Jackie Baillie MSP

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Jackie Baillie MSP

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  • Member for: Dumbarton
  • Region: West Scotland
  • Party: Scottish Labour

Jackie is a member of the following Committees:

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

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by 5. Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

I thank the cabinet secretary for his statement. He accused Mr McNeil of backsliding, but is he not himself backsliding on his vow that the scheme to mitigate the bedroom tax would be in place for April of this year, as promised by him, although it is not yet in place? He will be aware that people are being pursued for arrears of bedroom tax from 2013-14 and threatened with eviction. Given the agreement between the Scottish Government and Labour to fully mitigate the bedroom tax, will he take action to ensure that people in arrears from 2013-14 have their debts removed?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

I am very pleased to bring the debate to Parliament this evening. Robert Watson, who is the chair of the CHAS young adult council, was hoping to be here tonight. If he has made it, I offer him a warm welcome. Robert is a young man with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is a life-limiting condition. He and others in the young adult council set up the What About Us? group and lodged a petition in the Parliament calling for age-appropriate respite care facilities. Together with Kyle Kelly, Robert presented that petition to the Public Petitions Committee in November 2013 and made quite an impression on the committee’s members.

However, our timing was truly terrible, because that was the same day as the launch of the Scottish Government’s white paper on independence. One might have expected the Scottish Government to have held off for a day or two so that we could have had some of the publicity, but it did not do so. I do not know why. The upshot was that adult respite did not get as much attention as we believe it deserves; however, I say to the Minister for Public Health that we are not giving up.

I am grateful to members for staying tonight to participate in the debate. There was much banter across the chamber in the previous debate, so let me make it clear that I am working hand in glove with Jim Eadie and Jackson Carlaw, together with Robert Watson and his team, to make progress on age-appropriate respite care.

The members of the CHAS young adults council all suffer from various life-limiting conditions, and many would not previously have been expected to live beyond childhood. However, such have been the advances in medicine that people with such conditions are living much longer—well into their 30s and 40s and beyond. That is a really positive story that we should celebrate.

Nevertheless, it brings with it a challenge. Many members are aware of the exceptional work that CHAS does at its hospices, Robin house in Balloch and Rachel house in Kinross. They are set up to provide much-needed respite for children who have terminal illnesses, and what fantastic places they are. Such is the pressure on their services, however, that they had to take a decision to limit their respite care to people aged under 21. They reckon that that will affect about 40 young people, although other estimates put the figure at 100 young people who will need to find alternative respite provision. Whatever the number is, we need to do something about it, and although it is helpful that there is to be a three-year transition period, that is quite a short timescale to identify suitable alternative care.

Let me touch for a moment on what would be appropriate. This is not about respite care for parents and carers, important though that may be. This is about respite care for young men and women who, just like the rest of us, need to have a holiday, to get away and to be with others of their own age group. Being at home can be quite isolating and—let us face it—we can all do with a break, but for many of those young adults respite care is a chance to socialise with others, and their parents can relax safe in the knowledge that the respite provider has the expertise to deal with their son’s or daughter’s complex condition.

Members who have visited CHAS services will know that they are not sad places, but are filled with laughter and joy. There is always something going on—things to do, people to see and places to chill in. I ask members to imagine that they are an adult aged 21 or over, and their respite care is provided in an old people’s care home or a hospital wing. That is the reality for some younger adults, and it is simply not good enough. That is not to denigrate old people’s care homes or hospitals but, to be frank, respite care that is provided in those settings is more about where there is space, rather than being determined by individuals’ needs.

We need age-appropriate respite facilities. We need a CHAS for 21 to 45-year-olds, or 50-year-olds. Far be it from me to suggest a model, but CHAS’s approach works, and local authorities and health boards have worked with it to develop a funding model and process that has wider application.

There has been discussion with Leuchie house about converting an existing building to provide appropriate respite, and at one stage the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow was looking at developing new facilities, of which bespoke respite for this age group could be a part. There is no end to the talent and creativity of people in the voluntary sector who want to help, because they, above all, recognise the challenge of transition.

The Scottish Government believes that there is an issue here, too. Its “Living and Dying Well—Progress Report” in March 2012 reported on transition services and stated:

“In many Boards this appeared to be work in progress.”

I am sure that the Minister for Public Health will agree that that recurring comment exposes the lack of adult services to which young people can transition.

It appears that the position has not really improved. In a survey that the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign commissioned about hospice and respite facilities for young adults, 85 per cent strongly or very strongly agreed that respite and hospice facilities are vital for their family's quality of life. A staggering 92 per cent reported limits to respite and hospice provision in their local area, and 93 per cent said that, if respite or hospice facilities were withdrawn, the impact would be “terrible”. We can be in no doubt about how important the matter is.

CHAS has commissioned research, helpfully funded by the Scottish Government, to identify the number of children and young people who would benefit from palliative care, and that research is welcome. Other research will look at end-of-life clinical problems and the impact that they have on families and services. That, too, is welcome.

There is some activity, but I am impatient, and we all recognise that the clock is ticking. We need someone to pull all that together, to drive the discussion forward and arrive at a positive solution, and I can think of no one better than the Minister for Public Health. He has the skills and the understanding to transform adult respite and transition services. [Interruption.] Yes, I am being charming because I want something. I ask him to recognise that the issue is not about party politics; we all accept that there is a need to do something. I ask him to commit this evening to taking this work forward personally. He will enjoy support from across the parties in Parliament if he does so.

In Scotland, we have an opportunity to lead the way by bringing providers and young people together and by developing a national response to the difficulties that people face as they get older. We are talking about a small but growing number of adults who have complex and exceptional health needs. I hope that the minister will say yes tonight, because we can do better and, with his help, we will do better.



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Jackie Baillie

Will the member take a tiny intervention?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Jackie Baillie

Does the member accept that CHAS did not choose to do that? Healthcare Improvement Scotland required it, and CHAS currently has a variation in its registration to allow it to take people up to 21.



Meeting of the Parliament 02 October 2014 : Thursday, October 02, 2014
Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

The First Minister will recall the joint approach that Labour and the Scottish Government took in the previous budget round to ensure that the bedroom tax was fully mitigated this year. However, some people are being pursued for arrears from the previous financial year. Will the First Minister make it clear today that local authorities are allowed to use their current funding from the Scottish Government to clear bedroom tax arrears for 2013-14?



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

Levels of child poverty are going the wrong way and it is a concern for all. The exchange between Annabelle Ewing and the minister was most interesting, because it might interest members to note that not one word in the white paper on independence or the report of the expert group on welfare sets a different course from that of the UK Government. If the minister disagrees, could she point me to the page of either document that says otherwise?



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Jackie Baillie

What about child benefit?



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Jackie Baillie

On that basis, what would the minister do on child benefit? I give her a second chance to tell me which page of the white paper or the report of the expert group on welfare points to an approach to child benefit that is different from that of the UK.



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

I congratulate Graeme Dey on securing the debate and on the content of his speech. Although he may consider himself “computer savvy” and “tech-confident”—I am learning new phrases all the time—I merely note that, by his own admission, the people closest to him might disagree. I also congratulate Angus CAB on producing its report and highlighting the challenges that are faced by online benefit claimants.

We live in an increasingly online world. We pay our bills online, we can get our shopping online and we can make travel arrangements online. However, that is not for everyone and we should not lose talking to people face to face. Graeme Dey is right to point to the need for alternatives to doing things online.

It is correct to say that the DWP expects people increasingly to make their claims online. Indeed, the UK Government’s digital strategy expects that 80 per cent of all benefit claims will be made online by 2017, yet the rate of progress is extremely slow. For jobseekers allowance applications alone, the Government fell woefully short of the target that it said it would reach of 80 per cent of claims being made online by September 2013, just last year—it was 10 per cent in March 2011 and 19 per cent in March 2012. That is a long way off the target set.

There are a number of reasons for that. First, even the DWP admits that claimants are less likely to use the internet; 72 per cent of disabled people are online compared with 85 per cent of non-disabled people; 59 per cent of people over the age of 65 are online, which leaves a huge number that are not; and access to online services can often be limited by income—the Office of Communications found that one in three households earning less than £17,500 had broadband. Therefore, people who are older or in poor health or who have a lower income or less education are more likely to be offline, yet those are the very people who make the most use of Government services and who will need assistance.

An approach that expects all those who claim benefits and are in search of employment to have the necessary IT skills will not only put them at risk of being sanctioned but marginalise them further in their own communities. The UK Government is doing nothing to help to improve IT skills; rather, it is just closing down alternative means of claiming. That will put extraordinary pressure on public and voluntary services to help people with claim forms. Citizens advice bureaux dealt with 19,463—I had to make sure that I got that right—benefit form completions in 2011-12. That figure is likely to increase and CABs are not funded to meet that level of demand. The issue is equally a problem for local authority advice services. Access to computers in libraries may be helpful, but there are challenges, such as a lack of privacy, a lack of support staff and short time limits on the use of computers.

The three local authority universal credit pilots in West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway have already led to the expressing of significant misgivings. Councillors in those areas are already warning that

“online applications must not become the preferred method for accessing the benefits system and alternative methods must not be made more difficult to force people to go digital.”

Another comment that has been made is that

“it takes around 90 minutes to complete an online JSA application form. People cannot fill out a 36 page form on a mobile phone and many people don’t want to upload very personal information on a public computer in a library.”

There is even a question about whether the pilots will have had time to be properly evaluated by the time universal credit is introduced.

The UK Government cannot assume that people have the skills to access the internet or, indeed, the opportunity to do so. Simply asserting that benefit applications will have to be made online is just not good enough and fails to address the practical barriers that many benefit claimants face.

It is a wrong-headed policy to push people to apply for benefits online. It fails to reflect the reality of people’s lives and the impact that that will have on public and voluntary services. I again thank Angus CAB for drawing the issue to our attention and Graeme Dey for bringing the debate to the chamber. Ultimately, the UK Government needs to change its approach to some of the most vulnerable in our society and help them to make claims rather than put artificial barriers in their way.

17:22  

Meeting of the Parliament 25 September 2014 : Thursday, September 25, 2014
5. Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government's position is on raising the minimum wage to £8 per hour. (S4F-02289)

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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NoCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11116 Johann Lamont: Scotland’s Future—That the Parliament recognises the result of the independ
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NoCarried

Amendment 61 moved by Elaine Murray on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland) Bi
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Amendment 62 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Amendment 63 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
YesDefeated

Amendment 64 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Jackie Baillie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11241: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11221: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11141: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 08/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11138: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11132: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11129: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11087: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11047: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11045: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10993: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Jackie Baillie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-22818: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22821: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22820: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22819: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22816: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22817: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22814: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22815: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22809: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22710: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/10/2014 Show Full Question >>