Margaret McDougall MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 Business until 12:00 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
Margaret McDougall

The cabinet secretary will know that North Ayrshire Council defines the A78 as a strategic route for heavy goods vehicles. Furthermore, it would be the key route for the transportation of radioactive waste to Hunterston if the Scottish Environment Protection Agency accepts EDF’s application.

There have been numerous accidents on the road, which passes very close to the front of houses with, in some cases, no footpath between. What assurances can the cabinet secretary give that the Scottish Government is considering upgrading it to improve safety for residents, pedestrians and other road users, particularly if SEPA accepts EDF’s application?



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 Business until 12:00 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
5. Margaret McDougall (West Scotland) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government what road improvements in North Ayrshire are planned over the next five years. (S4O-03845)



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Margaret McDougall (West Scotland) (Lab)

I heard the cabinet secretary say in response to Graeme Pearson’s question that, from here on in, records will be protected. In some cases, survivors have been told that there is no evidence to support their claims because records have been destroyed; in some cases, those who were responsible for the abuse have died or their whereabouts are not known. What hope can the cabinet secretary give to survivors that such cases will be included as part of the inquiry?



Meeting of the Parliament 04 December 2014 : Thursday, December 04, 2014
Margaret McDougall (West Scotland) (Lab)

I, too, welcome the cabinet secretary to his new post.

I welcome the opportunity to speak in this debate on violence against women, particularly as North Ayrshire, which I represent, has one of the highest numbers of recorded incidents of domestic abuse in Scotland. Violence against women is wide ranging and covers sexual offences, forced marriages, trafficking, prostitution and honour crimes, as well as domestic abuse. I am sure that all members are concerned that many of those crimes are increasing. I welcome the fact that Ayrshire was selected as a pilot area for Clare’s law, which I hope will prove to be a positive development in the protection of potential victims of violence by men.

Between 2003-04 and 2011-12, the number of domestic abuse incidents that were attended by the police in North Ayrshire increased by 90.5 per cent, from 996 to 1,897. That truly shocking figure resulted in the creation of the multi-agency domestic abuse response team—MADART—which is comprised of the council, the police, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, North Ayrshire Women’s Aid and members of the North Ayrshire violence against women partnership. MADART has since reduced the number of incidents in North Ayrshire by more than 4 per cent in 2012-13. There have been key improvements in other areas, such as a 33 per cent increase in direct support to victims with children and a reduction in the time taken to respond to incidents that involve victims with children, from an average of around 10 days to three days.

MADART shows the benefit of organisations pooling and sharing resources to address victims’ needs. That results in improved communication and information sharing and, most important of all, it provides effective support and better targeting of resources and services for victims. My understanding is that the approach is currently unique to Ayrshire, so perhaps other local authorities should adopt it. Although I welcome the reduction in the number of incidents since MADART was established, we need to keep the momentum going and build on that work, which is the foundation for a long-term programme that needs to be supported. With all that in mind, I was appalled to learn that SNP-held North Ayrshire Council proposes to replace the holistic service that North Ayrshire Women’s Aid provides with a watered-down version minus services for children and for women with addictions, and also to cut the funding to that reduced service by 20 per cent.

I will be keeping a watchful eye on the outcome of Clare’s law. I expect that the assessment of the pilot will show that some women have been prevented from becoming involved with known violent men and that the measure will then be rolled out across Scotland, as the cabinet secretary said.

I commend the MADART initiative for its role in driving down domestic abuse in the Ayrshire area and I hope that it continues to be supported. The scheme should be replicated across Scotland. Most important of all, on behalf of the women in North Ayrshire, I ask the cabinet secretary to intervene in the proposals of SNP-held North Ayrshire Council to cut the holistic services and funding of North Ayrshire Women’s Aid in an area that desperately needs to protect women from abuse in their homes.

16:33  

Meeting of the Parliament 02 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Margaret McDougall (West Scotland) (Lab)

I congratulate Nigel Don on securing this debate on fuel poverty in Scotland’s traditional buildings. As the motion quite rightly observes, many of the buildings in Scotland that predate 1919, including residential properties, are in a state of disrepair. Indeed, a quarter of those residential properties are in a state of extensive disrepair.

The experience of living in inadequate housing can have long-lasting effects, so I welcome the opportunity to speak up for people who are living in homes, including those in traditional buildings, that are not up to standard.

The relationship between poor housing and the occupier’s health, wellbeing and income is important to understand. According to the Chartered Institute of Housing,

“Evidence suggests that living in poor housing can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease as well as to anxiety and depression. Problems such as damp, mould, excess cold and structural defects which increase the risk of an accident also present hazards to health.”

The Marmot review team, working for Friends of the Earth, has established that living in a cold home and experiencing fuel poverty have an adverse impact on the mental health of a property’s occupiers. The team also found that

“Children living in cold homes are more than twice as likely to suffer from a variety of respiratory problems than children living in warm homes.”

I believe that Parliament understands the factors that lead to fuel poverty: low incomes, high energy prices and a lack of energy efficiency. Much of our political debate in recent months has focused on how to tackle low pay and improve household incomes by rethinking welfare reform and promoting the living wage. There has also been a great deal of commentary on the price of gas and electricity, the cost of living crisis and the need to reform energy markets.

The focus of this debate is on energy efficiency and the physical improvements that are needed to make traditional buildings more economical to heat and preserve, and how to do those things well.

I believe that the nourishing of our built environment and the preservation of our landscape heritage and historic townscapes enhance and enrich Scotland. Our traditional buildings contribute to the identity of our communities and our shared history. However, from farmhouses to city flats, those buildings are not there just to be appreciated; for many people in Scotland, those properties are their homes. Indeed, homes built before 1919 account for about a fifth of all residential properties in Scotland.

As a nation, we must ensure that we are equipped with the skills, the knowledge and the capacity to heat those homes efficiently and maintain them sustainably. I therefore commend the Scottish Government and Historic Scotland for the importance that they placed on energy efficiency in their strategy for traditional building skills.

The strategy identified challenges with insulating and upgrading traditional buildings. It also found gaps in training provision and that conventional insulation techniques are not always appropriate for older buildings. It explained that Historic Scotland continues to support research into traditional buildings and materials and into new techniques that could improve energy efficiency with the minimum of risk to older buildings. Perhaps the minister will address the implementation of the strategy, which was published in 2011, in her closing remarks.

The Scottish Government is duty bound to do all that it can to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland by 2016. To achieve that, we must invest in traditional building and maintenance skills, and we must bring the benefits of new apprenticeships, new research and new techniques to some of our oldest buildings. We must also encourage private landlords of hard-to-heat older buildings to take up the initiatives that are available to them to make their homes more energy efficient for their tenants.

17:15  

Meeting of the Parliament 20 November 2014 : Thursday, November 20, 2014
Margaret McDougall (West Scotland) (Lab)

It is a great pleasure to speak in the debate. As we have heard, the food and drink industry is a huge part of Scotland’s economy, which generated £13.9 billion in 2012 and accounted for 13.2 per cent of Scotland’s total exports. The sector directly employs almost 118,000 people. With 2015 being Scotland’s year of food and drink there has never been a better time to work to promote Scotland’s quality and unique products around the world.

The industry is still growing and we must nurture and support it to capitalise on its opportunities. My speech will look at two aspects of the food and drink industry: the local benefit that it brings to Ayrshire and Arran and a few of the problems that SMEs face in growing their businesses in the sector.

From its farmers markets to its distilleries, Ayrshire and Arran is an excellent example of the food and drink choices on offer in Scotland. Food and drink constitutes around 16 per cent of total visitor spending and in 2013 tourists spent more than £133 million in the local area.

One example of good practice in the Ayrshire area is the collaboration between producers. For example, the Ayrshire food network helps businesses to work together on issues such as distribution, marketing and export for their mutual benefit.

Taste of Arran is a partnership that brings together 11 food and drink producers on the island, including makers of specialist cheese, crunchy Arran oaties and delicious dairy ice creams, and provides its members with a single point of contact for sales, marketing and distribution.

It can be prohibitively expensive for a small business to export on its own because of the costs of pallets and containers. Taste of Arran works collaboratively with its members by sharing containers and other costs, which keeps costs down and enables members’ goods to reach wider markets that they could not otherwise tap into.

When I spoke to Alistair Dobson from taste of Arran at the VisitScotland event last night, he said that for years he had been exporting from Arran to the mainland and that it made business sense to extend the principle behind taste of Arran to the rest of the UK and further afield. He also believed that its collaboration should be replicated across Scotland. In fact, a pilot is running now with around 20 SMEs, and early figures are encouraging.

I welcome the initiatives that the cabinet secretary mentioned today, but I am sure that many other small business could benefit from schemes like the Ayrshire food network and taste of Arran. However, companies have said to me that they would not know how to go about joining such schemes or who to contact to start the process. It would be beneficial if the Scottish Government could look into whether the Ayrshire and taste of Arran examples could be replicated across Scotland. If they were, we would enable many more small businesses to export their products and so help the Government reach its target of a 50 per cent increase in exports by 2017.

Another issue that came to my attention when the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee held workshops in Perth recently was that there is a lack of collaboration between Government departments. That led to one company missing a massive opportunity to export its potatoes to Russia because the governmental process was too slow. We need to get better at supporting businesses by having more cohesiveness between the many Government departments that are involved in ensuring that our food and drink industry is able to produce its goods and transport them to a global market.

Although that example involved just one company, it begs the question, how many more missed opportunities have there been due to a lack of collaboration between Government departments? In that respect, I welcome John Swinney’s comments at the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee during draft budget scrutiny last week, when he said that new initiatives will be launched to assist and support companies to export. I hope that the Government plans to streamline the process and make it quicker and easier for businesses to compete with competitors globally.

There is a logistics issue with exports, not only in terms of global connectivity but in terms of ensuring that, within Scotland, businesses can move their goods quickly and easily and that all the modes of transport link up effectively. That is a noticeable problem the further north we go in Scotland. I welcome the fact that Maureen Watt’s committee is carrying out an inquiry into freight and logistics.

When dealing with perishable foodstuffs, it is crucial that the food can be transported quickly and in bulk and that the haulage and freight industry has the proper infrastructure to deal with capacity. According to the Freight Transport Association, poor rail lines mean

“weight limits and speed limits that put them beyond economic use”,

and there are

“areas outwith the central belt which are lacking in capacity”.

Collaboration and connectivity are key to expanding our food and drink sector. If we wish to be world players in this industry, we need to focus on investing in our infrastructure and helping smaller businesses to expand into local and global markets. Finally, we need to work to make sure that the processes are clear cut, streamlined and joined up to stop any unnecessary delays to the trading process.



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Margaret McDougall

They are not going to break into the market selling out of a suitcase.



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Margaret McDougall

You also mentioned exporting and involvement with the SDI. Have you looked at collaborative working? As part of our inquiry into exports, we heard how difficult it was to get a container and that people did not have enough goods to fill a container by themselves. On Arran, apparently, people collaborate and share space in a container. How much of that goes on in the craft industry?



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Margaret McDougall

You said that the facilities are there, such as studios and kilns, and what is lacking is someone to bring them together. Do people know that the facilities are available?

11:15  

Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 19 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Margaret McDougall

Is there no funding for that? If a group of craftspeople want to exhibit collectively, is no assistance available?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

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

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
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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 Margaret McDougall
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11646: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11248: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10826: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 18/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10506: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09775: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08936: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08429: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08414: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08019: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/10/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07948: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 07/10/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Margaret McDougall
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03845: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03667: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03649: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22824: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22825: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22826: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22827: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03557: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03535: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03444: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/07/2014 Show Full Question >>