Graeme Pearson MSP

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Graeme Pearson MSP

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  • Member for: South Scotland
  • Party: Scottish Labour

Graeme is a member of the following Committees:

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

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
2. Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government what progress it has made in setting up the energy jobs task force. (S4O-03932)



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Graeme Pearson

I am grateful for that reply.

In the third quarter of 2014, refined petroleum chemicals and pharmaceuticals fell by 2 per cent. Since then the price of oil has fallen significantly. Although I appreciate the efforts that have been described this morning, is the Government considering any other actions to help people in that vital industry?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 January 2015 : Thursday, January 08, 2015
Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

For those who are unemployed and on low incomes, the challenges of the economic downturn have been particularly difficult, but it should be remembered that very few families have come through the downturn unscathed.

This Government regularly hails the benefits of initiatives such as its small business bonus scheme and the new Glasgow city deal, which are designed to encourage an uplift. Indeed, positive aspects arise from such schemes. However, the truth is that they are not enough. Key economies are in the doldrums, concerns remain about Greece and potential impacts on the rest of the EU, there are trade hostilities with Russia and a slowdown in China’s growth, which all add to the lack of confidence that affects international trade.

One direct result of that—to remind the energy minister—is the plunging value of crude oil. Since July, the value has halved to about $50 a barrel. In terms of public tax revenues that is a loss of more than £6 billion per year from public finances: nearly a quarter of the cost of running Scotland’s public services. It is on that basis, as well as appreciating that continued pressure is likely in the longer term, owing to the geopolitical tensions that affect so many regions of the world and the reality that America is becoming a net exporter of energy for the first time in decades, that we need to ensure that we have new ways to boost the economy.

We must involve the private sector in innovation and the application of enterprise, together with the development of new businesses that are ready for the needs of the 21st century world. Unfortunately, there are few signs of the radical changes that we need to see across communities, largely due to the Government's failure to boost confidence by creating an environment that enables businesses to develop and grow.

For many communities across the country, the notion of an economic upswing is an illusion. Employment in those communities is spasmodic, low paid and often in zero-hours and short-term contracts.

The SNP Government must come forward with a plan that reflects the dire need of our people to be employed, while enabling the very vehicle for employment—the private sector—to benefit.

In that context, Mr Ewing may remember that I raised with him nearly two years ago the frustrations that are faced by SMEs in navigating the public procurement process. There are so many different application processes throughout the public sector that small businesses lost days, and sometimes employed “consultants” in applying for contracts, then, after incurring great expense, found that they were either not accepted as accredited contractors—



Meeting of the Parliament 08 January 2015 : Thursday, January 08, 2015
Graeme Pearson

I am afraid that the minister missed the point that I was making about the procurement process. The reality is that many contracts are won by companies from outwith Scotland that use UK or EU support to win the contracts. Contracts are often won by companies that are ill-supported to deliver on those contracts, usually because they offered the lowest price. As a result, they leave behind work that has not been completed to sufficient quality and which ends up being fixed by legitimate, competent and professional local companies, which are left to do difficult work at no profit, when they should have been given the opportunity to win the contract in the first place.

I hope that the minister will assure us that he will give some thought to the procurement process, in order that our local companies, apprentices and communities can benefit from such contracts.

Finally, the Government must give thought to the need for capital support for trade throughout Scotland and Europe. It should give serious consideration to establishing a resilience fund for the future.

16:17  

Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
14. Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government when the independent commission to examine council tax alternatives will begin its work, and what timetable it will work to. (S4O-03834)



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Graeme Pearson

Mr Swinney will remember that, as far back as 1997, the Scottish National Party manifesto promised the introduction of a local income tax and that, in 2007, its manifesto promised “Scrapping the unfair council tax”. Today, we have had a reply from the minister indicating a timescale.

Does the cabinet secretary appreciate the pressure that local authorities have faced in those 17 years, and will he ensure that the appropriate priority is placed on delivering a working solution within that timescale?



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

I am grateful to the cabinet secretary for giving us early sight of her statement. The presentation of the statement indicates that the Government gets it as far as the issue is concerned.

The cabinet secretary should know that survivors fear that the years of delay have enabled the destruction of paperwork and other evidence that might have identified witnesses who might have been of value to a public inquiry. Will she assure survivors that she will take all steps from here on in to ensure that paperwork is protected and that evidence is maintained to await the inquiry’s establishment? Will she ensure that instances of documentation that is missing or has been destroyed will be reported, for the information of the public and in the interests of transparency?



Meeting of the Parliament 09 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in the debate and for the range of briefings, which I have found very informative, that I received from various organisations before the debate.

Jamie McGrigor acknowledged the pain that has been felt and the sacrifices that have been made over the decades by people in the industry, as revolution has attached to the industry, and they have reorganised to deal with modern demands. Stewart Stevenson indicated the outcomes from those previous works and the way in which the industry is now fit for purpose, in delivering on behalf of the United Kingdom.

Stewart Stevenson also recorded that our cabinet secretary is the longest-serving fisheries minister in Europe. I am unsure whether to congratulate Mr Lochhead on the honour or to commiserate and wonder where he has gone wrong in his endeavours. It is most unfortunate that the UK Tory-Lib Dem coalition decided to allocate responsibility for the negotiations last month in Brussels to Lord de Mauley to represent UK interests, instead of relying on the evident expertise of our cabinet secretary. I hope that Mr Lochhead will reflect on the fact that the frenetic promotion of nationalism over the past few years has perhaps had some influence on such decisions and that his contribution in the post-referendum era will be more welcome at UK level and more constructively received.



Meeting of the Parliament 09 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Graeme Pearson

As the debate goes on, the nuances in the debate will bring out where our loyalty should lie in regard to the fishing industry, which is the most important part of what we are debating today rather than the language of the various amendments.

The way in which the developing conflict involving the western world and Russia is affecting our fishing industry reflects the importance of our discussions today, and the Commission’s agreement to enable the 25 per cent rollover in allocated catches from 2014-15 will help the Scottish fishing industry to cope with the import embargoes that have been instigated by Mr Putin, which are estimated to be costing the wider food industry up to £89 million in the year.

Fisheries in Scotland operate as a Cinderella industry across most of our communities. We enjoy the products that it produces but seldom consider how they are brought to our table and the pressures that are faced by the people in the industry in providing first-class fish that is fresh and safe for consumption. The policy imperatives for ensuring that the industry’s needs are met are complex but inescapable. We have a growing world population that is now in excess of 9 billion people, all of whom need food. The industry has geared up to supply what is needed with modern boats, modern technologies and professional crews who are able to deliver catches at industrial level. However, there is also pressure to conserve stocks of valuable fish in order to provide food for future generations and to provide for an industry that has a vision of sustainability.

The cabinet secretary must continue his support for the brave crews who go out on the sea on our behalf. The increases in quotas for the end-of-year agreements are optimistic, and one hopes that those agreements will be fulfilled. The cabinet secretary must ensure that the new rules regarding discards are made clear to the industry and the public alike, because discards are ill understood by the general population and seem to have been an area of conflict in previous years.

The cabinet secretary should also contribute to the continued development of new technologies, new net designs and crew education to ensure that mutual understanding is maintained about the competing demands that arise from conservation needs and consumer demands.

He must also ensure that there is no repeat of the black-fish scandal that affected the industry only a few years ago. I hope that he will give us an assurance that he will liaise with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to ensure that the good name of Scottish fishing is maintained in the years ahead.

At the same time, it would do no harm for Mr Lochhead to liaise with his colleague the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning in order to ensure that young people across Scotland have a better understanding of the fish that are caught in our seas than I did in my time in education.

The Scottish industry delivers approximately 60 per cent of the total UK catch and about 7.5 per cent of the total volume of fish caught in the EU, according to the European Commission in 2014. The fishing industry is too important an industry for us not to take careful care of the future, and I rely on the cabinet secretary to give us an assurance that he will do so.

16:55  

Meeting of the Parliament 04 December 2014 : Thursday, December 04, 2014
Graeme Pearson (South Scotland) (Lab)

I welcome the cabinet secretary to his new duties and responsibilities and look forward to seeing an energetic response to the issues around human rights.

It is often fashionable to record that human rights are one of Scotland’s traditional values—I know that the cabinet secretary said that in good faith. Although at the highest level, we would reflect that in all that we seek to do, in reality we would not need SNAP or committees to oversee these matters if we had reached the level of development of our society such that human rights are taken as a matter of course and are no longer thought about. The fact that so many examples have been given during the debate—in a non-contentious fashion, I hope—indicates that there is much work to be done, and that work needs to be led by the Parliament and the groups involved.

I thank the Justice Committee, the authors of the plan and the 40 organisations involved in developing the plan. The work that they do in our name and on our behalf is absolutely vital if each of us is to be allowed to play our full part in what a modern Scotland is to be in the future.

Human rights are easily identified when each of us considers the rights and entitlements that we see as inalienable for ourselves. The cultural and other challenges come to be faced and are clear when we visualise what limits we would seek to put on other people’s rights—those of the disabled, children, prisoners in our custody, migrants, asylum seekers, victims of crime and people who suffered historical abuse as children and still await a public inquiry. I remind the cabinet secretary—or I tell him this if he is unaware of it—that the former Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning promised a commitment from the Government before the December break on whether there will be an inquiry into those matters. Survivors are waiting for that with bated breath.

For each of those categories, the idea of human rights can cause the hackles to rise in some part of our community. We need to face that challenge and use evidence to ensure that people realise that, in reality, it is poverty and the weaknesses in our approach to gender and ethnic background that play a major role in determining the opportunities that people can access in delivering on their own future.

Mr Neil said that there are gaps to be filled. I encourage him to fill them, and I will give him every support in his efforts to do so. I recommend that he reanalyse our national approach to freedom of information and the granting of information to citizens and those who represent them. Each and every one of us faces difficulties when we make applications for information, and the way in which data protection legislation is administered is felt across the country.

We should seek a response that delivers not on the words of the legislation but on its spirit, with openness to evidence and facts, so that citizens can trust the authorities to make rational decisions on the basis of all the information that is available to them. When we arrive at that state of being, we will know that each and every one of us can access all that Scottish society can bring to us and that we can be a stable and forward-looking society.

We support the motion.

15:16  
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

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

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
YesDefeated

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
>> Show more
YesCarried

Selection of John Pentland MSP for appointment to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12060.2 Hugh Henry: Commending the People who Keep Scotland Safe in Emergencies—As an amendment
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12045.3 Shona Robison: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Rich
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12045.2 Jackson Carlaw: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Ric
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Graeme Pearson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12099: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11789.1: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11567.1: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11114: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10377: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10278.1: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09583: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09557.1: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09525: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09133: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Graeme Pearson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03941: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03932: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23677: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23676: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03834: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02386: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03681: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03662: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22968: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22969: Graeme Pearson, South Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Question >>

Further information

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