Hanzala Malik MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Hanzala Malik (Glasgow) (Lab)

I welcome this opportunity to talk about developing Scotland’s young workforce. The commission has looked at ways of improving the transition from education to employment—and rightly so. The last time I talked about this issue, I said that the Scottish Government was guilty of undervaluing vocational education, and I still have serious concerns about how the commission’s recommendations can be implemented, given the savage cuts to college funding. Let us face facts: because of the Government, more than 140,000 places have been lost. Even though I have consistently reminded the Government about waiting lists for college places, it seems to be in no rush to resolve the issue. Instead, we are making even greater demands of colleges, which is quite frankly unreasonable.

However, credit must be given where it is due. The value of the modern apprenticeship programme and other such schemes that colleges are introducing is now being recognised, and I thank the colleges and their staff for the efforts that they are making, despite the Government’s cuts.

Targets for greater access to modern apprenticeships for disabled people, ethnic minorities and women need to be monitored clearly and closely by the Scottish Government and its agencies. Less than 2 per cent of Scotland’s apprentices have been drawn from ethnic minority groups, and only 0.3 per cent of all apprenticeships in Scotland have gone to disabled people. I find those figures horrific, and I am sure that the cabinet secretary will want to address the issue in her closing remarks.

On the commission’s recommendations on economic development, I welcome the new youth employment strategy, but the Scottish Government must take more ambitious and radical steps. Reducing youth unemployment by 40 per cent is a good start, but our future economy will be in a healthier position only when youth employment rates are in line with general employment rates.

As I have said before, college places are limited, and since 2007-08, there has been a 40 per cent decrease in the number of women in colleges and a 33 per cent decrease in the number of men in them. Most important, inequality still exists among our Scottish minorities.

I commend the small improvements in most of the commission’s recommendations, but more needs to be done. With the Government continuing to cut college funds, underfunding local government and generally putting a squeeze on education budgets, I struggle to see how the future changes can be made appropriately.

I will highlight a good example of improving youth employability in my constituency. Move On is a charity that got a lottery fund to run the FareShare volunteering employability project, which helps vulnerable young people in Glasgow to make the transition from the care system, homelessness or unstable backgrounds to stable adult life. It aims to run the project over five years and to help some 200 young people to learn skills, build confidence, train and gain work experience for CVs. It is a very good opportunity. I hope that the Government will continue to support such organisations over and above addressing the shortfall in college funding.

One of the most important things that I want to say is that I have consistently and repeatedly reminded the Government of its funding—particularly its college funding—responsibilities. Historically, the then First Minister, Alex Salmond, and the then Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell, both said to me that there were no cuts to colleges, but they both had to apologise because there were cuts. Despite those apologies, they never fulfilled the shortfall. I am still looking for that shortfall to be fulfilled.

We cannot expect our colleges and our staff to train young people to have real jobs and meaningful employment if we do not continue to support them.

16:02  

European and External Relations Committee 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Hanzala Malik

Someone asked earlier about why the US would be interested in us. It is quite clear that such companies would be guaranteed quality, a workforce with reasonable working hours and conditions, and health and safety provisions that ensure that they and their retailers would not be prosecuted in the courts. We give them something very valuable, and they do the same for us. The US wants to trade with Europe because it wants to safeguard its citizens, and we intend to provide those safeguards.

However, it works both ways, and we in Scotland must ensure that we provide something unique and special. It is not just about whisky; we have Arran cheese, yoghurts and so on. We can provide stuff that no one else in the world can provide. If I as a layman can recognise that, I am sure that the international business community, too, will recognise it. I am hearing a greater call for us to press home that message and find ways of enhancing our trading position over there. We are liked over there—after all, we are their cousins—so we should deal with them on that basis. Let us not say that things are too difficult and complicated; instead, we should be facing up to such challenges.



European and External Relations Committee 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Hanzala Malik

Just on that point—



European and External Relations Committee 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Hanzala Malik

If you look around, there are examples of such arrangements. Some countries in south Asia have been given preferential treatment to allow certain products, particularly cotton, to come on to the European market. We can piggyback on to examples of trade agreements from around the world. I agree with what David Williamson says about trying to influence the current negotiation, but perhaps we can think outside the box and see how we can improve on that.

We are a quite specific and limited market, but we are specialised, and that opens up the idea of thinking about how we can speak to our major trading partners to ask them to look at us in a slightly different way, to ensure that we can continue to supply the quality and the specialist products that they are looking for, while also giving us the opportunity to compete with others. We are not competing like for like; we have something quite unique to offer, so if we go regularly to the US to market Scotland and its products, perhaps we should go the extra mile ourselves. We know what is on the table just now, and it is what the whole crowd of us are dealing with, but even if nothing happens today, the fact still remains that if we want to open the door we have to start somewhere.



European and External Relations Committee 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Hanzala Malik

Our politicians could try to negotiate something for our industry. Scottish firms may be manufacturing and treating something to make a product in Scotland, and in essence it becomes a Scottish product. Just because the raw material came from elsewhere does not mean that all the processes were done elsewhere, so if customers are satisfied that the products are being made for them to a certain standard, would that be considered as a free import? Is that worth pursuing? I do not want to ask our cabinet secretary if you, the experts and the sellers, would not find it helpful, but if you think that there is mileage in that idea, we could try to pursue it.



European and External Relations Committee 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Hanzala Malik

Yes, but remember that we are dealing with a far bigger partner, and its expectations of us are higher. At the end of the day, who dares wins—who goes the extra mile wins the cherry. I do not think that it is such a huge deal to have double coding, and it would not put you out that much. I just wanted to bring that to you as a small consideration that might be helpful.

The other point that I want to raise is the lack of direct imports of certain products because of taxation. It was mentioned that products have to be sent elsewhere before they can be taken to the US. Can we negotiate something special for Scotland, such as a small trading post? Our cabinet secretary could have a stab at negotiating a tax-free zone for Scotland in its own right. I know that there would be complications relating to what is produced in Scotland and then sent to the US, but various conditions could be attached. For example, there might have to be at least three forms of work on a product before it could be considered to be Scottish for the tax-free zone. Should we have a stab at something like that?



European and External Relations Committee 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Hanzala Malik

Good morning and welcome, gentlemen.

I want to ask David Breckenridge about the codes on his products and the point that our codes are different from codes in the US. Could we not double code our products so that we do not have that problem?



European and External Relations Committee 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Hanzala Malik

I am the deputy convener of the committee and an MSP for the Glasgow region.



European and External Relations Committee 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Hanzala Malik

The “Brussels Bulletin” should be on the Parliament website anyway. I know where Willie Coffey is coming from when he talks about sharing it with industry itself. It might be an idea to share it with Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Natural Heritage and other such organisations. We could share the link and make sure that their websites also carry it. That might be another way of doing it, but we would probably have to have a conversation with those organisations about sharing this type of information in the future. It was a good point to bring up and it is worthy of chasing up.



European and External Relations Committee 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Hanzala Malik

That reinforces the view that it would be really useful for the members of the Committee of the Regions to attend. Any input that could be added to the report would be a more useful tool for other parliamentary committees than just the bland report, as it is.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11901.3 Neil Findlay: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11901.1 Mary Scanlon: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11830.2 John Swinney: The Smith Commission—As an amendment to motion S4M-11830 in the name of Ru
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
>> Show more
NoCarried

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11825.3 Claire Baker: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
AbstainDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
>> Show more
AbstainCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
>> Show more
NoCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Hanzala Malik
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11961: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11929: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11888: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11654: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11651: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11650: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11649: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11485: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11443: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11442: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Hanzala Malik
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03793: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03787: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03746: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03679: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03646: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03612: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22756: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03554: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03522: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22557: Hanzala Malik, Glasgow, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/09/2014 Show Full Question >>

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