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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 27 September 2007

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Waiting Times: Ross Finnie moved S3M-545—That the Parliament is concerned that the Scottish Government’s approach to waiting times will lead to an increase in bureaucracy, placing an administrative burden on clinicians; believes that introducing a legally binding guarantee will put further pressure on health professionals leading to a litigation culture in the NHS; regrets the decision by the SNP to put political dogma before patient need in ruling out the use of the private sector to reduce waiting times; regrets the lack of commitment from the Scottish Government to invest further in primary health care facilities; calls on the Scottish Government to continue making progress in reducing the longest waits, while prioritising shorter waiting times for the most serious conditions; calls on the Scottish Government to make an early statement on how it intends to implement its maximum waiting time guarantee without impacting on those with the greatest clinical need, and believes that the Scottish Government must, as a matter of urgency, publish a comprehensive assessment identifying the additional administrative and bureaucratic burdens that these new proposals will place on the NHS, how much they will cost and where the money will come from.

Nicola Sturgeon moved amendment S3M-545.2 to motion S3M-545—

Leave out from "is concerned" to end and insert—

"calls on the Scottish Government to build on the progress made by the last administration in reducing waiting times by establishing a new 18-week whole journey waiting time guarantee by 2011 and consulting on a Patients’ Rights Bill that will ensure a more patient-focussed NHS."

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

Margaret Curran moved amendment S3M-545.1 to motion S3M-545—

Leave out from "is concerned" to "on clinicians" and insert—

"calls on the Scottish Government to review the implementation proposals to ensure that the principles of Fair to All, Personal to Each are implemented with the least bureaucracy possible and ensure that the new waiting list system provides the highest quality support, particularly for the most vulnerable in our society".

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 60, Against 65, Abstentions 0).

The motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 77, Against 48, Abstentions 0).

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

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

4. Themed Question Time: Questions on Finance and Sustainable Growth, and on Justice and Law Officers were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Scottish Ministers and by the Scottish Law Officers.

5. Ministerial Statement: The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson) made a statement and answered questions on Rail Links to Edinburgh Airport.

6. Rail Links to Edinburgh Airport: The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth (John Swinney) moved S3M-546—That the Parliament supports the Scottish Government’s plans to develop rail links to Edinburgh airport and to improve other rail services.

Iain Gray moved amendment S3M-546.1 to motion S3M-546—

Leave out from "the Scottish Government’s plans" to end and insert—

"the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link as approved on 14 March 2007 and improvements to other rail services."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 61, Against 64, Abstentions 0).

The motion was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 60, Abstentions 0).

7. Merging the Procedures Committee and the Standards and Public Appointments Committee: Keith Brown, on behalf of the Procedures Committee, moved S3M-497—That the Parliament notes the Procedures Committee’s 1st Report, 2007 (Session 3), Merging the Procedures Committee and the Standards and Public Appointments Committee (SP Paper 7), and agrees that the changes to Standing Orders set out in Annexe A to the report be made with effect from 28 September 2007.

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

8. Establishment of Committee: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved S3M-543—That the Parliament agrees to establish a committee of the Parliament as follows:

Name of Committee: Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments

Remit: To consider and report on–

(a) the practice and procedures of the Parliament in relation to its business;

(b) whether a member’s conduct is in accordance with these Rules and any Code of Conduct for members, matters relating to members’ interests, and any other matters relating to the conduct of members in carrying out their Parliamentary duties;

(c) the adoption, amendment and application of any Code of Conduct for members; and

(d) matters relating to public appointments in Scotland.

Where the Committee considers it appropriate, it may by motion recommend that a member’s rights and privileges be withdrawn to such extent and for such period as are specified in the motion.

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.

Membership: Keith Brown, Cathie Craigie, Marlyn Glen, Jamie McGrigor, Christina McKelvie, Hugh O’Donnell, Dave Thompson.

The motion was agreed to (DT).

9. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1, 6, 7 and 8 as noted above.

10. Warm Zones: The Parliament debated S3M-338 in the name of Kenneth Gibson—That the Parliament commends the excellent work of not-for-profit Warm Zones Ltd, set up with UK Government support in 2000 and operated by National Energy Action, the leading fuel poverty charity in England and Wales, working in partnership with local government, energy companies such as Transco and British Gas, European Union agencies and others; is aware that the Warm Zone project encourages a proactive approach to combating fuel poverty by going into communities to assess the energy efficiency and fuel poverty status of all households in an entire area, with a view to co-ordinating the free delivery of necessary energy efficiency improvements and related services; appreciates that the Warm Zone all area approach has been effective in reaching vulnerable households which often do not apply for available fuel benefits or grants; believes that, while so far warm zones have only been set up in England and Wales, Scotland with some 384,000 households, one in six, in fuel poverty can learn from the successes achieved south of the border; appreciates that in Gateshead alone warm zones invested £2 million and warm zone teams visited 26,239 homes, carried out 21,067 assessments, surveyed 13,384 homes, installed energy efficiency measures in 9,996 homes and attracted £400,000 extra in benefits for residents in the year to February 2007, attracting £200,000 in European structural funding for job creation and training while reducing energy usage by an average of 40% and attaining a client satisfaction rating of over 97%, and concludes that an area like North Ayrshire, with an estimated 11,000 of 62,000 households in fuel poverty, would be an excellent place to undertake a warm zone project and ultimately supports the introduction of warm zones across Scotland, believing that discussions should take place between local authorities, Energy Action Scotland, the Scottish Government and other stakeholders about the establishment of warm zones north of the border as part of a concerted and systematic campaign to eradicate fuel poverty once and for all.

The meeting closed at 5.49 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
27 September 2007

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

Subordinate Legislation

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 27 September 2007 and is subject to annulment

The Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/439)

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

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 27 September 2007 and are not subject to any parliamentary procedure—

Crofters Commission Annual Report 2006-07 (SE/2007/142)

laid under section 2(4) of the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993

Scottish Legal Aid Board Annual Report 2006-07 (SE/2007/169)

laid under section 5 of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 and section 22(5) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000

Scottish Agricultural Science Agency Annual Report and Accounts 2006-07 (SE/2007/172)—

Scottish Screen Annual Report and Consolidated Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2007 (SE/2007/180)—

Scottish Screen (Enterprises) Limited Report and Financial Statements 31 March 2007 (SE/2007/181)—

laid under section 22(5) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000

Committee Reports

The following report was published on 27 September 2007

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 5th Report, 2007 (Session 3): Report on Subordinate Legislation
(SP Paper 14)