As-it-happened: First Minister's Questions on Thursday 20 March

Key points

  • Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond answered questions from opposition party leaders and backbenchers in his weekly chamber appearance.
  • Party leader Johann Lamont was in the hot seat for Scottish Labour while Ruth Davidson led for the Scottish Conservatives.
  • Questions came the day after UK Chancellor George Osborne unveiled his Budget, which included a duty freeze for Scotch whisky and a downgraded estimate of North Sea oil revenues.

Live text

Reporting:

  • Marianne Taylor 
  • Aiden James 
  • Louise Sayers 

STANDARD 11:39

Welcome to our live coverage of questions to Scotland's first minister. Alex Salmond will face MSPs from noon, after general questions to ministers.

STANDARD 11:49

Yesterday the chancellor froze duty on Scotch whisky and scrapped the alcohol duty escalator which has increased duty annually by inflation plus 2% since 2008.

STANDARD 11:50

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said Mr Osborne had "given the whisky industry a break" by freezing duty but Finance Secretary John Swinney said sticking with the Westminster system would "leave Scotland with a severe hangover".

STANDARD 11:59

And we're off. First question to Labour leader Johann Lamont.

STANDARD 12:00

Ms Lamont asks why the SNP voted down Labour's plan guaranteeing a living wage to people on government contracts.

STANDARD 12:01

Alex Salmond says Labour never introduced a living wage when in office. "This government did it and we're proud of it," he says.

TWEET

Scott McDonald

Tweets: She's bang on about the Living Wage. #fmq

STANDARD 12:03

"Even an old Etonian like Boris Johnson" can ensure a living wage in London, Ms Lamont retorts. She adds that Mr Salmond "denies working people across Scotland a living wage".

TWEET

Barry Jarvis

Tweets: #fmqs is ruined with no Brian Taylor presenting, on the plus JoLa seems to be asking a decent question this week to start with

STANDARD 12:04

There would be "no benefit to workers in Scotland if we were to introduce something that would be immediately shot down by the European Commission", the first minister argues.