Stuart McMillan MSP

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Meeting of the Parliament 28 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 28, 2015
8. Stuart McMillan (West Scotland) (SNP)

To ask the Scottish Government what support it is providing to colleges in West Scotland to improve the fabric of their buildings. (S4O-03948)



Meeting of the Parliament 28 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Stuart McMillan

In the past, I have called for a feasibility study to be undertaken to determine whether an alternative location can be sought for the campus at Inverclyde. I believe that the Scottish funding council has had discussions with West College Scotland regarding options for its Greenock campus. I would be grateful to know whether the Scottish Government will consider any proposals from West College Scotland regarding the fabric of its building in the next spending review period.



Meeting of the Parliament 28 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Stuart McMillan (West Scotland) (SNP)

After listening to all the speeches it is clear to me that there is political consensus across the chamber on the best way to treat women offenders. I do not intend to retread many of the arguments that have been made. I will focus my attention and initial remarks on the amendment that was lodged by the cabinet secretary, which refers to the decision

“not to proceed with the plans for HMP Inverclyde as a prison for women”.

I will then turn to the treatment of women offenders.

I met the Cabinet Secretary for Justice yesterday to discuss a number of justice-related matters. HMP Inverclyde was just one of them. The meeting was organised a few weeks ago and, following Monday’s announcement, it proved to be timely.

It has been widely accepted that, if we are to treat women offenders differently and have less reoffending, a different approach is required. The cabinet secretary set out that position clearly on Monday and has done so continually since.

However, the decision on the prison leaves a gap in employment opportunities in the Inverclyde area. Already, £7.8 million has been spent on preparing the site, and the total project would have been worth £75 million. That would have been a welcome boost to the Inverclyde economy, as I am on record as saying since 2008, when the initial proposals were advanced.

It concerned me that the decision not to proceed would leave the Scottish Government open to cries that it had wasted money and had no future plans for the site. We have already heard some of that, and those are just some of the points that we discussed yesterday during our meeting. I am pleased that the cabinet secretary informed me that the site will revert back to its original purpose: a new-build prison to replace the existing HMP Greenock. The timescale for that replacement is longer than I would have anticipated—I am sure that that goes for the cabinet secretary as well—but it will present itself for future development.

Now that the SPS owns the site and will soon have prepared it, it should be easier to facilitate any future construction process for a prison. However, if the replacement for the men’s prison takes a few years to progress—as I imagine it will do, due to the cuts to the capital budget that the Government has received and is receiving—what will happen to the site in the meantime? The Inverclyde local plan indicates that the site is for a replacement prison and that it already has planning permission. If a developer or employer came forward and indicated that they would like to take the land for future use, would there be challenges on the ground that the proposal went against the local plan and would the SPS consider selling the land to allow it to happen?

I make no apology for focusing my initial remarks on the situation that faces Inverclyde and its economy. The cabinet secretary is correct about how best we treat women offenders, and many have welcomed his change in direction. However, my colleague Bruce Crawford was acting in the best interests of his constituents when he asked a question yesterday and I am doing the same in raising this issue today.

A £75 million construction project would have had huge economic benefits for the Inverclyde economy. There would also have been the running costs once the prison was created. That investment will now not happen for a period.

I listened to the cabinet secretary on the radio yesterday. He was asked whether one of the smaller regional units would be built on the Greenock site and he indicated that that would probably not happen. We discussed that issue yesterday at our meeting.

The SPS owns the site and my concern is that, after the preparation works are concluded at the end of March, it will lie dormant for a while. I would like to see a firmer timeline for when the site will be used. I appreciate that, with the huge change in direction for the SPS, that timeline will not be produced overnight, but I am keen for it to happen.

However, I am content that the works that have taken place will assist the SPS with its future plans for how to deal with male and female prisoners. I am sure that many lessons will have been learned that the SPS will be able to put to good use in treating offenders throughout the country and in future investment decisions.

I will now deal with the treatment of women offenders. Yesterday, I received an email from Positive Prison? Positive Futures highlighting its welcome for the cabinet secretary’s decision. It indicated that one of its volunteers, Kim, was involved in television programmes indicating how beneficial non-custodial sentencing had been for her. She had received a community order, but it was the most difficult thing that she had ever done. She said:

“If it was not for that order I would either be in prison or dead.”

I was given permission to highlight her example of how a different approach can help with prevention and keeping people alive.

Non-custodial sentences sometimes give the impression of being a soft option, but they have a huge part to play. As the cabinet secretary said earlier, the new approach will be bolder, radical and more ambitious to enable us to tackle such an important issue.

Dame Elish Angiolini’s commission on women offenders produced a set of challenging recommendations for the Scottish Government, which have gained cross-party support. Actions on those recommendations have started, but there is certainly more to do, as members have said. The cabinet secretary will, in his new approach, deliver on those recommendations further, and I welcome the £1.5 million extra funding that he mentioned. Ultimately, we should aim for a reduction in reoffending, better outcomes for former offenders and a more collaborative approach between mainstream service providers.

16:50  

Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Stuart McMillan (West Scotland) (SNP)

I have read your submissions, and I am keen to get a bit more information about the rationale behind your positions on APD.



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Stuart McMillan

APD came up twice yesterday in Parliament. During transport questions in the chamber, my colleague Willie Coffey asked the transport minister how Prestwick airport could help the Ayrshire economy, and during the Finance Committee’s meeting, the Confederation of British Industry stated that APD should not be devolved. Given the comments that the panellists have just made, surely the CBI is out of touch with the economic situation here.



Devolution (Further Powers) Committee 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Stuart McMillan

Should it be devolved immediately?



Public Audit Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Stuart McMillan (West Scotland) (SNP)

My questions focus on the Audit Scotland report. However, as the witnesses will be aware, the Local Government and Regeneration Committee has undertaken a tremendous amount of work on public services reform, and some of my questions also emanate from the report that it produced in June 2012.

Paragraph 25 of the Audit Scotland report says:

“Partners need to create a more effective leadership, challenge and scrutiny role in CPP boards ... Support is required for CPPs to develop the skills and culture that are needed to create effective challenge within CPP boards”.

What support is required to assist with that recommendation?



Public Audit Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Stuart McMillan

It is to anyone on the panel.



Public Audit Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Stuart McMillan

An issue highlighted in the report is the better use of data. I accept that different organisations operate under different systems and that there might well be challenges as a result, but has there been any work on trying to make better use of the data that the organisations have? Have any technical solutions or software been considered in that respect?



Public Audit Committee 21 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Stuart McMillan

Earlier we touched on the issue of sharing best practice between the CPPs. Recently, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities produced the benchmarking tool, which I warmly welcome; I know that it will help in the future. Would a similar tool be useful for the CPPs? Will the local authorities’ utilisation of the benchmarking tool assist the CPPs?

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 Stuart McMillan
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12203: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11977: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11726: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 26/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11663: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11659: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11594: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11577: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11491: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11232: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11231: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Stuart McMillan
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03948: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03920: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03833: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02425: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23261: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03732: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03663: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03641: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03598: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/09/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03502: Stuart McMillan, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/08/2014 Show Full Question >>