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Minutes of Proceedings 1999-2011

Journal of Parliamentary Proceedings Sessions 1 & 2

Committees Sessions 1, 2 & 3

Annual reports

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 16 December 2004

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

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. Proposed Defence Reviews from a Scottish Perspective: Murdo Fraser moved S2M-2165—That the Parliament notes the proposed cuts in manpower from the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy and Army throughout the United Kingdom; further notes that this would mean the merger of the Royal Scots and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers into one battalion and the amalgamation of all five battalions into a super regiment of five battalions and a reduction in jobs and operations at RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss; believes that this will have an adverse economic impact on the areas affected by the cuts; further believes that the Scottish regiments are an important part of the tradition and heritage of Scotland; notes that the recent war in Iraq was the latest conflict which showed Scotland’s regiments to be a modern, effective fighting force; believes that, in a time of increased commitments across the globe, our armed forces must have the necessary resources and structure to protect our country, deter aggression and safeguard our vital interests in the wider world, and, accordingly, condemns any cuts and mergers and, in particular, believes that the six existing single battalion Scottish infantry regiments should be retained.

Mr John Home Robertson moved amendment S2M-2165.4 to motion S2M-2165—

Leave out from first “notes” to end and insert—

“acknowledges the importance of Scotland’s substantial contribution to the armed forces of the United Kingdom; notes the social and economic value of the military to communities throughout Scotland; believes that Scotland is rightly proud of the historic and current contribution of Scottish service personnel to the defence of the United Kingdom and to peacekeeping operations worldwide; accepts the need for the military to drive decisions about the structure of efficient armed forces for the modern world, and believes that the traditions, community links and identities of Scotland’s infantry battalions should be maintained in the armed forces of the United Kingdom.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 50, Against 66, Abstentions 11).

Roseanna Cunningham moved amendment S2M-2165.3 to motion S2M-2165—

Insert at end—

“ and condemns the fact that these proposals have been developed while Black Watch soldiers and other members of the armed forces are involved in a dangerous conflict in Iraq.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 50, Against 72, Abstentions 5).

Mike Rumbles moved amendment S2M-2165.1 to motion S2M-2165—

Insert at end—

“as the best way to maintain the operational effectiveness of the Scottish infantry.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 60, Against 55, Abstentions 12).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 59, Abstentions 7).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the proposed cuts in manpower from the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy and Army throughout the United Kingdom; further notes that this would mean the merger of the Royal Scots and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers into one battalion and the amalgamation of all five battalions into a super regiment of five battalions and a reduction in jobs and operations at RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss; believes that this will have an adverse economic impact on the areas affected by the cuts; further believes that the Scottish regiments are an important part of the tradition and heritage of Scotland; notes that the recent war in Iraq was the latest conflict which showed Scotland’s regiments to be a modern, effective fighting force; believes that, in a time of increased commitments across the globe, our armed forces must have the necessary resources and structure to protect our country, deter aggression and safeguard our vital interests in the wider world, and, accordingly, condemns any cuts and mergers and, in particular, believes that the six existing single battalion Scottish infantry regiments should be retained as the best way to maintain the operational effectiveness of the Scottish infantry.

2. Justice Issues with Specific Relevance to Reoffending: Miss Annabel Goldie moved S2M-2158—That the Parliament notes the unacceptable rate of reoffending occurring in Scotland today; accepts that there is a place in our criminal justice system for a range of different sentencing options to address this problem but recognises that when a prison sentence is the appropriate disposal then prison is not simply a punishment but is intended to rehabilitate, deter and protect the public; believes that the way to reduce reoffending and subsequently the prison population is to reduce the overall incidence of crime in Scotland, and therefore calls on the Scottish Executive to increase the police presence in our communities to deter and detect crime and to end automatic early release from our prisons to ensure honesty in sentencing.

The Deputy Minister for Justice (Hugh Henry) moved amendment S2M-2158.3 to motion S2M-2158—

Leave out from “unacceptable” to end and insert—

“Criminal Justice Plan’s acknowledgement that the rate of reoffending occurring in Scotland today is unacceptable; agrees that prison should be used where prison is the appropriate punishment but notes that prison is also intended to rehabilitate the offender, deter the prospective offender and protect the public; agrees that prison must sit within a range of different sentencing options to address reoffending, and therefore notes the increase in police numbers compared to the numbers delivered by the Conservatives, the establishment of the Sentencing Commission to consider a number of issues including early release, and that the recently published Criminal Justice Plan includes measures to tackle Scotland's high reoffending rates, reduce crime and the fear of crime and strengthen confidence in the country’s criminal justice services.”

Mr Kenny MacAskill moved amendment S2M-2158.2 to motion S2M-2158—

Leave out from “accepts” to end and insert—

“further notes that the causes of crime are manifold, involving social and economic dislocation and family and community fragmentation with drink, drugs and deprivation remaining at the root of much crime and antisocial behaviour; notes with concern that Scotland is heading towards having the highest per capita prison population in western Europe; calls, therefore, for a visible police presence in our communities and for prison to be reserved for serious and dangerous offenders; calls for action to be taken to ensure that community-based disposals are available for minor offences to ensure rehabilitation and best use of public funds; calls, therefore, on the Executive to ensure that it is not only tough on crime but tough on the causes of crime, and recognises that the solutions are multifaceted and require individuals to take responsibility for their own actions and for society to take responsibility for all its communities.”

Colin Fox moved amendment S2M-2158.1 to motion S2M-2158—

Leave out from “the way” to end and insert

“, since 80% of male and female prisoners represent no danger to the public, non-custodial sentences should be given much greater consideration and support; calls on the Scottish Executive to provide more specially-trained community police officers accountable to the communities that they serve in order to increase public confidence in the justice system, and reaffirms that, in cases where serious crimes have been committed, remission should be earned and fully recognised by both the wider community and the prison population itself.”

After debate, amendment S2M-2158.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 93, Against 24, Abstentions 10). As a result, amendments S2M-2158.2 and S2M-2158.1 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 95, Against 19, Abstentions 13).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the Criminal Justice Plan’s acknowledgement that the rate of reoffending occurring in Scotland today is unacceptable; agrees that prison should be used where prison is the appropriate punishment but notes that prison is also intended to rehabilitate the offender, deter the prospective offender and protect the public; agrees that prison must sit within a range of different sentencing options to address reoffending, and therefore notes the increase in police numbers compared to the numbers delivered by the Conservatives, the establishment of the Sentencing Commission to consider a number of issues including early release, and that the recently published Criminal Justice Plan includes measures to tackle Scotland's high reoffending rates, reduce crime and the fear of crime and strengthen confidence in the country's criminal justice services.

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

4. 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) and the Lord Advocate (Colin Boyd); and by other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

5. Tourism – Ambitions for Scotland: The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport (Patricia Ferguson) moved S2M-2166—That the Parliament recognises the economic benefits of promoting the long-term growth of Scotland’s tourism industry; approves of the Scottish Executive’s ambition, shared with VisitScotland and the tourism sector, of achieving 50% revenue growth over the next decade; notes that this will benefit the economies of rural as well as city and urban areas in every part of the country; appreciates that this long-term growth can only be achieved by ensuring that the marketing of Scotland in UK and overseas tourism markets is further strengthened and that the businesses that comprise the tourism and hospitality sectors are encouraged to compete even more strongly and coherently in this most competitive of global industries, and welcomes the additional funding given to VisitScotland to help achieve this.

Brian Adam moved amendment S2M-2166.2 to motion S2M-2166—

Leave out from “approves” to end and insert—

“further recognises that tourism requires good access and good tourism experiences as well as marketing strategies; expresses concern over the uncertainties introduced by the Tourism Network Scotland (TNS) project, including potential compulsory redundancies, the financial shortfall and lack of a detailed business plan; commends the development of niche marketing strategies and the extension of the seasonal events to ensure that all Scotland benefits from a growing industry; seeks continued commitment to improving access through the Route Development Fund and a strategy for dealing with the consequences of changes to structural funds, and calls on the Scottish Executive, contingent upon production of the TNS business plan, to consider making available transitional funding to address any shortfall due to potential loss of membership income, local authority funding, redundancy costs and the ongoing structural deficit.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 35, Against 92, Abstentions 0).

Mr Jamie McGrigor moved amendment S2M-2166.3 to motion S2M-2166—

Leave out from “approves” to end and insert—

“urges the Scottish Executive to pursue a more ambitious target for growth in light of the aggressive policies being pursued by competitor countries; appreciates that long-term growth can only be achieved by ensuring that the marketing of Scotland in UK and overseas tourism markets is further strengthened and that the businesses that comprise the tourism and hospitality sectors are freed from the Executive’s policies which are hampering business growth and enterprise throughout Scotland; regrets the uncertainty and consequent damage caused to the industry by the Executive’s handling of the tourism network restructuring process; further regrets the potential loss of local knowledge and expertise that may result from the centralisation of the tourism network, and calls on the Executive to ensure that both the local tourist information centres and funding for the new tourism hubs are adequately protected once the new network commences in April.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 18, Against 82, Abstentions 27).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 95, Against 18, Abstentions 14).

6. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2173—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) that the timetable for completion of consideration of the Further and Higher Education ( Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be extended to 21 January 2005;

(b) that the Justice 2 Committee reports to the Justice 1 Committee by 24 December 2004 on the Part 1 Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003: Draft Guidance for Local Authorities and National Park Authorities (SE/2004/276) and by 7 January 2005 on the Act of Sederunt (Fees of Sheriff Officers) 2004 (SSI 2004/513); and

(c) that the Justice 1 Committee reports to the Justice 2 Committee by 24 December 2004 on the Fire Services (Appointments and Promotion) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (SSI 2004/527).

The motion was agreed to.

7. Business Motion: Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2174—That the Parliament agrees that consideration of the Council Tax Abolition and Service Tax Introduction ( Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 23 December 2005.

After debate, the motion was agreed to (by division: For 84, Against 42, Abstentions 1).

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

9. Knife Crime in Glasgow: The Parliament debated S2M-2038 in the name of Mr Frank McAveety—That the Parliament recognises the unacceptable number of incidents involving knife crime in Scotland and particularly in the east end of Glasgow; believes that the Scottish Executive, Strathclyde police and other key agencies need to work more effectively to tackle this problem; considers that a range of measures to deal with knife crime are required, and believes that the Executive should consider measures such as restricting access to the purchase of knives, ensuring appropriate programmes are in place to educate young people on the dangers and consequences of carrying and using knives, speedier and effective sentencing for those convicted of knife crime and ensuring that the police have effective powers to deal with those who carry and use knives.

10. Motion without Notice: The Deputy Minister for Justice (Hugh Henry) moved without notice that, under Rule 8.14.3, the debate be extended by 10 minutes.

The motion was agreed to.

The meeting closed at 6.19 pm .

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament

16 December 2004

Appendix

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

New Bills introduced or reprinted on 15 December 2004

Water Services etc. ( Scotland) Bill —The Bill was reprinted as amended at Stage 2. (SP Bill 23A) (Executive Bill)

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 16 December 2004 for approval by resolution

The Waste ( Scotland) Regulations 2005

laid under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 and section 2(8) of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 16 December 2004 and is subject to annulment

The General Teaching Council for Scotland Election Scheme 2004 Approval Order 2004

laid under section 14(2) of the Teaching Council ( Scotland) Act 1965

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 16 December 2004 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Student Awards Agency for Scotland Annual Report 2003-04 (SE/2004/222)—

Scottish Information Commissioner Financial Report 2004 (SE/2004/290)—

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

Scottish Information Commissioner Annual Report 2004 (SE/2004/289)

laid under section 46(1) of the Freedom of Information ( Scotland) Act 2002

Committee Reports

The following Report was published on 16 December 2004

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 45th Report 2004 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 258)