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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 28 September 2006

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Trident: Roseanna Cunningham moved S2M-4864—That the Parliament believes that there is no justification for the renewal or replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system.

Jackie Baillie moved amendment S2M-4864.5 to motion S2M-4864—

Leave out from “believes” to end and insert—

“notes that decisions pertaining to national defence, such as any future replacement of Trident, are reserved to the Westminsterparliament; notes that the United Nations Security Council plays a vital role in working for peace and security on a global basis; welcomes the United Kingdom’s role within both the United Nations and NATO; notes that the General Election manifestos for 2005 of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties called for the retention of an independent nuclear deterrent; believes that there should be the widest possible debate on the future security of Scotland, the United Kingdom and the wider world, covering all options on Trident, including non-replacement; notes the comments of the UK Government that no decisions on replacing Trident have yet been taken; welcomes the significant reductions in theUK’s nuclear weapons arsenal; is committed to the goal of the global elimination of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and wishes to see the United Kingdom continue to work both bilaterally and through the United Nations to urge states not yet party to non-proliferation instruments to become so, to remain committed to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and to make further progress toward significant reductions in the nuclear arsenals of the major nuclear powers.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 56, Against 57, Abstentions 4).

Euan Robson moved amendment S2M-4864.3 to motion S2M-4864—

Leave out from “believes” to end and insert—

“wishes to see the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons; notes the UK Government’s commitment, made in June 2005, to reach a decision on the replacement of the Trident system by the end of the current Westminster Parliament; further notes that the Secretary of State for Defence stated in June 2005 that “no decision on any replacement for Trident has been taken, either in principle or otherwise”; calls on the UK Government to ensure that there is a full public debate on the issue; further calls on the UK Government to press for a new round of multilateral arms reduction talks, and believes that the United Kingdom’s current minimum nuclear deterrent should be retained for the foreseeable future until sufficient progress has been made towards the global elimination of nuclear weapons.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 17, Against 86, Abstentions 15).

Chris Ballance moved amendment S2M-4864.4 to motion S2M-4864—

Insert at end—

“but also recognises the concerns of workforce unions, such as the GMB, and therefore calls on the Scottish Executive to prepare Scotland for a weapons of mass destruction-free future by producing a plan for the redeployment of workers, such as at Faslane and Coulport, for peaceful purposes.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 43, Against 74, Abstentions 1).

The motion was then disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 44, Against 72, Abstentions 2).

2. Small Businesses: Jim Mather moved S2M-4863—That the Parliament recognises the critically important role that small businesses play in delivering economic growth and local services and confirms the need to deliver specific tangible measures to bolster the competitiveness of Scottish small businesses, such as the SNP’s recent Small Business Bonus Scheme which would result in 120,000 small businesses being freed from the burden of business rates, and also recognises that, in implementing such schemes, it will help to increase the viability of individual small businesses and contribute to creating the growth that would allow Scotland’s living standards to converge on the higher living standards enjoyed elsewhere, thereby encouraging yet more small business start-ups, creating many more jobs, widening the tax base, increasing local economic vibrancy and improving local services and confidence across Scotland.

The Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning (Allan Wilson) moved amendment S2M-4863.2 to motion S2M-4863—

Leave out from “critically important” to end and insert—

“central role that small businesses play in delivering both economic growth and local services and welcomes the success that the Scottish Executive has had in supporting the growth in the total employment and overall number of small businesses and new business start-ups in Scotland since 1999; welcomes the benefit that small firms gain from a range of grant schemes that encourage the development of new products and processes, the creation or safeguarding of jobs and becoming more energy efficient, and also welcomes the Executive’s Small Business Rates Relief Scheme that results in around 70% of non-domestic rate subjects in Scotland receiving rates relief of up to 50% and the decision to equalise the poundage with England from 1 April 2007, which demonstrates our determination to deliver the right conditions for all businesses to grow by encouraging yet more small business start-ups, creating more jobs, widening the tax base, increasing local economic activity and improving local services across Scotland.”

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S2M-4863.1 to motion S2M-4863—

Leave out from “confirms” to end and insert—

“believes that there is a need for government to create a business environment which will improve the competitiveness of Scottish small businesses; further believes that any detailed proposals to reduce the business rate burden for small businesses should be properly costed and the source of such monies identified; notes the impact of excessive regulation and poor levels of investment in infrastructure on the capacity of small businesses to grow; calls on the Scottish Executive to bring forward policies to create a more business-friendly environment in Scotland, and notes that the introduction of a local income tax as proposed by the SNP and the Liberal Democrats would directly penalise hundreds of thousands of unincorporated small businesses throughout Scotland.”

After debate, amendment S2M-4863.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 44, Abstentions 9). As a result, amendment S2M-4863.1 was pre-empted.

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 23, Abstentions 31).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the central role that small businesses play in delivering both economic growth and local services and welcomes the success that the Scottish Executive has had in supporting the growth in the total employment and overall number of small businesses and new business start-ups in Scotland since 1999; welcomes the benefit that small firms gain from a range of grant schemes that encourage the development of new products and processes, the creation or safeguarding of jobs and becoming more energy efficient, and also welcomes the Executive’s Small Business Rates Relief Scheme that results in around 70% of non-domestic rate subjects in Scotland receiving rates relief of up to 50% and the decision to equalise the poundage with England from 1 April 2007, which demonstrates our determination to deliver the right conditions for all businesses to grow by encouraging yet more small business start-ups, creating more jobs, widening the tax base, increasing local economic activity and improving local services across Scotland.

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

6. Ministerial Statement: The Minister for Communities (Malcolm Chisholm) made a statement and answered questions on Right to Buy.

7. St Andrew’s Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Bill – Stage 1: Dennis Canavan moved S2M-4827—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the St Andrew’s Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Bill.

After debate, the motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill – Financial Resolution: The Deputy Minister for Justice (Hugh Henry) moved S2M-4872—That the Parliament, for the purposes of any Act of the Scottish Parliament resulting from the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill, agrees to any expenditure of a kind referred to in Rule 9.12.3(b)(ii) of the Parliament’s Standing Orders arising in consequence of the Act.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

9. Breach of the Code of Conduct for MSPs: Brian Adam, on behalf of the Standards and Public Appointments Committee, moved S2M-4846—That the Parliament notes the 2nd Report, 2006 (Session 2) of the Standards and Public Appointments Committee, Complaint against Mike Pringle MSP (SP Paper 636) and agrees to impose the sanction recommended in the report that Mike Pringle MSP be excluded from all meetings of the Parliament and all meetings of its committees for the first five sitting days immediately after this motion is agreed.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 91, Against 6, Abstentions 18).

10. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 as noted above.

11. Withdrawal of Alimta for Mesothelioma Patients: The Parliament debated S2M-4742 in the name of Shona Robison—That the Parliament regrets that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) final appraisal determination on Alimta does not recommend Alimta for the treatment of mesothelioma except as part of ongoing or new clinical trials; is concerned that the drug could potentially be withdrawn if NICE repeats that opinion in its final report due to be published in October 2006; realises that, in practice, NICE’s decisions ordinarily supersede Scottish advice which could lead to the withdrawal of this drug for Scottish sufferers; recognises that such a move would have a devastating effect on mesothelioma sufferers here in Scotland given that Alimta has been shown to be effective in increasing life expectancy and improving the quality of life of patients; is aware that NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (QIS) will be reviewing its decision to offer the drug in Scotland in light of the NICE recommendation; therefore urges NHS QIS to recognise the contextual differences in Scotland, such as in epidemiology, with a large concentration of mesothelioma cases in Dundee and other post-industrial areas of Scotland; furthermore recognises the existing advice from the Scottish Medicines Consortium that Alimta should be freely available in Scotland, and therefore believes that the Scottish Executive should guarantee the availability of Alimta to existing and future sufferers of mesothelioma in Scotland.

The meeting closed at 5.47 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
28 September 2006

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

New Bills introduced or reprinted on 27 September 2006

Education (School Meals etc.) (Scotland) Bill —A Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to make provision for free school meals, water and milk in education authority primary schools; to confer further powers on the Scottish Ministers to extend such provision; to require the Scottish Ministers to set nutritional standards for certain school meals and to establish a complaints procedure in relation to the standards; and to confer powers on the Scottish Ministers to regulate the sale and advertisement of food and drink at certain schools. (SP Bill 74) (Member’s Bill)

Introduced by: Frances Curran

Explanatory Notes (and other accompanying documents) (SP Bill 74-EN) and a Policy Memorandum (SP Bill 74-PM) were printed to accompany the Bill.

Rights of Relatives to Damages (Mesothelioma) (Scotland) Bill—A Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to amend the law concerning the right of certain relatives of a deceased person to claim damages in respect of the death of the deceased from mesothelioma. (SP Bill 75) (Executive Bill)

Introduced by: Cathy Jamieson
Supported by: Hugh Henry

Explanatory Notes (and other accompanying documents) (SP Bill 75-EN) and a Policy Memorandum (SP Bill 75-PM) were printed to accompany the Bill.

Scottish Register of Tartans Bill—A Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to establish a Scottish Register of Tartans and to provide for the appointment and functions of the Keeper of that Register. (SP Bill 76) (Member’s Bill)

Introduced by: Mr Jamie McGrigor

Explanatory Notes (and other accompanying documents) (SP Bill 76-EN) and a Policy Memorandum (SP Bill 76-PM) were printed to accompany the Bill.

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 28 September 2006 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

Crofters Commission Annual Report 2005-06 (SE/2006/82)

laid under section 2(4) of the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2006 (SE/2006/156)

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

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 28 September 2006—

Local Government and Transport Committee, 13th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 643)

European and External Relations Committee, 5th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (LCM (S2) 3.1) (SP Paper 645)