Mark Griffin MSP

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Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Mark Griffin (Central Scotland) (Lab)

I have a question about the guidance. In its report, the Scottish Housing Regulator flagged up that not all people who were involved with housing options were offered a homeless assessment when such an assessment would have been appropriate under the homelessness legislation. The regulator recommended that guidance should be produced, and I know that your department has been drafting it. Will you make sure that the approach is consistent across the country following the publication of the guidance?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Mark Griffin

Do you have a timescale for completion?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Mark Griffin

Once the guidance is complete and issued to authorities and RSLs, how will you monitor its implementation to ensure that consistency of approach? Are you also making sure that the guidance will take into account the wider health and social care integration agenda?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Mark Griffin (Central Scotland) (Lab)

I thank the minister for notice of his statement, but I regret that announcements continue to be made in advance outside Parliament. I also put on record our appreciation of the work that staff have done on the franchise over the past 10 years.

In awarding the ScotRail franchise to Abellio, the minister has decided that profits from Scotland’s rail services should be used to invest in lower fares and better services in the Netherlands, rather than in Scotland. We now have a minister who claims to support a Scottish public sector railway but who continues with a franchise tender process that excluded that very option. Why does he say one thing in his deputy leadership bid but do something else in his position as minister?

Keith Brown should have welcomed calls by transport unions and Scottish Labour to suspend the franchise process so that further devolution could allow public bids to operate Scotland’s railways. Instead, he carried on regardless.

The Deputy First Minister recently wrote to the UK Government to ask that the roll-out of the universal credit be postponed in order to allow the talks on additional powers to be held in good faith. Why does the Government say one thing when it is making demands and the opposite when it is in a position to act?

The minister has shown that the Scottish Government’s record is one of hollow words and broken promises. In public, the Government talks about more powers, but when it has the opportunity to act, it abdicates responsibility. Why did the minister not show the leadership that the people of Scotland expect and allow the possibility that a Scottish public sector rail operator could bid for the franchise?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Mark Griffin (Central Scotland) (Lab)

How has local authorities’ use of temporary accommodation changed, if it has changed at all, since the abolition of priority need and the expansion of the housing options approach?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Mark Griffin

We have spoken about the stock profile of local authorities remaining the same, but the Scottish Housing Regulator’s report found that some local authorities had reduced the provision of their own properties for temporary accommodation. How widespread is that practice among the 32 local authorities, and how will it impact on their ability to provide temporary emergency accommodation?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Mark Griffin

You have touched on different models of temporary accommodation. Are there any alternative models that could work, and would Scotland benefit from their introduction?



Meeting of the Parliament 25 September 2014 : Thursday, September 25, 2014
Mark Griffin (Central Scotland) (Lab)

I welcome the fact that we have BSL translation for the debate today and I look forward to that becoming the norm, rather than the exception. I encourage members to support my British Sign Language (Scotland) bill, which will be on its way to their offices soon.

As the motion states, it is important that we recognise the important contribution that accessible tourism makes to the Scottish economy. Disabled people should be able to enjoy a holiday or a break, and to participate in the general leisure activities that we take for granted, as Jenny Marra pointed out.

We should recognise the importance of respite for family members who have caring roles. We should remember that although caring is not a burden, it can be challenging and there is definitely a need for respite, which makes accessible tourism a must for both sides in such relationships.

In that context, we should acknowledge the work that has been undertaken and the progress that is being made by VisitScotland. We should recognise that a lot of the work that has to be done by Government is about making sure that the private sector is aware of the tremendous opportunities out there, and of the work that it needs to do in adapting infrastructure or making information from the public sector more easily accessible to the public or travel companies. The minister made that point.

It has been said that the accessible tourism sector has the potential to bring in hundreds of millions of pounds per year to the Scottish economy, but what exactly are we doing to bring that business into Scotland? A simple example would be the VisitScotland adverts that go out across the UK and the world. Why is there never an older person in the advert? There is nobody with a walking stick or a wheelchair. What about a person with a guide dog? I know that, in saying that, I am in danger of typecasting and picking out visible disabilities, but does the world know through our high-profile, visible advertising that Scotland is open to accessible tourism?

What can we learn from the countries that really do this well? I am told that the world leaders in the field are Australia and Spain. Is the minister able to tell us about any dialogue that his department has had with the tourism sectors in those high-performing countries? I acknowledge that the minister is perhaps meeting representatives in Brussels in the near future.

Is the minister able to tell us whether there are any plans to dedicate a senior member of VisitScotland staff to the sector, given the high potential for growth and benefits to the economy? I might be wrong, but I understand that there is an individual member of staff who has responsibility for accessible tourism, but also has responsibilities in other areas.

An excellent company in Cumbernauld, Altogether Travel, is a travel agent that deals in supported holidays and travel. Its service is unique to Scotland; it is registered with the Care Inspectorate and can provide a complete package for someone who wants to go on holiday either here or abroad. This month alone, its customers are enjoying holidays in Malta and Spain. I am sure that I am not the only member in the chamber who is jealous of that, given the long referendum campaign we have just been through.

As I have said, Altogether Travel provides a complete package to anyone who wants a supported holiday, and it offers care and support to older adults, individuals with physical and learning disabilities, individuals with dementia and people who are experiencing mental health issues and sensory impairment. Because people have the freedom to choose when and where they can travel, and the level of support that they require, they are able to enjoy a break on their own, or with friends or family. They can even have staff who act as holiday companions to provide support when required, which is why the company is registered with the Care Inspectorate.

However, the service that Altogether Travel offers, its worldwide network of contacts and the planning that it undertakes for anyone who wants to go on holiday outwith Scotland and spend their money elsewhere represent just one side of Altogether Travel’s business. The other side of the business that it wants to develop is all about attracting tourists from everywhere else in the world to Scotland, and providing them with the service that it offers Scottish people. It wants to expand its business and get people from outside Scotland to come here and spend their money and, by doing so, help to realise the £100 million that could come into the Scottish economy.

Altogether Travel is already getting inquiries from people in other parts of the UK, but although it is doing what it can to provide its service, it is finding things difficult. We know that the market is out there and we know how big it is, and businesses in Scotland’s tourism sector really need to adapt to it, especially with a population that is living longer and all that that entails. Businesses need to be up front about what they have capacity for and what they need to do to adapt and cater for the market.

If Altogether Travel and other supported or accessible travel agents want to grow capacity to take on clients and customers from outside Scotland and thereby contribute more to the Scottish economy, they will have to be supported by the tourism sector taking action on accessibility, advertising and communication. I think that that process has started with the minister and VisitScotland showing leadership, but I want the minister to address some of the points that have been made about how we take things forward, and which have come directly from businesses in the sector.

15:18  

Meeting of the Parliament 19 August 2014 : Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Mark Griffin (Central Scotland) (Lab) I welcome the opportunity to speak on the Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges (Scotland) Bill at stage 3, and I congratulate Dennis Robertson on the progress that he has made so far. I know how much hard work goes into a member’s bill and I know how hard Mr Robertson must have worked, even with Government support, to get to this stage. I hope that his hard work is paid off with the passing of the bill. I am sure that it will be, since Labour is supportive and Labour members will be voting in support of the bill at decision time.

We welcome the bill’s main objective to protect the rights of blue badge holders. We recognise that misuse of blue badges must be tackled because it can lead to blue badge holders not being able to access a parking space when they need it—and they need those spaces more than anyone else—and to a reduction in revenue for local authorities. Misuse also contributes to a public feeling of animosity towards badge holders when people see blue badges being used fraudulently.

We continue to seek assurances from the Scottish Government that it will work with its multi-agency group to ensure that blue badge holders are properly educated on how their badges can be used so that disabled people who inadvertently misuse their badges are not penalised by the bill’s provisions. I welcome the minister’s comments on the advice and guidance that will be given to genuine blue badge users.

We look to see that local government in Scotland will be properly supported and financially resourced to implement the bill’s provisions, in particular in relation to enforcement. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities is relaxed on the financial impact of the review of provisions and it is comfortable with those measures.



Meeting of the Parliament 19 August 2014 : Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Mark Griffin My understanding is that private operators would need to come to some sort of agreement with local authorities or the police to enforce the provisions in a private area and that the proposals apply only to public car parking spaces.

The bill is designed to strengthen some of the enforcement aspects of the current legislation and ensure that there is a statutory review in order to ensure that people who are entitled to a blue badge receive one and that people who use a blue badge are legitimately entitled to it.

At stage 1, I said:

“This bill follows Jackie Baillie’s Disabled Persons’ Parking Places (Scotland) Bill, the intention of which was to prevent disabled persons’ parking places from being occupied by people who are not entitled to use them, by making disabled parking bays enforceable and ensuring that enforcement action”

against those who use them without a blue badge

“could be taken.”—[Official Report, 20 May 2014; c 31210.]

Sandra White’s proposed bill on responsible parking quickly followed. Sandra White is not in the chamber, but I recall her being frustrated that Dennis Robertson’s bill had overtaken hers in the parliamentary process. I am sure that she will have been in touch with the Minister for Parliamentary Business about that. Her bill aims to allow freedom of movement for all pedestrians by restricting parking at dropped kerbs and on pavements and double parking. That affects disabled people, as they may find it difficult to negotiate wheelchairs on pavements or across roads if the way is blocked by a parked car.

To me, those three pieces of legislation complement one other well. Combined, they will go a long way towards making our towns and cities much more accessible to people who have a disability.

The proposed powers in the bill will be a welcome addition to local authorities’ powers in tackling blue badge misuse and its impact on genuine users, as long as they are supported financially to enforce the powers. In particular, local authorities will have the power to cancel a badge that is no longer held by the person to whom it was issued to combat badges being passed on to other people. As the minister said, that seems to be quite a lucrative trade. The savings that someone could make by parking in Glasgow city centre, for example, run into thousands of pounds. Local authorities will welcome that power.

As I said at the outset, we support the bill. We will support it in the vote, and we look forward to its becoming an act and improving the lives of genuine blue badge holders across Scotland.

17:03
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11332.2 Jenny Marra: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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YesDefeated

S4M-11332.1 Gavin Brown: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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NoDefeated

S4M-11332 Fergus Ewing: Supported Business—That the Parliament recognises the economic and social va
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YesCarried

S4M-11304.3 Michael Russell: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to mo
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YesCarried

S4M-11304 Liz Smith: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament believes
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YesCarried

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
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NoCarried

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

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

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

Search for other Motions lodged by Mark Griffin
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-10185.2: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09447.2: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08563: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08437: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08270.1: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-06836: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/06/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-06588: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/05/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-06373: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/04/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-05941: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/03/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-05830: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/03/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Mark Griffin
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4F-02240: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22092: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 11/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21793: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21796: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21795: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21794: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02170: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03229: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-20276: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/03/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-20275: Mark Griffin, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/03/2014 Show Full Question >>

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