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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 23 March 2006

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Growing a Knowledge Economy: The Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Nicol Stephen) moved S2M-4163—That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Executive’s record investment in further and higher education and recognises its significance in Scotland’s current and future economic growth with the sector’s focus on key issues including sustainable development, research and innovation, globalisation, productivity and skills.

Jim Mather moved amendment S2M-4163.2 to motion S2M-4163—

Insert at end—

“and now wishes to see that investment subjected to close scrutiny to identify its effectiveness in terms of growth, jobs and incomes under a process of independent statistical control that fosters an era of perpetual improvement and benchmarks Scotland's performance against international competitors.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 106, Against 4, Abstentions 1).

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-4163.1 to motion S2M-4163—

Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

“notes the valuable contribution made by the further and higher education sectors to the Scottish economy, particularly their success in attracting overseas students; notes, however, the poor levels of knowledge transfer in the economy and that, although Scotland secured 17% of all UK patents, only 1.5% of GDP was invested in research and development and only 0.59% of this was successfully commercialised, and believes that a more competitive economic environment would encourage higher levels of commercial activity and help secure additional external funding for the sector.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 74, Abstentions 21).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 95, Against 16, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Executive’s record investment in further and higher education and recognises its significance in Scotland’s current and future economic growth with the sector’s focus on key issues including sustainable development, research and innovation, globalisation, productivity and skills and now wishes to see that investment subjected to close scrutiny to identify its effectiveness in terms of growth, jobs and incomes under a process of independent statistical control that fosters an era of perpetual improvement and benchmarks Scotland's performance against international competitors.

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

5. Strategy for an Ageing Population: The Minister for Communities (Malcolm Chisholm) moved S2M-4164—That the Parliament acknowledges the changing age structure of Scotland’s population and the benefits and opportunities it brings; values the enormous contribution of older people as volunteers, carers, workers and in many other ways; recognises the need to challenge stereotypes of older people and support them to contribute in ways which they choose; supports the further development of effective integrated services for older people, and welcomes the consultation and ongoing work currently being carried out to develop a Strategy for a Scotland with an Ageing Population.

Christine Grahame moved amendment S2M-4164.1 to motion S2M-4164—

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

“notes, however, the injustice of charging for food preparation under the free personal care legislation, ageism, fuel poverty and associated excess winter deaths, the punitive council tax and the discredited basic state pension, all of which deprive our elderly population of independence, security and choice, and recognises that until Scotland has power over tax and benefits many of Scotland's pensioners will continue to live in poverty.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 33, Against 78, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then agreed to (DT).

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

7. Proposed Closure of Coldstream and Jedburgh Hospitals: The Parliament debated S2M-3921 in the name of Euan Robson—That the Parliament notes the contents of NHS Borders’ consultation document, Getting Fit for the Future; believes that the preferred options for the closure of Coldstream and Jedburgh cottage hospitals manifestly do not command the confidence of the respective local communities; further believes that NHS Borders must take advantage of opportunities to redevelop both hospitals in conjunction with other statutory bodies, private providers and voluntary organisations in the spirit of Professor Kerr’s report, Building a Health Service Fit for the Future, and the Scottish Executive’s response to the report; congratulates the local action groups on their constructive approach to these issues, and believes that the Executive should reject closure and require redesign of the proposals to redevelop these locally delivered NHS services.

The meeting closed at 5.48 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
23 March 2006

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

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 23 March 2006 and are subject to annulment—

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Specified Persons for Financial Reporting Orders) (Scotland) Order 2006 (SSI 2006/170)

laid under section 172 (6) of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005

The Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland (Practice and Procedure) (No. 2) Amendment Rules 2006 (SSI 2006/171)—

The Mental Health (Relevant Health Board for Patients Detained in Conditions of Excessive Security) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 (SSI 2006/172)—

laid under section 326(3) of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act 2005

Not Subject to any Parliamentary Procedure

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 23 March 2006 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

The Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning) (West Coast) (No. 18) (Scotland) Order 2005 Revocation Order 2006 (SSI 2006/169)

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

Other Documents

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 23 March 2006 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Council Housing Transfers: A main report and key findings summary prepared for the Auditor General for Scotland (AGS/2006/5)

laid under the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 23 March 2006—

Finance Committee, 4th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on the Financial Implications of the Local Authority Single Status Agreement (SP Paper 526)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 14th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 527)

Justice 2 Committee, 4th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 528)