David Torrance MSP

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Search for other Speeches made by David Torrance (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)

Meeting of the Parliament 13 November 2014 : Thursday, November 13, 2014
David Torrance (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)

I thank Clare Adamson for lodging the motion for debate and highlighting an important issue that affects thousands of young children and their families in Scotland every year.

Although the number of deaths attributed to accidents in the home has decreased dramatically over the past 20 years, far too many children are still killed or injured in accidents that are often easily prevented. A few simple pieces of equipment, backed by education for parents on how to identify hazards, can be all that it takes to make the difference between life and death for many children in their own homes. For that reason, I support the roll-out of Scotland’s home safety equipment scheme across the country.

The average family home contains a number of hazards that might not appear particularly dangerous initially but which can cause severe injury or even death. Young children under five are particularly vulnerable; because of their naturally inquisitive nature and because children in that age bracket tend to spend more time at home, the home is, in fact, the most common place for them to have an accident.

Anyone with experience of toddlers knows only too well how much mischief a little one can get into when their parent’s back is turned, even just for a moment. A kitchen cupboard or a flight of stairs can prove very tempting for a young child with a sense of adventure who has not yet fully developed a natural instinct for danger; in some instances, that can result in accidents involving poisoning, choking, suffocation, falls, burns or scalds.

NHS Fife, which serves my constituency, recorded in 2010-11 132 emergency hospital admissions of children under five years old as a result of unintentional injury in the home. Many of those accidents could have been easily prevented with just a few simple measures; indeed, equipment such as door jammers, safety gates, fire guards, blind cleats and window restrictors can be all that it takes to make our homes accident proof.

However, many families lack knowledge about how to prevent accidents at home. Families also lack the money to buy the safety equipment that is required. That is why Scotland’s home safety equipment scheme has been valuable to so many disadvantaged families in the pilot areas.

The most obvious advantage of home safety kits is their potential to save lives, but there are wider benefits. Reducing the number of accidents in the home eases the burden on NHS emergency treatment and follow-up care. That is a key consideration at a time when acute services are under increasing pressure and budgetary restraints.

Another positive outcome of the scheme is the reassurance that it provides to parents and carers by equipping them with knowledge and understanding of hazards in the home, as well as tools to help prevent accidents from occurring. The scheme offers people peace of mind that the family home is as safe as it can be.

I applaud the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents for its innovative home safety equipment scheme in England, which was the inspiration behind the pilot project in Scotland. I also commend the Scottish Government, RoSPA in Scotland, the local authorities in the pilot areas and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for their collective efforts and commitment to making the scheme a success.

Fife was not chosen as a pilot area for the scheme, which is unfortunate, because that would have been advantageous to many families in my constituency. The scheme should be rolled out throughout Scotland, so that every disadvantaged family can receive assistance to protect their children from preventable accidents in the home.

I thank Clare Adamson again for helping to raise awareness of home safety kits by lodging the motion for debate. I look forward to reading the forthcoming evaluation report on Scotland’s home safety equipment scheme, which I hope can be used as a tool for improving and enhancing the scheme, with a view to expanding it across Scotland in the near future.

12:51  

Public Petitions Committee 11 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 11, 2014
David Torrance (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)

I am happy to go along with John Wilson’s recommendations.



Public Petitions Committee 11 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 11, 2014
David Torrance

I am happy to go along with the recommendations.

11:30  

Public Petitions Committee 11 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 11, 2014
David Torrance

I go along with those recommendations.



Public Audit Committee 05 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 05, 2014
David Torrance (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)

I have a question about the maintenance backlog, which is mentioned on page 18 of the report. I note that Fife had the largest increase—of, I think, £13.5 million—but is that because in the past year it has moved to a new hospital extension and because it now has a large number of buildings that are surplus to requirements and which have been vacant for a year, if not longer?



Public Petitions Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
David Torrance (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)

Good morning. I am the MSP for the Kirkcaldy constituency.



Public Petitions Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
David Torrance

Good morning. You are talking about charitable status for private schools. I was a councillor in a local authority and I know that local authorities across Scotland have moved their sport and leisure facilities and their arts and library facilities to organisations with charitable status, and they are now considering moving some of their schools to charitable status. If local authorities can do that, how can you compare the two positions to stop independent schools getting charitable status?



Public Petitions Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
David Torrance

Yes.



Public Petitions Committee 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
David Torrance

I am happy to go along with that.



Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
David Torrance (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)

Like others, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Peter Cherbi for submitting the petition in question and the committee clerks for all their work.

The debate over whether to introduce a register of interests for the judiciary in Scotland is an intriguing one. It is true that there is currently no such register and that alternative arrangements are in place that arguably compensate for that. However, it is also true that registering one’s interests is now commonplace among all high-office public service personnel and that doing so increases transparency and accountability to the people we represent and serve. That is the point on which I would like to focus and is the main reason why I support the petitioner’s call for a register of interests to be introduced.

In Scotland, we take great pride in our legal system, and the integrity of our judges and sheriffs is paramount. We place a great deal of trust in our judiciary and things such as the judicial oath, the statement of principles of judicial ethics and the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008 help us to have confidence that that trust is well placed. However, regardless of the level of trust that we have in the judiciary, situations can nevertheless arise that might lead us to question the actions of one of its members and to doubt whether they have acted appropriately when exercising individual discretionary judgement.

The committee’s correspondence from the judicial complaints reviewer, Moi Ali, indicates that allegations of judicial bias, albeit unsubstantiated, have been made by members of the public. Implementing a register of interests would certainly reduce the scope for such doubt and would help to ensure maximum public confidence in our judiciary.

I am aware that every other category of public servant of high office, MSPs and MPs included, is required to complete a register of interests. That therefore begs the question why the judiciary should be treated as an exception. Exceptions tend to create suspicion, which we should seek to avoid. Completing a register of interests is not an overly arduous task and it is one that, in my view, is worth doing to ensure transparency and accountability in our legal system. I would be surprised if there were many members of the judiciary who did not share that view.

I understand that it is currently at the discretion of individuals to decide whether to recuse themselves from a case. Under those circumstances, I can appreciate that judges might be viewed as having too much autonomy over deciding when to recuse. I am pleased to learn that there is now a system in place whereby recusals made by judges and sheriffs are routinely recorded, and that that information is now publicly available via the judiciary of Scotland website. I thank the Lord President for initiating that action. However, although that development has been widely welcomed, I understand that it does not go far enough to address the petitioner’s concerns, as it does not disclose occasions on which a judge decides not to recuse themselves despite the existence of a potential conflict of interest.

Although I understand that conflicts of interest are on occasion declared in open court prior to taking on a case, the introduction of a register of interests would provide a more consistent and sound basis on which to move forward.

The ultimate priority must be transparency and accountability to the public. It seems to me, after examining the evidence provided to the committee thus far, that there is a strong case for introducing a register of interests with that purpose at its heart. Considering that that is a standard requirement for all others in positions of high public office, I believe that that is the right thing to do. That said, care must be taken to ensure that minimal inconvenience is caused to judicial office-holders in terms of the time and effort taken to complete and update a register, and to alleviate any ill effects that they may be put at risk of by doing so.

I look forward to hearing the views of the other speakers in today’s debate, as it is important for us to gain as many perspectives as possible on the issue in order to ensure that a decision is made in the best interests of the public while protecting the privacy of members of our judiciary.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

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

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

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

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
>> Show more
YesCarried

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

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

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

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

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
>> Show more
YesCarried

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

Search for other Motions lodged by David Torrance
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11643: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11634: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11632: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11631: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11546: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11545: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11544: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11472: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11465: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11464: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by David Torrance
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03740: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03494: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03354: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02895: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/01/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02537: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/10/2013 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02427: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/09/2013 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02368: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/09/2013 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02306: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/06/2013 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02265: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/06/2013 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02088: David Torrance, Kirkcaldy, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/04/2013 Show Full Question >>

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