Humza Yousaf MSP

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Humza Yousaf MSP

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  • Member for: Glasgow
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Humza is a member of the following Committees:

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

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by The Minister for Europe and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Humza Yousaf

I will certainly do so, and I will also get a photographer on site to capture the moment.

On a serious note, I recently visited Stirling castle, where the First Minister—the former First Minister, I should say—had managed to secure an agreement for the lion rampant to be flown there for only the second time in 400 years. I am more than happy to explore Christine Grahame’s idea and her suggestion that we contact Google to find out whether it will be advocating the saltire on its page.

It is my hope that our 2015 year of food and drink will sustain and build on the momentum that has been generated by this year’s homecoming. I hope that all members in the chamber will be impelled to take part, thereby helping to inspire the people of Scotland and our visitors to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding natural larder; to further develop Scotland’s ever-growing reputation as a land of food and drink; and to promote and celebrate our nation’s culinary achievements not only on St Andrew’s day but throughout the year.

There is a lesson in St Andrew’s story for every single one of us. He was a man of great humility, which he demonstrated even in death and persecution when he refused to be crucified on the same cross as Christ.

There are many lessons that we can learn from St Andrew, but the best lesson, as Bruce Crawford said, is that our national day should be celebrated by all of Scotland’s communities and all Scots who have chosen to make other parts of the globe their home. I hope that, in that spirit of unity, diversity and tolerance, each and every one of us will have a very happy, enjoyable and festive St Andrew’s day.



Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
The Minister for Europe and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

I congratulate Annabelle Ewing on lodging this motion and on her ministerial appointment, as she will be a colleague in Government. I also congratulate Bruce Crawford on taking up the mantle somewhat at the last minute. I can think of no MSP more appropriate to have done so.

I am delighted to wind up this debate on behalf of the Government. I, too, am surprised at the lack of some Opposition members, but, nonetheless, today’s debate about St Andrew’s day being celebrated widely as a national holiday is incredibly important for a number of reasons.

I particularly want to pick up the point that Bruce Crawford and, latterly, Jamie McGrigor made about this being an opportunity to celebrate Scotland as an outward-looking nation. Scots have travelled the world over, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes—such as when it comes to Jamaica—probably not for particularly great reasons. It is also a country that has opened itself up to migrants and been welcoming in that regard.

As Jamie McGrigor alluded to, St Andrew is the patron saint of fishermen and fishmongers. I am certainly not looking at any members in the chamber, particularly not at any members behind me, when I say that St Andrew is also the patron saint of singers, spinsters, maidens, old maids, and women wishing to become mothers. Also—this is perhaps a good thing for politicians—he is the patron saint for people with sore throats.

It has been seven years since the Scottish Parliament approved the bill to have a national holiday on or around St Andrew’s day. As members know, since then, the Scottish Government and public sector organisations such as VisitScotland have observed that holiday. Many local authorities also observe it but we hope that more will take up the challenge—and indeed the opportunity, as John Mason said—to take the day as a holiday.

Members will also be pleased to hear that we have gathered some encouraging evidence that suggests that the celebration of St Andrew’s day is gathering momentum. For example, in 2013-14, Scottish winter festival events recorded a total footfall of 257,884. That is an 8 per cent increase on the footfall the year before. Also, the number of private sector organisations offering free or discounted entry on St Andrew’s day increased by 140 per cent between 2012 and 2013.

Bruce Crawford’s remarks about the global Scottish diaspora reminded me of a saying that I am sure members will have heard many a time: that there are two types of people in the world—Scots and those who wish they were Scottish. In that vein, it is estimated that 50 million people across the globe claim Scottish ancestry. Many of those Scots and Scots at heart, wherever they are from in the world—from Beijing to Rio, Toronto and Brisbane—will be remembering and marking the national day, as they do hogmanay and Burns night every year.

People were quite correct to mention that St Andrew is also the patron saint of many other countries, including Greece, Russia, Romania, and—apparently—Barbados, which is fantastic. As external affairs still come into my remit, if members would want me to, I could submit myself to the country to go on a fact-finding mission to Barbados in that regard—I would be more than happy to do that.

We are working hard with our partners across the world to establish St Andrew’s day as an important day to mark. I am delighted that we are working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to promote the celebration of St Andrew’s day. I was having a Twitter exchange with the high commissioner to Zambia, James Thornton, who was at the Caledonian ball to celebrate St Andrew’s day just this week. Jamie McGrigor also gave many examples of other celebrations. We are delighted that our partners are doing all they can—as we are doing all we can—to promote St Andrew’s day across the world, as well as members here who will be celebrating in their local constituencies.

As the motion states, St Andrew’s day is also

“an opportunity to celebrate diversity of cultures, faiths and ethnic origins”

of this small country. Bruce Crawford made that point extraordinarily well throughout his speech. During this year in particular, through all the events that we have had—including, of course, the Commonwealth games in particular—we have managed to bring those communities of Scotland closer together.

St Andrew himself, of course, was an immigrant. He emigrated and travelled to many different countries, including Ukraine, Romania, Russia, Greece and Turkey, to name just a few. One programme of events that helps to celebrate that ethnic diversity on St Andrew’s day this year is the fantastic event that is called the multicultural homecoming. It is being organised by BEMIS Scotland, which is headed by the very able Dr Rami Ousta and his team. The finale of that homecoming celebration is on St Andrew’s night and the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs will be representing the Scottish Government at that event. I myself will be celebrating St Andrew’s day with our vibrant Sikh community in Scotland.

As we enter the winter festival season, it is important to remember that St Andrew’s day is not the only celebration in these winter months. We have a fantastic programme, with hogmanay a month later and Burns night as well.

I thought that some of the ideas that came from members on how we can celebrate St Andrew’s day further and give the day more prominence were very good indeed. Christine Grahame volunteered to climb the ramparts of Edinburgh castle with the saltire in her teeth in order to attach it to the top.



Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Humza Yousaf

I do not see anybody advocating, and I have never come across a politician or political party that advocates, illegal immigration. We all want to clamp down on those who choose to abuse the system, and that is absolutely correct. However, we must understand that being part of the European Union means that, for every person who comes from Eastern Europe to work in Scotland, there is a Scot who has a retirement villa on the Costa del Sol. It is a two-way process, which we enjoy.

I agree with Jamie McGrigor that there are vital sectors that need immigration, and the UK Government’s immigration rules are completely counterproductive in filling those skills gaps. That is why the Institute of Directors, the Scottish Trades Union Congress and Universities Scotland have requested a measure of devolution on immigration.

We will chew over what the Smith commission has said on the matter as one of the issues for consideration. I am sure that Jamie McGrigor, given the geography that he represents, will wish to make further representation on the matter too.



Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Humza Yousaf

John Mason makes a very valid point. Where concerns and tensions exist we have a duty to address them, but politicians must not be tempted to use inflammatory rhetoric in the pursuit of cheap political gain.

I felt disheartened and angry when I read the comments from the UK Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, about towns and cities being “swamped” and “under siege” from immigrants. We must condemn such distasteful language, which is, frankly, straight out of the British National Party’s handbook.

Immigrants contribute culturally, socially and even—thank god for it—through their cuisine, so EU migrants are very, very welcome in Scotland.



Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
The Minister for Europe and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of migration for healthy population growth and sustainable economic growth. European Union migrants play a valuable role in our economic prosperity and will always be welcome in Scotland. A University College London report that was published earlier this month made the value of EU migrants clear. It found that, between 2001 and 2011, recent European migrants made a net contribution of £20 billion to the United Kingdom economy.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Humza Yousaf

That is an excellent question, which has dogged the fair trade debate since the fair trade movement began, but I have every confidence in fair trade certification. I know that those who are involved in Fairtrade certification are very aware of the issues that Jamie McGrigor raises. It is important that we do not disadvantage the poorest in the world through all the noble intentions that everybody who buys fair trade has. The Scottish Government can certainly aid those discussions, and we can be an exemplar.

I am more than happy to meet the member to discuss the matter—and even, if he wishes, to arrange and facilitate a meeting with the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, so that it can provide him with assurances additional to those that I have given. I can tell the member, however, that the forum is very much aware of the important issue that he raises.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Humza Yousaf

The Scottish Government has always believed that it is imperative to promote the fair trade agenda. I am thankful that we have had a cross-party consensus on that. We will continue to do what we can. Of course, Governments can always do more, and we will look to do that.

Awareness of fair trade has improved substantially over the past years. More communities and colleges have been designated fair trade communities and colleges, and a bigger proportion of the population has been buying fair trade products. Of course, there is more to do.

I am aware of the new procurement directive, and I will certainly talk to the appropriate Government minister to see what we can do. There are other avenues: legislation can be an important tool, and we have seen how working with businesses—even before they get to the procurement stage—on fair trade is very important. In the Commonwealth games we saw gold that was sourced in a fair trade manner, and many of the products used in the athletes’ village were sourced ethically. That was achieved by working with companies before they even got into the procurement process.

I would be more than happy to take up with the appropriate Government minister elements of what Alex Rowley says. I extend the same offer that I extended to Neil Bibby: I am more than happy to meet on these issues, if Alex Rowley so wishes.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
The Minister for Europe and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

The Scottish Government remains committed to ensuring that producers in the developing world achieve a fair price for their goods, as I said in my answer to the previous question. Earlier this year I announced a further £440,000 to enable the Scottish Fair Trade Forum to strengthen support for fair trade across all sections of Scottish society: from sport all the way through to fair trade produce.

United Kingdom figures show that retail fair trade sales were £1.7 billion in 2014, which is roughly 1 per cent of the UK groceries market overall. As major retailers and manufacturers trade on a UK basis, no disaggregated sales figures exist for Scotland. However, the latest survey indicates that fair trade continues to enjoy strong support, with 63 per cent of the Scottish population regularly purchasing Fairtrade products.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Humza Yousaf

I would be more than willing to meet. Neil Bibby is correct: he and I played on the same team—that might be the only time that we are on the same team—and we beat the MPs 4-3. I will not mention that I scored at Celtic park.

Putting all that to the side, I will deal with the substance of the question. It is very important that schools are involved. Every school that I have visited has a fair trade programme. More and more schools are having fair trade programmes, and it is imperative that we involve our young people in Scotland in fair trade.

A national football tournament is an excellent idea, and I would be happy to see how we could support it. I commit to meet Neil Bibby and Bala Sport to see what we can do to progress this important agenda.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
The Minister for Europe and International Development (Humza Yousaf)

I note the member’s on-going interest in fair trade and fair trade footballs, and I wish to put that on the record.

The Scottish Government recognises the value that fair trade footballs have in ensuring that we highlight the need for workers in developing countries to be paid a fair price for their goods and labour. As a demonstration of our on-going commitment to fair trade, following our achievement of fair trade nation status in 2013, which the member welcomed at the time, we are providing core funding to the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, which is working with Bala Sport to raise the profile of fair trade footballs across Scotland.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11901.3 Neil Findlay: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
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NoDefeated

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

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

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
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YesCarried

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

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

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

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

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

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

Search for other Motions lodged by Humza Yousaf
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-10712: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10347: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10147: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09547: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-04694: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/11/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-03984: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/09/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-03935: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/08/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-03832: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/08/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-03752: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/08/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-03751: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/08/2012 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 S4O-01180: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/06/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00992: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/04/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-06825: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/04/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00950: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/04/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00904: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/03/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00868: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/03/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00682: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/01/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-00630: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/01/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-00392: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/01/2012 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-04640: Humza Yousaf, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/12/2011 Show Full Question >>