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Meeting of the Parliament

Thursday 17 April 2008

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

The meeting opened at 9.15 am.

1. Local Income Tax: Andy Kerr moved S3M-1715—That the Parliament rejects the SNP proposals for a local income tax, noting that these proposals are neither local nor fair, that property has a role to play in our taxation system, that they would remove from local government any autonomy over raising resources locally and that they would fail to raise the resources required to fund much valued local services.

Patrick Harvie moved amendment S3M-1715.1 to motion S3M-1715—

leave out from "rejects" to end and insert—

"notes the Scottish Government’s consultation on the future of local taxation; recognises that this consultation is not due to close until 18 July 2008; notes the wider range of possible options, including local income tax, land value tax, property tax and reform of the council tax; recognises that the existing system of local government taxation is discredited, bureaucratic and unpopular; agrees on the urgent need for substantial changes to the system of local taxation, and agrees that, in developing this future system, due consideration should be given to fairness, local accountability, the need to reduce tax avoidance and the wider social, economic and environmental impact of any proposed system of local tax reform on communities across Scotland."

After debate, the amendment was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 61, Abstentions 0).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 65, Against 62, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament notes the Scottish Government’s consultation on the future of local taxation; recognises that this consultation is not due to close until 18 July 2008; notes the wider range of possible options, including local income tax, land value tax, property tax and reform of the council tax; recognises that the existing system of local government taxation is discredited, bureaucratic and unpopular; agrees on the urgent need for substantial changes to the system of local taxation, and agrees that, in developing this future system, due consideration should be given to fairness, local accountability, the need to reduce tax avoidance and the wider social, economic and environmental impact of any proposed system of local tax reform on communities across Scotland.

2. Support for the Voluntary Sector: Elaine Murray moved S3M-1706—That the Parliament applauds the vital contribution made to society and the economy by the voluntary sector; is concerned that pressures on local authority budgets over the period of the spending review will lead to cuts in support to voluntary sector organisations and inadequate payment for the services that they provide; recognises the role that volunteering can play in personal development and urges ministers to restore funding to Project Scotland, and believes that the exemption from payment of water rates extended by the previous administration to 2010 should be further extended.

Jim Mather moved amendment S3M-1706.2 to motion S3M-1706—

leave out from first "voluntary" to end and insert—

"third sector; believes that co-operation between the third sector, local authorities and the Scottish Government is vital in ensuring a strong role for the third sector; recognises that the Scottish Government is funding Project Scotland and has made clear to Project Scotland that further resources may be available for projects it runs in terms of the Scottish Government's employability agenda, and believes that the exemption from payment of water rates extended by the previous administration to 2010 should be further extended."

Derek Brownlee moved amendment S3M-1706.2.1 to amendment S3M-1706.2—

insert at end—

"and calls on the Scottish Government to work with the third sector to reduce the burden of regulation affecting the sector."

Robert Brown moved amendment S3M-1706.1 to motion S3M-1706—

insert at end—

"recognises the problems facing the voluntary sector caused by short-term funding and re-tendering; believes that there is a pressing need to review the system to provide more stable funding for the sector including longer-term contracts and a national contracts framework; notes the establishment of the voluntary sector compact under the last administration and calls for a revitalised compact between local government and the voluntary sector; believes that this compact must ensure greater dialogue between councils and voluntary groups as to the operation of the local government Concordat and the single outcome agreements, and calls for a review of the operation of the Concordat including its key outcomes and performance indicators following the first year of its implementation."

After debate, amendment 1706.2.1 to amendment 1706.2 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 81, Against 46, Abstentions 0).

Amendment 1706.2, as amended, was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 66, Against 61, Abstentions 0).

Amendment 1706.1 was agreed to ((DT) by division: For 64, Against 62, Abstentions 1).

The motion, as amended, was then agreed to ((DT) by division: For 80, Against 47, Abstentions 0).

Accordingly the Parliament resolved—That the Parliament applauds the vital contribution made to society and the economy by the third sector; believes that co-operation between the third sector, local authorities and the Scottish Government is vital in ensuring a strong role for the third sector; recognises that the Scottish Government is funding Project Scotland and has made clear to Project Scotland that further resources may be available for projects it runs in terms of the Scottish Government's employability agenda, and believes that the exemption from payment of water rates extended by the previous administration to 2010 should be further extended; calls on the Scottish Government to work with the third sector to reduce the burden of regulation affecting the sector; recognises the problems facing the voluntary sector caused by short-term funding and re-tendering; believes that there is a pressing need to review the system to provide more stable funding for the sector including longer-term contracts and a national contracts framework; notes the establishment of the voluntary sector compact under the last administration and calls for a revitalised compact between local government and the voluntary sector; believes that this compact must ensure greater dialogue between councils and voluntary groups as to the operation of the local government Concordat and the single outcome agreements, and calls for a review of the operation of the Concordat including its key outcomes and performance indicators following the first year of its implementation.

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 Finance and Sustainable Growth were answered by the Cabinet Secretary and Ministers.

6. Ministerial Statement: The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson) made a statement and answered questions on the Extension of the First ScotRail Franchise.

7. Public Health etc. (Scotland) Bill: The Minister for Public Health (Shona Robison) moved S3M-1560—That the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Public Health etc. (Scotland) Bill.

After debate, the motion was agreed to.

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

9. Strathclyde Partnership for Transport Report on Glasgow Crossrail: The Parliament debated S3M-1251 in the name of Bill Butler—That the Parliament notes the final report, Glasgow Crossrail Appraisal and Economic Case, endorsed by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) on 25 January 2008; recognises that the Glasgow Crossrail project is strategically one of the most significant rail projects in Scotland; acknowledges the wide-ranging and cross-party support for the proposed Crossrail project as highlighted on www.crossrailglasgow.com; supports the submission of SPT’s appraisal of the Crossrail project to Transport Scotland for inclusion in the Strategic Transport Projects Review and the National Planning Framework, and anticipates a positive decision from the Scottish Executive on the early implementation of Glasgow Crossrail.

The meeting closed at 5.42 pm.

P E Grice
Clerk of the Parliament
17 April 2008

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

Subordinate Legislation

Affirmative Instruments

The following instruments were laid in draft before the Parliament on 16 April 2008 for approval by resolution—

The Transport and Works (Scotland) Act 2007 (Access to Land by the Scottish Ministers) Order 2008

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

The Transport and Works (Scotland) Act 2007 (Access to Land on Application) Order 2008

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

Negative Instruments

The following instruments were laid before the Parliament on 17 April 2008 and are subject to annulment—

The Plant Health Fees (Scotland) Regulations 2008 (SSI 2008/153)

laid under paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972 and section 56(4) of the Finance Act 1973

The Smoke Control Areas (Authorised Fuels) (Scotland) Regulations 2008 (SSI 2008/154)

laid under section 63(2) of the Clean Air Act 1993

The Animals and Animal Products (Import and Export) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2008 (SSI 2008/155)

laid under paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972

The Sea Fishing (Control Procedures for Herring, Mackerel and Horse Mackerel) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2008 (SSI 2008/156)

laid under section 30(4) of the Fisheries Act 1981

The Smoke Control Area (Exempt Fireplaces) (Scotland) Order 2008 (SSI 2008/157)

laid under section 63(3) of the Clean Air Act 1993

Other Documents

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

British Waterways Board: Pay of Chair and Board Members (SG/2008/69)

laid under paragraph 8 of Schedule 1 to the Transport Act 1962 as amended by Part II of Schedule 2 to the Scotland Act 1998 (Cross-Border Public Authorities) Transfer of Functions etc.) (No. 2) (Scotland) Order 2000

Scottish Agricultural Wages Board Annual Reports for 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006 and 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007 (SG/2008/70)