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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 30 March 2006

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Congratulations Team Scotland: Michael Matheson moved S2M-4196—That the Parliament congratulates Team Scotland for winning 29 medals at the 18th Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, which is the largest number of medals ever won by a Scottish team at an overseas games; recognises that this success is due to the hard work and dedication of our athletes and coaching staff; believes that Team Scotland's success in Melbourne should act as a springboard to ensure even greater success for our sportsmen and women in the international sporting arena and will also inspire many young Scots to participate in sport; recognises that access to good sporting facilities plays a significant role in the development of our nation's sporting talent, and calls on the Scottish Executive to publish sportscotland’s audit of local sports facilities to ensure that the necessary facilities are in place to develop our future sporting talent.

The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport (Patricia Ferguson) moved amendment S2M-4196.2 to motion S2M-4196—

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

“and the valuable support provided by the Institute network, sportscotland and the World Class Performance Programme; believes that Team Scotland’s success in Melbourne should act as a springboard to ensure even greater success for our sportsmen and women in the international sporting arena and will also inspire many young Scots to participate in sport; recognises the significant benefits to be gained for Scotland from London 2012 and a successful bid for Glasgow to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014; acknowledges that access to good sporting facilities plays a significant role in the development of our nation’s sporting talent; welcomes the investment in facilities through the Executive’s National and Regional Facilities Strategy which will provide a first-class setting for our elite and developing athletes and which can also be enjoyed by local communities, and welcomes the imminent publication of the reports on the audit of local facilities.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 80, Against 26, Abstentions 6).

Mr Jamie McGrigor moved amendment S2M-4196.1 to motion S2M-4196—

Insert at end—

“notes, however, the words of Simon Clegg, the Chief Executive of the British Olympic Association, who said that “the British Olympic Association...strongly believes that we are stronger collectively than as individual countries…Any distractions, dilution or further fragmentation of sport in the UK will seriously undermine the once in a lifetime opportunity British sport has capitalise on the unique benefits of hosting an Olympic Games”, and therefore believes that there is a need to support both grass-roots sport infrastructure and elite athletes through the valuable work of the Scottish Institute of Sport which aims to change the culture and raise the ambitions and aspirations within sport in Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 17, Against 96, Abstentions 0).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 108, Against 2, Abstentions 2).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament congratulates Team Scotland for winning 29 medals at the 18th Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, which is the largest number of medals ever won by a Scottish team at an overseas games; recognises that this success is due to the hard work and dedication of our athletes and coaching staff and the valuable support provided by the Institute network, sportscotland and the World Class Performance Programme; believes that Team Scotland’s success in Melbourne should act as a springboard to ensure even greater success for our sportsmen and women in the international sporting arena and will also inspire many young Scots to participate in sport; recognises the significant benefits to be gained for Scotland from London 2012 and a successful bid for Glasgow to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014; acknowledges that access to good sporting facilities plays a significant role in the development of our nation’s sporting talent; welcomes the investment in facilities through the Executive’s National and Regional Facilities Strategy which will provide a first-class setting for our elite and developing athletes and which can also be enjoyed by local communities, and welcomes the imminent publication of the reports on the audit of local facilities.

2. Bridge Tolls: Shona Robison moved S2M-4197—That the Parliament agrees that the tolls on the Tay bridge should be removed.

Minister for Transport and Telecommunications (Tavish Scott) moved amendment S2M-4197.3 to motion S2M-4197—

Leave out from “agrees” to end and insert—

“notes the responses, analysis and conclusions set out in the recent consultation and review of Scotland’s tolled bridges, including the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board’s response; notes that the bridges review met all of the Board’s requests, and recommends an examination of the economic, social and environmental impact and cost of retaining or removing tolls from the Tay and Forth bridges, on Fife and Dundee, the proposals for which will be reported on as soon as possible.”

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-4197.1 to motion S2M-4197—

Insert at end—

“and notes that in so doing the costs of relocating the toll plaza from the north end of the bridge to the south would be saved.”

Shiona Baird moved amendment S2M-4197.2 to motion S2M-4197—

Insert at end—

“for public transport in addition to the existing exemptions, that a scheme of “smart tolls” should be introduced, which takes into account factors such as occupancy levels and peak hour traffic flows, and that the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board should be given more flexibility to use toll revenues to deal with transport issues in the vicinity.”

After debate, amendment S2M-4197.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 48, Abstentions 2). As a result, amendments S2M-4197.1 and S2M-4197.2 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 45, Abstentions 3).

Accordingly, the Parliament agreed—That the Parliament notes the responses, analysis and conclusions set out in the recent consultation and review of Scotland’s tolled bridges, including the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board’s response; notes that the bridges review met all of the Board’s requests, and recommends an examination of the economic, social and environmental impact and cost of retaining or removing tolls from the Tay and Forth bridges, on Fife and Dundee, the proposals for which will be reported on as soon as possible.

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 Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning, and on Justice and Law Officers were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers and by the Scottish Law Officers.

6. Ministerial Statement: The Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Nicol Stephen) made a statement and answered questions on Scottish Enterprise.

7. Curriculum Review: The Parliament debated the Curriculum Review.

8. Establishment of Committee: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-4217—That the Parliament agrees to establish a committee of the Parliament as follows:

Name of Committee: Edinburgh Airport Rail Link Bill Committee;
Remit: To consider and report to the Parliament on the Edinburgh Airport Railway Link Bill;
Duration: Until the Bill has received Royal Assent, falls or is withdrawn;
Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Labour Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party;
Membership: Christine Grahame, Jamie McGrigor, Iain Smith, Scott Barrie, Mr Charlie Gordon.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 102, Against 10, Abstentions 1).

9. Rule 2.7.2: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-4202—That the Parliament agrees under Rule 2.7.2 that the Parliament shall meet in Committee Rooms 2 and 6 of the Parliament at Holyrood as recommended by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body until 21 April 2006.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

10. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 8 and 9 as noted above.

11. Post Office Card Accounts: The Parliament debated S2M-4101 in the name of Richard Lochhead—That the Parliament notes the recent announcement that Post Office Card Accounts are to be phased out by 2010; notes that this news has come as ashock to pension and benefits claimants in north-east Scotland, many of whom rely on the service especially where there are no local bank branches, as well as to Post Office staffwhoview the scheme as a vital service; believes that the phasing out of this service could put the future of some rural post offices in severe jeopardy and lead to many of these lifeline services being lost to communities already being stripped of other vital services; supports the National Federation of SubPostmasters’ campaign to have Post Office Card Accounts retained, and considers that the Scottish government should make appropriate representations to the UK Government on behalf of Post Office Card Account users in Scotland.

The meeting closed at 5.54 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
30 March 2006

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

New Bills introduced or reprinted on 29 March 2006

Edinburgh Tram (Line One) Bill—The Bill was reprinted as passed. (SP Bill 17A) (Private Bill)

Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Bill—The Bill was reprinted as amended at Stage 2. (SP Bill 47A) (Executive Bill)

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 30 March 2006 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department: Return of Expenditure incurred and Prosecutions taken under the Animal Health Act 1981, and Incidences in Imported Animals for the year 2005 (SE/2006/18)

laid under section 80 of the Animal Health Act 1981

Bus User Complaints Tribunal Annual Report 2005 (SE/2006/33)

laid under section 41(3) of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001

Scottish Advisory Committee on Distinction Awards Annual Report, March 2006 (SE/2006/45)

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 30 March 2006—

Health Committee, 6th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 532)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 15th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 533)

European and External Relations Committee, 1st Report, 2006 (Session 2): Interim Report on an Inquiry into possible co-operation between Scotland and Ireland (SP Paper 534)

Environment and Rural Development Committee, 5th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 535)