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Summary

  1. The rural economy committee considers the Restricted Roads (20 mph Speed Limit) (Scotland) Bill
  2. The Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints meets for the first time
  3. MSPs agree SNP MSP Linda Fabiani should be convener of the Salmond inquiry group, but the substantial work of it should be delayed
  4. MSPs debate the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill
  5. An SNP MSP leads a debate on St Rollox Railway Works

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Emma Gordon

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live

    SNP MSP Linda Fabiani was chosen to chair the committee
    Image caption: SNP MSP Linda Fabiani was chosen to chair the committee

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Wednesday 20 February 2018.

    SNP MSP Linda Fabiani has been chosen to chair the Holyrood committee inquiry into the government's handling of complaints against Alex Salmond.

    Several inquiries were set up after the government admitted its investigation of internal complaints had been flawed.

    A special committee of nine MSPs, set up to examine the government probe, met for the first time on Wednesday.

    They will not, however, begin their full inquiry until the criminal case brought against Mr Salmond has been concluded.

    The former first minister appeared in court on 24 January facing charges including attempted rape and sexual assault. He insists he is "innocent of any criminality" and said he would defend himself "to the utmost".

  2. Minister says government is pursuing Gemini for more time

    Transport Secretary Michael Matheson
    Image caption: Transport Secretary Michael Matheson

    Transport Secretary Michael Matheson says it is particularly disappointing Gemini have decided to end their involvement at the St Rollox Railway Works depot.

    The minister pledges the government will do all it can to ensure work at the site continues.

    He says the reality is that the work with Gemini will be finished by the end of July and he says the government has been pursuing Gemini for more time to look at reconfiguring the site.

    Mr Matheson says the Scottish government would have to pay for the electrification of the route into the site.

  3. 'New rolling stock won't stay new forever'

    Patrick Harvey

    Patrick Harvey says it's vital that the 200 jobs at threat are saved.

    The leader of the Scottish Greens reckons this is a good opportunity to look in detail at private ownership of public works.

    How can a firm dispose of such an important yard in the way it has, he asks, adding owners should take the responsibilities along with the rights of ownership.

    He points out that rolling stock won't stay new forever, and the yard will be needed for maintenance in the future.

    The MSP encourages the Scottish government to have a look at public ownership in this case.

  4. Background: Labour calls for nationalisation of rail depot

    The Springburn facility maintains trains for ScotRail

    Scottish Labour has called for the nationalisation of Scottish railway maintenance in order to save 180 jobs.

    The St Rollox Railway Works depot is under threat after owners Gemini Rail Services revealed its plans to close the site in December.

    But Labour has suggests the site could be brought under the control of ScotRail.

    The campaign is being run by Unite the Union.

  5. 'It would make no sense at all to see this plant closed'

    Labour MSP James Kelly
    Image caption: Labour MSP James Kelly

    Labour MSP James Kelly echoes his speech from last night's debate on the St Rollox Railway Works depot, highlighting the skilled workforce in place there.

    Mr Kelly reiterates his point: "It would make no sense at all to see this plant closed."

    Work relating to ScotRail trains should be carried out in Scotland - at the Caley site - he insists, and calls on the minister to clarify this.

    The Labour MSP adds that what is needed now is specific action from the government so that come March the 4th there is time to develop the models going forward, including public ownership.

  6. Tory MSP asks about other uses for the St Rollox Railway Works depot site

    Tory MSP Jamie Greene
    Image caption: Tory MSP Jamie Greene

    Tory MSP Jamie Greene says the site is not properly and adequately connected to the electric network and he points to other sites that have invested significantly in this area.

    Mr Greene asks the transport secretary what discussions have taken place with ScotRail about potential work at the site.

    He asks about other uses for the St Rollox Railway Works depot site.

    The Conservative MSP says it is very saddening that we have ended up where we are.

  7. Efforts to save St Rollox: Second debate

    Bob Dorris

    Bob Doris opens this second debate, saying the yard in Glasgow has to be saved.

    The SNP MSP says he doesn't feel Gemini Rail Services, which owns the yard, has acted in good faith.

    He says the way rolling stock is owned and operated is too complex to guarantee a "pipeline of work."

    Mr Doris admits Gemini has submitted bids for work, but questions whether the work will be carried out in Scotland.

    He wonders whether Unite the Union has asked for help in making a business case for a workers' buyout to the Scottish government.

    The member for Maryhill and Springburn asks MSPs to secure the future of the yard, to applause from the chamber.

  8. Background: 180 jobs under threat at Glasgow rail services firm

    Gemini Rail Services in Springburn

    180 staff at a Glasgow rail maintenance company have been told their jobs are under threat.

    Owners of Gemini Rail Services in Springburn, the former Knorr-Bremse Rail Services depot, announced closure plans in December.

    If the plans go ahead, some repair and maintenance of Scotland's rail stock will be carried out in England.

    The Unite union condemned the proposal, and said it had repeatedly raised concerns over future workload.

    Read more here.

  9. Debate: Efforts to save St Rollox Railway Works

    St Rollox Works and Depot, 1948
    Image caption: St Rollox Works and Depot, 1948

    SNP MSP Bob Doris will now lead a debate on the proposed closure of Glasgow Works - formerly known as St Rollox Railway Works - in Springburn.

    This is his motion.

    motion

    Click here for our coverage of yesterday's debate on the St Rollox Railway Works, led by Labour MSP James Kelly.

  10. MSPs back the general principles of the Fuel Poverty Bill

    Woman by an electric fire

    MSPs unanimously back the general principles of the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy )(Scotland) Bill.

    This bill will:

    • set a target relating to the eradication of fuel poverty
    • define fuel poverty
    • require the production of a fuel poverty strategy
    • make provision about reporting on fuel poverty
  11. Minister stresses Fuel Poverty Bill is not stand alone

    Kevin Stewart

    Housing Minister Kevin Stewart argues the government is ambitious in its desire to tackle and eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland.

    This bill is not a stand alone, it goes hand in hand with the carbon reduction bill and with the bill around about district heating and local heating strategies, he explains.

    The housing minister points to the Energy Efficiency Scotland route map which sets out the journey homes, businesses, and public buildings need to take to become more energy efficient.

    He says building standards officers are currently looking at EPC ratings (Energy Performance Certificate).

    "We also have to be realistic about what is deliverable."

  12. Tories to back general principles of the Fuel Poverty Bill

    Tory MSP Alexander Stewart
    Image caption: Tory MSP Alexander Stewart

    Tory MSP Alexander Stewart says the Tory Holyrood manifesto made it clear his party would tackle fuel poverty and therefore it will back the general principles of this bill.

    Mr Stewart reiterates the point a quarter of Scotland's households face fuel poverty, but he welcomes the minister's pledge to bring an amendment at stage two.

    The bill, as it stands, does not include any accountability mechanisms, he warns.

    The Conservative MSP calls for changes to the bill and welcomes the minister's commitment to bringing forward interim targets.

    He bemoans the lack of ambition in the bill.

  13. Adequate housing is a human right says Labour MSP

    Claudia Beamish

    In closing, Claudia Beamish says it's been a significant debate and hopes it will make a difference.

    The Labour MSP says it's a human right to have adequate housing, and claims the Scottish Government has not done enough until this point, to resolve the issue of fuel poverty.

    She points to housing stock that is not energy efficient, and claims energy firms are making money off the backs of the poor.

    She suggests biomass may be a way forward - particularly in her area of South Scotland.

    Ms Beamish says the bill is welcomed by Scottish Labour, but says there is room for improvement.

  14. Background: Fuel Poverty Bill

    Thermostat

    The Scottish government introduced the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill in June 2017.

    • The bill sets out the target of reducing the proportion of Scottish households in fuel poverty to no more than 5% by 2040. Applying the new definition to 2016 data, the rate currently stands at 24%1.
    • The new definition calculates the proportion of household income required to maintain a satisfactory level of heating and meet the household's other reasonable fuel needs within the home and assesses the extent to which households can then maintain an “acceptable standard of living” once housing and fuel costs are deducted
    • Within a year of Section 3's enactment, the Scottish government must publish its long-term fuel poverty strategy setting out an approach to tackling fuel poverty, as well as documenting how it will report on progress towards the 2040 target

    Read more here.

  15. Lifting people out of fuel poverty improves physical and mental health

    Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur
    Image caption: Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur

    Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur says he will focus much of his remarks on how to address rural and island fuel poverty.

    Mr McArthur points out that lifting people out of fuel poverty improves physical and mental health.

    Progress must be made on energy efficiency to meet Scotland's climate change targets, he points out.

    The Lib Dem MSP calls for a separate Minimum Income Standard for rural areas in terms of fuel poverty.

    He reiterates his welcome to the minister's willingness to bring an amendment at stage 2 and also welcomes the commitment to a Islands Impact Assessment.