Early Speech and Language Development

Motion S4M-13709: Richard Simpson, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish Labour
That Parliament welcomes the new report from the Read on Get on campaign; agrees that early attention to language development before entering primary school is critical; notes that, despite the Labour/Liberal Democrat administration introducing free nursery school education for three and four-year-olds and the subsequent expansion of entitlement by the SNP administration, this report states that “Scotland is still one of the most unfair countries in the developed world with family background mattering more to an individual’s life-chances in our country than in many other rich nations; notes that high levels of child poverty are associated with Scotland’s stubborn history of educational inequality, with the lottery of birth mattering more than a child’s efforts at school or their talents”; notes what it sees as the key role that speech and language therapists (SLT) play in supporting parents and the whole children’s workforce to make sure that every child achieves the best possible speech, language and communication ability; notes that the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists highlights in the report, challenges in supporting speech, language and communication in early years, arguing that there is limited understanding of the added value of SLT at strategic and operational levels an underutilisation of SLT in Scotland and ongoing funding cuts for the organisation; notes that the Health and Sport Committee’s own survey of SLT provision, in response to petition PE 1384, reported in 2013 and identified over two years an average 8.8% decrease in funding for SLT across Scotland, with over 20% cuts applied by both the NHS and local authorities in some areas, and understands that, anecdotally, this trend continues, and calls on the Scottish Government to review the workforce planning and post-graduation support for speech and language therapists to ensure that every early learning and childcare setting has access to speech and language therapy graduates, some of whom are unemployed, and to implement the recommendations of the report.

News from Dr Richard Simpson MSP: MSP calls for answer on ScotRail shambles

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP has called for answers from the SNP Government in Edinburgh on Scotland’s railways.

Services across Scotland will be reduced by a third on Sunday due to ongoing disputes with Aslef, the train drivers’ union.

Scottish Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpson said that drivers having to volunteer for Sunday shifts was ‘ridiculous’ as it emerged Dutch firm Abellio, who run the franchise, did not bid for the service on the basis of a seven day working week.

The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP backs a Peoples’ ScotRail, where a non-profit public sector organisation could bid to run Scotland’s railways

Scottish Labour has called for Keith Brown to answer why the bid wasn’t for a seven day week, and what, if any, agreements in the deal have been breached.

Scottish Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Dr Richard Simpson, said:

“This is a complete and utter shambles, it seems beyond belief that in 21st century Scotland a seven day working week was not factored into a multi-year, multi-million rail service that the people of Mid Scotland and Fife are paying for.

“No one wants to see industrial action but to end up in the situation where drivers have to volunteer for shifts to get them covered is ridiculous.

“Last year the SNP Government in Edinburgh hailed this deal, worth hundreds of millions of taxpayer cash, as world leading and cost effective – so why is it running into such problems so soon?

“The SNP need to explain why a seven day working week wasn’t factored into the bidding process, and clarify what, if any, agreements in the franchise have been breached.

“If there have been breaches to the agreement months into the deal, then the SNP Government should be looking for compensation to the public purse – taxpayers in Mid Scotland and Fife shouldn’t have to pay for cancelled services.

“Scottish Labour back a People’s ScotRail which would allow for a public sector non-profit bid to run the railways, an operator that would be more accountable to the Scottish public. After the problems since Abellio took over, it is an idea whose time has come.”



You can see cancelled services here – http://www.scotrail.co.uk/about-scotrail/news/changes-sunday-timetables

Last year, then SNP Transport Minister Keith Brown hailed the deal as ‘world leading’


Abellio prepared Q&A for staff transferring to the new franchise which says:

Do you have plans to make Sunday part of the working week?

As you can imagine, this is a debate that is often played out in our other TOCs! Some employees are keen, others not so and of course there has to be a business case that makes it a sensible proposition. Bringing Sundays into the working week was not part of our bid. We would not rule out discussions at some point over the franchise period, but it would need constructive negotiations with your Trade Unions and representatives to make it a cost effective option.