Briefing: Coming up at Holyrood…

MSPs return to business as critical week for Brexit looms at Westminster

Monday 2nd September 2019

With Brexit dominating the headlines, it may feel as if there has been little break from politics over the summer.

However this week MSPs and MPs return from recess, with a new parliamentary year getting underway at both Holyrood and Westminster.

The Scottish Government’s unveiling of its plans for legislation in the coming year will dominate the beginning of the new session of the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

The Programme for Government is expected to outline 14 new bills, with business secretary Michael Russell saying it will set out “radical and wide-ranging domestic policies”.

The Health & Sport Committee will also have its first meeting of the new session on Tuesday. MSPs will be hearing from representatives of NHS Highland as part of evidence sessions being held to scrutinise health boards.

In the coming months, the committee will start stage two of its inquiry into the future of primary care by holding a series of evidence sessions with allied health and primary care professionals, GPs and the voluntary sector.

A call for views on this stage of the inquiry closed on August 28, with a number of written responses submitted.

To complement the work being done around primary care, the Health & Sport Committee is also holding a short inquiry to consider how social prescribing could tackle physical and mental wellbeing issues across Scotland, which included a call for written views.

A one-off evidence session with practitioners, professionals and academics is currently scheduled to take place on October 29.

Other work on the agenda for the committee will include the publication of a pre-budget report in September/October, containing recommendations to the Scottish Government on the health and sport budget,

The Public Petitions Committee will resume its work with a meeting on Thursday.

On the same day, the Social Security Committee will hold an evidence session with public health experts and charity representatives looking at the issue of benefit take-up.

While Holyrood gets back to business, of course much of the focus at Westminster will be on Brexit, with a critical week ahead as opposition MPs attempt to stop a no-deal Brexit.

The past weeks have seen a series of warnings over the impact of leaving the EU without a deal – including charities raising concerns about a ‘regression in rights and standards’ and medical groups expressing fear over the impact on the health and care of patients.

With the UK scheduled to leave the EU on October 31, Brexit is set to continue dominating the political landscape for the coming weeks.