Patricia Ferguson MSP

Welcome to Patricia Ferguson MSP's biography pages

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Patricia Ferguson

Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Patricia Ferguson

I appreciate all efforts to encourage and support young people into employment, but the kind of people who have particularly benefited from Tesco’s initiatives are those who have been out of the job market for a long time and struggle with issues of confidence and skills. Those people are probably the hardest to reach—to use a clichéd phrase—but are most genuinely in need of that kind of support.



Meeting of the Parliament 17 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

I congratulate my colleague Paul Martin on securing this very worthwhile and important debate.

The motion is about creating jobs in Glasgow’s east end, of course, but I am sure that the Presiding Officer will appreciate that my constituency stretches from the north-west of the city to the east and that, in fact, at several points Mr Martin’s constituency and mine run along opposite sides of the same road. In any case, a job that is located in the east end of the city may, on occasion at least—with all due respect to Mr Martin—be an opportunity for someone in a neighbouring constituency, too.

Paul Martin rightly identified the good practice that Tesco demonstrated when it opened its superstore at St Rollox, which is now in my constituency following the boundary changes in 2011. Working with local partners, including the much-missed Glasgow North Regeneration Agency under the guidance of its excellent chief executive, Cathy Lang, Tesco went out of its way to prepare and recruit local people for its new store. Even those who were not fortunate enough to be employed by it had the opportunity to learn the basic skills that are needed in the world of work. Over the years, I have spoken to a number of people who used that experience and successfully found employment elsewhere.

Having learned from Paul Martin’s knowledge of what happened at St Rollox, I was particularly keen to ensure that Tesco operated a similar programme when it enlarged its store in Maryhill. I am pleased that it decided to operate a similar scheme there and provided pre-interview training and assistance, for example with CV preparation.

We are really talking about local jobs for local people. I would argue that the constituencies that Paul Martin and I have the privilege to represent contain the best people and the most vibrant communities, but they also have some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country. That disturbs me greatly, and it motivated me to become involved in politics in the first place. Paul Martin is absolutely right when he says that large developments in the east end of the city must also be opportunities for local people and that all agencies and organisations must come together to create more jobs and apprenticeships.

In my constituency, we hope soon to see a major retail facility built on the site of the former North British Locomotive Company works at Carlisle Street in Springburn. The site was cleared in the 1960s and has stood deserted ever since. The proposals that Forge Properties has put forward could spur further regeneration in the area and, crucially, provide a food shopping hub in an area that is sadly lacking in that kind of possibility. New roads and other infrastructure would follow, of course, and some 611 jobs are likely to be created.

I and the local councillors for the area, Chris Kelly and Helen Stephen, want to work with the developer to ensure that jobs go to people in our community and neighbouring areas both during the construction phase and when the centre opens. We will do everything in our power to make that happen. However, we need to ensure that all other agencies are also partners in that work, particularly Jobs & Business Glasgow.

Again, I congratulate Paul Martin, and I sincerely hope that his hard work on Glasgow Fort pays off for his constituents, as his previous efforts at St Rollox did for Springburn.

17:20  

Meeting of the Parliament 04 December 2014 : Thursday, December 04, 2014
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

As far back as 2009, Transport Scotland indicated to me that Gilshochill station would not be considered because of its relatively—I use that word advisedly—low passenger usage. At that time, it was number 199 out of 343 stations.

If that is the only criterion that can be used, the Scottish Government would be well advised to consider taking up with the Department for Transport the question whether the criteria can be adjusted. Otherwise, stations such as Gilshochill will never be able to qualify for such assistance.

Mr Doris is right that Gilshochill is a difficult station for people to negotiate. Moreover, mothers with buggies do not have access to the assisted passenger reservation service that, fortunately, is available to people with a disability.

Is the minister interested in taking up those discussions?



Meeting of the Parliament 02 December 2014 : Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

Next Sunday, Glasgow will host the BBC sports personality of the year awards. It will be the first time that that prestigious event has been held in Scotland, and it will provide an opportunity to mark the end of a marvellous year for tourism and a year in which Scotland has shone on the sporting stage. Some 12,000 people will attend the event, which will give another modest boost to our tourism numbers. Those who are present, whether they be athletes, commentators or volunteers, will have the chance to reminisce with the viewing public on the amazing year of sport that we have all enjoyed and the pre-eminent role that Scotland has played in its delivery.

Since the idea of hosting the Commonwealth games was first mooted, the opportunity to secure the widest possible legacy was part of the planning process. It is early days, but initial evaluation suggests that the planning and preparation have paid off. Indeed, some of the early figures are quite remarkable: 250,000 unique visitors stayed in Scotland for at least one night—on average, they stayed for 5.8 nights, which equates to 1.7 million visitor days; 3.4 million people passed through Glasgow Central station; and Glasgow received more than 1 million mentions on social media. That is publicity that we could not afford to buy. In addition, as we have heard, 93 per cent of visitors rated Scotland a good place to visit.

Those are the official statistics, but the story that is told locally bears them out. I regard taxi drivers as good barometers of opinion, and the two I happened to speak to during the games reported a significant increase in business. One of them had benefited from a welcome return fare to Barry Buddon and the other reported that he had transported a couple from England, who had come for the weekend to experience the games and had found out, to their surprise, that Glasgow also had a magnificent civic art collection. They were already planning a return winter break to the city, which they had never previously considered.

We know that 9 per cent of the visitors came from overseas. I had the real pleasure of meeting up with one of my cousins, who had travelled back to his home city from Tasmania, where he now lives, for the first time in 25 years. He was in Glasgow to watch his sports of triathlon and judo, and he was taken aback by the transformation that he saw in the city. We also know that, during August, accommodation occupancy levels in Glasgow were at their highest for a very long time, if not ever. Occupancy rates exceeded 95 per cent and, for five nights of the month, they reached the astounding rate of 99 per cent. We know, too, that the spend was estimated to be around £282 million.

None of that would have been possible without a great deal of hard work and effort. The long-term commitment of VisitScotland, EventScotland and the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau must have contributed hugely to that success, as is the case with so much else that happens in Scotland. Of course, it was not just in Glasgow that we had great success, because the Commonwealth games brought a huge tourism impact to Angus, Edinburgh, Lanarkshire and Tayside, and the Ryder Cup added to that sporting effect. It was not just about sport—it has also been festival 2014, with the Edinburgh festivals, the MTV awards and now the approaching winter festivals that many people look forward to.

I was very keen to hear what the minister would say about themed years. I recall that he and I were both at the opening of the first themed year in 2007 on a cold and wet night in Inverness, when the year of Highland culture was unveiled. I think that the themed years are contributing to the tourism offer in our country, because they tap into the individual interests of people who might want to come here. However, it is important that we herald such years well in advance.

My colleague Duncan McNeil intervened on the minister to talk about a subject that has been dear to his heart for a very long time: the cruise ships that go into Greenock. I suspect that the minister has had the experience of visiting Greenock, as I have, to see what is happening there. The efforts of the volunteers who greet the cruise ships and make the people who are embarking from them welcome have to be encouraged. I was very interested in the fact that, as I understand it from the minister, a Disney ship will visit Orkney. Mickey Mouse might be visiting the Orkney islands, but that is perhaps one ministerial photocall to be avoided.

Bruce Crawford was right to say that we all want to talk about individual events and issues in our local areas, which is a good thing to do. However, it is also good to bring together the impressive jigsaw that is Scotland by pulling together all the separate elements and talking about them in a debate like this.

Alex Rowley and Murdo Fraser brought to our attention a couple of issues—skills and pay—that have dogged the tourism industry for some time and which we have never managed to crack. I would add to those issues the profile and status of the tourism and catering industries, because without them we cannot encourage people to gain the skills; without the pay, we probably cannot attract people into the industry. We perhaps need to concentrate a bit more on that.

John Mason quite rightly identified that people come to Scotland for different reasons. For example, I once had a very good conversation with a gentleman in Marseille who told me that he loved Scotland. I asked him what he loved about Scotland and whether it was our castles or scenery; he said no, it was the fact that Scotland was really grey, which he found very romantic. That is not quite how I see our grey winter days, but it just shows that other people are looking for other things.

Hanzala Malik was right to identify the very real contribution of conferences and sports tourism. That kind of contribution suggests that different parts of the country should identify their niche areas and work hard to develop them to attract visitors.

My colleague Anne McTaggart said that people make Glasgow, and she was absolutely right to highlight that slogan. She also said that she thinks that Glasgow is still better than Edinburgh. I might have wanted to resist saying that I think that “Glasgow’s Miles Better” than Edinburgh—perhaps I should not have gone there.

For me, the Commonwealth games typified the partnership working that makes big events in Scotland and our tourism industry so successful. Graeme Dey was right to remark on partnership working. The games would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of many people and organisations: Commonwealth Games Scotland, the Government, local government in Glasgow, Glasgow 2014, transport staff, hotel and catering staff, council workers and, of course, the 15,000-plus volunteers, many of whom were visitors to our country, who were such a successful part of the games.

I believe that tourism in Scotland is thriving and has the capacity to go further, but it needs support from us all to do that. On Sunday night, the sports personality of the year awards will identify and recognise the outstanding performances in their field. This might be a partisan point, but I think that there should be special recognition at those awards for the city of Glasgow for all that it achieved during the Commonwealth games.



Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

Will the member give way?



Meeting of the Parliament 18 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

It is always a pleasure to be able to speak in a debate about Malawi, but this particular one says everything about the relationship between Scotland and Malawi.

As many members know and as Alex Fergusson so eloquently said in his motion—he deserves congratulations for lodging the motion and securing the debate—the child and maternal mortality situation in Malawi has been and still is challenging. When I first visited in 2006, it was shocking to hear that one baby was dying every day and one mother every week, and it was a shocking situation to witness. In some of the hospitals in Malawi, where MUMs and other organisations have been so active, there is now no need to record that kind of information on that kind of scale. Instead the progress of the babies and their mums is being recorded. To know that is quite remarkable. No word could really do it justice; “remarkable” is as good a word as any.

The efforts of MUMs have been particularly inspirational in my view. At the beginning, it sounded like a very small idea to have a book of recipes—some of which I still use to this day; it was a useful book in my home. However, the fact that a book of recipes would be used to raise money for such an important aspect of Malawian life is an interesting concept. It demonstrates that it is the personal contacts and relationships between Scotland and Malawi that help to make such a difference.

As we know, MUMs has contributed large sums to helping mums with delivering their babies and with their postnatal care, and it has given equally large sums of money to help prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission and to help health workers who have become infected through their work. MUMs funds feeding stations and boosts the chances of children who are born in Malawi living full, long and fulfilling lives.

As we have heard, the latest project that MUMs is supporting is the work of Charity Salima—never was someone better named. Her work has been highlighted in a number of ways and it really is significant: the results achieved in her clinic are fantastic. I have not had the opportunity to visit the clinic, but I have read a number of articles and comments about it. It clearly is making a huge difference for the mums in that part of Malawi.

A few years ago, Tom Pow wrote the book “When the Rains Come”, which was frankly a delight to read. It was a lovely book: it was happy, uplifting and beautifully illustrated. It told the story of an ordinary family in Malawi, although it could have been a family anywhere in Africa, going about their lives and living them to the full. As in any family there was an indomitable grandmother—it was good to see the similarities that came to play there. The book raised significant sums of money and I think that it is still available. It can help the fundraising that Alex Fergusson mentioned.

As I said, the relationship between Scotland and Malawi has been significant. A hallmark of this Parliament has been that we recognised that there was work to be done and we set about doing it. Our and the Government’s efforts have been worth while and important, but over the years the spotlight that this Parliament and the Government has shone on the work and need in Malawi has been most important. Nowhere is that more obvious than in the work that MUMs and Linda McDonald have done since 2005. I very much hope that they raise enough money by Christmas to fulfil their ambition, and I am sure that with the Parliament’s support they will do.

17:17  

Meeting of the Parliament 04 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 04, 2014
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

I thank the Education and Culture Committee for its work on the bill, which is soon to become an act of Parliament, and for its thorough scrutiny of it. I am not a member of that committee, but I watched its deliberations with great interest. I also extend my thanks to the committee clerks, who have been professional in their support of the committee.

The cabinet secretary was correct to say that our historic environment tells Scotland’s story. However, it also tells the story of every community in every part of Scotland and is valuable to us for that and for the sense of place that that gives us. Its value is also that it is perhaps our most green resource, because it can be recycled over time, changing function or retaining a function over many decades or, perhaps, centuries. Therefore, its importance to us cannot be overestimated.

The cabinet secretary has responded constructively to many of the committee’s concerns about the bill, which is very welcome.

When we talk about local interest, we must remember that our local authorities have an important role to play. I hope that the new body will help to support them. Heritage and the historic environment are rarely at the top of the agenda. Perhaps that is understandable in this time of shrinking budgets, but local authorities need to be encouraged and supported in playing their vital part in this important jigsaw.

The bill would have benefited from Liam McArthur’s amendment 1. We often rush to conserve buildings that are already neglected but so important to us that we must not allow them to disappear, and we forget that they have been allowed to drop out of a maintenance cycle over five years, 10 years or decades and have suffered as a consequence. Our actions at the last minute, if they are successful, are often costly and, of course, there are occasions when a building might be too far gone to be saved. Fortunately, with the technology that we have nowadays and the resurgence of the traditional skills that are needed for such buildings, that will perhaps be less the case in future.

On ministerial direction, I am pleased that ministers have not taken the power of direction to mean that they can give direction regarding any particular historic property, collection or object, other than properties in care, of course, because doing so would have been a step too far.

If I have a problem with the bill, it concerns the future of the Historic Scotland Foundation and the SCRAN Trust. I am not clear how they are expected to operate beyond the point of merger. It seems to me that those organisations might be left in limbo, as I could find no specific reference to the future that the Scottish Government envisages for them. It would be helpful to have a little bit of information about that. It is perhaps not the most pressing matter in connection with the bill, but it needs to be tidied up.

Talking of tidying up, I am pleased that the Scottish Government has taken the opportunity to use the bill to tidy up some of the existing legislation. I mention, specifically, the provision that allows there to be an exclusion to the listing of a building. That will help us to focus on what is important about a building and on which elements of a structure are valuable to us and which ones are, for example, later additions that do not have to be considered in quite the same way or accorded quite the same level of protection. It will also help those who are tasked with managing those buildings to ensure that their efforts are directed where they are most needed and are not dissipated over too many issues. Of course, as I understand it, that listing will apply only to listings in the future and not to those buildings that were previously listed. However, there are understandable reasons for that.

I mentioned that our historic environment gives us a sense of place but it does more than that because, for many, our historic environment includes their home, their place of worship or a community facility that is of great importance to them. I very much hope—and sense—that this bill will help us to ensure that those structures are maintained, enhanced and conserved.

In closing, as I must only too quickly do, I pay particular tribute to Diana Murray of RCAHMS and Ian Walford of Historic Scotland. Mergers such as the one that we are discussing are never easy, but they have gone about their task with professionalism and in a way that has been successful in retaining the confidence of their staff and their boards through what could have been a difficult process.

Speaking of their boards, I want to mention Professor John Hume in particular, not just because of his professional reputation prior to joining RCAHMS, but also because he has literally gone out himself and photographed and recorded places of interest himself over a long period of time. He has contributed hugely to the work of the organisation. Of course, the staff of the two organisations are also to be congratulated.

I wish the new organisation and all its stakeholders the best for their future.

15:03  

Meeting of the Parliament 04 November 2014 : Tuesday, November 04, 2014
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

I, too, support Liam McArthur’s amendment 1, which is eminently sensible in the circumstances that we face. I am sure that we all know of historic and important buildings in our areas that, through a lack of maintenance, it has been impossible to conserve. I think that it is entirely sensible for us to look to make the definitions as clear as we can and to understand what we are trying to do.

I repeat that, if buildings of a historic or important nature are not maintained, the opportunity to conserve them for the good of communities can well be lost. It is important that the word “maintenance” is included in the bill.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

I thank the cabinet secretary for his comprehensive statement. I agree with him when he says that the best way for us to protect public health in Scotland is to support the efforts that are under way in west Africa.

Having recently visited Cameroon and having been screened on entry to that country, I can testify to the seriousness with which the countries in west Africa are taking this particular outbreak. I applaud the funding and supplies that have been made available by the Scottish Government, but the task of fighting Ebola is falling to countries that struggle continually to provide a health service to their citizens in the normal course of events. I wonder whether the Scottish Government might look at ways of helping to provide assistance to the most affected west African countries, in order to sustain the health services that the people within those countries need in their daily lives.



Meeting of the Parliament 01 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Patricia Ferguson

Thank you, Presiding Officer.

On girls and young women participating, I fully take the minister’s point that young women will come through in the same numbers as young men through clubgolf. However, girls’ experience of a club might be that they can be only an associate member or play only at particular times. Does the minister agree that that is not necessarily a way to encourage them to continue?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

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

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
>> Show more
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 Patricia Ferguson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11838: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11740: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11735: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11717: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11566: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11553: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11385: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11363: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11337: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11336: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Patricia Ferguson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-23605: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23573: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 08/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23534: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23535: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23536: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23507: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23506: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23502: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23504: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23281: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Question >>

Further information

Email our Public Information Service for more information.