Named Person Policy

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 8th September 2016.

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Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour

I also thank the Deputy First Minister for early sight of his statement.

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Deputy First Minister knows that Labour supports the principle of the named person policy. The measures that he is taking to resolve the issues over information sharing are therefore welcome. However, exactly because we want it to work, we have to face up to the fact that the policy has lost the confidence of many Scottish families. Fixing that is as important as fixing the information-sharing section of the 2014 act.

Responding to the requirements of the Supreme Court judgment is a necessary but not sufficient response.

To that end, we have suggested that we use the opportunity of the pause to remove 16 and 17-year-olds from the scope of the policy. To include them was a mistake. To many people, it seems absurd, given that a 16-year-old can vote, marry, work and pay tax as an adult. To remove them would be a strong signal that, although the Government is not surrendering on named person policy, it is listening—and not only to the Supreme Court. Will the Deputy First Minister undertake to remove 16 and 17-year-olds from the scope of the legislation?