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Scottish Parliament Weekly Round-Up

Find out what happened this week at Holyrood....

Parliament returned in sombre mood on Tuesday with the crisis in Ukraine understandably high on the agenda. Pam Duncan-Glancy asked a Topical Question to the Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs on what the government is doing to prepare for refugees arriving in Scotland as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Transport Secretary also gave an update to parliament on Scotland’s Climate Assembly, which held its final weekend session in February. This preceeded a debate introduced by Keith Brown on a Scottish approach to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of veterans.

In committee sessions, the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee heard evidence from third sector organisations on tackling alcohol harms. While the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee took evidence on women’s unfair responsibility for unpaid care and domestic work.

Later on, Emma Harper brought a Member’s Business Debate to the chamber recognising Eating Disorders Awareness Week. 

We were also delighted to hear that Fulton MacGregor, Convenor of the Cross-Party Group on Social Work, lodged a motion in parliament recognising World Social Work Day 2022. Please ask your MSP(s) to add their support to the motion!

Stage one proceedings for the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) Bill dominated the committee agendas on Wednesday and Thursday as MSPs continued to scrutinise the proposals from a criminal justice and education perspective. The Social Justice and Social Security Committee also heard evidence from various groups on preventing violence against women and girls.

In the chamber, MSPs pressed the Deputy First Minister on details for the government’s Covid Recovery Strategy during Portfolio Questions. Tensions between the SNP and opposition parties also ran high during the government’s debate on Local Government Finance.

On Thursday, Michelle Thompson brought forward a Member’s Business Debate in recognition of International Women’s Day. The theme of Internation Women's Day this year is #BreakTheBias, which aims to highlight the impact of bias, both conscious and unconscious, on women and girls and to imagine a world free of bias, stereotype and discrimination.

At FMQs, the First Minister took questions from opposition leaders and backbench MSPs on issues such as the resignation of the Chief Executive of the Scottish National Investment Bank, NHS waiting lists, mental health support and plans to replace the Carer's Allowance. The Scottish Government has outlined proposals to replace Carer's Allowance with Scottish Carer's Assistance, delivered by Social Security Scotland.

The week rounded off with the Social Justice Secretary, Shona Robison, introducing the Gender Recognition Reform Bill to parliament. The Bill seeks to amend the Gender Recognition Act to introduce new criteria for applicants who wish to obtain a gender recognition certificate.