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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

Meeting of the Parliament

Vol 1, No 65 Session 2

Wednesday 31st March 2004

 
 

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

The meeting opened at 2.30 pm.

1. Time for Reflection: Mrs Helen McLeod, Elder in St Margaret’s Church of Scotland, Forfar led Time for Reflection.

2. Meeting of the Parliament: Patricia Ferguson, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved, without notice, S2M-1135—That the Parliament agrees, in terms of Rule 2.2.4, that this meeting of the Parliament shall continue until 18.30 to consider Members’ Business.

The motion was agreed to.

3. The Effect of Strip Stamps on the Whisky Industry: Murdo Fraser moved S2M-1116—That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Executive’s commitment to the Scotch Whisky industry as set out in A Toast to the Future – working together for Scotch whisky, particularly the Executive’s commitment to a fair tax regime for the industry; notes with disappointment the announcement by Her Majesty’s Government in the 2004 Budget of the introduction of tax stamps on whisky and other spirits; recognises that the compliance costs associated with the measure will introduce a heavy burden on the Scotch whisky industry, thereby adversely affecting both it and the wider Scottish economy; believes that the £3 million compensation package announced by HM Treasury is wholly inadequate, given the estimated cost to the industry of some £60 to £70 million per annum, and accordingly calls on Her Majesty’s Government to reverse the decision to impose tax stamps and, failing this, to ensure that a properly-funded and comprehensive package of measures is put in place to minimise the damage caused to the industry.

The Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Lewis Macdonald) moved amendment S2M-1116.2 to motion S2M-1116—

Leave out from ", thereby adversely" to end and insert—

"; and therefore calls on HM Treasury to engage in further discussion with the industry on the impact of these measures with a view to reaching a satisfactory outcome which deals with tax fraud and would lead to the decision being reversed, failing which to ensure that a comprehensive package of compensation measures is put in place to minimise the impact on the industry."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 112, Against 4, Abstentions 1).

Jim Mather moved amendment S2M-1116.1 to motion S2M-1116—

Leave out from "welcomes" to end and insert—

"agrees with the Scotch Whisky Association that the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s decision in the 2004 UK Budget to impose tax stamps on whisky and other spirits will damage the industry’s competitiveness at home and abroad but do little to tackle spirits fraud; deplores the damage that successive Westminster governments have done to this vital Scottish industry, and therefore agrees that, to reverse the tax stamp decision and ensure that the competitive position of Scotch whisky is not further eroded, the Scottish Parliament should be responsible for the setting of all national taxation within Scotland."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 26, Against 80, Abstentions 11).

The motion as amended was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 111, Against 4, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Executive’s commitment to the Scotch Whisky industry as set out in A Toast to the Future – working together for Scotch whisky, particularly the Executive’s commitment to a fair tax regime for the industry; notes with disappointment the announcement by Her Majesty’s Government in the 2004 Budget of the introduction of tax stamps on whisky and other spirits; recognises that the compliance costs associated with the measure will introduce a heavy burden on the Scotch whisky industry; and therefore calls on HM Treasury to engage in further discussion with the industry on the impact of these measures with a view to reaching a satisfactory outcome which deals with tax fraud and would lead to the decision being reversed, failing which to ensure that a comprehensive package of compensation measures is put in place to minimise the impact on the industry.

4. The Failure of the BBC to Hand Over Tapes to Fraser Inquiry: David McLetchie moved S2M-1117—That the Parliament agrees that the Holyrood Project has a significant contribution to make to the built environment in Scotland and should provide important lessons for future public procurement policy; notes that the report of the Holyrood Inquiry being conducted by The Rt Hon The Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC, when presented to the Parliament, will be submitted to an appropriate Parliamentary committee for additional scrutiny and may thereafter be the subject of a full debate or debates in the Parliament; believes that consideration of the Holyrood Inquiry report and the public policy issues arising therefrom which are the general responsibility of the Scottish Executive would be enhanced if members had available to them recordings or transcripts of interviews given by the late Donald Dewar and Snr Enric Miralles to the production company, Wark Clements, in the making of the programme entitled "The Gathering Place", which documents are in the custody or under the control of the British Broadcasting Corporation having its principal place of business in Scotland at Broadcasting House, Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow G12 8DG, and accordingly requires the British Broadcasting Corporation in terms of section 23 of the Scotland Act 1998 to deliver such documents to the Clerk of the Parliament in accordance with instructions to be given by him in terms of section 24 of said Act.

Fergus Ewing moved amendment S2M-1117.2 to motion S2M-1117—

Leave out from "agrees" to end and insert—

"believes that, whilst it is wholly inappropriate for any parliament to issue orders to the press and media requiring them to hand over material, the BBC should cooperate with the Holyrood Inquiry by providing to it the tape recordings of the interviews with the late Donald Dewar and Enric Miralles, which have been filmed for the proposed programme, "The Gathering Place", because they may include material of relevance to the remit of the Holyrood Inquiry; further believes that the Holyrood Inquiry should have had conferred upon it at the outset the powers to compel the appearance of witnesses and production of documents set out in the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921; considers that the First Minister and the Presiding Officer should now explore whether such powers can yet be conferred upon the Holyrood Inquiry; believes that the leaders of all political parties in Scotland should immediately agree to write jointly to the BBC calling upon it to cooperate with the Inquiry, and considers that the First Minister should seek to appear before the Inquiry as a witness in order to answer questions about his role as Minister for Finance."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 24, Against 86, Abstentions 7).

Robert Brown moved amendment S2M-1117.4 to motion S2M-1117—

Leave out from "agrees" to end and insert—

"notes the current Holyrood Inquiry being conducted by The Rt Hon The Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC as instigated by the First Minister and the Presiding Officer; encourages all those with an interest in the Inquiry to provide Lord Fraser with all required documentation and material and strongly encourages both the Inquiry and the BBC to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution to the ongoing issue surrounding the availability of information from tapes of the Wark Clements Productions’ programme entitled "The Gathering Place"; supports the independence of the BBC against political interference as a fundamental bulwark of our civil liberties, and believes that the Parliament would undermine the independence of the BBC by seeking to compel it to take any particular course of action but would nevertheless welcome a decision by the BBC to allow Lord Fraser appropriate access to the tapes."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 91, Against 26, Abstentions 0).

The motion as amended was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 92, Against 25, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the current Holyrood Inquiry being conducted by The Rt Hon The Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC as instigated by the First Minister and the Presiding Officer; encourages all those with an interest in the Inquiry to provide Lord Fraser with all required documentation and material and strongly encourages both the Inquiry and the BBC to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution to the ongoing issue surrounding the availability of information from tapes of the Wark Clements Productions’ programme entitled "The Gathering Place"; supports the independence of the BBC against political interference as a fundamental bulwark of our civil liberties, and believes that the Parliament would undermine the independence of the BBC by seeking to compel it to take any particular course of action but would nevertheless welcome a decision by the BBC to allow Lord Fraser appropriate access to the tapes.

 

5. Business Motion: Patricia Ferguson, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-1126—That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business—

Wednesday 21 April 2004

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by European and External Affairs Committee Debate on Enlargement of the European Union

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 22 April 2004

9.30 am Executive Debate

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.00 pm Question Time –

Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport;

Finance and Public Services and Communities;

General Questions

3.00 pm Executive Debate on Developing Scotland’s Renewable Energy

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Wednesday 28 April 2004

2.30 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Stage 3 of the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 29 April 2004

9.30 am Scottish National Party Business

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.00 pm Question Time –

Environment and Rural Development;

Health and Community Care;

General Questions

3.00 pm Executive Business

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

After debate the motion was agreed to (by division: For 67, Against 43, Abstentions 7).

6. Designation of Lead Committees: Patricia Ferguson, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved—

S2M-1129—That the Parliament agrees that the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Criminal Legal Aid (Fixed Payments) (Scotland) Amendment (No.2) Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/126).

S2M-1121—That the Parliament agrees that the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Police (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/121).

S2M-01122—That the Parliament agrees that the Justice 2 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Police Grant (Scotland) Order 2004 (SSI 2004/120).

S2M-1123—That the Parliament agrees that the Justice 1 Committee be designated as lead committee in consideration of the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1.

The motions were agreed to (DT).

7. Approval of SSI: Patricia Ferguson, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau moved S2M-1124—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Debt Arrangement Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2004 be approved.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 3, 4, 6 and 7 as noted above.

9. Ministerial Statement: The Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Mr Jim Wallace) made a statement, and answered questions on Standard Life.

10. London Olympic Bid: The Parliament debated S2M-811 in the name of Alex Neil—That the Parliament notes with concern the decision by Her Majesty's Government to provide an unlimited funding guarantee for the London bid to host the Olympic Games in 2012 and, whilst happy to support the bid’s success, believes that London should share financial responsibility for the guarantee in line with the original intention of Her Majesty’s Government, outlined in the response to A London Olympic Bid for 2012 by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The meeting closed at 6.22 pm.

P E Grice

Clerk of the Parliament

31 March 2004

Appendix

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

New Bills introduced or reprinted on 29 March 2004

School Education (Ministerial Powers and Independent Schools) (Scotland) Bill—A Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to confer power on the Scottish Ministers, following inspection of a public or grant-aided school or of an education authority, to direct the school managers or the authority to take specified action; to provide that all non-public schools which provide full-time education for pupils of school age are independent schools; to abolish provisional registration of independent schools; to make amended provision for the registration and regulation of independent schools; to provide for appeals to the sheriff principal against certain decisions by the Scottish Ministers in relation to such schools; and for connected purposes. (SP Bill 22) (Executive Bill)

Introduced by: Peter Peacock

Supported by: Euan Robson

Explanatory Notes (and other accompanying documents) (SP Bill 22-EN) and a Policy Memorandum (SP Bill 22-PM) were printed to accompany the Bill.

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 26 March 2004 and are subject to annulment—

The Local Authorities Etc. (Allowances) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/146)

laid under section 50(2) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and section 190(2) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989

Act of Sederunt (Fees of Shorthand Writers in the Sheriff Court) (Amendment) 2004 (SSI 2004/149)

laid under section 40 of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1907

Act of Sederunt (Fees of Solicitors and Witnesses in the Sheriff Court) (Amendment) 2004 (SSI 2004/152)

laid under section 326(3) of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 29 March 2004 and is subject to annulment

The Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland (Disqualification) Regulations 2004 (SSI/2004/154)

laid under section 326(3) of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 30 March 2004 and are subject to annulment—

The Primary Medical Services (Sale of Goodwill and Restrictions on Sub-contracting) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/162)

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

The General Medical Services and Section 17C Agreements (Transitional and other Ancillary Provisions) (Scotland) Order 2004 (SSI 2004/163)

laid under section 7 of the Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2004

Not Subject to any Parliamentary Procedure

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 30 March 2004 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

The Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) (Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning) (West Coast) (Scotland) (SSI 2004/159)

laid under section 1(10) of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 26 March 2004 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Return of Expenditure incurred and Prosecutions taken under the Animal Health Act 1981, and Incidences of Diseases in Imported Animals for the year 2003 (SE/2004/57)

laid under section 80 of the Animal Health Act 1981

Audit Committee, 3rd Report, 2004 Scottish Executive Health Department Response Supporting Prescribing in General Practice – A Progress Report (SE/2004/62)

Committee Reports

The following Report was published on 30 March 2004

The Local Government and Transport Committee, 3rd Report 2004 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 118)

The following Report was published on 31 March 2004

Subordinate Legislation Committee 12th Report 2004 (Session 2): Delegated Powers Scrutiny: Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Bill as amended at Stage 2 (SP Paper 119)

 

 

 

 


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