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 1. Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
1. Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

To ask the First Minister what engagements she has planned for the rest of the day. (S4F-02396)



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Jackie Baillie

Yesterday, the First Minister said:

“There is a big job to be done”—[Official Report, 19 November 2014; c 23.]

and that it was time to get on and do it. I could not agree more. Will the First Minister therefore tell members when the new system for allocating drugs to cancer patients will be available across Scotland?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Jackie Baillie

I certainly will take up that invitation and I very much welcome it, because the improvements that the First Minister is talking about should have happened by now.

In October last year, the health secretary announced a new and more flexible system to give cancer patients access to the treatments that they require based on clinical need, not on where they live. In January this year, he said that the new system would be introduced in May. May came and went. When the health secretary was questioned in July, he did not answer. Earlier this year, clinicians from the Beatson west of Scotland cancer centre came again to the Parliament and said that the postcode lottery system continues, despite the health secretary’s promises.

Can the First Minister tell cancer patients in Scotland why there has been the delay?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Jackie Baillie

I respect the good faith in which the First Minister approaches the matter, but the question that I asked was not about the SMC; it was about access via health boards. What she is saying is completely at odds with what cancer charities, clinicians and, more important, patients are saying is their real experience of the system now.

On that basis, let me highlight to the First Minister one case that was reported in the Evening Times last month: that of Jean MacDonald from Glasgow. Jean is a carer for her mother, who suffers from leukaemia. She was denied treatment for ovarian cancer in Glasgow, despite the fact that the same treatment was available to patients in Edinburgh. She and her family had to scrape together £35,000 of their own money to pay for cancer drugs. I am sure that the First Minister would agree with me that that just is not right.

Again, can she tell me when she will end the postcode lottery for cancer patients across Scotland, which her health secretary promised would happen by May?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Jackie Baillie

I very much welcome the First Minister’s comments about how open she will be with Opposition parties in discussing such serious cases. The issue is about local decision making. I know that she understands that the debate is not theoretical but very real. However, the new system for cancer drugs was promised in May, and the delay in introducing it will be a lifetime to someone with a terminal illness.

Let me leave the First Minister with the thoughts of the partners of two cancer patients.

Jacqui Morrison, whose late husband met Alex Neil to discuss the issue, said:

“By delaying implementation of the new system the Government has broken its promise to patients like my late husband that they would have the ability to access medicines needed to manage their end of life care. How many more patients must suffer before fair and equal access to end of life treatments in Scotland comes into effect?”

Graeme Rankin said:

“Last November, Alex Neil made a promise to bowel cancer patients that the new system would be implemented by May this year. He gave me and my late wife personal assurance that this issue would be solved. I am hugely disappointed and frustrated that a year on, patients are still begging for treatment.”

I am happy to work with the First Minister, but I simply ask her this: when will this Government treat cancer patients in Scotland with the dignity and respect that we all believe they deserve?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

I congratulate John Wilson on securing time for this debate and on the tone and content of his speech. I know that he cares passionately about the issue. Like him, I have been motivated for all my working life by the values of social justice, fairness and equality—the values that brought me into politics in the first place.

There is no greater cause than tackling child poverty, and Labour’s ambition for Scotland is quite simply to end it. Like everybody else, I suspect, I want to live in a society where every child is given the best possible start in life and no one is left behind.

I used to work in some of the poorest areas of the west of Scotland, so I have seen the impact of poverty at first hand—the children whose life chances are determined before they reach the age of three; the parents who have been in and out of low-paid, temporary jobs; and the despondency and lack of hope that is visited on some neighbourhoods. Equally, however, I have seen the resilience and determination of people and communities to fight back.

In the decade to 2007-08, when Labour was in office, absolute child poverty fell from 39 per cent to 19 per cent. More than 1 million children across the UK and more than 200,000 children in Scotland alone were lifted out of poverty. Since that time, the decline has been much slower. In recent years, progress has stalled and we are now in danger of going the wrong way.

The lesson here is that levels of child poverty dropped more significantly in Scotland than in any other part of the UK and by 2007 we had the lowest level in the UK, despite the greater starting point. That was about political will and determination to change people’s lives for the better, and we can and must do that again.

We already have control over a number of key areas—health, housing, education, childcare and more—and there is much that we can do ourselves. The Government’s child poverty strategy is a reasonable one, but until recently there appeared to be no additional money earmarked for such a pressing problem, there was no monitoring framework in place and there was little idea of whether some of the inputs from Government were leading to the right outcomes and actually making a difference. If we are serious about this, we need to get so much better at doing all of that.

The scale of the challenge that we face is increasing. Almost 65,000 more children face poverty due to the welfare cuts proposed by the Conservatives. That is a political failure, not a failure of the constitution, and I make no secret of my desire to vote them out.

I turn to in-work poverty, because that has an impact on child poverty. In-work poverty is rising. The minimum income standard shows that, in the past five years, prices have risen by 25 per cent at the same time as wages have declined in real terms. We are facing a cost-of-living crisis the likes of which we have not seen for decades.

I want to make sure that work pays. It was Labour that proudly introduced the national minimum wage and it is Labour that has led the argument for the living wage in this Parliament. The Scottish National Party says—it said it just recently—that it shares our ambition, so I am genuinely disappointed that it rejected the opportunity to do something in the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill for the 400,000 low-paid workers in Scotland. It did that at a time when it also rejected removing zero-hours contracts and introducing equal pay audits, both of which would have made a difference.

We know that poor employment practices have a disproportionate effect on women. Almost 64 per cent of those who are paid less than the living wage are women.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Jackie Baillie

Women are also more likely to be on zero-hours contracts and in part-time work.

There are areas in which this Government can already make a huge difference. I do not think that we are using all the powers that we have to do that. I urge the minister, in her summation, to talk more about what the Scottish Government can do to make a difference.

12:44  

Meeting of the Parliament 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

I offer my congratulations to Nicola Sturgeon on her election as First Minister. In many ways, I consider this to be a double celebration, as she is the first woman to be appointed to that office and the first woman to lead the Scottish National Party.

We became members of the Scottish Parliament on the same day and we have for a number of years had the same policy brief, so we have exchanged views on countless occasions across the chamber. Presiding Officer, although it will not surprise you to know that Nicola Sturgeon and I have not always agreed, I have certainly respected her contribution. Some of those exchanges have been robust—I am sure that they will continue to be robust—and others have been more consensual. I trust that she will accept my congratulations in the spirit in which they are offered.

I hope that the fact that three out of five party responses today are being delivered by women is recognition of how far we have travelled in recent years and how the Parliament differs from other places.

Nicola Sturgeon’s place in Scottish political history is assured, given that she is the first woman to hold her post. There is no doubting that this is a symbolic moment, but what she does in post matters far more. I sincerely hope that she will use her position to promote women’s role in public life by making positive steps towards gender balance.

There is no reason why a 50:50 gender balance cannot become a reality in government, in the Parliament and across the public sector. Nicola Sturgeon has the power to achieve that, and I will be happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with her if she chooses to do so.

Next week, we will hear from the First Minister what her programme for government will contain and who she will choose to serve in her Cabinet. I will have more to say about that on another day. She tells us that the policies at the heart of her Administration will be social justice and equality. I welcome that. I say to her genuinely that, if that is the case, will she consider replacing the 4,000 teaching posts and will she reinstate the 140,000 college places that have been cut? Will she do something to increase the number of students from the poorest backgrounds taking up university places? I am sure that she agrees that education provides the opportunity to secure a better future and deliver social justice.

In the past few weeks, many—including me—have commented on the SNP Administration’s failings since it came to power in 2007 and particularly in the past three years when it has had a majority in the Parliament. I welcome the reports of Nicola Sturgeon’s Saturday conference speech and, in particular, her pledge to tackle poverty and inequality. However, I gently remind her that the SNP has been responsible for many of the relevant policies over the past seven years. Even though it was her Government that cut £1 billion from the anti-poverty budget, I am always willing to work with her in the cause of social justice.

Although I welcome that new priority, I had hoped that the SNP would have addressed the problems facing the people of Scotland before now. If she brings forward credible policies for dealing with those problems, she will get the support of Labour members, and we stand ready to help with that task.

People know that what counts is action, not words. It is genuinely disappointing that it appears that action is on hold until her party manifesto for the 2016 Holyrood elections, although I hope that we can work together now to do something before then. That apparently includes the pledge to increase the number of hours of free childcare—a pledge that we warmly welcome. Having been told during the referendum campaign that that could be done only if Scotland achieved independence, we now find that it can be done anyway—but I hope that it can be done now and not at some later date. Again, we stand ready to help.

One area in which the new First Minister can provide us with some clarity is the living wage. She announced to her party conference that cleaning staff employed by Mitie and subcontracted to the Scottish Government will be paid the living wage by the end of the year. That is a positive development. However, although I welcome that, I think that we can do much better than a piecemeal, company-by-company approach.

Three weeks ago, the SNP had the opportunity to ensure that every company that wishes to secure a public sector contract pays the living wage. The SNP rejected that proposal, although the First Minister signed a living wage pledge back in March. For the 400,000 people who are paid less than the living wage, I invite the SNP and the First Minister to support Labour’s campaign to make payment of the living wage the expectation, not the exception, in all public sector contracts.

Although it was a long apprenticeship for Nicola Sturgeon, she tells us that she was party to all decisions while she worked with Alex Salmond. I will watch with interest to see whether we get more of the same or whether she strikes a different tone, adopts a different style and has different content. I genuinely congratulate her on her appointment and very much look forward to First Minister’s question time tomorrow.

15:12  

Meeting of the Parliament 18 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

I congratulate the First Minister on his statement to the chamber and associate myself with much of what he said. I thank him in particular for recognising those MSPs who are no longer with us.

We are a young Parliament and Alex Salmond has been the First Minister for almost half our lifetime. He and I have sparred, disagreed, fallen out and fought across the floor of the chamber, and I have particularly enjoyed our personal jousts at First Minister’s question time. I thank him for all the name checks that he has thrown my way—they have seriously done wonders for my profile. However, it would be wrong of anyone, not least me, not to recognise the First Minister’s commitment to Parliament and to public service. No one of any party is able to deny his passion for Scotland or his love of his country.

We know, though, that the First Minister also brought to bear—mainly on the Opposition, but not always—his very significant political talents. The Scottish Parliament and Scottish politics in general need people of talent of whatever political persuasion, because that is how we improve our political debates and our institutions, and the First Minister’s considerable abilities will be missed. Given his track record, we know that he might just emulate Arnold Schwarzenegger and proclaim that he will be back.

I know how much of a toll being an elected member takes on family life, so I hope that the First Minister gets to spend at least some time with his wife Moira, and I wish them both well for the future. I could also have suggested—not that I would—that he will now have more free time to play golf, but that is one thing that appears not to have been affected by the burdens of office.

I know how proud the First Minister’s father is of his son’s achievements. Robert Salmond has been to the Parliament on a number of occasions to see his son in action, and I am sure that there could have been no prouder moment for Mr Salmond than to see his son elected as First Minister of Scotland.

The First Minister has had a long and distinguished career, but it was not all plain sailing. Who knew that he was expelled from the Scottish National Party? If anyone is so minded, they can catch on YouTube the First Minister marching out of the SNP conference in Perth with, among others, Kenny MacAskill, Stewart Stevenson, Roseanna Cunningham and, of course, the late Margo MacDonald. However, I issue a word of warning: that is 10 minutes of their life that they will never get back.

It did not take the First Minister long before he was back in the fold, taking over the leadership of his party for the first time. It will forever be a matter of record for historians to write about that in a relatively short period of time he took his party from relative political wilderness to minority government in 2007. The fact that he then went on to achieve majority government still has John Curtice scratching his head.

The First Minister can be assured and rightly proud of his record as leader of his party, but there is no doubt that the single biggest issue to have dominated his term in office and the lifetime of the Parliament was the referendum campaign. Whatever side of the debate they were on, no one can deny that it was invigorating. No politician should ever be afraid of welcoming political engagement, whatever quarter it may come from, but—let us be honest—all of us would love to see turnouts of the level that was experienced on 18 September. More than anything else, before we are SNP members or Labour members, we are democrats. To see so many Scots participate was a genuinely heartening experience.

That the First Minister has done the honourable thing and taken responsibility for the defeat in the referendum is to his credit. That seems only fair because, after all, as he apparently said on BBC Radio Scotland this morning, it could never have happened without him. The First Minister knows that I always like to be helpful, and I think that I know where the yes campaign went wrong. After the First Minister’s comment that, single-handedly, he would have prevented the crash of RBS, thereby saving the entire world from an international banking crisis, surely the answer is clear to the SNP and to everybody in the chamber: if only the First Minister had been running the yes campaign.

I can understand Mr Salmond’s disappointment. He should take heart, because it appears that he has started a bit of a trend with the 45ers. I am referring not to those who are in denial about the referendum result but to the supporters of Keith Brown, who are telling all who will listen that he actually won and that the membership figures for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane SNP are now on a par with the population of China.

I understand that the First Minister is writing a book. I will rush out to secure a copy. Apparently, he is promising some surprising revelations. Will he reveal that he has eventually found the missing European Union legal advice? What about a crumpled-up receipt for some swanky American hotel? Who knows? He might even get some writing tips from his biographer, David Torrance. He knows him—the guy off the telly. Although he is not quite sure who David Torrance is, I understand that the First Minister writes about him regularly.

Last week, I asked the First Minister to describe himself in one word. None of us was surprised when he suggested that that was a wholly inadequate task for a man of his considerable talents. I agree: they are such considerable talents that, even as we speak, monuments are being erected to pay tribute to his time as First Minister. I know that that sounds interesting to many: a standing stone is being erected in Edinburgh to celebrate Alex Salmond. I never knew that we had such a celebrity in our midst. Perhaps of more interest—who knows?—is who the kind benefactor is.

Whatever happens, I am sure that we have not heard the last from Alex Salmond, and neither have radio listeners. The big question on everyone’s lips is, “When will we hear from Alex from Strichen again?” If the rumours are true, his colleagues in Westminster will be hearing a lot from him in due course.

The First Minister has never been lacking in ambition for Scotland but he now moves on to pastures new. I genuinely wish him well in his future career. Quite what the new deputy leader of the SNP, Stewart Hosie, will make of the First Minister’s return to Westminster is unknown—as is, indeed, what the leader of the SNP in Westminster, Angus Robertson, will make of it. However, they need not worry, because Alex Salmond will leave them well behind: his ambition is, of course, to be the Deputy Prime Minister.

As the First Minister steps back from the front bench to the back benches to contemplate, his future place in history—the history of both the Scottish Parliament and Scotland—is assured. He has, without doubt, been a towering figure in Scottish politics for a decade and more and has been Scotland’s longest-serving First Minister. I thank him for his service to this Parliament and to the country.

I close by repeating a line from our national anthem that could be about our departing First Minister. No, it is not that we sent him home “to think again”; it is, perhaps more aptly,

“When will we see your like again?”

14:37  

Meeting of the Parliament 13 November 2014 : Thursday, November 13, 2014
1. Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab)

To ask the First Minister what engagements he has planned for the rest of the day. (S4F-02376)

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Jackie Baillie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11640: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11639: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11610: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11609: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11608: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11607: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11606: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11596: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11547: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11527: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Jackie Baillie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-23268: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23269: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03733: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02396: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23159: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23160: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23158: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23155: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23156: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23157: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Question >>