Sarah Boyack MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Sarah Boyack (Lothian) (Lab)

Drew Smith made a powerful speech about the need to ensure that Governments work together and the need for real devolution for the Scottish Parliament. The argument about getting the best of both worlds, with a strong Scottish Parliament that is backed by pooling and sharing across the UK, underpinned the recent referendum debate. The Smith commission now has the task of delivering consensus on modernising our devolution settlement.

Much of our focus has rightly been on strengthening the Scottish Parliament; we also need to focus on new powers for local government. Double devolution needs to be on the Smith commission’s agenda and is a key part of our submission, as Drew Smith said. We need to create the political space in which we can discuss the devolution of powers from the UK Government and the Scottish Government to local councils and communities.

We need to challenge the Scottish Government to engage in that debate, just as it demands that we look at the debate that is needed in the Smith commission. Not one reference to the issue was made in the first two speeches that we heard from the SNP benches. It is a key part of the proposals in our “Powers for a purpose” report. Local government services have a huge influence on our lives and we need to think about how local authorities can work together and have more resources. The commission on strengthening local democracy in Scotland put it well when it talked about

“spheres not tiers of governance”.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Sarah Boyack

We will never be able to make Nicola Sturgeon happy with our submission. We know that. [Interruption.]



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Sarah Boyack

If we are having a proper discussion, let us put double devolution—local devolution—firmly at the centre.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Sarah Boyack

No, thank you. The member has already spoken at length.

Our vision for local government is one in which decisions about local communities are taken locally. In our devolution commission we argued for double devolution and the reversal of the trend under the SNP Government towards centralising local services and controlling funding. Nicola Sturgeon talked about the importance of fiscal accountability. What fiscal accountability do our local councils have? What independence do they have to set the revenues that come to them?

The debate on the Smith commission focuses on greater accountability on funding and new funding streams for the Scottish Parliament, but it is vital that we also focus on devolving power from the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament to local government level.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Sarah Boyack

First, that is a moot point. [Interruption.] The finance minister might like to talk to my constituents, whose flood mitigation measures have been delayed for years because his colleague Mike Russell completely changed the funding mechanisms and devolved the opportunity to local government so that, instead of getting support through an 80:20 per cent arrangement, it has to fund the measures itself. Communities are experiencing the outcome of Government policy—never mind the billions of pounds that have been taken out of spending on social justice programmes across the Government, which is also important for local government—[Interruption.]



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Sarah Boyack

We need devolution from the Scottish Parliament and UK levels. Although English councils face even bigger cuts than councils in Scotland face, they are getting city deals, new initiatives and opportunities, and new resources and fiscal levers to enable them to work together to promote investment, infrastructure, jobs and training. We can see the impact that the approach is beginning to have, particularly in big cities such as Manchester and Leeds. There is an ambition for such an approach in Scotland, too.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Sarah Boyack

With respect, I did answer that question. In particular, the local government recommendations were welcomed by many organisations as being a breath of fresh air and real powers being devolved to our local communities. The Deputy First Minister would do well to look at those comments.

We recommended significant devolution of financial resources in relation to employability programmes, training provision and housing benefit. We want our local authorities to have real resources and to be able to shape and support our local communities. We want higher-quality training programmes that are appropriate to the needs of social and economic priorities, and we want to increase the capacity of local authorities to deliver better value in housing support and to significantly increase the capacity of affordable local housing. Currently, £1.7 billion comes through housing benefit, and that money needs to be used by local government to much better effect.

We also argued that the agenda needs to take on the idea that the Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles councils, and other councils that have island communities, must have more opportunities and that we need to devolve responsibility for the Crown estate.

There are lots of ideas in our report. I hope that, rather than complain about our not going far enough, SNP members will take the opportunity to look at new powers for local government, look at the opportunities that come through the Smith commission and support Labour’s proposals in “Powers for a purpose”. Our communities urgently need those extra fiscal levers, that extra financial support and the extra opportunities to regenerate our communities. Let us make sure that we focus on double devolution as well as strengthening our own Scottish Parliament.

15:37  

Meeting of the Parliament 09 October 2014 : Thursday, October 09, 2014
Sarah Boyack (Lothian) (Lab)

According to the Scottish Government’s own statistics, which were published this weekend, 70,000 posts have disappeared from local authorities since 2008. Is the minister able to tell the chamber how many of those jobs were related to community safety initiatives?



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
17. Sarah Boyack (Lothian) (Lab)

To ask the Scottish Government what support it is providing to local authorities to ensure that there is suitable accommodation to deal with the projected increase in school rolls. (S4O-03587)



Meeting of the Parliament 08 October 2014 : Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Sarah Boyack

The City of Edinburgh Council is considering introducing cluster-based learning, although its strong preference is to build new accommodation. The cabinet secretary will be aware of the pressure on council budgets. Given the demographic pressure on Edinburgh and the council’s review of its school estate, can the cabinet secretary update Parliament on what discussions he has had with the City of Edinburgh Council and what particular support his Government is providing to help to ensure the right capacity and the right quality in our school provision?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11332.2 Jenny Marra: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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YesDefeated

S4M-11332.1 Gavin Brown: Supported Business—As an amendment to motion S4M-11332 in the name of Fergu
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NoDefeated

S4M-11332 Fergus Ewing: Supported Business—That the Parliament recognises the economic and social va
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YesCarried

S4M-11304.3 Michael Russell: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—As an amendment to mo
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YesCarried

S4M-11304 Liz Smith: Addressing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Schools—That the Parliament believes
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YesCarried

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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NoCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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NoCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
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NoCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
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NoCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
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NoCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Sarah Boyack
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11357: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11302: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11033: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10989: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 24/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10903: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/09/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10847: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10511: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 30/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10315: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10262.2: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10213: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 03/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Sarah Boyack
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-22888: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 17/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03587: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 01/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03515: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22381: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22380: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 15/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22374: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22371: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22372: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22373: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 14/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22326: Sarah Boyack, Lothian, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 08/08/2014 Show Full Question >>

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