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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

Meeting of the Parliament

Vol 1, No 60 Session 2

Thursday 11 March 2004

 
 

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

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Pensioner Poverty: John Swinburne moved S2M-1020—That the Parliament agrees that pensioner poverty must be eradicated.

The Deputy Minister for Communities (Mrs Mary Mulligan) moved amendment S2M-1020.3 to motion S2M-1020—

Insert at end—

"and congratulates the Scottish Executive for closing the opportunity gap for Scotland's poorest pensioners; welcomes Executive policies that are helping pensioners to save money on heating their homes effectively, providing assistance with bus fares and continuing free personal and nursing care, and supports the Executive in encouraging pensioners to claim benefits that are rightfully theirs, such as council tax benefit, through the central heating programme, and through disseminating information to local authorities and old people's organisations."

Shona Robison moved amendment S2M-1020.2 to motion S2M-1020—

Insert at end—

"and that this can only be achieved if the Parliament has a full range of powers including control over pensions, tax and the benefits system."

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-1020.1 to motion S2M-1020—

Insert at end—

"; acknowledges that the increases in means testing for pensioners introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, adversely affect many pensioners who are reluctant to claim the benefits to which they are entitled; supports the re-introduction of a link between pensions and earnings as proposed by the Conservative Party at Westminster, and recognises that a growing, dynamic economy through lower tax and regulation is the best way to address the problem of poverty for all, including pensioners."

After debate, amendment S2M-1020.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 74, Against 23, Abstentions 23). As a result amendments 1020.2 and 1020.1 were pre-empted.

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 74, Against 18, Abstentions 29).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament agrees that pensioner poverty must be eradicated and congratulates the Scottish Executive for closing the opportunity gap for Scotland's poorest pensioners; welcomes Executive policies that are helping pensioners to save money on heating their homes effectively, providing assistance with bus fares and continuing free personal and nursing care, and supports the Executive in encouraging pensioners to claim benefits that are rightfully theirs, such as council tax benefit, through the central heating programme, and through disseminating information to local authorities and old people's organisations.

2. Winter Cold-related Deaths: John Swinburne moved S2M-1021—That the Parliament notes with extreme concern recent figures that show that there were 2,510 deaths from cold-related illnesses during the winter of 2002-03, the majority of those being elderly people, an increase of nearly 700; condemns such statistics as reprehensible in Scotland in the 21st century, and, while welcoming the Scottish Executive's free central heating programme, recognises that the delivery of such programmes must be improved and extended to reach all senior citizens in need as soon as possible.

The Deputy Minister for Communities (Mrs Mary Mulligan) moved amendment S2M-1021.2 to motion S2M-1021—

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

"the recent figures on winter cold-related deaths; recognises the decrease by half in the number of fuel-poor households in Scotland; welcomes the Scottish Executive's extension of the central heating programme to upgrade or replace partial or inefficient central heating systems for the over-80s in the private sector, and reaffirms the commitment to eradicate fuel poverty as far as reasonably practicable by 2016 thereby combating the threat of winter cold-related deaths."

Tricia Marwick moved amendment S2M-1021.1 to motion S2M-1021—

Insert at end—

"and that fuel poverty in Scotland will not be eradicated until the Parliament has the full range of powers, including control over the pension and benefit system."

After debate, amendment 1021.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 67, Against 30, Abstentions 24). As a result amendment S2M-1021.1 was pre-empted.

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 67, Against 17, Abstentions 37).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the recent figures on winter cold-related deaths; recognises the decrease by half in the number of fuel-poor households in Scotland; welcomes the Scottish Executive's extension of the central heating programme to upgrade or replace partial or inefficient central heating systems for the over-80s in the private sector, and reaffirms the commitment to eradicate fuel poverty as far as reasonably practicable by 2016 thereby combating the threat of winter cold-related deaths.

3. Council Tax: Tommy Sheridan moved S2M-984—That the Parliament agrees that the council tax should be abolished and replaced with an income-based alternative.

The Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Services (Tavish Scott) moved amendment S2M-984.2 to motion S2M-984—

Leave out from "council tax" to end and insert—

"forthcoming independent review of local government finance should be asked to conduct a thorough examination of a range of local taxation systems, including the various proposals for an income-based system and reforms to the present council tax system and encourages all those who wish to make meaningful contribution to the review to submit proposals when called upon to do so."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 88, Against 33, Abstentions 0).

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 91, Against 30, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament agrees that the forthcoming independent review of local government finance should be asked to conduct a thorough examination of a range of local taxation systems, including the various proposals for an income-based system and reforms to the present council tax system and encourages all those who wish to make meaningful contribution to the review to submit proposals when called upon to do so.

4. Nursery Nurses, A Just Claim: Carolyn Leckie moved S2M-985—That the Parliament agrees that the nursery nurses have a just claim and that there should be a fair, nationally negotiated settlement to their current dispute.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton moved amendment S2M-985.1 to motion S2M-985—

Leave out from "agrees" to end and insert—

"supports local pay bargaining; welcomes the settlement by nine local authorities, but calls on UNISON to make a special dispensation for children who have special educational needs due to the severe impact that the strike has on them and their families."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 17, Against 103, Abstentions 1).

The Deputy Minister for Education and Young People (Euan Robson) moved amendment S2M-985.2 to motion S2M-985—

Leave out from "agrees" to end and insert—

"recognises the importance of the pre-five sector to securing the best possible start to life for Scotland's young people and the priority the Scottish Executive has given to pre-five provision; welcomes the significant progress in pre-school education entitlement for three and four-year-olds achieved over recent years; emphasises that nursery nurses and others in the early years workforce should receive pay that is fair to them and is financially sustainable; notes grading settlements made to date; urges COSLA to do all it can to support a resolution to the current dispute; further urges the local authority employers and unions to continue negotiations, and encourages the Executive to push forward with plans to secure improved workforce planning, qualifications structure and career pathways for the early years workforce as a means of securing recognition of the commitment and professionalism of pre-five workers, greater opportunities and equality in the workplace for this predominantly female workforce."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 70, Against 44, Abstentions 3).

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 76, Against 41, Abstentions 4).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the importance of the pre-five sector to securing the best possible start to life for Scotland's young people and the priority the Scottish Executive has given to pre-five provision; welcomes the significant progress in pre-school education entitlement for three and four-year-olds achieved over recent years; emphasises that nursery nurses and others in the early years workforce should receive pay that is fair to them and is financially sustainable; notes grading settlements made to date; urges COSLA to do all it can to support a resolution to the current dispute; further urges the local authority employers and unions to continue negotiations, and encourages the Executive to push forward with plans to secure improved workforce planning, qualifications structure and career pathways for the early years workforce as a means of securing recognition of the commitment and professionalism of pre-five workers, greater opportunities and equality in the workplace for this predominantly female workforce.

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

6. Question Time: Questions were answered by the Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Mr Jim Wallace) and the Minister for Transport (Nicol Stephen); by the Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson), the Solicitor General (Elish Angiolini) and the Lord Advocate (Colin Boyd); and by other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

7. Ministerial Statement: The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport (Mr Frank McAveety) made a statement, and answered questions on the outcomes of the Ministerial Group on Tourism.

8. The Historic Environment, A Valuable Resource for Scotland: The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport (Mr Frank McAveety) moved S2M-1033—That the Parliament recognises that Scotland's rich heritage of historic buildings, conservation areas, monuments, archaeology, gardens and landscapes makes an important contribution to the cultural, economic and social well-being of contemporary Scotland.

Roseanna Cunningham moved amendment S2M-1033.2 to motion S2M-1033—

Insert at end—

"; regrets that, notwithstanding the work done by individuals and organisations, there remain serious concerns about (a) a lack of both resources and information and (b) the failure to sufficiently protect, conserve, interpret and promote Scotland's historic environment and endorses the call for a review of the historic environment backed up by a regular audit to measure progress."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 54, Against 62, Abstentions 0).

Jamie McGrigor moved amendment S2M-1033.1 to motion S2M-1033—

Insert at end—

"and believes that Historic Scotland, in its policies, must be mindful of the immense benefits to employment, income and culture brought by tourism and, in particular, art and archaeological tourism."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to (DT).

The motion as amended was then agreed to (DT).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises that Scotland's rich heritage of historic buildings, conservation areas, monuments, archaeology, gardens and landscapes makes an important contribution to the cultural, economic and social well-being of contemporary Scotland and believes that Historic Scotland, in its policies, must be mindful of the immense benefits to employment, income and culture brought by tourism and, in particular, art and archaeological tourism.

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

10. Maternity Services in Caithness: The Parliament debated S2M-746 in the name of Rob Gibson—That the Parliament notes the current review of maternity services in rural and remote communities of Caithness and north Sutherland; believes that no "one size fits all" model will deliver satisfactory solutions across the country; considers that staff shortages and widely differing geographical circumstances have to be accommodated, and further considers that the Scottish Executive should instruct NHS Scotland to draw up consultant contracts so that medical staff gain competencies in both large and small hospitals and therefore fulfil the Executive's pledge that every child in Scotland be given the best possible start in life.

The meeting closed at 6.08 pm.

P E Grice

Clerk of the Parliament

11 March 2004

Appendix

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

New Bills introduced or reprinted on 10 March 2004

Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill—The Bill was reprinted as amended at Stage 2. (SP Bill 11A) (Executive Bill)

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 11 March 2004 for approval by resolution

The draft Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Travel Notification Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2004

laid under section 138(2) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 11 March 2004 and are subject to annulment—

The Special Waste Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/112)

laid under section 2(7) of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 and paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972

The National Health Service (Primary Medical Services Performers Lists) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/114)—

The National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/115)—

The National Health Service (Primary Medical Services Section 17C Agreements) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/116)—

The National Health Service (Tribunal) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/122)—

laid under section 105(2) of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 (Assistance to Registered Social Landlords and Other Persons) (Grants Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/117)

laid under section 109(4) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001

The Dairy Produce Quotas (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/118)

laid under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972

The Tribunals and Inquiries (Dairy Produce Quota Tribunal) (Scotland) Order 2004 (SSI 2004/119)

laid under section 15 of the Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1992

The Police Grant (Scotland) Order 2004 (SSI 2004/120)

laid under section 48 of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967

The Police (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/121)

laid under section 48(2) of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967

Other Documents

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 11 March 2004 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Report on the Police Grant (Scotland) Order 2004 (SE/2004/59)

laid under section 32(6) of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967

Committee Reports

The following Report was published on 11 March 2003

Enterprise and Culture Committee, 1st Report, 2004 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 106)


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