As-it-happened: First minister's questions

Key Points

  • Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond took questions from opposition leaders and backbench MSPs during the weekly question time session.
  • Labour leader Johann Lamont grilled the first minister, while Conservative questions came from Ruth Davidson
  • This was the final first minister's questions before the Scottish Parliament October break

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    Hello and welcome to this week's first minister's questions, live and loud from the Scottish Parliament.


    Alex Salmond will be on his feet at midday, but right now, SNP ministers are answering questions from MSPs in the chamber.


    This is the last FMQs before the parliament's October recess - but there are plenty of potential issues to pack in today, including the news that Scottish ministers have been warned by their own economic advisers about their plans for an oil fund.


    To follow the debate on social media, use #FMQs or FMQ

    Analysis Brian Taylor Political editor, Scotland

    "Sat in for an excellent debate at Holyrood today. Excellent, Brian? Were there ructions? There were not. Was there excitable rhetoric? Equally, no.... read more from my blog."


    Also on the agenda might be the announcement that SSE to raise energy prices by 8.2% - very topical given Labour leader Ed Miliband's pledge to freeze energy prices.


    General Questions are dominated by government plans to cut the number of control rooms for the Scottish fire service. Minister Roseanna Cunningham says members of the public will have the same experience if they require fire service help. She adds that "there will be no boundaries as there is at the moment".

    Prof Peter Higgs Prof Peter Higgs was given the Nobel Prize

    And we're off! First Minister Alex Salmond (FM) congratulates Prof Peter Higgs on his Nobel Prize.


    Labour leader Johann Lamont (JL) goes on the oil fund concerns.


    @BBCDouglasF Canadian IT firm CGI to create 250 jobs in Glasgow, announces Alex Salmond #fmqs

    Johann Lamont Johann Lamont quizzes the First Minister Alex Salmond

    JL said SNP ministers say one thing in private and another in public. FM says the Scottish government has previously stated there may need to be a fiscal surplus before investing in a savings fund.


    @aidanskinner So an indy Scotland will a) use oil revenue to fund expenditure b) save it a long term fund & c) save it in a stabilisation fund? #fmq


    JL says the FM ignores the central question of the oil fund. She says the FM won't admit his oil fund won't work without tax rises or spending cuts. She says there is a "deceit" in his comments.


    FM and JL trading blows on which party gave the most help to getting Margaret Thatcher into government.


    @GerryHassan @JohannLamont invoking memory of 1979 & SNP voting to bring down LabGovt. Funny the Libs never get in neck for part in ancient history. #FMQ


    What did the Fiscal Commission Working Group conclude in its report on 2 October?

    • A short-term stabilisation fund being established to manage year-on-year changes in oil and gas tax revenue and providing a stable and predictable revenue stream for future governments.
    • The government in an independent Scotland should ensure transparency in relation to the mechanisms used to forecast North Sea revenue, manage transfers into a stabilisation fund and integrate the fund into the wider fiscal framework.
    • An independent Scottish Fiscal Commission should oversee the processes of forecasting and transfers into the funds.
    • The group also said the Scottish government should look to establishing a long-term savings fund to provide a permanent revenue stream for future generations.

    JL suggests the FM doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. She is asked by the presiding officer to withdraw a remark that he is being "dishonest". Ms Lamont re-phrases her comments, but again presses the issue of raising tax or cutting spending to pay for a fund. She is again told off by the presiding officer for questioning Mr Salmond's honesty. The FM says it would have been better to withdraw the remark than skirt around the issue.


    @davidjhgardiner Johann has been pretty good in parts, but she really should respect parliamentary protocol prohibiting calling fellow members dishonest #FMQ


    FM quotes from page 4 of the report, where he says investment could be made into stabilisation and investment funds. He says nobody could seriously dispute the success of Norway's oil fund.

    Ruth Davdison Tory leader Ruth Davidson asks about Scottish government advice on oil funds

    Tory leader Ruth Davidson (RD) has her go on the oil fund. She asks whether the government has just lifted the good bits and binned the bad bits that "don't suit his separatist agenda". FM says what has been produced is a substantial body of work.


    RD claims that when the SNP government comes across information they don't like they "hit delete". FM says Unionist politicians have spent the last 40 years telling people an oil fund would be a bad idea.


    @DominicMHinde I'd like to hear something sensible from the Greens or Malcolm Chisholm rather than Johann and Alex playing gladiators #FMQ


    Labour's Rhoda Grant on NHS pay rises. She says Scottish health services bosses have had increases of up to 4%. FM criticises UK government for "blocking" rises. And he says SNP ministers have worked to achieve equity in health service pay packets, a plan which he adds has been supported by health unions.


    SNP's Christine Grahame (also convener of Holyrood's justice committee) asks about post-independence co-operation between Scotland and the rest of UK when it comes to tackling issues like terrorism. FM says co-operation would continue.

    Kezia Dugdale Labour's Kezia Dugdale quizzes the first minister

    Labour's Kezia Dugdale on access to education. FM says more people from poorer backgrounds are getting the chance to go to university.


    Ms Dugdale disputes the FM's comments. Mr Salmond claims it's Labour which wants to bring back tuition fees.


    Tory MSP Liz Smith asks about ticket allocations for the Glasgow Commonwealth games next year and asks for an assurance that Scotland's most vulnerable children will get the chance to go. FM says Ms Smith is quite right to raise the issue, and adds that there will be announcement on that shortly.


    .... and that's it for first minister's questions this week. We'll be back in a few weeks after the October recess. Bye!


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