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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

Meeting of the Parliament

Vol 1,No 34

Thursday 20 November 2003

 
 

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

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Poverty in Scotland: Carolyn Leckie moved S2M-625—That the Parliament recognises that only in an independent socialist Scotland will the obscene poverty and inequality that scars our nation be permanently tackled; recognises, however, that the limited powers available to it currently must be utilised fully to tackle the root causes of poverty as effectively as possible; accepts that it has complete power over pay and conditions in the public sector which involves almost 500,000 workers; resolves, in order to eradicate low pay and improve working conditions, to introduce a public sector minimum wage set at the internationally recognised European decency threshold and a maximum working week of 35 hours to tackle the socially destructive long hours culture which currently pervades too many Scottish workplaces; believes that a £7.50 per hour minimum wage and 35 hours a week policy funded by the abolition of Scottish Enterprise and full utilisation of existing block grant will eradicate low pay in the public sector and help increase wages in the private sector, and resolves to continue collectively the push for full independence and democratic control over Scotland’s vast wealth and resources to improve the standard and quality of life of all Scotland’s citizens.

The Minister for Communities (Ms Margaret Curran) moved amendment S2M-625.3 to motion S2M-625—

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

"welcomes the Scottish Executive’s commitment to tackling poverty and disadvantage; notes the Executive’s work towards increasing opportunities through growing the economy including delivering on A Smart, Successful Scotland, delivering excellent public services, particularly in education and health, and through supporting strong communities through community regeneration and focusing on the interests of the individual."

Stewart Stevenson moved amendment S2M-625.2 to motion S2M-625—

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

"believes that the implementation of many of the proposals in the Scottish Socialist Party manifesto would only ensure that the unacceptable poverty of the poorest in our society would come to be shared by more of our citizens than at present."

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-625.1 to motion S2M-625—

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

"notes that socialism has caused more poverty and human misery than any other political ideology in modern history; further notes that socialist policies, where implemented, have singularly failed to remedy the lack of economic growth that is the root cause of poverty; believes that the best way to tackle poverty is to create a strong, dynamic, free enterprise economy with opportunity for all, and therefore calls upon the Scottish Executive to reduce business rates and ease the burden of water charges on Scottish business thereby taking the first steps towards improving the Scottish economy."

After debate amendment 625.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 36, Abstentions 15). As a result amendments 625.2 and 625.1 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 36, Abstentions 18).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Executive’s commitment to tackling poverty and disadvantage; notes the Executive’s work towards increasing opportunities through growing the economy including delivering on A Smart, Successful Scotland, delivering excellent public services, particularly in education and health, and through supporting strong communities through community regeneration and focusing on the interests of the individual.

2. World Peace: Frances Curran moved S2M-618—That the Parliament opposes the state visit to the UK by George W Bush; deplores the complicity and subservience of the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who now shares the responsibility for the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis and dozens of British service personnel; considers that the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament were deceived into backing an illegal, immoral and unjustified war; believes that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have turned the world into a more dangerous and unstable place than ever before; agrees to send messages of support to the many thousands of protestors participating in the "Stop Bush" UK national demonstrations in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and recommends that the International Court of Justice should place George W Bush and Tony Blair on trial for war crimes.

Mr John Home Robertson moved amendment S2M-618.3 to motion S2M-618—

Leave out from "opposes" to end and insert—

"supports all those who are working for world peace and the extension of democracy; reasserts its support for the route map to peace in the Middle East; believes that the contribution of UK service personnel, including those from Scotland, should be commended, and expresses its sympathy to the families of those members of the armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country and in the pursuit of world peace."

Mike Rumbles moved amendment S2M-618.3.1 to amendment S2M-618.3—

leave out from "reasserts" to end and insert—

"acknowledges the deep feeling aroused by the State visit of the US President George W Bush; believes that initiating military action in Iraq without a clear UN mandate was wrong, and recognises the opportunity presented by the visit to make clear the public’s wish that those who initiated the war have a duty, under the supervision of the UN, to make Iraq safe and give its people the opportunity of a democratic future, that the British citizens in Guantanamo Bay are either charged and receive a fair trial or are sent home to face justice within the UK, and that the promise to continue the unremitting search for peace in the Middle East with security for Israel and justice for the Palestinians must be honoured."

Nicola Sturgeon moved amendment S2M-618.2 to motion S2M-618—

Leave out from "opposes" to end and insert—

"regrets the State visit to the UK by George W Bush at a time when civilian and military casualties in Iraq continue to rise; condemns the decision by George W Bush and Tony Blair to pursue an illegal war in Iraq on the basis of false and misleading information; considers that US military command in Iraq should be passed to the United Nations and that the process of handing over control of the country to a democratic government should be accelerated in the interests of the Iraqi people rather than the re-election prospects of George W Bush; believes that the total disregard of the current US administration for the views of the international community, as illustrated by its stance on Iraq, the Kyoto Treaty, the International Criminal Court and its abuse of human rights at Guantanamo Bay, poses a threat to world peace, and calls on Tony Blair to raise these issues in the strongest possible terms with George W Bush during his visit to the UK."

Phil Gallie moved amendment S2M-618.1 to motion S2M-618—

Leave out from "opposes" to end and insert—

"welcomes the state visit to the UK of the democratically elected President of the United States of America, recognises the close ties that have existed between governments and peoples of the UK and USA in times of world war, cold war and peace, and believes that without that level of co-operation there would be no free world as we know it today."

After debate, amendment S2M-618.3.1 was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 52, Against 61, Abstentions 3).

Amendment S2M-618.3 was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 77, Against 35, Abstentions 4). As a result amendments S2M-618.2 and S2M-618.1 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 76, Against 13, Abstentions 26).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament supports all those who are working for world peace and the extension of democracy; reasserts its support for the route map to peace in the Middle East; believes that the contribution of UK service personnel, including those from Scotland, should be commended, and expresses its sympathy to the families of those members of the armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country and in the pursuit of world peace.

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

4. Ministerial Statement: The Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care (Mr Tom McCabe) made a statement on dental services in Scotland, and answered questions on the statement.

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

6. Progress in Respect of Fuel Poverty in Scotland: The Minister for Communities (Ms Margaret Curran) moved S2M-627—That the Parliament welcomes the new fuel poverty figures from the Scottish House Condition Survey 2002 as good news for Scotland; endorses the Scottish Executive’s current fuel poverty programmes, and reaffirms the commitment to eradicate fuel poverty as far as reasonably practicable by 2016.

Shona Robison moved amendment S2M-627.3 to motion S2M-627—

Leave out from "endorses" to end and insert—

"recognises that in energy rich Scotland one in six households are still suffering fuel poverty, and believes that in order to help meet the Scottish Executive’s commitment to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016, the central heating programme should be extended to families with young children, people with disabilities and pensioners with inadequate heating."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 36, Against 63, Abstentions 17).

Mary Scanlon moved amendment S2M-627.2 to motion S2M-627—

Insert at end—

"and recognises that the single biggest contributor to a reduction in fuel poverty was the privatisation of the utilities by Conservative governments at Westminster."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 17, Against 97, Abstentions 1).

The motion was then agreed to (DT).

7. Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill – UK Legislation: The Deputy Minister for Communities (Mrs Mary Mulligan) moved S2M-543—That the Parliament endorses the principle of including in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill provisions to remove Crown immunity from planning controls for development and agrees that the relevant provisions to achieve this end should be considered by the UK Parliament.

Patrick Harvie moved amendment S2M-543.1 to motion S2M-543—

Insert at end—

"but, in so doing, expresses its concerns over several provisions contained in the Bill, namely those relating to national security, urgency and enforcement; believes that these provisions could face objectors with a greater disadvantage in Crown planning cases than they are faced with in private planning cases, and considers that the UK Parliament should address these issues during its consideration of the Bill."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 35, Against 80, Abstentions 1).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 87, Against 4, Abstentions 24).

8. Membership of Committee: Patricia Ferguson, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-620—That the Parliament agrees that Tommy Sheridan be appointed to replace Rosie Kane on the Local Government and Transport Committee.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

9. Approval of SSI: Patricia Ferguson, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-621—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) (Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning) (Orkney) (No.4) (Scotland) Order 2003 (SSI 2003/501) be approved.

The motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 87, Against 1, Abstentions 27).

10. Approval of SSI: Patricia Ferguson, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-622—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Agricultural Holdings (Consequential Amendments) (Scotland) Order 2003 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

11. Approval of SSI: Patricia Ferguson, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-623—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Budget (Scotland) Act 2003 Amendment (No.2) Order 2003 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

12. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 as noted above.

13. Review of Maternity Services in Glasgow: The Parliament debated S2M-511 in the name of Sandra White—That the Parliament notes the decision of Greater Glasgow Health Board to endorse the recommendations of the maternity working group to close the Queen Mother’s Hospital and transfer services to the Southern General Hospital; further notes the concerns of the public and hospital health professionals at the closure of the Queen Mother’s Hospital and subsequently services at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and the adverse effect that this will have on maternity and children’s services throughout Scotland, and considers that the Minister for Health and Community Care, Malcolm Chisholm, should launch an immediate investigation into the maternity services review by Greater Glasgow Health Board.

14. Motion Without Notice: Murray Tosh moved without notice a motion under Rule 8.14.3 that the Parliament agrees that Members’ Business on 20 November 2003 be extended by 15 minutes.

The meeting closed at 6.16 pm.

P E Grice

Clerk of the Parliament

20 November 2003

Appendix

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

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 20 November 2003 for approval by resolution

The Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) (Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning) (West Coast) (No. 11) (Scotland) Order 2003 (SSI 2003/561)

laid under section 1(8) of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985

The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 20 November 2003 for approval by resolution

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2003

laid under section 93(10) of the Environment Act 1995

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 20 November 2003 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

National Galleries of Scotland Annual Accounts for the Year Ended 31 March 2003 (SE/2003/311)

laid under section 22(5) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Annual Report 2002-03 (SPSO/2002-2003/AR)

laid under section 17 of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002

Committee Reports

The following Reports were published on 20 November 2003—

Enterprise and Culture Committee, 2nd Report 2003 (Session 2):

Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 49)

Health Committee, 10th Report 2003 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 50)


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