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  2. BBC Director General Tony Hall and Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop gave evidence on the charter renewal
  3. Topical questions featured the bird flu outbreak in Fife, emissions testing in our cities and Hawick Knitwear going into administration
  4. There was a ministerial statement on flooding from the deputy first minister
  5. The Scottish government led a debate entitled Delivering a World Class Education System
  6. SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald used his motion to debate the Scottish Local Shop report launched by the Scottish Grocers' Federation

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

That's all from Holyrood Live and the Scottish Parliament for today

That concludes Holyrood Live's coverage of the Scottish Parliament on 12 January 2016.

We'll be back with the Public Audit Committee tomorrow morning, as it looks at the Scottish Police Authority and the integration of health and social care. 

Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament

Until then, have a lovely evening.  

'Enormous contribution to their communities' - Minister

Mr Ewing says convenience stores contribute much to the employment of young people in a "Saturday job" that inculcates the work ethic in them.

The business minister says when regulations are passed on tobacco and alcohol it is important to bear in mind the impact on those who run convenience stores.

Convenience store
Business Minister Fergus Ewing praises convenience stores

The SNP MSP says there is an enormous contribution to charity by the sector.

He says this explains why convenience stores are regarded as the second most popular retail business in the country.

The minister thanks all the owners and staff for their enormous contribution to their communities.

Over 40,000 jobs are sustained by the convenience store sector - Minister

Business Minister Fergus Ewing says over 40,000 jobs are sustained by the convenience store sector.

Mr Ewing says the sector has half a billion pounds or more in turnover.

Business Minister Fergus Ewing

The minister stresses the "enormous contribution" to the communities they serve and the economy.

Mr Ewing says business rates are a necessary contribution to Scotland's finances and convenience stores contribute enormously.

He stresses the importance of the Small Business Bonus and his hopes that it is embedded in the rating system.

Large supermarket chains drive local stores out the market - Labour MSP

Scottish Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald says large supermarket chains lower prices to attract customers and this affects small businesses.

Scottish Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald

Mr Macdonald says this drives local stores out of the market altogether. 

The Labour MSP says the illegal tobacco trade also adversly affects these stores but thankfully police and HMRC are working to tackle this problem.

Kirkcaldy 4 All

SNP MSP David Torrance congratulates the Scottish Grocers Federation for publishing its Scottish Local Shop Report.

Mr Torrance says it is important to acknowledge the economic benefits convenience stores bring.

Kirkcaldy 4 All
Kirkcaldy 4 All
Kirkcaldy 4 All

The SNP MSP says Kirkcaldy For All promotes his consitutency town centre as an inviting place to go.

Praise for work ethic of convenience store workers - Tory MSP

Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan praises the work ethic of those who work in convenience stores across Scotland.

The Tory MSP says many work over 70 hours a week.

Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan

However he calls for flexible working arrangements to be available as well.

Mr Buchanan says the personal service available in convenience stores is very admirable. 

Convenience stores can help town centres thrive - SNP MSP

SNP MSP George Adam says welfare reform will cost Paisley £1million per year. 

SNP MSP George Adam
SNP MSP George Adam

Mr Adam says there are a number of convenience stores in his constituency and they can help our town centres thrive because customers can go in for various items.

He says many of the stores are run by families who know the locals and the town centres lose something if these stores close.

Convenience stores really are 'open all hours' - SNP MSP

SNP MSP James Dornan praises the Scottish Grocers Federation on its report.

Ronnie Barker as Arkwright in Open All Hours
Ronnie Barker as Arkwright in Open All Hours

Mr Dornan also praises many convenience stores for being "open all hours", unlike the shop run by Ronnie Barker's Arkwright in the BBC sitcom.  

Report promotes social interaction and community - Labour MSP

Scottish Labour MSP Margaret McCulloch says there are well over 40,000 jobs in convenience stores in Scotland.

According to the report 25% of people say they visit convenience stores everyday says the Labour MSP.

Scottish Labour MSP Margaret McCulloch

Ms McCulloch says all members should read the report as it promotes social interaction and being involved within the community.

The Labour MSP says retailers large and small will be interested in how the government are going to rejuvenate some town centres.

Increase in rent costs and parking causing problems for convenience stores

Mr MacDonald says everything is not rosy and there are some problems that need addressed.

Convenience store proprietors in the gallery
Convenience store proprietors in the gallery

The SNP MSP says parking problems outside stores cause loss of passing trade.

He says the rise in rent rates for some units is also causing problems for proprietors. 

Number of shops and sales up last year

SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald welcomes those from the Scottish Grocer's Federation who are in the gallery.

Mr MacDonald says some retailers are going through a difficult times with online shopping.

SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald

He says this has not necessarily affected grocers with both sales and number of shops up last year from 2014.

The SNP MSP say these shops offer convenience for customers with goods. 

Turnover in the sector grew by 5% - SNP MSP

Mr Macdonald celebrates reports that 87% of independent retailers in Scotland were involved in some form of community activity in the last year and that the sector is highly entrepreneurial. 

 65% of independent retailers in Scotland being the first person in their family to own or run a convenience store, he says. 

The MSP says turnover in the sector grew by 5% between 2014 and 2015, which resulted in a net growth rate of one new shop per week in Scotland.

Importance of convenience stores to communities in Scotland

The Edinburgh Pentlands MSP uses his motion to congratulate the SGF on the launch, at its annual conference, of the first ever Scottish local shop report. 

Convenience store
Getty images
There are a greater number of independent convenience stores per head of population in Scotland than in the rest of the UK

Mr Macdonald welcomes the findings in the report that there are a greater number of independent convenience stores per head of population in Scotland than in the rest of the UK and that the sector in Scotland provides 44,332 jobs. 

The SNP MSP stresses the importance of convenience stores to communities in Scotland. 

Scottish Grocers' Federation Launches Scottish Local Shop Report debate

SNP MSP Gordon Macdonald leads a member's debate celebrating the Scottish Grocer's Federation launch of its Local Shop Report.

SNP MSP Gordon Macdonald
SNP MSP Gordon Macdonald

MSPs pass the government motion from the education debate

MSPs pass the government motion from the education debate, with 108 MSPs backing it and ten MSPs against.

Holyrood chamber

They reject both the Labour and Lib Dem amendments.   

Minister accepts need for 'less complexity and more clarity' in Curriculum for Excellence

Ms Constance says the OECD review is a "seminal report".

The education secretary says she concurs with the need for less complexity and more clarity in the Curriculum for Excellence.

Students celebrating graduation
Good educational outcomes are required for positive destinations for school leavers

She says there will be no return to the high stakes national testing and league tables of the past.

The minister says current national assessment arrangements do not provide enough robust information.

Attainment in Scotland is increasing - Minister

Education Secretary Angela Constance says she "has never looked at education in Scotland through rose tinted glasses".

Ms Constance says attainment in Scotland in increasing.

Education Secretary Angela Constance

The education secretary says she hopes all MSPs accept that it is good news that the number of entrants and passes in highers has gone up since the SNP have been in office.

She says inequity in education is not new, it has always been with us.

Labour target of cutting attainment gap in half in next decade

Mr Griffin says there must be substantial improvements in the educational outcomes for the disadvantaged.

The Central Scotland MSP says Labour's new 50p tax rate would lead to additional resources to tackle this educational disadvantage.

Pupil sitting exam

The SNP's budget again slashes the budget of local schools, he says.

Labour would give money directly to head teachers to help disadvantaged children.

He wants to set a target of reducing the educational attainment gap by half in the next decade.

SNP's report card does 'not make comfortable reading' - Labour

Labour MSP Mark Griffin says the report card for the SNP after eight years does not make comfortable reading.

Mr Griffin highlights budget cuts, falling teacher numbers and an increasing attainment gap.

Labour MSP Mark Griffin

He says Scotland is no longer an education world reader and much needs to be done to get us back on track.

The Labour MSP says there needs to be clarity on the standardised testing proposed by the Scottish government.

Complicated curriculum for excellence should be reviewed - Tory MSP

Scottish Conservative MSP Liz Smith says traditionally school pupils got the same level of education no matter their class or background.

Ms Smith says the report recommends that the Curriculum for Excellence is reviewed.

Tory MSP Liz Smith

The Conservative MSP says teachers even struggle to explain in plain English what some of the outcomes in the curriculum for excellence means.

"It's strange very little has been made of the qualification structure" says Ms Smith.