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Summary

  1. UK environment secretary declines to commit to CCC target of net-zero emissions by 2050
  2. Scroll back the play icon to watch both evidence sessions with Michael Gove or down the page for reports
  3. MSPs quiz rural economy ministers during portfolio questions
  4. The Lib Dems lead debates on treatment time guarantees and on education

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live!

    Michael Gove was giving evidence on the impact of Brexit via video-link
    Image caption: Michael Gove was giving evidence on the impact of Brexit via video-link

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

    Michael Gove has told MSPs he could not announce the UK government's commitment to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as set out by the Committee on Climate Change.

    The UK environment secretary was giving evidence to Holyrood's environment and rural affairs committees.

    Green MSP Mark Ruskell reminded the UK environment secretary about the target and asked: "Have you got good news for us in this committee this morning?"

    "I'm afraid I can't make that announcement," replied Mr Gove.

    The UK cabinet secretary explained there are overlapping and separate responsibilities with his department and with the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department (BEIS).

    The Scottish government will legislate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045 after receiving fresh advice from the CCC.

    Climate change campaigners have staged protests in Edinburgh
    Image caption: Climate change campaigners have staged protests in Edinburgh
  2. Foster carers provide 'a place to call home'

    Children's Minister Maree Todd
    Image caption: Children's Minister Maree Todd

    Children's Minister Maree Todd says she shares members' frustrations about the bureaucratic barriers to fostering.

    The purpose of the independent care review was a recognition of the many and complex issues which interact, she states.

    Our foster carers provide a safe, secure and loving family environment, "a place to call home" says the minister.

    She highlights plans to strengthen the law to ensure staying in touch with siblings is easier.

  3. Tory MSP shares fostering experience and warns it is getting harder to do

    Jeremy Balfour
    Image caption: Jeremy Balfour

    Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour tells the chamber last Autumn he and his wife started fostering a little boy with the hope of adopting him.

    For lots of different reasons that relationship broke down and he had to leave, Mr Balfour explains.

    The Tory MSP points out it is becoming harder and harder for people who want to foster.

    It took him and his wife over 18 months from the day that they started the process, Mr Balfour explains.

  4. Foster carers must have right training and support

    Tory MSP Michelle Ballantyne
    Image caption: Tory MSP Michelle Ballantyne

    Every 20 minutes in the UK, a child comes into care needing a foster family, begins Tory MSP Michelle Ballantyne.

    Identifying the right placement and ensuring foster carers have the right training is essential, she states.

    She says stability is crucial for any child which is why birth family links should be maintained where possible.

    This requires support for foster carers, she explains.

  5. 'Scotland needs at least 580 more foster families as things stand'

    Kezia Dugdale begins her final member's debate saying we should take a moment to celebrate and thank foster carers for the job that they do providing a loving home for children.

    The Labour MSP tells the chamber the best way we can show our gratitude is to listen hard and choose to act upon what we hear.

    "Scotland needs at least 580 more foster families as things stand."

    Kezia Dugdale
    Image caption: Kezia Dugdale

    Ms Dugdale says brothers and sisters should be kept together and also calls for the fostering allowance to be available for everyone in continuing care past their 18th birthday.

    The Labour MSP says we should be helping many loving families to foster, as the corporate parent.

    She lambastes bureaucracy that hinders fostering.

  6. Background: Scottish government calls for more foster familes

    Children’s Minister Maree Todd has called for more people to consider fostering, as Foster Care Fortnight begins.

    The Fostering Network believe that an additional 580 new foster families will be needed in Scotland in 2019.

    Ms Todd has written to thank 4,000 foster families across Scotland who are currently looking after a total of 5,158 children.

    Foster care

    The minister said:“I would encourage anyone considering becoming a foster carer to get in touch with their local authority to find out more.”

    Sara Lurie, Director of The Fostering Network. in Scotland, said: "Foster carers open their hearts and homes and on any given day in Scotland there are more than 5,000 children living with foster families, sharing experiences, making memories and thriving."

    This year’s strapline is “Change a Future”.

    Click her for more information on fostering.

  7. Here's the motion...........

    Motion
  8. Foster care debate

    Man and child

    Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale will now lead a debate marking Foster Care Fortnight 2019.

    In Scotland there are approximately 4,000 foster families, with the Fostering Network estimating that this represents a shortfall of 550.

    Action for Children, which supports 54 foster carers in Scotland, has stated that “becoming a foster carer can be one of the most rewarding things a person could ever do".

  9. Government amends Lib Dem education motion

    The Scottish government's amendment on the Lib Dem's education motion is agreed with 63 votes for and 52 against.

    The Labour amendment therefore preempted.

    The Lib Dem motion, as amended, is agreed unanimously.

    Lib Dem motion
    Scottish government amendment
  10. Government treatment time amendment and Lib Dem motion not agreed to

    Lib Dem motion

    The Lib Dem motion from the treatment time guarantee debate is not agreed to with 53 MSPs for and 63 against.

    The government amendment
    Image caption: The government amendment

    The government amendment was defeated with 57 MSPs backing it but with 59 against.

    Tory amendment

    The Tory amendment was also not agreed to with 53 MSPs for, 57 against and 6 abstentions.

    Labour amendment

    The Labour amendment faces the same fate as the other amendments, with 53 MSPs for, 57 against and 6 abstention.

  11. Point of order

    Tory MSP Oliver Mundell
    Image caption: Tory MSP Oliver Mundell

    Tory MSP Oliver Mundell says clerks of the education committee have retrospectively edited minutes from a meeting, removing reference to the committee's agreement of the stage 1 report on the Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill.

    He also queries why the report has not been published yet and why committee members were not informed of a change to the publication date.

    Presiding Officer Ken MacIntosh says these are matters for the committee itself and specifically the convener.

    He recommends pursuing this matter at the education committee's meeting tomorrow morning.

  12. The Scottish government and Lib Dems draw the education debate to a close

    Education Secretary John Swinney argues the focus of Scotland's education system is the tackling of inequality, which is why the CfE was created.

    The education reforms are about the empowerment of schools, as agreed with Cosla, elucidates the minister.

    Willie Rennie responds to John Swinney's closing speech
    Image caption: Willie Rennie responds to John Swinney's closing speech

    Willie Rennie points out half of all teachers have had a mental health issue exacerbated or caused as a result of work pressures.

    The Scottish Lib Dem leader insists "we must devise a system that is supporting our teachers", adding there have been over 11,500 P1 tests since Holyrood voted against them.

  13. Labour and Tory closing speeches from education debate

    Iain Gray argues the Scottish government "tell us everything is fine" in terms of education, but ignore the views of this parliament, for example on P1 testing.

    The Labour MSP adds it is very late in the day for the government to show humility about ASN and teachers' workloads remain an issue.

    Iain Gray and Oliver Mundell
    Image caption: Iain Gray and Oliver Mundell

    It's a shame this debate on the government's "so-called priority" is happening in opposition chamber time begins Oliver Mundell.

    The Tory MSP accuses the education secretary of using ASN in his amendment as a fig leaf to hide the government's failure on education.

  14. Call for government to do 'something much more meaningful' on education

    Green MSP Ross Greer
    Image caption: Green MSP Ross Greer

    Green MSP Ross Greer says it is a continuing frustration that the government does not use its debating time to discuss education.

    Education is one of the many areas where the shameful levels of inequality in our society are on display, Mr Greer adds.

    He argues topping up child benefit by £5 or expanding free bus travel to young people will have a huge impact on education.

    The government wasted the first half of this parliament on an education governance bill designed to go nowhere, but now it's time to do something much more meaningful, he asks.

    The Green MSP points out there are 3,000 fewer teachers than there were in 2007 and he highlights the cut in the number of ASN teachers and support workers.

  15. Background: Scotland's teacher strike averted after improved pay offer

    Class

    Scotland's largest teachers' union has called off its planned strike ballot after an improved pay offer was made.

    The ballot of EIS members was due to get under way on Monday.

    However, the new offer from the Scottish government was discussed by the union's national council this morning and the union will urge members to accept it.

    The EIS is calling the development a "significant success for Scotland's teachers."

    Read more.

  16. 'Disconnect' between school phases says Tory MSP

    Ms Smith says the purpose of P1 testing is unclear.

    She suggests the general education and senior phases of the curriculum for excellence have been designed by separate agencies, creating a disconnect.

    There should be a core curriculum with core subjects, after which there should be flexibility for new subjects and new skills argues the Tory MSP.