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Live Reporting

By Louise Wilson and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from Holyrood Live

    Leonard, Sturgeon and Carlaw

    That's all from Holyrood Live on Thursday 21 November 2019.

    Questions about the NHS dominated first minister's questions today.

    Scottish Tory interim leader Jackson Carlaw raised questions about the health secretary's response following the death of two patients at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon apologised to the families of the parents and said the government was determined to ensure their questions were answered.

    Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard asks about the role of private firms within the NHS, leading Ms Sturgeon to highlight 0.6% of the overall budget went to the private sector, less than in England.

  2. Amended SNP motion from over 75s licence fee debate agreed to

    Motion

    The Scottish government motion, as amended by Labour, is agreed to with 54 MSPs voting for it and 18 against.

    Labour's amendment gained approval with the same numbers.

    Here's the Labour amendment
    Image caption: Here's the Labour amendment

    The Scottish Conservatives saw their amendment rejected with 18 MSPs backing it, but 54 voting against it.

    Tory amendment
    Image caption: The Tory amendment is rejected
  3. Early decision time.....

    MSPs agree to bring decision time forward...to now!

  4. Background: The TV licence

    TV licence
  5. Lib Dems back independent licence fee commission

    The Lib Dems believe the independence of the BBC must be protected Mr Rumbles says, and therefore calls for the setting up of an independent licence fee commission.

    The setting of the fee should be decoupled from any external influences, he argues.

    The Lib Dem says the Conservative amendment tries to shift the blame to the BBC.

    He suggests the BBC agreeing to the funding deal was, to channel Don Vito Corleone, "an offer they couldn't refuse".

  6. TV licence: Where do the parties stand?

    Protesters  gathered outside the BBC to protest against plans to axe free TV licences for the over-75s.
    Image caption: Protesters gathered outside the BBC to protest against plans to axe free TV licences for the over-75s.

    The SNP has called for licence decisions to be made independently of government, while Labour has pledged to save free TV licences.

    According to the Sun on Sunday, the prime minister ordered officials to find a way to ensure no over-75s would need to pay as a "priority".

    Meanwhile the Lib Dems say scrapping free TV licences for over-75s will have a "huge impact" on the mental wellbeing of older people.

  7. Some 300,000 over 75s to pay £155 licence fee themselves

    Mike Rumbles

    Mike Rumbles points out the UK has one of the lowest state pensions and the free licence fee was supposed to augment this.

    The Lib Dem MSP accepts this is a reserved matter, but argues Holyrood can take a view on this issue.

    He says some 300,000 over 75s will have to pay the cost of the licence fee of £155 themselves, with those just outside the threshold for pension credit unable to do so.

    Mr Rumbles says it was wrong for the BBC to be given this responsibility by the UK government.

  8. Pension credit take-up only 60%

    Green MSP Alison Johnstone says we have been promised the end of austerity by the UK government, yet this summer saw the announcement that free TV licences for over 75s would be scrapped.

    This was ruled out by the Conservatives in the 2017 manifesto but the decision was passed on to the BBC, she adds.

    Green MSP Alison Johnstone
    Image caption: Green MSP Alison Johnstone

    For the poorest households the TV licence cost is a significant proportion of their income she states, noting the UK has the lowest state pension of all advanced economies in the world.

    Only 60% of people eligible for pension credit actually receive it Ms Johnstone adds, meaning many UK households will not get the free licence.

  9. Call for UK government to restore free TV licences for all over 75s

    Ms Baker

    Ms Baker points to a petition raised by Age UK which garnered 630,000 signatures calling on the government to take back responsibility for the funding of TV licenses.

    Research shows 70% of over 75s will have to consider cutting back on essentials like heating or food to pay for the licence, the Labour MSP says.

    Ms Baker says around two fifths of those who entitled to pension credit are not claiming it.

    She warns about vulnerable people becoming more lonely or having their mental health affected by losing the companionship of TV.

    The Labour MSP calls for the UK government to restore free TV licences for all over 75s.

  10. TV licences: Call for government and BBC to save free over-75s licences

    Elderly couple

    The BBC and the government should find a way to save free TV licences for all over-75s, a committee of MPs has said.

    The House of Commons media select committee said the new position, where only those claiming pension credit will be eligible, was an "absurd situation".

    The BBC said it will continue to scrap free TV licences for up to 3.7m people.

    A government spokesman said: "We're disappointed with the BBC's decision not to continue free licences for the over-75s."

    Read more here.

  11. Nearly quarter of a million pensioners in Scotland impacted

    Ms Baker points to BBC investment in the new BBC Scotland channel and the iPlayer.

    But she also highlights challenges, including the increasingly varied and competitive market.

    The announcement made by the BBC was a direct result of the UK government's decision.

    The Conservatives' insistence that it was a BBC decision is "at best disingenuous and at worst shameless" the Labour MSP says.

    The number of over 75s in Scotland expected to be impacted by the change approaches a quarter of a million, she adds.

  12. Here is Labour's amendment

    Labour's amendment
  13. Licence fee should not be set solely by UK government says Labour MSP

    Labour MSP Claire Baker
    Image caption: Labour MSP Claire Baker

    Labour MSP Claire Baker says free TV licences for over 75s were introduced by a Labour government and paid for directly by it.

    Ms Baker tells the chamber this was introduced as a social benefit.

    Labour was and continues to be completely against this decision by the UK government, she says.

    The Labour MSP argues setting the licence fee should not be solely down to the UK government, with little input from the BBC and none from viewers.

  14. BBC must use income 'appropriately'

    Ms Hamilton

    Ms Hamilton says the BBC should use its substantial licence fee income to provide for UK audiences.

    She adds this income, plus income from abroad, should be reinvested "appropriately", including by showing restraint on salaries.

    The BBC proposed the most narrowly defined option for reform for over 75s she argues.

    The SNP has failed to explain what would happen to the BBC in Scotland if it became independent, the Tory MSP states.

  15. BBC said this was 'right deal at the right time' - Tory MSP

    Ms Hamilton says it is important to says where responsibility lies for this decision, pointing out the funding deal was agreed in 2015 as part of the charter renewal.

    The Tory MSP argues the key element of the deal was for the BBC to fund free licences for over 75s and for this it received concessions including the promise to close the iPlayer loophole.

    She says the BBC agreed to the deal and says it was the "right deal at the right time", adding she is quoting Lord Hall.

    The BBC should have communicated its concerns about the the costs earlier says Mr Hamilton, who points out that under the current BBC plans the poorest over 75s will continue to get free TV licences.