Mike MacKenzie MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 : Thursday, October 30, 2014
Mike MacKenzie (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)

I was disappointed with Jenny Marra’s speech. Not once did she even attempt to place the blame for the Remploy closures where it properly belongs—with the Tory-Lib Dem coalition at Westminster.

It is not possible to tackle the subject properly without placing it in the context of the UK Government’s austerity agenda. We know that it is about ideology rather than finance, because austerity is clearly not working. The only financial test that is worth applying is that George Osborne has missed every one of his borrowing targets. The approach is not about finance; it is about ideology.

We heard much during the referendum campaign about the UK’s broad shoulders, with the implicit suggestion that the big, the rich and the powerful would help to carry the burden on behalf of those who are less fortunate. Where are those broad shoulders when it comes to supporting people with disabilities? The closure of the Remploy factories was about nothing more than the vicious cutting from the failed austerity agenda, with the cuts falling as usual on those who are least able to bear them. There has been no evidence whatever of the broad shoulders that we heard so much about.

All of that has been done to make savings that look infinitesimally small in comparison with the UK Government’s borrowing, which is now about £1.4 trillion.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 : Thursday, October 30, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

I will come to that a wee bit later.

This goes beyond the ideologically driven finances of austerity. We know that from Lord Freud’s recent Freudian slip, in which he suggested that people with disabilities should qualify for a lower minimum wage. We should not forget that it was the same Lord Freud who oversaw the Remploy closures. He suggests—this answers Mr Brown’s point—that his true agenda is benign and that he is merely trying to integrate those with disabilities into the mainstream workforce. However, he surely realises—as Mr Brown surely realises—that not all people with disabilities can integrate into the mainstream workforce. What is to become of them?



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 : Thursday, October 30, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

I have already taken one intervention.

What is to become of those who lost their jobs in the Remploy closures? What is to become of the people who have lost their dignity and their confidence, who might never find another job? What is to become of those same people who face the perfect storm of welfare reform, which is once again falling disproportionately on the shoulders of those who can least bear it?

Just as damaging as the decision to shut down Remploy was the haste in which that was done, which allowed no decent opportunity for business models to be adapted or for the Scottish Government to mitigate fully the damage done. I know that the minister’s efforts in working to mitigate the damage have been unstinting and produced significant success. Given more time and a decent interval by the UK Government, even more jobs could have been saved.

I commend the Scottish Government’s approach in encouraging procurement, which aims to set a level playing field for supported businesses. I am astonished by the Labour Party’s proposals. It seems to want the Scottish Government to impose centralised control on local authorities although it almost always argues that the opposite should be the case.

It has been argued that supported businesses cannot compete on price. I am not sure that that is valid, but I am sure that they can compete on quality, community benefit and the public good.

The issue indicates clearly the difference between the two Governments—our Government in Scotland and that other one down the road. The Scottish Government has provided assistance to Remploy employees and to supported businesses not because it wants to swell the Scottish treasury’s coffers or to reduce the cost of Scottish welfare but because that is the right thing to do. It does so with moral purpose and with humanity, knowing that there is a value beyond any that can be captured on a balance sheet. Those are our Scottish values. That is perhaps the most important reason why this Parliament and this Government should hold and exercise more powers, as suggested in our submission to the Smith commission.

15:32  

Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 : Thursday, October 30, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

I wonder whether Mr Baker feels that good government for Scotland is likely to be delivered when the UK Government punches holes in the roof and the Scottish Government runs around with buckets trying to catch the leaks. Does Mr Baker feel that Labour’s submission to the Smith commission, proposing an extra half-bucket for the Scottish Government, is any use at all?



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 : Thursday, October 30, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

I was pointing out that the Labour Party accuses the SNP Government of centralisation whenever we try to use legislation or other powers to insist that local authorities do certain things. Generally speaking, the Labour Party argues against that approach. Why, in this situation, is it arguing for it? The member might care to reflect on that.



Meeting of the Parliament 30 October 2014 : Thursday, October 30, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

Would Jenny Marra consider that the terms of her amendment would be fulfilled if a public authority bought one paperclip from a supported business? What she is suggesting is not workable in real terms.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
1. Mike MacKenzie (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has in place to help deal with the current weather conditions. (S4T-00814)



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

I am well aware that the minister is not responsible for the weather, but can he elaborate a bit further on what the Scottish Government is doing to deal with the landslides that are affecting the A83 in the Rest and Be Thankful area, particularly the resilience road?



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Mike MacKenzie

How is the minister ensuring that drivers are prepared for such emergencies?



Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Mike MacKenzie (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)

Good morning, minister. One thing that impressed the committee during its scrutiny of the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Bill was the flexibility that is built into the common financial tool to take account of different circumstances. However, there is some merit in the concern expressed by StepChange and Citizens Advice Scotland about whether the tool has sufficient flexibility to allow them to continue to encourage their clients to build up small amounts of savings in order to provide resilience and enable clients to weather the financial storms that they might face, while maintaining payments and so on. Can you reassure us that the tool is sufficiently flexible to ensure good practice and allow StepChange and CAS to encourage their clients to save a small amount?

09:45  
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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NoDefeated

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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YesCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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YesCarried

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

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

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

Search for other Motions lodged by Mike MacKenzie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11309: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11240: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11146: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11055: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11003: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10920: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10848: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10813: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10796: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10708: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Mike MacKenzie
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03640: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4T-00814: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03586: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03505: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03458: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21868: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21759: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03330: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 02/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03324: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21061: Mike MacKenzie, Highlands and Islands, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/05/2014 Show Full Question >>

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