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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 13 January 2005

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

The meeting opened at 9:30 am.

1. Make Poverty History: Nicola Sturgeon moved S2M-2240—That the Parliament expresses sympathy and support for the individuals, families and countries devastated by the effects of the tsunami; congratulates the people of Scotland for their magnificent efforts in collecting money and supplies to help ease the immediate plight of those affected and encourages all MSPs to make a payroll donation of one day’s pay to the appeals; recognises that long-term support is needed to restore the infrastructure of the countries of South East Asia and that Scotland is well placed to assist in this vital work; calls for a summit of Scottish aid agencies and other interested parties to be organised to discuss and co-ordinate such activities; recognises that more than 200,000 people die of preventable causes every week and that more assistance by the richer countries is needed to tackle global poverty, and supports the Make Poverty History campaign which seeks to remind the member countries which make up the G8 of their responsibilities to the rest of the world and to demand that they take action on debt repayments, trade agreements and aid assistance to prevent people dying because of starvation and poverty.

Patricia Ferguson moved amendment S2M-2240.2 to motion S2M-2240—

Leave out from "and encourages” to end and insert—

“; notes that the Parliament will facilitate individual payroll donations to the appeals; recognises that long-term support is needed to restore the infrastructure of the countries of South East Asia and that Scotland is well placed to assist in this vital work; notes the meeting of Scottish aid agencies convened by the Scottish Executive to discuss and co-ordinate such activities; notes the continuing dialogue with Scottish aid agencies during this crisis; recognises that more than 200,000 people die of preventable causes every week and that more assistance is needed by the richer countries to tackle global poverty; supports the campaign to make poverty history, and notes the work being undertaken by the Scottish Executive with the Scottish aid agencies and others in the run-up to the G8 summit to support action on debt repayments, trade agreements and aid assistance to prevent people dying because of starvation and poverty.”

Mark Ballard moved amendment S2M-2240.4 to motion S2M-2240—

Insert at end —

“; and believes that such action by the international community must seek to take the final historic step in delivering full debt relief for the debt burdened countries and be based on the principles of fair trade relationships between rich and poor countries, through ensuring that international trade policy is designed to help the poorest countries and the removal of unjust tariffs and trade barriers, and supports the call for a commitment and a timetable for the achievement of the UN target of 0.7% of GDP in overseas development assistance .”

Dennis Canavan moved amendment S2M-2240.3 to motion S2M-2240—

Leave out from “calls for a summit” to end and insert—

“; therefore welcomes the recent meeting between the Scottish Executive, aid agencies and other interested parties; recognises that more than 200,000 people die of preventable causes every week and that more assistance by the richer countries is needed to tackle global poverty; notes that the Make Poverty History campaign is a timely reminder that the richer countries must take more effective action on debt repayments, trade agreements and aid, which are inextricably linked; demands that, if the poorest countries are to be lifted out of abject poverty, the G8 and the European Union (EU) must require governments of countries in receipt of economic and structural aid to do all in their power to ensure its fair and equitable distribution, and reminds the G8 and EU of their responsibility to ensure that their policies are not ultimately rendered ineffective by the actions of national and international organisations which have prospered under the current unfair international trade, debt and aid conditions.”

After debate, the motion was, with the approval of the Parliament, withdrawn. Accordingly, amendments S2M-2240.2, S2M-2240.4 and S2M-2240.3 fell.

2. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell) and other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

3. Question Time: Questions were answered by the Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Ross Finnie); by the Minister for Health and Community Care (Mr Andy Kerr); and by other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

4. Improving Rights and Services for Victims and Witnesses: The Deputy Minister for Justice (Hugh Henry) moved S2M-2241—That the Parliament acknowledges that the interests and diverse needs of victims and witnesses are central to criminal justice reform; welcomes recent legislation that improves the status of victims and witnesses in the justice system, including the Vulnerable Witnesses (Scotland) Act 2004 and the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003; notes the progress made in implementing the Strategy for Scottish Victims and the recommendations of the Lord Advocate’s Working Group on Support for Child Witnesses; notes the major steps that have been taken within the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, in particular the establishment of the Victims Information and Advice Service and the instigation of a detailed review of the investigation and prosecution of sexual offences, and recognises the Executive’s commitment to make further improvements for victims including the reflection of their interests in proposals for reducing re-offending.

Mr Kenny MacAskill moved amendment S2M-2241.2 to motion S2M-2241—

Insert at end—

“; further notes that, whilst it is a citizen’s duty to report crime and testify, in doing so significant difficulties and dangers can be encountered by many; calls for additional assistance to be given towards rehousing and protection including a specific Scottish Witness Protection Programme, and further recognises the serious psychological effect that being a witness or victim of crime often involves and so calls for any future reform in this area to include adequate provision for treatment of trauma.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 25, Against 83, Abstentions 7).

Miss Annabel Goldie moved amendment S2M-2241.1 to motion S2M-2241—

Insert at end—

“; believes, however, that the best support and protection that can be given to witnesses and victims is to cut crime in Scotland, and therefore calls for a greatly-increased police presence in our communities to deter and detect crime, a review of the use of bail and an end to automatic early release from prisons.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 17, Against 99, Abstentions 0).

5. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on item 4 as noted above.

6. Sustaining Agriculture and Sustaining Communities: The Parliament debated S2M-2209 in the name of Jamie Stone—That the Parliament believes that sustaining a viable agricultural sector involves encouraging an increase in employment on Scotland’s land and that this would strengthen the contribution of agriculture to the viability of rural communities and contribute to the nutritional health of Scotland.

The meeting closed at 5:54 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
13 January 2005


Appendix

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

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

Note: The draft Scotland Act 1998 (Transfer of Functions to the Scottish Ministers etc.) Order 2005, which was laid before the Parliament on 9 December 2004, has been withdrawn.

The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 13 January 2005 for approval by resolution

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (Modification) Order 2005

laid under section 98(5) of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 13 January 2005 and is subject to annulment

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Prescribed Police Stations) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/9)

laid under section 138 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 13 January 2005 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Seirbheis Nam Meadhanan G à idhlig Aithisg Bhliadhnail & Cunntasan 2003-04 Gaelic Media Service Annual Report and Accounts 2003-04 (SE/2005/7)

Cairngorms National Park First Annual Report 2003-04 (SE/2005/6)

laid under section 26(5) of the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000