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Live Reporting

Louise Wilson and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. That's it from Holyrood Live!

    Shirley-Anne Somerville, mother and baby

    That's all from Holyrood Live today, Tuesday 20 November 2018.

    Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville confirmed the new Best Start Grant will open for applications from 10 December.

    The first payments will be made before Christmas.

    Low-income families will receive £600 at the birth of their first child and £300 for each subsequent child.

    Two further payments of £250 will also be made - one when a child starts nursery and another at primary school age.

    Ms Somerville said these later payments would be introduced from summer next year.

  2. Offshore wind can play a vital role in energy provision going forward says minister

    Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse
    Image caption: Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse

    Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse says Offshore Wind Week brings about the recognition the sector deserves.

    Mr Wheelhouse argues the commitment of the government to offshore wind is evidenced in the energy strategy published last September.

    The minister highlights the targets in the Climate Change Bill - which Holyrood Live covered in depth this morning if you want to scroll down the page!

    Offshore wind can play a vital role in energy provision going forward and he points to £2m in funding from the Scottish government for the offshore wind sector this financial year.

  3. Lib Dem MSP warns against competition between offshore wind, wave and tidal tech

    Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur
    Image caption: Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur - sporting an impressive mo for Movember!

    Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur says we must build on the success seen so far by being equally ambitious going forward.

    He calls for offshore developments to pass on benefits to communities.

    Mr McArthur also warns against making wave and tidal technologies compete with offshore wind, suggesting this may strangle innovation at birth.

  4. Background: UK wind power capacity to nearly double by 2030

    Wind shore

    The UK's offshore wind power capacity is set to nearly double over the next decade, as a result of a new government initiative, according to the industry.

    It said that by 2030, between a fifth and a third of the UK's electricity could come from offshore wind power.

    Thanks to plummeting costs, offshore wind has become an increasingly affordable source of clean energy.

    The UK has cut costs for consumers with a system which forces firms to bid for financial support in auctions.

    Read more.

  5. Deprived coastal communities can reap benefits of offshore wind says Green MSP

    Green MSP Mark Ruskell
    Image caption: Green MSP Mark Ruskell

    Green MSP Mark Ruskell says we are witnessing "blistering progress" for offshore and floating wind.

    He highlights the benefits this can bring to the economies of many deprived coastal communities.

    The Green MSP calls for support for yards like BiFab in Fife, which need contracts to keep coming in to protect supply chain jobs for renewables.

  6. Reality Check

    Background: Which form of renewable energy is cheapest?

    Estimates by BEIS show that it will cost £63 to generate a megawatt hour of electricity using onshore wind energy.

    It's the cheapest renewable power source listed, in comparison with £106 for offshore wind.

    Offshore wind

    But, some new onshore wind projects have been banned from competing for government subsidies.

    Since then, the 2017 Conservative manifesto said that the government would prioritise offshore wind power instead.

    Costs for offshore wind power have decreased with the introduction of a new system which forces companies to bid for financial support from the government in auctions.

    The auctions, due to take place every two years, allow energy firms to bid for contracts that guarantee a minimum price for the power they will sell.

  7. Cost of offshore wind has decreased significantly says Tory MSP

    Tory MSP Alexander Burnett
    Image caption: Tory MSP Alexander Burnett

    Tory MSP Alexander Burnett highlights the number of jobs created by offshore wind and the revenue it has generated for Scotland.

    As a country we must do all we can to move towards clean energy and offshore wind plays a key role in this, he says.

    The Tory MSP also notes the cost of generating power by offshore wind has dropped significantly in the past four years.

  8. Background: Aberdeen offshore wind project opposed by Trump officially opening

    Offshore wind

    A major North Sea wind power development off Aberdeen, which was opposed by Donald Trump, has been officially opened by Nicola Sturgeon.

    A total of 11 turbines make up the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).

    Developed by Swedish energy group Vattenfall, the wind farm generated its first power in July.

    Mr Trump battled unsuccessfully in the courts to halt the project before he became US president.

    Read more.

  9. Labour MSP stresses importance of renewables sector

    Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald
    Image caption: Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald

    Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald praises the pioneers of offshore wind since planning permission for Robin Rigg was given in 2003.

    Mr Macdonald highlights the importance of the renewables sector which provides 2,000 jobs in Scotland.

    He argues: "Scotland can do better."

    The North East MSP calls for the government to give more support for cross-sector working between the oil and gas sector and the renewables sector.

  10. Member's debate: Offshore Wind Week

    Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald is leading a debate to mark Offshore Wind Week.

  11. Decision time: Amendments and amended motion agreed unanimously

    Scottish government motion
    Image caption: Scottish government motion
    Tory amendment
    Image caption: Tory amendment
    Labour's amendment
    Image caption: Labour's amendment
  12. Time for the closing speeches.............

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth gets them underway by reiterating concerns about job losses occurring due to automation and the potential higher impact on low income households.

    The Tories are going to back the government motion today explains Dean Lockhart.

    However he insists the Scottish government must do more to ensure access to the internet for all, agreeing with Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles that it is moving at a "glacial pace".

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth, Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes and Tory MSP Dean Lockhart
    Image caption: Labour MSP Colin Smyth, Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes and Tory MSP Dean Lockhart

    Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes believes the clear digital strategy the government has set out is the correct one, but adds she is prepared to listen to new ideas.

    Ms Forbes stresses how important it is that young people know their rights online.

    The minister tells the chamber that the government must ensure that industry has the skills it needs.

  13. Background: Further boost for Scotland's digital business sector

    Artemis Intelligent Power at Loanhead
    Image caption: Artemis Intelligent Power at Loanhead

    The Scottish digital sector has been boosted by two further deals, with new investment and jobs for the Lothians.

    London software firm Mudano has chosen the Fountainbridge area of Edinburgh for its research and development base.

    And in a separate deal, Artemis Intelligent Power is expected to create a manufacturing unit near its base in Loanhead, Midlothian.

    It follows the sale of a majority stake by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan to Danish engineering firm Danfoss.

    Read more.

  14. News: TV alcohol adverts could face '9pm watershed'

    Public Health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick
    Image caption: Public Health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick

    Drink adverts could be banned on TV before the "9pm watershed" under Scottish government plans to curb alcohol abuse.

    Manufacturers will also be urged to include health warnings on labelling.

    The measures are part of a 20-point strategy aimed at reducing drinking, with a focus on young people.

    It was unveiled as new official figures revealed there were 35,499 alcohol-related hospital admissions in Scotland in 2017-18.

    They also indicated that people living in deprived areas were seven times more likely to suffer harm due to drink than others.

    Marketing regulation is reserved to Westminster, so the Scottish government will ask the UK government to act or devolve powers to Holyrood.

    Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: "We've got 14% higher consumption of alcohol than the rest of the UK - and the UK is about the worst in western Europe, so we have our issues that we need to resolve."

    Read more here.

  15. Background: £600m Scottish broadband project 'may need more funds'


    The Scottish government's pledge to deliver superfast broadband across Scotland may need investment on top of the £600m committed, says a watchdog.

    In a report, the auditor general also said there was a lack of clarity over how 100% coverage of 30 megabit per second (Mb/s) speeds would be achieved.

    The report did praise the government for hitting a target to provide fibre broadband access to 95% of premises.

    The government said its commitment was "unmatched anywhere in the UK".

    Read more.

  16. Lib Dem MSP questions broadband commitments

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

    Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles says communities in the Highlands and Islands have not had anywhere near as much benefit from the technological revolution as others.

    What is the government doing to connect the thousands of homes and businesses who have been left behind, he asks.

    Ms Forbes points to the commitment to deliver 100% broadband coverage.

    BT has said 100% coverage is achievable but it require "unparalleled partnership" with suppliers, government and communities Mr Rumbles says.

    'Unparalleled' is not the level of commitment we are seeing from the Scottish government, he argues.