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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 17 January 2008

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Energy: The Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism (Jim Mather) moved S3M-1152—That the Parliament notes the Energy Bill introduced by the UK Government; welcomes the Bill’s provisions in relation to promotion of renewable energy which will allow the Scottish Parliament to determine levels of support for emerging technologies; recognises the potential of carbon capture and storage for reducing carbon emissions and supports further dialogue with the UK Government on exercise of powers in relation to regulation of carbon storage; welcomes the Scottish Government’s position that new nuclear power stations are not necessary to meet renewable electricity targets or carbon emissions targets and are not wanted in Scotland; welcomes the UK Government’s recognition that the Bill’s provisions on nuclear decommissioning should not extend to Scotland, and believes that Scotland can have a secure, low-carbon, non-nuclear energy future through a combination of a growing renewables sector exploiting a range of technologies, including marine energy, cleaner energy from fossil fuels, improved energy efficiency resulting from better insulated buildings and increased awareness of the benefits that accrue from behavioural change and demand reduction.

Lewis Macdonald moved amendment S3M-1152.2 to motion S3M-1152—

Leave out from “notes” to end and insert—

“supports the further development of a Scottish energy strategy, in partnership with the UK Government, which delivers a mixed energy supply and a focus on energy efficiency to meet our energy needs, secure sustainable economic growth and tackle climate change; believes that the Scottish Government should work towards more ambitious targets for generating electricity from renewable technologies; believes that Scotland needs the full range of renewables to be developed including biomass, marine and local combined heat and power technologies; believes that the investment in the grid and the costs of transmitting electricity should continue to be shared by consumers across Great Britain; believes that, while there are ongoing concerns about different sources of energy generation, we should not rule out any single energy source, as doing so may risk both the security of our electricity supply and thousands of jobs across Scotland, and calls on Scottish ministers to work in partnership with UK ministers on addressing our future energy needs.”

Gavin Brown moved amendment S3M-1152.2.1 to amendment S3M-1152.2—

Insert at end—

“calls for more emphasis to be placed on decentralised energy, promoting micro-generation and small providers to give communities greater control of their energy production and increased energy efficiency.”

Liam McArthur moved amendment S3M-1152.1 to motion S3M-1152—

After “fossil fuels” insert—

“microgeneration and biomass; acknowledges the important role of the enterprise networks in helping to achieve this and the need for renewables to remain a priority for a well-resourced Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and further recognises the central importance of”.

Amendment S3M-1152.2.1 was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 59, Against 62, Abstentions 3).

Amendment S3M-1152.2 was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 59, Against 64, Abstentions 1).

Amendment S3M-1152.1 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 15, Abstentions 45).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 63, Against 58, Abstentions 2).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the Energy Bill introduced by the UK Government; welcomes the Bill’s provisions in relation to promotion of renewable energy which will allow the Scottish Parliament to determine levels of support for emerging technologies; recognises the potential of carbon capture and storage for reducing carbon emissions and supports further dialogue with the UK Government on exercise of powers in relation to regulation of carbon storage; welcomes the Scottish Government’s position that new nuclear power stations are not necessary to meet renewable electricity targets or carbon emissions targets and are not wanted in Scotland; welcomes the UK Government’s recognition that the Bill’s provisions on nuclear decommissioning should not extend to Scotland, and believes that Scotland can have a secure, low-carbon, non-nuclear energy future through a combination of a growing renewables sector exploiting a range of technologies, including marine energy, cleaner energy from fossil fuels, microgeneration and biomass; acknowledges the important role of the enterprise networks in helping to achieve this and the need for renewables to remain a priority for a well-resourced Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and further recognises the central importance of improved energy efficiency resulting from better insulated buildings and increased awareness of the benefits that accrue from behavioural change and demand reduction.

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 Health and Wellbeing were answered by the Cabinet Secretary and Ministers.

5. Firearms: The Cabinet Secretary for Justice (Kenny MacAskill) moved S3M-1153—That the Parliament recognises the increasing public concern about gun crime; agrees that action is required to give better protection to our communities by effectively banning the ownership and use of all firearms and air weapons other than for recognised and legitimate occupational and sporting interests, and supports the Scottish Government’s intention to engage with the wide range of interests, including the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS), sporting bodies and gun lobbies, in re-energising the United Kingdom debate started in 2004, but not progressed, on reform of the existing firearms regime into a system that is simpler to understand, administer and enforce and places prime importance on public safety.

Pauline McNeill moved amendment S3M-1153.2 to motion S3M-1153—

Leave out from “gun crime” to end and insert—

“the unacceptable incidence of gun crime and in particular the illegal misuse of air weapons across Scotland; welcomes the actions of the previous Scottish Executive, working with the UK Home Office, to restrict the sale of airguns and increase the age at which an airgun can be obtained; notes that there is a case for reviewing the effect of these provisions with a view to implementing further restrictions on the ownership of airguns other than for recognised and legitimate occupational and sporting interests; but further believes that improved firearm legislation would be best obtained by retaining consistency across all parts of the United Kingdom, and therefore calls on Scottish ministers to engage constructively with the UK Government to better control and reduce serious and violent crime in Scotland.”

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

Bill Aitken moved amendment S3M-1153.1 to motion S3M-1153—

Leave out from “action” to end and insert—

“laws regarding firearms control should be regularly reviewed but notes that firearms legislation is reserved to Westminster; notes also with regret that the great majority of weapons used in gun crime are held illegally in breach of the existing law; acknowledges that the most effective way of making Scotland’s communities safer is more effective enforcement of the existing law, and calls on the Scottish Government to support an increase in police resources to improve enforcement of current firearms legislation.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 31, Against 49, Abstentions 44).

The motion was then disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 51, Against 73, Abstentions 0).

6. Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Bill - UK Legislation: Jim Mather S3M-1087—That the Parliament supports the principle of clauses in the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Bill, introduced in the House of Lords on 7 November 2007, providing for the collection and distribution of sums released from dormant bank and building society accounts for social and environmental purposes, and agrees that the provisions in the Bill that relate to the distribution of such sums in Scotland should be considered by the UK Parliament.

Jeremy Purvis amendment S3M-1087.1 to motion S3M-1087—

Insert at end—

“and, in so doing, calls on ministers to return to the Parliament following Royal Assent to the Bill and make a statement that the funds to be distributed in Scotland will be diverted towards youth services and facilities for all parts of Scotland.”

The Presiding Officer informed the Parliament that the motion had been withdrawn under rule 8.2.9. Accordingly, the amendment in the name of Jeremy Purvis fell."

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

8. Defence Aviation Repair Agency Almondbank - No To Privatisation: The Parliament debated S3M-969 in the name of Roseanna Cunningham—That the Parliament respects the important role played by the DARA rotary wing and components business at Almondbank near Perth which provides in-depth maintenance, repair and overhaul of components for the UK’s military helicopter fleet; applauds the management and workforce at DARA for creating what has become a world-class centre of excellence; recognises the important role played by helicopters at the front line of modern conflicts; notes that an announcement is expected in Westminster on 15 December 2007 on the future of DARA; regrets that, far from protecting the critical work that DARA does to keep its helicopters flying, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) seems set to sell the organisation to the private sector with the sole bidder being the small Canadian company, Vector Aerospace, in a decision which would mean the permanent loss of helicopter support to the MoD and would be effectively exporting the intellectual property and design skills required to maintain operational sovereignty; welcomes the proposals submitted by the joint trade unions which, through measures such as mobile repair teams, integrating service personnel into the business, funding for capability rather than fixed pricing and directing MoD work into the business, would ensure the long-term viability and success of the business inside the MoD; notes that Baroness Taylor of Bolton is the minister responsible for the decision, and believes that support should be given to the unions’ proposals which will protect jobs, technologies and armed forces personnel.

The meeting closed at 5.42 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
17 January 2008

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

The following documents were laid before the Parliament on 17 January 2008 and are not subject to any Parliamentary procedure—

Scotland’s Budget Documents 2008-09: Budget (Scotland) Bill Supporting Document for the year ending 31 March 2009 (SG/2008/1)

Student Awards Agency for Scotland Annual Accounts 2006-07 (SG/2008/3)

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