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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 25 October 2007

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Free Personal Care: Mary Scanlon moved S3M-679—That the Parliament notes with concern that the interpretation, implementation and funding of the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002 has been beset by difficulties, many of which remain unresolved; believes that the decision of Lord Macphail on the Petition of Argyll and Bute Council dated 17 October 2007 is contrary to the intention of the Parliament, and calls on the Scottish Government to assure all people over 65 currently resident in independent care homes who have been assessed as eligible for free personal care, and others who may be assessed in future as so eligible, that councils will continue to fund their personal care regardless of whether or not there is a contract to which a council is a party.

Nicola Sturgeon moved amendment S3M-679.1 to motion S3M-679—

Leave out from "has been beset" to end and insert—

"have raised difficulties, many of which remain unresolved; notes that the decision of Lord Macphail dated 17 October 2007 on the Petition of Argyll and Bute Council reflects the guidance issued in July 2003; wishes to reassure those assessed, either now or in the future, as requiring free personal or nursing care that their entitlement to receive it is not affected by Lord Macphail’s decision; agrees, however, that the current operation of the law, although in line with existing guidance, may in some cases result in an undue delay between assessment and a local authority care contract being concluded; therefore supports the Scottish Government’s ongoing dialogue with COSLA to address issues such as waiting lists, eligibility criteria and food preparation, together with its assurance that it will take action, if necessary, to clarify the law, and considers that Lord Sutherland’s review of the level and distribution of resources for free personal care will make a valuable contribution to ensuring that the policy is put on a secure and sustainable basis for the long term."

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

Ross Finnie moved amendment S3M-679.2 to motion S3M-679—

Leave out from "with concern" to end and insert—

"the judgement of Lord Macphail on personal care and its consequences; notes with disappointment the SNP Government’s handling of this issue and recognises the need for urgent clarity to allay the concerns of older people and their families as well as to give clear guidance to service providers; calls on the Scottish Government to take the appropriate steps to provide this clarification as soon as possible, including a statement to the Parliament on the issue, and further calls on the Scottish Government to take all steps necessary to ensure that local authorities do not find that in providing free care for self-funders they are acting ultra vires."

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

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 61, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes with concern that the interpretation, implementation and funding of the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002 have raised difficulties, many of which remain unresolved; notes that the decision of Lord Macphail dated 17 October 2007 on the Petition of Argyll and Bute Council reflects the guidance issued in July 2003; wishes to reassure those assessed, either now or in the future, as requiring free personal or nursing care that their entitlement to receive it is not affected by Lord Macphail’s decision; agrees, however, that the current operation of the law, although in line with existing guidance, may in some cases result in an undue delay between assessment and a local authority care contract being concluded; therefore supports the Scottish Government’s ongoing dialogue with COSLA to address issues such as waiting lists, eligibility criteria and food preparation, together with its assurance that it will take action, if necessary, to clarify the law, and considers that Lord Sutherland’s review of the level and distribution of resources for free personal care will make a valuable contribution to ensuring that the policy is put on a secure and sustainable basis for the long term.

2. Police Numbers: Bill Aitken moved S3M-677—That the Parliament notes with serious concern that, almost six months after its election, the Scottish Government has made no progress towards the SNP’s manifesto commitment of 1,000 more police officers; expresses concern also at an apparent dilution of that commitment, and calls on the Scottish Government to keep that election promise by increasing the number of police officers from 16,234 to 17,234 by the end of this parliamentary session.

Kenny MacAskill moved amendment S3M-677.1 to motion S3M-677—

Leave out from "with serious concern" to end and insert—

"that the Scottish Government will set out its plans for a more visible police presence in the context of the Strategic Spending Review 2007 and will deliver an additional 1,000 police officers in our communities through increased recruitment, improved retention and redeployment."

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 46, Against 77, Abstentions 2).

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

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

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

5. Themed Question Time: Questions on Rural Affairs and the Environment and on Health and Wellbeing were answered by Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers.

6. Alcohol: Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill) moved S3M-681—That the Parliament notes Scotland’s first Alcohol Awareness Week and endorses the partnership approach between the government, industry and the voluntary sector to educate consumers about alcohol units, while recognising that further work is needed to ensure that alcohol is accepted as different to any other product for sale; further agrees that tackling the problems surrounding the misuse of alcohol is one of the great social and public health challenges of our time, requiring direct, innovative, long-term and sustained action; recognises that this includes tougher enforcement action against those who sell and promote alcohol irresponsibly; notes the importance of close co-operation with, and support of, Scotland’s police forces and licensing boards in this respect; welcomes the recent commitments by the Scottish Government to regulate the display and promotion of alcohol in off-sales premises and to find a method of ensuring that those licensees who profit from Scotland’s alcohol culture help offset the damage done by that culture, as well as to develop a long-term strategy to tackle the negative effects of alcohol misuse, and further notes the need for the NHS to play its part in early identification and intervention for those individuals drinking at harmful or hazardous levels.

Pauline McNeill moved amendment S3M-681.2 to motion S3M-681—

After "product for sale" insert—

"further notes the high incidence of underage drinking and the harm done to those young people and the negative effect that underage drinking can have on Scottish communities; believes that the Scottish Government should call a summit of all relevant stakeholders to develop an effective strategy to tackle underage drinking;".

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

Bill Aitken moved amendment S3M-681.1 to motion S3M-681—

Leave out from "notes the importance" to end and insert—

"and underlines the fact that those who do so should face losing their licences; notes the importance of close co-operation with, and support of, Scotland’s police forces and licensing boards in this respect, as well as developing a long-term strategy to tackle the negative effects of alcohol misuse, and further notes the need for the NHS to play its part in early identification and intervention for those individuals drinking at harmful or hazardous levels."

The amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 16, Against 109, Abstentions 0).

Ross Finnie moved amendment S3M-681.3 to motion S3M-681—

Leave out from first "notes" to end and insert—

"welcomes Scotland’s first Alcohol Awareness Week and calls for a co-ordinated approach by all relevant stakeholders to tackle the problems of alcohol misuse that are a key social and public health priority; recognises that tougher action against those who sell and promote alcohol irresponsibly is a necessary step but must form part of a comprehensive strategy that emphasises the importance of education and addresses the social and cultural factors related to alcohol misuse; believes that this policy framework must strike a balance between state and individual responsibility and must not be overly reliant on the criminal justice system to bring about the changes desired, and calls on the Scottish Government to commit additional investment to treatment and rehabilitation."

The amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 31, Against 92, Abstentions 2).

The motion, as amended, was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 108, Against 16, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes Scotland’s first Alcohol Awareness Week and endorses the partnership approach between the government, industry and the voluntary sector to educate consumers about alcohol units, while recognising that further work is needed to ensure that alcohol is accepted as different to any other product for sale; further notes the high incidence of underage drinking and the harm done to those young people and the negative effect that underage drinking can have on Scottish communities; believes that the Scottish Government should call a summit of all relevant stakeholders to develop an effective strategy to tackle underage drinking; further agrees that tackling the problems surrounding the misuse of alcohol is one of the great social and public health challenges of our time, requiring direct, innovative, long-term and sustained action; recognises that this includes tougher enforcement action against those who sell and promote alcohol irresponsibly; notes the importance of close co-operation with, and support of, Scotland’s police forces and licensing boards in this respect; welcomes the recent commitments by the Scottish Government to regulate the display and promotion of alcohol in off-sales premises and to find a method of ensuring that those licensees who profit from Scotland’s alcohol culture help offset the damage done by that culture, as well as to develop a long-term strategy to tackle the negative effects of alcohol misuse, and further notes the need for the NHS to play its part in early identification and intervention for those individuals drinking at harmful or hazardous levels.

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

8. Public-Social Partnership Pilot in North Lanarkshire: The Parliament debated S3M-383 in the name of Michael McMahon—That the Parliament welcomes the public-social partnership (PSP) pilot in North Lanarkshire as an innovative method of engaging communities in public service design and delivery; notes that PSPs allow public bodies to use the procurement process to create added social benefit in the community and to engage service users in the design of services; further notes that the PSP model is innovative in its approach to testing new methods of service delivery under local authorities’ duty to demonstrate best value, and recognises that, to reap the potential community benefits of PSPs, social enterprises must be fully supported in accessing long-term service level agreements and public contracts.

The meeting closed at 5.56 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
25 October 2007

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

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid in draft before the Parliament on 25 October 2007 for approval by resolution

The Budget (Scotland) Act 2007 Amendment Order 2007

laid under section 7(2) of the Budget (Scotland) Act 2007

Negative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 25 October 2007 and is subject to annulment

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (Consequential Amendments) Order 2007 (SSI 2007/475)

laid under section 191(3) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006

Other Documents

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 25 October 2007 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

Scotland’s Budget Documents: The 2007-08 Autumn Budget Revision to the Budget (Scotland) Act for the year ending 31 March 2008 (SE/2007/215)

Scottish Qualifications Authority Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2007 (SE/2007/216)

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

Learning and Teaching Scotland Annual Review 2006-07 (SE/2007/217)

A Review of Dispersal Powers (SE/2007/219)

laid under Part 3, section 24 of the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004