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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

Meeting of the Parliament

Vol 1, No 38 (Session 2)

Thursday 4th December 2003

 
 

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

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Financial Powers of the Scottish Parliament: Mr John Swinney moved S2M-697—That the Parliament recognises that, in order to be properly accountable to the electorate, it should be responsible for raising its revenue as well as spending public money and agrees that making every country follow the same tax rules diminishes competitiveness by killing jobs and stifling growth.

The Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Services (Tavish Scott) moved amendment S2M-697.3 to motion S2M-697—

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

"the significant benefit that Scotland gains from being part of the United Kingdom and notes that public expenditure in Scotland is at record levels and that this is helping to deliver the commitments in the Partnership Agreement to growing Scotland’s economy; delivering excellent public services; supporting stronger, safer communities; and developing a confident, democratic Scotland."

David McLetchie moved amendment S2M-697.2 to motion S2M-697—

Leave out from "recognises" to end and insert—

"notes that it will only regain the confidence of the people of Scotland if it addresses the issues of most concern to them and that we must therefore concentrate on improving our public services, strengthening our economy and tackling crime; recognises nevertheless that the relative responsibilities of the Parliament and Westminster, including the financial relationship, should be the subject of review in light of experience; calls for such a review to be conducted within the context of making the devolved settlement work better and thereby strengthening the United Kingdom, and believes that the most appropriate mechanism for such a review would be a Royal Commission or similar independent inquiry appointed by the UK government."

Tommy Sheridan moved amendment S2M-697.1 to motion S2M-697—

Leave out from "making" to end and insert—

"acquiring additional powers to tax as well as spend would allow the Parliament to make the Scottish taxation structure much more progressive, begin the process of tackling the inequalities of wealth in Scotland and ending poverty; recognises, however, that fiscal autonomy alone would not overcome the serious distortions of the Scottish economy caused by our being part of the United Kingdom and will not allow the Parliament to stop the profligate expenditure of the UK government on immoral and illegal wars against the wishes of its people, nor the ongoing expenditure on weapons of mass destruction as typified by nuclear weapons at Faslane, and that it would still have insufficient fiscal powers to broaden its tax base and invigorate its economy and culture by adopting a policy of welcoming to Scotland the asylum seekers and other immigrants who it requires, and further agrees that only an independent Scotland will give the Scottish Parliament the powers to tackle these economic and social issues."

After debate amendment S2M-697.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 50, Abstentions 1). As a result amendment S2M-697.1 was pre-empted.

After debate amendment S2M-697.2 was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 14, Against 100, Abstentions 0).

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 49, Abstentions 16).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the significant benefit that Scotland gains from being part of the United Kingdom and notes that public expenditure in Scotland is at record levels and that this is helping to deliver the commitments in the Partnership Agreement to growing Scotland’s economy; delivering excellent public services; supporting stronger, safer communities; and developing a confident, democratic Scotland.

2. European Parliament Seat Numbers: Nicola Sturgeon moved S2M-694—That the Parliament supports the European and External Relations Committee’s unanimous call for Scotland to retain eight Members of the European Parliament.

The Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Services (Tavish Scott) moved amendment S2M-694.1 to motion S2M-694—

Leave out from "supports" to end and insert—

"welcomes the accession of the 10 new member states of the European Union on 1 May 2004; notes that the elections to the European parliament are a reserved matter; recognises that all 15 existing member states have agreed to reduce their quota of MEPs to enable the new member states to be represented on an equitable basis; notes the consequent reduction of United Kingdom seats in the European Parliament from 87 to 78, and considers that this is appropriate given the enlargement of the European Union."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 36, Abstentions 14).

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 77, Against 35, Abstentions 1).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the accession of the 10 new member states of the European Union on 1 May 2004; notes that the elections to the European parliament are a reserved matter; recognises that all 15 existing member states have agreed to reduce their quota of MEPs to enable the new member states to be represented on an equitable basis; notes the consequent reduction of United Kingdom seats in the European Parliament from 87 to 78, and considers that this is appropriate given the enlargement of the European Union.

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

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

5. Protecting Bathing Water Quality: The Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Allan Wilson) moved S2M-695—That the Parliament commends the results achieved during the 2003 bathing season for Scotland’s designated bathing waters; welcomes the Scottish Executive’s continued commitment to place the environment at the forefront of our strategy for protecting our bathing waters; acknowledges the importance of continuing to strive to achieve best value from the considerable investment that Scotland is applying, which in turn enhances Scotland’s tourist credentials, and endorses the partnership approach taken by the Executive to work with all sectors to reduce pollution to the water environment.

Roseanna Cunningham moved amendment S2M-695.3 to motion S2M-695—

Leave out from "welcomes" to end and insert—

"but believes that this is only one component in a larger concern about the marine environment that must be addressed urgently if the commitment to improving Scotland’s natural environment overall is to be realised."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 44, Against 61, Abstentions 6).

Alex Johnstone moved amendment S2M-695.1 to motion S2M-695—

Leave out from "commends" to end and insert—

"notes the continuing improvement in bathing water quality in Scotland but believes that further progress is now dependent on addressing the limitations of Scottish Water and the planning system."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 39, Against 73, Abstentions 1).

Mr Mark Ruskell moved amendment S2M-695.4 to motion S2M-695—

Leave out from "commends" to end and insert—

"notes that while 2003 represents a record year for compliance with the Bathing Water Directive, some of Scotland’s best bathing locations still fail to meet minimum standards; notes that compliance with the higher standards required by a revised European Directive will place further demands upon Scottish Water, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and other bodies with responsibilities for water quality; further notes that other legislation also impacts on Scotland’s bathing water quality, and urges the Scottish Executive to be mindful of these considerations and of the importance of integrated coastal zone management when it consults on the best strategy for protecting and enhancing Scotland’s coastline."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 51, Against 62, Abstentions 1).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 78, Against 3, Abstentions 33).

6. Business Motion: Tavish Scott, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-686—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) that Stage 1 of the Local Governance (Scotland) Bill be completed by 2 April 2004; and

(b) that Stage 1 of the National Health Service Reform (Scotland) Bill be completed by 5 March 2004.

The motion was agreed to.

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

6. Unity Enterprise Glasgow Airport: The Parliament debated S2M-578 in the name of Trish Godman—That the Parliament commends Unity Enterprise, a registered charity, which provides education, training, work experience and other assistance to young people and adults who have disabilities and disadvantages of one kind or another; notes in particular the helpful and practical assistance given by a group of such young people and adults to passengers at Glasgow Airport, especially the help shown to those individuals who have to use wheelchairs, in relation to shopping requirements, visits to cafes and toilets and the company offered to passengers in allocated areas; believes that this is both a comfort to travellers and offers a useful introduction to the workplace for those who are themselves disadvantaged, and therefore considers that the Scottish Executive and other appropriate agencies should do what they can in order to extend similar services to other airports, bus terminals and railway stations.

The meeting closed at 5.47 pm.

P E Grice

Clerk of the Parliament

4 December 2003

Appendix

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

Committee Reports

The following Reports were published on 4 December 2003—

Finance Committee, 3rd Report 2003 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 58)

Health Committee, 11th Report 2003 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 59)

Communities Committee, 4th Report 2003 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 60)

 


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