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Summary

  1. Police Scotland's chief and the SPA chair give evidence on the merger of the forces
  2. The Scottish government will give it's response to the Budget during topical questions
  3. There is a statement on NHS financial overview
  4. MSPs debate digital inclusion
  5. A Labour MSP hosts a debate on banning live animal exports for slaughtering and fattening

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live!

    Finance Secretary Derek Mackay
    Image caption: Finance Secretary Derek Mackay brings forward the Scottish Budget in December

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Tuesday 30 October 2018.

    Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has pledged to take a "more progressive approach" to income tax than Philip Hammond when he delivers Holyrood's budget.

    Mr Mackay clearly hinted during topical questions he would not follow the Chancellor's example in upping the threshold for the higher rate of the charge.

    At the moment in the rest of the UK, the 40p higher income tax rate applies to earnings above the threshold of £46,351 - with this to increase to £50,000 at the start of the next financial year in April 2019.

    But Mr Mackay said: "The Tories have once again chosen tax cuts for the richest in society, we will choose a fair, more progressive path and I will set out the details in the Scottish Budget on December 12."

  2. Government is working to find a solution to surplus dairy calves

    Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon
    Image caption: Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon

    Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon says the Scottish government is committed to implementing the highest animal welfare standards and this will remain the case post-Brexit.

    She expresses confidence that the highest standards are adhered to for all journeys.

    Pointing to an international monitoring project commissioned by the Scottish government on the issue, Ms Gougeon says the findings could make best practice recommendations for these journeys.

    The Scottish government is also working with the sector to find a sustainable solution to what to do with surplus male dairy calves, she adds.

  3. SNP MSP insists we must ensure animal welfare from 'field to fork'

    SNP MSP Christine Grahame
    Image caption: SNP MSP Christine Grahame

    SNP MSP Christine Grahame insists we must ensure animal welfare from "field to fork".

    Ms Grahame points out, like it or not, these animals are products and a ban must be planned.

    The P&O ban just shifted the practice to English ports, she explains.

    The SNP MSP says the UK and Scottish government cannot monitor the welfare of calves once they've left these shores.

  4. Tory MSP says BBC Disclosure programme was 'disgraceful'

    Tory MSP Peter Chapman
    Image caption: Tory MSP Peter Chapman

    Tory MSP Peter Chapman says the BBC programme chose to sensationalise and "try to put this trade in the worst possible light".

    Mr Chapman adds: "It was in fact a disgraceful programme, which lacked balance and even the most basic objectivity."

    He argues its "sole intention was damaging Scotland's reputation for high standards of animal welfare."

  5. Lib Dem MSP criticises minister's response to issue of live exports

    Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles
    Image caption: Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles

    Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles begins by saying Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing confirmed in the chamber, earlier this year, that there were no live animal exports for slaughter from Scotland.

    This was also confirmed by the minster in a private meeting Mr Rumbles explains.

    However representatives of Compassion in World Farming told him 5,000 calves were exported to Scotland to Spain, via Northern Ireland for fattening and slaughter

    Some of these ended up outside the EU, where standards are not high enough says Mr Rumbles.

    Fergus Ewing wrote to the Lib Dem MSP saying he was surprised Mr Rumbles did not know 5,000 calves were exported to Spain for fattening and production.

    He says Mr Ewing did not say anything that was untrue, but was very "clever" with his words.

    The Lib Dem MSP says: "I will be very wary about that Fergus Ewing says in this chamber in the future."

  6. Background: Call for end to live calf exports from Scotland

    Three-week-old calves are being transported to Europe
    Image caption: Three-week-old calves are being transported to Europe

    Animal welfare groups are calling for live calf exports from Scotland to be banned following a BBC investigation.

    About 5,000 calves were shipped to Europe last year from Scotland yet none were exported from England.

    The investigation found most calves were taken to Catalonia in Spain, at just three weeks old, to be fattened before slaughter.

    Campaigners claim the long journey is harmful but the industry said the alternative was shooting them at birth.

  7. Green MSP calls for investment in local abattoirs to end need to export

    Green MSP Mark Ruskell
    Image caption: Green MSP Mark Ruskell

    Green MSP Mark Ruskell says that without a commitment from the Scottish government to even consider a ban, poor practice will continue under the radar.

    Veterinary evidence has said that we should be avoiding the transport of young calves as much as possible, he says.

    Mr Ruskell says if we want to promote Scotland's dairy industry, we must deal with male calves in a more ethical way.

    He suggests investing in local abattoirs and food marketing schemes for rosé veal and beef.

  8. Background: P&O stops transporting calves following BBC investigation

    The port of Cairnryan is used to export to mainland Europe via Ireland
    Image caption: The port of Cairnryan is used to export to mainland Europe via Ireland

    A ferry operator has said that it will stop carrying calves to Europe after animal welfare concerns were raised by a BBC Scotland investigation.

    P&O said it was ending the practice with immediate effect following the broadcast on Monday of "Disclosure: The Dark Side of Dairy".

    The Scottish government said it was concerned at P&O's reaction.

    NFU Scotland said it was a "disappointing" decision and described the documentary as "sensationalised".

    Read more here.

  9. Tory MSP insists export of male dairy calves done in most humane way

    Tory MSP Edward Mountain
    Image caption: Tory MSP Edward Mountain

    Tory MSP Edward Mountain explains his family used to be involved in dairy farming and he declares a number of interests in farming.

    Mr Mountain argues there is no farmer that wants to see its stock suffer and insists Scotland has some of the highest standards in the world.

    The Tory MSP admits he has had stock bulls which have gone to Europe and beyond.

    Being "brutally honest", Mr Mountain points out that male dairy calves are not suitable for Scottish meat production.

    He says farmers find it difficult to kill male calves at birth and suggests we could export them to countries with the same abattoir standards as the UK.

    Moral indignation on the transport of calves does not sit right with him and he argues it is done in the most humane way.

  10. Labour MSP backs ban on live animal exports

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth
    Image caption: Labour MSP Colin Smyth

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth says there has been a growing call for a change in the law to secure a permanent ban on live animal exports.

    The UK government is considering how to improve animal welfare including a possible ban, he says, though he adds that the commitment to this "remains to be seen".

    Mr Smyth says the response of the Scottish government was "disappointing", arguing that a ban on exports "would have no impact on the ability of farmers" on islands to transport livestock to the mainland.

    He accepts that Scotland has some of the highest welfare standards but as soon as an animal is out of the country, we have no control - which is why, he argues, a ban on live exports is required.

    We should be working with industry to find solutions not excuses not to ban the practice, he argues.

  11. Here's the motion to the debate....................

    motion
  12. Member's Debate: Ban on the Export of Live Animals for Slaughter and Fattening

    Sheep

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth will now lead a debate calling for the ban of the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening.

    The Labour MSP uses his motion to say that in 2017, the following were exported from Scotland for either slaughter or fattening:

    • 3,073 sheep
    • 5,595 calves
    • 661 cattle

    Mr Smyth is calling on the Scottish government to bring forward a ban.

  13. Decision time

    The Tory amendment is agreed to, but the Labour amenmdement is defeated.

    The SNP motion, as amended, is agreed to unanimously.

  14. We need to bridge the access gap says minister

    Skills Minister Jamie Hepburn
    Image caption: Skills Minister Jamie Hepburn

    Skills Minister Jamie Hepburn says it is a social and economic imperative to ensure people have access to digital tech.

    The challenge is to bridge the gap between those who have access and those who don't, he tells the chamber.

    We are encouraging people to pursue careers in digital through the STEM strategy and apprenticeships, Mr Hepburn states.

    The minister says there is work underway regarding digital rights but offers to write the Green MSP Patrick Harvie with more info.

  15. Tory MSP highilghts importance of digital reliability

    Tory MSP Finlay Carson
    Image caption: Tory MSP Finlay Carson

    Tory MSP Finlay Carson says: "Unless we take urgent action the dawn of a new digital age will not be coming soon to a small town near you."

    Mr Carson adds that that is particularly the case in his constituency of Galloway and West Dumfries.

    He agrees with Partick Harvie that it is not the lack of superfast speeds but the lack of superfast reliability.

    Digital Scotland suggests the Scottish government face dificutlies in delivering R100 in time, Mr Carson insists.

  16. Scottish government urged to map out 100% broadband plan

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth
    Image caption: Labour MSP Colin Smyth

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth highlights the possible benefits of digital technology for health and social care.

    He also says digital inclusion can help combat social isolation.

    But these benefits depend on having the appropriate digital infrastructure in place, the Labour MSP says.

    He urges the Scottish government to map out its plan for how to achieve 100% broadband coverage as soon as possible after the tender process is complete.