Children (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 27th May 2020.

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Photo of Liam Kerr Liam Kerr Conservative

I am grateful for that. I am grateful to both members for their interventions, because the point is well made. However, I want to develop it slightly, because Stand Up For Siblings, Clan Childlaw and CELSIS went on to say that the financial memorandum does not set out the cost implications for local authorities of implementing the duty.

The minister will remember that, in committee, I questioned her on whether, without additional resources, it would in any event be possible to give effect to the duty in practice. Her view was that the practice should already be happening so the provision is cost neutral. Leaving aside the fact that I hope that the data to back that up will be forthcoming, I note that I pressed her on her use of the word “should”. I worry that, if that is not happening, there will logically be costs for compliance, which should be budgeted for in the financial memorandum, and that, if the resources are not there, it will offer a reason for non-compliance. The minister’s reply was brief. She said simply—