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Journal of Parliamentary Proceedings Sessions 1 & 2

Committees Sessions 1, 2 & 3

Annual reports

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 7 June 2007

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Sustainable Public Transport Systems: Des McNulty moved S3M-127—That the Parliament believes that Scottish Executive ministers should respect decisions of this Parliament and, in keeping with that key principle, believes that ministers should not delay, substantially alter or cancel strategic transport projects, such as the Edinburgh Tram and Edinburgh Airport Rail Link schemes that have already been subject to parliamentary scrutiny and approval; further believes that any proposed departure from those agreed parliamentary consents should also be subject to parliamentary approval; notes the urgency given that considerable expenditure has already been committed on these schemes, and re-affirms that ministers bear the responsibility for the effective procurement and delivery of major infrastructure projects.

The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson) moved amendment S3M-127.3 to motion S3M-127—

Leave out from first “believes” to end and insert—

“recognises the different policy positions of various political parties; notes that the Scottish Government has invited the Auditor General to consider the approach to financial and risk management taken in the preparation of the Edinburgh Tram and Edinburgh Airport Rail Link proposals, and welcomes the fact that ministers will report to the Parliament on this matter before the summer recess.”

Alex Johnstone moved amendment S3M-127.3.1 to amendment S3M-127.3—

Insert at end—

“and calls on the Scottish Executive to bring forward a motion for parliamentary debate within its own time on these issues.”

Tavish Scott moved amendment S3M-127.2 to motion S3M-127—

Insert at end—

“and notes with concern the decision to involve Audit Scotland in reviewing the Edinburgh Trams and Edinburgh Airport Rail Link projects, particularly given the short timescale in which Audit Scotland is to undertake the review, the lack of detail provided to the Parliament on the terms of reference for the review and the possible implications for the independence of Audit Scotland.”

After debate, amendment S3M-127.3.1 to amendment S3M-127.3 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 60, Abstentions 1).

Amendment S3M-127.3, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 62, Abstentions 0). As a result, amendment S3M-127.2 was pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 66, Against 59, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the different policy positions of various political parties; notes that the Scottish Government has invited the Auditor General to consider the approach to financial and risk management taken in the preparation of the Edinburgh Tram and Edinburgh Airport Rail Link proposals, and welcomes the fact that ministers will report to the Parliament on this matter before the summer recess and calls on the Scottish Executive to bring forward a motion for parliamentary debate within its own time on these issues.

2. Skills and Vocational Education: Hugh Henry moved S3M-126—That the Parliament recognises the concerns in the business community about the shortage of school leavers proficient in science and technical subjects; believes that there is a role for academic institutions concentrating on vocational skills and science, and calls for the introduction of skills academies and science centres of excellence as a contribution to improving both the skills needed for 21st Century Scotland and the life opportunities for our young people.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning (Fiona Hyslop) moved amendment S3M-126.3 to motion S3M-126—

Leave out from “recognises” to end and insert—

“notes the concerns raised by the business community about the shortage of school leavers proficient in science and technical subjects; believes that there is a need for more vocational skills experience for 14 to 18-year-olds, including improvements in school/college links and increased focus on the teaching of science in schools, and notes the Scottish Government’s decision to develop a Scottish skills strategy to help deliver the skills needed for 21st century Scotland.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 49, Against 78, Abstentions 0).

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S3M-126.1 to motion S3M-126—

Insert at end—

“but also appreciates the excellent facilities and expertise in further education colleges and believes that more use must be made of these for educating school-age pupils so that, taken together with the introduction of specialist vocational schools, this ensures that every young person can readily access vocational education courses from the age of 14, and further believes that each local authority should work with head teachers and local further education institutions to produce a strategy for teaching science and technology.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 62, Against 64, Abstentions 1).

Jeremy Purvis moved amendment S3M-126.2 to motion S3M-126—

Leave out from “about the shortage” to end and insert—

“that opportunities should exist for school pupils to gain vocational and educational skills from the age of 14 through both school and college; believes that there should be closer links between schools, colleges and local businesses building on the highly successful school and college partnerships and the Skills for Work and Determined to Succeed initiatives; reaffirms its support for comprehensive secondary education; rejects the establishment of skills academies, and rather believes that Scotland’s colleges should receive an annual 3% real terms increase in funding to help support partnerships with schools, that there should be a new target of 50,000 Modern Apprenticeships by 2011 to widen training opportunities for young people, that secondary schools and colleges should have business incubators to develop entrepreneurial skills and to ensure that Scotland remains competitive in delivering high-level skills and research and that the Scottish Executive should meet the funding bid from Universities Scotland for an additional £168 million funding over the next spending review period.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 110, Abstentions 0).

The motion was then disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 64, Abstentions 0).

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 (Alex Salmond).

5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Health and Wellbeing, and Rural Affairs and the Environment were answered by Scottish Ministers and junior Scottish Ministers.

6. Establishment of Committees: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-137—That the Parliament shall establish committees of the Parliament as follows:

Name of Committee: Audit

Remit: Set out in Rule 6.7

Number of members: 8

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Labour Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

Name of Committee: Equal Opportunities

Remit: Set out in Rule 6.9

Number of members: 8

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Labour Party.

Name of Committee: European and External Relations

Remit: Set out in Rule 6.8

Number of members: 8

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Labour Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Scottish National Party.

Name of Committee: Finance

Remit: Set out in Rule 6.6

Number of members: 8

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Scottish National Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Labour Party.

Name of Committee: Public Petitions

Remit: Set out in Rule 6.10

Number of members: 9

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Labour Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party.

Name of Committee: Procedures

Remit: Set out in Rule 6.4

Number of members: 7

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Scottish National Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Labour Party.

Name of Committee: Standards and Public Appointments

Remit: Set out in Rule 6.5

Number of members: 7

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Scottish National Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Labour Party.

Name of Committee: Subordinate Legislation

Remit: Set out in Rule 6.11

Number of members: 7

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Scottish National Party.

Name of Committee: Justice

Remit: To consider and report on (a) the administration of criminal and civil justice, community safety, and other matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and (b) the functions of the Lord Advocate, other than as head of the systems of criminal prosecution and investigation of deaths in Scotland.

Number of members: 8

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Labour Party.

Duration: For the whole session of the Parliament

Name of Committee: Economy, Energy and Tourism

Remit: To consider and report on the Scottish economy, enterprise, energy, tourism and all other matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth apart from those covered by the remits of the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change and the Local Government and Communities Committees.

Number of members: 8

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Scottish National Party.

Duration: For the whole session of the Parliament

Name of Committee: Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change

Remit: To consider and report on matters relating to transport, infrastructure and climate change falling within the remit of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth.

Number of members: 8

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Scottish Green Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Labour Party.

Duration: For the whole session of the Parliament

Name of Committee: Health and Sport

Remit: To consider and report on (a) health policy and the NHS in Scotland and other matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing and (b) matters relating to sport falling within the responsibility of the Minister for Communities and Sport.

Number of members: 8

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Scottish National Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party.

Duration: For the whole session of the Parliament

Name of Committee: Local Government and Communities

Remit: To consider and report on (a) the financing and delivery of local government and local services and planning; and (b) housing, regeneration, anti-poverty measures and other matters (apart from sport) falling within the responsibility of the Minister for Communities and Sport.

Number of members: 8

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Labour Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Scottish National Party.

Duration: For the whole session of the Parliament

Name of Committee: Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture

Remit: To consider and report on (a) further and higher education, lifelong learning, schools, pre-school care, skills and other matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning; and (b) matters relating to culture and the arts falling within the responsibility of the Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture.

Number of members: 8

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Labour Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Scottish National Party.

Duration: For the whole session of the Parliament

Name of Committee: Rural Affairs and Environment

Remit: To consider and report on agriculture, fisheries and rural development and other matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment.

Number of members: 8

Convenership: The Convener will be a member of the Scottish National Party and the Deputy Convener will be a member of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

Duration: For the whole session of the Parliament

After debate, the motion was agreed to.

7. Sex Offenders: The Parliament debated the subject of Sex Offenders.

8. Emergency Ministerial Statement: The First Minister (Alex Salmond), under Rule 13.2.2, made a statement and answered questions on International Judicial Co-operation.

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

10. Alimta for Mesothelioma Sufferers: The Parliament debated S3M-29 in the name of Des McNulty—That the Parliament recognises that mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive cancer of the lungs, almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos; also recognises that West Dunbartonshire has the highest incidence of this work-related disease in Scotland and the second highest in the United Kingdom; further recognises that Alimta is the only drug licensed to treat mesothelioma, where it has been found to deliver significant improvements in the quality of life of sufferers, and considers that Scottish Executive ministers should ensure that Alimta continues to be made available to all existing and new mesothelioma sufferers who, in the professional opinion of consultant oncologists, would benefit from it.

The meeting closed at 5.46 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
7 June 2007

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

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 7 June 2007 and are subject to annulment—

The Vegetable Seeds Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/305)

laid under section 16(6) of the Plant Varieties and Seeds Act 1964

The Pesticides (Maximum Residue Levels in Crops, Food and Feeding Stuffs (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/306)—

The Cattle Identification (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/312)—

The Plant Health Fees (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/314)—

laid under paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972

The Gambling Act 2005 (Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/309)—

The Gambling Act 2005 (Fees No. 2) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/311)—

laid under section 355(10) of the Gambling Act 2005

The Licensing (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/313)

laid under section 146(4) of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005

The Education (Publication and Consultation Etc.) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/315)

laid under section 133(2) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980

The Health Protection Agency (Scottish Health Functions) Amendment Order 2007 (SSI 2007/316)

laid under section 2(9) of the Health Protection Agency Act 2004