Back to the Scottish Parliament Minutes of Proceedings Vol. 3, No. 46 Session 2
Archive Home

Business Bulletin 1999-2011

Minutes of Proceedings 1999-2011

Journal of Parliamentary Proceedings Sessions 1 & 2

Committees Sessions 1, 2 & 3

Annual reports

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 12 January 2005

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Local Government Finance: Mr John Swinney moved S2M-3795—That the Parliament notes the widespread concern over the inadequacy of the local government finance settlement for 2006-07 and 2007-08; notes the recommendations of the Finance Committee that the Scottish Executive should reconsider the settlement; welcomes the moves to make government more efficient but calls for this process to be applied equitably across national and local government and conducted with greater rigour; calls on the Executive to restore the £58.5 million in efficiency savings to local government baselines and to make available to local authorities £34.7 million from the pre-Budget report consequentials on condition that this is used to deliver a real-terms freeze in council tax, and recognises that these are short-term improvements to the unfair council tax that will only be resolved when the system is abolished and replaced by a local income tax based on the ability to pay.

The Deputy Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform and Parliamentary Business (George Lyon) moved amendment S2M-3795.4 to motion S2M-3795—

Leave out from “widespread concern” to end and insert—

“record levels of finance provided to local government by the Scottish Executive which mean that by 2007-08 core funding will have increased by over £3 billion or 55% compared with 1999-2000; welcomes the report from the Local Government Improvement Service which confirms that councils are on course to achieve at least £122 million in efficiency savings in 2005-06; notes that the Executive has given a commitment to consider some further additional resources for 2007-08 subject to local government delivering on their efficiency targets and that the Executive is engaged in an ongoing discussion with local government about the financial pressures councils are facing and the steps local government can take to maintain downward pressure on council tax, and looks forward to the report of the independent committee on local government taxation, which is due later this year.”

David Davidson moved amendment S2M-3795.3 to motion S2M-3795—

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

“as many in Scotland are suffering as a result of the 55% rise in council tax since the Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition came to power; believes that a proposed new system of local income tax would be over-complicated, expensive to collect, would remove accountability and transparency from local government and adversely penalise young working households, and notes that the real problem in Scotland is the high level of council taxes charged, not the tax itself.”

Mark Ballard moved amendment S2M-3795.1 to motion S2M-3795—

Leave out from “local income tax” to end and insert—

“system of land value taxation that recognises that ability to pay is not determined solely by income.”

Tommy Sheridan moved amendment S2M-3795.5 to motion S2M-3795—

Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

“believes that local authorities have taken giant strides to improve efficiency but are hampered by inefficient and uneconomic public private partnership deals and the use of expensive consultants which, coupled with the inadequacy of central government funding, makes the protection and expansion of vital local government jobs and services increasingly difficult to achieve; calls on the Executive to restore the £58.5 million in efficiency savings to local government baselines and to make available to local authorities £34.7 million from the pre-Budget report consequentials on condition that this is used to deliver a real-terms freeze in council tax; recognises that these are short-term improvements to the unfair council tax that will only be resolved when the system is abolished and replaced by a local income tax based on the ability to pay, and believes the Executive must fully fund equal pay restructuring across Scotland’s local authorities to deliver economic justice to the hundreds of thousands of women workers who have been illegally underpaid for years.”

After debate, amendment S2M-3795.4 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 56, Abstentions 0). As a result, amendments S2M-3795.3, S2M-3795.1 and S2M-3795.5 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 56, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the record levels of finance provided to local government by the Scottish Executive which mean that by 2007-08 core funding will have increased by over £3 billion or 55% compared with 1999-2000; welcomes the report from the Local Government Improvement Service which confirms that councils are on course to achieve at least £122 million in efficiency savings in 2005-06; notes that the Executive has given a commitment to consider some further additional resources for 2007-08 subject to local government delivering on their efficiency targets and that the Executive is engaged in an ongoing discussion with local government about the financial pressures councils are facing and the steps local government can take to maintain downward pressure on council tax, and looks forward to the report of the independent committee on local government taxation, which is due later this year.

2. General Question Time: 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. Election of Member to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body: The following members were nominated as candidates for appointment to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body—

Mr Kenny MacAskill
Margo MacDonald

The result was—

Mr Kenny MacAskill 94
Margo MacDonald 20
Abstentions 1

Mr Kenny MacAskill was duly elected as a member of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.

5. Skills and Training for a Modern Scotland: The Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Allan Wilson) moved S2M-3806—That the Parliament agrees that developing the current and future workforce of Scotland is key to ending poverty and sustaining economic growth; recognises the very good progress that is being made in reducing unemployment through investment in skills and training, and welcomes the Scottish Executive’s intention to work with the United Kingdom Government, employers and employer organisations, universities, colleges, training organisations and other public agencies to drive forward opportunities for workforce development to strengthen the economy and improve the employability and skills of individuals across Scotland, in particular those furthest from employment and those in lower paid, low skilled jobs.

Jim Mather moved amendment S2M-3806.1 to motion S2M-3806—

Leave out from “; recognises” to end and insert—

“but regrets the continuing delay in the publication of the Scottish Executive’s employability strategy and the lack of any new measures to tackle the unacceptably high number of 16 to 19-year-olds who are neither in employment, education or training in Scotland and recognises that the Executive’s worthy objectives self-evidently can only be met comprehensively when Scotland couples relevant, valued and constantly improving training with the full range of economic powers that can credibly and tangibly improve competitiveness and create the levels of employment opportunity and sustainable income improvement for all which, in turn, will retain and attract talented people to Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 34, Against 81, Abstentions 6).

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-3806.2 to motion S2M-3806—

Leave out from “recognises” to end and insert—

“notes the outstanding success of modern apprenticeships in helping thousands of young people into work and training since 1994; welcomes the devolution of workforce services currently provided by the New Futures Fund from Scottish Enterprise to local community partnerships; notes with concern that Scotland has more young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) than any other OECD country or UK region; is disappointed at the delay in the Scottish Executive publishing its long-awaited Employability Framework; notes the findings of the NEET working group set up by the Executive that young people who are NEET are generally characterised by low educational attainment, truancy and/or disadvantaged backgrounds, and calls on the Executive to extend the vocational opportunities available at further education colleges from the age of 14 and to expand the role of community-based voluntary programmes which play a crucial role in combating deprivation.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 47, Against 72, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 75, Against 22, Abstentions 23).

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

7. The Tayside Project: The Parliament debated S2M-3558 in the name of Shona Robison—That the Parliament commends Marie Curie Cancer Care for joining forces with NHS Tayside, Dundee City Council, Perth and Kinross and Angus Councils and the Scottish Ambulance Service to deliver the first Scottish project of the Delivering Choice Programme in Tayside, which aims to look at the problems in palliative care provision in the region before developing a strategy to deliver the best possible palliative care and end-of-life care for patients in the area, allowing them to be cared for in the place of their choice; notes that Tayside has specific problems in this area, with 75% of the admissions to the cancer centre in Ninewells Hospital being for palliative care, and that over the three-year project issues like this will be tackled, and believes that the findings of the project should be utilised in other areas of Scotland to inform palliative care policy so that everyone in Scotland can benefit from this ground-breaking project.

The meeting closed at 5.59 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
12 January 2006

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

Subordinate Legislation

Not Subject to any Parliamentary Procedure

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 12 January 2006 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

The Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) (Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning) (West Coast) (No. 12) (Scotland) Order 2005 Revocation Order 2006 (SSI 2006/6)

laid under section 1(10) of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985

Committee Reports

The following report was published on 12 January 2006

Health Committee, 2nd Report, 2006 (Session 2): Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Health Bill (SP Paper 484)