Margaret McCulloch MSP

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Equal Opportunities Committee 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
The Convener

That concludes the public part of today’s meeting.

10:33 Meeting continued in private until 11:02.  

Equal Opportunities Committee 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
The Convener

Agenda item 1 is subordinate legislation; we will consider a negative instrument, namely the Marriage Between Persons of Different Sexes (Prescribed Bodies) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 (SSI 2014/304). The regulations prescribe the religious or belief bodies whose ministers, clergymen, pastors, priests or other celebrants are entitled to solemnise marriage between persons of different sexes, without the need to be registered as approved celebrants. The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee identified a minor drafting error in the instrument. Full details of the error and the instrument can be viewed in the committee’s public paper 1.

The committee will now consider any issues that it wishes to raise in reporting to the Parliament on the instrument. Members should note that no motion to annul the instrument has been received.

Does the committee agree not to make any recommendations on the instrument?

Members indicated agreement.



Equal Opportunities Committee 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
The Convener (Margaret McCulloch)

Welcome to the Equal Opportunities Committee’s 21st meeting in 2014. I ask everyone to set any electronic devices to flight mode or switch them off.

We are supported at the table by clerking and research staff, official reporters and broadcasting services and, around the room, by the security office.

My name is Margaret McCulloch and I am the committee’s convener. Members will now introduce themselves in turn, starting on my right.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Margaret McCulloch

Bluebird Care in South Lanarkshire has recently become one of the first care providers in my region to be recognised as a living wage employer. It expects the benefits to its business to include improved staff morale and better levels of worker retention.

Regardless of whether power over the minimum wage is devolved to Scotland, does the Scottish Government agree that nothing prevents it from promoting the benefits of the living wage to employers in sectors in which work might be low paid or insecure? If so, does it agree that it could promote the living wage by establishing a living wage unit and introducing a living wage strategy?



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
1. Margaret McCulloch (Central Scotland) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government how it is promoting the living wage as part of its anti-poverty strategy. (S4O-03741)



Meeting of the Parliament 25 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Margaret McCulloch (Central Scotland) (Lab)

This is the first time that a recommendation of the Scottish Law Commission has been taken forward in this way, with the bill being brought to Parliament by the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee. The bill that the committee is asking Parliament to consider is one that my Labour colleagues and I are inclined to support at stage 1.

Not only do I believe that the general principles of the bill are sound, but I believe that the work of the SLC and the committee demonstrates that there is a clear need to modernise contract law in Scotland. In supporting the bill, I hope that Parliament can give clarity—as has been asked for before—on the concepts of counterparts and delivery, and that it can produce a legal framework for contracts that reflects changes in technology and business practice. I also hope that we can make a wider contribution to the Scottish economy.

I congratulate the SLC on its work on the bill. It has undertaken an informed and extensive consultation. Its work has highlighted the need for the bill and has demonstrated that there is support for reform across the legal, academic and business communities. In its work, the SLC identified two problems with commercial and contract law in Scotland, which it believes could be dealt with through Parliament’s new approach to law reform. First, it highlighted the need for clarity in respect of counterparts. It was not clear whether a legal document could be brought into effect if it was signed in counterpart. In other words, the commission was not clear whether it is acceptable under current Scots law for different parties to sign identical copies of a contract instead of signing the same physical copy of the document.

Secondly, the SLC called for clarity in respect of the law on delivery. It is not clear whether a paper document, such as a traditional written contract, can be said to have been delivered if it is sent and delivered electronically.

The view of the SLC is that the current law is not fit for purpose because the letter of our law in Scotland is at variance with common practice and with contract law in neighbouring jurisdictions. The SLC even found evidence that businesses are sometimes choosing to use English law instead of Scots law to govern agreements because counterparts are permitted under English law. That disincentive to using Scots law, coupled with legal uncertainty over methods of delivery, may well be doing harm to our economic competitiveness.

By allowing the use of counterpart signatures as an option to execute a contract, and by allowing contracts to be delivered electronically, we could help businesses to make time-cost savings and reduce travel and accommodation costs.

We should bear in mind that a limited number of people within a business will be authorised to sign legal documents on behalf of the company. I also emphasise that the costs to businesses that are outlined by the SLC are costs that they would not face in jurisdictions where contract law has already been modernised and where laws take sufficient account of technological change.

Just as we want to be clear about what the bill will do to modernise our laws in respect of counterparts and delivery, let us also be clear about what it will not do: it will not mandate use of electronic signatures, and it will not change the law on fraud. In both civil and criminal law, the existing rules on fraudulent signatures will remain in place. The bill will not change the standard of proof that is required in relation to execution; the general rules on whether a person who claims to have signed a document has actually done so will remain the same.

The bill will not alter general contract law. Issues such as whether a contract has been formed and the rules on breach of contract, damages and so forth will not be affected by the bill. It will not create an electronic repository for legal documents. Although that was a recommendation of the SLC, it is an area of work that the Scottish Government is keen to pursue once the bill has been passed.

The bill will simply bring the law up to date. It will allow for contracts to be signed in counterpart, as is acceptable in other jurisdictions, and it will allow for paper contracts to be delivered electronically.

With the bill, we have an opportunity to remove a disincentive to conducting business using Scots law, and to make it easier for parties to enter commercial contracts and transactions. With small but significant changes that are largely uncontroversial, we can bring contract law up to date and make it for fit for purpose. It is for those reasons that I intend to support the general principles of the bill.

16:09  

Equal Opportunities Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
The Convener

As members have no more questions, I thank the cabinet secretaries for their participation in this evidence session.

That concludes the public part of today’s meeting. Our next meeting will take place on Thursday 4 December.

11:07 Meeting continued in private until 11:32.  

Equal Opportunities Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
The Convener

If we get a very quick answer, we can have a very quick question.



Equal Opportunities Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
The Convener

We move on to the subject of older people and health and wellbeing. Siobhan McMahon will start the questions.



Equal Opportunities Committee 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
The Convener

Does Shona Robison want to make any comments, or has everything been covered?

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
Not VotedCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Margaret McCulloch
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11557: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11478: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10178: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10165: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09923: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09631: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09053: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08594: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08138: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 31/10/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07558: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/08/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Margaret McCulloch
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-23672: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03741: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03705: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03513: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22560: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22553: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22552: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22360: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22357: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03450: Margaret McCulloch, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/07/2014 Show Full Question >>