Ruth Davidson MSP

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Ruth Davidson MSP

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Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Ruth Davidson (Glasgow) (Con)

Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Ruth Davidson

Drowning not waving, I think—the First Minister is purposefully missing the scope of what is proposed today. Let me put her grievance in a bit of context for her. Professors David Bell and David Eiser at the University of Stirling have looked at how much devolution exists in countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. They have even plotted it on a handy graph. Today’s announcement means that Scotland will have more devolved tax and spending than exists in nearly every other country in the developed world. Arguably, Scotland is behind only Canada, and we are now set to overtake Belgium, Norway, Italy, Finland, Iceland, France, Sweden and even the fully federal countries of America and Germany. Holyrood will become one of the most powerful devolved Parliaments on the planet.

With that in mind, and in the spirit of the new consensus, will the First Minister agree that these new powers can deliver for everyone in Scotland, no matter which way they voted in the referendum?



Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
Ruth Davidson

Well, Nicola Sturgeon’s consensus politics seems to go only so far because, this morning, she was tweeting lines that she did not like from the Smith report before the commissioners had even sat down. Personally, I think that this is a great day for Scotland. This pocket-money Parliament is finally going to have to look taxpayers in the eye.

The First Minister needs to check the figures that she gave today. This morning, I asked the Scottish Parliament information centre to do just that, and it confirmed that nearly 60 per cent of all money that is spent by the Scottish Government will now have to be raised by the Scottish Government.

We all know that anything short of independence would not satisfy the First Minister, but she should remember that independence was the one option that the people of Scotland roundly rejected. This is a big, bold package of measures, so why can the First Minister not give it the warmer welcome that it clearly deserves?



Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2014 : Thursday, November 27, 2014
2. Ruth Davidson (Glasgow) (Con)

To ask the First Minister when she will next meet the Prime Minister. (S4F-02421)



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Ruth Davidson

I will come to a conclusion right now.

Where we find common cause, such as on early release and extending childcare, we will work with the Government to improve the situation. Where we see signs of life in the Government trying to help business, we will encourage and cajole it to deliver on promises that are yet unfulfilled. Where we differ—sometimes categorically so—we will continue to state our case and challenge the Government.

The Government has only 18 months left of a five-year term with a majority in which it could have done much more. It needs to get a move on.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Ruth Davidson

The finance secretary cannot have it both ways: either introducing a levy is an important and necessary idea to help public health or he does not need the money, which is why he scrapped it. Which way round is it? We have not seen the answer.

Land and buildings transaction tax not only delivers an eye-watering 10 per cent tax on residential purchases but has an implication for business premises. Why does the Government think that it is a good idea to make it financially more attractive for people to set up factory floor space, depots, warehousing and industrial units in Carlisle than in Dumfries?



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Ruth Davidson

I beg your pardon, Presiding Officer?



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Ruth Davidson

I will give way to the cabinet secretary.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Ruth Davidson

On behalf of businesses throughout Scotland, I am happy to cede the floor to an intervention from any of the front-bench team so that I can get an assurance and guarantee that the unfair smash-and-grab retail levy will not raise its head again in the same or any other form. I am sorry that Mr McDonald does not quite qualify.

John Swinney rose—



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Ruth Davidson

Not this time.

We also support the belated commitment to increase health spending. The rise in national health service spend each year down south means that, each year, the Scottish Government’s health consequentials have also risen. The Government has not always delivered those millions to Scotland’s health service, and external bodies agree: it is long past time that it did so. If the First Minister honours today’s commitment, we will welcome that too.

There was much fanfare today—indeed, journalists were briefed overnight—that the programme would contain significant new measures to boost Scotland’s economy. I fear that the measures are, at best, underwhelming. I back the rates relief and small business bonus conditions that the First Minister announced, but the Government has a far greater number of levers at its disposal that it is not using or that are hindering, not helping, business.

The Government has talked many times in many ways about creating the most business-friendly environment, the most competitive tax regime and the most attractive business solutions, but let us set its record against its promises.

What happened on the promises in the 2011 SNP manifesto to help to create new retail banks and support social banking? Nothing.

On the overall tax burden to business, the Government received this year £30 million in Barnett consequentials from a UK scheme that gives small high street shops and cafes a £1,000 rebate. The money was trousered, but the £1,000 rebate was never passed on.

Our larger retailers were hit with a mercurial £95 million smash-and-grab levy. It came from nowhere and hokey cokeyed in and out over three years to plug a funding gap.



Meeting of the Parliament 26 November 2014 : Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Ruth Davidson (Glasgow) (Con)

The First Minister has made a point at this, the start of her period of office, of saying that she will be a listening First Minister, one who works with people from any and all political stripes where there is agreement. She says that she will be open to ideas and suggestions for improvement. I welcome that approach.

Last week, I laid out a Conservative vision, which, I believe, would make our country better, using the taxation powers that are coming to the Parliament to reduce the financial burden on Scotland’s families; introducing school choice in order to drive up standards; recognising the importance of our colleges and stopping the political vandalism that has resulted in 140,000 places being cut under the present Government; creating a Scotland where we value our vocational education as highly as our academic education; and stopping the removal of £60 million each and every year from our nation’s health budget by giving free prescriptions to the better-off in our society, who had previously been happy to pay a contribution. Rather, we should use that £60 million to fund 1,000 extra nurses and midwives across our land.

The First Minister said that there was little on which we could agree, so let me appeal to the angel of her better nature as regards areas where we might. Let us consider the new bills that have been unveiled today and, first, those that are already in train.

The First Minister is a lawyer by trade. She understands the concept of due process. She has been a politician for five times as long as she ever practised law. She understands legislation. It was simply wrong to attempt the scrapping of the centuries-old tenet of corroboration without telling MSPs, never mind the public at large, what would replace it. Loyal to her colleagues as she is, she has a great opportunity, as a new First Minister with a new Cabinet Secretary for Justice, to revisit the fudge that came out of that aborted parliamentary fix.

As the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill makes its passage through the Parliament, let us get back to first principles. How do we better secure justice for victims and fairness for the accused? We need the wholesale review of the law of evidence that the Conservatives have been calling for. We will help in any way that we can to clean up the mess that has been created.

On Thursday, I asked our new First Minister about ending automatic early release. The independent Scottish Parliament information centre showed that, under the SNP’s current plans, fewer than 1 per cent of the criminals who are jailed would be subject to the sentence that is handed down. The First Minister said that there would be opportunities to amend the Prisoners (Control of Release) (Scotland) Bill during this legislative diet. I am asking for assurances that improvements, which have been put forward in good faith to stop those who break their contract with society having their prison doors flung open early, are considered in the same good faith in which they are offered.

That should be an area on which there is agreement. The SNP manifestos of both 2007 and 2011 contained a pledge to end automatic early release. That pledge is not honoured if it does not apply to more than 99 per cent of our prison population. The present Government has been in power for more than seven years now. For each of those seven years, it has said that it believes in that policy, and it has promised to deliver it. Let us make that happen in the final 18 months of this session.

It is not just in areas of justice where we want to help the new First Minister; it is in areas of social justice, too. Nicola Sturgeon, having said that the improvements to childcare could happen only under independence, has now found a way, through the proposed bill that has been unveiled today, to address the matter under the powers of devolution.

The Scottish Conservatives have always placed great import on early years education. We applaud moves to increase provision for two-year-olds. Indeed, I am long on record decrying the fact that Scotland has lagged behind south of the border in that very area. However, we see nothing socially just at all in the idea that the amount of provision someone receives depends on a fluke of nature or the lottery of birth.

It is not just, socially or otherwise, that families with children who were born in one half of the year benefit more than families with children born in the other half. The issue is not just that only half of families in Scotland benefit from two full years of free provision. The First Minister is a smart lady, and it cannot be beyond the wit of man, or woman, to address that iniquity, and we will support any attempts to do so under the proposed bill.

Should the Smith commission deliver the powers for it, we can also support votes for 16-year-olds in future Scottish elections. We support increasing the provision of apprenticeships. We support the roll-out of Clare’s law, which we called for. We can support future human trafficking legislation.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

Selection of the Parliament's Nominee for First Minister
YesCarried

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

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

S4M-11567.2 Margaret Mitchell: Lowering the Drink Drive Limit—As an amendment to motion S4M-11567 in
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YesCarried

S4M-11507.1 Cameron Buchanan: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11507 Angela Constance: Progressive Workplace Policies to Boost Productivity, Growth and Jobs—Th
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Not VotedCarried

S4M-11494.3 Jackie Baillie: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
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NoDefeated

S4M-11494.2 Alex Johnstone: Welfare Benefits for People Living with Disabilities—As an amendment to
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YesDefeated

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

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

Search for other Motions lodged by Ruth Davidson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-10843.1.2: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 20/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10154: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 28/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08707.1: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 06/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08501: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07619: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 06/09/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07499: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 22/08/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07133: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 25/06/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-06569: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 14/05/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-05988.2: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-04594.1: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2012 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Ruth Davidson
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4F-02421: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02394: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02375: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02353: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02336: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02317: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02304: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02284: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 22/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02263: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02247: Ruth Davidson, Glasgow, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Question >>

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