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Summary

  1. The Social Security Committee takes evidence on the new social security tribunal proposal
  2. Opposition party leaders and MSPs quiz Nicola Sturgeon during first minister's questions
  3. A members' debate marks Scottish Apprenticeship Week
  4. Equalities secretary gives statement on plan to tackle child poverty
  5. MSPs debate safeguarding cultural heritage

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live

    View more on twitter

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Thursday 29 March 2018.

    Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland will "stand united" against the hate criminals behind a campaign urging people to "punish a Muslim", in response to a powerful and moving question from Anas Sarwar.

    The Labour MSP raised the social media and letter hate campaign at first minister's questions.

    Mr Sarwar asked MSPs in the chamber to imagine they were a Muslim women or child as he read from the "shocking, shameful and sickening" letter which lists a points-scoring ranking for crimes against Muslims.

    The question from Anas Sarawr recieves applause from across the whole chamber
    Image caption: The question from Anas Sarawr recieves applause from across the whole chamber

    Mr Sarwar said: "A message to the haters - an attack on one Scot, regardless of faith or race, is an attack on all Scots and we will never let you win."

    This was met with applause from around the chamber.

    The first minister agreed wholeheartedly with Mr Sarwar: "I utterly condemn this disgusting so-called campaign."

    The parliament is now in recess for Easter, have a peaceful and happy time until we return in two weeks.

  2. Decision time

    The Conservative amendment in the Scotland’s Support for the (UNESCO) Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage debate is disagreed, with 27 voting for and 78 against it.

    The Scottish government's motion is backed unanimously.

    Weight thrower

    MSPs also back the general principles of the Housing (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill and the LCM on the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill.

  3. MSPs are asked to give consent to the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill

    A legislative consent memorandum has been lodged on the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill, a piece of legislation currently passing through Westminster.

    MSPs will be asked to give consent to the memorandum so its can apply to Scotland.

    Laser in night sky

    It means people convicted of shining a laser at the operator of any vehicle could face five years in prison.

    Shining a laser into the eyes of driver, sailor or pilot could lead to "catastrophic incidents", according to police.

    Under current legislation the maximum penalty for using lasers against a pilot is £2,500.

    Only aircraft are covered by existing legislation but the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill expands the types of transport which are covered to include trains, buses, boats and hovercraft.

    Read more.

  4. Green MSP says tenants must be recognised as full participants in housing associations

    Green MSP Andy Wightman
    Image caption: Green MSP Andy Wightman

    Green MSP Andy Wightman confirms the Scottish Greens will vote for the Bill and will therefore spend the rest of his time focusing on housing associations more widely.

    He argues it is appropriate to raise questions about their role, noting many smaller associations refer to tenants while larger ones call these same people clients.

    Tenants must be recognised as full participants in housing associations he says and this Bill does weaken public oversight of housing associations.

  5. Labour support Housing (Amendment)(Scotland) Bill

    Labour MSP Monica Lennon

    Labour MSP Monica Lennon sates the support of her party for this Bill.

    Ms Lennon says she was worried about repetition in this debate but suggests we call it consensus.

    She duly concurs with preveious speakers that the majority of those who commented on the Bill were in favour of its measures.

  6. Housing associations will struggle to deliver affordable homes if the Bill is not passed

    Tory MSP Graham Simpson
    Image caption: Tory MSP Graham Simpson

    Tory MSP Graham Simpson says that while this debate does not "set the heather on fire", it is important nonetheless.

    Housing associations would struggle to deliver on their affordable homes target if the Bill is not passed, he warns.

    While this might give the opposition an opportunity "to kick Kevin Stewart, which can be quite enjoyable", it would not be responsible to not support it, says Mr Simpson.

  7. Background: English housing associations reclassified as private bodies

    Housing

    From Scottish Housing News...

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reversed its decision to classify housing associations in England as public non-financial corporations, allowing their estimated £70bn debt to be removed from the UK government’s balance sheet.

    Announced a week before Chancellor Philip Hammond’s autumn Budget, housing providers hope that the change in their financial status would help them secure the “long-term finance” needed to build more homes.

    In 2015, the ONS said housing associations could no longer be seen as charities or private businesses due to the intrusive nature of ministerial control over them.

    Now, after the drafting of new regulations currently going through parliament, the ONS has agreed the government has become hands-off enough again to take all that debt away.

  8. Local Government Committee convener says measures in the Bill are necessary

    Local Government and Communities Committee convener Bob Doris
    Image caption: Local Government and Communities Committee convener Bob Doris

    Local Government and Communities Committee convener Bob Doris says this is a mainly technical Bill with most contributors to evidence sessions saying the measures were proportionate.

    Mr Doris says the committee agreed the measures in the Bill are necessary.

    The SNP MSP says there are some additional powers remaining in the Bill to make sure the govenemnt has got this just right, but they don't have to stay there forever.

    They will now be subject to a sunset clause at Stage 2, which is proportionate he says.

    Mr Doris says the committee is happy to back the general principles of the Bill.

  9. Scottish government borrowing could be limited without changes says minister

    Housing Minister Kevin Stewart
    Image caption: Housing Minister Kevin Stewart

    Housing Minister Kevin Stewart says that letting registered social landlords (RSLs) to be reclassified as public sector bodies would mean their borrowing would count towards Scottish government borrowing limits.

    The changes are necessary because currently the powers of the regulator mean it can act as the owner of RSLs, he says.

    The minister makes assurances that the changes go no further than is required to ensure RSLs continue to be classified as private sector bodies.

    The Scottish government will bring forward amendments to section 8 and 9 of the Bill following concerns expressed by stakeholders, Mr Stewart confirms.

  10. Background: Housing (Amendment) Bill

    Houses

    The Bill ensures registered social landlords (RSLs) continue to be classified as private sector bodies.

    The government says the classification is at risk because some of the powers of the Scottish Housing Regulator are likely to cause the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in its current review of the classification of RSLs, to classify RSLs to the public sector as public corporations.

    View the Bill and its associated documents here.

    View the Local Government and Communities Committee's stage one report here.

  11. MSPs will now debate the Housing (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

    Tenements
  12. Background: 'Special places' across Scotland secure support

    Festival in Paisley

    Nine "special places" across Scotland have secured a share of £2.4m to shape their future development.

    The funding will allow them to explore how their "unique heritage" can help tackle wider community issues.

    They are the first awards to be made in Scotland via the National Lottery's Great Place scheme.

    The projects hope to put each area's heritage at the heart of plans to create "better places for people to live and visit".

    Read more here.

  13. Time is right to ratify convention says culture secretary

    Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop
    Image caption: Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop

    Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop says the time is right for the Scottish government and Scottish parliament to call on the UK government to ratify the convention.

    It is important to promote and safeguard our cultural practices, she says.

  14. 'Enjoy it, revel in it and pass it on'

    Tory MSP Brian Whittle
    Image caption: Tory MSP Brian Whittle

    Tory MSP Brian Whittle says he couldn't quite put his finger on what intangible cultural heritage is.

    Not surpsingly the former international athlete focuses on sport, mentioning the bonspiel curling tournament and Highland Games.

    Mr Whittle says it was wonderful to hear Kate Forbes speaking in Gaelic, "a wonderful living language".

    He says safeguarding Scotland's intangible cultural heritage is incredibly important.

    Don't worry about defining it he says, just "enjoy it, revel in it and pass it on."

  15. Background: ICH Scotland

    Museum Galleries Scotland (MGS) was the first UK organisations to be accredited by UNESCO as an expert advisor on the 2003 Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).

    In addition, MGS works with Scotland's museums and galleries to teach people about ICH practices and identify opportunities for development and collaboration.

    MGS also looks after ICH Scotland.

    ICH Scotland front page
  16. Background: Touch wood

    Ever heard or used the phrase "touch wood"?

    That is part of Scotland's intangible culture, according to ICH Scotland.

    Touch wood