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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 2 March 2006

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Shirley McKie: Nicola Sturgeon moved S2M-4039—That the Parliament agrees with Lord McCluskey, retired High Court judge and former Solicitor General for Scotland, that one of the fundamental principles underlying the rule of law in a mature democracy is the principle that justice must be seen to be done; considers that in the case of Shirley McKie issues have arisen implying that justice has not been seen to be done, and, in further agreeing with Lord McCluskey that the issues involved are not party political but go to the heart of public trust in the criminal justice system, calls on the Scottish Executive to consider how the concerns expressed by Lord McCluskey should be addressed.

The Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson) moved amendment S2M-4039.2 to motion S2M-4039—

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

“that action needs to be taken to restore public and professional confidence in the Scottish Fingerprint Service; acknowledges that in 2000 the SCRO Fingerprint Bureau was the subject of an independent inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC); notes that following three further inspections HMIC reported that its 25 recommendations had been fully discharged; notes that further reforms are being taken forward; that the Minister for Justice has instructed the interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Police Services Authority to bring forward, by the end of March, a comprehensive action plan drawing on the best available international scientific advice and management expertise; notes that this action plan will be reported to the Parliament; believes that a public inquiry is not appropriate; notes that it is the responsibility of the Parliament to hold the Scottish Executive to account; welcomes the work already commenced by the Justice 1 Committee, and confirms the Executive’s commitment to co-operate with any inquiries that the Parliament may decide to take forward in scrutinising these reforms.”

Colin Fox moved amendment S2M-4039.1 to motion S2M-4039—

Leave out from first “issues” to end and insert—

“the public is still not satisfied that the truth of the matter is all available; recognises that the McKie family campaign is not satisfied that there was no conspiracy against her; also recognises that the four Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO) fingerprint workers are furious that their competence and reputation has been sullied; believes that the Scottish Executive has a duty to address all these concerns, and calls for a public inquiry to get to the truth of this matter and to restore public confidence in the SCRO and the fingerprint service as soon as possible.”

2. Scottish Water: Rob Gibson moved S2M-4036—That the Parliament notes that, despite assurances from ministers that Scottish Water’s investment plans were on target, the Chairman of Scottish Water has resigned due to disagreements with ministers and Scottish Water has been required to produce another business plan; considers that these events highlight poor stewardship of the water industry by the Scottish Executive; expresses its concern over the impact of delays in investment in water and sewerage infrastructure on economic, environmental and social development in Scotland, and calls on the Executive to set out promptly what impact these events will have on delivering the ministerial objectives for the water industry in Scotland.

The Minister for Environment and Rural Development (Ross Finnie) moved amendment S2M-4036.2 to motion S2M-4036—

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

“Scottish Water’s draft business plan of April 2005 stated that achieving Scottish Ministers’ objectives for 2006 to 2010 would require a capital investment programme of £3.7 billion and a doubling in customer charges, that the Water Industry Commission's determination of charges for 2006 to 2010 allowed Scottish Water a capital investment programme of £2.1 billion and charges rising by less than the rate of inflation to achieve the objectives, that Scottish Water accepted the determination, but its plan demonstrating how it would deliver the objectives within the limits set by the determination was judged by the Scottish Executive, supported by the regulators, not to meet the requirements in a number of material aspects and Scottish Water was required to produce a new plan that would command the confidence of Ministers and regulators, and considers these actions by the Executive to represent good stewardship of Scottish Water in the public and customer interest.”

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-4036.1 to motion S2M-4036—

Leave out from “and calls” to end and insert—

“further expresses concern that Scottish Water is failing to deliver an appropriate level of service to its customers; notes the concerns of the building community about Scottish Water’s failure to allocate sufficient resources to remove development constraints; further notes the Executive’s admission on 9 February 2005 that business customers have been overcharged £44 million a year for water; further notes that the introduction of Surface Water Drainage charges based on the size of the property are to be introduced into the denationalised English water market on 1 April which will lead to significantly lower charges for small businesses in England than in Scotland, thereby re-enforcing the present competitive disadvantage faced by Scots firms; further notes the comments of former Environment Minister, Sam Galbraith, that “We are slowly going broke and the only way to solve this is to reduce the public sector wage bill. Privatise water and, at a stroke, the bill is cut” (The Scotsman, 10 February 2005); believes that as long as Scottish Water remains a bureaucratic, nationalised monopoly it will struggle to adopt the private sector disciplines expected by the Executive and the Water Industry Commission, and therefore calls on the Executive to take its commitment to make economic growth its top priority seriously by creating a genuine market in water and privatising Scottish Water or adopting a “not for dividend” model such as Welsh Water.”

The Presiding Officer suspended the meeting under Rule 7.4.1(a) at 11.40 am.

The meeting closed at 11.40 am under Rule 7.4.3.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
2 March 2006

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

New Bills introduced or reprinted on 1 March 2006

Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill—A Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to establish the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission; to make provision as regards complaints against members of the legal profession in Scotland and other matters concerning the regulation of that profession; to make provision in connection with the administration of the Scottish Legal Aid Fund, including a register of advisers in connection with advice and assistance; and for connected purposes.  (SP Bill 56) (Executive Bill)

Introduced by:  Cathy Jamieson

Explanatory Notes (and other accompanying documents) (SP Bill 56-EN) and a Policy Memorandum (SP Bill 56-PM) were printed to accompany the Bill.

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 2 March 2006 and are subject to annulment—

The Police Grant (Scotland) Order 2006 (SSI 2006/91)

laid under section 32(8) of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967

The Non-Domestic Rate (Scotland) Order 2006 (SSI 2006/92)

laid under section 7B(5) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1975

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 2 March 2006 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

Falkirk College of Further and Higher Education Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2005 (SE/2006/35)—

Langside College Year End Accounts and Report of the Board of Management for the year ended 31 July 2005 (SE/2006/36)—

Moray College Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2005 (SE/2006/37)—

Oatbridge College Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2005 (SE/2006/38)—

South Lanarkshire College Financial Statements for the 12 months ended 31 July 2005 (SE/2006/39)—

Edinburgh’s Telford College Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2005 (SE/2006/40)—

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

The Police Grant (Scotland) Order 2006 Report (SE/2006/41)

laid under section 32(6) of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967

Committee Reports

The following report was published on 2 March 2006

Enterprise and Culture Committee, 2nd Report, 2006: Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 512)