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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 22 September 2005

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

  1. Economic Policy:  Mr Mark Ruskell moved S2M-3321—That the Parliament notes that the top priority of the Scottish Executive, as stated in the current Partnership Agreement, is “growing the economy” but reminds the Executive that GDP, its preferred measure of economic growth, makes no distinction between beneficial and harmful economic activity, ignores many socially beneficial and highly desirable practices and treats the depletion of natural capital as income and is therefore a very poor indicator of economic development; agrees with the Labour Party Policy Commission on the Environment that “For too long, economic and political success has been measured solely in terms of the rate of growth of economic activity”; considers, therefore, that if Scotland is to enjoy economic development that does not compromise social justice and environmental sustainability it needs a more meaningful yardstick than simply measuring the monetary value of goods and services produced in Scotland; remains committed to assisting the positive economic development of a healthy Scottish economy and considers that placing sustainability and national well-being at the heart of Executive policy will ultimately lead to a stronger, healthier and more innovative economic future for the people of Scotland, and urges the Executive to consider alternatives to GDP with a view to adopting a more suitable measure of national progress as its top priority.

The Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Allan Wilson) moved amendment S2M-3321.4 to motion S2M-3321—

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

“supports growing the economy as the top priority of the Scottish Executive; believes that economic growth must be sustainable; agrees with the Partnership Agreement commitment to assess economic development policies against their impact on sustainable development indicators; notes that the Framework for Economic Development in Scotland has made sustainable development the principal objective; welcomes the stronger emphasis on sustainability in the refresh of A Smart Successful Scotland; endorses the Executive’s determination to drive forward its green jobs strategy, and endorses the Executive’s commitment to sustainable development.”

Jim Mather moved amendment S2M-3321.1 to motion S2M-3321—

Insert at end—

“as a pre-requisite for a new era in which, no matter how national wealth is measured, the Scottish Parliament should have legislative responsibility for the management of all our natural resources.”

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-3321.2 to motion S2M-3321—

Leave out from first "GDP" to end and insert—

“the Scottish economy actually experienced zero growth in the first quarter of this year; believes that GDP growth is an extremely important measurement of quality of life because a strong economy is crucial to providing individual financial security and the necessary investment for quality public services; further believes that the Executive’s stewardship of the economy has been detrimental to the quality of life of many Scots; notes that Scotland fell four places in the UK Regional Competitiveness Index between 1997 and 2005, and therefore calls on the Executive to take concrete action to reverse our economic under-performance by cutting red tape, privatising Scottish Water, increasing investment in roads and public transport and specifying a date for the proposed cut in business rates.”

After debate, amendment S2M-3321.4 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 59, Against 27, Abstentions 13).  As a result amendment S2M-3321.2 was pre-empted. 

After debate, amendment S2M-3321.1 was not agreed to ((DT) by division: For 25, Against 74, Abstentions 0).

The motion, as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 60, Against 25, Abstentions 14).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament supports growing the economy as the top priority of the Scottish Executive; believes that economic growth must be sustainable; agrees with the Partnership Agreement commitment to assess economic development policies against their impact on sustainable development indicators; notes that the Framework for Economic Development in Scotland has made sustainable development the principal objective; welcomes the stronger emphasis on sustainability in the refresh of A Smart Successful Scotland; endorses the Executive’s determination to drive forward its green jobs strategy, and endorses the Executive’s commitment to sustainable development.

  1. Children of Asylum Seekers: Robin Harper moved S2M-3323—That the Parliament acknowledges the trauma experienced by the children of asylum seekers when families are removed for deportation and the impact this has on school communities; believes that practices such as those reportedly used against the Vucaj family in Glasgow, including dawn raids, handcuffing of children and the removal of children by large groups of officers in uniform and body armour, are unnecessary and cause fear and distress to the children concerned; affirms its support for the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which states that governments should protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence; recognises that, while the Scottish Executive has no direct responsibility for the operation of the asylum and immigration system, it is responsible for the welfare of children, for schools and for working with the UK Government to report on compliance with the UNCRC; commends the First Minister for his aspiration “to ensure that no child is left behind or held back”, and calls on him to give the greatest possible urgency to realising that aspiration for the most vulnerable children in Scotland who include those facing detention and removal.

The Deputy Minister for Education and Young People (Robert Brown) moved amendment S2M-3323.2 to motion S2M-3323—

Leave out from “believes” to end, and insert—

“affirms its support for the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which states that governments should protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence; recognises that, while the Scottish Executive has no direct responsibility for the operation of the immigration and asylum system, it is responsible for the welfare of children, for schools, and for working with the UK Government to report on compliance with the UNCRC; commends the substantial work done in Scotland to ensure the effective education and inclusion of the children of asylum seekers; believes that, in the vast majority of cases, failed asylum seeker families do not pose either a security threat or a serious risk of flight; calls on Scottish ministers to give the greatest possible urgency to realising their aspirations for the most vulnerable children in Scotland, including those facing detention and removal, and urges them to continue discussions with the Home Office with a view to agreement that the Home Office will work closely with services for children and young people before the removal of any family and to convey to the Home Office the widespread concerns about practices such as so-called “dawn raids”, handcuffing of children, and the removal of children by large groups of officers in uniform and body armour.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 74, Against 4, Abstentions 21).

Christine Grahame moved amendment S2M-3323.1 to motion S2M-3323—

Insert at end—

“and, separately, calls on the UK Government to give due regard to the different child protection measures in Scotland, in particular the remit of the Commissioner for Children and Young People and the jurisdiction of the Reporter to the Children’s Panel.”

After debate, amendment S2M-3323.1 was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 40, Against 59, Abstentions 0).

The motion, as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 80, Against 0, Abstentions 18). 

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament acknowledges the trauma experienced by the children of asylum seekers when families are removed for deportation and the impact this has on school communities; affirms its support for the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which states that governments should protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence; recognises that, while the Scottish Executive has no direct responsibility for the operation of the immigration and asylum system, it is responsible for the welfare of children, for schools, and for working with the UK Government to report on compliance with the UNCRC; commends the substantial work done in Scotland to ensure the effective education and inclusion of the children of asylum seekers; believes that, in the vast majority of cases, failed asylum seeker families do not pose either a security threat or a serious risk of flight; calls on Scottish ministers to give the greatest possible urgency to realising their aspirations for the most vulnerable children in Scotland, including those facing detention and removal, and urges them to continue discussions with the Home Office with a view to agreement that the Home Office will work closely with services for children and young people before the removal of any family and to convey to the Home Office the widespread concerns about practices such as so-called “dawn raids”, handcuffing of children, and the removal of children by large groups of officers in uniform and body armour.

  1. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

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

  3. Themed Question Time: Questions on Environment and Rural Development and on Health and Community Care were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

  4. Report on the Cultural Commission: The Parliament debated the report on the Cultural Commission.

  5. Membership of Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-3310—That the Parliament agrees that Euan Robson be appointed to replace Donald Gorrie on the Communities Committee.

    After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 95, Against 2, Abstentions 2). 

  6. Membership of Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-3311—That the Parliament agrees that Mr Andrew Arbuckle be appointed to replace Euan Robson on the Local Government and Transport Committee

    After debate, the motion was agreed to (DT).

  7. Membership of Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-3312—That the Parliament agrees that Donald Gorrie be appointed to replace Iain Smith on the Procedures Committee.

    The motion was agreed to (DT).

  8. Substitution on Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved—

    S2M-3313—That the Parliament agrees that Mr Jim Wallace be appointed as the Liberal Democrat substitute on the Justice 1 Committee; and

    S2M-3314—That the Parliament agrees that Mr Jamie McGrigor be appointed to replace Bill Aitken as the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party substitute on the Education Committee.

    The motions were agreed to (DT).

  9. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 and 10 as noted above.

  10. Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Parliament debated S2M-3074 in the name of Marilyn Livingstone—That the Parliament notes the invaluable work done by local groups, such as Kingdom Abuse Survivors Project (KASP) in Kirkcaldy, in providing services for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and welcomes the Scottish Executive’s announcement to the Cross Party Group on Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse on future strategic action; further welcomes the creation of a reference group which would include adult survivors and cross party group representation; welcomes the appointment of a lead professional to assist implementation of this strategy following the report of the Short Life Working Group and the establishment of a survivors’ fund of £2 million to pump-prime activity; welcomes the intention of the Executive to publish a document which will highlight mainstream Executive initiatives that already benefit survivors; welcomes the proposed scoping of what community health partnerships and managed clinical networks could offer, given that survivors are not yet aware of the potential benefits these could bring; further welcomes the creation of a network of professionals and adult survivors, which could be virtual, and the commissioning of NHS Education for Scotland to undertake self-help training and public awareness-raising, and welcomes the call for bids for demonstration projects to be met from the survivors’ fund.

The meeting closed at 5.45 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
22 September 2005

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

Other Documents

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 22 September 2005 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

The Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland Annual Report 2004-05 (SE/2005/174)

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 22 September 2005—

Health Committee, 15th Report, 2005 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 422)

Communities Committee, 9th Report, 2005 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 423)