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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 26 January 2006

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

  1. The Economy of the East of Scotland: Murdo Fraser moved S2M-3863—That the Parliament opposes the dramatic increase in tolls on the Forth Road Bridge being proposed by the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA); notes that the proposals flow directly from the powers to implement road user charging granted under the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001 which were opposed by the Conservatives and supported by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party; further notes with concern the view of FETA that the bridge could be closed to heavy goods vehicles by 2013 and to all traffic by 2019; believes that either of these scenarios would have extremely serious consequences for the economy of the east of Scotland; supports the Scottish Executive’s decision to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the structure of the current bridge; further believes, however, that in light of the timescales involved, this must be conducted simultaneously with preliminary work on options for a new crossing and how this might be funded, and calls on the Executive to commence such work without delay.

    The Minister for Transport and Telecommunications (Tavish Scott) moved amendment S2M-3863.2 to motion S2M-3863—

    Leave out from “opposes” to end and insert—

    “notes the record of successive Conservative governments in approving tolling regimes on bridges, and further notes that the Scottish Government believes that a Forth road crossing is essential for the Fife economy and that it will make its decision on the FETA toll application after examination of the condition of the current bridge and the need for any replacement.”

    Bruce Crawford moved amendment S2M-3863.1 to motion S2M-3863—

    Leave out from “opposes” to end and insert—

    “notes with regret the announcement by Lexmark that it intends to close its factory in Rosyth with the loss of 700 jobs; expresses sympathy for the workers affected; is concerned about the impact the closure will have on the economy of Dunfermline and West Fife; believes that, in response to the closure, an action plan targeted at assisting the Lexmark workforce should be introduced immediately; further believes that the Scottish Executive, in conjunction with Fife Council, should put in place, as a matter of urgency, a strategy for the economic revitalisation of Dunfermline town centre and that Transport Scotland should be directed to improve the transport links to the area in order to make it more attractive for investors; agrees that, as part of a package to help the economy of Fife, an immediate announcement freezing the level of tolls on the Forth Road Bridge at £1 should be made, and further agrees that planning for a new crossing should begin immediately in view of the fact that the bridge will close to heavy goods vehicles in 2013 and to all traffic in 2019 if a satisfactory engineering solution cannot be found to overcome the bridge's structural problems.”

    After debate, amendment S2M-3863.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 70, Against 38, Abstentions 0).  As a result amendment S2M-3863.1 was pre-empted.

    The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 70, Against 39, Abstentions 0).

    Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the record of successive Conservative governments in approving tolling regimes on bridges, and further notes that the Scottish Government believes that a Forth road crossing is essential for the Fife economy and that it will make its decision on the FETA toll application after examination of the condition of the current bridge and the need for any replacement.

  2. Future Energy Policy: Alex Johnstone moved S2M-3870—That the Parliament notes with interest the UK Energy Review; believes that provision of a secure and affordable supply of electricity is essential to Scotland's future prosperity, and therefore believes that all options, including the construction of new nuclear power stations to replace existing nuclear capacity, should be considered for inclusion in Scotland's future energy mix.

    The Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Allan Wilson) moved amendment S2M-3870.4 to motion S2M-3870—

    Leave out from “notes” to end and insert—

    “supports the Scottish Executive’s continuing commitment to the development of a wide range of renewable energy technologies in Scotland as a key element of a balanced energy supply mix; supports the Executive’s target that 40% of electricity generated in Scotland by 2020 should come from renewable sources; looks forward to publication of the revised Scottish Climate Change Programme and the consideration given to the contribution of energy efficiency and renewables to reduce carbon dioxide emissions; endorses the Executive’s commitment to tackling fuel poverty; acknowledges the Executive’s commitment to not support further development of nuclear power stations while waste management issues remain unresolved; welcomes the forthcoming release of the first two volumes of the Scottish Energy Study; recognises the importance of the UK energy review, and supports the Executive’s engagement with the UK Government, Ofgem and the energy industry to ensure that the future energy supply needs of Scotland are met.”

    Richard Lochhead moved amendment S2M-3870.2 to motion S2M-3870—

    Leave out from “with interest” to end and insert—

    “that Scotland is an energy rich nation; rejects calls for investment in new nuclear power stations in favour of accelerating the development of our renewables potential and emerging clean technologies; notes that, contrary to the impression given by many commentators, Scotland is a gas exporter and consumes only one-eighth of gas produced, and believes that the Parliament requires the political powers to determine our own energy future and ensure that our energy resources benefit the people of Scotland.”

    After debate, amendment S2M-3870.4 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 38, Abstentions 8).  As a result, amendment S2M-3870.2 was pre-empted.

    The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 38, Abstentions 7).

    Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament supports the Scottish Executive’s continuing commitment to the development of a wide range of renewable energy technologies in Scotland as a key element of a balanced energy supply mix; supports the Executive’s target that 40% of electricity generated in Scotland by 2020 should come from renewable sources; looks forward to publication of the revised Scottish Climate Change Programme and the consideration given to the contribution of energy efficiency and renewables to reduce carbon dioxide emissions; endorses the Executive’s commitment to tackling fuel poverty; acknowledges the Executive’s commitment to not support further development of nuclear power stations while waste management issues remain unresolved; welcomes the forthcoming release of the first two volumes of the Scottish Energy Study; recognises the importance of the UK energy review, and supports the Executive’s engagement with the UK Government, Ofgem and the energy industry to ensure that the future energy supply needs of Scotland are met.

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

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

  5. 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.

  6. Budget (Scotland) No.3 Bill: The Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform (Mr Tom McCabe) moved S2M-3854—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Budget (Scotland) (No. 3) Bill.
    After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 5, Abstentions 40).

  7. Ministerial Statement: The Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Rhona Brankin) made a statement and answered questions on Forests for Scotland.

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

  9. The Thistle Travel Card Scheme: The Parliament debated S2M-3553 in the name of Jackie Baillie—That the Parliament congratulates Enable, together with a consortium of Scottish charities including Down’s Syndrome Scotland and Alzheimer Scotland, for its work to introduce the Thistle Travel Card; welcomes the support of the Scottish Executive and transport companies for the implementation of the scheme, including in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh; acknowledges that many people with learning or physical disabilities, as well as those with dementia and epilepsy, may experience some difficulty in using public transport; considers that the Thistle Travel Card provides them with additional assistance by alerting travel staff to their particular needs; notes that awareness of the scheme is limited, and considers that the Scottish Executive and transport companies should actively promote awareness and uptake of the Thistle Travel Card.

The meeting closed at 5.46 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
26 January 2006

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

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 26 January 2006 for approval by resolution

The Local Government Finance (Scotland) Order 2006 (SSI 2006/29)

laid under paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 12 to the Local Government Finance Act 1992

The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 26 January 2006 for approval by resolution

The Budget (Scotland) Act 2005 Amendment (No. 2) Order 2006

laid under section 7(2) of the Budget (Scotland) Act 2005

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 26 January 2006 and are subject to annulment—

The Potatoes Originating in Egypt (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/27)

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

The Private Landlord Registration (Information and Fees) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/28)

laid under section 141(3) of the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 26 January 2006 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

Scotland’s Budget Documents: The 2005-06 Spring Budget Revision to the Budget (Scotland) Act for the year ending 31 March 2006 (SE/2006/03)

The Local Government Finance (Scotland) Order 2006 Report (SE/2006/7)

laid under paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 12 to the Local Government Finance Act 1992

Committee Reports

For further information on accessing committee reports, please contact either the relevant clerk or webpage (see end of Bulletin for contact details or access general committee webpage)

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/business/committees/index.htm

The following report was published on 26 January 2006

Enterprise and Culture Committee, 1st Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 494)