I have not brought my Santa suit, so I will not be Santa today. However, the project that Jackie Baillie mentioned sounds very worthy, so if she provides me with more details, I will be very willing to look at that area to see whether we can do more.
Bill Bowman welcomed the rise in self-employment activity. I welcome that cautiously, because I think that members would accept that a number of reasons have driven that rise. Some of those are positive—we are debating those today—but emergent changes in our economy have also led to a rise in self-employment in a way that is not so positive, because people are being driven to forms of employment where they do not have the full benefits and protections that someone in a traditional form of employment would have. Our labour market strategy is focusing on that, as is the strategic labour market group that I chair, so that we can better understand it.
I have taken more time than I meant to take in responding to everyone’s contributions. There is a range of activity under way through our framework. I will shortly be taking forward an action group to further embed the work that we do so that we can bring forward new ideas and continue to build on them.
I am delighted that we have had this debate. I should of course quickly thank Women’s Enterprise Scotland, because it has representatives in the gallery, for all the work that it does. It will be a part of the action group. It is a fantastic organisation that I have been happy to work with in the past and I will be happy to work with it again.
Let us commit to returning to this subject annually. It is clear that Ms Martin has grabbed the market in this regard and I am sure that it will be the subject of her members’ business debate again next year. I agree with Jackie Baillie that we should not just commit ourselves to having this debate once a year; we should think about the subject regularly. I commit myself to doing so and I am very happy to work with members the length and breadth of the chamber, across all parties, to that end.
13:30 Meeting suspended.
14:15 On resuming—