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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 4 October 2007

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. The Scottish National Party’s Broken Promises: Iain Gray moved S3M-607—That the Parliament regrets the SNP Government’s failure to implement a range of policies that the SNP pledged to take forward in its election manifesto and its document, It’s time to look forward, including reneging on the promise to set out plans to employ 1,000 additional police officers, backtracking on a council tax freeze, failing to implement smaller class sizes in every primary school and not delivering on plans to give £2,000 to first-time house buyers; recognises that the SNP Government is already letting down communities and hardworking families across Scotland, and calls on Scottish ministers to make a statement to the Parliament explaining why they have failed to implement these policy pledges.

Nicola Sturgeon moved amendment S3M-607.3 to motion S3M-607—

Leave out from “regrets” to end and insert—

“congratulates the SNP Government for its early action to deliver on a range of commitments, including the abolition of the graduate endowment, the retention of accident and emergency services at Ayr and Monklands hospitals and the abolition of tolls on the Tay and Forth bridges, and looks forward to the government continuing to deliver for the people of Scotland.”

Murdo Fraser moved amendment S3M-607.1 to motion S3M-607—

Leave out from “regrets” to end and insert—

“notes the SNP Government’s failure to implement a range of policies that the SNP pledged to take forward in its election manifesto and its document, It’s time to look forward, including reneging on the promise to set out plans to employ 1,000 additional police officers, backtracking on a council tax freeze, failing to implement smaller class sizes in every primary school, shelving the commitment to adopt the Better Regulation Commission’s policy of “one in one out” and not delivering on plans to give £2,000 to first-time house buyers; recognises that the SNP Government is already letting down communities and hardworking families across Scotland, and calls on Scottish ministers to make a statement to the Parliament explaining why they have failed to implement these policy pledges.”

Jeremy Purvis moved amendment S3M-607.2 to motion S3M-607—

Leave out from “recognises” to end and insert—

“further notes the SNP Government’s reluctance to keep its promise to students and dump student debt by writing off the debt to the Student Loans Company for Scottish domiciled graduates; notes the SNP Government’s refusal to meet its manifesto pledge for mandatory carbon reduction targets of 3% per annum; recognises that the SNP gained votes on these pre-election promises to the people of Scotland which they are now failing to keep, and calls on Scottish ministers to make a statement to the Parliament explaining which of these pre-election promises are no longer government policy and why, and which promises they do intend to implement and by when.”

Patrick Harvie moved amendment S3M-607.4 to motion S3M-607—

Leave out from “recognises” to end and insert—

“further notes that the previous administration had its own failures, as will every government; recognises, however, the widespread disillusionment with confrontational and negative politics; recognises that in a parliament of minorities, and especially under a minority government, no single party can expect to implement its full manifesto without consultation or compromise; accepts that the current administration cannot claim a mandate to implement every manifesto commitment and that no political party that has served in coalition government was able to do so either; notes the words of Donald Dewar MSP, on being elected as Scotland’s first First Minister, that “Co-operation is always possible where there are common aims and values, even though there may be great and dividing differences in other areas”; further notes the words of Annabel Goldie MSP that Scotland “wants posturing and petty playground antics to be left at the door”, those of the First Minister that “our overwhelming responsibility is to work together in the people’s interest” and Nicol Stephen MSP’s commitment to be “constructive and positive”, and urges all members to hold the Scottish Government to account but also to work constructively and positively wherever possible for the benefit of the people and the country in the spirit of the founding principles of the Parliament.”

After debate, amendment S3M-607.3 was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 46, Against 71, Abstentions 0).

Amendment S3M-607.1 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 71, Against 46, Abstentions 0).

Amendment S3M-607.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 70, Against 48, Abstentions 0). As a result, amendment S3M-607.4 was pre-empted.

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 70, Against 48, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the SNP Government’s failure to implement a range of policies that the SNP pledged to take forward in its election manifesto and its document, It’s time to look forward, including reneging on the promise to set out plans to employ 1,000 additional police officers, backtracking on a council tax freeze, failing to implement smaller class sizes in every primary school, shelving the commitment to adopt the Better Regulation Commission’s policy of “one in one out” and not delivering on plans to give £2,000 to first-time house buyers; further notes the SNP Government’s reluctance to keep its promise to students and dump student debt by writing off the debt to the Student Loans Company for Scottish domiciled graduates; notes the SNP Government’s refusal to meet its manifesto pledge for mandatory carbon reduction targets of 3% per annum; recognises that the SNP gained votes on these pre-election promises to the people of Scotland which they are now failing to keep, and calls on Scottish ministers to make a statement to the Parliament explaining which of these pre-election promises are no longer government policy and why, and which promises they do intend to implement and by when.

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 Education and Lifelong Learning, Europe, and on External Affairs and Culture were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

5. Wildlife Crime: The Minister for Environment (Michael Russell) moved S3M-609—That the Parliament notes the collaborative work being undertaken by a variety of agencies to fight wildlife crime and commends the enthusiasm and commitment of those involved in that fight; regrets that, despite these efforts and some highly successful prosecutions, 2006 was the worst year ever for recorded wildlife poisoning incidents and figures so far for 2007 show no improvement; condemns those responsible for such acts which destroy vital parts of our natural and national heritage while damaging our international reputation, and welcomes the thematic inspection of arrangements for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of wildlife crime which will be undertaken by HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in association with HM Chief Inspector of Prosecutions in Scotland which will make recommendations by 31 March 2008.

Sarah Boyack moved amendment S3M-609.1 to motion S3M-609—

Insert at end—

“and urges ministers to ensure that each Scottish police force appoint at least one full-time police wildlife crime co-ordinator, that wildlife crime cases are prosecuted wherever possible by fiscals with specialist training and that guidance is produced which pulls together all legislation relevant to wildlife crime for use by landowners, managers and their staff, and further urges ministers to monitor the effectiveness of such guidance and report back to the Parliament.”

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

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to (DT).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved— That the Parliament notes the collaborative work being undertaken by a variety of agencies to fight wildlife crime and commends the enthusiasm and commitment of those involved in that fight; regrets that, despite these efforts and some highly successful prosecutions, 2006 was the worst year ever for recorded wildlife poisoning incidents and figures so far for 2007 show no improvement; condemns those responsible for such acts which destroy vital parts of our natural and national heritage while damaging our international reputation, and welcomes the thematic inspection of arrangements for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of wildlife crime which will be undertaken by HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in association with HM Chief Inspector of Prosecutions in Scotland which will make recommendations by 31 March 2008 and urges ministers to ensure that each Scottish police force appoint at least one full-time police wildlife crime co-ordinator, that wildlife crime cases are prosecuted wherever possible by fiscals with specialist training and that guidance is produced which pulls together all legislation relevant to wildlife crime for use by landowners, managers and their staff, and further urges ministers to monitor the effectiveness of such guidance and report back to the Parliament.

6. Decision Time: The Parliament took decisions on items 1 and 5 as noted above.

7. Glasgow Milton and Chirnsyde Community Initiative: The Parliament debated S3M-72 in the name of Bob Doris—That the Parliament praises the continued courage and determination of the local community in the Glasgow Milton area in standing up against organised crime; thanks community activists who have worked tirelessly to ensure that community facilities provided in the area are safe for the local community to use, and looks forward to the speedy reopening of the Chirnsyde Community Initiative with a new management committee that will provide a range of much-needed local services for the people of Milton and Ashfield.

The meeting closed at 5.46 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
4 October 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 4 October 2007 and is subject to annulment

The Road Traffic (Permitted Parking Area and Special Parking Area) (City of Edinburgh) Designation Amendment Order 2007 (SSI 2007/446)

laid under paragraph 4(2) of Schedule 3 to the Road Traffic Act 1991

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 4 October 2007 and are not subject to any parliamentary procedure—

Quality Meat Scotland Annual Report 2006-07 (SE/2007/205)

laid under section 7 of the Scotland Act 1998 (Cross-Border Public Authorities) (Specification) Order 1999

Orkney Health Board Annual Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2007 (SE/2007/206)—

NHS Lothian Annual Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2007 (SE/2007/207)—

Tayside Health Board Annual Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2007 (SE/2007/208)—

Lanarkshire Health Board Annual Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2007 (SE/2007/209)—

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