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No.57 Thursday 10 March 2005

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1.      NHS Dentistry: Shona Robison moved S2M-2549—That the Parliament is concerned about Scotland’s poor dental health record; notes that only 3.5% of dentists anticipate increasing their NHS provision in the foreseeable future; recognises that if access to NHS dentistry is not improved, then the commitment to provide universal free oral health assessments by 2007 may not be met, and therefore believes that, in order to meet this pledge and safeguard the future of NHS dentistry, the Scottish Executive must provide incentives for dentists to undertake more preventive work including a significant increase in the fee level for oral health assessments, assist dentists more with infrastructure costs in return for greater NHS commitment, reduce bureaucracy and simplify the current fee scale and expand the number of NHS salaried dentists and address dental workforce shortages by increasing the number of dental undergraduates and expanding the role and number of professionals complementary to dentistry.

The Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care (Rhona Brankin) moved amendment S2M-2549.1 to motion S2M-2549—

Leave out from “is concerned” to end and insert—

“recognises the need to tackle Scotland’s poor oral health and improve access to NHS dental services; acknowledges the actions already taken by the Scottish Executive to improve oral health and to recruit and retain dental professionals in the NHS; recognises that further work needs to be undertaken to respond to the outcome of the consultations, Towards Better Oral Health in Children and Modernising NHS Dental Services in Scotland; notes that the Executive’s response to the consultations, to be published very shortly, will include measures to address the Partnership Agreement commitments on workforce numbers, training and prevention including free dental checks and will identify the resources needed, and calls on NHS boards, higher education institutions, local authorities, the British Dental Association and the wider professions to engage positively with the Executive after publication to bring early and sustained benefits to the oral health of people in Scotland.”

Nanette Milne moved amendment S2M-2549.2 to motion S2M-2549—

Leave out from “recognises” to end and insert—

“and believes that in order to safeguard the future of NHS dentistry the Scottish Executive should move from fee-based remuneration to capitation-based funding in order to remove incentives for over-treatment and promote preventive measures, expand the role and number of professionals complementary to dentistry in order to free up time for dentists to focus on continuing care, reduce bureaucracy and continue with the development of outreach centres to encourage students to remain in Scotland after graduation.”

After debate, amendment 2549.1 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 72, Against  47, Abstentions 0). As a result, amendment 2549.2 was pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 73, Against 16, Abstentions 30).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the need to tackle Scotland’s poor oral health and improve access to NHS dental services; acknowledges the actions already taken by the Scottish Executive to improve oral health and to recruit and retain dental professionals in the NHS; recognises that further work needs to be undertaken to respond to the outcome of the consultations, Towards Better Oral Health in Children and Modernising NHS Dental Services in Scotland; notes that the Executive’s response to the consultations, to be published very shortly, will include measures to address the Partnership Agreement commitments on workforce numbers, training and prevention including free dental checks and will identify the resources needed, and calls on NHS boards, higher education institutions, local authorities, the British Dental Association and the wider professions to engage positively with the Executive after publication to bring early and sustained benefits to the oral health of people in Scotland.

2.      Early Years Education and Childcare:  Fiona Hyslop moved S2M-2547—That the Parliament recognises the vital role of early years education and the importance of quality, accessible childcare in stimulating children’s development and supporting working families in particular and the wider economy and society generally; notes with concern the delay in the publication of the national strategy for early years with provision for a national settlement for nursery nurses from the Scottish Executive; supports the immediate extension of free nursery education for three and four-year-olds to a full half day from the current part-time provision and the extension of “nurture groups” across Scotland for vulnerable young pupils, and recognises, however, that in order for Scotland to be able to shape and deliver comprehensive early education and childcare the Scottish government needs to have powers over tax and benefits in order to provide a universal entitlement to emulate the provision of Scandinavian countries who spend four times the proportion of their GDP in support of children in the early years as Scotland.

The Deputy Minister for Education and Young People (Euan Robson) moved amendment S2M-2547.1 to motion S2M-2547—

Leave out from “notes” to end and insert—

“supports the Scottish Executive’s aim to provide more flexible and available childcare to all; acknowledges the significant successes already achieved through the Scottish Childcare Strategy, including making available free part-time pre-school education for every three and four-year-old, establishing a coherent regulatory framework under the Care Commission and expanding childcare provision across all sectors, and endorses the Executive’s commitment to universal early education and childcare services with specific support to disadvantaged groups, including those for whom lack of childcare is a barrier to employment, education or training.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 32, Abstentions 23).

Bill Aitken moved amendment S2M-2547.2 to motion S2M-2547—

Leave out from “working families” to end and insert—

“parents who choose to work; notes that both the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee are currently reviewing early years provision, including issues of recruitment and retention of staff and pay and conditions, and believes that parents must have the flexibility to choose the form of nursery education best suited to their family circumstances and that a nursery voucher that can be topped up represents the best way to achieve this.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 101, Abstentions 1).

Rosemary Byrne moved amendment S2M-2547.3 to motion S2M-2547—

Leave out from “in particular” to end and insert—

“; calls for a recognition of the professionalism of nursery nurses and the immediate establishment of national pay and conditions commensurate with that professionalism; further calls for an immediate response from the Minister for Education and Young People regarding the delay in the publication of the national strategy for early years; demands a system of accessible childcare and nursery education publicly-funded and free at the point of need for all families; supports the wisdom of early intervention in the early stages of education and the implementation of developmental needs provision rather than formal learning, and calls for appropriate support for children with special educational needs and social, emotional and behavioural difficulties and also appropriate support for parents and carers of these children.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 40, Against 78, Abstentions 1).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to to ((DT) by division: For 67, Against 0, Abstentions 52).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the vital role of early years education and the importance of quality, accessible childcare in stimulating children’s development and supporting working families in particular and the wider economy and society generally; supports the Scottish Executive’s aim to provide more flexible and available childcare to all; acknowledges the significant successes already achieved through the Scottish Childcare Strategy, including making available free part-time pre-school education for every three and four-year-old, establishing a coherent regulatory framework under the Care Commission and expanding childcare provision across all sectors, and endorses the Executive’s commitment to universal early education and childcare services with specific support to disadvantaged groups, including those for whom lack of childcare is a barrier to employment, education or training.

3.      First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

4.      Question Time: Questions were answered by the Minister for Transport (Nicol Stephen); by the Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson), and by other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

5.      Infrastructure Investment Plan: The Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform (Mr Tom McCabe) moved S2M-2554—That the Parliament welcomes the record level of infrastructure investment, as set out in the first infrastructure plan for Scotland, Building a Better Scotland: Infrastructure Investment Plan: Investing in the Future of Scotland; acknowledges that the plan addresses the problems bequeathed by decades of underinvestment; recognises that the Scottish Executive is open to working across the public and private sectors in order to ensure that Scotland has the modern infrastructure that is necessary to support economic growth and secure an improved quality of life for the people of Scotland, and agrees that the infrastructure plan will deliver, for the long term, better public services, improved transport infrastructure, modernised colleges and universities, new hospitals, improved housing and new schools.

Jim Mather moved amendment S2M-2554.1 to motion S2M-2554—

Leave out from “acknowledges” to end and insert—

“and regrets that this investment is not being matched with other credible measures by the Scottish Executive that could genuinely and incrementally increase sustainable economic growth in Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 26, Against 83, Abstentions 10).

Brian Monteith moved amendment S2M-2554.2 to motion S2M-2554—

Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

“recognises the substantial level of capital invested in infrastructure in Scotland by successive Conservative governments between 1979 and 1997 which included, amongst many projects, the M8 motorway extension, the Edinburgh City Bypass, upgrade of the A74 to motorway status, the first M77 motorway section, dualling of the A90 and key sections of the A96, the Dunblane by-pass, dualling of sections of the A9, dualling of the A1 between Edinburgh and Haddington, the St James Interchange at Glasgow Airport, dualling of the northern stretch of the A737, dualling of the A78 to by-pass Troon and Loans, dualling of the A71 from Irvine to Kilmarnock, the Dornoch Firth Bridge, the Kessock Bridge, the Kylesku Bridge, reopening of the Edinburgh to Bathgate railway line, electrification of the East Coast main line, electrification of the North Berwick spur line, electrification of the Glasgow to Ayr railway line, the Skye Bridge development, a new ferry service between Campbeltown and Northern Ireland, a new air traffic control centre, the redevelopment of Aberdeen Airport, £8 billion invested in council houses across Scotland, the New Life for Urban Scotland programme, Western Isles Hospital, Caithness Hospital, medicine for the elderly wards and a day hospital at Perth Royal Infirmary, a neo-natal intensive care ward and a midwife-led unit at Forth Park Hospital, a new phase of the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline, St John’s Hospital at Livingston, Ayr Hospital, major refurbishment to Stirling Royal Infirmary, major refurbishment to Falkirk Royal Infirmary, HM Prison Shotts Phase 2, Peterhead Power Station, Torness Power Station, Greengairs Power Station, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, the Dean Gallery, the Royal Museum of Scotland extension and renovation of the National Library of Scotland; recalls that many of the infrastructure achievements that the Scottish Executive now takes credit for, such as seven new hospital developments, namely the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Wishaw General Hospital, Hairmyres Hospital, East Ayrshire Community Hospital, Glasgow Royal Infirmary extension, the Western General Hospital extension and Southern Isles Community Hospital, were in fact part of the Conservative Scottish Office programme; reminds members of the Parliament that the Scottish Office between 1997 and 1999 postponed further infrastructure projects by introducing a moratorium on roads spending for two years which delayed initiatives such as the A8000 upgrade to dual carriageway, the new Kincardine Bridge, the Kincardine Bypass and the M74 extension; is pleased to celebrate this year the 10th anniversary of the National Lottery which brought a new and very substantial income stream for capital investment in public buildings that would otherwise not have been built or renovated; notes that increases in spending by the Executive have not led to improvements in service delivery; believes that the Executive has thus far demonstrated that it has a poor record of spending taxpayers’ money wisely; welcomes the fact that the Executive is open to working across public and private sectors in order to ensure that we have the modern infrastructure Scotland needs, and believes, however, that in order to support economic growth the Executive needs to cut business rates to at least the same poundage as in England, invest more significantly in roads and transport, open up Scottish Water to full competition and greater investment through privatisation and cut red tape.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 15, Against 103, Abstentions 1).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 51, Abstentions 3).

6.      Business Motion: The Minister for Parliamentary Business, (Ms Margaret Curran) on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2537—That the Parliament agrees that the Justice 1 Committee report to the Justice 2 Committee by 8 April 2005 on the Criminal Legal Aid (Fixed Payments) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005.

The motion was agreed to.

7.      Business Motion: The Minister for Parliamentary Business (Ms Margaret Curran), on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2538—That the Parliament agrees that Stage 2 of the Transport (Scotland) Bill be completed by 24 May 2005.

The motion was agreed to.

8.      Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2 and 5 as noted above.

9.      Scottish Mini-Olympics: The Parliament debated S2M-2516 in the name of Robert Brown—That the Parliament notes Glasgow’s poor health record, including high rates of coronary heart disease and stroke; welcomes initiatives to increase physical exercise, including the active school programme, the commitment to ensure two hours of physical education (PE) for schoolchildren every week and the new network of sports facilities across Scotland; believes that developing a competitive spirit in schools and sports clubs and encouraging young people to have a desire to win, whilst concentrating on self-improvement, is central to sporting endeavour; further believes that it is the role of government to provide opportunities for everyone to be physically active for life from a young age; considers that the Scottish Executive, sportscotland, local authorities and other interested organisations should promote sporting competition by establishing a biannual Scottish mini-Olympics for young people at school in which 32 teams, one from every local authority area, would compete against each other in various Olympic-style events, such as track and field and swimming; further considers that Scotland’s towns and cities could bid for the right to host the Scottish mini-Olympics every two years, whilst allowing Glasgow to be the first host; further considers that local businesses and community leaders could back their local team at these mini-Olympics through local hero bursary schemes and general support, and believes that bringing back retired PE teachers could help in the training of young Scots in sport, particularly in the run-up to the proposed mini-Olympics.

The meeting closed at 5.58 pm.

No.58 Wednesday 16 March 2005

The meeting opened at 2.30 pm.

1.      Time for Reflection:  Rev Graham K Blount, Scottish Churches Parliamentary Officer led Time for Reflection.

2.      Procedures Committee Report, Procedures in Relation to the Commissioner for Public Appointments Karen Gillon moved S2M-2569—That the Parliament notes the Procedures Committee’s 3rd Report 2005 (Session 2), Procedures in relation to the Commissioner for Public Appointments (SP Paper 304), and agrees that the changes to Standing Orders set out in Annexe A to the report be made with effect from 18 March 2005.

After debate, the motion was agreed to (DT).

3.      Housing: The Deputy Minister for Communities (Johann Lamont) moved S2M-2585—That the Parliament acknowledges the wide range of policies outlined in Homes for Scotland’s People to increase the quantity and improve the quality of homes in both the social rented and private sectors; welcomes the £1.2 billion investment to achieve the three-year target of 21,500 affordable homes and the 23% increase in the Communities Scotland budget for next year; endorses the Homestake initiative to help first-time buyers and others into home ownership; acknowledges new planning advice setting a benchmark, where need is demonstrated, of 25% of all new housing development to be affordable homes; supports recent announcements and ongoing work to develop water and sewerage infrastructure for new housing and boost the availability of land, and welcomes the Housing (Scotland) Bill published last week which will seek to raise standards in the private housing sector and strengthen the rights of private sector tenants.

Linda Fabiani moved amendment S2M-2585.2 to motion S2M-2585—

Leave out from “to increase the quantity” to end and insert—

“and, while welcoming the Housing (Scotland) Bill, notes that the target of 21,500 affordable homes over three years has to be offset against the 18,000 homes per year sold under the right to buy; therefore calls for the right to buy to be reformed for new tenants, while preserving the rights of existing tenants; further acknowledges the insurmountable difficulties for many young people in a first-time purchase, and calls for the introduction of a range of financial packages to assist first-time buyers, including a first-time buyers’ grant.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 25, Against 76, Abstentions 12).

Mary Scanlon moved amendment S2M-2585.4 to motion S2M-2585—

Leave out from second “acknowledges” to end and insert—

 “and supports extra funding to be given to other low-cost home ownership schemes; is concerned that local authorities are unable to meet the requirements of the Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2004; acknowledges that, under the Conservative’s right to buy policy, home ownership in Scotland has increased from 35% in 1979 to over 65% today, with around 400,000 tenants exercising the right to buy since 1980, and believes that the right to buy should be protected for the next generation of homeowners in Scotland; supports recent announcements and ongoing work to develop water and sewerage infrastructure for new housing and boost the availability of land, and welcomes some parts of the Housing (Scotland) Bill published last week which will bring improvements to private sector housing but is opposed to Part 3 of the Bill, the introduction of the Single Seller Survey.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 14, Against 97, Abstentions 2).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 86, Against 16, Abstentions  11).

4.      Scottish Commission for Public Audit:  Robert Brown, on behalf of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, moved S2M-2511—That the Parliament agrees to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body’s proposal to appoint George Lyon to be a member of the Scottish Commission for Public Audit.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

5.      Business Motion:  Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2596—That the Parliament agrees

(a) the following programme of business—

Wednesday 23 March 2005

2.30 pm                          Time for Reflection

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Executive Debate: Growing an Enterprise Culture

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm                          Decision Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

Thursday 24 March 2005

9.30 am                          Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Scottish National Party Business

12 noon                          First Minister’s Question Time

2.00 pm                          Question Time—

                                      Environment and Rural Development;

                                      Health and Community Care;

                                      General Questions

3.00 pm                          Executive Debate: Life Sciences

followed by                      Business Motion

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm                          Decision Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

Wednesday 13 April 2005

9.30 am                          Time for Reflection

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Independents’ Group Business

2.30 pm                          Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Executive Business

followed by                      Business Motion

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm                          Decision Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

Thursday 14 April 2005

9.15 am                          Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by                      Scottish National Party Business

11.40 am                        General Question Time

12 noon                          First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm                          Themed Question Time—

                                      Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport;

                                      Justice and Law Officers

2.55 pm                          Executive Business

followed by                      Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm                          Decision Time

followed by                      Members’ Business

and (b) that the period for members to submit their names for selection for General Question Time and Themed Question Time on 14 April 2005 should end at 12 noon on Thursday 24 March 2005.

The motion was agreed to.

6.      Approval of SSI:  Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2587—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Advice and Assistance (Assistance by Way of Representation) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

7.      Approval of SSI:  Ms Margaret Curran, on  behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2588—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Advice and Assistance (Financial Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8.      Approval of SSI:  Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2589—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Civil Legal Aid (Financial Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

9.      Approval of SSI:  Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2590—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Housing Support Grant (Scotland) Order 2005 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

10.   Establishment of Committee: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2591—That the Parliament agrees to establish a committee of the Parliament as follows—

Name of Committee: The Baird Trust Reorganisation Bill Committee;

Remit: To consider and report to the Parliament on the Baird Trust Reorganisation Bill;

Duration: Until the Bill has received Royal Assent, falls or is withdrawn;

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Liberal Democrat Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Labour Party;

Membership: Trish Godman (Labour), Scott Barrie (Labour), Mr Kenny MacAskill (SNP), Mr David Davidson (Conservative) and Mr Andrew Arbuckle (Liberal Democrat).

The motion was agreed to (DT).

11.  Designation of Lead Committee:  Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2592—That the Parliament agrees that the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Antisocial Behaviour (Fixed Penalty Notice) (Additional Information) (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/130).

The motion was agreed to (DT).

12.    Designation of Lead Committee:  Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2593—That the Parliament agrees that the Justice 1 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Bail Conditions (Specification of Devices) and Restriction of Liberty Order (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/142).

The motion was agreed to (DT).

13.    Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 as noted above.

14.  Franz Ferdinand Rocks: The Parliament debated S2M-2425 in the name of Pauline McNeill—That the Parliament congratulates Franz Ferdinand on winning the Best British Band and Best Rock Act awards at the 25th Brit Awards; welcomes the First Minister’s view that Scotland should be a future host to the Brit Awards; notes that Scotland has an abundance of talented musicians, demonstrated by the fact that 11 acts are to appear at the international music festival in Texas, South by Southwest; believes that Scotland has a strong contemporary music industry which makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy, comprising of small, medium and large companies; supports the work of the Cross Party Group on the Scottish Contemporary Music Industry which brings together virtually all strands of the music industry; recognises the commitment of the Scottish Executive to the industry and the funding of research into the feasibility of creating a music industry forum; further recognises initiatives such as Music Works, funded by Scottish Enterprise, and the need for the enterprise agencies to promote a distinct music industry strategy so as to encourage further development of Scottish-based musicians and related business activity, and sends its good wishes to all bands who are participating in South by Southwest.

15.   Motion without Notice: Rob Gibson moved without notice that, under Rule 8.14.3, the debate be extended until 6.03 pm.

The meeting closed at 6.03 pm.

No.59 Thursday 17 March 2005

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1.      Education: Lord James Douglas-Hamilton moved S2M-2597—That the Parliament acknowledges that, as a result of the current government’s centralising agenda and top-down approach, education in Scotland is characterised by low levels of attainment, alarming levels of indiscipline in too many of our schools, inadequate vocational provision and over-regulation; believes that developing a system of independently-managed but publicly-funded schools will reduce inequality by giving all parents a choice of school for their children; believes that, as well as supporting alternatives to exclusion, headteachers should have the right in statute to exclude violent and disruptive pupils permanently; opposes the repeal of the School Boards Act 1988 and believes that parents should retain their statutory rights regarding the appointment of headteachers and deputy headteachers; supports the retention of charitable status for independent schools and the extension of this status to all schools that wish it; believes that schools for children with special educational needs are vital to ensure that all are catered for and should be maintained where there is a demand, and notes that the direct funding of schools by the Scottish Executive on a per capita basis will create competition, drive up standards and benefit the council tax payer.

The Minister for Education and Young People (Peter Peacock) moved amendment S2M-2597.3 to motion S2M-2597—

Leave out from “acknowledges” to end and insert—

“recognises the dedication of teachers and support staff in Scotland’s schools to achieving excellent outcomes for the young people of Scotland; supports the Scottish Executive’s agenda for the most comprehensive modernisation programme in Scottish schools for a generation, as described in Ambitious, Excellent Schools; acknowledges the Executive’s commitment to building on the investment and successes in education over recent years; welcomes plans to bring a transformation in ambition and achievement through higher expectations for schools and school leadership, and recognises greater freedom for teachers and schools, better parental involvement and choice for pupils, increased and further enhancement of school/college partnerships to extend learning opportunities for pupils and better support for learning so that the individual needs of young people can be better met through tough, intelligent accountabilities to drive improvement.”

Fiona Hyslop moved amendment S2M-2597.1 to motion S2M-2597—

Leave out from “acknowledges” to end and insert—

“recognises the efforts of teachers to deliver a quality education for pupils in increasingly challenging circumstances, the potential of Scotland's pupils to succeed and the need for national government resources, which directly impact on the classroom experience, to provide sufficient time and attention for pupils from teachers in a peaceful, stimulating environment with a relevant, flexible curriculum for them to achieve that potential, and calls on the Scottish Executive to, in particular, develop policies to cut class sizes, to examine the plethora of initiatives and complexity of competitively bid-for funding streams and to reassess the impact of, and support given to, its social inclusion and mainstreaming agenda to ensure that all children can get the most out of their time in school education.”

Tommy Sheridan moved amendment S2M-2597.2 to motion S2M-2597—

Leave out from “acknowledges” to end and insert—

“fully endorses a comprehensive education system based on equality of opportunity for all from the nursery sector through to secondary education and beyond; supports a reduction in class sizes to no more than 20 or, indeed, less, along with suitably-qualified support teachers with expertise in working alongside classroom teachers to support pupils with special educational needs and social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, and recognises that early intervention in early years, learning styles and developing emotional intelligence are key areas that require different approaches to learning and teaching, alongside flexibility to ensure that all children and young people reach their potential.”

After debate, amendment S2M-2597.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 19, Abstentions 25).  As a result, amendments S2M-2597.1 and S2M-2597.2 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 17, Abstentions 28).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament “recognises the dedication of teachers and support staff in Scotland’s schools to achieving excellent outcomes for the young people of Scotland; supports the Scottish Executive’s agenda for the most comprehensive modernisation programme in Scottish schools for a generation, as described in Ambitious, Excellent Schools; acknowledges the Executive’s commitment to building on the investment and successes in education over recent years; welcomes plans to bring a transformation in ambition and achievement through higher expectations for schools and school leadership, and recognises greater freedom for teachers and schools, better parental involvement and choice for pupils, increased and further enhancement of school/college partnerships to extend learning opportunities for pupils and better support for learning so that the individual needs of young people can be better met through tough, intelligent accountabilities to drive improvement.”

2.      First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

3.      Question Time: Questions were answered by the Minister for Education and Young People (Peter Peacock) and the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport (Patricia Ferguson); by the Minister for Finance and Public Sector Reform (Mr Tom McCabe) and the Minister for Communities (Malcolm Chisholm); and by other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

4.      Ministerial Statement: The Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care (Rhona Brankin) made a statement and answered questions on Dentistry.

5.      Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill – Stage 1:  The Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson) moved S2M-2353—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT).

6.      Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill – Financial Resolution:  The Deputy Minister for Justice (Hugh Henry) moved S2M-2227—That the Parliament, for the purposes of any Act of the Scottish Parliament resulting from the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill, agrees to any increase in expenditure of a kind referred to in Rule 9.12.3(b)(iii) of the Parliament’s Standing Orders arising in consequence of the Act.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

7.      Business Motion:  Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2586—That the Parliament agrees—

(a)       that consideration of the Housing (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 1 July 2005;

(b)       that consideration of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Bill at Stage 2 be completed by 13 May 2005;

(c)        that consideration of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Bill at Stage 2 be completed by 25 May 2005;

(d)       that consideration of the Family Law (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 16 September 2005;

(e)       that the Justice 1 Committee report to the Justice 2 Committee by 15 April 2005 on the Antisocial Behaviour (Fixed Penalty Notice) (Additional Information) (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/130);

(f)         that the Justice 2 Committee report to the Justice 1 Committee by 15 April 2005 on the Bail Conditions (Specification of Devices) and Restriction of Liberty Order (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/142).

The motion was agreed to.

8.      Substitution on Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2598—That the Parliament agrees that Mr Brian Monteith be appointed to replace Mr David Davidson as the Conservative Party substitute on the Enterprise and Culture Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

9.      Substitution on Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2599—That the Parliament agrees that Mary Scanlon be appointed as the Conservative Party substitute on the Health Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

10.    Substitution on Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau moved S2M-2600—That the Parliament agrees that Mr David Davidson be appointed to replace Mr Brian Monteith as the Conservative Party substitute on the Local Government and Transport Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

11.   Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 as noted above.

12.   Commonwealth Week, 14 to 20 March 2005: Year of Africa: The Parliament debated S2M-2483 in the name of Margaret Ewing—That the Parliament welcomes the well-established work undertaken by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) (Scotland Branch) and the Scottish Executive since the establishment of the Parliament in 1999 to strengthen ties between Scotland and other Commonwealth countries; notes that this year the CPA (Scotland Branch) and the Executive have, as their key focus, sub-Saharan Africa; regards this as totally appropriate in the Year of Africa; welcomes Scotland’s long-standing humanitarian work to help the poorest nations in sub-Saharan Africa, and therefore considers that all MSPs should support sustained assistance which can eradicate poverty and the cycle of deprivation which causes millions of deaths per year in sub-Saharan Africa.

13.   Motion without Notice: Mrs Margaret Ewing moved without notice that, under Rule 8.14.3, the debate be extended until 6.15 pm. 

The meeting closed at 6.15 pm.

No. 60 Wednesday 23 March 2005

The meeting opened at 2.38 pm.

1. Time for Reflection: Christine Riddoch, Diocesan Youth Officer, Diocese of Paisley, led Time for Reflection.

2. Growing an Enterprise Culture: The Parliament debated the subject of growing an enterprise culture.

3. The Future of Clydeside Shipyards: The Parliament debated S2M-2276 in the name of Trish Godman—That the Parliament offers its compliments to the managements, workforces and trade union representatives of the shipyards of lower and upper Clyde who, over and beyond the superb ships they build, work so hard and in a spirit of co-operation to ensure that their maritime industry continues as a viable and important element of the local economies; believes that it is essential that the fine skills, employed in the yards, should be maintained and enhanced by sound apprenticeship schemes, and considers that the Scottish Executive should do everything in its power, on its own account and in co-operation with the appropriate UK ministers, to assist our Clydeside yards to secure vessel orders.

The meeting closed at 5.46 pm.

No. 61 Thursday 24 March 2005

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Firearms Legislation: Mr Kenny MacAskill moved S2M-2622—That the Parliament notes with concern recent tragedies involving firearms and the continuing dangers in our communities posed by both real and replica guns; recognises that, notwithstanding action taken after the Dunblane tragedy in 1996, there are ongoing difficulties and gaps in the current legislation; calls, therefore, for powers over firearms to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament in view of the distinctive nature of our society, the distinct nature of the gun problem in Scotland and the urgent needs in our communities, and further calls for a new and all-encompassing Firearms Act to clarify what constitutes a firearm, who may possess a firearm, the circumstances under which people may acquire, keep and use firearms and all other aspects relating to firearms, including authorisation, monitoring and revocation.

The Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson) moved amendment S2M-2622.2 to motion S2M-2622—

Leave out from "notes with concern" to end and insert—

"extends its sympathies to those affected by recent tragedies involving firearms; acknowledges that following the Dunblane tragedy in 1996 UK governments have considerably tightened firearms legislation so that the UK now has some of the toughest firearms laws in the world; welcomes additional action taken by the Scottish Executive to encourage people to hand in air weapons to the police; reaffirms the benefits of a UK-wide legal framework and system of gun control, and supports the Executive in its continuing engagement with the UK Government on the current wide-ranging and comprehensive review of firearms provisions."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 72, Against 28, Abstentions 10).

Amendment S2M-2622.1 was not moved.

The motion, as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 73, Against 25, Abstentions 12).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament extends its sympathies to those affected by recent tragedies involving firearms; acknowledges that following the Dunblane tragedy in 1996 UK governments have considerably tightened firearms legislation so that the UK now has some of the toughest firearms laws in the world; welcomes additional action taken by the Scottish Executive to encourage people to hand in air weapons to the police; reaffirms the benefits of a UK-wide legal framework and system of gun control, and supports the Executive in its continuing engagement with the UK Government on the current wide-ranging and comprehensive review of firearms provisions.

2. Nuclear Weapons: Roseanna Cunningham moved S2M-2640—That the Parliament is opposed to the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Scotland; believes that the existing Trident nuclear system which costs almost £1 billion annually to keep in operation should be scrapped; recognises that a decision on the replacement of Trident will require to be taken within the next UK Parliament; further recognises that the cost of replacing Trident would be over £20 billion, and wishes to register strong opposition to any proposal by Her Majesty’s Government to procure a replacement for the Trident nuclear system.

Scott Barrie moved amendment S2M-2640.4 to motion S2M-2640—

Leave out from "is opposed" to end and insert—

"acknowledges that defence and national security are matters reserved to the UK Parliament and acknowledges, in the words of the Government’s Strategic Defence Review, "the goal of the global elimination of nuclear weapons"; welcomes the many moves taken to reduce the number of weapons in the world including UK support for the convention to ban anti-personnel landmines, end-user certificates and other restrictions on the arms trade and the significant reductions in the UK’s nuclear weapons stockpile; notes the position of the Scottish National Party, in favour of withdrawal from the United Kingdom and NATO; recognises that withdrawal from the United Kingdom and from NATO would put at risk 25,000 direct MoD jobs in Scotland, 6,000 more dependent on MoD contracts and 12,000 more jobs supported by the military presence, and notes that between 2000 and 2004 the MoD placed 2,500 contracts in Scotland worth around £2 billion, all of which would be at risk under the SNP."

Robert Brown moved amendment S2M-2640.2 to motion S2M-2640—

Leave out from "is opposed" to end and insert—

"believes that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is central to nuclear weapons control; supports the universal ratification of, and adherence to, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; regrets that technology in the production of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, continues to advance and to proliferate around the globe; supports the retention, against this background, of Britain’s nuclear deterrent until real progress can be made on the multilateral elimination of nuclear weapons; believes that for nuclear non-proliferation and weapons reduction to be achieved, nuclear-armed countries such as Britain must be willing to participate in any disarmament process;believes that a decision to commit any research or other funding for the preparation of any successor to Trident must be first approved by the Westminster Parliament and that no effective case for a successor to Trident has yet been made, and calls on the UK Government to press for a nuclear weapons convention to formalise the commitment of all nuclear weapon states to nuclear disarmament."

Chris Ballance moved amendment S2M-2640.3 to motion S2M-2640—

Insert after "£20 billion"—

"; notes that communities and the environment across Scotland are endangered by nuclear convoys, by the dismantling of nuclear submarines at Rosyth and the testing of depleted uranium shells at Dundrennan; furthermore calls on Her Majesty’s Government to honour its international obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,"

After debate, amendment S2M-2640.4 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 59, Against 50, Abstentions 1). As a result, amendments S2M-2640.2 and S2M-2640.3 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 59, Against 49, Abstentions 2).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament acknowledges that defence and national security are matters reserved to the UK Parliament and acknowledges, in the words of the Government’s Strategic Defence Review, "the goal of the global elimination of nuclear weapons"; welcomes the many moves taken to reduce the number of weapons in the world including UK support for the convention to ban anti-personnel landmines, end-user certificates and other restrictions on the arms trade and the significant reductions in the UK’s nuclear weapons stockpile; notes the position of the Scottish National Party, in favour of withdrawal from the United Kingdom and NATO; recognises that withdrawal from the United Kingdom and from NATO would put at risk 25,000 direct MoD jobs in Scotland, 6,000 more dependent on MoD contracts and 12,000 more jobs supported by the military presence, and notes that between 2000 and 2004 the MoD placed 2,500 contracts in Scotland worth around £2 billion, all of which would be at risk under the SNP.

3. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

4. Question Time: Questions were answered by the Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Ross Finnie); by the Minister for Health and Community Care (Mr Andy Kerr); and by other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

5. Life Sciences: The Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Mr Jim Wallace) moved S2M-2644—That the Parliament recognises the important role of life sciences in Scottish society and the contribution they make to economic prosperity, wealth creation and improving the health and quality of life of millions of people; believes that the sector harnesses Scotland’s world-class scientific excellence and fosters greater entrepreneurial spirit; endorses the Scottish Executive’s support to the sector, notably through successful, innovative initiatives such as the Scottish Co-investment Fund and the Life Sciences Intermediary Technology Institute; welcomes the Executive’s commitment to the Life Sciences Strategy, working in partnership with industry, academia, the investment community, NHS Scotland and all the other stakeholders to create a stable infrastructure in which the life sciences sector can flourish, and supports the firm intention to work in partnership to deliver the 15-year vision for 2020.

Alex Neil moved amendment S2M-2644.1 to motion S2M-2644—

Leave out from "endorses" to end and insert—

"and also recognises the need to root that spirit and its resultant wealth in Scotland by gaining the economic powers that will allow Scotland to produce an increasingly more competitive proposition, thereby retaining and attracting more investment and talented people and providing an environment that encourages the growth of indigenous and multi-national businesses in Scotland."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 26, Against 75, Abstentions 7).

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-2644.2 to motion S2M-2644—

Leave out from "endorses" to end and insert—

"notes the Scottish Executive’s support to the sector, notably through initiatives such as the Scottish Co-investment Fund and the Life Sciences Intermediary Technology Institute; regrets, however, that the Scottish Life Sciences Community Strategy failed to engage adequately with all sectors of the industry; notes the industry’s very real concerns about bureaucracy, infrastructure and an appropriate skills base, and therefore calls on the Executive to supplement glossy brochures with tangible action to grow biosciences and encourage venture capitalist investment in Scotland by creating a more business-friendly environment."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 37, Against 64, Abstentions 8).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 4, Abstentions 43).

6. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2642—That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business—

Wednesday 13 April 2005

9.30 am Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Independents’ Group Debate: Meeting the Needs and Aspirations of people in Scotland

2.30 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Executive Debate: Women in Prison

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 14 April 2005

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Scottish National Party Business

11.40 am General Question Time

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport;
Justice and Law Officers

2.55 pm Executive Debate: Skills

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Wednesday 20 April 2005

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Stage 3 Proceedings: Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Bill

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 21 April 2005

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Health Committee Debate: Access to Dental Health Services in Scotland

11.40 am General Question Time

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport;
Finance and Public Services and Communities

2.55 pm Stage 3 Proceedings: Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

The motion was agreed to.

7. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2624—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) that the Justice 2 Committee reports to the Justice 1 Committee by 8 April 2005 on the Police Grant (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/107);
(b) that the Justice 2 Committee reports to the Justice 1 Committee by 15 April 2005 on the Criminal Legal Aid (Scotland) (Fees) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI2005/113);
(c) that the Justice 2 Committee reports to the Justice 1 Committee by 22 May 2005 on the Act of Sederunt (Fees of Solicitors and Witnesses in the Sheriff Court) (Amendment) 2005 (SSI 2005/149);
(d) that the Justice 2 Committee reports to the Justice 1 Committee by 22 May 2005 on the Act of Sederunt (Fees of Shorthand Writers in the Sheriff Court) (Amendment) 2005 (SSI 2005/150);
(e) that the Justice 1 Committee reports to the Justice 2 Committee by 8 April 2005 on the Antisocial Behaviour (Fixed Penalty Offence) (Prescribed Area) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/106);
(f) that the Justice 1 Committee reports to the Justice 2 Committee by 8 April 2005 on the Antisocial Behaviour (Amount of Fixed Penalty) (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/110);
(g) that the Justice 1 Committee reports to the Justice 2 Committee by 15 April 2005 on the Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI2005/111);
(h) that the Justice 1 Committee reports to the Justice 2 Committee by 15 April 2005 on the Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/112); and
(i) that the Justice 1 Committee reports to the Justice 2 Committee by 15 April 2005 on the Intensive Support and Monitoring (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI2005/129).

The motion was agreed to.

8. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2625—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) that consideration of the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill at Stage 2 be completed by 6 May 2005;
(b) that consideration of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 24 June 2005;
(c) that consideration of the Management of Offenders etc. (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 17 June 2005; and
(d) that consideration of the Licensing (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 24 June 2005.

The motion was agreed to.

9. Approval of SSI: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2623—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Non-Domestic Rating (Valuation of Utilities) (Scotland) Revocation Order 2005 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

10. Designation of Lead Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved that the Parliament agrees that—

S2M-2626—the Justice 1 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Police Grant (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/107);
S2M-2627—the Justice 1 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Criminal Legal Aid (Scotland) (Fees) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/113);
S2M-2628—the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Antisocial Behaviour (Fixed Penalty Notice) (Prescribed Area) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/106);
S2M-2629—the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Antisocial Behaviour (Amount of Fixed Penalty) (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/110);
S2M-2630—the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/111);
S2M-2631—the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/112);
S2M-2632—the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Intensive Support and Monitoring (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/129);
S2M-2633—the Justice 1 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Act of Sederunt (Fees of Solicitors and Witnesses in the Sheriff Court) (Amendment) 2005 (SSI 2005/149); and
S2M-2634—the Justice 1 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Act of Sederunt (Fees of Shorthand Writers in the Sheriff Court) (Amendment) 2005 (SSI 2005/150).

The motions were agreed to (DT).

11. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 5, 9 and 10 as noted above.

12. Co-operative Education: The Parliament debated S2M-2411 in the name of Bill Butler—That the Parliament commends the work being undertaken by the Co-operative Group in Scotland to work in partnership with the Scottish Executive and local authorities to introduce knowledge and experience of co-operative principles into the mainstream curriculum of Scottish education; recognises that co-operatives offer a unique and valuable form of business structure from which Scotland can derive economic and social benefit and recognises the need to make more Scots aware of the value of co-operation; supports the establishment of the Co-operative Education Trust Scotland which will involve the wider co-operative movement in education, and believes that the Scottish Executive, Careers Scotland, Learning and Teaching Scotland and local authorities should continue to work with the co-operative movement to ensure the distribution of co-operative resource materials for use in schools, support for teacher placements in the co-operative business environment and support for the involvement of the young co-operatives in schools.

The meeting closed at 5.46 pm.

No. 62 Wednesday 13 April 2005

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Time for Reflection: Reverend Bob Brown, Queen’s Cross Parish Church, Aberdeen, led Time for Reflection.

2. Meeting the Needs and Aspirations of People in Scotland: Margo MacDonald moved S2M-2619—That the Parliament agrees that its members’ primary function is to reflect and address the needs and aspirations of people in Scotland.

After debate, the motion was agreed to (DT).

3. Women Offenders: The Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson) moved S2M-2689—That the Parliament notes the continued increase in the female prison population; recognises that, to reduce this, greater emphasis on rehabilitation within prisons and in community sentences is required to ensure that problems, including drug misuse, are addressed; believes that community sentences can play a significant role for those women who pose little risk to the public or communities in which they live; acknowledges that family and community support is vital in ensuring that women offenders are able to successfully reintegrate into the community, and recognises that a more integrated system of community and prison-based support services to improve the management of women offenders is required in order to reduce reoffending.

Stewart Stevenson moved amendment S2M-2689.1 to motion S2M-2689—

Insert at end—

“, coupled with the necessary resources for the Scottish Prison Service, local authorities and voluntary organisations to enable them to make their contribution to achieving this goal.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 36, Against 64, Abstentions 10).

Miss Annabel Goldie moved amendment S2M-2689.2 to motion S2M-2689—

Insert at end—

“, and acknowledges that the best outcome of all is to advance and promote measures which provide early intervention, thereby ensuring that significantly fewer women enter the criminal justice system.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 41, Against 64, Abstentions 5).

Colin Fox moved amendment S2M-2689.3 to motion S2M-2689—

Leave out from “rehabilitation” to end and insert—

“alternatives to custody for women and greater access to drugs rehabilitation resources are vital; believes that prison is no place to treat women with severe mental health, drugs or alcohol problems; believes that the vast majority of women prisoners pose no threat to the community and should best serve their sentences in the community; believes that only by tackling the root causes of their offending: poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, history of abuse and health problems, will the current trends of increased incarceration be reversed; further believes that it is unacceptable that women end up in jail for trivial offences like fine defaulting, shoplifting and TV licence evasion, and believes that it is time to end custody as a penalty for these and other such offences.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 36, Against 74, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then agreed to (DT).

4. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2692—That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business—

Wednesday 20 April 2005

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Stage 3 Proceedings: Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Bill

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 21 April 2005

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Health Committee Debate: Access to Dental Health Services in Scotland

11.40 am General Question Time

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport;
Finance and Public Services and Communities

2.55 pm Stage 3 Proceedings: Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Wednesday 27 April 2005

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Executive Business

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 28 April 2005

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Executive Business

11.40 am General Question Time

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Environment and Rural Development;
Health and Community Care

2.55 pm Executive Business

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

The motion was agreed to by division: For 75, Against 33, Abstentions 1.

5. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 2 and 3 as noted above.

6. Quality of Fife’s Train Services: The Parliament debated S2M-2482 in the name of Scott Barrie—That the Parliament notes the importance of the rail network to an efficient public transport system in east central Scotland; notes previous debates in the Parliament that highlighted the poor service offered to Fifers by train operators in respect of reliability and punctuality; regrets that the improvements made to the rail infrastructure in Fife, including longer platforms and increased capacity, are still not meeting the level of demand; notes that the service has failed to improve under the new franchisee; believes that the current level of train cancellation and late running is unacceptable, and further believes that First ScotRail, in particular, must ensure that it improves its performance so that a viable alternative to car usage is available.

The meeting closed at 5.57 pm.

No. 63 Thursday 14 April 2005

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Council Tax: Alasdair Morgan moved S2M-2693—That the Parliament notes that the council tax has increased by 55% since 1997; further notes that the council tax is a regressive form of local taxation which penalises those on low incomes and pensioners and is overwhelmingly rejected by the people of Scotland and that the revaluation of the council tax in Wales has resulted in more than one-third of properties moving up by one band or more, and agrees that there should be no revaluation of properties in Scotland and that the unfair council tax should be abolished and replaced by a fair system of local taxation.

The Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform (Tavish Scott) moved amendment S2M-2693.1 to motion S2M-2693—

Leave out from first “council tax” to end and insert—

“Scottish Executive has established the independent inquiry into local government finance consistent with the Partnership Agreement of May 2003; notes that, because of the ongoing inquiry, there are no plans for a council tax revaluation in Scotland; notes that the Labour Party has submitted clear and detailed proposals to support changes to the council tax and that the Liberal Democrats have submitted clear and detailed proposals to support a local income tax, and therefore encourages all parties and others to make submissions to the inquiry.”

Mr Brian Monteith moved amendment S2M-2693.2 to motion S2M-2693—

Leave out from “; further notes” to end and insert—

“and that it is this large rise, and not the tax itself, that has made the cost of local council services a greater political priority and a punishing burden for so many Scottish households; believes that to offer a sustainable and fair solution, therefore, a complete review is required of local authority responsibilities and direct payment of some of these by the Scottish Executive so that council tax may be substantially cut; notes that only the Conservatives are offering such a seismic shift by transferring the full cost of schools to the Executive’s Education Department which could result in a 35%, or £384, reduction in Band D council tax for every household, while proposals for a local income tax would maintain the existing total tax take and would only change who pays what amount, and believes that Labour’s proposal for the introduction of a new top band will place a disproportionate burden on a small minority, while a new lower band will be of major benefit to the Treasury through reduced council tax benefit payments.”

After debate, amendment S2M-2693.1 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 39, Abstentions 7). As a result amendment S2M-2693.2 was pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 20, Abstentions 26).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes that the Scottish Executive has established the independent inquiry into local government finance consistent with the Partnership Agreement of May 2003; notes that, because of the ongoing inquiry, there are no plans for a council tax revaluation in Scotland; notes that the Labour Party has submitted clear and detailed proposals to support changes to the council tax and that the Liberal Democrats have submitted clear and detailed proposals to support a local income tax, and therefore encourages all parties and others to make submissions to the inquiry.

2. Nuclear Power: Richard Lochhead moved S2M-2691—That the Parliament notes that the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) is due to make its final report in July 2006; notes that the decision on where to locate sites for the long-term storage of nuclear waste is likely to be taken shortly after that date and that a number of potential sites in Scotland have been identified; notes that the UK Government is clearing the way to build new nuclear power stations; further notes that the UK Government has agreed to accept and store nuclear waste from overseas; agrees that only the Scottish Parliament can take the decision to locate any sites in Scotland for the long-term storage of nuclear waste, and rejects the need for a new nuclear power station in Scotland.

The Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Allan Wilson) moved amendment S2M-2691.2 to motion S2M-2691—

Leave out from “that the Committee” to end and insert—

“the work of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management; welcomes the Scottish Executive’s study into present and future energy supply and demand in Scotland; endorses the Executive’s position of not supporting the further development of nuclear power stations while waste management issues remain unresolved; supports the Executive’s continuing commitment to the development of renewable energy in Scotland, including wind, wave, tidal, solar, hydrogen, biofuels and biomass power, as a key element of a balanced energy supply portfolio; supports the Executive’s commitment to achieving 40% renewable electricity generation by 2020, and welcomes the ongoing review of the Scottish Climate Change Programme and the priority being given to strengthening the contribution of energy efficiency and renewables to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”

Alex Johnstone moved amendment S2M-2691.1 to motion S2M-2691—

Leave out from first “UK Government” to end and insert—

“House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee concluded in its report, Meeting Scotland’s Future Energy Needs, that it is ‘vital that decisions are taken now, to obviate the possibility of, quite literally, the lights going out in Scotland in the foreseeable future’; further notes that nuclear power is currently estimated to save the United Kingdom annual emissions of eight million tonnes, and therefore urges the Scottish Executive to support any plans brought forward by the UK Government to replace current nuclear power stations with new nuclear power stations in order to protect our energy supply, protect existing jobs and reduce our CO2 emissions.”

Chris Ballance moved amendment S2M-2691.3 to motion S2M-2691—

Insert after fourth “waste”—

“notes that the industry proposal to base electricity supply on identical reactors of the unproven AP1000 design would undermine the security of electricity supply; notes that the amount set aside from nuclear generation revenues over the last 50 years to pay for decommissioning of existing nuclear power stations is only sufficient to fund the first two years of the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency’s 30-year programme and therefore that the multi-billion cost of decommissioning existing nuclear power stations will have to be paid for by future generations of tax payers and therefore considers that nuclear power is economically unsustainable; further notes that, over its whole life cycle, nuclear power is not carbon-neutral and agrees with the Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust that ‘to present nuclear power as one of the main ways of combating climate change is short-sighted’; believes that renewable energy and energy efficiency offer a truly secure and sustainable energy future”.

After debate, amendment S2M-2691.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 43, Abstentions 3). As a result amendments S2M-2691.1 and 2691.3 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 43, Abstentions 3).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the work of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management; welcomes the Scottish Executive’s study into present and future energy supply and demand in Scotland; endorses the Executive’s position of not supporting the further development of nuclear power stations while waste management issues remain unresolved; supports the Executive’s continuing commitment to the development of renewable energy in Scotland, including wind, wave, tidal, solar, hydrogen, biofuels and biomass power, as a key element of a balanced energy supply portfolio; supports the Executive’s commitment to achieving 40% renewable electricity generation by 2020, and welcomes the ongoing review of the Scottish Climate Change Programme and the priority being given to strengthening the contribution of energy efficiency and renewables to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

3. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

4. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport, and on Justice and Law Officers were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers and by the Scottish Law Officers.

6. Skills: The Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Mr Jim Wallace) moved S2M-2694—That the Parliament acknowledges the importance of a policy of effective skills improvement and the contribution it can make to Scotland’s prosperity; supports the objectives of the Scottish Executive’s lifelong learning strategy which has helped raise the skill levels of Scotland’s current workforce and increased the potential for future skills improvement; recognises that the sustained success of the Modern Apprenticeship scheme and record investment in Scotland’s colleges have contributed significantly to improved skill levels; welcomes the Executive’s commitment to improving adult literacy and numeracy rates and to better preparing Scotland’s young people for the world of work through enterprise education and greater vocational learning opportunities, and believes that a continued focus on skills can help maintain Scotland’s position as European Region of the Future.

Jim Mather moved amendment S2M-2694.1 to motion S2M-2694—

Leave out from “which has helped” to end and insert—

“and encourages the Executive to embark on a twofold strategy of radically improving the competitiveness of Scotland as recorded annually by IMD of Switzerland and increasingly matching the ability of other parts of the developed world to retain and attract skilled people and the type of investment that capitalises on existing skills and develops yet more skills here in Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 20, Against 82, Abstentions 9).

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-2694.2 to motion S2M-2694—

Leave out from “supports” to end and insert—

“notes the success of the Modern Apprenticeship scheme initiated in the mid-1990s by a Conservative government which has trained over 75,000 people in Scotland and which is currently providing skills training for over 31,000; notes with disappointment figures from the Futureskills Scotland 2004 report which show that 29% of applicants to skill shortage posts lacked basic literacy skills and 24% lacked basic numeracy skills; notes with concern findings from the same report that between 40 and 50% of employers who have recruited school leavers report that they are not well-prepared for work, and calls for more effective school-college partnerships with a view to improving the skills base of the economy.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 17, Against 69, Abstentions 25).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 66, Against 15, Abstentions 30).

7. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2 and 6 as noted above.

8. Hannah Research Institute - Loss of Home Based Scientists: The Parliament debated S2M-2544 in the name of Phil Gallie—That the Parliament views with concern the loss of scientists and support staff as a consequence of uncertainties over research funding currently surrounding the Hannah Research Institute near Ayr; considers that the actions of the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department over recent times have been unhelpful and misleading when considering the research direction that the Institute has followed; believes that the levels of expertise and knowledge available within Hannah are identical to those that the Executive seeks to recruit under its Fresh Talent initiative and retain, if its much-used phrase of “a smart, successful Scotland” has any meaning, and considers that the Ministers for Enterprise, Health and Rural Affairs should come together to secure the future of this quality Scottish resource.

The meeting closed at 5.57 pm.

No. 64 Wednesday 20 April 2005

The meeting opened at 2.30 pm.

1. Time for Reflection: Imam Habib Ur Rahman Rauf, Central Mosque, Glasgow led Time for Reflection.

2. Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Bill – Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2716—That the Parliament agrees that, during Stage 3 of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Bill, debate on groups of amendments shall, subject to Rule 9.8.4A, be brought to a conclusion by the time-limits indicated (each time limit being calculated from when the Stage begins and excluding any periods when other business is under consideration or when the meeting of the Parliament is suspended or otherwise not in progress):

Groups 1 and 2 – 1 hour and 10 minutes

Group 3 – 1 hour and 20 minutes

Groups 4 to 7 – 1 hour and 45 minutes

The motion was agreed to.

The Presiding Officer subsequently altered the time limits under Rule 9.8.4A(a).

3. Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Bill - Stage 3: The Bill was considered at Stage 3.

The following amendments were agreed to without division: 6, 17, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13.

The following amendments were disagreed to (by division)—

1 (For 26, Against 77, Abstentions 0)

2 (For 26, Against 78, Abstentions 0)

14 (For 42, Against 62, Abstentions 0)

15 (For 42, Against 61, Abstentions 0)

16 (For 42, Against 62, Abstentions 0)

17A (For 42, Against 62, Abstentions 0)

19 (For 42, Against 60, Abstentions 0)

Amendments 3, 20, 7, 4 and 5 were not moved and amendment 18 was pre-empted.

4. Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Bill - Stage 3: The Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Mr Jim Wallace) moved S2M-2666—That the Parliament agrees that the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Bill be passed.

Fiona Hyslop moved amendment S2M-2666.1 to motion S2M-2666—

Insert at end—

“but, in so doing, regrets the creation of a legislative framework for imposing variable top-up fees in Scotland’s tertiary education system.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 43, Against 62, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 68, Against 23, Abstentions 13).

5. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2713—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) the following programme of business—

Wednesday 27 April 2005

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Executive Debate: Financial Services Strategy

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 28 April 2005

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Stage 1 Debate: Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Bill

followed by Financial Resolution: Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Bill

11.40 am General Question Time

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Environment and Rural Development;
Health and Community Care

2.55 pm Executive Debate: Criminal Justice Plan and Surrounding Issues

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Wednesday 4 May 2005

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

2.35 pm General Question Time

2.55 pm First Minister’s Question Time

3.25 pm Themed Question Time—

Justice and Law Officers;
Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

4.05 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

(b) that the period for members to lodge questions for First Minister’s Question Time on 4 May 2005 should end at 2.00 pm on Friday 29 April 2005, and
(c) that the period for members to lodge questions for First Minister’s Question Time on 2 June 2005 should end at 5.00 pm on Thursday 26 May 2005.

The motion was agreed to.

6. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on item 4 as noted above.

7. Boundaries of the Cairngorms National Park: The Parliament debated S2M-2376 in the name of Mr John Swinney—That the Parliament notes that the current boundaries of the Cairngorms National Park differ from those originally recommended by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) following extensive consultation on behalf of the Scottish Executive; notes that, as a result of these boundaries, large parts of Highland Perthshire and East Perthshire are excluded from the national park; recognises the strength of support within these areas for participation and involvement in the national park; considers that the case for designation of the Cairngorms as a World Heritage Site would be strengthened by the inclusion of the Perthshire area in the park, and considers that the Executive should conduct an early review of the boundaries of the national park and extend the current boundary to that originally proposed by SNH.

The meeting closed at 5.45 pm.

No. 65 Thursday 21 April 2005

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill – Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau moved S2M-2717—That the Parliament agrees that, during Stage 3 of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill, debate on groups of amendments shall, subject to Rule 9.8.4A, be brought to a conclusion by the time-limits indicated (each time limit being calculated from when the Stage begins and excluding any periods when other business is under consideration or when the meeting of the Parliament is suspended or otherwise not in progress):

Groups 1 and 2 – 30 minutes

Group 3 – 55 minutes

Groups 4 to 6 – 1 hour and 15 minutes

The motion was agreed to.

2. Access to Dental Services in Scotland: Roseanna Cunningham, on behalf of the Health Committee, moved S2M-2708—That the Parliament commends to the Scottish Executive the research report, Access to Dental Health Services in Scotland (SP Paper 277), commissioned by the Health Committee; draws the Executive’s attention to the problems of access to services that the report identifies and their implications for the introduction of free dental checks, and urges the Executive to use the report to inform the implementation of its dental strategy.

After debate, the motion was agreed to (DT).

3. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

4. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport, on Finance and Public Services and on Communities were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

6. Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill - Stage 3: The Bill was considered at Stage 3.

The following amendments were agreed to without division: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 49, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 45, 42, 8, 43 and 44

The following amendments were disagreed to (by division)—

5 (For 27, Against 70, Abstentions 0)

1 (For 23, Against 73, Abstentions 0)

48 (For 23, Against 70, Abstentions 0)

2 (For 37, Against 57, Abstentions 3)

Amendments 6, 7, 4, 47, 3 and 46 were not moved.

7. Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill - Stage 3: The Minister for Education and Young People (Peter Peacock) moved S2M-2665—That the Parliament agrees that the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill be passed.

After debate, the motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 2 and 7 as noted above.

9. Protected Geographical Indicator Status for Scotch Whisky: The Parliament debated S2M-2650 in the name of Mr Andrew Arbuckle—That the Parliament believes that EU Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) status for Scotch whisky would provide a further selling point for the end product; welcomes the fact that this would require the use of Scottish-only grain in the manufacture of Scotch whisky; believes that the industry should apply for PGI status to help ensure the long-term sustainability of Scottish cereal growing, and considers that any such application should be supported by the Scottish Executive.

The meeting closed at 5.41 pm.

No. 66 Wednesday 27 April 2005

The meeting opened at 2.30 pm.

1. Time for Reflection: Miss Eilidh Letham, sixth year pupil, Airdrie Academy, led Time for Reflection.

2. Financial Services Strategy: The Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Mr Jim Wallace) moved S2M-2729—That the Parliament recognises the central importance of financial services to the Scottish economy; believes the industry’s future success is fundamental to achieving sustained economic growth in Scotland; congratulates all those involved in the development of A Strategy for the Financial Services Industry in Scotland; believes that the involvement of high level representatives from industry, trade unions, government and other public sector partners will help secure continued success in an increasingly competitive global market, and welcomes the commitment of the Scottish Executive to maintaining a long-term partnership while focusing on effective and timely delivery of the First Year Implementation Plan.

Jim Mather moved amendment S2M-2729.1 to motion S2M-2729—

Insert at end—

“also recognises, however, the threats to the Scottish financial services industry as well as the opportunities and echoes the calls from within the industry for Scotland to have a separate and competitive fiscal regime in Scotland that could strengthen the industry and the case for increased investment in Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 21, Against 70, Abstentions 6).

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-2729.2 to motion S2M-2729—

Insert at end—

“notes, however, that, as a result of Labour’s stewardship of our economy, the savings ratio is at a historically low level, means-testing has been extended to 5 million pensioners, £5 billion per year has been removed in additional taxes from pension funds and public confidence in the pensions industry has been destroyed, and therefore believes that the financial services industry in Scotland requires a UK government that is committed to restoring trust in the industry and improving incentives to save.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 10, Against 63, Abstentions 24).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 78, Against 0, Abstentions 19).

3. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2735—That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business—

Wednesday 4 May 2005

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Business Motion

2.35 pm General Question Time

2.55 pm First Minister’s Question Time

3.25 pm Themed Question Time—

Justice and Law Officers;
Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

4.05 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Wednesday 11 May 2005

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Procedures Committee Debate: Report on Private Legislation

followed by Justice 1 Committee Debate: 3rd Report, 2005, Inquiry into the Effectiveness of Rehabilitation in Prisons

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 12 May 2005

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Executive Business

11.40 am General Question Time

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Finance and Public Services and Communities;
Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport

2.55 pm Executive Business

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

The motion was agreed to.

4. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on item 2 as noted above.

5. Make Poverty History Campaign in 2005: The Parliament debated S2M-2207 in the name of Des McNulty—That the Parliament welcomes the UK Government’s commitment to the millennium development goals; welcomes the First Minister’s recent statement that Scotland’s devolved government can contribute to international development; notes that the crucial G8 meeting will be held in Scotland in July 2005; notes with concern that the current debt crisis, trade injustice and shortcomings of aid further exacerbate poverty, inequality, the HIV/AIDS crisis and environmental degradation across the developing world; notes that, if the international community is to make poverty history, then there needs to be further co-ordinated political action by the world’s governments, including the United Kingdom, aimed at trade justice, dropping the debt and providing more and better aid, and considers that the UK Government should lead the way for change and use its influence when it holds the presidency of the G8 and chairs the EU to make poverty history in 2005.

6. Motion without Notice: Des McNulty moved without notice that, under Rule 8.14.3, the debate be extended until 6.15 pm.

The meeting closed at 6.15 pm.

No. 67 Thursday 28 April 2005

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Bill: The Minister for Health and Community Care (Mr Andy Kerr) moved S2M-2667—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Bill.

Carolyn Leckie moved amendment S2M-2667.1 to motion S2M-2667—

Insert at end—

“but, in doing so, believes that the Scottish Executive’s pursuit of further privatisation in the form of joint ventures in section 31 of the Bill compromises the general benefits to health from the Bill and potentially undermines cross-party support for the passage of the Bill.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 9, Against 75, Abstentions 17).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 83, Against 15, Abstentions 3).

2. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

3. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

4. Themed Question Time: Questions on Environment and Rural Development, and on Health and Community Care were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

5. Supporting Safer, Stronger Communities: Reform of Scotland’s Criminal Justice Services: The Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson) moved S2M-2736—That the Parliament believes that building safer, stronger communities is vital for Scotland’s well-being and future success; supports the reform package set out in the Criminal Justice Plan to promote the swifter delivery of sentences that are effective in reducing reoffending and supporting rehabilitation; recognises that violence, particularly knife crime, damages the daily life of already disadvantaged communities, and believes that co-ordinated action to tackle violence and knife crime must be stepped up in communities across Scotland.

Mr Kenny MacAskill moved amendment S2M-2736.2 to motion S2M-2736—

Insert at end—

“and recognises the need for individuals to accept greater responsibility for their actions and the consequences thereof as well as their own role in criminal justice, from reporting crime to participating in jury service, and equally for the Scottish Executive to recognise its own responsibility to all communities in Scotland and address the problems of drink, drugs and deprivation that lie at the root of much desperation and crime.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 24, Against 78, Abstentions 0).

Miss Annabel Goldie moved amendment S2M-2736.1 to motion S2M-2736—

Leave out from first “believes” to end and insert—

“notes the unacceptable rate of reoffending occurring in Scotland today; accepts that there is a place in our criminal justice system for a range of different sentencing options to address this problem but recognises that when a prison sentence is the appropriate disposal, then prison is not simply a punishment but is intended to rehabilitate, deter and protect the public; believes that the way to reduce reoffending and subsequently the prison population is to reduce the overall incidence of crime in Scotland, and therefore calls on the Scottish Executive to increase the police presence in our communities to deter and detect crime and to end automatic early release from our prisons to ensure honesty in sentencing”.

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 15, Against 87, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then agreed to (DT).

6. Approval of SSI: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2731—That the Parliament agrees that the Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) (Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning) (West Coast) (No.3) (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/208) be approved.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 66, Against 18, Abstentions 17).

7. Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution: The Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care (Rhona Brankin) moved S2M-2284—That the Parliament, for the purposes of any Act of the Scottish Parliament resulting from the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Bill, agrees to any expenditure or increase in expenditure of a kind referred to in Rule 9.12.3(b)(ii) or (iii) of the Parliament’s Standing Orders arising in consequence of the Act.

The motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 83, Against 0, Abstentions 18).

8. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 5, 6 and 7 as noted above.

9. Reviewing Arrangements for Managing Sex Offenders: The Parliament debated S2M-2573 in the name of Paul Martin—That the Parliament recognises that, following the murder of eight-year-old Mark Cummings by registered sex offender, Stuart Leggate, there is a requirement for a root-and-branch review of how registered sex offenders are monitored and managed in the community; believes that the current sentencing policy for dealing with registered child sex offenders is grossly inadequate and requires review, that it is not acceptable that registered sex offenders are able to legally act under an alias identity and that the current housing allocation policies for dealing with registered child sex offenders present a serious risk to local communities; considers that an inquiry should be held into the events leading up to the murder of Mark Cummings; believes that the Scottish Executive should, as a matter of urgency, bring forward measures that will ensure that the risk to our children posed by registered child sex offenders is radically minimised, and commends the News of the World for its campaign in raising the awareness of the need to introduce legislation to manage registered sex offenders more effectively.

The meeting closed at 5.56 pm.

No. 68 Wednesday 4 May 2005

The meeting opened at 2.30 pm.

1. Time for Reflection: Father Raymond Jaconelli, Abbot of Nunraw, Haddington, led Time for Reflection.

2. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau moved S2M-2757—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) the following programme of business—

Wednesday 11 May 2005

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Procedures Committee Debate: 4th Report 2005, Report on Private Legislation

followed by Justice 1 Committee Debate: 3rd Report 2005, Inquiry into the Effectiveness of Rehabilitation in Prisons

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 12 May 2005

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Executive Debate: Schools/Colleges Review

11.40 am General Question Time

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Finance and Public Services and Communities;
Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport

2.55 pm Executive Debate: Veterans

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Wednesday 18 May 2005

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Enterprise and Culture Committee Debate: 3rd Report 2005, Restructuring Scotland’s Tourism Industry: Report on the Review of Area Tourist Boards

followed by European and External Relations Committee Debate: 1st Report 2005, An Inquiry into the Promotion of Scotland Worldwide: The Strategy, Policy and Activities of the Scottish Executive

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 19 May 2005

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Executive Business

11.40 am General Question Time

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Health and Community Care;
Environment and Rural Development

2.55 pm Executive Business

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

and (b) that Stage 2 of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Bill be completed by 15 June 2005.

The motion was agreed to.

3. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

4. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Justice and Law Officers, and on Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport, were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

6. Supporting Local Producers: The Parliament debated S2M-2726 in the name of Shiona Baird—That the Parliament notes the launch of the new farmers’ market at Stonehaven as a welcome addition to the many thriving markets in the north east of Scotland; acknowledges the continuing popularity and growth of farmers’ markets, “box” schemes and community-supported agriculture initiatives across the whole of Scotland; recognises that many consumers are becoming increasingly selective about what they eat and are now consciously rejecting mass-produced, remotely-sourced food in favour of fresh seasonal produce that is grown or reared locally; congratulates local farmers and producers for establishing a range of enterprising initiatives to respond to growing consumer demand for such produce in their areas, and considers that shoppers should actively support Stonehaven’s initiative and other examples of sustainable local enterprise which benefit the local producer, the local consumer and the local economy.

The meeting closed at 5.01 pm.

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