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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

Vol. 2, No. 25 (Revised) Session 1

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 5 October 2000

 

 

Note: (DT) signifies a decision taken at Decision Time.

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Fuel Duty: Mr Kenny MacAskill moved S1M-1238—That the Parliament acknowledges that Scotland is the largest oil producer in the European Union yet has the highest fuel prices in the developed world; notes that the Scottish economy as a whole and fuel dependent industries in particular are paying a heavy price as a result of high fuel prices; recognises that both individuals and entire geographic areas, in particular rural and island Scotland, are suffering; further recognises that the root cause of high fuel prices is taxation; notes that as a result of the recent increases in world oil prices Her Majesty’s Government will receive a revenue windfall in excess of £4.4 billion, and therefore calls upon the Scottish Executive to hold a summit of interested parties to address the fuel situation, introduce a package of measures to address the needs of fuel dependent industries, and make urgent representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer requesting him to make an immediate cut in fuel duty and give a commitment to work towards the European average.

Miss Annabel Goldie moved amendment S1M-1238.2 to motion S1M-1238—

Leave out from "is the largest" to end and insert—

"has the highest fuel prices in Europe owing to the high levels of taxation levied by Her Majesty's Government; notes that this position is reducing the competitiveness of Scottish business; recognises that the essential car user, particularly in rural Scotland, is suffering and calls upon the Scottish Executive to make representations to Her Majesty's Government in order to reduce taxation in general and fuel tax in particular."

After debate, amendment S1M-1238.2 was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 18, Against 101, Abstentions 0).

 

George Lyon moved amendment S1M-1238.1 to motion S1M-1238—

Leave out from "acknowledges" to end and insert—

"notes that fuel is a matter reserved to the UK Parliament; recognises that rising fuel prices and haulage costs create particular financial and social difficulties for individuals and businesses, especially for remote, rural and island areas of Scotland, and further recognises that the Liberal Democrats have opposed all fuel duty increases since the introduction of the fuel escalator under the last Conservative Government and support (a) a cap on fuel taxes in real terms for five years, (b) investment of additional resources acquired through increased VAT in public transport, (c) the encouragement of fuel-efficient cars by abolishing Vehicle Excise Duty for the most fuel-efficient vehicles and (d) targeted assistance for Scotland’s remote, rural and island communities to alleviate the additional fuel price that these areas incur."

After debate, amendment S1M-1238.1 was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 15, Against 105, Abstentions 1).

The motion was then disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 35, Against 88, Abstentions 0).

2. Proportional Representation in local government: Mr Kenneth Gibson moved S1M-1239—That the Parliament agrees that there is a democratic deficit at the heart of local government and resolves to implement the single transferable vote system of proportional representation for the next local government elections.

The Deputy Minister for Local Government moved amendment S1M-1239.2 to motion S1M-1239—

Leave out from "agrees" to end and insert—

"notes that the Partnership Agreement contains a commitment, following the publication of the final report of the McIntosh Commission, to an immediate programme of change including progress on electoral reform; notes too that the Executive established the Renewing Local Democracy Working Group chaired by Richard Kerley, and welcomes the decision by the Executive to establish a Ministerial Group to consider its recommendations and the Executive’s commitment to continue to make progress on electoral reform and other issues relating to the modernisation of local government."

Mr Keith Harding moved amendment S1M-1239.1 to motion S1M-1239—

Leave out from "agrees" to end and insert—

"resolves that no alteration to the voting system for local authority elections should be considered until after the publication of the report of the Ministerial Task Group being chaired by the First Minister; agrees that this report, together with the McIntosh and Kerley recommendations, should be debated as a whole and, in view of the limited timescale, resolves that the next local authority elections should take place on the basis of the existing first-past-the-post electoral system which delivers accountability, a clear link between elected member and voter and puts the power to create administrations in the hands of voters rather than politicians."

After debate, amendment S1M-1239.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 69, Against 54, Abstentions 0). As a result, amendment S1M-1239.1 was pre-empted.

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 69, Against 21, Abstentions 33).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes that the Partnership Agreement contains a commitment, following the publication of the final report of the McIntosh Commission, to an immediate programme of change including progress on electoral reform; notes too that the Executive established the Renewing Local Democracy Working Group chaired by Richard Kerley, and welcomes the decision by the Executive to establish a Ministerial Group to consider its recommendations and the Executive’s commitment to continue to make progress on electoral reform and other issues relating to the modernisation of local government.

3. Business Motion: Mr Tom McCabe, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S1M-1241—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) the following programme of business—

Wednesday 25 October 2000

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Executive Debate on Primary Dental Care Services

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business – debate on the subject of S1M-1096 Dennis Canavan: SBG and Transport Operatives Pension Schemes

Thursday 26 October 2000

9.30 am Executive Business

followed by Business Motion

2.30 pm Question Time

3.10 pm First Minister's Question Time

3.30 pm Executive Debate on the Framework for Economic Development in Scotland

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business - debate on the subject of S1M-1171 Alex Fergusson: Waiver of Groundwater Maintenance Charge

and (b) that Stage 2 of the Transport (Scotland) Bill be completed by 22 November 2000.

The motion was agreed to.

4. Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister, the Solicitor General for Scotland and other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

5. Ministerial Statement: The Minister for Health and Community Care made a statement on care for older people.

6. Criminal Justice and Court Services Bill: The Deputy First Minister and Minister for Justice moved S1M-1240—That the Parliament notes that changes to the current registrations scheme for the registering of sex offenders under the Sex Offenders Act 1997 are proposed in amendments in the Criminal Justice and Court Services Bill currently before the UK Parliament; recognises the practical importance of consistency across the United Kingdom, and agrees that provisions to achieve these ends should be considered in the Bill by the UK Parliament.

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

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

8. Multiple Sclerosis in Scotland: The Parliament debated S1M-1132 in the name of Tricia Marwick—That the Parliament notes that Scotland, with an estimated 10,400 multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers, is widely held to have the highest incidence of this disease, for which there is currently no cure; recognises the importance of the lobby of MSPs by people with MS which is to take place on 5 October 2000; notes the important developments in MS care in recent years, including the introduction of specialist MS nurses, a concept pioneered in Scotland, and the development of the drug beta interferon, the only treatment to date which modifies the course of the disease; regrets that, despite this progress, standards of care for people in Scotland with MS remain unsatisfactory, as recognised by the recent report of the Scottish Needs Assessment Programme; further notes that the cost-effectiveness of beta interferon in the treatment of MS is currently under review by the Health Technology Board for Scotland, and believes that Scotland, with the highest incidence of MS in the world, should set the world standard for people with MS care.

9. Motion without notice: The Deputy Presiding Officer moved without notice that under Rule 8.14.3, the debate be extended by up to 30 minutes.

The motion was agreed to.

The meeting closed at 5.53 pm.

 

 

P E Grice

Clerk of the Parliament

5 October 2000

 

Appendix

(Note: this Appendix does not form part of the Minutes)

 

Other Documents

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 5 October 2000 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Deer Commission for Scotland Annual Report 1999-2000 (SE/2000/183)

laid under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996

Committee Reports

The following Report were published on 5 October 2000—

Health and Community Care Committee, 13th Report 2000: Report on Influenza Vaccination (SP Paper 192)

Rural Affairs Committee, 8th Report 2000: Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 193)

 

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