Gordon MacDonald MSP

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Search for other Speeches made by 9. Gordon MacDonald (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)

Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Gordon MacDonald (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)

I am trying to understand the situation. We have heard that Scotland has probably slipped down the league from second to fourth or fifth. However, at the same time, the BBC has told us that it has increased its spend in Scotland from 7.6 per cent in 2012 to 10.9 per cent in 2013. Jane Muirhead mentioned Channel 4, which, as we have just heard, will increase the share of the expenditure that it will roll out to the nations from 3.8 to 9 per cent. Where are the difficulties if a lot more of the network spend is going to be in Scotland?



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Gordon MacDonald

I was not intending to go on to the issue of lift and shift so quickly—I know that some of my colleagues were going to ask about that. I asked the question because in 2009, Scottish Enterprise set itself a target in its report “Growing the Television Broadcast and Production Sector in Scotland”, which was to

“Increase the scale of independent production companies, increasing the number of independent production companies with a turnover of £10m ... in Scotland from 1 to 6 by 2013.”

With the increased spend, why has Scottish Enterprise failed? Is it because of lift and shift? Does anybody know?



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Gordon MacDonald

Alan Clements talked about needing to get more Scottish-based ideas for drama on television, and Jane Muirhead said something along the lines of there being a difficulty to do with London commissioners. That issue is mentioned in some of the written submissions. One in particular says:

“Scottish based indies ... struggle to get meetings, have calls and emails replied to and be generally taken seriously by commissioners down South”.

How easy is it to get access to commissioners? Are they London-centric, as another submission says? Are any commissioners based in Scotland? If there are, how effective are they? Are they busy flying back and forth to London all day?



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Gordon MacDonald

I was going to ask about that, too.



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Gordon MacDonald

My question is about the studios. We have heard from this panel and the previous panel that we require a studio. What sort of size should it be? The example that we have been given is the Titanic Studios in Northern Ireland, but I understand that there is a 140,000 square foot studio called Wardpark Studios in my home town of Cumbernauld. Is that what we want? Is that what we need to replicate? Do we need something smaller or larger than that? How were the Wardpark Studios funded? Where did that funding come from? Is the studio dedicated to one production company, or can it be shared with other producers?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Gordon MacDonald (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)

The Poverty Alliance highlights in its briefing the extent of in-work poverty in Scotland. It states:

“There are currently 820,000 people living in poverty in Scotland. Of these, 180,000 are children. Overall, 19% of children are living in poverty, and almost two thirds of these are in a household where someone works. Low benefit levels and poor labour market conditions mean that people are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. While work was once thought to be a route out of poverty, more than half of adults living in poverty today, live in households where someone works.”

Governments around the world have the ability to put in place policies to tackle poverty in society by setting a minimum wage or designing a welfare system to support families that are struggling to make ends meet, but that is not the case in Scotland. The Scottish Government has no control of either the minimum wage or the welfare system as those areas are reserved to Westminster.

Since 2008, successive Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem Governments have failed to ensure that the minimum wage has kept pace with inflation. The Resolution Foundation calculates that that leaves the minimum wage £1,010 lower a year than it was in 2008. Last year, following the referendum, there were calls to devolve the minimum wage to Holyrood so that we could set the rate here. Once again, though, Westminster parties failed families in Scotland by not supporting the SNP proposals.

When it comes to the changes to the welfare system introduced by the Conservative and Lib-Dem coalition, the Scottish Government is left trying to mitigate the worst aspects, rather being in a position to create a welfare system that is simple, makes work pay and lifts people out of poverty.

In the past year, the Scottish Government has maintained funding for the Scottish welfare fund, offset the cost of the bedroom tax to families and mitigated the cut in funding for council tax benefit. The difficulty is that the Tories, as part of their austerity measures, are planning to slice billions off working-age benefits by measures such as freezing child benefit and tax credits, resulting in a low-wage family with one child losing more than £350 a year.

As the motion states, the work of the Scottish Government’s fair work convention

“to promote and sustain a fair employment framework”—

for Scotland is—

“at risk of being undermined by the £6 billion of welfare cuts being made by the UK Government.”

The fair work convention is about bringing together unions, employers, public sector bodies and Government to promote good industrial relations, to highlight the fact that business productivity increases with the payment of fair wages and to promote the living wage to employers.

The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 made it clear that one of the factors that authorities will require to evaluate is a contractor’s approach to pay and the living wage. Public authorities will be required to set out, in their procurement strategies, what their policy is in relation to ensuring that the companies with which they contract pay the living wage.

Since April 2014, 100 employers in Scotland have been registered with the living wage accreditation scheme. They range from builders to universities and from tour companies to local authorities. We need to encourage all companies and organisations that currently pay the living wage to register. Only one local authority out of 32 and one distillery out of 90 are listed as accredited living wage employers. Only one bank, two housing associations, one university and two colleges are registered. Are there really no others in those sectors that pay the living wage?

Eighteen per cent of the workforce are paid below the living wage; the majority of those are in the private sector and are women. They mainly work in retail, hospitality or the social sector, and yet no supermarkets, hotels or restaurants, and only a handful of care organisations, are listed as accredited employers.

In its report “Work That Pays”, the Living Wage Commission looked at the business case for introducing the living wage. It stated that it

“has established that the Living Wage can open the door to productivity increases for businesses. This is the result of Living Wage employees contributing higher levels of effort and an openness to changing job roles. Other business benefits include cost-saving opportunities from increasing staff retention and the stability of the workforce, as well as reduced absenteeism. The evidence points to improved levels of morale, motivation and commitment from staff across the pay distribution in Living Wage workplaces.”

The commission also examined the public policy case for introducing the living wage. It referred to an analysis provided by Landman Economics that shows that, across the UK,

“the Exchequer could gain up to £4.2 billion in increased tax revenues and reduced expenditure on tax credits and other in-work benefits from an increase in coverage of the Living Wage.”

The report went on to say:

“There could be further multiplier effects arising from putting a modest amount of disposable income into the pockets of the UK’s lowest paid staff, with demand subsequently increasing in the economy.”

The Scottish Government has led the way as a living wage employer and some organisations across Edinburgh, including CHAI—the Community Help and Advice Initiative—based in my constituency, have stepped up to the mark. We need other employers to recognise the benefit to their business, the wider community and society of paying the living wage and to lead by example.

15:04  

Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Gordon MacDonald (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)

We have touched on the support that you get from Scottish Enterprise’s business gateway and so on. What type of business support is available? How effective is it? More important, if we are going to continue to grow the sector, where are the gaps that need to be plugged in order for that growth to continue?



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Gordon MacDonald

Part of the funding would come from international sales. We have already talked about the fantastic successes of Minecraft, Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto V. What kind of support do you receive to help with overseas sales? Is it the correct kind of support?

In its submission, Codeplay Software stated:

“We have found the support provided by Scottish Development International ... in particular to be of utmost importance and value.”

However, the director of Ludometrics stated in his submission that

“SDI are responsible for helping games companies attend industry conferences such as the Game Developers Conference, but have no flexibility for helping companies attend consumer focused events.”

Do the likes of SDI provide the right kind of support?

11:15  

Education and Culture Committee 13 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Gordon MacDonald (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)

I wanted to ask about the figures that Mary Scanlon mentioned. The numbers that we have were obviously all produced prior to the time to shine strategy coming in, and colleges have refocused on more full-time equivalent courses, so when we look at the full-time equivalents we see that the numbers are not as dramatic as Mary Scanlon has pointed them out to be.

My other concern is that we do not seem to have a lot of evidence about how the higher education institutions are progressing in terms of the number of people who are taking up higher education courses. Do you have any information on that and any view on whether there is more availability in higher education institutions than in colleges?



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
9. Gordon MacDonald (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government how the piloting of project bank accounts will impact on small businesses in the construction sector. (S4O-03829)

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

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

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

Selection of John Pentland MSP for appointment to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.
AbstainCarried

S4M-12060.2 Hugh Henry: Commending the People who Keep Scotland Safe in Emergencies—As an amendment
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NoDefeated

S4M-12045.3 Shona Robison: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Rich
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12045.2 Jackson Carlaw: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Ric
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Gordon MacDonald
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11754: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11591: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11471: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11270: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10546: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10755: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10578: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10420: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09920: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08711: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Gordon MacDonald
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03939: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03829: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23520: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23519: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03780: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03506: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03435: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03332: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03323: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03142: Gordon MacDonald, Edinburgh Pentlands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/04/2014 Show Full Question >>