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Results 1–20 of 12548 for speaker:John Swinney

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Guidance) (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: The Scottish Government had no prior sight of the details in the Prime Minister’s statement, the document that was published yesterday, the proposed levels system or the change in message. Over the course of the past week, following requests by the devolved Administrations, discussions were held with Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, in which respective views were shared on changes in...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Guidance) (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: It is really important that people understand that the changes that the Prime Minister announced on Sunday apply only to England—not to Scotland. I have seen a number of broadcasters make that point expressly clear in their communication of the Prime Minister’s message. Our counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland have taken a similar position to that of the Scottish Government and have...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Guidance) (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: The Government is working across all policy areas on the issues that are relevant to Rona Mackay’s question. Work is on-going throughout the areas that are reflected in the framework for decision making, which we will debate this afternoon. Some issues are relevant to the non-Covid-19 health harms that exist in our society today and to the social and economic harms that are arising out of...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Guidance) (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: On the resourcing point, as I am sure Mr Smyth is aware, there is greater capacity in the provision of early learning and childcare and educational support for children and young people across the country than has been utilised by those who have come forward to access that support, so there is surplus capacity. Mr Smyth’s question raises some of the sensitivities there are inevitable in the...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Guidance) (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: The R number—whether in Scotland or England—is considered within a range of numbers. It is currently estimated in Scotland to be in the range of 0.7 and 1.0. There is testing capacity available in Scotland—there has been more than a tenfold increase in capacity since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. The health service and those delivering the tests are working extremely hard to...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 (Guidance) (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: Mr Rowley raises a significant issue and it is timely that the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture has just arrived, because she is involved in detailed discussions with employers and trade unions on exactly that question. The objective of the economy secretary is to put in place guidance and a framework so that, when it is reasonable and permissible within the assessment of...

Scottish Parliament: Suppressing Covid: The Next Phase (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: I welcome this opportunity to debate the framework that we have put in place to consider how we take forward the stringent measures that we have in place to handle the coronavirus outbreak. We are in unprecedented times, with our society facing the biggest challenge of our lifetimes. The way in which we live our lives is significantly restricted, and many families are having to come to terms...

Scottish Parliament: Suppressing Covid: The Next Phase (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: With the greatest of respect, I say that I think that Mr Rumbles is being a bit optimistic about what is happening south of the border. As the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport has just said, and as I said a few moments ago, there has been a significant increase in testing capacity in Scotland, and more work is actively under way to increase that capacity even further. It is important...

Scottish Parliament: Suppressing Covid: The Next Phase (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: We want to maximise the use of testing capacity. In several public communications, I have talked about the effective strategy of NHS Tayside, in the locality that I represent. Basically, that health board is evangelising about testing—it is going out to find people who need to be tested in order to ensure that testing capacity is used. That approach is essential to ensuring that we utilise...

Scottish Parliament: Suppressing Covid: The Next Phase (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: I will give way in a moment. The key measures include the numbers for new cases, new and total hospital and intensive care unit admissions, and deaths.

Scottish Parliament: Suppressing Covid: The Next Phase (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: It is suggested that the R number is in a range from 0.7 to 1. On any given week when the assessment picture is put together, the number may well vary, which is why the statisticians encourage us to talk about a range and why the United Kingdom Government, on scientific advice, does not give a specific figure: it talks about a range. The second factor in the framework is that the virus has a...

Scottish Parliament: Suppressing Covid: The Next Phase (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: Does Mr Fraser acknowledge that the framework document that the Government has provided is, essentially, an attempt to map out those competing relevant factors regarding non-Covid-19 health harm and economic harm that are affecting the country, and that we are trying to put in place information that enables the public to evaluate those issues?

Scottish Parliament: Suppressing Covid: The Next Phase (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: I hate to rehearse arguments that I made to Mr Fraser in response to his intervention, but the purpose of setting out the R number in a range is that, in the various elements of modelling, that number varies. As I have said at committee, on television last night and on any other occasion when I have been asked, it is not a precise science. Mr Fraser is in danger of working himself into a...

Scottish Parliament: Suppressing Covid: The Next Phase (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: This afternoon’s debate has been very valuable, and I thank members of all political persuasions for their contributions. I particularly thank the members whose contributions we heard remotely: Adam Tomkins, Stewart Stevenson and, of course, Christine Grahame—what could be more appropriate than for the inaugural remote contribution to have come from the redoubtable Christine Grahame? The...

Scottish Parliament: Suppressing Covid: The Next Phase (12 May 2020)

John Swinney: I encourage Mr Wightman to read the first framework document, which went through all the issues about relative harms. Frankly, it is not good enough to cherry pick individual documents and say that there is something missing. The Government has put in place a suite of documents that reflect that point. We will consider the issues that have been raised in the discussion and reflect on how more...

Scottish Parliament: Education and Skills (23 Apr 2020)

John Swinney: Presiding Officer, I am afraid that I was unable to hear Clare Adamson’s question.

Scottish Parliament: Exam Candidates (Ranking) (23 Apr 2020)

John Swinney: It is important to remember that we are dealing with an unprecedented situation in which we are having to ask teachers to refine their judgments about the potential attainment of young people. The SQA has asked teachers to go into more detail about their expectations for young people, and that will be done across a higher number of bands than would normally be the case. Teachers will be...

Scottish Parliament: Schools (Reopening) (23 Apr 2020)

John Swinney: First, I recognise the difficulty that will be caused by the prolonged closure of schools, and I do not want schools to be closed for a minute longer than is required. As was mentioned in the First Minister’s briefing today, the Scottish Government has published a document that sets out the conditions and tests that the Government will have to consider before we can relax the restrictions...

Scottish Parliament: Schools (Reopening) (23 Apr 2020)

John Swinney: A number of practical issues would have to be borne in mind, but one of the important things to remember is that I do not envisage schools simply being able to go from being closed one day to being open a couple of days later. As a number of scientific commentators have made clear, we will be living with social distancing for a considerable time. The principle of social distancing is...

Scottish Parliament: Pupil Grades (23 Apr 2020)

John Swinney: It is important that all the factors that have been identified by the Scottish Qualifications Authority in respect of its exercising its moderation functions—which Iain Gray correctly outlined—are taken into account. As I said in my answer to Clare Adamson, there will be moderation at different levels: in classrooms, in departments, in schools and by the SQA. Each step in that process is...


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