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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

Meeting of the Parliament

Vol 3 No 47 Session 1

Thursday 24 January 2002

 
 

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Abolition of Council Tax: Tommy Sheridan moved S1M-2631—That the Parliament believes that the council tax is a fundamentally unfair and regressive tax; believes in social justice and the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor; therefore agrees to abolish the council tax and replace it with the Scottish Service Tax which is based on an individual’s income and is inherently fairer, more efficient and redistributive; notes that the Scottish Service Tax would raise more revenue than the council tax and that it would remove the burden of paying for local government jobs and services from the shoulders of low paid workers and pensioners and place it firmly on the shoulders of the well paid and the wealthy, and believes that the introduction of the Scottish Service Tax should be complemented by the return of the right for local authorities to raise and retain their business rates and a thorough investigation of land value and speculation taxes to supplement local authority revenue.

The Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Services moved amendment S1M-2631.2 to motion S1M-2631—

Leave out from first "believes" to end and insert—

"welcomes the substantial reforms that the Scottish Executive has brought to the operation of local government finance, including the stability for three year council tax figures and welcomes the Executive’s commitment to pursue further reforms, further welcomes the fact that councils are now collecting a higher proportion of council tax than ever before and the continuing work by the Executive and local authorities to better target and further improve collection arrangements, and notes that the Local Government Committee of the Parliament will shortly conclude its inquiry into local government finance and local taxation."

Tricia Marwick moved amendment S1M-2631.1 to motion S1M-2631—

Leave out from second "believes" to end and insert—

"notes that it is part of an unsustainable system of local government finance which, under Labour’s stewardship, has resulted in an increase of 103 to the average householder’s yearly tax bill while local services have deteriorated and calls for a full review of local government finance which includes the replacement of unfair property based taxation with a system of local income tax, which takes account of ability to pay."

After debate, amendment S1M-2631.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 60, Against 21, Abstentions 30). As a result, amendment S1M-2631.1 was pre-empted.

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 19, Abstentions 31).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the substantial reforms that the Scottish Executive has brought to the operation of local government finance, including the stability for three year council tax figures and welcomes the Executive’s commitment to pursue further reforms, further welcomes the fact that councils are now collecting a higher proportion of council tax than ever before and the continuing work by the Executive and local authorities to better target and further improve collection arrangements, and notes that the Local Government Committee of the Parliament will shortly conclude its inquiry into local government finance and local taxation.

2. Introduction of Progressive Water Tax: Tommy Sheridan moved
S1M-2632—That the Parliament believes that water and sewerage services are essential services which should be publicly owned and democratically controlled for the benefit of all Scotland’s citizens; further believes that water and sewerage service charges to domestic customers should be paid for by using an income-based personal tax which would be progressive, efficient and easily understood; therefore endorses the replacement of the current unfair water rate system for domestic customers with a new individual income-based water tax that would be fair and redistributive, while raising more revenue for Scotland’s water and sewerage services, and notes that this new Water Tax would be collected by the Inland Revenue in Scotland on behalf of the Scottish water industry.

The Minister for Environment and Rural Development moved amendment S1M-2632.1 to motion S1M-2632 —

Leave out from first "believes" to end and insert—

"commends the efforts of the Scottish Executive in ensuring that the public water industry in Scotland is strong and efficient, bringing considerable benefits to all customers; recognises the Executive’s continuing commitment to a public water industry; recognises that the best way to fund the Scottish water industry is through charges on domestic and non-domestic customers utilising the services provided; recognises that the current system for charging domestic customers already provides a degree of protection for lower income households and the most vulnerable through the link to council tax banding, and finally recognises that the reduction scheme provides help to those low income households facing the biggest charge increases."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 3, Abstentions 47).

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 3, Abstentions 47).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament commends the efforts of the Scottish Executive in ensuring that the public water industry in Scotland is strong and efficient, bringing considerable benefits to all customers; recognises the Executive’s continuing commitment to a public water industry; recognises that the best way to fund the Scottish water industry is through charges on domestic and non-domestic customers utilising the services provided; recognises that the current system for charging domestic customers already provides a degree of protection for lower income households and the most vulnerable through the link to council tax banding, and finally recognises that the reduction scheme provides help to those low income households facing the biggest charge increases.

3. Faslane and the Anti-Nuclear Campaign: Tommy Sheridan moved
S1M-2633—That the Parliament believes that nuclear weapons pose a very real threat to humanity and accordingly should be opposed on moral, social, political and economic grounds; opposes the possession of nuclear weapons; supports unilateral disarmament in Scotland and across the UK in pursuit of a non-nuclear world, free of the threat of destruction by nuclear weapons; further supports the Scottish CND and Trident Ploughshares blockade of Faslane nuclear submarine base on 11-13 February, and upholds the right of demonstrators to protest peacefully in support of world peace.

The Deputy Minister for Justice moved amendment S1M-2633.1 to motion S1M-2633—

Leave out from "believes" to end and insert—

"supports the right of demonstrators to protest peacefully in support of world peace, but condemns those in a democratic society who abuse this right and act in contravention of the criminal law."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 77, Against 32, Abstentions 3)

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 77, Against 26, Abstentions 8).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament supports the right of demonstrators to protest peacefully in support of world peace, but condemns those in a democratic society who abuse this right and act in contravention of the criminal law.

4. Environmentally Sustainable Employment and Recycling: Robin Harper moved S1M-2635—That the Parliament recognises the significant potential to create sustainable employment that will benefit both the economy and local and global environments; further recognises the potential of such employment to reduce the impact of climate change and toxic pollution of air, land, rivers and seas, protect and enhance biodiversity, reduce social exclusion and make better use of natural resources; in particular recognises the potential for new jobs in the sectors of renewable energy, energy efficiency, public transport, organic food and farming, nature conservation, eco-tourism, education and outdoor pursuits and materials re-use and recycling, and calls on the Scottish Executive to stimulate environmentally sustainable employment as a matter of priority, including by (a) ensuring that at least 30% of electricity comes from renewable energy sources by 2010 with further increases to 2050, (b) achieving between a 40% and 60% increase in energy efficiency across domestic and industrial sectors, including the introduction of enhanced building standards regulations for insulation, heat recovery and passive heating and ventilation, (c) developing a strategic plan for organic agriculture that would support conversion of up to 20% of land to organic production within 10 years, (d) setting targets for traffic reduction to further encourage a modal shift from private to public transport and to redress the present imbalance between road and rail funding, (e) setting a mandatory national target for recycling of 30% of household waste by 2010 and further, independent targets for recycling of fridges, re-use of white goods and recycling or safe disposal of batteries and other hazardous household waste and (f) producing, in order to achieve the mandatory national target for recycling, a National Re-use and Recycling Action Plan to include (i) additional support for community recycling, (ii) clarification of objectives for the waste industry including a presumption against incineration and waste-to-energy plants in new guidelines, (iii) a commitment to set an example in all areas of sourcing, consumption, reduction, re-use and recycling, (iv) new guidance to developers of composting operations including on methane reduction and recovery, (v) finance for and establishment of Environment and Waste Resource Advice units in all large business parks and (vi) steps to ensure that community recycling operators play a full part in all planning and development of area waste strategies.

The Deputy Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning moved amendment S1M-2635.3 to motion S1M-2635—

Leave out from first "recognises" to end and insert—

"congratulates the Executive on the progress made in integrating sustainable development at the heart of its policy-making and supports the Executive in stimulating environmentally sustainable employment."

Fiona McLeod moved amendment S1M-2635.2 to motion S1M-2635—

Insert at end—

", and agrees that these objectives, amongst others, should be considered for inclusion in a national environment plan for Scotland."

John Scott moved amendment S1M-2635.1 to motion S1M-2635—

Leave out from "to stimulate" to end and insert—

"to note that the creation of employment opportunities in renewable energy products and recycling industries will require the creation of a broader skills base, and finally notes the need to develop in Scotland and the UK the technology to meet the growing demand for renewable energy, recycling and recycled products."

After debate, amendment S1M-2635.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 59, Against 51, Abstentions 1). As a result, amendments S1M-2635.2 and S1M-2635.1 were pre-empted.

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 60, Against 51, Abstentions 1).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament congratulates the Executive on the progress made in integrating sustainable development at the heart of its policy-making and supports the Executive in stimulating environmentally sustainable employment.

5. Business Motion: Euan Robson, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau moved S1M-2634—That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business—

Wednesday 30 January 2002

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Stage 1 Debate on the Fur Farming (Prohibition) (Scotland) Bill

followed by Debate on Adoption and Children Bill - UK Legislation

followed by Executive Motion in respect of UK Legislation

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business – debate on the subject of S1M-2302 Dr Sylvia Jackson: Introduction of a Pollution Inventory

Thursday 31 January 2002

9.30 am Stage 1 Debate on the Scottish Public Sector Ombudsman Bill

followed by Financial Resolution in respect of the Scottish Public Sector Ombudsman Bill

followed by Procedures Committee Debate on its 5th Report 2001 (Changes to the Standing Orders of the Scottish Parliament) and 1st Report 2002 (Changes to the Standing Orders of the Scottish Parliament)

followed by Business Motion

2.30 pm Question Time

3.10 pm First Minister's Question Time

3.30 pm Debate on the Local Government Finance Order

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business - debate on the subject of S1M-2528 by Mr Kenneth Gibson: Young Runaways

Wednesday 6 February 2002

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Stage 3 Debate on the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Bill

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business

Thursday 7 February 2002

9.30 am Scottish National Party Business

followed by Business Motion

2.30 pm Question Time

3.10 pm First Minister's Question Time

3.30 pm Stage 1 Debate on the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) (Scotland) Bill

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

After debate the motion was agreed to.

6. Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister and other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

7. European Structural Funds: The Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Services moved S1M-2630—That the Parliament recognises the success of the Executive’s strategic approach and decentralised administration in managing European Structural Funds and underpinning its commitment to key policy priorities, in particular education, jobs and transport, and endorses the continuation of this approach to ensure a sustainable impact from this funding.

Tricia Marwick moved amendment S1M-2630.1 to motion S1M-2630—

Leave out from "the success of" to end and insert—

"that 6 billion has been made available to Scotland since 1975 through European Union (EU) structural funding; further recognises that, because of EU enlargement, the level of support offered to Scotland in future years is likely to diminish, and urges the Scottish Executive to ensure that the full benefits of EU structural funds still available are used for sustainable, strategic and infrastructure improvements and to involve itself fully in the ongoing debate about the future of EU enlargement and the consequences for EU structural funding."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 50, Against 62, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 0, Abstentions 49).

8. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 as noted above.

9. The Colin O’Riordan Trust: The Parliament debated S1M-2585 in the name of Angus MacKay—That the Parliament recognises the outstanding contribution made by the late Dr Colin O'Riordan to the provision of access to music for all children in Edinburgh, and particularly Sciennes Primary School, and throughout Scotland, in founding the City of Edinburgh Music School and in the many youth orchestra activities with which he was associated, and congratulates his family on the foundation of the Colin O'Riordan Trust, which aims to assist aspiring young musicians by promoting musical excellence and improving access to musical instruments for those children who might otherwise not have the opportunity to pursue music.

The meeting closed at 5.58 pm.

P E Grice

Clerk of the Parliament

24 January 2002

 

Appendix

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

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 24 January 2002 for approval by resolution

The Local Government Finance (Scotland) Order 2002

laid under the Local Government Finance Act 1992

The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 24 January 2002 for approval by resolution

The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2002

laid under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 24 January 2002 and is subject to annulment

The Local Authorities Etc. (Allowances) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2002 (SSI 2002/15)

laid under the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 24 January 2002 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

The Local Government Finance (Scotland) Order 2002: Report by the Scottish Ministers (SE/2002/51)

laid under the Local Government Finance Act 1992

The Impact of the Terrorist Attacks on the Scottish Economy (SE/2002/53)


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