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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 8 February 2007

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Business Motion: George Lyon, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S2M-5561—That the Parliament agrees that, during Stage 3 of the Transport and Works (Scotland) Bill, debate on groups of amendments shall, subject to Rule 9.8.4A, be brought to a conclusion by the time limit indicated, that time limit being calculated from when the Stage begins and excluding any periods when other business is under consideration or when a meeting of the Parliament is suspended (other than a suspension following the first division in the Stage being called) or otherwise not in progress:

Groups 1 to 5: 1 hour 5 minutes.

The motion was agreed to.

2. Forth and Tay Road Bridges Tolls: Tricia Marwick moved S2M-5535—That the Parliament believes that the tolls should be removed from the Forth Road Bridge and the Tay Road Bridge.

The Minister for Transport (Tavish Scott) moved amendment S2M-5535.2 to motion S2M-5535—

Leave out from “believes” to end and insert—

“commits to a replacement crossing across the Forth and calls on the Cabinet to commit to preparatory work to start immediately; calls for the case for abolition of the tolls on the Fife Bridges to be considered in the light of the commitment to the new crossing; notes that the SNP’s sums do not add up and that under its current plans the SNP would not be able to afford to lift the tolls and pay for the construction of a new crossing; notes that its proposals do not address the impact of congestion or other environmental, social and economic impacts, and notes the importance of a sustainable transport policy, including smart tolling and investment in public transport to meet the long-term needs of Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 56, Against 66, Abstentions 1).

Mark Ballard moved amendment S2M-5535.1 to motion S2M-5535—

leave out from “the tolls” to end and insert “existing tolls on the Forth Road Bridge and the Tay Road Bridge should be replaced with a scheme of variable charging which takes into account factors such as occupancy levels, peak hour traffic flows and specific exemptions, including for public transport, and that the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board and the Forth Transport Estuary Forum should be given more flexibility to use toll revenues to deal with transport issues in the vicinity.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 7, Against 117, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 58, Against 65, Abstentions 1).

3. Early Years Education, Development and Care: Fiona Hyslop moved S2M-5549—That the Parliament believes that early years education, care and development support for our youngest children can provide firm foundations for later life and that there needs to be an increase in pace and attention in terms of delivery for the early years in Scotland; further believes that Scotland needs a 10-year strategy for care, development and education in the early years; recognises the vital role that nursery nurses play in delivery of this service as part of a team approach to early years services; calls for a 50% increase in free nursery education with access to a nursery teacher for all children; condemns the Scottish Executive for falling two years behind England and Wales in the provision of nursery education despite the fact that resources have been made available through the Barnett formula, and calls on ministers to offer an explanation.

The Deputy Minister for Education and Young People (Robert Brown) moved amendment S2M-5549.2 to motion S2M-5549—

Leave out from “that there needs” to end and insert—

“welcomes the significant increase in pre-school education entitlement that has been delivered since 1999; recognises that teachers have, and will continue to have, a major role to play in delivering pre-school education; recognises the vital role that qualified early years practitioners play in delivering early years services and welcomes proposals to deliver greater professionalism and improved career pathways for early years staff; welcomes proposals under A Curriculum for Excellence to introduce more active learning into early primary education; recognises that early years strategy needs to reflect these developments, and recognises that the Scottish Executive’s investment in education has rebuilt the foundations of a successful education system in Scotland”.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton moved amendment S2M-5549.1 to motion S2M-5549—

Leave out from—

“that there needs” to end and insert “can assist parents with the difficult but rewarding task of raising children; further believes that provision must be advanced, highly-skilled and flexible in order to meet the range of needs that parents and children in Scotland have; therefore expresses its concern that access to qualified teachers in nurseries may be insufficient in some areas of Scotland; recognises the potential that early intervention has for helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds, or who have additional support needs or are otherwise at risk, and calls for serious consideration to be given to expanding the number of family centres, particularly in areas of deprivation.”

After debate, amendment S2M-5549.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 67, Against 51, Abstentions 6). As a result, amendment S2M-5549.1 was pre-empted.

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 68, Against 24, Abstentions 31).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament believes that early years education, care and development support for our youngest children can provide firm foundations for later life and welcomes the significant increase in pre-school education entitlement that has been delivered since 1999; recognises that teachers have, and will continue to have, a major role to play in delivering pre-school education; recognises the vital role that qualified early years practitioners play in delivering early years services and welcomes proposals to deliver greater professionalism and improved career pathways for early years staff; welcomes proposals under A Curriculum for Excellence to introduce more active learning into early primary education; recognises that early years strategy needs to reflect these developments, and recognises that the Scottish Executive’s investment in education has rebuilt the foundations of a successful education system in Scotland.

4. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

5. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Mr Jack McConnell).

6. 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.

7. Transport and Works (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3: The Bill was considered at Stage 3.

The following amendments were agreed to without division: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.

Amendment 16 was disagreed to (by division: For 5, Against 97, Abstentions1)

Amendment 1 was moved and, with the agreement of the Parliament, withdrawn.

The following amendments were not moved: 2 and 3.

8. Transport and Works (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3: The Minister for Transport (Tavish Scott) moved S2M-5361—That the Parliament agrees that the Transport and Works (Scotland) Bill be passed.

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

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

10. School Transport Safety: The Parliament debated S2M-5425 in the name of Ms Maureen Watt—That the Parliament notes that current legislation regarding the provision of seatbelts on school transport does not require all school buses to be fitted with seatbelt facilities; further notes that the mandatory fitting of seatbelts on school buses only applies to those vehicles first used on or after 1 October 2001 or those manufactured six months before that date; recognises that this loophole can result in children’s safety being jeopardised, as was experienced at a recent accident in Aberdeenshire, and considers that the Scottish Executive should make representations to the Department for Transport in order to have legislation amended so that all school buses, regardless of age and size, are fitted with adequate seatbelt facilities.

The meeting closed at 5.39 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
8 February 2007

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

New Documents

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instruments were laid in draft before the Parliament on 8 February 2007 for approval by resolution—

The Town and Country Planning (Marine Fish Farming) (Scotland) Order 2007

laid under section 275(5A) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 and section 58(5) of the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006

The Representation of the People (Post-Local Government Elections Supply and Inspection of Documents) (Scotland) Regulations 2007

laid under section 61 of the Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Act 2006

The Business Improvement Districts (Ballot Arrangements) (Scotland) Regulations 2007

laid under section 47(3) of the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006

The Representation of the People (Postal Voting for Local Government Elections) (Scotland) Regulations 2007

laid under section 201(2) of the Representation of the People Act 1983

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 8 February 2007 and are subject to annulment—

The Smoke Control Areas (Exempt Fireplaces) (Scotland) Order 2007 (SSI 2007/55)—

The Smoke Control Areas (Authorised Fuels) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/56)—

laid under section 63(1) of the Clean Air Act 1993

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 8 February 2007—

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 9th Report, 2007 (Session 2): Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Bill as amended at Stage 2 (SP Paper 734)

Health Committee, 3rd Report, 2007 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 738)

Local Government and Transport Committee, 3rd Report, 2007 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 739)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 10th Report, 2007 (Session 2): Transport and Works (Scotland) Bill as amended at Stage 2 (SP Paper 740)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 11th Report, 2007 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 741)