Richard Baker MSP

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Richard Baker MSP

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Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Richard Baker (North East Scotland) (Lab)

Meeting of the Parliament 28 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 28, 2015
15. Richard Baker (North East Scotland) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government how it is engaging with schools to encourage pupils to consider careers in the oil and gas industry. (S4O-03955)



Meeting of the Parliament 28 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Richard Baker

Does the minister agree that, despite the recent contraction in the oil and gas sector, it is important to emphasise to pupils that there are still great opportunities in the industry? Does he welcome the work of Northfield academy in Aberdeen in working with oil and gas businesses to enable pupils to attain the skills for a career in the industry? What support will ministers provide to schools, particularly in the north-east, to take forward similar collaborations in the future?



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
6. Richard Baker (North East Scotland) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government what progress it is making on the introduction of its revised business rates incentivisation scheme. (S4O-03936)



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Richard Baker

Under the new BRIS, Aberdeen has been set a far higher target for business rate collection. The figure is about £50 million higher, even though, given the fall in oil prices, income from rates must be expected to decrease locally. How can the scheme be judged to have worked in any way for Aberdeen if it fails to allow more funds that are raised in the city to be invested in the local economy at the very time when that is needed most? Given events in the energy industry, will the cabinet secretary consider revising the target?



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Richard Baker (North East Scotland) (Lab)

Last week, I took part in the debate brought forward by Scottish Labour on health services in Scotland because there had been such concerns over key issues of healthcare in NHS Grampian. Given the importance of those issues, this is a welcome opportunity to return the issue of our health services.

Of course it is right to have a long-term strategic plan for the delivery of health services in Scotland, so the Scottish Government’s 2020 vision is, as a number of Labour speakers have said, an approach that we can all endorse, although we cannot lose sight of the huge pressures that our health services and our hard-working but under-pressure staff face today. A number of those pressures have come to the fore in recent weeks in NHS Grampian, with waiting time targets not being met, issues with mental health services, to which Dennis Robertson referred, and a crisis in recruitment. Today in the north-east, concerns over delayed discharge have again been highlighted.



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Richard Baker

I think that I hear Mr Stewart.



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Richard Baker

I simply do not agree with the second part of Mr Stewart’s comments. On the first part, yes, I welcome any new funds that come to NHS Grampian, as I welcome investment to tackle the problem of delayed discharge specifically in our area.

However, on Mr Stewart’s second point, no. He and I were at the same briefing by NHS Grampian’s leadership team when he put a similar point to the team, and the reply was clear that the key issue for care services in Aberdeen is to have the staff that we need in our care homes to deal with delayed discharge. The problem, once again, is recruitment. That is something that affects all our health services very much.



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Richard Baker

No, I think that I have dealt with the point that Mr Stewart made and I want to make progress.

I agree entirely that we have got to deal with delayed discharge. We have seen the impact that it has had on scarce NHS resources, which a number of members have made reference to. We have seen the impact on individuals in The Press and Journal today in the comments from Mr George Thompson on the unfortunate predicament of his wife, Helen, in Woodend hospital. Their experience vividly explains why dealing with the problem must be given such priority.

Although it is clear that there has been a deterioration in the situation in Aberdeen regarding delayed discharge, it is important to point out that those problems have not taken hold overnight. At the core of that is a recruitment crisis, to which I have already referred. The pressures that we are dealing with should not come as a vast shock to anybody. The strategic narrative of the 2020 vision, which was published in 2011, said:

“Over the next 10 years the proportion of over 75s in Scotland’s population—who are the highest users of NHS services—will increase by over 25%.”

That document identified the problem that is coming to us head-on, and yet what we see—and certainly in my own area in NHS Grampian—is that the response has simply not been adequate to deal with the pressures. It is a problem that pertains to Scotland as a whole, but is even more acute in the north-east, where the demographic challenge is all the greater.



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Richard Baker

I was not at all accusing NHS Grampian of not responding adequately; it is the member’s Government that is not responding adequately to the situation, and I will certainly stand by that.

The reform of services is of course an important way of grappling with these issues, which we will have in the long term. Anne McTaggart and others have referred to the importance of the health and social care integration agenda. NHS Grampian and Aberdeen City Council are working extremely hard together to make that a success, and that will help tackle the issues that I have raised today.

However, it has to be admitted that that integration is taking place against a challenging resources backdrop, given that our council and our health board are the poorest funded in Scotland. I welcome the recent uplift in funding for NHS Grampian, but it is quite wrong to ignore the fact, as some members did in the debate last week, that that represents the implementation of a formula that was agreed eight years ago by the previous Scottish Executive but introduced only now by this Government.

The background of underfunding is a key issue in respect of the problems with delayed discharges in particular that NHS Grampian and its partner agencies face, and in respect of recruitment. As I have said repeatedly in this contribution, dealing with recruitment is at the core of our difficulties in care services in Aberdeen. That is why I once again ask ministers to seriously consider an Aberdeen weighting allowance. They have not done that thus far.

Many of the difficulties that our health service faces were predicted in 2011. They have come to pass despite that. Our health services have too often not had the right resources to deal with those pressures.

It is clear that, across the country, hard-working staff in our NHS and our councils are making tremendous efforts to make the aspirations of the 2020 vision a reality, but those goals will be achieved and patients will see the benefits only if ministers provide the right support in implementing their vision. It is clear that the Government has a great deal of work to do on that.

16:26  

Finance Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Richard Baker (North East Scotland) (Lab)

One proposal that was floated before the Smith process was the notion of devolving corporation tax with a view to cutting it, but there has been a surprisingly lukewarm response to that idea in the submissions from the panel. The CBI does not support the proposal; Scottish Chambers of Commerce is neutral on it; and the FSB does not mention the area specifically. Is it another one of the areas in which—for a sizeable number of your members at least—the issue is multiple systems? Is that the concern that lies behind your scepticism on that proposal?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12160.2 Michael Matheson: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Kez
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AbstainCarried

S4M-12160.3 Margaret Mitchell: Women Offenders—As an amendment to motion S4M-12160 in the name of Ke
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12160 Kezia Dugdale: Women Offenders—That the Parliament welcomes the decision of the Scottish G
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12154.1 Lewis Macdonald: Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) – Supporting Indivi
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
>> Show more
YesDefeated

S4M-12101 John Swinney: Budget (Scotland) (No.4) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the general prin
>> Show more
AbstainCarried

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12095.2 Alex Johnstone: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12095.1 Willie Rennie: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-12095 Alex Neil: Tackling Inequalities—That the Parliament agrees that a strong, sustainable eco
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Richard Baker
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11599.1: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 02/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11573: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11516: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10431: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10306: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09903: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08985: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08291: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 13/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08214: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 06/11/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08066: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 23/10/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Richard Baker
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-24152: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24151: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24154: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-24153: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03955: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 19/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03936: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23935: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23934: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 09/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03871: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03831: Richard Baker, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/12/2014 Show Full Question >>

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