Back to the Scottish Parliament Minutes of Proceedings Vol. 4, No. 46 Session 2
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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 11 January 2007

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Education with specific reference to Skills Academies: Murdo Fraser moved S2M-5386—That the Parliament believes that our education system should provide children with opportunities to flourish along the lines of their own particular aptitudes and inclinations; notes that for many children over the age of 14 this could predominantly involve activity in a practical or vocational sphere, rather than in a traditional academic one, and welcomes the proposal to establish skills academies, be they stand-alone or attached to schools or colleges, depending on what is most appropriate for a local area, as centres of excellence to extend opportunities to access vocational education to students from the age of 14.

The Deputy Minister for Education and Young People (Robert Brown) moved amendment S2M-5386.4 to motion S2M-5386—

Leave out from “believes” to end and insert—

“welcomes the priority given to improving education standards by the Scottish Executive, local authorities, schools and other partners; recognises that the Executive’s investment in new and refurbished schools, increased teacher numbers, reducing class sizes, strong parental involvement and stable industrial relations is providing the right environment for real and lasting change for Scotland’s children; welcomes the new opportunities that are being developed through A Curriculum for Excellence and Determined to Succeed, including enabling young people across Scotland aged 14 to 16 to undertake vocational learning in further education colleges as part of the school-based curriculum; believes that a strong and relevant education system is fundamental to securing a smart, successful Scotland in which all our 16 to 19 year-olds are in education, employment or training, and calls for steadily improving opportunities for young people to achieve success in education including, particularly, opportunities to study a wider range of vocational options.”

Fiona Hyslop moved amendment S2M-5386.2 to motion S2M-5386—

Leave out from “for many children” to end and insert—

“most political parties have recognised the need for more vocational experiences for pupils over 14 since 2003 and is concerned about lack of progress in providing this to date; agrees with the position of the Schools and Colleges Review and the Parliament’s Education Committee in its recent Pupil Motivation inquiry that all children should have vocational opportunities and that these should not be restricted by assessment of academic ability at the age of 14; acknowledges that the real challenge is to provide opportunities and choice for all pupils, working together with schools and colleges, and notes the concerns of skills and trades organisations that the proposal for skills academies provided for pupils with lack of academic ability, as proposed recently by the First Minister, is not what is required by them to meet current and future skills demand.”

After debate, amendment S2M-5386.4 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 45, Abstentions 8). As a result, amendment S2M-5386.2 was pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 45, Abstentions 8).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the priority given to improving education standards by the Scottish Executive, local authorities, schools and other partners; recognises that the Executive’s investment in new and refurbished schools, increased teacher numbers, reducing class sizes, strong parental involvement and stable industrial relations is providing the right environment for real and lasting change for Scotland’s children; welcomes the new opportunities that are being developed through A Curriculum for Excellence and Determined to Succeed, including enabling young people across Scotland aged 14 to 16 to undertake vocational learning in further education colleges as part of the school-based curriculum; believes that a strong and relevant education system is fundamental to securing a smart, successful Scotland in which all our 16 to 19 year-olds are in education, employment or training, and calls for steadily improving opportunities for young people to achieve success in education including, particularly, opportunities to study a wider range of vocational options.

2. Health with specific reference to Accident and Emergency Unit Provision: John Scott moved S2M-5389—That the Parliament does not accept the case put forward for the closure of accident and emergency units at Ayr Hospital and Monklands Hospital; recognises the real dangers of the proposals for accident and emergency provision in Greater Glasgow, and calls on the Scottish Executive to re-examine its decision to approve these closures.

The Minister for Health and Community Care (Mr Andy Kerr) moved amendment S2M-5389.3 to motion S2M-5389—

Leave out from “does not” to end and insert—

“reaffirms its view that Delivering for Health provides a coherent and consensual basis for service change in NHS Scotland; notes the support expressed in previous debates by Members from across the Parliament and health stakeholders for key aspects of the policy, including promoting local access to services and balancing local delivery with the need to have centres of excellence that provide high-quality, modern, specialist care, focusing on primary care services, separating scheduled and unscheduled care and providing community casualty units; commends the progress being made to implement the key directions set out in Delivering for Health; supports the unparalleled investment in health and health improvement made by the Scottish Executive; welcomes the requirement for investment in primary care and in community casualty services before changes are made to existing accident and emergency services; commends the hard work and outstanding commitment of NHS staff to new and flexible ways of working needed to provide modern and responsive services; supports the principle of a modern, well-resourced NHS in Scotland, free at the point of need, and believes that any necessary changes in the NHS in Scotland should be based on the needs of local communities.”

Shona Robison moved amendment S2M-5389.2 to motion S2M-5389—

Insert at end—

“particularly in the light of recent events at Wishaw General Hospital whichwas forced to close its doors to all but the most severe emergency cases.”

Carolyn Leckie moved amendment S2M-5389.1 to motion S2M-5389—

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

“further expresses concern that hospitals are showing the strain caused by insufficient capacity with, for example, Wishaw General closing to admissions;believes that PFI costs are sucking resources from the NHS, and calls on the Scottish Executive to reverse the closure decisions and conduct an urgent review of NHS capacity with reference to meeting actual need and to abandon the wasteful PFI policy to fund capital projects.”

After debate, amendment S2M-5389.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 54, Abstentions 1). As a result, amendments S2M-5389.2 and S2M-5389.1 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 66, Against 52, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament reaffirms its view that Delivering for Health provides a coherent and consensual basis for service change in NHS Scotland; notes the support expressed in previous debates by Members from across the Parliament and health stakeholders for key aspects of the policy, including promoting local access to services and balancing local delivery with the need to have centres of excellence that provide high-quality, modern, specialist care, focusing on primary care services, separating scheduled and unscheduled care and providing community casualty units; commends the progress being made to implement the key directions set out in Delivering for Health; supports the unparalleled investment in health and health improvement made by the Scottish Executive; welcomes the requirement for investment in primary care and in community casualty services before changes are made to existing accident and emergency services; commends the hard work and outstanding commitment of NHS staff to new and flexible ways of working needed to provide modern and responsive services; supports the principle of a modern, well-resourced NHS in Scotland, free at the point of need, and believes that any necessary changes in the NHS in Scotland should be based on the needs of local communities.

3. General Question Time: General 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 Environment and Rural Development, and on Health and Community Care were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

6. Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Bill – Stage 1: The Minister for Justice (Cathy Jamieson) moved S2M-5336—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Bill.

After debate, the motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 87, Against 2, Abstentions 28).

7. Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Bill – Financial Resolution: The Deputy Minister for Justice (Johann Lamont) moved S2M-5346—That the Parliament, for the purposes of any Act of the Scottish Parliament resulting from the Custodial Sentences and Weapons (Scotland) Bill, agrees to any increase in expenditure—

(a) charged on the Scottish Consolidated Fund; and

(b) payable out of that Fund forexisting purposes,

in consequence of the Act.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

8. Appointment of Minister: The First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell) moved S2M-5390—That the Parliament agrees that Rhona Brankin be appointed as a Minister.

The motion was agreed to.

9. Appointment of Junior Scottish Minister: The First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell) moved S2M-5391—That the Parliament agrees that Sarah Boyack be appointed as a junior Scottish Minister.

The motion was agreed to.

10. Substitution on Committees: George Lyon, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved—

S2M-5395—That the Parliament agrees that Carolyn Leckie be appointed as the Scottish Socialist Party substitute on the Justice 2 Committee;

S2M-5396—That the Parliament agrees that Frances Curran be appointed as the Scottish Socialist Party substitute on the Equal Opportunities Committee; and

S2M-5397—That the Parliament agrees that Colin Fox be appointed as the Scottish Socialist Party substitute on the Public Petitions Committee.

The motions were agreed to (DT).

11. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 2, 6, 7 and 10 as noted above.

12. Neighbourhood Services: The Parliament debated S2M-5332 in the name of Margaret Jamieson—That the Parliament congratulates East Ayrshire Council and NHS Ayrshire and Arran on the establishment of the North West Kilmarnock Primary Care Neighbourhood Services Centre, an ambitious multi-agency partnership project delivering world-class public services for local communities through the co-location of interconnected public bodies at a single site where those who need them most can access them, exemplifying the practice of building public services around the people who use them.

The meeting closed at 5.31 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
11 January 2007