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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

Meeting of the Parliament

Vol 3 No 51

Thursday 7 February 2002

 
 

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Scotland’s Road Network: Mr Kenny MacAskill moved S1M-2703—That the Parliamentnotes with concern recent dangers and problems affecting travellers and the economy and caused by a deteriorating winter roads maintenance service; believes that the privatisation of trunk road maintenance is a false economy, resulting in loss of efficiencies of scale, knock-on increased costs to local authorities for clearing non-trunk roads and an overall cost in the form of reduced standards of service; further notes that BEAR Scotland Ltd and Amey Highways Ltd have failed to deliver a quality of service necessary for the safety of road users and the movement of goods, and condemns the Scottish Executive for its actions in ignoring warnings regarding privatisation and in failing to address the current problems.

The Deputy Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning moved amendment S1M-2703.1 to motion S1M-2703—

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

"the actions taken by the Scottish Executive to ensure that the trunk road maintenance contracts deliver the prescribed level of service; calls upon the Executive to continue monitoring the performance of the operating companies to ensure compliance with their contractual obligations, and further invites the Executive to enter into dialogue with local authorities to assess the effects of the contracts on local roads maintenance."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 79, Against 33, Abstentions 1).

David Mundell moved amendment S1M-2703.2 to motion S1M-2703—

Lave out from first "notes" to end and insert—

"supports the principle of competitive tendering in relation to public works contracts, such as the contract for trunk roads management and maintenance, in view of the paramount importance of securing best value for the taxpayer at both local and national levels; notes concerns raised in respect of the operation of the trunk road maintenance contracts by BEAR Scotland Ltd and Amey Highways Ltd; calls upon the Scottish Executive to produce a report on the performance of each company, as recommended by the Auditor General for Scotland; further notes concern about the level of non-trunk road maintenance being carried out by local authorities, and further calls upon the Scottish Executive to (a) review and report to the Parliament on the implications of disaggregation of trunk and local services for local authorities and (b) set up a system for (i) monitoring and reporting the level of maintenance required on non-trunk roads and (ii) measuring the actual level of maintenance achieved on such roads."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 96, Abstentions 1).

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 80, Against 32, Abstentions 1).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the actions taken by the Scottish Executive to ensure that the trunk road maintenance contracts deliver the prescribed level of service; calls upon the Executive to continue monitoring the performance of the operating companies to ensure compliance with their contractual obligations, and further invites the Executive to enter into dialogue with local authorities to assess the effects of the contracts on local roads maintenance.

2. Class Sizes and Pupil Attainment: Michael Russell moved S1M-2697—That the Parliament notes increasing research that indicates considerable short-, medium- and long-term benefits from reducing early primary class sizes, preferably to 18 or below, and the particular impact that such reductions have on children living in poverty; further notes the performance indicators 2000-01 report by the Accounts Commission published on 24 January 2002, which shows that the Scottish Executive has not yet achieved its own class size targets, and therefore calls on all parties in the Parliament to support the SNP’s radical initiatives on this matter as an important step in not only assisting individual educational attainment and individual lifetime achievement, but also bringing collective economic benefit for Scotland as a whole.

The Minister for Education and Young People moved amendment S1M-2697.2 to motion S1M-2697—

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

"believes that class size is an important aspect of educational provision; notes that the performance indicators recently published by the Accounts Commission relate to the financial year 2000-01 whilst the targets in the Programme for Government relate to the financial year 2001-02; welcomes the progress that the Scottish Executive and local authorities have made in reducing the size of Primary 1 to Primary 3 classes; recognises that education is about developing individuals to their full potential, and considers that the Scottish Executive should continue to promote the raising of standards in education through the implementation of the National Priorities for Education at national, local authority and school level."

Mr Brian Monteith moved amendment S1M-2697.1 to motion S1M-2697—

Leave out from "increasing" to end and insert—

"that the reduction in class sizes in Primary 1 to Primary 3 to 18 would involve a substantial revenue cost and an unquantifiable capital cost together with a removal of parental choice; acknowledges that class size is only one aspect of educational provision which may help to improve standards in Scotland’s schools, and considers that greater devolution of decision making to teachers and parents should be the goal of the Scottish Executive."

After debate, amendment S1M-2697.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 50, Abstentions 0). As a result, amendment S1M-2697.1 was pre-empted.

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 48, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament believes that class size is an important aspect of educational provision; notes that the performance indicators recently published by the Accounts Commission relate to the financial year 2000-01 whilst the targets in the Programme for Government relate to the financial year 2001-02; welcomes the progress that the Scottish Executive and local authorities have made in reducing the size of Primary 1 to Primary 3 classes; recognises that education is about developing individuals to their full potential, and considers that the Scottish Executive should continue to promote the raising of standards in education through the implementation of the National Priorities for Education at national, local authority and school level.

3. Business Motion: Euan Robson, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S1M-2707—That the Parliament agrees—

  1. the following programme of business

Wednesday 13 February 2002

1.00 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Stage 3 Debate on the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

7.00 pm Decision Time

Thursday 14 February 2002

9.30 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Stage 3 Debate on the Water Industry (Scotland) Bill

followed by Business Motion

2.30 pm Question Time

3.10 pm First Minister's Question Time

3.30 pm Continuation of the Stage 3 Debate on the Water Industry (Scotland) Bill

followed by Stage 3 Debate on the Budget (Scotland) (No.3) Bill

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business – debate on the subject of S1M-2669 Elaine Thomson: World Heritage Site Status for the Cairngorms

Wednesday 27 February 2002

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Stage 1 Debate on the Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Bill

followed by European Committee Debate on its 9th Report 2001: Report on the Governance of the European Union and the Future of Europe: What Role for Scotland?

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business

Thursday 28 February 2002

9.30 am Scottish Conservative and Unionist 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 Education (Disability Strategies and Pupils' Records) (Scotland) Bill

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members' Business

(b) that the Justice 2 Committee reports to the Justice 1 Committee by 25 February 2002 on the draft Advice and Assistance (Financial Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2002, on the draft Civil Legal Aid (Financial Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2002, on the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Registration) (Scotland) Regulations 2002 (SSI 2002/23) and on the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman (Compensation) (Prescribed Amount) Order 2002 (SSI 2002/32); and

and (c) that Stage 1 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill be completed by Friday 22 March 2002.

The motion was agreed to.

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

5. Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) (Scotland) Bill - Stage 1: Alex Neil moved S1M-2619—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) (Scotland) Bill.

After debate, the motion was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 50, Against 63, Abstentions 0).

6. Designation of Lead Committee: Euan Robson, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S1M-2708—That the Parliament agrees that the Education, Culture and Sport Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Scottish Qualifications Authority Bill.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

7. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 5 and 6 as noted above.

8. Musical Instrument Instructors: The Parliament debated S1M-2533 in the name of Mr Donald Gorrie—That the Parliament notes with concern reports of impending changes in the contracts, status and conditions of musical instrument instructors in schools, designed to make them casual, lower grade employees; believes that giving pupils the chance to learn to play a musical instrument and to take part in orchestras and groups is an essential part of educational and cultural life, and considers that the Executive should ensure that musical instrument instructors retain the contracts and status of full teaching members of the school community.

9. Motion without notice: Donald Gorrie moved without notice that, under Rule 8.14.3, the debate be extended until 6.15 pm.

The meeting closed at 6.17 pm.

P E Grice

Clerk of the Parliament

7 February 2002

Appendix

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

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 7 February 2002 for approval by resolution

The Housing Support Grant (Scotland) Order 2002

laid under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 7 February 2002 and are subject to annulment—

The Pig Industry Restructuring (Capital Grant) (Scotland) Scheme 2002 (SSI 2002/43)

laid under the Agriculture Act 1970

The Pig Industry Restructuring (Non-Capital Grant) (Scotland) Scheme 2002 (SSI 2002/44)

laid under the Farm Land and Rural Development Act 1988

The Housing Revenue Account General Fund Contribution Limits (Scotland) Order 2002 (SSI 2002/45)

laid under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987

The Damages (Personal Injury) (Scotland) Order 2002 (SSI 2002/46)

laid under the Damages Act 1996

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 7 February 2002 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

British Waterways Board: Pay of Chair and Board Members (SE/2002/60)

laid under the Transport Act 1962

The Housing Support Grant (Scotland) Order 2002-03: Report by Scottish Ministers (SE/2002/61)

laid under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987


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