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Meeting of the Parliament

Wednesday 6 December 2006

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

The meeting opened at 2.30 pm.

1. Time for Reflection: Reverend John MM Lafferty, Stevenston, led Time for Reflection.

2. Civic Participation - Trade Union Engagement with Scotland’s Civic Society: The Minister for Parliamentary Business (Ms Margaret Curran) moved S2M-5269—That the Parliament recognises the strength and constructive nature of its partnership with civic Scotland; recalls that this began in the Constitutional Convention when a wide range of civic organisations, including trade unions, came together with the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties to develop the blueprint for devolution; notes that this partnership is evolving as the Parliament and civic society work together to achieve social justice, and acknowledges the importance of the Executive working in partnership with organisations such as the Scottish Trades Union Congress, other non-governmental organisations and civic partners in Scotland.

Bill Aitken moved amendment S2M-5269.1 to motion S2M-5269—

Leave out from “its” to end and insert—

“a partnership with civic Scotland, but stresses that such a partnership should be on as wide a basis as possible including the private sector and business and enterprise groups in order that a more balanced approach be taken towards the governance of Scotland and the achievement of social justice.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 14, Against 77, Abstentions 22).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 98, Against 0, Abstentions 15).

3. Council Tax: Derek Brownlee moved S2M-5258—That the Parliament notes the recommendations of the Independent Local Government Finance Review Committee report but opposes its central recommendation of a “local property tax”; agrees that the 60% increase in council tax levels since Labour came to power has left those on low incomes struggling to pay their council tax bills, especially our pensioner households, and therefore calls for a 50% discount on council tax for all pensioner households aged 65 and over in Scotland, as proposed by the Scottish Conservatives.

The Deputy Minister for Finance, Public Service Reform and Parliamentary Business (George Lyon) moved amendment S2M-5258.3 to motion S2M-5258—

Leave out from “the recommendations” to end and insert—

“that the Scottish Executive established the independent inquiry into local government finance consistent with the Partnership Agreement of May 2003; notes that individuals and political parties made representations to this inquiry which published its findings in November 2006, and notes that the Executive will consider the report in its entirety and will respond to the committee’s findings in due course.”

Mr John Swinney moved amendment S2M-5258.1 to motion S2M-5258—

Leave out from—

“a 50% discount” to end and insert “the council tax to be abolished and replaced by a local income tax based on the ability to pay.”

After debate, amendment S2M-5258.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 72, Against 40, Abstentions 0). As a result, amendment S2M-5258.1 was pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 73, Against 40, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes that the Scottish Executive established the independent inquiry into local government finance consistent with the Partnership Agreement of May 2003; notes that individuals and political parties made representations to this inquiry which published its findings in November 2006, and notes that the Executive will consider the report in its entirety and will respond to the committee’s findings in due course.

4. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5281—That the Parliament agrees the following revision to the programme of business for Thursday 7 December 2006—

after,

2.55 pm Conclusion of Stage 3 Proceedings: Adoption and Children (Scotland) Bill

delete,

followed by Executive Debate: Fisheries

The motion was agreed to.

5. Business Motion: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5282—That the Parliament agrees the following programme of business—

Wednesday 13 December 2006

2.00 pm Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Ministerial Statement: Local Government Finance Settlement 2007-08

followed by Executive Debate: Fisheries

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 14 December 2006

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Stage 3 Proceedings: Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill

11.40 am General Question Time

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning;
Justice and Law Officers

2.55 pm Conclusion of Stage 3 Proceedings: Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Bill

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Wednesday 20 December 2006

10.00 am Time for Reflection

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Equal Opportunities Committee Debate: 2nd Report 2006, Removing Barriers and Creating Opportunities

2.00 pm Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Finance Committee Debate: 7th Report 2006, Inquiry into Accountability and Governance

followed by Stage 1 Debate: Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill

followed by Financial Resolution: Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill

followed by Justice 2 Committee Motion – Civil Appeals (Scotland) Bill

followed by Business Motion

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.30 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

Thursday 21 December 2006

9.15 am Parliamentary Bureau Motions

followed by Scottish National Party Business

11.40 am General Question Time

12 noon First Minister’s Question Time

2.15 pm Themed Question Time—

Education and Young People, Tourism, Culture and Sport;
Finance and Public Service and Communities

2.55 pm Finance Committee Debate: Stage 2 of the 2007-08 Budget Process

followed by Procedures Committee Debate: 6th Report 2006, Public Bills and Substitution; 7th Report 2006, Members’ Interests (Parliamentary Determinations and Resolutions); 8th Report 2006, Consolidation Bill Procedure; 9th Report 2006, Rule 10.3.2 (the “20-day rule”)

followed by Parliamentary Bureau Motions

5.00 pm Decision Time

followed by Members’ Business

The motion was agreed to.

6. Business Motions: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau moved—

S2M-5274—That the Parliament agrees that the timetable for completion of consideration of the Prostitution (Public Places) (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be extended to 19 January 2007; and

S2M-5275—That the Parliament agrees that the timetable for completion of consideration of the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill at Stage 1 be extended to 22 December 2006.

The motions were agreed to.

7. Decision Time: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5283—That the Parliament agrees under Rule 11.2.4 of Standing Orders that Decision Time on Wednesday 20 December 2006 shall begin at 5.30 pm.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Approval of SSIs: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved—

S2M-5276—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Skin Piercing and Tattooing) Amendment Order 2006 be approved; and

S2M-5277—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Registration Services (Consequential Provisions) (Scotland) Order 2006 be approved.

The motions were agreed to (DT).

9. Substitution on Committees: Ms Margaret Curran, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved—

S2M-5278—That the Parliament agrees that Mr Alasdair Morrison be appointed to replace Janis Hughes as the Labour Party substitute on the Finance Committee; and

S2M-5279—That the Parliament agrees that Marilyn Livingstone be appointed to replace Ms Wendy Alexander as the Labour Party substitute on the European and External Relations Committee.

The motions were agreed to (DT).

10. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9 as noted above.

11. Threat to the Rural Post Office Network in Scotland: The Parliament debated S2M-4876 in the name of Mr John Swinney—That the Parliament notes the public concern over the future of the rural post office network in Perthshire, Angus and other parts of rural Scotland; notes that the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provides a subsidy to the rural post office network in Scotland that is scheduled to be removed in 18 months’ time; notes that, while the DTI provides this subsidy, other UK government departments such as the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Transport and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are taking decisions that reduce the volume and value of transactions that can be undertaken at post offices, thereby damaging the profitability of these post offices; recognises that if the rural post office network is not supported there will be severe economic loss and loss of amenity in countless communities in Perthshire, Angus and rural Scotland, and considers that the Scottish Executive should make representations to the UK Government to provide a stable level of support that guarantees the viability of the rural post office network.

12. Motion without Notice: Mr John Swinney moved without notice that, under Rule 8.14.3, the debate be extended until 6.04 pm.

The motion was agreed to.

The meeting closed at 6.04 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
6 December 2006

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

New Bills introduced or reprinted on 30 November 2006

Bankruptcy and Diligence etc. (Scotland) Bill-The Bill was reprinted as passed (SP Bill 50B) (Executive Bill).

Legislative Consent Memorandums

The following memorandum was lodged on 4 December 2006

Nicol Stephen MSP: Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Further Education and Training Bill (UK Parliament legislation) (LCM(S.2) 11.1)

The following memorandum was lodged on 5 December 2006

Mr Tom McCabe MSP: Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Statistics and Registration Service Bill (UK Parliament legislation) (LCM(S.2) 12.1)

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 5 December 2006 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

The Care Commission Annual Report and Accounts 2005-06 (SE/2006/154)

laid under paragraph 10(1) of schedule 1 to the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001

HM Inspectorate of Education Annual Accounts 2005-06 (SE/2006/227)—

Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body Annual Accounts 2005-06 (SE/2006/239)—

Scottish Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund Annual Accounts 2005-06 (SE/2006/240)—

Scottish Information Commissioner Annual Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2006 (SE/2006/246)—

National Library of Scotland Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2006 (SE/2006/247)—

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

The Electoral Commission Annual Report 2005-06 (SE/2006/245)

laid under paragraph 20(1) of Schedule 1 to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 6 December 2006 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services Annual Report 2005-06 (SE/2006/234)

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 1 December 2006—

Audit Committee, 7th Report 2006 (Session 2): A mid-term report - a first stage review of the cost and implementation of the teachers’ agreement: a Teaching Profession for the 21st Century (SP Paper 686)

Standards and Public Appointments Committee, 4th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Complaint against Alasdair Morrison MSP (SP Paper 678)

The following report was published on 4 December 2006

Communities Committee, 13th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 689)

The following report was published on 5 December 2006

Environment and Rural Development Committee: 14th Report, 2006 (Session 2): Stage 1 Report on the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill (SP Paper 690)