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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 1 December 2005

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Ambitious, Excellent Schools: One Year On: The Minister for Education and Young People (Peter Peacock) moved S2M-3658—That the Parliament recognises that young people are one of Scotland’s greatest resources; believes that every child is entitled to the opportunity to fulfil his or her full potential; notes the significant progress made over the last year by the Scottish Executive on the most comprehensive programme of modernisation in Scottish schools for a generation or more; supports the objectives set out in Ambitious, Excellent Schools; welcomes the emphasis on heightened expectations, stronger leadership, greater freedom for teachers and schools, increased choice and opportunity for pupils, better support for learning and more appropriate accountability, and supports the Executive’s ongoing modernisation of Scotland’s schools.

Fiona Hyslop moved amendment S2M-3658.1 to motion S2M-3658—

Leave out from "the significant progress" to end and insert—

"that all schools should be Schools of Ambition; notes the objectives set out in Ambitious, Excellent Schools and, in particular, the cultural emphasis of a number of the successful bids for schools of ambition status but, in doing so, notes the general concern that Scotland’s culture, history and heritage lack national support from the Scottish Executive in the education system; notes with serious concern the proposals by the Executive to make history history in S1 and S2; asserts the importance of children in Scotland having a firm understanding and appreciation of Scottish heritage, culture and history; recognises and supports creative ways to weave this into every subject in the curriculum providing a Scottish perspective; rejects, however, any attempt to remove the stand-alone subject of history from S1 and S2 in schools in Scotland, and regrets any suggestion of this by any Scottish minister, reflecting that such a move would not be even countenanced in other countries who have a pride in promoting their nation’s history."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 36, Against 65, Abstentions 17).

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton moved amendment S2M-3658.2 to motion S2M-3658—

Leave out from "recognises" to end and insert—

"acknowledges the aims of the Scottish Executive's agenda in Ambitious, Excellent Schools; believes, however, that in order for each child to have the opportunity to reach his or her potential, the Executive must explore all avenues for supporting schools in providing the broadest range of subjects to stimulate the broad range of our children's aptitude and interest; notes that the Executive’s schools modernisation programme, set out in The 21st Century School, Building Our Future: Scotland's School Estate, is leading to many valued rural primary schools being closed or amalgamated with other schools on new sites in the name of rationalisation; acknowledges that in order to achieve its professed aim of emphasising strong leadership and greater freedom for teachers, schools must be granted more genuine autonomy, and urges the Executive to consider education reforms of the sort being contemplated at Westminster, so that every school will be able to become a self-governing independent state school to give genuine choice and opportunity to all pupils."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 17, Against 101, Abstentions 1).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 71, Against 18, Abstentions 30).

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

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

4. Themed Question Time: Questions on Finance and Public Services and Communities and on Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

5. Sea Fisheries: The Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Ross Finnie) moved S2M-3657—That the Parliament supports the Scottish Executive in its efforts to negotiate the best possible outcome from the EU Fisheries Council in December 2005, an outcome that delivers sustainable fisheries and a fair deal for Scotland’s fishermen and fishing communities.

Richard Lochhead moved amendment S2M-3657.2 to motion S2M-3657—

Insert at end—

"notes that Scotland has achieved its effort reduction target for cod mortality in the North Sea; believes that Scotland must now be rewarded for this disproportionate sacrifice and that any further cuts in key stocks must be resisted; calls for the level of effort reduction achieved by other national fleets that fish Scottish waters to be made available; urges the Scottish Executive to help our fishing communities cope with rising costs such as for fuel and leasing quota; urges the Minister to include representatives from the fishing industry in his negotiating team to provide advice, and calls for Scotland to lead the UK negotiating team in Europe later this month and beyond, until control over our fishing grounds is returned to the Scottish Parliament."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 26, Against 92, Abstentions 1).

Mr Ted Brocklebank moved amendment S2M-3657.1 to motion S2M-3657—

Leave out from "an outcome" to end and insert—

"urges the Minister for Environment and Rural Development to press for significantly increased quotas for nephrops and monkfish, coupled with no reduction in haddock total allowable catch and the confirmation of the proposed pelagic quotas to secure a sustainable future for our remaining fishermen and processors, as well as for our beleaguered coastal communities, but ultimately believes that the only solution for the Scottish fishing industry is to leave the discredited Common Fisheries Policy and to regain national and local control of UK waters."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 17, Against 78, Abstentions 24).

Eleanor Scott moved amendment S2M-3657.3 to motion S2M-3657—

Insert at end—

"and calls on the Scottish Executive beyond the December Council to press for changes to the operation of the Common Fisheries Policy to support healthier and more sustainable seas through a broad range of measures complementary or alternative to total allowable catches, including marine protected areas, regeneration zones and onboard observers, and to consider bycatch quotas to address discards and the innovative use of European Fisheries Funds to support profitability and sustainability."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 70, Against 43, Abstentions 5).

The motion as amended was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 74, Against 22, Abstentions 23).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament supports the Scottish Executive in its efforts to negotiate the best possible outcome from the EU Fisheries Council in December 2005, an outcome that delivers sustainable fisheries and a fair deal for Scotland’s fishermen and fishing communities and calls on the Scottish Executive beyond the December Council to press for changes to the operation of the Common Fisheries Policy to support healthier and more sustainable seas through a broad range of measures complementary or alternative to total allowable catches, including marine protected areas, regeneration zones and onboard observers, and to consider bycatch quotas to address discards and the innovative use of European Fisheries Funds to support profitability and sustainability.

6. Rule 9.6.3A: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-3665—That the Parliament agrees under Rule 9.6.3A that the Parliament shall consider the general principles of the Joint Inspection of Children’s Services and Inspection of Social Work Services (Scotland) Bill on the third sitting day after the lead committee report is published.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

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

8. Council Tax in Very Sheltered Housing: The Parliament debated S2M-3549 in the name of Alex Neil—That the Parliament expresses astonishment and concern at the decision of the valuation boards in Renfrewshire and Lanarkshire to designate single rooms occupied by residents of very sheltered housing complexes, such as Abbeyfield Homes in Coatbridge, as being fully liable for council tax; furthermore notes that a review of this matter is currently being undertaken by the Scottish Executive; recognises that this injustice has to be rectified as a matter of urgency by redesignating each very sheltered housing complex as being liable for council tax as a whole rather than individual living units, and believes that any council tax payments made as a result of the current designation should be refunded.

The meeting closed at 5.46 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
1 December 2005

Appendix

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

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 1 December 2005 for approval by resolution

The Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2004 (Modification of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978) Order 2005

laid under section 7(5) of the Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2004

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 1 December 2005 and are subject to annulment—

The Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990 (Enforcement of Overseas Forfeiture Orders) (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/581)

laid under section 9(5) of the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990

The Adults with Incapacity (Management of Residents’ Finances) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/610)

laid under section 86(1) of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000

The Plant Health (Scotland) Order 2005 (SSI 2005/613)

laid under section 6(1) of the Plant Health Act 1967

The Smoke Control Areas (Authorised Fuels) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/614)

laid under section 63(2) of the Clean Air Act 1993

The Smoke Control Areas (Exempt Fireplaces) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/615)

laid under section 63(3) of the Clean Air Act 1993

The Official Feed and Food Controls (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/616)—

The Organic Aid (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/619)—

laid under paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972

The National Health Service (Charges for Drugs and Appliances) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 3) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/617)—

The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/618)—

laid under section 105(2) of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978

The Rural Stewardship Scheme (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2005 (SSI 2005/620)

laid under section 98(3) of the Environment Act 1995

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 1 December 2005 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Scottish Public Pensions Agency Annual Report and Accounts 2004-05 (SE/2005/224)—

Scottish Executive Consolidated Resource Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2005 (SE/2005/231)—

Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme 2004-05 (SE/2005/235)—

NHS Pension Scheme (Scotland) 2004-05 (SE/2005/236)—

Scottish Consolidated Fund Receipts and Payments Account: 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2005 (SE/2005/237)—

Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Annual Accounts 2004-05 (SE/2005/250)—

Scottish Executive Finance and Central Services Department: Non-Domestic Rating Account 2004-05 (SE/2005/251)—

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

Scottish Economic Report December 2005 (SE/2005/230)

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on the 1 December 2005—

Health Committee, 20th Report, 2005 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 459)

Local Government and Transport Committee, 13th Report, 2005 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 460)

Enterprise and Culture Committee, 11th Report, 2005 (Session 2), Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 461)

Enterprise and Culture Committee, 12th Report, 2005 (Session 2), Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 462)

Enterprise and Culture Committee, 13th Report, 2005 (Session 2), Report on the Reform of Scottish Football (SP Paper 456)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 44th Report, 2005 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 463)