Results 161–180 of 234 for speaker:Mercedes Villalba

Scottish Parliament: Fuel Poverty (27 Apr 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: Presiding Officer, “Energy is not a luxury; people have to be able to heat their homes. That is why it is so important that we do everything that we can, within our powers and resources, to help people to do that.”—[Official Report, 10 March 2022; c 24.] Those were the First Minister’s words in the chamber last month. Labour-run North Ayrshire Council is tackling rising energy costs...

Scottish Parliament: Department for Work and Pensions (Meetings) (21 Apr 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: The DWP’s nationwide closures include its office in Aberdeen, which leaves more than 60 workers at risk of redundancy. I previously raised the prospect of those highly skilled workers being redeployed to Social Security Scotland to assist with roll-out of new devolved benefits. At the time, the Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise indicated that the Scottish Government could...

Scottish Parliament: Private Rental Costs (21 Apr 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: 6. To ask the First Minister what action the Scottish Government is taking to bring down the cost to tenants of private rent in the coming year. (S6F-01011)

Scottish Parliament: Private Rental Costs (21 Apr 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: Although the Scottish Government’s commitment to introducing rent controls is welcome, rents are rising right now, so tenants cannot afford to wait for three or more years for action. Rightly, the First Minister has called for more action from the United Kingdom Government to help to tackle the cost of living crisis, but this Parliament has powers to address one of the biggest pressures...

Scottish Parliament: Universities and Colleges (Industrial Action) (21 Apr 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: I remind members of my entry in the register of members’ interests. A survey of university staff by the UCU highlighted that up to two thirds are seriously thinking about leaving the sector during the next five years. Their pay has fallen by 25 per cent in real terms during the past decade, and changes to USS pensions are set to leave staff up to £240,000 worse off. The minister must...

Scottish Parliament: Blue Carbon (21 Apr 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: I thank the minister for advance sight of her statement. How can we take the Scottish Government’s commitment to net zero seriously when it repeatedly misses its climate targets, and then releases a statement like today’s about something that it has already announced but has failed to do? I will explain. In November last year, the blue carbon international policy challenge that the...

Scottish Parliament: Four-day Working Week (20 Apr 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: It is clear from the trials that a four-day working week benefits workers and businesses, with a better work-life balance and greater productivity. The Scottish Government has the power to introduce a four-day week in the public sector, so can the minister confirm when the Government will expand four-day working week trials in the public sector and whether workers in non-unionised workplaces,...

Scottish Parliament: Ferries (20 Apr 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: It was right that Ferguson Marine was brought into public ownership, because its closure would have led to the loss of hundreds of skilled jobs and further weakened Scotland’s industrial base. However, although public ownership is welcome, the Scottish Government’s mismanagement of Ferguson Marine is not. The Government could have used public ownership of the company to drive the...

Scottish Parliament: Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (31 Mar 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: When the closure of Dundee’s Michelin factory was announced in 2018, the company committed to involving Unite the union in development of the new innovation park on the site. Michelin also committed to offering the first opportunities for re-employment to former Michelin staff, and to encouraging new companies that were coming to the site to do the same. Given that the Scottish Government...

Scottish Parliament: Department for Work and Pensions (Office Estate) (31 Mar 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: 4. To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the Department for Work and Pensions regarding proposed changes to its office estate that could result in job losses in the north-east and elsewhere in Scotland. (S6O-00953)

Scottish Parliament: Department for Work and Pensions (Office Estate) (31 Mar 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: Last September, the First Minister announced the creation of more than 2,000 jobs in Social Security Scotland by the end of this year. The DWP staff who are at risk of redundancy have a high level of expertise in delivering social security benefits, which could prove to be useful in supporting roll-out of new devolved benefits. Therefore, will the minister commit to working with the PCS...

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Natural Capital (31 Mar 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: I thank the minister for advance sight of her statement. However, given that an important statement on ferries was bumped for this one, it really ought to have contained a lot more substance. Today’s statement does nothing to address the fact that Scotland’s land market continues to be dominated by private investment and that wealthy individuals continue to own vast amounts of land. The...

Scottish Parliament: Investment in Natural Capital (31 Mar 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: Will the minister answer the question?

Scottish Parliament: Social Housing (Shortage) (30 Mar 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: As well as the on-going shortage of social housing, there is a lack of democracy in respect of rent increases in the social rented sector. Most social landlords conduct limited consultation of tenants and present them with no choice other than to accept a rent increase. The tenants union Living Rent is calling for statutory and binding rent consultations that present a real choice to tenants...

Scottish Parliament: General Practitioners (North East Scotland) (24 Mar 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: One of the key reasons that was used to justify the tendering of Old Aberdeen medical practice was to improve the sustainability of GP services in the city, but many of the city’s practices are now facing closure and unsustainable GP to patient ratios, which poses a threat to patient care. The last time that I asked cabinet secretary to meet those who are affected, he said that he would...

Scottish Parliament: Wealth Tax (24 Mar 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: Millions of workers are facing a cost of living crisis that they did not create. The People’s Assembly has been organising mass demonstrations up and down the country to make it clear that workers cannot pay—and will not pay—for the crisis. Campaigners are calling for the introduction of a wealth tax on the richest 1 per cent, which would raise £14 billion a year for tackling the cost...

Scottish Parliament: Farm Improvements (24 Mar 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: In response to my colleague, Martin Whitfield, in September, the cabinet secretary said that food should be “processed as close as possible to the point of primary production”—[ Official Report , 2 September 2021; c 46.] She also committed the Scottish Government to working with any operators that are looking to take forward a mobile abattoir model. Now that six months have passed, can...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 Recovery (Support) (23 Mar 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: Universities are a vital part of many local communities, and we must ensure that they recover from the pandemic in a way that protects the health of students and staff. However, in light of rising Covid cases nationally, we continue to see outbreaks in universities such as the University of St Andrews, where more than 450 students tested positive in a single week. Does the Scottish Government...

Scottish Parliament: Offshore Energy Sector (Skills Transition) (23 Mar 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: 2. To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking, in relation to green skills, to remove barriers facing offshore oil and gas workers in transitioning to green jobs in the offshore energy sector. (S6O-00903)

Scottish Parliament: Offshore Energy Sector (Skills Transition) (23 Mar 2022)

Mercedes Villalba: I look forward to meeting the minister tomorrow, alongside trade unions and climate campaigners, to discuss the need for an offshore training passport. Another barrier that faces offshore oil and gas workers in transitioning to green jobs is the poor employment practices in the offshore wind supply chain. The Scottish Government often talks about its commitment to fair work, so will it...


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