Michael McMahon MSP

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Member of the Conveners Group

 

 

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Finance Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Michael McMahon (Uddingston and Bellshill) (Lab)

When the convener opened the questioning, he mentioned the Labour Party’s policy on having the ability to increase taxation but not reduce it. Mr Eiser appeared to doubt the validity of that, which the convener agreed with. They then discussed the Scottish Government’s pledge to reduce corporation tax by a certain amount regardless of the level that is set by the UK Government. The issue of tax competition as a race to the bottom relates to both income tax and corporation tax.

What are your concerns about a position in which there is a policy that allows income tax to be raised in order to increase the amount of money that is available for public spending, and a policy that prevents a reduction in income tax to avoid a race to the bottom, given that you had concerns about allowing a race to the bottom on corporation tax?



Finance Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Michael McMahon

Thank you for clarifying that.

The question that I wanted to ask at the outset was about VAT and the assignation of the tax generated in Scotland. We know that Scotland and England cannot have different rates under EU rules, so VAT is a good example of how the amount of tax raised in a geographic area can be identified and the money assigned via the block grant. Are there other areas in which that could be done? Are there other ways in which it could be done outwith the block grant?

10:15  

Finance Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Michael McMahon

The thing that struck me during that visit to Ardrossan and which I took away from it was the frustration felt by many of the agencies that were involved in delivering what were essentially Scottish Government policies. They could tell us how much money they were putting in and they could count the people who were going through the system, but there was a real sense that the outcome was not all that it could have been.

The agencies were ticking all the boxes. They were getting good numbers through and getting the right money to the right places, but there was real frustration among a lot of the agencies in the partnership in that, had they not been constrained by the tick-box aspects of the process, they could have had better outcomes for a lot more people.

For example, people who were placed with firms or on training courses were restricted to 13 weeks. Sixteen weeks might have got them to a position where they could have sustained themselves, but the placement ended after 13 weeks and that was it—they had to move on. Someone else came in, and they were counted as another person who had gone through the system, but the actual outcome was less than it could have been. Does that frustration go beyond Ardrossan?



Finance Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Michael McMahon

You have established that the figures in the financial memorandum are not quantifiable and you have explained why they are unquantifiable. I accept your explanation, although I have some concerns about—as Gavin Brown said—where that leaves the overall budget for local authorities. Can you give us an example of previous legislation where the financial memorandum was in a similar position to this one, in which the potential costs are unquantifiable? Was anything established in that legislation to take account of the potential for the budgets to come under pressure?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
11. Michael McMahon (Uddingston and Bellshill) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers that grades awarded in the new national qualifications are considered to be equal across all subjects. (S4O-03581)



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Michael McMahon

Is the minister aware of the article in The Times Educational Supplement Scotland on 12 September with the headline “Teachers reach boiling point over physics marking”, in which education experts are reported as expressing concerns that the new national exams are making science subjects too difficult and that teachers in physics in particular are concerned that their subject will suffer because good marks have been so hard to come by this year? Does he recognise those concerns and how would he respond to the experts and teachers who believe that science subjects in general, and physics in particular, will suffer a long-term decline in relation to other subjects because obtaining good marks will be comparatively more difficult?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Michael McMahon (Uddingston and Bellshill) (Lab)

Will the member take an intervention?



Welfare Reform Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
The Convener (Michael McMahon)

Good morning and welcome to the 14th meeting in 2014 of the Welfare Reform Committee. Can everyone please ensure that their mobile phones are off or switched to airplane or silent mode?

The first item of business today is the committee’s second evidence session on the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill. Last week we took evidence from local authorities on the bill. This week we are taking evidence from the third sector. This session and the other evidence sessions that the committee has planned will be used to inform our evidence session with the Minister for Housing and Welfare, Margaret Burgess, on 4 November and, ultimately, the committee’s stage 1 report on the bill.

I welcome our first round-table panel today, consisting of Derek Young, policy officer at Age Scotland—who will be here soon; Mark Ballard, head of policy at Barnardo’s Scotland; Marion Davis, head of policy and research at One Parent Families Scotland; Scott Robertson, operational manager at Quarriers; and Lynn Williams, policy officer for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

Some of you will have taken part in round-table sessions before. The idea is to encourage interaction. You can raise points or ask us questions, and the committee members will try to contribute also with questions or observations. We hope that that will allow us to gain as much evidence and information on the bill as possible.

If Mark Ballard does not mind, I will start with a question to him about Barnardo’s Scotland’s written submission. The first bullet point in your submission suggests one way to strengthen the bill, by

“Placing clear responsibilities on local authorities to promote awareness of and access to the Scottish Welfare Fund.”

I wonder whether such responsibility should be put on local authorities, given that it is a Scottish welfare fund delivered by the Scottish Government and that the local authorities are the agency for delivery. Clearly, they will have a responsibility to ensure that people are aware of where they can go locally. However, surely the primary responsibility for making people aware of the Scottish welfare fund should lie with the Scottish Government.



Welfare Reform Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
The Convener

That is totally understandable. Do your panel colleagues have comments? Do you want to add to or detract from what Mark has said?



Welfare Reform Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
The Convener

We have received anecdotal evidence from people who mistakenly went to the Department for Work and Pensions, because that is who was originally associated with crisis loans and community grants, and were not signposted to the local authorities, even though the DWP’s officials say that staff are expected to do that signposting. Is that your experience? Was it something that was occurring at the start but which has dissipated now?

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
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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

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
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YesDefeated

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

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

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

Search for other Motions lodged by Michael McMahon
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11220: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11175: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10370: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10129: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09800: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09594: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09190: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, On Behalf of Welfare Reform Committee, Date Lodged: 27/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08873: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08793: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08713: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Michael McMahon
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03621: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03581: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03553: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03514: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22080: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22081: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22039: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22040: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22038: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03188: Michael McMahon, Uddingston and Bellshill, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/04/2014 Show Full Question >>

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