Dennis Robertson MSP

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Search for other Speeches made by Dennis Robertson (Aberdeenshire West) (SNP)

Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
8. Dennis Robertson (Aberdeenshire West) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it has taken to ensure that roads in rural areas are gritted. (S4O-03968)



Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Dennis Robertson

The minister will be aware that there has recently been a significant increase in road traffic incidents in my constituency of Aberdeenshire West, and there have been a couple of fatalities. That is sometimes due to the condition of the roads. Can the minister reassure me and my constituents that everything is being done to ensure that roads are maintained to a suitable standard for people who commute into towns for work to drive on?



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Dennis Robertson (Aberdeenshire West) (SNP)

Good morning. I am the MSP for Aberdeenshire West.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Dennis Robertson

Dr Hutchison used the term “burden”, and mentioned issues to do with autonomy and definition. I am not quite sure what the definition of “burden” is at present, but the term is very emotive. I wonder whether, as a society, we actually adjust to situations in which the provision of care impacts on how we live our lives. Sometimes when we are doing so—as parents or family members, for example—we look to the wider community to assist us in that.

Baroness Finlay spoke about coercion and fear, which brings me back to the submission that referred to the twins in Belgium who were deaf and faced the prospect of going blind. I suspect that they may have had Usher syndrome—the submission does not say—but they opted for euthanasia.

My concern, to return to the point about burden and fear, is that we do not want to convey the message that people with recognised complex needs, especially those that are associated with disability, are a burden. We do not want to convey fear with regard to them living their lives. How do we get over that?



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Dennis Robertson

My point is that there are a lot of people in society at present who could, if the bill is passed, fall into the category of being burdensome. They are not really, of course: they are living their lives and they require additional support to do so. That is why I introduced the point about people with disabilities who may have complex needs. I am trying to ensure that we do not affix a term to a group of people who may be very positive about their outcomes and about living with their conditions.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Dennis Robertson

Absolutely. One example from the submissions was the young girl with anorexia. People with anorexia often ask to die; it is quite normal—if we want to use that term—for people with such conditions to say, “I really want to die.” They do not really want to, but the condition itself is so prominent that that is how they feel at the time.

I am trying to explore the issue of how we provide safeguards. I am not sure that we have safeguards in the bill to help us to move away from the danger of coercion and to protect people with long-term conditions. I am trying to explore the fear aspect.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Dennis Robertson

Good morning—I think that we are still just there. I am the MSP for Aberdeenshire West.

12:00  

Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Dennis Robertson

In many of the submissions that we have received, the sanctity of life seems to be quite prominent. I would like to explore with the panel what is meant by the sanctity of life, and whether you would ever envisage a situation in which assisting someone in suicide would not be totally against that or in which you would perhaps see it as being respectful of the sanctity of life.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Dennis Robertson

I have a couple of points to make. We have heard about compassion, suffering and sharing. At some point, would we accept that the person and their family have mutually come to a decision? If the family respect the will of the individual, accept that they do not want the person to suffer any longer, as the person has made clear themselves, and the family’s compassion is to agree, is it not then right that that person should be facilitated towards the end of life?



Meeting of the Parliament 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Dennis Robertson (Aberdeenshire West) (SNP)

With partnership action for continuing employment, the partnership aspect is very pertinent. We must look at how we use that partnership within the communities where we live and the constituencies that we represent.

Murdo Fraser raised the important aspect in his speech of the smaller agencies and companies—the small and medium-sized businesses. At the PACE conference in February 2014, Colin Borland from the Federation of Small Businesses mentioned that very area and the individual support that seemed to be lacking for that particular group. I recall that the minister, Fergus Ewing, responded positively to the issue.

The interesting thing about the conference—I think that the title was “A Change of PACE?”—was that it looked at all the aspects of PACE and how it operates in the sector in order to enable early intervention. I concur fully with Mark McDonald: it would be wrong to advertise the early intervention of PACE in a sector or an organisation, because that would undermine the confidence of the area. It is okay to say that PACE is involved once redundancies have been announced and the matter has hit the headlines. However, my understanding is that PACE can be and is involved at an earlier stage. When we are looking at continued employment, we are sometimes looking at preventing the redundancy from happening in the first place. That is about looking at alternative means to secure work for the employee.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the energy sector, given that I represent the Aberdeenshire West constituency. As the minister knows, I often mention Westhill when I am in the chamber because it is Europe’s subsea sector capital.

I welcome Lena Wilson’s appointment to the energy jobs task force. With her expertise and knowledge from Scottish Enterprise, she will fulfil her role remarkably well in reporting back to the minister on her discussions with the energy sector, and specifically those on oil and gas.

We must ensure that we do not create a situation in the sector that does not exist. If we say that there is a crisis in the sector, our young people going to college or university or our graduates looking for a future in oil and gas may look instead at alternatives for their education and training. We cannot afford for that to happen.

We have a well-recognised skills shortage in the industry. If we continue to highlight that there is a problem in the sector, it is only right that our young people will start looking at alternatives. I suggest to the sector that we ensure that there is a very positive message out there about there being a future in the energy sector. We must get the balance right. We must ensure that those coming through the college sector have the prospect of employment and that those graduating from the university sector have an opportunity, too.

We cannot and do not control the oil price, but we can control the message that we portray about the sector to our young workforce. The PACE initiative is important in that regard. It is important that our young people have appropriate skills. SDS provides a great opportunity to upskill some of our young people or those who have been made redundant. Those people should be given the opportunity not to deskill but to upskill with new skills to make them more employable in the sector, because the sector will need them.

What can be done? I take on board Murdo Fraser’s comments about Sir Ian Wood. However, I say to Murdo Fraser that I have heard it said on more than one occasion—and I think that this is still the case—that the oil and gas sector is seeking stability in its taxation. The sector is looking for a reversal of the tax hike that happened in 2011. It is looking for incentives to explore difficult areas in the North Sea.

Something can be done now. I hope that the Labour Party will work with the Scottish Government in trying to ensure that George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, makes an early announcement to assist the sector by giving it stability and the confidence to move forward. That would make the jobs of the PACE partners much easier as they talk to people in the north-east about prospects for a bright future, especially given the current situation.

Let us welcome the work of PACE and the opportunities that remain in the sector, because that is the future.

16:45  
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12182.1 Alex Fergusson: The Chilcot Inquiry—As an amendment to motion S4M-12182 in the name of N
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NoDefeated

S4M-12182 Nicola Sturgeon: The Chilcot Inquiry—That the Parliament calls for Sir John Chilcot’s offi
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12176 John Swinney: Community Charge Debt (Scotland) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the gene
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12160.2 Michael Matheson: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Kez
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12160.3 Margaret Mitchell: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Ke
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12160 Kezia Dugdale: Women Offenders—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the Scottish G
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12154.1 Lewis Macdonald: Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) – Supporting Indivi
>> Show more
NoDefeated

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

Search for other Motions lodged by Dennis Robertson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12199: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12192: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12131: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12022: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11988: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11867: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11845: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11618: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11597.1: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11239: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Dennis Robertson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03968: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03916: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03865: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23513: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23509: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03789: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03484: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03464: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03377: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02176: Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Question >>