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Live Reporting

By Louise Wilson and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from BBC Holyrood Live!

    Older veteran

    That's all from BBC Holyrood Live on Tuesday 3 December 2019.

    The Scottish government has announced plans for a Veterans Care Network to improve the lives of ex-servicemen and women.

    The NHS-run initiative, which will start its work in April next year, aims to provide an understanding of the care needs of veterans, issues with accessing care and potential inequalities arising from where they stay.

    It is hoped the network will run alongside the Scottish government's mental health strategy currently in place, Veterans Minister Graeme Dey said at Holyrood.

  2. 'Too many disabled people face too many barriers'

    Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie

    Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie says too many disabled people face too many barriers, especially in accessing work.

    A more diverse workforce is a more productive workforce, she argues, going on to highlight programmes to help disabled people into work and to stay in work.

    Up to £1m is going towards a public-social partnership to bring employers together with disabled people's organisations to bring forward pilots to improve access to employment, the minister says.

    The Scottish government is committed to creating a more successful Scotland with opportunities for all that live here, she adds.

  3. What is Breaking Barriers? ENABLE Scotland has the answer....

    ENABLE Scotland

    Breaking Barriers is a ground-breaking partnership enabling young people who have learning disabilities to attend one of the leading business schools in the UK within a university campus, achieve an accredited qualification and gain real work experience with some of the largest employers in Scotland.

    The first-of-its-kind initiative, delivered by partners The University of Strathclyde Business School,Scottish Power, and ENABLE Scotland has a joint vision of equality of access to the opportunities that world class education and organisations can provide; where people who have learning disabilities are equal members of an inclusive university community; attain an accredited qualification and achieve employment opportunities.

    Read more here.

  4. This is about 'the empowerment of people with disabilities'

    Jackie Baillie

    Jackie Baillie says the International Day of Persons with Disabilities "is about the empowerment of people with disabilities" and "ensuring no-one is left behind".

    The Labour MSP highlights "Breaking Barriers" which supports young people with learning disabilities get a world class education.

    She congratulates all involved and ends saying it will run again in 2020.

  5. Background: Disabled workers face a 12.2% pay gap

    Wheelchair user

    Disabled employees are paid 12.2% less than their non-disabled peers, according to official data.

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that in 2018 the median pay for non-disabled workers was £12.11 an hour, against £10.63 for disabled.

    London had the widest disability pay gap at 15.3%, with the narrowest in Scotland, at 8.3%.

    The gap was the widest for those in their 30s and 40s, the ONS said in its report.

    Read more.

  6. 'Huge untapped potential of the purple pound'

    Mr Balfour

    Mr Balfour highlights the "huge untapped potential of the purple pound" - the term referring to the spending power of the disabled community, equating to approximately £249bn.

    He argues many of the barriers to employing more disabled people can be overcome, adding disabled people must be encourage to self-declare their disability without fear of stigma.

    We need to harness the power from within organisations to ensure disabled employees are recruited and empowered, he says.

    The Tory MSP praises Scottish Water for putting disability at the forefront of employee initiatives.

  7. UN: International Day of Persons with Disabilities 3 December

    Modibo Sall, 10, teaches his 52-year-old father, Amadou, sign language. Modibo was born deaf. He lives in the village of Bouaké, in the centre of Côte d'Ivoire.
    Image caption: Modibo Sall, 10, teaches his 52-year-old father, Amadou, sign language. Modibo was born deaf. He lives in the village of Bouaké, in the centre of Côte d'Ivoire.

    2019 Theme: Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda

    The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992 byUnited Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

    Building on many decades of UN’s work in the field of disability, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006, has further advanced the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international development frameworks

    Read more here.

  8. International Day of Persons with Disabilities debate

    Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour is leading a debate to highlight the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

    Specifically he is celebrating the Purple Light Up campaign, which focuses on the economic contribution and empowerment of disabled people.

  9. MSPs unanimously support the veterans debate motion....

    Scottish Government Support for Veterans and the Armed Forces Community in Scotland That the Parliament recognises the importance of the Armed Forces and veterans community and values the contribution that they continue to make to Scotland; supports the jointly developed Strategy for our Veterans, which has a clear vision to ensure the best possible outcomes for veterans and their families; notes that the Scottish Government will soon publish the response to its strategy consultation, setting out how it will take that vision forward in Scotland, and agrees that everyone should continue to work in partnership across the Scottish public, private and charitable sectors to ensure that the Armed Forces community receives the best possible support and access to services across Scotland.
  10. Minister launches National Veterans Care Network

    Picture of tweet
  11. Background: 'Higher levels of PTSD among veterans', says study

    Bodyguard still
    Image caption: TV dramas like the BBC's Bodyguard have helped increase awareness of PTSD

    Post-traumatic stress disorder of serving army personnel and military veterans has increased in the last 10 years, a study suggests.

    Most sufferers were veterans who saw active combat; 17% reported symptoms of probable PTSD.

    Experts said the delayed onset of the illness, and the loss of support when leaving the army, were probable causes.

    And more veterans are seeking treatment, as awareness of PTSD has increased.

    The study of nearly 9,000 of the military, by King's College London, is published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. It shows that PTSD in the military increased from 4% in 2004-5 to 6% in 2014-16.

    Read more here.

  12. 'A lot of good work is being done and there is indeed a lot more to do'

    Mike Rumbles

    Mike Rumbles says as a veteran of 15 years of service he is pleased to speak in this debate and he adds the vast majority of our veterans go on to live normal and productive civilian lives.

    The Lib Dem MSP says we do not yet have an equitable veterans service across Scotland, citing the north east provision.

    There are significant improvements that can be made, he adds, for example veterans in hospital could be visited by veterans organisations.

    He praises Age Scotland and CAS for their work for veterans.

    "A lot of good work is being done and there is indeed a lot more to do."

  13. Background: Homeless Scottish veteran tells of his journey back to work

    Image caption: Terry found it difficult to adjust to life after he finished serving

    A veteran from the Highlands has been telling of his journey from being a mechanic in a bomb disposal team, to ending up homeless in someone's attic to rebuilding his life through work.

    Terry, from Inverness, spent seven years serving in the British Army, on tour in Northern Ireland, Belize, Germany and Iraq.

    He speaks positively about his time there but after he returned home Terry struggled to adjust, often finding it challenging to complete mundane tasks, interacting with people and pay bills.

    "I just lost all respect for myself. I found it very difficult just coping with things after I left the Army," he says.

    Read more.

  14. Labour MSP expresses concern about rising homelessness

    Labour MSP Mark Griffin

    Labour MSP Mark Griffin says veterans deserve the best support possible and adds not enough has been done yet to establish their needs.

    Progress has been made to respond to veterans housing needs, he says, but expresses concern about a possible reversal and rising homelessness.

    It is vital advice and support services are in place for veterans to help them adjust to mainstream society, Mr Griffin argues.

    He also calls for these services to be brought together.

  15. Background: Former soldier calls for more PTSD help for veterans from MoD

    Andrew Christie

    A former soldier from Aberdeen has called on the Ministry of Defence to do more for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

    Andrew Christie, who served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq, said he was diagnosed with PTSD while serving with the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

    The 36-year-old said charities were being left to pick up the pieces.

    The MoD said it was "committed to helping any member of the military community who is struggling".

    Read more.

  16. Tory MSP welcomes progress on veterans support

    Tory MSP Maurice Corry
    Image caption: Tory MSP Maurice Corry

    Tory MSP Maurice Corry says veterans do not need our pity, rather they need to be championed and supported in what they have to offer.

    Mr Corry welcomes progress on veterans support and he says he hopes to see more.

    He welcomes the Scottish government's commitment to continue the Sottish Veterans Fund for the next four year and its launching of the Veterans Care Network.

    The Tory MSP calls for a robust action plan for older veterans.

  17. Minister highlights steps to improve services for veterans

    Mr Dey

    Mr Dey says this debate is to fulfill the commitment to update parliament annually about actions being taken to improve service delivery for veterans.

    Efforts within the health portfolio in particular, including a mental health strategy specific to veterans, will lead to greater parity in care for veterans he says.

    He highlights the veterans champions network within local authorities, as well as funding for housing for disabled veterans.

    Mr Dey also says steps are being taken to ensure veterans can translate their skills to employment and education opportunities, pointing out military skills are being matched against the Scottish credit and qualification framework.