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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 8 November 2007

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Holding the SNP Government to Account: Wendy Alexander moved S3M-788—That the Parliament recognises the critical importance of the forthcoming three-year spending review to meeting the hopes and aspirations of the people of Scotland; welcomes the detailed scrutiny of the SNP Government’s spending plans by parliamentary committees as a central part of the budget process; believes that there should be the widest possible debate about the spending priorities for the next three years, and therefore resolves to set aside chamber time for individual debates on the budget priorities for each Cabinet Secretary’s portfolio: Finance and Sustainable Growth, Health and Wellbeing, Education and Lifelong Learning, Justice and Rural Affairs and the Environment not later than the conclusion of Stage 2 of the budget process.

Derek Brownlee moved amendment S3M-788.1 to motion S3M-788—

Leave out from “there should be” to end and insert—

“an effective budget scrutiny process is critical in ensuring that public services are delivered in a way which provides optimal value for money; believes that the process should be sufficiently robust to cope with majority and minority government; believes that there is scope to review the operation of the current procedures as laid down in the Standing Orders and the agreement between the Finance Committee and the Scottish Government; believes that the appropriate vehicle for such a review would be the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, in consultation with the other committees of the Parliament, particularly the Finance Committee, and requests that the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee undertakes a review of the budget process for future years.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For  64, Against  59, Abstentions  0).

Tavish Scott moved amendment S3M-788.2 to motion S3M-788—

Insert at end—

“further recognises that no one party has a majority in the Parliament and, therefore, requires that the Scottish Government commits to enhancing the existing arrangements to provide early access to the civil service to support the Finance Committee and opposition parties wishing to pursue recommendations for amendments to the budget to ensure that they are fully aware of the consequences of any change proposed to the budget.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For  59, Against  63, Abstentions  1).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For  63, Against  44, Abstentions  16).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament recognises the critical importance of the forthcoming three-year spending review to meeting the hopes and aspirations of the people of Scotland; welcomes the detailed scrutiny of the SNP Government’s spending plans by parliamentary committees as a central part of the budget process; believes that an effective budget scrutiny process is critical in ensuring that public services are delivered in a way which provides optimal value for money; believes that the process should be sufficiently robust to cope with majority and minority government; believes that there is scope to review the operation of the current procedures as laid down in the Standing Orders and the agreement between the Finance Committee and the Scottish Government; and believes that the appropriate vehicle for such a review would be the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee, in consultation with the other committees of the Parliament, particularly the Finance Committee, and requests that the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee undertakes a review of the budget process for future years.

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

3. First Minister’s Question Time: Questions were answered by the Deputy First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon).

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. Scottish Government’s EU Priorities: The Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture (Linda Fabiani) moved S3M-793—That the Parliament notes the importance of EU policies and legislation to the Parliament, its Committees and to Scotland and notes the priorities identified by the Scottish Government for particular attention.

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

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

7. Autism Parliamentary Network: The Parliament debated S3M-91 in the name of Nanette Milne—That the Parliament affirms its commitment to work during the new Parliamentary session to improve the lives of people with autistic spectrum disorder; is concerned that, while progress has been made, individuals with autistic spectrum disorder still experience difficulties in accessing the appropriate services and support necessary for them to fulfil their potential, both in Aberdeenshire and across Scotland, and welcomes the development of an Autism Parliamentary Network, co-ordinated by the National Autistic Society Scotland, which will serve as an information channel to support Members of the Scottish Parliament in their endeavours to create a society where autism is fully understood and where people with autistic spectrum disorder are fully respected and supported and receive timely, quality services that are appropriate to their individual needs.

The meeting closed at 5.40 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
8 November 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 8 November 2007 for approval by resolution

The Transport and Works (Scotland) Act 2007 (Consents under Enactments) Regulations 2007

laid under section 28(3), (4) and (5) of the Transport and Works (Scotland) Act 2007

The draft Transport and Works (Scotland) Act 2007 (Consents under Enactments) Regulations 2007, which was laid on 2 November 2007, has been withdrawn

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 8 November 2007 and are subject to annulment—

The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 3) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/500)—
The National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 3) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/501)—
The National Health Service (Primary Medical Services Section 17C Agreements) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 3) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/502)—

laid under section 105(2) of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978

The Education (Amendments in respect of Graduate Endowment, Student Fees and Support) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (SSI 2007/503)

laid under section 1 of the Education (Graduate Endowment and Student Support) (Scotland) Act 2001

Committee Reports

The following report was published on 8 November 2007

Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee, 2nd Report, 2007 (Session 3): Report on Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 22)