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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 22 February 2007

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Road Tolling: Mr David Davidson moved S2M-5598—That the Parliament opposes the introduction of any additional nationwide charges for using Scotland’s existing roads and calls for the repeal of Part 3 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001.

The Minister for Transport (Tavish Scott) moved amendment S2M-5598.2 to motion S2M-5598—

Leave out from “opposes” to end and insert—

“welcomes the Scottish Executive’s massive increase in funding for public transport since 1999; notes the growing problem of traffic congestion in Scotland and the impact this has on the economy and the impact of pollution on health and the environment; notes the lack of an alternative from the opposition parties to tackling congestion; notes that the Executive does not support penalising motorists, and believes that the potential benefits of all new measures to tackle congestion, such as road user charging, need to be fully assessed, tested and evaluated in order to keep Scotland moving.”

Fergus Ewing moved amendment S2M-5598.1 to motion S2M-5598—

Insert at end—

“believes further that full fiscal powers should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament in respect of taxation of motorists; notes that levels of taxation levied on motorists by successive Labour and Conservative governments have consistently been, or been among, the highest in Europe; considers that a variety of measures is needed to tackle levels of congestion, including more use of park and ride schemes as well as the use of flexible working and home working, and supports the further expansion of public transport in Scotland to provide people in Scotland with more alternatives to car use.”

Mark Ruskell moved amendment S2M-5598.3 to motion S2M-5598—

Leave out from “opposes” to end and insert—

“notes that traffic congestion creates a huge burden for society in terms of delays, ill-health and social exclusion; notes that “the CBI estimates that the costs to employers of transport congestion are around £20 billion a year”; recognises that any long-term strategy to reduce congestion and climate changing pollution will require the provision of quality public transport alternatives to car use together with a sensible and appropriate system of demand management; notes the failure of the Scottish Executive to provide leadership over the City of Edinburgh Council’s proposal for a congestion charging scheme and the Executive’s plans for massive investment in new road capacity; notes that new road capacity has been shown to generate more traffic; notes that studies indicate that the introduction of nationwide road pricing is at least 10 years away; therefore calls on ministers to work with regional transport partnerships to consider the introduction of congestion charging and smart charge schemes at specific pinch points and congested areas of the road network, and believes that, in the immediate term, the Executive must reallocate funding for new road schemes to invest in public transport and cancel plans for new trunk roads that will generate increased traffic such as the M74 extension and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.”

After debate, amendment S2M-5598.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 41, Abstentions 7). As a result, amendments S2M-5598.1 and S2M-5598.3 were pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 41, Abstentions 7).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Executive’s massive increase in funding for public transport since 1999; notes the growing problem of traffic congestion in Scotland and the impact this has on the economy and the impact of pollution on health and the environment; notes the lack of an alternative from the opposition parties to tackling congestion; notes that the Executive does not support penalising motorists, and believes that the potential benefits of all new measures to tackle congestion, such as road user charging, need to be fully assessed, tested and evaluated in order to keep Scotland moving.

2. Double Jeopardy: Miss Annabel Goldie moved S2M-5613—That the Parliament agrees that the criminal law of Scotland be changed so that persons acquitted of serious criminal charges can be tried again if new and compelling evidence comes to light.

The Deputy Minister for Justice (Johann Lamont) moved amendment S2M-5613.1 to motion S2M-5613—

Leave out from “agrees” to end and insert—

“recognises the issue of the double jeopardy rule in the operation of the criminal justice system; recognises that this issue must not be seen in isolation, but instead should be considered within the wider context of the Scottish Executive’s ongoing reform and modernisation programme; commends the Executive’s commitment to placing the needs of victims at the heart of the criminal justice system and its achievements over the last four years in fundamentally modernising and reforming that system, including the introduction of the Victim Information and Advice Service across Scotland and the Victim Notification Scheme, and further recognises that any decision on the future of double jeopardy should be taken within the context of Scots law.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 41, Abstentions 9).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 39, Abstentions 10).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the issue of the double jeopardy rule in the operation of the criminal justice system; recognises that this issue must not be seen in isolation, but instead should be considered within the wider context of the Scottish Executive’s ongoing reform and modernisation programme; commends the Executive’s commitment to placing the needs of victims at the heart of the criminal justice system and its achievements over the last four years in fundamentally modernising and reforming that system, including the introduction of the Victim Information and Advice Service across Scotland and the Victim Notification Scheme, and further recognises that any decision on the future of double jeopardy should be taken within the context of Scots law.

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 Environment and Rural Development, and on Health and Community Care were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

6. Affordable Housing: The Minister for Communities (Rhona Brankin) moved S2M-5617—That the Parliament welcomes the importance that the Scottish Executive has placed on ensuring the provision of affordable housing across Scotland; notes the significant investment of £1.2 billion that is delivering 21,500 new affordable homes and the success of the innovative shared equity scheme, Homestake; welcomes the additional steps that have been taken to increase the proportion of affordable homes within new housing developments, and notes the intention of the Executive to ensure that affordable houses are also sustainable houses.

Tricia Marwick moved amendment S2M-5617.2 to motion S2M-5617—

Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

“notes that between 1999 and 2004 fewer houses were built for social rent under the Labour/Liberal Democrat government than in 1995 under the Conservative government and that waiting lists and those presenting as homeless are at record levels; notes the failure of the Scottish government to keep the promises made to Glasgow tenants on second stage stock transfer, and considers that this Scottish government has failed to adequately address the housing crisis in Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 36, Against 63, Abstentions 15).

Bill Aitken moved amendment S2M-5617.1 to motion S2M-5617—

Leave out from “welcomes” to end and insert—

“recognises that the private and public rental and purchase sectors are under considerable pressure and are not able to keep up with the high demand for affordable housing, especially in rural areas; is alarmed that last year first-time buyer activity reached its lowest level in 25 years; regrets that the Lib-Lab pact has failed to enable Scottish tenants to take advantage of housing stock transfer and, over the last year, has overseen four “no” votes in Edinburgh, Stirling, Renfrewshire and the Highlands and welcomes the Scottish Conservatives’ support for housing stock transfer and the continuation of tenants' right to buy their local authority homes; is opposed to the proposal for the single seller survey as it “will cause difficulties for disadvantaged buyers and sellers, who may be on low incomes and/or be buying or selling low-value properties in areas of low demand”, as highlighted by the Scottish Consumer Council, and considers that the single seller survey is based on an inadequate pilot and is an unnecessary and costly intervention in a sensitive market.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 98, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 39, Abstentions 10).

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

8. Clyde Fishermen Ahead of the Game on Conservation!: The Parliament debated S2M-5481 in the name of Phil Gallie—That the Parliament applauds the intention of the Clyde Fishermen’s Association to stop, voluntarily, trawling in areas of Upper Loch Fyne and Loch Shira in the interests of biodiversity and conservation and notes that such action provides a further example of the fishing industry’s commitment to a sustainable environment by adding to the association’s weekend ban on fishing in the Clyde estuary, self-imposed some 20 years ago when its awareness of the need for conservation preceded the anxieties now expressed by politicians at European, UK and Scottish government levels.

The meeting closed at 5.46 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
22 February 2007

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

New Bills introduced or reprinted on 21 February 2007

Rights of Relatives to Damages (Mesothelioma) (Scotland) Bill—The Bill was reprinted as amended at Stage 2. (SP Bill 75A) (Executive Bill)

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 22 February 2007 for approval by resolution

The Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004 (Allowances and Expenses) Regulations 2007

laid under section 16(5) of the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004

The Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004 (Allowances and Expenses) Regulations 2007, which were laid in draft before the Parliament on 9 February 2007, have been withdrawn

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 22 February 2007 and are subject to annulment—

The Adults with Incapacity (Conditions and Circumstances Applicable to Three Year Medical Treatment Certificates) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/100)—
The Adults with Incapacity (Medical Treatment Certificates) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/104)—
The Adults with Incapacity (Requirements for Signing Medical Treatment Certificates) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/105)—

laid under section 86(1) of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000

The National Assistance (Assessment of Resources) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/102)—
The National Assistance (Sums for Personal Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/103)—

laid under section 63(3) of the National Assistance Act 1948

The Quick-frozen Foodstuffs Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/106)—

laid under section 48(3) of the Food Safety Act 1990

Other Documents

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 22 February 2007 and is not subject to any Parliamentary procedure

Scottish Advisory Committee on Distinction Awards Annual Report March 2007 (SE/2007/21)

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 22 February 2007—

Local Government and Transport Committee, 5th Report, 2007 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 748)
Health Committee, 4th Report, 2007 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 749)

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 13th Report, 2007 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 750)

Justice 2 Committee, 2nd Report, 2007 (Session 2): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 752)