as the practicalities of such a change, any cost implications and whether the value of the fund was sufficient to support a segregated arrangement.

I will take the opportunity to write to the trustees of the Scottish parliamentary pension scheme to ask them to consider the matter in much more detail.



Meeting of the Parliament 13 November 2014 : Thursday, November 13, 2014
David Stewart (Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body)

I share the member’s interest in this matter, having been a trustee of the Scottish parliamentary pension scheme for over three years.

The Scottish parliamentary pension scheme invests in the Baillie Gifford managed pension fund and, from May 2012, it has also invested in the Baillie Gifford diversified growth fund. In total, those funds currently hold approximately 4 per cent of assets in oil and gas producers, 1 per cent in oil equipment services and distribution, 2 per cent in tobacco and 4 per cent in defence.



Meeting of the Parliament 12 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 12, 2014
David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)

I thank each and every member here today for their commitment to the cause of diabetes prevention and for sharing the International Diabetes Federation’s vision of living in a world without diabetes. I also welcome to the gallery a group of lead diabetes nurses who had a conference today, which I had the pleasure of speaking at.

I quote the International Diabetes Federation, which said that world diabetes day is a day that

“unites the global diabetes communities to produce a powerful voice for diabetes awareness and advocacy.”

The IDF’s theme for this year’s world diabetes day is healthy living and diabetes.

The day was created in 1991 by the IDF and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat that diabetes poses, and it became an official United Nations day in 2007. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public spotlight.

We are facing a global epidemic: 382 million people live with diabetes, and a further 316 million are at high risk of developing the disease. The IDF diabetes atlas confirms that 80 per cent of people who have diabetes live in low and middle-income countries and that the socially disadvantaged are at the most risk.

By last year, diabetes caused more than 5 million deaths worldwide—every six seconds, a person dies from diabetes—and cost more than $600 billion in healthcare spending. Without co-ordination and systematic action to prevent diabetes, in less than 25 years almost 600 million people will be living with diabetes.

However, during the past two years, progress has been driving political change for diabetes. Following the 2011 United Nations declaration on non-communicable diseases, the World Health Assembly in May last year saw the unanimous adoption by member states of a global action plan. There have been other international initiatives as well.

A few short months ago, I strolled in the Melbourne summer sun from my hotel to the Victoria State Parliament House. I was due to speak to an unusual audience of almost 100 national champions for diabetes from as far afield as Russia, Ukraine, Nigeria and Canada. South Africa sent its first lady. All were elected members, all were advocates for diabetes, and all represented their own countries. It was a privilege to be asked by the International Diabetes Federation to represent Scotland at the first ever global forum of parliamentary champions for diabetes. The next forum will be in Canada in 2015, and I hope that Scotland will be represented again by members such as Nanette Milne, who convenes, along with me, the cross-party group on diabetes.

The conference concluded with the signing of the Melbourne declaration, which committed Parliaments across the globe to ensuring that diabetes is high on their political agenda. The declaration called on nations to put a higher emphasis on preventative work, early diagnosis, management and access to adequate care, and to ensure that treatment and medicines are available for all those who live with diabetes. The declaration was the brainchild of the IDF, whose president is Sir Michael Hirst, former member of Parliament and ex-chair of Diabetes UK.

I was proud to talk to the conference delegates not only about Scotland but about issues of international significance for diabetes, and I am proud to come from a nation that has a strong track record in innovation and discovery. After all, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, and he was a Scot; James Watt created the steam engine, and he was a Scot; and Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and he was a Scot, too. However, international collaboration is where real strides can be made. In 1922, Professor John Macleod from Aberdeen, working with two other outstanding scientists, Dr Banting and Charles Best, discovered insulin, and in 1923 Macleod and Banting won the Nobel prize for medicine, which was shared with Best.

There have also been more recent political developments here in Scotland, and strong, positive steps have been made in the care of people with diabetes, including the provision of insulin pumps to under-18s. However, the number of people with the condition is rising, and that will have a serious effect on Scotland’s immediate future. Beyond the grave social cost of the condition for individuals and families, there is the huge economic cost to the NHS in Scotland. That cost is estimated at £1 billion annually, and 80 per cent of that money goes on managing avoidable complications.

With the Melbourne declaration’s focus on diabetes prevention, the Scottish Government must have a focus on the condition that properly reflects the size of the problem. For example, more people in Scotland are living with diabetes than are living with coronary heart disease, and two and a half times more people have diabetes than all those with cancer combined. Every year in Scotland, about 1,900 people have emergency admissions for diabetic ketoacidosis, a critical, life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention, and more than 40 per cent of those admissions are of people under the age of 25. People with diabetes account for almost a fifth of hospital in-patients at any given time, and a person with diabetes can face a reduced life expectancy of up to 14 years in Scotland. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age people and is a main contributor to kidney failure, amputations and cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. People with diabetes should be receiving their 15 healthcare essentials checks from the national health service, and previous action plans have been instrumental in taking forward that critical goal.

As I said, the theme of world diabetes day is healthy living and diabetes. In that respect, I recently met Michael Matheson, who will respond to the debate, with Jane-Claire Judson of Diabetes Scotland to talk about changes in Government procurement. For example, the new ferry contract could ensure that menus on ferries make clear the calorie, fat and carbohydrate content of all food that is served, which would be good for those dealing with diabetes as well as for those managing their weight.

We in Scotland have a great chance not only to raise the bar in healthcare but to contribute to scientific and medical understanding across the globe. World diabetes day is an international opportunity for diabetes to be put centre stage, with the focus on awareness, advocacy and best practice across the globe. We have to tackle this ticking time-bomb. I believe that all we need is, as Sir Walter Scott said,

“The will to do, the soul to dare”.

17:13  
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
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NoCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
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NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
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YesCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
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YesDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
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NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
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NoCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
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NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by David Stewart
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11523: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11483: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11388: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11346: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11234: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11158: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11078: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, On Behalf of Public Petitions Committee, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11052: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10806: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10335: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by David Stewart
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-23433: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23431: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23432: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03790: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 25/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23304: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23305: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23302: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23303: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23282: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23239: David Stewart, Highlands and Islands, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Question >>

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