John Finnie: The First Minister is aware of the clamour for action about this public health crisis. There is a clamour, too, from people with drug problems for opiate replacement therapy. At the moment, the figure for those in treatment is 35 per cent in Scotland and 60 per cent in England. In one third of the drug-related deaths in 2014, the individuals concerned had no contact with drug treatment...
John Finnie: Will Jamie Greene take an intervention on that point?
John Finnie: Was that the member’s position when his councillor colleagues in Glasgow City Council and City of Edinburgh Council had such a proposal as part of their local authority manifestos?
John Finnie: As colleagues have done, I thank the people who have contributed to the bill—the witnesses, our staff and the many organisations that have provided briefings. At decision time, the Scottish Green Party will support the general principles of the bill. A transport bill should be seen as an opportunity and should provide a longer-term vision. It should provide policy coherence not just within...
John Finnie: Will Mike Rumbles give way?
John Finnie: rose—
John Finnie: Will the member give way on that point?
John Finnie: Will the member give way?
John Finnie: Will the member take an intervention?
John Finnie: Does Liam Kerr accept that people are increasingly living in town and city centres, in particular in vacated shops, so LEZs would be a boon to them, never mind to motorists?
John Finnie: I do not know where Liam Kerr got that figure from. Will he acknowledge that his party’s UK Government reviewed the policies that were available to local authorities in England and Wales and considered that they are appropriate? Why does he want fundraising powers for local authorities in England, but not for those in Scotland?
John Finnie: Will the cabinet secretary give way?
John Finnie: Is one of the Scottish Government’s actions to continue to implore the UK Government to give further tax breaks to oil and gas companies?
John Finnie: The cabinet secretary can be reassured that all members wish to see a successful tourist industry in the area. When we discussed the issue previously, the cabinet secretary took grave exception to my description of the situation as “a shambles”. In the interim, has he had time to reflect on that judgment, and has he undertaken an assessment of the reputational damage that has been caused...
John Finnie: rose —
John Finnie: The Parliament is at its best when its members are doing scrutiny work in committees; that is where we see the best collaborative work. Not everyone will agree with every word of the report that the committee produced, but that is the nature of the process. We must try to find consensus: there was unanimity about the bill being very worth while. That is certainly the view of the Scottish...
John Finnie: I share the member’s view on east-west connections, but will he acknowledge that, with four of the parties in this Parliament being committed to £6 billion of expenditure on two roads, none of that is realistic?
John Finnie: I understand the concerns about infrastructure. Does Brian Whittle acknowledge that considerable benefit would be derived from putting in place rail as well as road infrastructure?
John Finnie: I declare my concessionary bus pass. The Scottish Government has a transport budget of £1,155.6 million and a larger sum for capital, and over the past seven years that budget has increased by about 20 per cent. The budget for bus services, by contrast, has increased by only about 5 per cent and the bulk of that has been for concessionary fares. I align myself with many of the comments made...
John Finnie: No, that is not correct; we require a much more comprehensive discussion than that. However, there is not the same level of debate about road building where there is, of course, the difference between capital and revenue, and the revenue costs of maintaining the capital build. I do not see why this sum, which is small in the scheme of things, requires such an amount of questioning about why...