Scotland politics

Holyrood's week: Motion to end ScotRail franchise

Overcrowded train Image copyright Louise Kerr
Image caption Passengers have raised concerns about overcrowding on train services

Scottish Labour will call for Abellio's ScotRail contract to come to end in a debate on Wednesday afternoon.

The party has tabled a motion urging ministers not to extend the franchise beyond 2022.

Passengers have complained of delays, cancellations and overcrowding on the rail network.

In March, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says a remedial plan put into place by ScotRail was its "last chance saloon".

While the rail operator reports improvements, Scottish Labour has insisted it was not enough - and has backed bringing the service back into public ownership.

In 2014 Abellio won the £6bn franchise to run ScotRail services for a decade..

But ministers can end this franchise three years early if it is felt the operator is not delivering on its commitments.

What else is happening at Holyrood this week?

Tuesday - dangerous dogs

Image copyright PA
Image caption Attack victims and their families want to see dogs kept on leads in public places

MSPs have warned that current dog control legislation is not fit for purpose and have urged the government to review the law.

The post-legislative scrutiny committee will lead a debate on this on Tuesday afternoon.

The Control of Dogs Act 2010 was introduced to promote responsible dog ownership but the committee said it was not working.

The committee also heard that thousands of people each year are given hospital treatment for dog-related injuries.

After this debate, Labour MSP Anas Sarwar will lead a member's business motion to mark 80 years of the citizens advice service in Scotland.

In the morning, the economy committee will be taking evidence from Finance and Economy Secretary Derek Mackay.

As well as pre-budget scrutiny, the committee will hear about the Scottish government's preparation for a no-deal Brexit.

The UK is due to leave the EU at the end of October.

In a letter to the committee, Mr Mackay said that government was being "proactive" in responding to challenges, but warned "not every effect can be mitigated".

After this, the committee will consider the Consumer Scotland Bill, which aims to set up a new consumer advocacy and advice body.

Wednesday - nursery funding after deferment

Image copyright Getty Images

In addition to ScotRail, Scottish Labour will lead a debate calling for equal nursery funding after deferred school entry.

Children in Scotland usually go to school in the year they turn five, but parents can apply for deferral if they feel their child is not ready.

But funding for an extra year at nursery varies by local authority.

After these debates, SNP MSP Emma Harper will highlight Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week.

In the morning, the connectivity committee will be discussing road maintenance with a number of stakeholders.

Representatives of hauliers, cyclists, local authorities and equalities organisations are all giving evidence.

Thursday - smacking ban

Image copyright Getty Images

MSPs are expected to vote on Thursday evening to make smacking children illegal.

The Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill received backing at stage 1 in May, with only the Conservatives voting against.

Parents in Scotland are currently able to claim a defence of "justifiable assault" when punishing their child - although the use of an "implement" in any punishment is banned, as is shaking or striking a child on the head.

This legislation would end that defence, meaning parents could face prosecution for any use of physical punishment on their children.

Before this, first minister's question takes place at noon followed by Tory MSP Maurice Corry highlighting the Great British Beach Clean.

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