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Transport (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th October 2019.

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Photo of Colin Smyth Colin Smyth Labour

I welcome Michael Matheson’s amendment 38. As he said, it was lodged in response to a stage 2 amendment in my name that aimed to ensure that we set high-level principles for our transport system in legislation. I am grateful to the cabinet secretary’s officials for liaising with me when determining the wording of the amendment.

Transport has a key role to play in realising human rights, improving health, tackling air pollution and climate change, promoting economic growth and equality and supporting social inclusion. I believe that it is right that we are clear about the relationship between our transport system and our society more broadly, and the aims that are set out in subsection (5) in amendment 38 capture that well.

In particular, I draw attention to the inclusion of fair work, which again responds to a stage 2 amendment in my name. We have seen a race to the bottom in areas such as staff terms and conditions in the privatised, fragmented transport system that we have, and that needs to be addressed. Any company or organisation that receives public money should be required to deliver decent terms and conditions for its workers. I hope that we will see a strengthened fair work framework in the future that will properly include collective bargaining and trade union representation as part of the requirements that are placed on those who receive public money to deliver transport services.

Amendment 38 makes it clear that the principles that are set out in the bill should be delivered through the upcoming national transport strategy. That clear statutory underpinning is useful, and I hope that the new national transport strategy and the policy and budgetary decisions that follow will be consistent with the values and aims that are set out in this welcome amendment.