Fiona Hyslop MSP

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Fiona Hyslop MSP

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  • Member for: Linlithgow
  • Region: Lothian
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Fiona is a member of the following Committees:

Fiona is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

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Meeting of the Parliament 03 March 2015 : Tuesday, March 03, 2015
The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs (Fiona Hyslop)

I thank all the members who have contributed to this afternoon’s debate and I thank Jenny Marra for lodging the motion. It is heartening to see so much support for such an outstanding woman of Scotland as Mary Slessor. I share the admiration for her that has been expressed and am pleased to be able to close the debate on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Immortalised on the Canongate wall of this very building are the words of another Mary—Mary Brooksbank:

“Oh, dear me, the warld’s ill-divided,
Them that work the hardest are aye wi’ least provided,
But I maun bide contented, dark days or fine,
But there’s no much pleasure livin’ affen ten and nine.”

Those words sum up the Scotland in which Mary Slessor lived and the reality of working in one of Dundee’s jute mills. It is true that the Scotland that Mary left at the age of 28 in 1876 no longer exists. However, the fight for women’s equality still goes on, and the principles and standards for which she stood are very much alive in the women who continue to work towards achieving gender equality. When we honour Mary Slessor, we honour them as well.

As we know, significant improvements have been made and things are by no means as tough for women as they once were. However, we still have a long way to go. Ending inequality in Scotland and contributing to its eradication internationally is at the heart of our ambitions as a Government. That is why we have prioritised that work in our programme for government, whether it be thorough our goal of making Scotland’s boardrooms gender balanced through our 50:50 by 2020 commitment, or through our strengthening of the criminal justice system’s response to tackling domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women. No one who listens to the First Minister can be in any doubt about the strength of our commitment to that agenda.

It is fitting that, today, just a few days before international women’s day, we are discussing one of the foremost women’s rights activists that Scotland has seen. It is also fitting that Mary Slessor’s work is now finally being recognised by all of Scotland in a year in which women are at the forefront of politics in Scotland and women’s equality is one of the main priorities for my Government.

I want to reflect on the speeches that we have heard. Jenny Marra spoke of Mary Slessor’s fortitude, bravery, determination, integrity and respect. Other members talked about her forthrightness and her courage, and David Thompson in particular talked about her faith. Patricia Ferguson made an important point about how we recognise women. Of course, statues are supported by public subscription and always have been, but I would draw members’ attention to the new heritage packs that have been introduced as part of a Historic Scotland scheme over the past few years. I have been clear that I want to ensure that women of Scotland are recognised as part of that, and I would encourage all members to put forward women for that commendation.

Murdo Fraser made an excellent speech about international perspectives and made an important point about the need for more equality for girls and women across the world, which involves a focus on education. Stewart Stevenson said that Mary Slessor was a remarkable woman of her time and Lewis Macdonald broadened the debate, speaking about the perspective of a modern mission in a historical context. Those are all important points to reflect on.

As others have highlighted, Mary Slessor was a formidable woman and an amazing role model for women today. She was the second of seven children in a family that was crammed into a single end in the slums of Dundee, at a time when work was scarce and money even more so. At a time when schools and education were for the privileged, Mary found her way into the classroom, albeit not quite to the same level as that of children from a more affluent background. Her experience was not how most people today would envisage going to school, and it was no ordinary school. She would be in the classroom for five hours in the morning, then spend the next five hours working in a noisy, dangerous jute mill.

An inspiration to Mary Slessor was the missionary David Livingstone, as we have heard, and his work to better the lives of those in Africa, who in Mary’s eyes were even more unfortunate than her. On hearing of his death, Mary found the courage within herself to follow her dreams, belief and faith and join the great work that was under way in Africa.

During her 38 years working with the people of Africa, Mary Slessor was taken in as an honorary member of the community. Not only did she stand up to the tribal chiefs but she saved the lives of countless men, women and children, some of whom she adopted as her own; we heard about her work with twins in particular. That was the work she was most proud of—breaking down barriers and spreading the word of peace, harmony and equality, and breaking a glass ceiling of her own in becoming the first female magistrate in the British empire.

In this, the centenary of Mary Slessor’s death, we welcome the launch of the many events that have been organised to celebrate the life and work of this incredible woman—work that the Mary Slessor Foundation continues today. For example, the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights will attend the planned civic reception in Dundee in April.

Only by recognising the path that was forged by Mary Slessor, and indeed by many others like her, can we, living in a modern world, appreciate just how far we have come towards being an equal, fair and prosperous country. We must recognise not just how far we have come, but how far we still have to travel. That journey is not just about us, the daughters of Scotland or the daughters of Europe; it is about the daughters of the world. In reflecting on Mary Slessor’s journey and her contribution, let us all rededicate ourselves to what we can do for the daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts and grandmothers of all the world.

Meeting closed at 17:42.  

Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Fiona Hyslop

As I set out, nobody’s pay has been reduced as a result of the decision that was taken back in 2011. I agree that it is important that we have good and constructive relations between management and trade unions and that we have on-going dialogue. I have facilitated and encouraged that.

In my answer to the first question, I did not relay the fact that NMS shop staff, who are not party to Government pay policy, are now receiving the living wage, because the management recognised that that was the right thing to do.

Across the board, progress is being made. I know that there are frustrations, some of which are historical, but I am certain that the commitment that the management have given me to engage constructively, particularly with local PCS members, will be taken forward. I will monitor the situation closely.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
Fiona Hyslop

Jim Eadie will be aware that it is not ministers’ job to interfere with employee-employer relations. However, there are concerns about the issue, which he has raised with me on a number of occasions.

When I met the management and the chair of NMS in March and December last year, I made clear the Government’s expectations about the standard, style and tenor of negotiations that should take place. I can say that progress has been made. In addition, I met members of the Public and Commercial Services Union and other trade unions in October and November.

My understanding from the most recent dialogue between the union side and the management in December is that progress has been made in discussions on a number of issues, including bringing forward the introduction of the living wage from August to April and the extension of the no-compulsory-redundancies policy from 2014-15 to 2015-16.

There are issues around the weekend allowance, which was changed in 2011. Staff who already receive that allowance will continue to receive it. The discussions on that are continuing. As recently as December, discussions were held on issues such as rotas, time off and leave.

I absolutely value the contribution that the staff and the management of NMS make. This week, it was announced that the national museum of Scotland was the most visited tourist attraction in Scotland for the fourth year in a row. We should all put on record our thanks to the staff in particular, but also to the management, for contributing to that success.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 February 2015 : Thursday, February 26, 2015
The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs (Fiona Hyslop)

I met the chair and the director of National Museums Scotland on 4 December 2014 to discuss strategic priorities for the next few years.



Public Petitions Committee 17 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Fiona Hyslop

Quite clearly, that would need the co-operation of the landowner. I suggest that the local community and the Travelling community would also need to be involved. That tripartite approach is the way forward.

On what can be done, ultimately, the site could be taken into compulsory ownership. Such an approach would be highly unusual. I asked officials to identify whether that has ever been done by a local authority or by Government and we can identify no precedent for that. That would be a last resort; it has not happened in any other cases. However, as Angus MacDonald indicated, other options are available, such as a trust arrangement or guardianship.

As far as situations involving unco-operative landowners are concerned, there is the proposed land reform bill and the community empowerment legislation. The petition relates to a specific case, which is unique for many reasons and must be treated as such—that is why I welcome Historic Scotland’s decision to revisit it—but there are bigger issues at stake to do with landowners and their relationships with local communities. Those issues will not be resolved by Historic Scotland in a single case, and they will not necessarily be resolved by the petition; they beg bigger questions.

My job is to manage the whole of the historic environment and to work alongside all the good practice on the part of all the landowners. I would not want to compromise my relationship with them by doing something in one case that might jeopardise that fruitful and productive relationship that we are building with the wider sector.



Public Petitions Committee 17 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Fiona Hyslop

Ah, right.



Public Petitions Committee 17 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Fiona Hyslop

Sorry?



Public Petitions Committee 17 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Fiona Hyslop

Gosh—that is the million dollar question. We are assessing what is required across the country. That will be a large amount, because we cannot have health and safety issues. If there are concerns about our properties in that regard, they may need to close, so constant investment is required.

We are also co-operating with others. I mentioned the historic environment forum. In addition, the National Trust has undertaken a review of its properties. The methodology that it used and the lessons that it learned are being shared with Historic Scotland. The work is being done. In addition, I have engaged with the relevant parliamentary committee, the Education and Culture Committee, on the issue.

10:15  

Public Petitions Committee 17 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Fiona Hyslop

As you all know, we are in challenging financial circumstances. Any support from the petition to increase my budget would be greatly appreciated, but the reality is that we have to manage within the constraints that exist.

One thing that I have been absolutely clear about is that, despite a significant reduction in my budget in recent years—and, as I have one of the smallest budgets, reductions can have an even bigger impact—I have managed to maintain Historic Scotland’s grant spend. That was a very important part of what I wanted to do, because grant spend is spent in local communities. It usually involves local contractors, such as building merchants and others in local areas, and it helps to ensure that skills and training can be maintained in a difficult environment. Within challenging budgets, I have managed to maintain the grant spend that goes to outside organisations, whether through large organisations such as the National Trust or small organisations such as the trusts that Hanzala Malik referred to.

As I said in my opening statement, I would not micromanage when it comes to the awarding of grants. I cannot and should not tell Historic Scotland which projects or trusts to fund, but I can provide the overall pot to allow it to fund particular projects. That has been extremely challenging.

In addition, there are challenges ahead as regards our estates, both those that are cared for by Historic Scotland and those that are not but which need funding and preservation. Our built heritage is at the heart of our tourism industry—people come to Scotland to see what we have. It is very important that we protect that. Any support that I can get for the built environment, either through the petition or from members generally, would be greatly appreciated.



Public Petitions Committee 17 February 2015 : Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Fiona Hyslop

That is the nub of the issue. As I said, we can reconsider the scheduling—that will be done using the criteria that Barbara Cummins set out—but on restoring and preserving the site, which is what the petition requests, we must consider what restoration and preservation would mean. What would it look like for all the communities involved, including the Traveller community and the local community? The co-operation of the owner is needed to make improvements or even maintain what is there.

The vast majority of monuments—we have about 300,000—are in some form of private ownership. People do not hear about the very good co-operation with owners and the role that they play in looking after monuments. Hanzala Malik made a point about local trusts and communities. The adopt-a-monument scheme, which is funded by Historic Scotland but run by Archaeology Scotland, is aimed at getting better community involvement. The point is not so much who owns a monument but who cares for it. We want monuments to be cared for, and that is what happens in the vast majority of cases.

If there is no co-operation from the owner—that is highly unusual, because the majority of owners are involved day in, day out—it can be difficult. Historic Scotland can facilitate conversations, which Barbara Cummins can perhaps say more about. The process that Historic Scotland is now embarking on in relation to the Tinkers’ Heart may help in facilitating conversations so that there is a common understanding. However, to make progress, we need co-operation and a new arena or space for the local community, the landowner and the Traveller community to come to an agreement about what is needed. That is the way forward in dealing with the issues that are raised in the petition.

As cabinet secretary, I would not direct Historic Scotland on a particular site that it currently looks after, and I cannot direct Historic Scotland in relation to a site that it does not look after. I can provide advice, based on my experience of being cabinet secretary for a number of years. Much of it is about good communication and good relationships. Perhaps the process of looking at the scheduling in a new light, bearing in mind the equalities duties that Barbara Cummins referred to, will be an opportunity for people to have those discussions anew.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12495 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-12491.2 John Swinney: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name of W
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YesCarried

S4M-12491.1 Richard Simpson: Privacy and the State—As an amendment to motion S4M-12491 in the name o
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NoDefeated

S4M-12491 Willie Rennie: Privacy and the State—That the Parliament notes the Scottish Government’s c
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YesCarried

S4M-12492.2 Jamie Hepburn: Mental Health—As an amendment to motion S4M-12492 in the name of Jim Hume
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YesCarried

S4M-12492 Jim Hume: Mental Health—That the Parliament notes that one in four people will experience
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YesCarried

Amendment 2 moved by Ken Macintosh on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bi
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NoDefeated

Amendment 3 moved by Ken Macintosh on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bi
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NoDefeated

Amendment 4 moved by Ken Macintosh on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bi
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Amendment 5 moved by Ken Macintosh on motion S4M-12485 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bi
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Fiona Hyslop
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12362: Fiona Hyslop, Linlithgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12320: Fiona Hyslop, Linlithgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11976: Fiona Hyslop, Linlithgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11378: Fiona Hyslop, Linlithgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10784: Fiona Hyslop, Linlithgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10644: Fiona Hyslop, Linlithgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10371: Fiona Hyslop, Linlithgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10033: Fiona Hyslop, Linlithgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09748: Fiona Hyslop, Linlithgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08461: Fiona Hyslop, Linlithgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S2W-32214: Fiona Hyslop, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31614: Fiona Hyslop, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/02/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31458: Fiona Hyslop, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/01/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31322: Fiona Hyslop, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/01/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-31323: Fiona Hyslop, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 23/01/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2O-11714: Fiona Hyslop, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/01/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-30689: Fiona Hyslop, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/12/2006 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-30688: Fiona Hyslop, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/12/2006 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-30171: Fiona Hyslop, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2006 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-30170: Fiona Hyslop, Lothians, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2006 Show Full Question >>

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