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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 13 September 2007

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Education: Hugh Henry moved S3M-457—That the Parliament regrets that education has not been given a higher priority by this administration; calls for an urgent explanation to be given on funding for higher education and further education; calls for the missing detail to be given on the manifesto commitment to write off student debt; calls for a statement on how the commitment to reduce class sizes for primary 1 to primary 3 which has not been fully explained or costed will be delivered by 2011; calls for more detail on how a teacher will be provided to every early years class by 2011; regrets that nothing has been said about tackling indiscipline in Scotland’s schools, and calls for an early statement on how funding will be provided to improve the school estate in Scotland.

Adam Ingram moved amendment S3M-457.2 to motion S3M-457—

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

“recognises the importance placed on education in Scotland by all parties in the Parliament; welcomes the prospect of early legislation to abolish the graduate endowment fee; appreciates that the delay by over a year of the comprehensive spending review has dictated the timing of comprehensive announcements on spending plans for education on student debt, teachers’ numbers and the school estate, and looks forward to positive and constructive discussion with COSLA on outcome agreements as part of the spending review to improve the education of pupils, recognising that the pace, scale and delivery of improvements in pre-school provision and class size reduction in P1-P3 will be a key element of such agreements.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 48, Against 76, Abstentions 0).

Jeremy Purvis moved amendment S3M-457.1 to motion S3M-457—

Insert at end—

“and further calls for an early announcement on when the SNP manifesto pledge for a 50% increase in free nursery education for 3 and 4-year-olds will be met and how much it will cost.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 75, Against 46, Abstentions 3).

The motion, as amended, was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 76, Against 46, Abstentions 2).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament regrets that education has not been given a higher priority by this administration; calls for an urgent explanation to be given on funding for higher education and further education; calls for the missing detail to be given on the manifesto commitment to write off student debt; calls for a statement on how the commitment to reduce class sizes for primary 1 to primary 3 which has not been fully explained or costed will be delivered by 2011; calls for more detail on how a teacher will be provided to every early years class by 2011; regrets that nothing has been said about tackling indiscipline in Scotland’s schools, and calls for an early statement on how funding will be provided to improve the school estate in Scotland and further calls for an early announcement on when the SNP manifesto pledge for a 50% increase in free nursery education for 3 and 4-year-olds will be met and how much it will cost.

2. General Question Time: Questions were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

3. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the First Minister (Alex Salmond).

4. Themed Question Time: Questions on Europe, External Affairs and Culture and on Education and Lifelong learning were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

5. Ministerial Statement: The Lord Advocate (Elish Angiolini) made a statement and answered questions on the case of Angus Sinclair.

6. Ministerial Statement: The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth (John Swinney) made a statement and answered questions on National Developments in Planning.

7. Approval of SSI: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-445—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 (Variation of Age Limit for Sale of Tobacco etc. and Consequential Modifications) Order 2007 be approved.

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

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

9. Macmillan Cancer Support’s Recovered but not Covered Campaign: The Parliament debated S3M-273 in the name of Brian Adam—That the Parliament condemns the extortionate premiums charged by many travel insurance firms to cancer patients or persons with a history of cancer treatment, which often lead to their travel insurance prices being considerably higher than journey costs; acknowledges that this problem will worsen with growing numbers of people diagnosed with cancer and living longer who want or need to travel; recognises its impact on patients and their families in Aberdeen North and elsewhere in Scotland; furthermore supports Macmillan Cancer Support’s Recovered but not Covered campaign which seeks to make it easier for people affected by cancer to get fair travel insurance prices, and welcomes joint research between Macmillan and the Royal Bank of Scotland to investigate how cancer sufferers can obtain fairer travel insurance, but considers that these discriminatory and insensitive charges should be ended by other insurance companies.

The meeting closed at 5.34 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
13 September 2007

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

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 13 September 2007 and are subject to annulment—

The Food for Particular Nutritional Uses (Scotland) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/424)

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

The Civil Legal Aid (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/425)

laid under section 37(1) of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986

Other Documents

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 13 September 2007 and is subject to parliamentary procedure

Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland, Report to the Parliament (CPA/2007/01)

laid under section 2(8)b of the Public Appointments and Public Bodies etc. (Scotland) Act 2003

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 13 September 2007—

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 3rd Report, 2007 (Session 3): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 8)

Heath and Sport Committee, 1st Report, 2007 (Session 3): Report on Subordinate legislation (SP Paper 9)