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Summary

  1. The education committee takes evidence on STEM teaching in the early years
  2. A statement on greenhouse gas emissions in 2017
  3. Veterans Minister Graeme Dey delivers a a statement on the government's veterans strategy
  4. MSPs debate the Census Bill, lung disease and housing co-ops

Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Louise Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live

    Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Wednesday 12 June 2019.

    Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has confirmed Scotland missed its annual emissions target in 2017.

    Figures published by the Scottish government yesterday revealed emissions increased by 3.7% using adjusted measures, despite total emissions falling by 3.3%.

    Ms Cunningham told MSPs the increase was due to pollution permits issued in the rest of the EU which impacted the emissions trading scheme.

    Opposition MSPs called for further action to tackle emissions in the transport sector.

  2. Minister pledges discussions on housing co-operatives

    Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell
    Image caption: Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell

    Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell says this has been a really constructive and informative debate and she acknowledges the valuable contribution co-operatives make.

    Ms Campbell says she is sure an inclusive model is embedded in the social housing sector in Scotland.

    She says housing associations and housing co-operatives contribute to locally democratic affordable housing.

    The minister pledges to discuss barriers to creating housing co-operatives with Johann Lamont and the co-operatives that do exist.

  3. Background: Call for more housing co-ops

    Houses

    Co-Operative UK has called on the Scottish government to deliver more housing co-ops.

    It has urged the government to fund a three-year pilot to aid the development of housing co-ops through a facilitation and advice programme.

    There are currently 11 registered housing co-ops in Scotland.

    The report argues co-ops would help to taking the housing crisis, as well as fuel poverty and enhance community safety.

    Read the report.

  4. Background: Social housing has declined

    Flat block

    The social rented sector declined from 32% in 1999 to 23% in 2007 and has remained around that level since then.

    About 690,000 households were in social housing in 1999, according to the survey. That figure has gone down to about 560,000 despite an increase in the number of separate households in Scotland.

    Local authority social housing has gone down from about 580,000 households to 320,000 over the 17-year period, with housing associations and co-operatives more than doubling to about 250,000.

  5. Background: What is a housing co-operative?

    Houses

    According to Shelter Scotland...

    "Housing cooperatives are similar to housing associations, in that they offer rented accommodation in city centres, housing estates and rural areas.

    "Like housing associations, they are also known as 'registered social landlords' (RSLs), which means they register with the Scottish Housing Regulator.

    "Housing cooperatives are jointly owned and run by their tenants.

    "This means that the tenants take responsibility for arranging repairs, making decisions about rent and who joins or leaves the co-op.

    "Living in a housing cooperative can be a good way to get affordable housing and may give you more control over where you live."

  6. Co-ops understand housing not just bricks and mortar

    Labour MSP Johann Lamont

    Labour MSP Johann Lamont says Scotland has historically been at the heart of housing co-operatives and they are still important today.

    Co-ops understand housing is not just about bricks and mortar but about other actions creating the environment to allow communities to thrive, she states.

    However she says there is a lot of unmet need in terms of housing co-ops, noting there are only 11 registered in Scotland.

    Ms Lamont wonders if the approach of the housing regulator unintentionally inhibits the set up of co-ops and asks whether there are actions which could remove perceived barriers.

  7. Debate: New Report Calls for More Housing Co-ops in Scotland

    Labour MSP Johann Lamont is highlighting a report from Co-operatives UK calling for more housing co-ops.

    Here is her motion...

    Motion
  8. BreakingMSPs pass the Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

    MSPs unanimously pass the Census (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill.

  9. Background: So what could the questions be?

    Tester question

    There is a big debate over the mandatory "sex question", which currently asks if the respondent is male or female.

    National Records of Scotland suggested that the sex question for 2021 should "provide non-binary options" - although they stressed that it "will not seek a declaration of biological or legal sex".

    So the options on the census paper could be "male", "female", or "other", with a box for people to write in.

    When questioned by the committee, head of census statistics Amy Wilson told MSPs that the actual data output would still be "on a male and female basis" - so they would "randomly assign people back into the male and female categories" if they ticked the "other" box.

    This led Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop to ask: "If we are not going to use non-binary data as non-binary data and are just going to use binary information, why ask the question in the first place?"

    Another possibility would be to retain the male/female sex question, but follow it with a voluntary one asking whether people think of their gender identity as "man", "woman" or "in another way, please write in".

    Testing has also been carried out on a question asking "do you consider yourself to be transgender, or have a transgender history", with "yes", "no" and "prefer not to say" answers.

  10. 'I reject the concept of innate gender identity'

    Culture committee convener Joan McAlpine

    Culture committee convener Joan McAlpine begins by saying she supports this bill, explaining it is appropriate to ask about sexual orientation and trans status on a voluntary basis.

    Ms McAlpine says: "I reject the concept of innate gender identity but I will vote for the bill in the spirit of pragmatism and compromise because I accept that for a growing number of people identity is of deep personal significance."

    The proposed non-binary question was rejected by the culture committee and the ONS, highlights Ms McAlpine.

    She argues the sex question must be based on "biological sex".

    The SNP MSP adds she is not convinced by briefings that included "lived sex", arguing there is no definition of "lived sex" in law or in biology.

  11. 'Our records don't know enough about the trans community'

    Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott

    Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott says the parliament should make a strong stance against the alleged attack on a woman at an event discussing sex-based rights recently.

    Turning to the bill at hand, Mr Scott says services must be equipped with robust data and that is the main aim of the census.

    The trans community need to be included in the census because this community deserved to be seen and counted accurately, he insists.

    "Our records don't know enough about the trans community."

  12. Background: What does the bill do?

    The census is still underpinned by legislation dating back to 1920
    Image caption: The census is still underpinned by legislation dating back to 1920

    The legislation underpinning the census was penned in 1920, providing for questions about topics including age, sex, occupation, nationality and race. At present, only questions about religion are voluntary.

    Extra topics are frequently added - for example in 2011 five new questions featured, including on national identity and long-term health conditions - but legislation is needed if they are to be posed on a voluntary basis.

    This is what the current bill is for. It is a pretty basic bill, simply providing for the possibility of these questions - the detail of what would actually be asked would be decided at a later date.

    However, this was still the basis for much of the debate when the culture committee was taking evidence.

    So while the legislation is about voluntary questions, it has sparked a wider debate about what exactly people could be asked in the 2021 census.

  13. Green MSP shamed this parliament caused stressed some of his friends

    Mr Greer says we should acknowledge the upset that has been caused by the digression into areas beyond the remit of this bill.

    He says: "At times the very validity of the existence of trans and non-binary people was called into question."

    He feels shame that this parliament caused stress to some of his friends and he adds the debate that has emerged cannot have left anyone happy.

    The Green MSP says we must do better than the false framing of womens' rights versus trans rights.

    He says Scottish Womens' Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland told the committee that their inclusion of trans rights had not led to concerns but had enhanced their services.

  14. This bill itself is not contentious and is supported by the Greens

    Green MSP Ross Greer
    Image caption: Green MSP Ross Greer

    Green MSP Ross Greer says this bill itself is not contentious and is supported by his party.

    Mr Greer says it will allow questions on sexuality and trans status or history to be voluntary.

    He cites the recent horrific attack on two women on a night bus in London and highlights other powerful stories from the trans community outside the parliament a few hours ago.

    The Green MSP thanks the Equality Network for organising today's rally and for producing an amendment to this bill which MSPs accepted.

  15. Non-binary gender options being tested highlights Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Claire Baker

    Labour MSP Claire Baker says the journey of the bill has occurred against the backdrop of planned changes to the Gender Recognition Act.

    As times this has been divisive and intolerant of other views, she says.

    Turning to the bill itself, she highlights the plan is to allow self-identification to continue and notes a non-binary option for gender is being tested.

    She warns against reversing the decision taken in 2011 to allow trans people to self-identify, but accepts there should have been more discussion about this at the time.

    Ms Baker goes on to query how the non-binary data, if such an option is included, will be used.

  16. Tory MSP says new questions will provide much needed data

    Mr Greene says he has some sympathy with the notion of minimal government intervention in people's private lives, but he says the two voluntary questions are useful additions.

    The Tory MSP says he will be happy to answer them, albeit digitally.

    He explains the need for better robust national data about LGBT people in Scotland, due to the challenges they face.

    This data will help government address these challenges Mr Greene says.

    It's right the questions should come back to parliament for approval, he concludes.

  17. Tory MSP says it is not unusual to change the census as society changes

    Tory MSP Jamie Greene
    Image caption: Tory MSP Jamie Greene

    Tory MSP Jamie Greene says never before - at least in his experience at Holyrood - has a one page bill caused so much debate and controversy.

    Mr Greene points out it is not unusual to change the census as society changes.

    The Tory MSP says two new questions will be added, one on transgender status and history, and one on sexual orientation.

    We don't know what the questions will be but they will be voluntary and there will be no penalty for not answering them, he points out.

  18. No one should be compelled to answer sensitive questions

    This bill is an important part of gathering more information on sexual orientation and transgender status by allowing the questions to be voluntary, she explains.

    It is critical no-one feels compelled to answer these sensitive questions as was the case with religion when this appeared for the first time in 2001, the cabinet secretary says.

    She highlights stage 2 amendments sought to correct perceived conflation of sex and gender identity.

    The process of adding the new questions to the census, using secondary legislation, will soon be underway she concludes.