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  1. The Equal Opportunities Committee took evidence on homelessness
  2. MSPs quizzed minister's during general questions
  3. Opposition party leaders questioned Alex Salmond
  4. MSPs debated Scotland's pollinator population
  5. MSPs debate Scotland's Festivals, Festival 2014 and Culture 2014

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Ailsa Brown

All times stated are UK

  1. Post update

    That concludes our coverage of Holyrood today, we will return on Tuesday 19th August.

  2. Post update

    MSPs unanimously pass the motion and amendment from the Scotland's Festivals, Festival 2014 and Culture 2014 debate.

  3. Post update

    MSPs are voting on the motion and amendment from the very consensual debate on Scotland's festivals.

  4. Post update

    Fiona Hyslop

    Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop is closing the debate, praising the many festivals Scotland is hosting this year.

  5. Post update

    Patricia Ferguson

    Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson is closing the festivals debate for her party, saying "there is something remarkable about sharing a live performance with others".

  6. Post update

    Cameron Buchanan

    Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan is making his speech at the moment saying as an Edinburgh local and representative of Lothian, he takes pride in all aspects of the festivals in the capital.

  7. Post update

    SNP MSP Sandra White says the whole debate has been a "really great showcase for Scotland".

  8. Edinburgh Television Festival

    John Bishop, Frankie Boyle and Gary Lineker
    Image caption: L-R: Bishop, Boyle and Lineker head the three-day event's star-studded line-up

    John Bishop, Frankie Boyle and Gary Lineker will be among the celebrities at the 2014 Edinburgh Television Festival, its organisers have announced.

    Lineker will take part in a celebration of Match of the Day's 50th anniversary, while Liverpudlian comic Bishop will host a prize-giving evening.

    Controversial comedian Boyle will close the celebrations with a talk on the state of the television industry.

    The festival, sponsored by The Guardian and YouTube, runs from 21 to 23 August.

  9. Post update

    Labour MSP Elaine Murray highlights how much regional festivals contribute to their local communities.

  10. Post update

    SNP MSP, Nigel Don, who represents Angus North and Mearns tells MSPs of events at Stonehaven town hall.

  11. Festival statistic

    The economic, cultural and social value of the Edinburgh Festivals generates £261m to the Scottish economy, with £41m spent on accommodation and £37m in our cafes and bars, according to the culture secretary.

  12. Post update

    An otter
    Image caption: IOSF supports otter conservation efforts in Scotland and abroad

    The finale of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe's week-long Charity Chuckle will raise money for an otter rescue centre on Skye, it has been announced.

    The International Otter Survival Fund (IOSF) in Broadford is the only cause outside of the capital to benefit from this year's fundraising effort.

    IOSF looks after young otters found orphaned and abandoned in Scotland, and supports world-wide conservation work.

    The line-up for Sunday's finale includes Seann Walsh.

    Also performing are Romesh Ranganathan, Joel Dommett, Jim Holland and compere Joe Wells.

  13. Post update

    Labour MSP Hanzala Malik, who represents Glasgow, praises the efforts of people working in all the festivals and highlighted the Glasgow Mela as one of his favourites.

  14. Edinburgh International Festival

    Image caption: Work celebrating the 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa opens with a new ballet Inala

    Work celebrating democracy in South Africa opens with the world premiere of a new ballet Inala.

    Composer Ella Spira has collaborated with the group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo who will be creating the soundscape for dancers from Rambert and The Royal Ballet, choreographed by Mark Baldwin

  15. Post update

    Fiona McLeod, the SNP MSP from Strathkelvin and Bearsden, is using her speech to highlight local festivals allowing people to "indulge our passions" and "stretch our horizons" with a cultural workout.

  16. Post update

    SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson, who represents the Banffshire and Buchan Coast says "culture is often small-scale and local".

  17. Festival of Politics

    The Festival of Politics, which is in to its 10th year, runs from 15-17 August at the Scottish Parliament.

    Festival of politics
  18. Post update

    Lib Dem Liam McArthur highlights the consensual nature of the debate and focuses on the festivals in Edinburgh and his constituency in Orkney.

  19. Post update

    SNP MSP Willie Coffey has the floor.

  20. Post update

    Edinburgh festival
    Edinburgh festival
    Edinburgh festival

    Acts don't need a venue for the fringe, the Royal Mile becomes a stage.

  21. Post update

    Frank Skinner at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

    The Edinburgh Festival brings together all the big stars.

  22. Post update

    Conservative MSP Nanette Milne, who represents North East Scotland, is talking about the Aberdeen International Youth Festival.

  23. Post update

    SNP MSP Rob Gibson congratulates the cultural festivals in association with the Commonwealth Games.

  24. Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

    Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
    Image caption: More than 140 concerts by performers from all over the world took place in Edinburgh

    The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival has achieved record box office ticket revenues with a 40% increase on 2013.

    Ticket sales were up by 31,000 - a 15% increase on last year - taking box office revenue to more than £500,00 for the first time.

    Attendances at free events, the Mardi Gras and Festival Carnival, are also estimated at a record-breaking 30,000.

  25. Post update

    Labour MSP Rhoda Grant says festivals and shows can have a "huge impact on local economies".

  26. Post update

    SNP MSP Colin Keir, who represents Edinburgh Western, says he loves the atmosphere in the capital at this time of year.

  27. Post update

    Labour MSP Sarah Boyack, who represents the Lothian region, is celebrating the Edinburgh festivals.

  28. Post update

    SNP MSP Clare Adamson says: "Scotland is simply one of the most exciting places to be this year".

  29. Festival photos

    Dinosaur Zoo

    Dinosaur Zoo is one of the 3,193 shows currently running on the fringe in Edinburgh, the most ever.

  30. Post update

    Liz Smith

    Conservative MSP Liz Smith is opening the debate for her party.

  31. Labour amendment

    Ms Ferguson's amendment:

    "congratulates EventScotland on the contribution that it made to Scotland's thriving festivals scene; considers that the initiative of Festivals Edinburgh in commissioning a further edition of the report, Thundering Hooves, will be an important and helpful contribution to the continuing development of the Edinburgh festivals; congratulates Sir Jonathan Mills on his major contribution to the Edinburgh International Festival and to the cultural life of Scotland as he prepares to hand over to Fergus Linehan, and wishes both men well for the future".

  32. Post update

    "Edinburgh in August is the place to be" says Ms Ferguson, adding it is a show case for established artists and an apprenticeship for the new.

  33. Post update

    Patricia Ferguson MSP

    Labour's culture spokesperson Patricia Ferguson is making the opening speech for her party.

  34. Post update

    "This is perhaps the greatest year ever for festivals in Scotland" says Ms Hyslop.

  35. Post update

    The culture secretary praises the continued success of Scotland's festivals, including the Edinburgh festivals, Festival 2014 and the ongoing Culture 2014 on enabling people across Scotland to share in the cultural celebration of the Commonwealth Games.

  36. Post update

    Fiona Hyslop

    Ms Hyslop says the Edinburgh festivals are "a platform to the wider world".

  37. Edinburgh Festivals

    ed fest

    One city, thousands of performers, and one extraordinary month... This August the BBC brings you the best of the Edinburgh Festivals across TV, radio and online.

  38. Motion

    Ms Hyslop's motion:

    Scotland's Festivals, Festival 2014 and Culture 2014-That the Parliament recognises that Scotland's culture is in vigorous health and that this is reflected in the continued success of Scotland's festivals, including the Edinburgh festivals, which are internationally renowned for their excitement, vision and artistic ambition; congratulates all of those involved in the successful Festival 2014 and the ongoing Culture 2014 on enabling people across Scotland to share in the cultural celebration of the Commonwealth Games; celebrates the vibrancy and diversity of Scotland's music festivals; acknowledges the importance of all of Scotland's festivals, both large and small, across all the country, and notes the enjoyment that they bring and their impact on tourism and local economies, and is especially appreciative of the hard work that communities contribute to ensure that smaller regional festivals are a success.

  39. Scotland's Festivals, Festival 2014 and Culture 2014

    Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop will shortly lead a debate on Scotland's Festivals, Festival 2014 and Culture 2014.

  40. Post update

    This ends our coverage of Scotland's pollinator population debate.

    We will return at 2:30pm with a debate on Scotland's Festivals, Festival 2014 and Culture 2014.

  41. Post update

    MSPs are debating Scotland's pollinator population, including bees.

  42. Post update

    That concludes our coverage of first minister's questions. If you want to watch the member's debate on Scotland's pollinator population, please go to BBC Scotland's Democracy Live website.

  43. Pollinator population debate

    SNP MSP Angus MacDonald is leading a debate on Scotland's pollinator population.

    In his motion Mr MacDonald said that pollinators are essential to healthy ecosystems but are fragile and can therefore be easily damaged or diminished.

    He believes that there should be sustainable populations of all pollinators and notes calls for society to save and sustain them.

    The Falkirk East MSP understands that the principles highlighted in the Buglife manifesto, Get Britain Buzzing, call for action by the Scottish government to develop and implement action plans, coordinate pollinator monitoring programmes, reduce pesticides that harm pollinators and conserve pollinator species while maintaining places for pollinators to feed and breed.

  44. Post update

    The first minister says he does not agree there is "a lack of capacity" in some local authority areas.

  45. Your views

    Tweet using #FMQs

    Euan McColm: Salmond laying the groundwork for a strategy of blaming westminster for defeat. #fmqs

    Liam Furby: Labour have accepted Tory spending plans and voted for a welfare spending cap that locks in cuts. How will that reduce poverty? #FMQs

  46. Post update

    Conservative Liz Smith asks: "How many two-year-olds from workless families will receive free childcare at the start of the new school session?"

  47. Post update

    Mr Salmond says he wants "social justice and fairness" at the heart of policy, claiming that will not happen under Westminster governments.

  48. Post update

    Ms Baillie says "a lack of political will" in the Scottish government is the problem.

  49. Post update

    The first minister says increased use of food banks is a "a consequence" of policies of a UK government that Scots did not vote for.

  50. Post update

    Labour MSP Jackie Baillie asks "whether there will be foodbanks in an independent Scotland".

  51. Post update

    Tweet using #FMQs

    Dun Garbhan: Truly this we are seeing the desperation of the unionists. #projectfear in full panic mode today #fmq

    Peter A. Russell: Not in any way rational to blame #bettertogether for risk of financial instability. BT is not threatening entire governance of the £. #FMQs

  52. Post update

    Mr Salmond says the Scottish government's White Paper gave "more guarantees" than either Labour or the Conservatives.

  53. Post update

    Conservative finance spokesman Gavin Brown asks the first minister to update the Scottish government's costings on pensions.

  54. Post update

    Labour's Iain Gray says "the volatility of oil revenues" would compromise pensions.

  55. Post update

    Ms Grahame asks about private pensions, which she argues are "a matter of contract".

  56. Post update

    The first minister says the UK government has said that state pensions will be supported in the event of independence.

  57. Post update

    A question from the SNP's Christine Grahame on "reports that an independent Scotland will not be able to support the state pension".

  58. Post update

    "This prosperous, independent nation is well capable of independence," the first minister argues.

  59. Post update

    Mr Salmond says Mr Carney is a "responsible governor" and that is why he would not set out the Bank's contingency plans.

  60. Your views

    Tweet using #FMQs

    Wings Over Scotland: World falls over in shock as Rennie asks same question as Lamont and Davidson. When will they just form the Unionist Party? #fmq

    Melanie Ward: Unbelievable that Salmond thinks he's making serious offer to Scottish people when he cannot tell us what money we would use #fmqs #nothanks

  61. Post update

    Mr Rennie suggests the Bank of England has "crisis plans" but Mr Salmond insists Mark Carney is trying to "stabilise" the financial sector.

  62. Post update

    Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie has the next questions, and again raises the comments by the Bank of England governor about contingency plans.

  63. Your views

    Tweet using #FMQs

    The Kilted Kelpie: I'm beginning to think Alex Salmond doesn't have a Plan B. #indyref #fmqs

    Aye4Scotland: Scaremongering big time from Lamont & Davidson! Project Fear is on the ropes. #FMQS

  64. Post update

    "A simple 'No' vote lets us keep everything that we already have," the Conservative leader says.

  65. Post update

    Ms Davidson says the current "currency union" works because Scotland is part of the UK.

  66. Post update

    Mr Salmond again says the No campaign is trying to "create uncertainty as a campaign tactic".

  67. Post update

    "You can't get divorced and still keep the joint account," Ms Davidson claims.

  68. Post update

    Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson takes over the questioning, also challenging the first minister on currency.

  69. Your views

    Tweet using #FMQs


    April Cumming: #FMQs. BAH. Surely there must be a better way to get a conversation going between leaders? Just leaves people cold and reaching for anadin

  70. Post update

    "We should all bow to the Labour party's expertise in financial crisis," Mr Salmond retorts, attacking Labour's record at Westminster.

  71. Post update

    "Alex Salmond can't tell us what Scotland's currency will be after a 'Yes' vote," Ms Lamont insists.

  72. Post update

    "Their attempts to create uncertainty in the financial markets will fail," Mr Salmond claims, adding that the Bank of England governor is trying to calm the markets.

  73. Your views

    Tweet using #FMQs

    Duncan McLean: Twice now Mark Carney has had to rescue UK financial sector and economy from the effects of @UK_Together campaign #fmq

    Angela: No Alex, your lack of a viable currency plan is causing uncertainty. #fmq

  74. Post update

    Mr Salmond says that it is the pro-Union Better Together campaign which is are "creating uncertainty" on currency, jobs and the economy.

  75. Your views

    Tweet using #FMQs

    David Clegg: Salmond is right the SNP remain very popular in our poll. Does that make the #indyref voting intentions more worrying? #indyref #fmqs

    Newsnet Scotland: What is Ms Lamont's problem with ambition? #FMQ #indyref

  76. Post update

    Ms Lamont accuses the first minister of not answering the question, and claims "his lack of a Plan B is causing great uncertainty".

  77. Post update

    Mr Salmond claims that SNP support has increased at the expense of Labour, according to a recent poll.

  78. Post update

    Ms Lamont says that Mr Salmond told the BBC's Reporting Scotland programme that Scotland would "control 100% of our fiscal policy" but Mr Carney has said that currency union would involve some pooling of control.

  79. Your views

    Tweet using #FMQs

    Duncan Hothersall: FM said yesterday that currency union would give Scotland full fiscal freedom. BoE says a fiscal pact would be required. Who's right? #FMQs

    Duncan McLean: Nobody could describe @JohannLamont as ambitious for Scotland #fmq

  80. Post update

    Alex Salmond welcomes Mr Carney's comments, and accuses pro-Union parties of "trying to create as much uncertainty as they can" over currency.

  81. Post update

    Ms Lamont starts the questioning on the subject of currency, referring to Bank of England governor Mark Carney revealing yesterday that the institution has drawn up currency contingency plans, whatever the outcome of the Scottish referendum.

  82. Post update

    First minister's questions is underway, with Labour leader Johann Lamont putting the first questions.

  83. Post update

    Meanwhile, Prof Ronald MacDonald of Glasgow University held a briefing arguing there would be "consequences" to using sterling without a formal currency deal with the rest of the UK.

  84. Post update

    Today economist Sir Donald Mackay has told the BBC there is "nothing to stop" an independent Scotland using sterling with or without a currency union.

  85. Post update

    FMQs comes as arguments over the possible future currency of an independent Scotlan continue to dominate the referendum debate.

  86. Post update

    First Minister Alex Salmond is due to face MSPs at noon.

  87. Post update

    Health Secretary Alex Neil is responding to a question from Labour's Sarah Boyack on support for older people who live alone.

  88. Post update

    General questions is underway and Labour's Malcolm Chisholm has the first question today, asking about the consequences for the NHS of a No vote and a Yes vote in the referendum.

  89. Post update

    Hello it's Aiden James and Jamie Ross from BBC Scotland politics, bringing you live coverage of first minister's questions.

  90. Post update

    We apologise that the live stream is not working at this time we are working to fix it.

  91. General questions

    Here, from the Scottish Parliament's Business Bulletin, are details of today's questions:

    1. Malcolm Chisholm: To ask the Scottish Government whether it will make a statement about the consequences for the NHS of a No vote and a Yes vote in the referendum. (S4O-03451)

    2. Hanzala Malik: To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to address the gender balance in science and maths in schools to increase the number of female students studying science, technology, engineering and maths at degree level. (S4O-03452)

    3. John Pentland: To ask the Scottish Government what action the Cabinet Secretary for Justice is taking to address the reported delays in the development of a unified IT system for Police Scotland. (S4O-03453)

    4. Jamie Hepburn: To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the latest round of funding from the Bus Investment Fund. (S4O-03454)

    5. Richard Lyle: To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to reduce the cost of childcare. (S4O-03455)

    6. Sarah Boyack: To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to support older people who live alone. (S4O-03456)

    7. Marco Biagi: To ask the Scottish Government when it will announce plans for reform of the private rented sector. (S4O-03457)

    8. Mike MacKenzie: To ask the Scottish Government how it will provide safeguards for rural schools. (S4O-03458)

    9. Neil Bibby: Not lodged

    10. Maureen Watt: To ask the Scottish Government what progress is being made on the construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route. (S4O-03460)

  92. Coming up

    General questions will begin shortly, with the cost of childcare, safeguards for rural schools and the consequences for the NHS of a No vote and a Yes vote in the referendum among the questions expected to be asked.

  93. Inspiration

    Committee convener Margaret McCulloch concludes the session by thanking the young people who gave evidence saying they are an "inspiration to us all".

  94. Continued coverage of the committee

    We are about to switch to the chamber for general questions and first minister's questions but coverage of the Equal Opportunities Committee will continue at BBC Scotland's Democracy Live website.

    The video of the committee will shortly be available to view there too.

  95. Post update

    Charlene McKellar from Who Cares? Scotland

    Charlene McKellar from Who Cares? Scotland stresses the importance of education for people who are homeless.

  96. Post update

    Jordan Murray

    Jordan Murray, the chair of Seaforth House Registered Tenants Organisation and is from Ypeople, relates his personal experience.

  97. Post update

    Dr Paul Monaghan, the director of Highland Homeless Trust, says one of the problems is that contact is only made with some homeless people after significant damage has already occurred.

  98. Post update

    Labour MSP and committee convener Margaret McCulloch asks if social media could be used to let homeless people know about the help that is available.

  99. Post update

    Connor Chalmers

    Connor Chalmers from Who Cares? Scotland stresses the need for ongoing support and avoiding the abrupt ending of that support.

  100. Post update

    Matthew Friess

    Matthew Friess, a service user with Highland Homeless Trust, relates his experiences and how the trust helped him.

  101. Ypeople

    Ypeople deliver a broad range of programmes and projects which support vulnerable children, young people and families as well as providing accommodation support, support for people whose lives have been affected by homelessness, mentoring and befriending.

  102. Who Cares? Scotland

    Claudia McDonald

    Claudia McDonald works for Who Cares? Scotland.

    Who Cares? Scotland is a national voluntary organisation - established in 1978 - providing a range of advocacy, advice and support services across Scotland for children and young people with experience of care up to the age of 25.

  103. Post update

    Claudia McDonald from Who Cares? Scotland says she is frustrated at the lack of options for care leavers.

  104. Highland Homeless Trust

    The Highland Homeless Trust provides accommodation, support and guidance to people with housing problems, including those with chronic alcohol problems and/or additional mental health problems who are homeless or rough sleeping for whom rehabilitation is not a realistic option.

  105. Post update

    Connor Chalmers from Who Cares? Scotland agrees with the preceding witnesses stressing the importance of having access to an independent advocate.

  106. Post update

    Ms McKellar explains how her experiences help her help others in her work.

  107. Post update

    Charlene McKellar, a Policy Development Assistant with Who Cares? Scotland and Ashton Hughson, a service user with Seaforth House Registered Tenants Organisation Ypeople are telling MSPs how they became homeless.

  108. Post update

    The Equal Opportunities Committee

    MSPs are taking evidence on how to tackle homelessness.

  109. Post update

    Matthew Friess is a service user with the Highland Homeless Trust and is telling MSPs of his experiences.

  110. Equal Opportunities Committee

    The committee is now in open session.

  111. Post update

    The committee will move in to open session shortly.

  112. Witnesses

    The committee will take evidence from Dr Paul Monaghan, the director of Highland Homeless Trust and service users Matthew Friess and Ryan Oman.

    As will Claudia Macdonald; Charlene McKellar and Connor Chalmers from Who Cares? Scotland.

    Jill Moss, Ashton Hughson and Jordan Murray from Ypeople will also give evidence.

  113. Post update

    The committee will consider ways to tackle homelessness, but will take the first two items of business in private.

  114. Welcome

    Good morning and welcome to Democracy Live's coverage of the Scottish Parliament.