Back to the Scottish Parliament Minutes of Proceedings Vol. 1, No. 61 Session 3
Archive Home

Business Bulletin 1999-2011

Minutes of Proceedings 1999-2011

Journal of Parliamentary Proceedings Sessions 1 & 2

Committees Sessions 1, 2 & 3

Annual reports

Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 13 March 2008

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Transport: Jeremy Purvis moved S3M-1549—That the Parliament reaffirms its commitment to reinstating the Borders railway and condemns the SNP government for cancelling government funding for the construction of the line and failing to commit to a start date for its construction; deplores the uncertainty that this has caused about the future of the project, and calls on the Scottish Government to commit direct funding for the capital costs of the Borders railway and to take forward the construction of the project without delay.

Stewart Stevenson moved amendment S3M-1549.1.1 to amendment S3M-1549.1—

after “inception” insert—

“commends the 450,000 tonnes of CO² saved by the project”

Des McNulty moved amendment S3M-1549.2 to motion S3M-1549—

leave out from “commit direct funding” to end and insert—

“reinstate earmarked funding for the capital costs of the Borders railway with a view to taking forward the construction of the project without delay, and believes that ministers should be asked to appear before the relevant parliamentary committees to answer urgent questions over the delivery of the project, its escalating costs and the implications of the proposed funding arrangements for future transport and infrastructure projects.”

Alex Johnstone moved amendment S3M-1549.1 to motion S3M-1549—

leave out from “reaffirms” to end and insert—

“notes the decision to progress the Borders railway taken by the Parliament on 14 June 2006; regrets the delay in construction and the substantial increases in costs since the project’s inception, and calls on the Scottish Government to work with Transport Scotland and the relevant local authorities to ensure that the project is completed as quickly and cost effectively as possible.”

After debate, amendment 1549.2 was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 45, Against 80, Abstentions 0).

Amendment 1549.1.1 to amendment 1549.1 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 81, Against 44, Abstentions 0).

Amendment 1549.1, as amended, was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 61, 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 the decision to progress the Borders railway taken by the Parliament on 14 June 2006; regrets the delay in construction and the substantial increases in costs since the project’s inception; commends the 450,000 tonnes of CO² saved by the project, and calls on the Scottish Government to work with Transport Scotland and the relevant local authorities to ensure that the project is completed as quickly and cost effectively as possible.

2. Fuel Poverty: Liam McArthur moved S3M-1550—That the Parliament deplores the fact that while household fuel prices have risen by six times the rate of inflation over the past year, power companies’ profits have risen by 500%; is concerned that, for every 5% increase in fuel prices, it is estimated that 40,000 more Scottish households become fuel poor, while almost 3,000 deaths per year are linked to living in cold, damp housing; believes that tackling the social, health and environmental impacts of fuel poverty can save people money, improve health to help tackle climate change; calls for the re-establishment of the Fuel Poverty Forum with a remit to include the development of a one-stop-shop approach to fuel poverty that increases the installation of energy efficiency measures, efficient central heating systems, microgeneration and smart meter technology; calls on the Scottish Government to consider the introduction of a local tax rebate to provide a further incentive to householders to invest in energy efficiency and microgeneration packages, and further calls for changes to planning rules to make it easier to install micropower.

Stewart Maxwell moved amendment S3M-1550.3 to motion S3M-1550—

leave out from “calls on the Scottish Government” to end and insert—

“recognises the Scottish Government’s announcement on the consultation to remove planning restrictions on the wide range of energy generating and saving devices, and calls on the Scottish Government to make a statement to the Parliament before the summer recess outlining in detail its progress to more effectively address fuel poverty.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 48, Against 76, Abstentions 1).

Johann Lamont moved amendment S3M-1550.1 to motion S3M-1550—

after “technology” insert—

“recognises the importance of continued support for voluntary and statutory organisations providing debt management, money and energy advice to those most affected by fuel poverty;”.

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

Jamie McGrigor moved amendment S3M-1550.2 to motion S3M-1550—

leave out from “deplores the fact” to end and insert—

“regrets that the latest figures show that fuel poverty increased by 30% between 2004-05 and 2005-06, with nearly 50% of single pensioners experiencing fuel poverty, and welcomes the Ofgem investigation into the domestic retail market and the similar investigation by the House of Commons Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Committee; further regrets that almost 3,000 deaths per year are linked to living in cold, damp housing; believes that tackling the social, health and environmental impacts of fuel poverty can save people money, improve health and help to tackle climate change; calls for the re-establishment of the Fuel Poverty Forum with a remit to include the development of a one-stop-shop approach to fuel poverty that increases the installation of energy efficiency measures, efficient central heating systems, microgeneration and smart meter technology, and further calls on the Scottish Government to ensure that the central heating programme is reaching those who need it most.”

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

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 15, Abstentions 45).

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved— That the Parliament deplores the fact that while household fuel prices have risen by six times the rate of inflation over the past year, power companies’ profits have risen by 500%; is concerned that, for every 5% increase in fuel prices, it is estimated that 40,000 more Scottish households become fuel poor, while almost 3,000 deaths per year are linked to living in cold, damp housing; believes that tackling the social, health and environmental impacts of fuel poverty can save people money, improve health to help tackle climate change; calls for the re-establishment of the Fuel Poverty Forum with a remit to include the development of a one-stop-shop approach to fuel poverty that increases the installation of energy efficiency measures, efficient central heating systems, microgeneration and smart meter technology; recognises the importance of continued support for voluntary and statutory organisations providing debt management, money and energy advice to those most affected by fuel poverty; calls on the Scottish Government to consider the introduction of a local tax rebate to provide a further incentive to householders to invest in energy efficiency and microgeneration packages, and further calls for changes to planning rules to make it easier to install micropower.

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

6. National Parks: The Minister for the Environment (Michael Russell) moved S3M-1548—That the Parliament notes the forthcoming strategic review of Scotland’s two national parks; welcomes the opportunities that the national parks give to Scotland’s citizens and visitors, and in particular commends their contribution to the greener Scotland agenda.

David Stewart moved amendment S3M-1548.2 to motion S3M-1548—

insert at end—

“and believes that the following issues should be included for specific consideration in the review: the effectiveness of the national parks in achieving the main objectives set out in the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000, the success of the national parks in building community engagement and involvement in the development of both parks, and whether the boundaries of the parks should be reviewed.”

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

John Scott moved amendment S3M-1548.1 to motion S3M-1548—

insert at end—

“and calls on the Scottish Government to address concerns regarding the structural effectiveness of the national park authorities as presently constituted with a view to enhancing local participation and to address ongoing issues with regard to the southern boundary of the Cairngorms National Park.”

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 109, Against 0, Abstentions 16).

Jim Hume moved amendment S3M-1548.3 to motion S3M-1548—

insert at end—

“welcomes the quinquennial review as an opportunity to examine the operation of the park authorities and any proposed boundary changes; believes that the park authorities' national body status and strong directly elected presence provides the parks with the freedom and flexibility to carry out their unique statutory objectives and to meet the needs of very different park areas across Scotland; considers that any attempt to roll up the park authorities with Scottish Natural Heritage would hamper the parks' capability to achieve these objectives, would damage local accountability and democracy and could have serious conflict of interest ramifications, and therefore calls for the forthcoming strategic review of the national parks to retain the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority and the Cairngorms National Park Authority as national bodies with at least five directly elected board members.”

After debate, the amendment was disagreed to ((DT) by division: For 60, Against 64, Abstentions 1).

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

Accordingly, the Parliament resolved— That the Parliament notes the forthcoming strategic review of Scotland’s two national parks; welcomes the opportunities that the national parks give to Scotland’s citizens and visitors, and in particular commends their contribution to the greener Scotland agenda; believes that the following issues should be included for specific consideration in the review: the effectiveness of the national parks in achieving the main objectives set out in the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000, the success of the national parks in building community engagement and involvement in the development of both parks, and whether the boundaries of the parks should be reviewed, and calls on the Scottish Government to address concerns regarding the structural effectiveness of the national park authorities as presently constituted with a view to enhancing local participation and to address ongoing issues with regard to the southern boundary of the Cairngorms National Park.

7. Approval of SSIs: Bruce Crawford, on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau, moved:

S3M-1541—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Amendment Order 2008 be approved.

S3M-1542—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Official Statistics (Scotland) Order 2008 be approved.

S3M-1543—That the Parliament agrees that the draft Housing Support Grant (Scotland) Order 2008 be approved.

The motions were agreed to (DT).

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

9. No End in Sight to the War in Iraq: The Parliament debated S3M-1346 in the name of Aileen Campbell—That the Parliament notes the continuing effort of Rose Gentle from Pollok, Glasgow, and Beverley Clarke from Stafford to have the legality of the Iraq War tested in court; further notes that the Stop the War Coalition has called demonstrations in Glasgow and elsewhere on 15 March 2008 to mark the fifth anniversary of the start of the conflict; recalls the massive worldwide demonstrations against the war on 15 February 2003, in which many MSPs and people from the south of Scotland and across the country participated; believes that the legality of the war should be tested in the courts and continue to be discussed in the wider public arena; supports the demonstration taking place in Glasgow on 15 March, and believes that work in the international community should continue to speedily bring about peace and stability to Iraq.

The meeting closed at 5.46 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
13 March 2008

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

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instrument was laid before the Parliament on 13 March 2008 for approval by resolution

The Local Government Finance (Scotland) Amendment Order 2008

laid under paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 12 to the Local Government Finance Act 1992

The following instruments were laid in draft before the Parliament on 13 March 2008 for approval by resolution—

The Victim Notification Scheme (Scotland) Order 2008

laid under section 88(2)(a) of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003

The Mental Health (Cross-border Visits) (Scotland) Regulations 2008

laid under section 326(4) of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003

Other Documents

The following document was laid before the Parliament on 13 March 2008 and is not subject to any parliamentary procedure

The Local Government Finance (Scotland) Amendment Order 2008 (SG/2008/24)

laid under paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 12 to the Local Government Finance Act 1992

Committee Reports

The following reports were published on 13 March 2008—

Subordinate Legislation Committee, 11th Report, 2008 (Session 3): Subordinate Legislation (SP Paper 72)

Local Government and Communities Committee, 5th Report, 2008 (Session 3): Report on Planning Application Processes (Menie Estate) (SP Paper 73)