Holyrood Highlights: The normal folk’s guide to the week ahead in parliament


Is recess over already?

FOLLOWING a (regrettably) short break, the Scottish Parliament is back in action… kind of.

After a week off to enjoy the glorious February weather, Monday technically marks the end of 2018’s first Holyrood recess, and parliament honours this return to form by having absolutely nothing going on whatsoever.

In lieu of any daily developments to detail, CommonSpace takes a look ahead at some of the most significant upcoming events in parliament this week.

Parliamentary business

On Tuesday, Christina McKelvie will seek recognition from the chamber for Scottish Power’s Quick Credit Voucher, which offers credit payments designed to help customers referred to foodbanks who may be suffering as a result of fuel poverty. Calling Scottish Power’s scheme an “ethical and morally responsible approach” to aiding those in need of fuel assistance, McKelvie will use the ensuing debate to encourage other energy companies to offer their own responses to fuel poverty.

On Wednesday, the second draft of the Scottish Budget will reach the third and final stage of its parliamentary examination before coming into force, now virtually guaranteed to pass following concessions won by the Scottish Greens.

On Thursday, the Scottish Parliament will host a debate on “a migration system that meets the needs of Scotland”, in which widespread calls for immigration to be devolved to Scotland will likely be revisited.

Committee business

On Tuesday, the justice committee will return to the possible impact of Brexit on policing and criminal justice, with evidence offered by experts from the Faculty of Advocates, the Law Society of Scotland and Police Scotland, among others.

On Wednesday, the Brexit theme will continue, no matter how much some may wish otherwise, as the rural economy and connectivity committee will look at how the UK leaving the EU will affect agriculture and fisheries.

And on Thursday, the equalities and human rights committee will take evidence in a private session from those who have suffered from convictions that can now be wiped away due to the Historic Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) (Scotland) Bill, which overturns the legal after-effects of past laws against homosexual activity.

Visits and events

On Tuesday, the Saltire Society will host the 2018 Fletcher Lecture, this year given by Scottish composer and musicologist John Purser, who will examine the legacy of the modernist composer Erik Chisolm.

On Wednesday, MSPs will consider how to continue the work done by Maternal Mental Health Scotland in highlighting the mental health difficulties of women in the perinatal period and encourage people to pursue the campaign at a local level.

And on Thursday, MSPs will be introduced to members of Scottish Ethnic Minority Older People Forum, which has been formed to help facilitate policy and improve services specifically for older members of ethnic minorities in Scotland.

Picture courtesy of John

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