Patricia Ferguson MSP

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Search for other Speeches made by 11. Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

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, 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 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 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 (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

Thank you, Presiding Officer.

As the cabinet secretary said, like the Commonwealth games, the Ryder cup at Gleneagles was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. With good weather throughout and a fantastic setting, all was set fair for an excellent competition, and we were not disappointed.

It has to be said that, as captain, Paul McGinley made all the right calls in pairing his team and was extremely effective in the role. The Europeans all played well. If it is not too invidious to single out individual players, I want to make special mention, on behalf of my household, of the excellent contributions that were made by Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy. As newcomers to the competition, the American Patrick Reid and the Frenchman Victor Dubuisson gave memorable performances. For Europe to win again and in such a conclusive way was just a joy to watch, but the Europeans did not have it all their own way, and praise must go to both sides for making it such an enthralling competition.

Since his team’s Ryder cup victory, Paul McGinley has announced his retirement. Having played in the Ryder cup, been vice-captain and now captain, and having won on all three occasions, he can, in his own words, retire

“like a heavyweight champion, undefeated.”

I am sure that we all wish him well and thank him for his efforts.

Of course, it was not just the players who excelled. The staff and the 2,000 volunteers did a great job and were exceptionally professional throughout, and the 45,000-plus spectators added to the feel of the event, as their passion, commitment and knowledge of their sport shone through in their enthusiastic reaction to and their good-hearted support for the players.

Gleneagles was a stunning venue for a great competition, and I can imagine just how hard the green-keepers and the staff will have worked to ensure that the course not only looked its very best but played well, too. In addition, as the cabinet secretary said, we owe a special debt of thanks to Mike Cantlay and Malcolm Roughead of VisitScotland and Paul Bush of EventScotland for bringing the project through over many years.

As we have heard, it is likely that, once the figures have been analysed and the numbers are in, we will find that Scotland has benefited financially and in terms of return visits from our hosting of the Ryder cup. Those statistics will make interesting reading, but our country began to reap the benefits as far back as 2003, when the then First Minister Jack McConnell launched the clubgolf initiative as a legacy of the Ryder cup. Since 2003, more than 140,000 children have had the opportunity to experience golf. Many have continued with the sport after that initial experience, and I very much hope that some will go on to be the players and professionals of the future. In that regard, our congratulations must also go to those who competed in the junior Ryder cup at Blairgowrie.

We know that many of the parents and siblings of young people who have been involved in clubgolf have themselves been motivated to take up the game, and I was pleased to read that that interest will now be harnessed in a more formal way. I think that that is a very good thing to do.

Despite holding such a great event, and in spite of the fact that Scotland is undoubtedly the home of golf and has a pre-eminent reputation in it, many of our local golf clubs are struggling to survive and need all the help that they can get. My colleague Neil Findlay will address that issue in more detail in his closing speech, but perhaps in the course of the debate the cabinet secretary could tell us whether sportscotland keeps track of clubs that are in difficulty and what measures it can bring to bear to assist them.

Colleagues will perhaps recall that I have not always been a fan of Diageo, particularly when it was closing a distillery in my constituency, which led to subsequent job losses. I still regret the company’s decision very much and people in my constituency still miss the impact of those jobs in our local economy, but I have to give Diageo credit for the initiative that it launched earlier this year as part of its contribution to the legacy of the Ryder cup by establishing a five-year training programme for young unemployed people who might like to work in the catering and hospitality industry.

I understand that the programme is being led by Peter Lederer OBE, who is chairman of Gleneagles and a Diageo director and who has a lifetime of experience in the industry. I well remember how as chair of VisitScotland he championed on-going training and development for staff in the industry and how committed he was to making staff training and development the normal way of things in that industry, and I know that his successors have pursued the same aim with vigour since his departure. I am sure that, with Mr Lederer at the helm of the project, it will go from strength to strength and make a real difference to the lives of Scotland’s young people and, just as important, an important contribution to tourism in this country.

I read with interest that the 10th World Hickory Open golf championship is being hosted in Scotland and, indeed, will shortly get under way in Forfar for those who espouse a more traditional feel to their game of golf. I wish the participants good luck in their endeavours.

We have demonstrated that as a country we can successfully host large-scale sporting events and that people in Scotland will get involved and take pride in delivering the best possible event. We also know that we can secure a meaningful legacy when we put our minds to it. I wonder, therefore, whether the cabinet secretary might like to say a little about any future sporting events her Government intends to bid for. At the weekend, I watched with some curiosity and great interest an interview with Mike Cantlay, in which I thought that he was teasing us a little with the prospect of something that was seemed to be still only a glimmer in his eye. If the cabinet secretary is willing to share anything with us on that front, I am sure that we would all be very interested in hearing about it. We have a reputation for being able to host such events professionally and safely, and we must capitalise on that legacy.

In closing, I, too, want to congratulate everyone involved in making the 2014 Ryder cup such a success. I wish Minnesota good luck—it has a high standard to follow.

14:57  

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

Will the minister take an intervention?



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?



Meeting of the Parliament 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

What humanitarian support is the Scottish Government providing to Iraq, and has it offered to support the efforts of the UK Government in that respect?



Meeting of the Parliament 25 September 2014 : Thursday, September 25, 2014
Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

I add my voice to those of other members in welcoming the BSL interpretation that is going on to make this debate about accessible tourism as accessible as it can be.

We know that tourism is one of our biggest and most important industries, and it is a part of our economy that can continue to grow and develop over the coming years. However, the debate should not be about the contribution that tourism—specifically accessible tourism—can make to the economy, as tourism is about more than money; it is also about that most important and valuable commodity: time. In particular, it is about that memorable weekend or, if we are lucky, those two or more weeks when we join family or friends for some relaxation, doing the things that we enjoy most and recharging our batteries. We all need to have a break now and again, and the 11 million people in this country with a disability are no different—at least, they should not be. However, for many people with a disability, the idea of going on holiday can be daunting because the challenges that they face in everyday life do not go away just because they are on holiday.

I read recently about a project in Fife that I believe Mr Ewing has visited, which is the brainchild of David and Moira Henderson of Cupar. They are building a self-catering facility for disabled holidaymakers where even the most severely disabled can be accommodated and where on-site care can be an option if required. The Hendersons are to be congratulated on their idea, but it was the words of Moira Henderson, as reported in the magazine PosAbility, that really struck home. Mrs Henderson referred to the fact that a cousin of the family had developed a life-changing, paralysing condition. As his condition deteriorated, that man paid to go into a hospice so that his family could go on holiday without him. Mrs Henderson rightly said:

“That’s not what holidays are all about—they are about relaxing in a comfortable and suitable environment with family or friends.”

Mrs Henderson is absolutely right about that, which is why I am pleased that VisitScotland has recognised the issue and is committed to tackling it head-on. It is appropriate that the Scottish Government is investing in the online programme to assist those who work in the tourism industry to understand and, more importantly, to respond to the needs of all those with whom it may come into contact.

Colleagues will know that I have a particular interest in heritage, and I know that adapting ancient buildings or making historic sites accessible to all can be a daunting task. I was interested to hear Graeme Dey raise the problem of BSL interpretation being made available in such facilities. Mr Dey may be right that there is a specific problem with the provision of BSL interpretation, but I have been pleased to read in Historic Scotland’s access guide detailed information about the buildings that Historic Scotland owns, their accessibility and, importantly, the accessibility of the exhibits on offer in any given place. I offer a short quote to show the kind of detail that Historic Scotland goes into. It says about one venue, which will remain nameless:

“The Whitehouse is reached over a large rough stone culvert cover and a slight threshold at the door.”

That may not mean that it is going to be an easy place to get into—perhaps it cannot be—but at least people will know before they get there exactly what the situation is, and that might influence their choice of places to visit. I congratulate Historic Scotland on that. However, perhaps, like others, it could do better when it comes to issues such as BSL. I intend to contact Historic Scotland to find out what feedback it has had from users and to see whether we can suggest any further improvements.

As colleagues have suggested, Inclusion Scotland has given us some interesting information about the revamped Waverley station. Looking around when the changes were first made, I thought that there was a problem in the making—a problem that is particularly acute for disabled users. I understand that discussions are now taking place about how to address the difficulties that are being encountered, but is it not a shame that the same effort was not put into resolving potential issues before the changes were made? Why could those changes not have been discussed with some of the many organisations that assist people with a disability or help to look at access issues? It seems to me that it would have been common sense for a big organisation such as Network Rail to do that. I hope that those issues can now be resolved.

Inclusion Scotland also made the point that accessible accommodation is often available only in more expensive hotels. It also said that people with a disability are more likely than those without a disability to be living in poverty. That problem requires more than just a structural response, although I hope that VisitScotland and others will consider it.

I was very struck by the comments that Stewart Stevenson made before he left the chamber about the fact that insurance can be an issue for those with a disability or an illness. However, people do not need to be unwell to have an insurance issue; they only have to be over a certain age. I have experienced that when trying to book accommodation and holidays for my parents when they were both in their 80s. The insurance ended up costing more than the holiday, which surely cannot be right in this day and age. My father wanted to travel to America, but when the fact that he has had a triple heart bypass was added in, we had to forget the holiday. Even the fact that my stepmother had a pacemaker implanted meant that she, too, found it almost impossible to travel to the United States. That is not a problem for VisitScotland, but travellers are facing such issues as they want to travel round our world as it becomes smaller.

As I said, I am delighted with Scottish tourism’s efforts and that VisitScotland is leading on those efforts. I am conscious of the fact that 10 years ago or so, VisitScotland literally led the world on green tourism. I sincerely hope that in the next few years we will see VisitScotland leading on accessible tourism.

I ask the minister to indicate whether accessibility and related issues will become part of VisitScotland’s grading system in the near future.

15:31  

Meeting of the Parliament 24 September 2014 : Wednesday, September 24, 2014
11. Patricia Ferguson (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government what the average waiting time is for children who require an upgraded cochlear implant processor. (S4O-03521)

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
Not VotedCarried

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11494 Margaret Burgess: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—That the Parliament
>> Show more
NoCarried

S4M-11484.1 Jackson Carlaw: Human Rights—As an amendment to motion S4M-11484 in the name of Roseanna
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Patricia Ferguson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
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 >>
Motion S4M-11335: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11331: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 28/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11040: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10985: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Patricia Ferguson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-23279: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23278: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23281: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23280: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23265: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23266: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23150: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23152: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23151: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23153: Patricia Ferguson, Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2014 Show Full Question >>

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