Malcolm supports the interests of children facing homelessness
Question on Violence Against Women and Children (Funding for Services) Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab):
To ask the Scottish Executive whether the violence against women fund, the Rape Crisis specific fund and the children's services Women's Aid fund will be maintained in 2011-12 and, if so, at what level. (S3O-12179)

Alex Neil (The Minister for Housing and Communities):
Funding for work to tackle violence against women remains a top priority for the Scottish Government. The equality budget for 2011-12, from which violence against women funding is allocated, has been retained at its 2010-11 level. We have done that because we believe that in the current economic climate, it is crucial to continue to promote equality, protect front-line services and support our families and communities. We will continue to support work to tackle violence against women, but we have not yet made decisions about the precise allocation of the equality budget. We will do so as soon as possible.

Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab):
I thank the minister for that answer, although it is regrettable that he could not say anything more definite today. Will he assure us and, more important, those who work in the field that, given that the budget line has not been cut in cash terms, the funding levels for violence against women work will also not be cut in cash terms? Will he remember that important violence against women work is also done by local authorities? Will he try to raise with his colleagues the issue of ensuring that violence against women work and funding are built into the concordat with local government? Unfortunately, at present, that is not the case.

Alex Neil (The Minister for Housing and Communities):
As I said, we are still to take decisions on the precise allocation, but we will be maintaining the overall budget in respect of violence against women, which of course incorporates a number of programmes. As I said, there is no cash cut in the budget for equalities and we intend to maintain our commitment to tackling violence against women and to the programmes, funding for which has been doubled in the past three years or so.

We are in constant touch with local authorities and, through the national violence against women group, which I chair, we are discussing how to ensure that throughout Scotland the right levels of support and funding are made available for services.
December 2nd 2010 (Column 31200-1) Malcolm Chisholm (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab):
To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with the UK Government following its decision not to commence the socioeconomic duty in the Equality Act 2010. (S3W-37919)

Alex Neil (The Minister for Housing and Communities):
I wrote to the UK Minister for Women and Equalities on 2 December 2010 expressing disappointment that the UK Government propose to not commence the socio-economic duty. I urged the UK Government to commence Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010, and to consult fully with the Scottish Government before a final decision is taken.
December 6th 2010