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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

Meeting of the Parliament

Vol 4, No 4 Session 1

Wednesday 29 May 2002

 
 

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

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Potential Benefits to the Scottish Economy of the Planned Energy Research Institute and of the Diversification of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry: The Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning moved S1M-3155—That the Parliament welcomes the decision by Scottish Enterprise to work up detailed plans for an Energy Research Institute in Scotland to commercialise the work of Scotland’s universities across the energy field; endorses the policy of support for offshore renewable energy developments on the part of the Executive and the Enterprise Networks, and notes the significant potential for the oil and gas industry to diversify into marine renewable energy technology.

Andrew Wilson moved amendment S1M-3155.1 to motion S1M-3155—

Insert at end—

"but is deeply concerned by the potential economic impact of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent announcement of a 10% increase in taxation on the North Sea oil and gas industry; is further concerned that this announcement, without any consultation or published assessment of the potential impact it will have on jobs and sustainable investment in the sector, could jeopardise employment levels, the survival of many companies involved in servicing and contracting to the industry, and the future success of a vital Scottish industry which in turn could place at risk any plans for effective and sustainable diversification, and therefore calls for a moratorium on the imposition of this tax until a full assessment is made, and published, of the sectoral and overall economic impact it will have including its impact on investment in diversification."

Mike Rumbles moved amendment S1M-3155.1.1 to amendment S1M-3155.1—

Leave out from "is deeply concerned" to end and insert—

"notes the Liberal Democrats’ opposition to the 10% increase in taxation on the North Sea oil and gas industry, and recognises that this is a reserved issue and the responsibility of Her Majesty’s Government."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 52, Abstentions 1).

Amendment S1M-3155.1 as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 55, Abstentions 1).

David Davidson moved amendment S1M-3155.3 to motion S1M-3155—

Leave out from "endorses" to end and insert—

"supports the development of renewable energy research in Scotland, and expresses concern that investment by the oil and gas industry in the North Sea province will be severely undermined by the 33% increase in corporation tax which will lead to a projected 18,000 job losses in Scotland."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 75, Abstentions 28).

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 52, Abstentions 2).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the decision by Scottish Enterprise to work up detailed plans for an Energy Research Institute in Scotland to commercialise the work of Scotland’s universities across the energy field; endorses the policy of support for offshore renewable energy developments on the part of the Executive and the Enterprise Networks, and notes the significant potential for the oil and gas industry to diversify into marine renewable energy technology but notes the Liberal Democrats’ opposition to the 10% increase in taxation on the North Sea oil and gas industry, and recognises that this is a reserved issue and the responsibility of Her Majesty’s Government."

2. Nominations to the EU Economic and Social Committee: The Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Services moved S1M-3162—That the Parliament notes the Scottish Executive’s wide-ranging consultation with Scottish civic society to identify nominees for the forthcoming mandate of the Economic and Social Committee of the European Union, endorses the Executive’s proposal to nominate Andy Baird (proposed by STUC), Professor Grant Baird (proposed by CBI Scotland), Sandy Boyle (proposed by STUC), Brendan Burns (proposed by Federation of Small Businesses), Danny Carrigan (proposed by STUC), Campbell Christie (proposed by Scottish Civic Forum), Hamish Morrison (proposed by the Scottish Fishermens Federation), Bill Ure (proposed by the Scottish Consumer Council) and Dr Grahame Whyte (proposed by the Institute of Directors), to the UK delegation on the Economic and Social Committee of the European Union for the forthcoming mandate from September 2002 to September 2006; further notes, with regret, that the nomination process has not resulted in any women being nominated, and invites Ministers, in discussion with the other main political parties, to use their best endeavours to secure an enhanced gender balance in the nominations prior to these being finally submitted.

Richard Lochhead moved amendment S1M-3162.1 to motion S1M-3162—

Insert at end—

", and calls on the Scottish Executive to insist that Scotland has a fixed allocation of representatives on all three groups that comprise the committee."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 35, Against 83, Abstentions 3).

The motion was then agreed to (DT).

3. Scotland’s Air Links: Mr Kenny MacAskill moved S1M-3154—That the Parliament recognises the importance of air links to, from and within Scotland for social and economic development; notes with concern the current situation within Scotland and, in particular, in the north of Scotland of poor international connections and high internal air fares; further notes with concern the high landing charges imposed both at British Airports Authority and Highlands and Islands Airports Limited airports and calls for action to be taken for these charges to be reduced and the competitiveness of the airports increased, and calls for all aviation matters to be devolved to the Parliament, for the Scottish Executive to establish a route development fund to assist the development of direct routes to and from Scottish airports, and for action to be taken regarding the terms of the Highlands and Islands Strategic Transport Partnership report into the creation of more public service obligations allowing affordable and accessible air links within Scotland.

The Deputy Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning, moved amendment S1M-3154.3 to motion S1M-3154—

Leave out from "the importance" to end and insert—

"the substantial and on-going contribution by the Executive and its agencies to the maintenance and development of air links serving Scotland; believes that the best way to develop more international services is through a strategic framework which gives priority to those routes which are best for the Scottish economy; recognises that passenger numbers through Scottish airports are continuing to increase substantially, and notes the publication of the recent report by the Highlands and Islands Strategic Transport Partnership and looks forward to the forthcoming publication of the Scottish Air Transport Consultation Document which will provide a full and inclusive opportunity to comment on the development of aviation policies for Scotland, within the context of the UK consultation led by Her Majesty’s Government including the use of public service obligations and the cost of air travel."

David Mundell moved amendment S1M-3154.2 to motion S1M-3154—

Leave out from ", in particular" to end and insert—

"calls upon the Scottish Executive to work with Her Majesty’s Government to develop a strategy for ensuring that essential services are provided within a competitive environment that allows low cost airlines to prosper and deliver new and cheaper services."

After debate, amendment S1M-3154.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 67, Against 53, Abstentions 1). As a result amendment S1M-3154.2 was pre-empted.

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 67, Against 52, Abstentions 1).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the substantial and on-going contribution by the Executive and its agencies to the maintenance and development of air links serving Scotland; believes that the best way to develop more international services is through a strategic framework which gives priority to those routes which are best for the Scottish economy; recognises that passenger numbers through Scottish airports are continuing to increase substantially, and notes the publication of the recent report by the Highlands and Islands Strategic Transport Partnership and looks forward to the forthcoming publication of the Scottish Air Transport Consultation Document which will provide a full and inclusive opportunity to comment on the development of aviation policies for Scotland, within the context of the UK consultation led by Her Majesty’s Government including the use of public service obligations and the cost of air travel."

4. GM Field Trials: Fiona McLeod moved S1M-3153—That the Parliament believes that the future of Scottish agriculture is in quality produce, meeting consumer demand and reflecting its outstanding environmental reputation and that, in light of scientific research which raises concerns about the environmental and public health effects of GM crops, Scottish Ministers should immediately apply the precautionary principle and use their powers to halt the Scottish field scale trials and restrict future testing to enclosed laboratories.

Ross Finnie moved amendment S1M-3153.2 to motion S1M-3153—

Leave out from third "that" to end and insert—

"therefore recognises the fact that the development of GM crops in Scotland has proceeded on a precautionary basis requiring, firstly, that releases of GM material are only authorised if an objective scientific test demonstrates that such a release will cause no harm to human health or the environment and, secondly, that a step by step approach is taken involving laboratory testing, plot trials and the current field scale trials with no decision on commercialisation to be taken before a full evaluation of the field scale trials has been completed."

John Scott moved amendment S1M-3153.1 to motion S1M-3153—

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

"and to maintain this reputation considers that it is now necessary that a complete review of all available scientific evidence is undertaken to confirm the safety of the continuation of these trials in order to reassure the public on environmental and health grounds and further to make a concerned public aware of the importance of genetic modification with regard to nourishing and feeding an ever-expanding world population."

After debate, amendment S1M-3153.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 55, Abstentions 3). As a result amendment S1M-3153.1 was pre-empted.

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 55, Abstentions 3).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament believes that the future of Scottish agriculture is in quality produce, meeting consumer demand and reflecting its outstanding environmental reputation and therefore recognises the fact that the development of GM crops in Scotland has proceeded on a precautionary basis requiring, firstly, that releases of GM material are only authorised if an objective scientific test demonstrates that such a release will cause no harm to human health or the environment and, secondly, that a step by step approach is taken involving laboratory testing, plot trials and the current field scale trials with no decision on commercialisation to be taken before a full evaluation of the field scale trials has been completed.

5. Designation of Lead Committees: Patricia Ferguson on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau moved S1M-3163—That the Parliament agrees the following designation of Lead Committee—

the Justice 1 Committee to consider the draft Civil Legal Aid (Financial Conditions) (Scotland) (No.2) Regulations 2002, the draft Advice and Assistance (Financial Conditions) (Scotland) (No.2) Regulations 2002, the draft Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) Amendment (Scotland) Order 2002; and

the Justice 2 Committee to consider the Act of Sederunt (Fees of Solicitors in the Sheriff Court) (Amendment) 2002 (SSI 2002/235).

The motion was agreed to (DT).

6. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and as noted above.

7. Transport Strategy for Aberdeen and North East Scotland: The Parliament debated S1M-3073 in the name of Elaine Thomson—That the Parliament commends the North East of Scotland Transport Partnership (NESTRANS) for developing and progressing a regional transport strategy for Aberdeen and the north east of Scotland that promotes modal shift and tackles growing congestion, including the effective development of park-and-ride schemes in Bridge of Don and Kingswells.

The meeting closed at 6.06 pm.

P E Grice

Clerk of the Parliament

29 May 2002

Appendix

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

Committee Reports

The following Report was published on 29 May 2002

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 26th Report 2002: Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 594)


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