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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 10 March 2005

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

The meeting opened at 9.30 am.

1. NHS Dentistry: Shona Robison moved S2M-2549—That the Parliament is concerned about Scotland’s poor dental health record; notes that only 3.5% of dentists anticipate increasing their NHS provision in the foreseeable future; recognises that if access to NHS dentistry is not improved, then the commitment to provide universal free oral health assessments by 2007 may not be met, and therefore believes that, in order to meet this pledge and safeguard the future of NHS dentistry, the Scottish Executive must provide incentives for dentists to undertake more preventive work including a significant increase in the fee level for oral health assessments, assist dentists more with infrastructure costs in return for greater NHS commitment, reduce bureaucracy and simplify the current fee scale and expand the number of NHS salaried dentists and address dental workforce shortages by increasing the number of dental undergraduates and expanding the role and number of professionals complementary to dentistry.

The Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care (Rhona Brankin) moved amendment S2M-2549.1 to motion S2M-2549—

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

“recognises the need to tackle Scotland’s poor oral health and improve access to NHS dental services; acknowledges the actions already taken by the Scottish Executive to improve oral health and to recruit and retain dental professionals in the NHS; recognises that further work needs to be undertaken to respond to the outcome of the consultations, Towards Better Oral Health in Children and Modernising NHS Dental Services in Scotland; notes that the Executive’s response to the consultations, to be published very shortly, will include measures to address the Partnership Agreement commitments on workforce numbers, training and prevention including free dental checks and will identify the resources needed, and calls on NHS boards, higher education institutions, local authorities, the British Dental Association and the wider professions to engage positively with the Executive after publication to bring early and sustained benefits to the oral health of people in Scotland.”

Nanette Milne moved amendment S2M-2549.2 to motion S2M-2549—

Leave out from “recognises” to end and insert—

“and believes that in order to safeguard the future of NHS dentistry the Scottish Executive should move from fee-based remuneration to capitation-based funding in order to remove incentives for over-treatment and promote preventive measures, expand the role and number of professionals complementary to dentistry in order to free up time for dentists to focus on continuing care, reduce bureaucracy and continue with the development of outreach centres to encourage students to remain in Scotland after graduation.”

After debate, amendment 2549.1 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 72, Against 47, Abstentions 0). As a result, amendment 2549.2 was pre-empted.

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 73, Against 16, Abstentions 30).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the need to tackle Scotland’s poor oral health and improve access to NHS dental services; acknowledges the actions already taken by the Scottish Executive to improve oral health and to recruit and retain dental professionals in the NHS; recognises that further work needs to be undertaken to respond to the outcome of the consultations, Towards Better Oral Health in Children and Modernising NHS Dental Services in Scotland; notes that the Executive’s response to the consultations, to be published very shortly, will include measures to address the Partnership Agreement commitments on workforce numbers, training and prevention including free dental checks and will identify the resources needed, and calls on NHS boards, higher education institutions, local authorities, the British Dental Association and the wider professions to engage positively with the Executive after publication to bring early and sustained benefits to the oral health of people in Scotland.

2. Early Years Education and Childcare: Fiona Hyslop moved S2M-2547—That the Parliament recognises the vital role of early years education and the importance of quality, accessible childcare in stimulating children’s development and supporting working families in particular and the wider economy and society generally; notes with concern the delay in the publication of the national strategy for early years with provision for a national settlement for nursery nurses from the Scottish Executive; supports the immediate extension of free nursery education for three and four-year-olds to a full half day from the current part-time provision and the extension of “nurture groups” across Scotland for vulnerable young pupils, and recognises, however, that in order for Scotland to be able to shape and deliver comprehensive early education and childcare the Scottish government needs to have powers over tax and benefits in order to provide a universal entitlement to emulate the provision of Scandinavian countries who spend four times the proportion of their GDP in support of children in the early years as Scotland.

The Deputy Minister for Education and Young People (Euan Robson) moved amendment S2M-2547.1 to motion S2M-2547—

Leave out from “notes” to end and insert—

“supports the Scottish Executive’s aim to provide more flexible and available childcare to all; acknowledges the significant successes already achieved through the Scottish Childcare Strategy, including making available free part-time pre-school education for every three and four-year-old, establishing a coherent regulatory framework under the Care Commission and expanding childcare provision across all sectors, and endorses the Executive’s commitment to universal early education and childcare services with specific support to disadvantaged groups, including those for whom lack of childcare is a barrier to employment, education or training.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 32, Abstentions 23).

Bill Aitken moved amendment S2M-2547.2 to motion S2M-2547—

Leave out from “working families” to end and insert—

“parents who choose to work; notes that both the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee are currently reviewing early years provision, including issues of recruitment and retention of staff and pay and conditions, and believes that parents must have the flexibility to choose the form of nursery education best suited to their family circumstances and that a nursery voucher that can be topped up represents the best way to achieve this.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 101, Abstentions 1).

Rosemary Byrne moved amendment S2M-2547.3 to motion S2M-2547—

Leave out from “in particular” to end and insert—

“; calls for a recognition of the professionalism of nursery nurses and the immediate establishment of national pay and conditions commensurate with that professionalism; further calls for an immediate response from the Minister for Education and Young People regarding the delay in the publication of the national strategy for early years; demands a system of accessible childcare and nursery education publicly-funded and free at the point of need for all families; supports the wisdom of early intervention in the early stages of education and the implementation of developmental needs provision rather than formal learning, and calls for appropriate support for children with special educational needs and social, emotional and behavioural difficulties and also appropriate support for parents and carers of these children.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 40, Against 78, Abstentions 1).

The motion as amended was then agreed to to ((DT) by division: For 67, Against 0, Abstentions 52).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the vital role of early years education and the importance of quality, accessible childcare in stimulating children’s development and supporting working families in particular and the wider economy and society generally; supports the Scottish Executive’s aim to provide more flexible and available childcare to all; acknowledges the significant successes already achieved through the Scottish Childcare Strategy, including making available free part-time pre-school education for every three and four-year-old, establishing a coherent regulatory framework under the Care Commission and expanding childcare provision across all sectors, and endorses the Executive’s commitment to universal early education and childcare services with specific support to disadvantaged groups, including those for whom lack of childcare is a barrier to employment, education or training.

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 Transport (Nicol S tephen); by the Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson), and by other Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

5. Infrastructure Investment Plan: The Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform (Mr Tom McCabe) moved S2M-2554—That the Parliament welcomes the record level of infrastructure investment, as set out in the first infrastructure plan for Scotland, Building a Better Scotland: Infrastructure Investment Plan: Investing in the Future of Scotland; acknowledges that the plan addresses the problems bequeathed by decades of underinvestment; recognises that the Scottish Executive is open to working across the public and private sectors in order to ensure that Scotland has the modern infrastructure that is necessary to support economic growth and secure an improved quality of life for the people of Scotland, and agrees that the infrastructure plan will deliver, for the long term, better public services, improved transport infrastructure, modernised colleges and universities, new hospitals, improved housing and new schools.

Jim Mather moved amendment S2M-2554.1 to motion S2M-2554—

Leave out from “acknowledges” to end and insert—

“and regrets that this investment is not being matched with other credible measures by the Scottish Executive that could genuinely and incrementally increase sustainable economic growth in Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 26, Against 83, Abstentions 10).

Brian Monteith moved amendment S2M-2554.2 to motion S2M-2554—

Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

“recognises the substantial level of capital invested in infrastructure in Scotland by successive Conservative governments between 1979 and 1997 which included, amongst many projects, the M8 motorway extension, the Edinburgh City Bypass, upgrade of the A74 to motorway status, the first M77 motorway section, dualling of the A90 and key sections of the A96, the Dunblane by-pass, dualling of sections of the A9, dualling of the A1 between Edinburgh and Haddington, the St James Interchange at Glasgow Airport, dualling of the northern stretch of the A737, dualling of the A78 to by-pass Troon and Loans, dualling of the A71 from Irvine to Kilmarnock, the Dornoch Firth Bridge, the Kessock Bridge, the Kylesku Bridge, reopening of the Edinburgh to Bathgate railway line, electrification of the East Coast main line, electrification of the North Berwick spur line, electrification of the Glasgow to Ayr railway line, the Skye Bridge development, a new ferry service between Campbeltown and Northern Ireland, a new air traffic control centre, the redevelopment of Aberdeen Airport, £8 billion invested in council houses across Scotland, the New Life for Urban Scotland programme, Western Isles Hospital, Caithness Hospital, medicine for the elderly wards and a day hospital at Perth Royal Infirmary, a neo-natal intensive care ward and a midwife-led unit at Forth Park Hospital, a new phase of the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline, St John’s Hospital at Livingston, Ayr Hospital, major refurbishment to Stirling Royal Infirmary, major refurbishment to Falkirk Royal Infirmary, HM Prison Shotts Phase 2, Peterhead Power Station, Torness Power Station, Greengairs Power Station, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, the Dean Gallery, the Royal Museum of Scotland extension and renovation of the National Library of Scotland; recalls that many of the infrastructure achievements that the Scottish Executive now takes credit for, such as seven new hospital developments, namely the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Wishaw General Hospital, Hairmyres Hospital, East Ayrshire Community Hospital, Glasgow Royal Infirmary extension, the Western General Hospital extension and Southern Isles Community Hospital, were in fact part of the Conservative Scottish Office programme; reminds members of the Parliament that the Scottish Office between 1997 and 1999 postponed further infrastructure projects by introducing a moratorium on roads spending for two years which delayed initiatives such as the A8000 upgrade to dual carriageway, the new Kincardine Bridge, the Kincardine Bypass and the M74 extension; is pleased to celebrate this year the 10th anniversary of the National Lottery which brought a new and very substantial income stream for capital investment in public buildings that would otherwise not have been built or renovated; notes that increases in spending by the Executive have not led to improvements in service delivery; believes that the Executive has thus far demonstrated that it has a poor record of spending taxpayers’ money wisely; welcomes the fact that the Executive is open to working across public and private sectors in order to ensure that we have the modern infrastructure Scotland needs, and believes, however, that in order to support economic growth the Executive needs to cut business rates to at least the same poundage as in England, invest more significantly in roads and transport, open up Scottish Water to full competition and greater investment through privatisation and cut red tape.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 15, Against 103, Abstentions 1).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 51, Abstentions 3).

6. Business Motion: The Minister for Parliamentary Business, (Ms Margaret Curran) on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2537—That the Parliament agrees that the Justice 1 Committee report to the Justice 2 Committee by 8 April 2005 on the Criminal Legal Aid (Fixed Payments) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005.

The motion was agreed to.

7. Business Motion: The Minister for Parliamentary Business (Ms Margaret Curran), on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-2538—That the Parliament agrees that Stage 2 of the Transport (Scotland) Bill be completed by 24 May 2005.

The motion was agreed to.

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

9. Scottish Mini-Olympics: The Parliament debated S2M-2516 in the name of Robert Brown—That the Parliament notes Glasgow’s poor health record, including high rates of coronary heart disease and stroke; welcomes initiatives to increase physical exercise, including the active school programme, the commitment to ensure two hours of physical education (PE) for schoolchildren every week and the new network of sports facilities across Scotland; believes that developing a competitive spirit in schools and sports clubs and encouraging young people to have a desire to win, whilst concentrating on self-improvement, is central to sporting endeavour; further believes that it is the role of government to provide opportunities for everyone to be physically active for life from a young age; considers that the Scottish Executive, sport scotland, local authorities and other interested organisations should promote sporting competition by establishing a biannual Scottish mini-Olympics for young people at school in which 32 teams, one from every local authority area, would compete against each other in various Olympic-style events, such as track and field and swimming; further considers that Scotland’s towns and cities could bid for the right to host the Scottish mini-Olympics every two years, whilst allowing Glasgow to be the first host; further considers that local businesses and community leaders could back their local team at these mini-Olympics through local hero bursary schemes and general support, and believes that bringing back retired PE teachers could help in the training of young Scots in sport, particularly in the run-up to the proposed mini-Olympics.

The meeting closed at 5.58 pm .

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
10 March 2005


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

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 10 March 2005 and are subject to annulment—

The Bail Conditions (Specification of Devices) and Restriction of Liberty Order (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/142)

laid under sections 24B(5), 24D(5), 245A(14) and 245C(4) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 as amended by section 17 of the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) ( Scotland) Act 2004 and section 5 of the Crime and Punishment ( Scotland) Act 1997

The Common Agricultural Policy Single Farm Payment and Support Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/143)

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

Committee Reports

The following Reports are being published on 10 March 2005—

Justice 1 Committee, 5th Report, 2005 (Session 2): Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill (SP Paper 307)

Justice 2 Committee, 5th Report 2005 (Session 2):Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 308)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 9th Report 2005 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 309)