Richard Lyle MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 29 January 2015 : Thursday, January 29, 2015
Richard Lyle (Central Scotland) (SNP)

A form of poll tax was first levied in 1275. It was used again in 1379 and was resurrected in 1641 in England to finance the raising of an army against Scottish and Irish uprisings. Another form of poll tax was first levied in Scotland in 1699.

The poll tax that was officially known as the community charge was a tax to fund local government in the United Kingdom. It was instituted in 1989 by the then Tory Government of Margaret Thatcher and replaced rates, which were based on the notional rental value of a house. The new poll tax was first trialled in Scotland—it replaced rates from the start of the 1989-90 financial year—by a Tory Prime Minister who Scotland never voted for. It was highly contentious and was opposed by many in Scotland. After its introduction in England, which caused riots on the streets of London, it was rightly binned by the new John Major Government, after the resignation of Margaret Thatcher.

After 20 years, councils are still trying to collect this iniquitous tax. The bill, which was introduced by the SNP Government, will put an end to the scourge that is the poll tax, which is an old tax that is hated by many in Scotland. In the referendum on Scotland’s independence, millions of Scots were engaged and, for many, it felt like the first time in a long time that they had something to get out and vote for. It was therefore worrying to hear the story that some local authorities intended to use the increase in democratic participation, and particularly in electoral registrations, to pursue old poll tax debts.

I want to highlight another important issue, which is the need to seek the power from Westminster to control the electoral register, and in particular to remove the ability to sell the register to private debt collectors. It is not right that the people of Scotland should be discouraged from participating in Scotland’s thriving democracy by the fear of being pursued by private debt collectors.

As members know, councils are well within their rights to use current information to assess council tax liability. Unlike the imposed and hated poll tax, the council tax forms a key part of local authorities’ finances, and the Government has continued to take action on it while in office. The Government has frozen the council tax since 2007, and our council tax reduction scheme protects more than 500,000 of our most vulnerable citizens from increased liabilities following the UK Government’s abolition of council tax benefit. That is in stark contrast to the actions of the Con-Dem Westminster Government, which continues to impose its austerity agenda on the people of Scotland; I hope that the people of Scotland will reject that in May.

The bill will right a wrong that has existed for too long and it will compensate councils for outstanding amounts, in line with current collection rates. The people of Scotland will no longer be pursued for a tax that they did not want and did not vote for. The Government has a record of taking action to protect the people of Scotland, which is exactly what we will continue to do if we support the bill today.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Richard Lyle (Central Scotland) (SNP)

I am an MSP for Central Scotland.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Richard Lyle

I could not agree more with Dr David Jeffrey, but I also have to agree with Colin Keir. I have listened intently to the comments that have been made—I respect every one of you, the way in which you have handled your evidence, and what you do in your respective fields.

Let me turn to a point that Mark Hazelwood made earlier. None of us wants to talk about death. When my mother-in-law and father-in-law were nearing the end of their lives, they did not want to talk about how I would see to their burials, make arrangements and so on. When my mother-in-law died, we put my father-in-law into an excellent home. We wanted him to go on but, unfortunately, three months later he did not. As he was being taken to the hospital one night with a heart attack, in his 90s, he said to the nurse, “Don’t resuscitate me.” He was ready to die, although we did not know that at the time. If we had known that, we would have said to the nurse, “No, we want to keep him,” but he did not want to go that way.

A lot of people do not want to make a will. I made a will about 20 years ago—I have not changed it recently—but basically people do not want to make a will. Nobody thinks about power of attorney. I have a friend whose mother is currently receiving palliative care in a home, and they are trying to get power of attorney. That is very hard—the person needs to confirm that they want their relatives to do that but, sadly, their mind is not there now.

Referring to the point that Colin Keir was making earlier, I agree with your point, Baroness Finlay, about people who can and want to change their mind. However, there are people who do want to die.

I was not at the committee last week; I was attending a funeral of a family friend. Prior to Christmas, when she was in hospital, she told me that she wanted to go home. Medically, she could not go home, even though there were people there to look after her. She said to me, “I just want to go.” Sadly, she did go, and I attended her funeral last Tuesday morning.

There are people who want to go, so why should we not let them go?



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Richard Lyle

Convener, I have a small comment.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Richard Lyle

I am an MSP for the Central region.



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Richard Lyle

I am very impressed by the number of churches and faiths that are represented. I respect them all, but I also have to ask the question. We all know when we were born—we can say what day it was—but none of us knows or can predict when we will die. The previous witnesses went on about people being given more days and years. The mother of a friend of mine was told that she had cancer and had only six months to live, but actually she lived three years.

We all go to cemeteries to visit our relatives who, sadly, have gone. We need only go to local cemeteries and see the flowers to see the respect that everyone has. However, I have never heard so many scare stories about how we should let people go on and not let them die. No one wants their relatives to go—we all want to keep them, as I said to the previous witnesses—but, if a relative wants to go, why should we not let them? I know the answers that I will get but, if someone is lying there dying and says, “I want to go”—we have all gone into hospices and hospitals and seen friends or relations who have said that—why should we not let them go or even help them go?



Health and Sport Committee 27 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Richard Lyle

As I said, I respect the faiths on the panel, but the point is that we are told that, if we smoke and do not eat healthily, we will cut years off our lives. As I said, we know when we were born, but none of us knows when we will die. The bill is about people who are really, chronically sick and getting near the end. What I heard from the panel was, “We still want to give you more days.” If people want to go, my view is that we should let them. That was a comment more than a question.



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Richard Lyle (Central Scotland) (SNP)

The 2020 vision for the NHS is a strategy that members are familiar with, having debated and discussed it before. I recall the opportunity in the previous debate to highlight the smartcare pilot, which took place in North Lanarkshire and other areas of Scotland and used technology to support the delivery of integrated services, and the launch of the digital health institute in 2013. That was an opportunity to highlight the innovative approaches that we have taken to the delivery of healthcare in Scotland.

It has already been said that the SNP vision is that the Scottish NHS should remain a public sector-delivered service. That is unlike Westminster’s vision. The Con-Dem Government is marching the English NHS down the path of privatisation.

To facilitate its vision, the SNP has met its commitment to protect the NHS budget. The health resource budget for 2015-16 will be a record £11.8 billion. That reflects a real-terms increase and means that all territorial NHS boards will receive real-terms annual increases in funding. Even better than that, the Scottish Government has announced that an extra £65 million will be made available to the NHS this year. Those funds will help to alleviate some of the pressures and ensure that our NHS can continue to deliver effective and sustainable care to all patients across Scotland.



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

No, I am sorry, but I have very little time.

That is in spite of a 10 per cent cut in Scotland’s fiscal resource budget by Westminster since 2010. Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has increased the health resource budget by 4.6 per cent in real terms. Therefore, the Government is putting its money where its mouth is. It is a pity that Westminster will not do the same.



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

Yes.

The Scottish Government has committed to increasing the revenue budget for our NHS in real terms for the remainder of this session and for each and every year of the next session, too. The Labour Party repeatedly refused to do that when the topic was previously debated in Parliament.

For 2014-15, it is projected that every one of Scotland’s NHS boards will break even. In contrast, Labour-run NHS Wales bodies are projecting a deficit that totals £192 million. I know that Mr Hume does not like that, but unfortunately, that is the case.

To move on, I want to focus on those who know the NHS best: the staff who work for it and who live and breathe it. I will share some of the facts from the “NHSScotland Staff Survey 2014 National Report”, which was published in December. It makes very interesting reading. For 26 of the 29 top-level questions that all respondents were asked, the results showed an improvement on the 2013 survey results in the proportion of staff who gave a positive response. In fact, the improvement was found to be statistically significant for 25 of those 26 questions. Similarly, all but one of the fourteen sub-questions showed an improvement or no change in the proportion giving a positive response.

The spirit of the Scottish NHS was summed up in the response to one of the questions. When Stewart Stevenson touched on the matter, I thought that he was about to steal my speech. Ninety per cent of respondents agreed with the statement,

“I am happy to go the ‘extra mile’ at work when required”,

which was one of the most positive responses in the document. I am sure that members from across the chamber will agree with me that it is thanks to all the hard-working staff that our NHS continues to do the work that it does. I thank them for everything that they continue to do for us.

I read with interest the NHS Scotland chief executive’s annual report, in which he states:

“We have maintained commitment to our vision that by 2020 more people will be living longer healthier lives at home or in a homely setting. Our focus on person-centred, safe and effective care remains paramount, and I am delighted that the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland continues to improve.”

The chief executive’s reflections are important. They showcase the work that is being done to put Scotland’s people and their health at the centre of healthcare delivery and of our vision for 2020 and beyond. It is with results such as those from the NHS Scotland staff survey and with the investment that the Government is making that our NHS is helping to keep the people of Scotland healthy and happy. We are working towards the 2020 vision; the actions of the Government are paving the way to make that vision a reality.

I turn to the Labour Party’s mansion tax. In a New Statesman article, I noted Diane Abbott, a Labour MP, commenting on Scottish Labour raising its spending money in England. She criticised Jim Murphy—in fact, she called him “John Murphy”—for attempting to buy votes with the policy. She said that John Murphy

“just thinks he can buy Scottish votes with money expropriated from London”

and accused him of

“jumping the gun in an unscrupulous way”.

Diane Abbott wants the money to be used to build houses in London. Labour is spending the same money twice—again.

Several other London Labour MPs also attacked Mr Murphy’s mansion tax comments. Tottenham MP David Lammy said that money from London should not be

“siphoned off to other regions”,

and Tessa Jowell warned against the city

“simply act[ing] as the cash cow for the rest of the UK”—

at least she did not call Scotland a region.

I support the motion.

16:32  
Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12182.1 Alex Fergusson: The Chilcot Inquiry—As an amendment to motion S4M-12182 in the name of N
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12182 Nicola Sturgeon: The Chilcot Inquiry—That the Parliament calls for Sir John Chilcot’s offi
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12176 John Swinney: Community Charge Debt (Scotland) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the gene
>> Show more
YesCarried

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

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

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
NoDefeated

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

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

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Richard Lyle
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12139: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 22/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11255: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11254: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10714: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10705: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10424: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10391: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10390: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10389: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10246: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Richard Lyle
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03979: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03919: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03889: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03862: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03821: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03808: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23028: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03699: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03490: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03455: Richard Lyle, Central Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/08/2014 Show Full Question >>

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