Neil Findlay MSP

Welcome to Neil Findlay MSP's biography pages

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Neil Findlay

Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Neil Findlay

No, thank you.

Such profits should be invested in initiatives to address fuel poverty, cut heating bills for people and build new energy efficient social housing. We are missing out on one of the greatest opportunities for us to provide energy at the same time as we empower our communities.

Energy planning requires a long-term Government strategy, but too often we see companies taking a short-term approach, happy to cream off profits and dividends when the sun is shining, but calling for tax cuts and subsidies when prices fall. In the oil sector, having coined in cash for decades, large multinationals now threaten workers with redundancy because of the downturn in the oil price.

In coal, we see Hargreaves Services threatening to get rid of another 250 skilled coal workers as coal prices fall due to the impact of shale gas on world prices. As we have heard, Scottish Power has permission to build a new plant at Cockenzie, but little progress has been made. Furthermore, who can forget Jim Ratcliffe threatening to hold the country to ransom over Ineos? Of course, as all of that has been going on, we have seen fuel poverty increasing and energy prices rising.

We need a mixed energy policy—one that is more balanced and which involves energy being generated from a range of sources, all of them operating to the highest environmental standards.

15:27  

Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

For 200 years or more, West Lothian in my region has been at the centre of energy development in Scotland. In the 1850s, James “Paraffin” Young developed a refinery at Bathgate and shale mines operated across West Lothian. We had oil refineries, candle works and so on all operating in West Lothian, and new villages emerged because of that industry. West Lothian was the world centre of the commercial oil industry at that time. Of course, we also had the coal industry. Pits littered the area, employing thousands of men in villages including Blackburn, West Calder, Armadale, Breich and Whitburn, with Polkemmet being the last colliery.

Today we are at the centre of a new energy Klondike in onshore wind development, with overseas speculators seeking to cash in on the rush to put up as many turbines as possible in as short a space of time as possible. Austrian, French, Spanish and Italian multinational corporations, venture capital firms and wealthy speculators are looking to cash in on communities that they have never visited and probably could not point to on a map. For me, that is the problem. Shale and coal produced energy, but they also produced thousands of jobs and homes for families, some of which are standing to this day. They produced community halls and miners’ welfare social clubs. They provided services for pensioners, education facilities, gala days and the like. They created and developed communities.

Although communities can and do get involved in community benefit negotiations with onshore wind energy developers, in the big scheme of things, the money and benefit that are received amount to crumbs from the table compared to the profits that are made by the speculators. I was therefore pleased to see in the budget this year an increase in the cash that is available for the new local energy innovation fund. However, that needs to be driven by Government and there needs to be an enthusiastic and dynamic champion to make it happen by banging the First Minister’s table and demanding action. I am afraid to say that I just do not see the minister in that role.

For years, I have been calling for community development trusts, local authorities, national health service trusts, schools and colleges to be allowed to run and develop renewable energy projects. They should retain the profits in the communities that host the wind energy schemes. Those profits should not be exported to corporate boardrooms across Europe.



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Neil Findlay

I was hoping that we might, with the new cabinet secretary, have a new attitude, but it appears that we do not. In a few weeks we will reach the 30th anniversary of the end of the strike. I was hoping that the new cabinet secretary would commit to some form of inquiry in Scotland because, 30 years on, many people still feel that they were victims of miscarriages of justice. Will the cabinet secretary not even consider looking at the issue again?



Meeting of the Parliament 25 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 25, 2015
4. Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will hold an inquiry into the policing and convictions of miners who were arrested in Scotland during the 1984-85 miners strike. (S4O-04044)



Meeting of the Parliament 19 February 2015 : Thursday, February 19, 2015
Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

Many people have concerns about the civil liberties implications of the proposals to change the register. However, most people, including me and—I suspect—many in the chamber, do not know enough about the issue. Will the minister bring forward a debate in Government time so that we can discuss the proposals in full?



Meeting of the Parliament 05 February 2015 : Thursday, February 05, 2015
Neil Findlay

The answer that the cabinet secretary gave was not about the last year, but I understand why.

On 17 June last year, Alex Neil told the Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee and mesh survivors that he was suspending the use of mesh for the treatment of those conditions. However, on 16 July, the deputy chief medical officer, Frances Elliot, wrote to health boards encouraging them to continue to recruit women on to clinical trials in which mesh would be fitted inside their bodies.

Why do the mesh survivors who have campaigned relentlessly on the issue feel that the former Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing completely misled them?



Meeting of the Parliament 05 February 2015 : Thursday, February 05, 2015
1. Neil Findlay (Lothian) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government how many women in the last year have been treated with mesh, or tape, products to treat pelvic prolapse or stress urinary incontinence. (S4O-03991)



Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Neil Findlay

Will the minister give way?



Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Neil Findlay

I have never disputed that many of the issues lie with the UK Government. That is accepted. What I dispute is that the Scottish Government can do nothing. The Scottish Government can do plenty to prevent many of the issues that we have been talking about, if it has the political will to change procurement guidance and contract tendering. Will the minister do that or not?



Meeting of the Parliament 04 February 2015 : Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Neil Findlay

Will the member take an intervention?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12423.1 Alex Rowley: Commission on Local Tax Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-12423 in the n
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12423 Marco Biagi: Commission on Local Tax Reform—That the Parliament supports the establishment
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12385 Liz Smith: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament agrees that a solid grou
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12395.1 Fergus Ewing: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in the
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-12395.2 Patrick Harvie: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—As an amendment to motion S4M-12395 in t
>> Show more
AbstainDefeated

S4M-12395 Murdo Fraser: An Energy Strategy for Scotland—That the Parliament notes with concern the l
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-12385.3 Alasdair Allan: STEM Education in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to motion S4M-12385 i
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-12382.3 Mary Fee: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion S4
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12382.1 Gavin Brown: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to motion
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12382.2 Willie Rennie: Building Scotland’s Infrastructure for the Future—As an amendment to moti
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Neil Findlay
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12460: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12458: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12457: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12456: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12403: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12328: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12327: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12262: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12229: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/02/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-12144: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Neil Findlay
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-24671: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24654: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 25/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24482: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-04044: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 16/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24363: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24362: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24359: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24360: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24361: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24337: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 05/02/2015 Show Full Question >>

Further information

Email our Public Information Service for more information.