Roseanna Cunningham MSP

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Roseanna Cunningham MSP

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  • Member for: Perthshire South and Kinross-shire
  • Region: Mid Scotland and Fife
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Roseanna is a member of the following Committees:

Roseanna is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

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Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
The Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training (Roseanna Cunningham)

Skills Development Scotland offers a range of services for individuals and employers. SDS can offer employers a contribution to the cost of training through the freight logistics modern apprenticeship framework.

In addition, Transport Scotland works in partnership with freight industry stakeholders on how best to meet the industry’s needs over a range of issues. It has facilitated discussion between the freight trade associations and Skills Development Scotland on training and skills development.



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Roseanna Cunningham

I am aware that the industry is reporting a shortage of HGV drivers, which may be compounded by the fact that it has an ageing workforce. However, I am pleased to hear that there are companies in Scotland that want to recruit and train young people.

There is, of course, a minimum age for HGV drivers, but we are keen to do what we can to increase the modern apprenticeship opportunities for young people in this important sector. It is worth remembering that SDS can make contributions to the cost of training. I know that Transport Scotland officials have already met the Road Haulage Association to discuss the issue, and I would be happy to meet the member—and, indeed, any other members who are interested in the issue—to discuss how we can ensure that young people are aware of and can access the opportunities that the industry presents.



Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Roseanna Cunningham

In my earlier answer, I indicated that Transport Scotland officials are already engaged in that conversation. They will continue to discuss any issues of concern with the freight trade associations. In doing so, they will work in partnership with officials from my portfolio and from Skills Development Scotland to help to meet current and future skills needs. I know that a meeting between the RHA and SDS to explore the issue further is to take place in February.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
The Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training (Roseanna Cunningham)

As members will know, over the past six years we have seen many changes in Scotland’s labour market. There has been a marked increase in part-time work and an increase in self-employment, and many employers have taken the opportunity to introduce new ways of contracting with employees—hence the rise in zero-hours and fixed-term contracts. At the same time, and probably as a direct consequence of those changes, underemployment is widespread and real wages have fallen.

The new ways of working are gradually eroding employment protections that have been built up over many decades. As bad as it is when any business goes under, it is even worse when many people who depend on that business for their livelihoods find that they have no recourse to any of the legal protections that might once have been available.

Real wages have fallen, as I said. There is now a substantial and measurable problem of in-work poverty, which is getting worse. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has just published a report on the subject; this morning, the Scottish Government published evidence on the extent of in-work poverty in Scotland.

The people who are most likely to receive low pay are women, young people, older workers, people without qualifications, some ethnic minorities, lone parents and disabled people. Women are more likely to work in low-paying sectors and are more likely to be in part-time employment, which has a substantial overlap with low pay.

That means that even though employment levels have grown significantly since 2008, job quality—measured in terms of remuneration, job security, fair contractual terms and opportunities for progression and engagement—is poor for a growing proportion of people in employment. There is an increased sense of disconnection between business success and the accrual to employees of a share of the benefits of success.

This Government is absolutely of the view that such changes are bad for the economy. Inequality is holding back the life chances of the lowest earners in Scotland’s population and acts as a significant brake on productivity and growth.

The latest evidence from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggests that income inequality has a significant negative impact on growth. Policies to reduce income inequalities should be pursued, not only to improve social outcomes but to sustain long-term growth.

We published a revised child poverty strategy in March, which included outcomes that focus on the three Ps: pockets, prospects and places. We aim to maximise household incomes, improve children’s life chances and provide sustainable places. The strategy includes actions across a variety of areas.

The approach in the strategy is reflected in the commitments that the First Minister made in the programme for government. The programme sets out a range of cross-portfolio policies that are aimed at reducing inequality, including action around fair work, which is part of the focus of this debate, such as our commitment to pay the living wage and the increased funding to the Poverty Alliance to grow the number of accredited living wage employers.

The programme also sets out a focus on school attainment and university access for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, which is being taken forward by my colleague the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning. There are also commitments to support increased childcare and free school meals, which have been the subject of recent discussion. The policies are designed to help to reduce intergenerational poverty and tackle inequality.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Roseanna Cunningham

The member’s final phrase is key. What would actually help us to do something about that is precisely what the Labour Party does not want us to have—that is, powers over tax, benefits and employment law.

The programme for government also emphasises our commitments to empower communities by handing over decisions on key issues and to make Government open and accessible, through public participation in the decisions that we make that affect communities.

We have committed to poverty proofing all our new policies and legislation through the use of poverty impact assessments whenever we make a change.

We will appoint an independent adviser on poverty and inequality, who will hold public events with the First Minister to raise awareness of the reality of living in poverty, make recommendations to the Government on how collectively we should respond and hold the Government to account on its performance.

However, we know that poverty levels are increasing in Scotland because of United Kingdom Government policies. Scottish Government analysis estimates that the price that Scotland has had to pay as a result of the UK Government’s cuts and changes to the welfare system could total around £6 billion in the six years to 2015-16.

One of the depressing outcomes has been the massive rise in the number of people who are using food banks. It is clearly unacceptable that so many people in Scotland are living in food poverty. We continue to make that point to UK ministers as we press them on the impacts that their decisions on welfare are having in Scotland.

I have mentioned the rise in in-work poverty. It is an absolute scandal that the majority of working-age adults in poverty in Scotland—indeed, throughout the UK—are living in households in which at least one adult is in employment. For children, the figure is 59 per cent. We have made various commitments to what we call the social wage, which extends certain core universal services, rights and benefits in order to deliver the social and economic circumstances from which everyone will benefit. I will not rehearse them all here, as the chamber is well aware of them. I will, instead, focus specifically on some of the areas that fall within my portfolio, the first of which is the living wage.

All our policies in reference to the social wage—for example, free school meals—are designed to help hard-pressed families and individuals, as are our commitments on the living wage. Despite the sharp reductions that have been imposed on the Scottish budget by the UK Government, we have managed to incorporate a number of distinct measures in our pay policy to actively protect the pay of our lowest-earning public sector workers, including a commitment to support the Scottish living wage for the duration of this parliamentary session, to 2015-16.

As I have said, we have also provided further funding to the Poverty Alliance to promote take-up of the living wage accreditation scheme. We have set a target of having at least 150 accredited employers by the end of 2015, and some members may have picked up the fact that, yesterday, the First Minister visited the 100th such employer to be signed up. That will help to increase the number of employers who are paying the living wage in all sectors in Scotland and to make decent pay the standard in our country.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Roseanna Cunningham

The minister has a great many views about the need to tackle excess pay at the top; it is just a pity that the party to which the member belongs does not appear to have much to say about it. It is a great pity that the party opposite is not interested in giving this Parliament the powers to do something in a statutory sense about all the issues that we are raising today.

European Union law prevents the payment of the living wage being mandated as part of a public procurement exercise. Despite others’ claims to the contrary, the position under EU law has been made clear in a number of rulings of the European Court of Justice and in correspondence between the Scottish Government and the European Commission. Making the living wage mandatory through contracts is not possible under EU law where the statutory national minimum wage has been set at a lower level. That is why the SNP Government asked the Smith commission to recommend devolving responsibility for the national minimum wage to the Scottish Parliament—a policy that the Labour Party chose not to support. Labour members refused to support the devolution of responsibility for the national minimum wage to Scotland, a move that would have allowed the Scottish Parliament to determine what level it should be set at.

We have consistently explained that, although we cannot make the living wage mandatory, we can strongly encourage it. That is what the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 seeks to do in providing for the issuing of statutory guidance on workforce matters in procurement. My colleague Keith Brown, the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, is currently consulting key stakeholders, including the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee, the Scottish Trades Union Congress, trade unions and the Poverty Alliance, on draft guidelines for purchasers on how to tackle workforce matters in procurement.

We are also leading by example. The Scottish Government successfully encouraged bidders to offer bids that were based on their staff being paid the living wage when we recently tendered our catering contract. In addition, we have worked with our existing cleaning contractor to ensure that its staff who work on our core premises will also receive at least the living wage. We continue to encourage all public bodies and businesses to follow our lead on this important matter.

To expand on some of the issues on the broader question of fair work, I am glad that this Parliament showed overwhelming support for the working together review and its recommendations when first debated on 13 November last year.

We are always focused on securing the best outcomes for Scotland. We believe—the working together review confirmed this—that progressive workplace policies can help to improve a firm’s productivity and innovation and can aid sustainable growth. Well-rewarded and sustained employment is the best route out of poverty and the best way to tackle inequality. That is why there will be a fair work convention; that is why it will prioritise the promotion of the living wage to highlight the fact that business productivity goes hand in hand with decent, fair and equal pay.

In support of our approach that fairness supports and underpins long-term prosperity, we will develop a Scottish business pledge. It will invite companies to commit, for example, to extending the living wage, involving their local communities, and investing in youth training and employment and, in return, they will be offered a package of tailored support on skills, innovation and exports, to help them to grow and prosper.

Against the background of recession and continued Westminster austerity, our strategy for developing Scotland’s young workforce is delivering. Recent employment statistics for Scotland have been encouraging—we have record numbers of people in work. Youth unemployment in Scotland is at a five-year low. I expect people to really welcome that. Scotland is outperforming the United Kingdom as a whole on youth unemployment, employment and youth inactivity rates.

We still have more to do. We want to tackle long-term issues in the labour market and barriers to young women and men getting into jobs. Last year, we said that we would be able to increase the annual number of new modern apprenticeship starts, taking the number to 30,000 a year by 2020. We have set ambitious targets for our young workforce. The Parliament will recall that, in December 2014, I brought to the chamber “Developing the Young Workforce—Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy”, which set out an ambitious seven-year programme on which we will report regularly.

The key performance indicators in the strategy cover a range of measures and have a particular focus on addressing inequality. They look to increase the minority gender share in the largest and most imbalanced college superclasses, increase the employment rate for young disabled people to the population average and increase the number of modern apprenticeships starts from minority ethnic communities. We will report each year on those ambitions. Implementing the programme will put us where we belong—among the best-performing countries in Europe.

Above all, our seven-year programme will be a collaborative effort. Government cannot do this on its own, so our programme has been developed in conjunction with our partners in local government and with Scotland’s employers and trade unions.

We all have a part to play in developing a fairer and more equal Scotland and, frankly, we must work together if we are to do so. I am sure that those present would agree that the issues motivate us all and that this Parliament, like the Scottish Government, must continue to make strong commitments to tackle them. We need to work together here as well as out in the country if we are going to achieve what we want to achieve, as set out in the motion before you.

I move,

That the Parliament agrees that a strong, sustainable economy is essential to building a fair and wealthy society; further agrees that a society that is fair and equitable underpins a strong economy; believes that an essential element of this is that work should be a route out of poverty; deplores the fact that half of children in poverty are growing up in a household where at least one person is in employment; further believes that this is a clear sign that the economic and social policies of the UK Government are failing Scotland; notes the commitment of the Scottish Government to build a fairer Scotland and tackle inequality; welcomes the positive steps that the Scottish Government has taken toward this by paying the living wage as part of its pay policy and, by supporting living wage accreditation, encouraging more organisations to do the same; further welcomes the development of the Fair Work Convention to promote and sustain a fair employment framework, and is concerned that these efforts are at risk of being undermined by the £6 billion of welfare cuts being made by the UK Government.

14:33  

Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Roseanna Cunningham

Will the member outline precisely what powers this Government would use to impose the tax changes that he is talking about? That would need tax powers that his party has no intention of ever devolving to this Parliament.



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Roseanna Cunningham

Will Willie Rennie give way?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Roseanna Cunningham

I am listening with care to Willie Rennie expounding on how much better things are getting. I wonder whether he has seen the in-work poverty statistics that were published this morning. If he has seen them, can he explain how there can be such a rise, against the backdrop of the wonderful picture that he is painting?



Meeting of the Parliament 20 January 2015 : Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Roseanna Cunningham

Will the member give way?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

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

S4M-12095.2 Alex Johnstone: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095.1 Willie Rennie: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095 Alex Neil: Tackling Inequalities—That the Parliament agrees that a strong, sustainable eco
>> Show more
YesCarried

Selection of John Pentland MSP for appointment to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12060.2 Hugh Henry: Commending the People who Keep Scotland Safe in Emergencies—As an amendment
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12045.3 Shona Robison: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Rich
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12045.2 Jackson Carlaw: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Ric
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Roseanna Cunningham
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11901: Roseanna Cunningham, Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11484: Roseanna Cunningham, Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11395.1: Roseanna Cunningham, Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10291: Roseanna Cunningham, Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10090: Roseanna Cunningham, Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09957: Roseanna Cunningham, Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09272: Roseanna Cunningham, Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08950: Roseanna Cunningham, Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 04/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08881: Roseanna Cunningham, Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08544: Roseanna Cunningham, Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S3O-05825: Roseanna Cunningham, Perth, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/02/2009 Show Full Question >>
Question S3O-05305: Roseanna Cunningham, Perth, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/12/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3O-05247: Roseanna Cunningham, Perth, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/12/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3O-05049: Roseanna Cunningham, Perth, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/11/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-11949: Roseanna Cunningham, Perth, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/04/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-11850: Roseanna Cunningham, Perth, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/04/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-11849: Roseanna Cunningham, Perth, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/04/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-11851: Roseanna Cunningham, Perth, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/04/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-11221: Roseanna Cunningham, Perth, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 25/03/2008 Show Full Question >>
Question S3W-10098: Roseanna Cunningham, Perth, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/02/2008 Show Full Question >>