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Meeting of the Parliament

24 February 2005

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

The meeting opened at 9.30am.

1. Towards an Energy Efficiency Strategy in Scotland: Shiona Baird moved S2M-2462—That the Parliament believes that energy efficiency has great potential to improve efforts to tackle climate change and fuel poverty and to improve quality of life; agrees that energy efficiency has a key part to play in meeting the Scottish Executive’s target of eradicating fuel poverty in Scotland by 2016; further agrees that more than half the emissions reductions in the United Kingdom’s climate change programme could come from energy efficiency, as stated in the UK Energy White Paper, and commends the Executive for its current initiatives to improve energy efficiency and for its move towards a national strategic approach to energy efficiency as outlined in its climate change consultation.

The Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Allan Wilson) moved amendment S2M-2462.1 to motion S2M-2462—

After “improve quality of life” insert—

“and increase competitiveness of businesses in Scotland”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 106, Against 6, Abstentions 2).

Christine Grahame moved amendment S2M-2462.3 to motion S2M-2462—

Leave out from “and commends” to end and insert—

“while supporting any moves to increase energy efficiency notes that this must be in tandem with eradicating fuel poverty which affects 13% of households involving some 30,000 children; notes that for every 5% increase in fuel prices, 30,000 are returned to fuel poverty and that one in five pensioners struggle to keep warm, all of which is often compounded by damp and poor housing conditions which is to be deplored in an energy and resources-rich nation; notes that endeavours to amend the Housing (Scotland) Bill 2001 to raise tolerable standards, including measures to facilitate energy efficiency, were resisted by the Executive on the argument that its fuel poverty strategy would resolve these problems which it singularly is failing to do; calls upon the Executive to raise mandatory housing standards as a matter of urgency, and affirms that only an integrated approach to energy efficiency and fuel poverty can both impact on climate change and improve quality of life.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 28, Against 78, Abstentions 8).

Alex Johnstone moved amendment S2M-2462.2 to motion S2M-2462—

Leave out from “has a key part” to end and insert —

“is widely recognised as the cheapest, cleanest and safest way of achieving Britain’s climate change commitments; notes that while climate change is a global challenge, energy efficiency gives ordinary people an opportunity to act locally and make a contribution, but believes, however, that the Scottish Executive could do more to promote energy efficiency in Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 36, Against 76, Abstentions 2).

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 76, Against 1, Abstentions 37).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament believes that energy efficiency has great potential to improve efforts to tackle climate change and fuel poverty and to improve quality of life and increase competitiveness of businesses in Scotland; agrees that energy efficiency has a key part to play in meeting the Scottish Executive’s target of eradicating fuel poverty in Scotland by 2016; further agrees that more than half the emissions reductions in the United Kingdom’s climate change programme could come from energy efficiency, as stated in the UK Energy White Paper, and commends the Executive for its current initiatives to improve energy efficiency and for its move towards a national strategic approach to energy efficiency as outlined in its climate change consultation.

2. Identity Cards: Patrick Harvie moved S2M-2463—That the Parliament notes the Identity Cards Bill currently being considered by the Westminster Parliament; is concerned at the lack of time devoted to the scrutiny of this Bill, which has left important questions unanswered over how the identity card scheme will work in practice; believes the proposals to be flawed on political, technical and financial grounds; is concerned that the national identity card and database offer an ineffective response to problems of security and fraud and pose an unacceptable threat to civil liberties; notes that the current cost estimate for the scheme is £5.5 billion and that further escalation of this cost is expected; rejects the Prime Minister’s belief, stated on 1 December 2004 in the House of Commons, that “it is legitimate and right, in this day and age, to ask people to carry identity cards” which appears to go far beyond the current scope of the Bill and would require the consent of the Scottish Parliament; welcomes the Scottish Executive’s position that identity cards will not be required to allow access to devolved public services, and calls on the Executive to make a full statement on the intended use of the identity database by devolved institutions.

Mr Alasdair Morrison moved amendment S2M-2463.4 to motion S2M-2463—

Leave out from “is concerned” to end and insert—

“welcomes the current position of the Scottish Executive in relation to devolved services; believes that identity cards are a central tool in the fight against organised crime and international terrorism; further notes that ID cards would provide a gold standard of identity in the modern world, and recognises that ID cards have attracted overwhelming public support as they assist significantly in delivering safer, more secure communities.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 46, Against 65, Abstentions 2).

Stewart Stevenson moved amendment S2M-2463.1 to motion S2M-2463—

Insert at end—

“and expresses concern that the data format and operation likely to be associated with proposed identity cards conform to no formal international standard and carry the real risk of data disclosure to commercial interests.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 36, Against 48, Abstentions 30).

Jeremy Purvis moved amendment S2M-2463.3 to motion S2M-2463—

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

“regrets the introduction of the Identity Cards Bill to the UK Parliament, notes the consistent opposition to these proposals by Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons on the grounds that they will be ineffective in their stated aim of reducing terrorism; believes that there is an excessive cost to the individual and the taxpayer in introducing the identity card; believes that it will lead to increased discrimination and harassment; is concerned for the protection of civil liberties with the lack of definition of how the card will be used; further believes that the UK Government should explore more effective anti identity and benefits fraud, illegal immigration and illegal working measures; is further concerned with the UK Government’s intention that by 2013 it will be compulsory for UK citizens to possess an ID card and to produce it when accessing designated public services, and welcomes the commitment by the Scottish Executive that identity cards will not be necessary for accessing devolved services.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 15, Against 62, Abstentions 37).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 52, Against 47, Abstentions 15).

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 Education and Young People (Peter Peacock) and the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport (Patricia Ferguson); by the Minister for Finance and Public Sector Reform (Mr Tom McCabe) and the Minister for Communities (Malcolm Chisholm); and by other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

5. Procedures Committee, Final Review of Oral Questions and Minor Rule-changes: Iain Smith moved S2M-2418—That the Parliament (a) notes the Procedures Committee’s 2nd Report, 2005 (Session 2), Final Review of Oral Questions (SP Paper 287) and agrees that the changes to standing orders set out in Annexe A to the report be made with effect from Friday 18 March 2005, but that the current Rules 13.6 and 13.7 continue to have effect for the purposes of any Question Time in the week beginning Monday 21 March 2005; and (b) notes the Committee’s 1st Report, 2005 (Session 2), Minor Rule-changes (SP Paper 271) and agrees that the changes to standing orders set out in Annexe A to the report be made with effect from 18 March 2005.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

6. Standards Committee, Proposal for a Committee Bill: Brian Adam moved S2M-2417—That the Parliament agrees to the proposal for a Committee Bill under Rule 9.15 contained in the 1 st Report 2005 (Session 2) of the Standards Committee, Replacing the Members’ Interests Order (SP Paper 266).

The motion was agreed to (DT).

7. Disability Discrimination Bill - UK Legislation: The Minister for Communities ( Malcolm Chisholm) moved S2M-2264—That the Parliament agrees the principles contained in the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Bill, including the power to impose duties on public authorities, so far as those provisions relate to matters within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament or confer functions on the Scottish Ministers, and agrees that they should be considered by the UK Parliament.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Business Motion: The Minister for Parliamentary Business (Margaret Curran), on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2448—That the Parliament agrees that consideration of the Abolition of NHS Prescription Charges (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be completed by 22 December 2005.

The motion was agreed to (by division: For 99, Against 13, Abstentions 1).

9. Business Motion: The Minister for Parliamentary Business (Margaret Curran), on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2449—That the Parliament agrees—

(a) that the Justice 1 Committee report to the Justice 2 Committee by 4 March 2005 on the draft Advice and Assistance (Assistance by Way of Representation) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005;

(b) that the Justice 1 Committee report to the Justice 2 Committee by 4 March 2005 on the draft Advice and Assistance (Financial Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2005; and

(c) that the Justice 1 Committee report to the Justice 2 Committee by 4 March 2005 on the draft Civil Legal Aid (Financial Conditions) (Scotland) Regulations 2005.

The motion was agreed to.

10. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 as noted above.

11. Scottish Civic Forum: The Parliament debated S2M-2384 in the name of Linda Fabiani—That the Parliament notes the concerns raised about the financing of the Scottish Civic Forum; further notes that the forum was set up to help fulfil the founding principles of the Parliament and, in particular, the engagement of Scotland’s people in the new democracy; considers that all those who have an interest in the open democracy heralded in 1999 should act to ensure a continued and healthy future for the forum, and believes that the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body should investigate the possibility of funding the forum directly.

The meeting closed at 6.02 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
25 February 2005


Appendix

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

New Bills introduced or reprinted on 23 February 2005

Fire (Scotland) Bill —The Bill was reprinted as passed (SP Bill 24B) (Executive Bill).

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 24 February 2005 and is subject to annulment

The Poultry Meat, Farmed Game Bird Meat and Rabbit Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/81)

laid under paragraph 2(2) of schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 24 February 2005 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

Scottish Local Government Financial Statistics 2003-04 (SE/2005/8)

The Law Commission (Law Com No. 292) and The Scottish Law Commission (Scot Law Com No. 199): Unfair Terms in Contracts (SE/2005/13)

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 24 February 2005—

European and External Relations Committee, 1st Report 2005 (Session 2): Report on An Inquiry into the Promotion of Scotland Worldwide: the Strategy, Policy and Activities of the Scottish Executive (SP Paper 297)

Health Committee, 4th Report 2005 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 298